Thursday, October 12, 2006

ELEPHANT GRIEF...and some other things I read this week


Elefante / Elephant, originally uploaded by Omar Junior.

The elephants seriously broke my heart this week when I read about
how their loving society and nurturing family life is breaking down due to habitat loss and human poaching.

What struck me most was the way these once gentle beasts grieve for one another. They carry out elaborate funeral-type rituals, and often return to the site of the bones for many years, displaying behavior associated with mourning.

Since it remained one of the New York Times most emailed articles all week, apparently a lot of other people were thinking about and sorrowing for these marvelous animals. It's a long article, but well worth your time and reflection if you haven't seen it.

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Other things that caught this reader's eye on line this week:

A piece in the Washington Post by Stephen King, revealing the secrets of the writing life, which I found through Jennifer Weiner's blog. It was published almost two weeks ago and probably everyone who's vaguely interested in it has already read it, but I tend to be late to the party. Anyway, it was worth showing up after everyone's gone home for this line alone:

"Dig this: The so-called writing life is basically sitting on your ass."

Yup. I dig it.


And then I discovered Neil Kramer's blog--a site that was so good, so laugh out loud funny, so all round fantabulous, that I lost a day of my life in his archives. Then I went out and told everyone I knew about it--only to find that they'd all been reading Neil for years. What was I saying about being late to the party?



What about you? Has anyone discovered a blog or read a post or an article on line that knocked your socks off, that made you laugh, or mourn, or opened up a previously dormant pathway in your brain? If you did, leave a note in the comment section and I will link to it, and of course, to you.

14 comments:

Sara said...

"Dig this: The so-called writing life is basically sitting on your ass."

Well, yeah. Hence the need for the yoga ball.

(You know what's fun? Try picturing writers from other eras sitting on one of these puppies. Imagine, for example, what Zola or Maugham or Alfred, Lord Tennyson, might have created while bouncing.

Shameless digression. Sorry.)

gerry rosser said...

What will we do when the elephants go?
Will we still sing?
Will we still dance?

What will happen when the elephants go?
Will the sun still shine?
Will the moon still glow?

It's really scary.
Cause we don't know.

Patry Francis said...

sara: If Zola had sat on a yoga ball, his vision might have been less bleak. There's just no way you can be morose for long when you're bouncing.

gerry: What a wonderful little poem. And what, indeed. Thank you for sharing it here.

chiefbiscuit said...

Elephants always look so sad.

Tree said...

I too found the elephant article to be heartbreaking. The fact that their behavior is similar to the young boys who were forced into being soldiers is very tragic.

On a lighter note, my ass has suffered immeasurably in the past year or so as I have spent numerous hours sitting on it while writing! I'm getting a yoga ball!

I found your blog through Dharma Bums, very nice!

Patry Francis said...

chiefbiscuit: Probably because when we see them, they're always in zoos.

tree: All elephant sympathizers are most welcome here--especially friends of the Dharma Bums. And yes, the yoga ball really helps. You just can't help doing a little hip rolling and bouncing as you sit before the screen.

garnet david said...

What a heartbreaking photograph. The feeling of all the incredible suffering which takes place in the animal world just flooded in.

gerry rosser said...

Thanks, the fact is I don't write poetry, so think of it as a little chant, or something.

As with whales, it gives me comfort to think of large creatures living out in the wild with no thought of us.

Carmen said...

I don't know why this made me laugh so hard, but it stuck with me as an (albeit silly) example of how persistent attempts at communication can garner real results.
"It was just that easy."

http://wulad.blogspot.com/2006/09/quiero-round-egg.html

rdl said...

A blog that "opened a previously dormant pathway in my brain" is http://edie-justwrite.blogspot.com/ She is a wonderful writing coach and writer. Now i am off to read about the elephants, stephen King and Neil's blog. THanks

Neil said...

Thank you for such kind words. And thank you for introducing me to these other two articles, because apparently I'm slower than you in know what the buzz is out there. I've always loved elephants and that article was very sad. As for the Stephen King article, I figured we all already knew this because we spend so much time on our butts blogging. I used to be one of those guys who would read unsolicited manuscripts and filmscripts in the "slush pile," and every time I would come across a story about a writer having writer problems like "writer's block," I would just want to throw myself off the roof. Let's be honest. Is there anything more boring than watching someone ELSE writing? Uh... your new novel is a mystery, right? Not about a writer with writer's block... I hope... uh, maybe I should have checked before writing this comment...

Patry Francis said...

garnet: It's something we don't think about enough, I suppose. Another article I read this week was about the critic Robert HUghes, who had been a long time hunger until a devastating car crash taught him how painful an impact wound can be. Since then, he vowed never to inflict that kind of suffering on another creature.

gerry: Chants are a form of poetry, no? And the article about the elephants made me think of whales, too. Maybe it's a Cape Cod thing.

c-love: A funny piece, but also instructive for the reason you pointed out. "It was just that easy," applies to so many of the things we think we can't do.

r: Good recommendation. I love Edie, too!

neil: The main character in my novel is a musician.
From what I hear, they have all the fun that we writers miss out on while we're sitting around staring into space--um, I mean, working.

Anonymous said...

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