Identity

So like the apocryphal zebra who cannot figure out if he is white with black stripes or black with white stripes, I sometimes wonder if I am a violinist who writes or a writer who plays violin. Which may not be the meaningful question at all, but still, I started wondering if another way to ask is by asking if you would know more about who I am by the music I listen to or by the books I read? Of course, maybe trying to know who someone is by their possessions/associations/fandoms is a little high school, and I should have outgrown that by now? But I always like it when a detective in a book can go into a suspect/victim’s apartment and within minutes explain fundamental things about the person’s character just based on a savvy analysis of her...

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Moral Fiction

It’s amazing having some of my most interesting conversations be with my children. The fourteen year old got dragged along with me to go buy the youngest a Halloween costume this week and I love his take on things like the differences between Greek and Norse mythology and his tossing about the term “manic pixie dream girl“. And he remarked how he still didn’t understand how anyone could prefer the original Star Trek to the Next Generation and the conversation about that was interesting, because I remember feeling exactly the same, since I was about his age when the Next Generation aired, and it was so much more thoughtful, the moral dilemmas and intellectual puzzles, the ideas in it that were more philosophical than any other popular drama...

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Interrogating Fears

If I say to myself, “I think I’m scared of being ordinary” what does that mean to me? Does it drive the sort of weird slacker ambition I secretly nurse? What is scary about ordinariness?

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Another Book One

Bouncing between reading “classics” and books published this year, it occurs to me that there is a deep difference in structure, that at one point a novel would be narration set here and there with vignettes and now novels read like the transcriptions of movies, with a progression of scenes. This is as true for children’s literature as adult literature. Is narration dying?

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From a Conversation with a Friend

Why is it that appreciation seems to be easier to give and receive in marriage than deep, unwavering acceptance?

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Cross Dressing

Devouring the new Donna Tartt novel in a happy rush; I think about this… She writes a first person narrative with a teenaged boy POV and it isn’t distracting or weird; how many novels by men have I been convinced by a female narrator/POV?

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The Interesting Question

The nine year old has no patience anymore for “How was your day?” For “Got much homework?” “Ask an interesting question, Mom!” I’ve tried, “Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or to fly?” And “If our house had one more room, what would you want that room to be?” In a bit of a reach “If there were a war between four legged animals and birds and insects whose side would you be on?” He reciprocated, “What’s your least favorite sentence you have read?” What questions are interesting and appropriate for me to ask my little boy?

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