Thoughts & Doodles

Four Things I Learned This Week and a Quote

There’s a nonprofit called Popcorn for the People that was created to employ adults with Autism. On their website, I learned a fun fact: popcorn kernels found in a cave in New Mexico were carbon dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old.

One of my favorite authors, Lydia Millet, has a book on the longlist for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Regarding my adventures in homeschooling: my best way for me–an English major and avid reader whose only poor grades were ever in science class–to teach science is most definitely reading (and rereading and applying the lessons from) The Magic School Bus.

Washington State not only has a state bird, a state flower, and a state tree. It also has a state fossil: the Columbian Mammoth. It was established as the state fossil thanks to the efforts of a group of elementary school students.

And the quote of the week:

The wound is the place where the light enters you.

–Rumi

Reading & Writing

Three Interesting Interviews

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A conversation with Lydia Millet, from Willow Springs (I might be biased here, because I was one of the interviewers, but throughout the conversation Lydia dazzled me with her wit and intelligence; if you haven’t read any of her fiction, I highly recommend you do).

I think any writer of substance is a cultural critic by nature. Almost any. I think books should have an agenda, but I don’t think you should be able to deliver a one-liner about what that agenda is … I just want to feel that it’s there, pulsing behind the bones.

An interview with Aimee Bender, from The Rumpus–an especially interesting read for writers with children, especially writers who are mothers, especially writers who are mothers who have read a good amount of Bender’s work.

Rumpus: How has being a mother of twins affected your writing routine?

Bender: So far no routine at all! But they’re very new and very little so I’m just taking a break from writing, which actually feels good. It’ll be different, though—my two-hours-in-the-morning routine can’t work like it has for a while

An interview with Amy Poehler about her memoir, Yes Please. Though the last two writers are both very funny, there’s such a difference between humor and comedy. I thought this would be a good contrast with the other two interviews. I certainly won’t posit that Poehler is an author in the same league as Bender and Millet, but she is a cultural icon in a way that the other two are not, and her book is memoir while the other two write fiction.

I’m used to writing in characters and not really writing about myself. And it was easier to share the early parts of my life rather than my own current events.

Reading & Writing

Three Strange Stories

pexels-photo-65565.jpegThese are three very different stories, both in the sense that they are not your everyday reads and that they are very different from each other. All smart, all sharp, all at least a little bit strange–all favorites.

So: a link and a snippet for each.

“Sing a Song of Sixpence” by Samuel Ligon

This was after the pie was opened, after the king had turned to the bottle, and the queen to one of her young lovers. It was a pattern with them, part of the reason for all the laundry — the king soiling his robes and pantaloons, the queen binging and purging and fornicating all over the castle. They were horrible people, the king and queen.

“Twin Study” by Stacey Richter

Of course, we were identical genetically; what’s more, we shared a placenta; but inside, in our brains, souls, and hearts, we weren’t the same. This became apparent slowly, even though I knew what Samantha was going to say before she said it, and I knew which boys she’d like before she met them, and we always got up at the same time in the night to pee, among other uncanny similarities.

“Girl and Giraffe” by Lydia Millet

They had cats instead of children—George had raised scores of lions while Joy had moved on from lions to cheetahs to leopards—and lions and leopards could not cohabit, so George and Joy also lived apart.