Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writing memoir, the Chilean rescue, and changing weather

My evening memoir writing class met tonight. There are a couple of basic differences between it and the daytime class on campus: in the evening, we're in the casual setting of a home, and we have snacks and wine (the latter making the real difference). The lunchtime group brownbags it but I notice not many eat--I always have a tuna sandwich.
Tonight was a great time of sharing--two people presented stories from their childhood, both with perception and honesty and, afterward, open, honest responses to questions. Some brought laughter, some brought moments of silence. Mostly though we're a laughing, happy group. I shared my story of adoption, and once you get me started on that, I'm hard to shut up, but they were most responsive. My friend Linda is now among the group, and of course she was around when my babies were children, so she knows these stories. "I loved hearing them again, in your voice," she said. Linda came for supper, and I fixed a one-dish meal of chicken, pasta, two cheeses (cheddar and cream) and green peas. It was supposed to have broccoli, but I forgot to go back by the frozen section when I went to the store this morning. Darn! I substituted a small can of green peas.
I am still watching whatever's on TV about the Chilean miners. I hear two books have been proposed in New York, one of them already under contract in the UK.  NYpublishers are hesitant because they fear the heartwarming story has gotten so much instant coverage no one will want a book about it. I think, as a publisher, I'd jump at such a book, but then I was never a big-time publisher dealing with thousand-copy print runs. Jean Walbridge said today that it just shows what people can do when a country pulls together and determines to accomplish something. The Chilean president (who has been a strong and admirable figure throughout this ordeal) said they just decided everything else went on the back burner--they were going to get these miners out. And they did, with help, both technical and emotional support and I suppose financial, from all over the world. A book about that cooperative effort would be excellent, if only to make it required reading for all members of our Federal congress.Apparently a few miners suffer health problems--from pneumonia to skin and dental problems--but most are hale and hearty. It will be interesting to see how they handle the future, though they've been quoted as saying they don't want fame and fortune--they want to go back to their lives. I wonder how many will want to go underground again. A trivial thought that came to me today: they had to fit themselves into a cylinder that was 23 inches--how did they do it? That's a lot less than my waist. I have a vision of people poking and pushing to get my stomach into that tiny cylinder. But, hey, these were mostly pretty big guys.
Chilly morning today--first turtleneck day of the fall season. And gosh it gets dark early. I think my sweet potato plants have had it for the year, and I must soon harvest my basil if I don't want to lose it. I foresee a lot of pesto in the future. Next year I'm going to be more judicious about planting herbs--no dill, because the caterpillars eat it, no summer savory because I didn't use it once and Greg says it's just a tasteless version of oregano. No tansy because it crowds everything else out. Don't have to think about that right now.

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