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Welcome to On the Road

Many years ago I wrote a newsletter column called On the Road. The column lusted after literary credibility by borrowing (stealing) the title from Jack Kerouac's novel. But in fact, it sunk to the rambling and muttering that is the fate of virtually all running-related writing.
The rambling and muttering continue here in quasi-blog form. My writing and interests (links) are random, personal, and ad-free. Dave Smith.

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice-weasels come. [Matt Groening] [more quotes]

Cold Sassy Tree and more

It's late March, 2020, and I've read five books so far this year. I don't have a set "reading time" and I'm a slow reader. Here they are, from most to least recent.

Cold Sassy Tree was written by Olive Ann Burns and published in 1984. The story is set in a small Georgia town with strict religion-infused mores and three strata of citizens -- poor whites who are mostly farmers, poorer whites who work in cotton mills, and yet even poorer blacks, who are mostly servants. Burns tells the story through the voice of a 14 year old boy (Will), and the dialog is a dialect that requires careful reading. For example, "Cudn Hope" refers to Cousin Hope (I think!).

The story is about the struggle of the town's patriarch (Rucker) and his grandson (Will) to challenge those mores while staying within them, each in his own way. And it's the struggle to understand God's intent with Man. Will understood it this way: "When Jesus said ast and you'll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now, for instance, I could ast, 'Lord, please raise Grandpa from the dead,' but it wouldn't happen. But I can say, 'Please, God, comfort me,' and I'll get heart's ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all like that. Ast, 'Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy give us courage to try.''"

Life Is Funny by E.R. Frank was published in 2000. Frank is a clinical social worker and psychotherapist who writes about 11 Brooklyn high school students of various races, cultures, and voices (speech patterns). The book is episodic and gripping. The stories of the 11 continually overlap. We see the connections of their lives, and perhaps we see how our own lives mingle with so many others. And we don't know it.

I saw the first 4 (or maybe 3) Harry Potter movies in the movie theater. For some reason, I never saw the rest of them. And I had never read the books. They are fun to read, and written well. I began with the first book last year, and I'm careful to space them out, so that this month it was time for the 3rd book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The first two books of the year, Year of the Tiger by Jack Higgins, and Elmore Leonard's Split Images are sirplane and travel books, at least for me. They were part of our trip to San Diego and back in January. Books in this category ideally fit in a top pocket of my backpack, don't weigh much, and can be read when there are distractions (airplanes, strange houses, odd hours).

Higgins is total airplane mode. And despite the cover blurb from Tom Clancy, I've never read Clancy nor plan to. I found about 10 Clancy novels on my shelves recently and donated them to a Used Bookstore.

Leonard is a not so hidden pleasure. I've read almost all his books, and I'm lucky to have a few still to read.

[March 23, 2020] [top]