Friday, May 20, 2005

True Notebooks

I'm sorry to disappoint those of you looking for my immediate follow up on weapons in space --- oh well. Tomorrow --- well, I'm pretty sure tomorrow, we'll just have to see.

I just finished True Notebooks, which of course explains why a picture of the book so prominently displays itself at the start of this post. I need to thank my friend Hedwig the Owl, whose comments on the book [and an example of Hedwig's use of a true notebook herself] are to be found at Living the Scientific Life (or Scientist, Interrupted): The Power of One: comments on "True Notebooks" by Mark Salzman ,for the reminder that the book was out. Salzman is a favorite writer of mine. I remember encountering him first through his movie, Iron & Silk . Now the movie was a bit smarmy, but not in a bad way. Salzman is clearly not a professional actor and his enthusiasm in the movie at times made me want to hit him upside the head. That said, the movie, based on the book he wrote of the same title, was nevertheless touching and I did eventually get caught up enough in his travails and victories to enjoy the ride. It caused me to go out and get the book, which made even a bigger positive impression, and I decided this was someone whose books I'd pay attention to. I proceed to read Lying Awake, The Soloist, and Lost in Place. He has one other book, The Laughing Sutra, which I haven't read but do own --- it's sitting in storage in Maryland with my other books and one day, when we hav4e a place with enough space for my library, I'll get to it.

Before addressing this book, for anyone interested, and I promise that it's interesting to watch, I'd recommend clicking on the following: Summerfest 2001 - An Evening with Mark Salzman. Salzman's an interesting character and this clip of him, provided courtesy of UCTV--University of California Television, makes him seem to be the type of guy you'd enjoy hanging out with if you had the chance. What's amazing watching this is here's a guy whose wife tells him that he doesn't get out enough, yet here you watch him easily interact with and entertain an audience of people.

True Notebooks is about Salzman's experience as a writing teacher for a group of boys who are in prison, nearly all of them in for murder. The quote from Loren Eiseley at the beginning of the book caught me:

...we would assume that what it was we meant

would have been listed in some book set down
beyond the sky's far reaches, if at all
there was a purpose here. but now I think
the purpose lives in us and that we fall

into an error if we do not keep
our own true notebook of the way we came,
how the sleet stung, or how a wandering bird
cried at the window ...

This hit a chord. In some measure blogging does this for me I suppose. Welcome to my own true notebook.

Anyway, I won't get into the particulars of the book, suffice it to say that it's a very good one, I strongly recommend it (as did Hedwig, who thankfully flapped her wings strenuously over it), it makes the case for why notebooks, of one flavor or another, are important in our lives, to help us see into them and maybe help us better see where we're going, and I think that'll do it for this page in my notebook.


Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Oh wow, thanks for the notice here! I am glad to know that you liked my comments about the book. Until I read that book, I had no idea who Mark Salzman was, although I would love to have him as a writing instructor. He seems to be a very funny and thoughtful person, if he is anything like his inner (writer's) voice.


5:01 PM  

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