As I’m recovering from minor surgery, I’ve been reading a lot and writing a little. I’ve gone back and re-read some of the sermons in Debbie Blue’s first book, Sensual Orthodoxy (2003), as I had just finished From Stone to Living Word (2008) and craved more engagement with her unique voice and rich insights.
Also, since I have a debut novel on the way, I’m interested in following the progression of the careers of writers I admire. As I re-read parts of Sensual Orthodoxy, I found myself noting areas where the author had since grown and matured as a writer and a thinker. (I had a similar experience last summer when I read all of Richard Russo. Returning to his debut Mohawk (1986) was fascinating after having read later works like Nobody’s Fool (1993), The Whore’s Child and Other Stories (2002), and Bridge of Sighs (2007).)
On Kindle, I’m in the middle of Andy Crouch’s latest, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, a book I’d long been looking forward to (and I’ve not been disappointed so far). On the end table is Jessie Van Eerden’s novel Glorybound, which I’m working through slowly, savoring the language, the stark and wonderfully rendered landscape, and the sense of desperation hanging over the lives of the main characters.
In terms of writing, normally I have several short nonfiction pieces in the works (see Recent for examples). At the moment, however, I’m blissfully free from deadlines. A few nights ago, with pen in hand, I found myself completely immersed in a book called Biographical and Historical Record of Jay and Blackford Counties, Indiana (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1887). Fortunately a local library scanned it to create a free e-book available online. I’m a bit of a history buff, and am trying to learn more about the area where I make my home.
This book is a fascinating combination of the chronicles of ordinary people, history of the Midwest, and ethnocentric and racist/ Manifest Destiny propaganda. Some of the sentences are laborious and contrived; others are stunningly beautiful.
I started writing a series of found poems taken from the pages of this history. I have high hopes for several of them, and I think I’ll try to generate a total of a dozen or so. It would make a good section of a new book of poems set in my adopted home state of Indiana. This new poetry collection is at least a few years away for me, but it feels good to work on it by way of going down such an interesting and unexpected rabbit hole.
So that’s my story. What’s yours?
What have you been reading? What have you been writing? I’d love to check it out. Share a link or two.