Sunday, June 26, 2005


Image from PostSecret

Yeah, I've seen them around, but am not quite sure where they originated--or what the word means. (Sorry for flaunting my ignorance and I promise to go directly to as soon as I put up this post.) Anyway, I was so excited when Sinead Gleeson at Sigla passed me the meme baton. If you haven't read this on-line magazine from Ireland, please stop what you're doing and hit it right now. It's fun, it's provocative, and they even published one of my poems! Yay, Sigla!

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
I recently had a little contest on my Waitress blog. The idea was to name a book that changed your life, and everybody who entered won. (I was never much into competition.) At any rate, one of the winners selected Little Women, and her reasons reminded me of how wonderful it had been to inhabit that book, that imaginary household. So if I had to memorize a book and live inside it, I'd have to become the fifth sister in the March family. Who knows? Maybe the ever wise Marmee could even straighten my ass out and convince me to make something of myself.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I named my first child after Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd, so what does that tell you? But seriously, Sinead took all the best one. I was so in love with Heathcliffe that I spent years looking for him. Unfortunately, all the Heathcliffes I found weren't just romantically tortured, they were seriously whacked out. That's when I started to go for the upstanding citizen types like Mr. Darcy. But once again, I came away disappointed. My Mr. Darcys were never quite as nice as Jane Austens.
Though I live for books and frequently find life inside a book cover more rewarding than the trials of the so-called real world, when it comes to men, my husband is way better than any of my literary crushes.

The last book you bought is?

Edges by Leora Skokin-Smith, a little gem of a book. Highly recommended. And in the same order I also got, Meditations from a Movable Chair by Andre Dubus. I haven't read it yet, but anything by Dubus has got to be good.

What are you currently reading?

Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh. Great storytelling and a lot of insight into the way that small town life enriches and crushes all at once.

Five books you would take to a deserted island

I love this question!
1. If I was stuck on a desert island, I'd need some spiritual perspective, so I'd probably pack Meister Eckhart, from Whom God Hid Nothing.

2. Since I can't fall asleep without reading a novel, I'd take The Brothers Karamazov. It's so long and deep that no matter how many years I was stuck on that island, I'd always have my bedside reading.

3. Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems.

4. Czeslaw Milosz's Crossing the River. I've read these poems over so many times, I might as well have been on a desert island with them.

The Kabir Book: 44 of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir, translated by Robert Bly. My copy is so old and battered that the price on the cover is $3.95. You can barely get a cup of coffee for that price now, and I've been feasting on Kabir's ecstasy since I was fifteen. Talk about a bargain. In fact, I love these poems so much, I have to share one right now:

Inside the clay jug there are canyons and pine
mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions
of stars.
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who
judges jewels.
And the music from the strings no one touches, and
the source of all water.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend listen: The god I love is inside.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
I'm going to pass the meme to writers Laura Wellner and Tsipi Keller, two very different writers who both have a lot of interesting and original things to say.
And to my friend, Rona, because over the years, we've pssed everything from boyfriends to clothes to gossip to poetry back and forth. Why not a meme?


Melly said...

Patry, I apologize for this comment not being directly related to your post, but I've been trying to contact Tsipi Keller ever since she left me a comment requesting my email address.

I put my email in the next comment (not sure how else to reach her). If you know how, maybe you could relay this to her, if it's not too much trouble. I hate having someone think I've ignored them.

Thank you so much.

Patry Francis said...

melly, I'm always happy to see that you've been visiting--no matter what you comment on.

I left a message for Tsipi that you were trying to reach her on her blog:

So kind of you to take such care not to ignore anyone.

Anonymous said...

Hello patry,

I liked your responses to your meme and I loved the Babar comic cell too. I actually did used to wonder about things like that when I was little...

I also wanted to thank you for your visit to Writer's Blog and for your comment. It is deeply appreciated.

Melly said...

Thanks for doing that, Patry.

Jay said...

For what it's worth, I understand a meme as little piece of culture (word, phrase, activiy, practice, belief, etc). Meme theory (if there is such a thing) considers memes along the lines of biological organisms -- they want to spread and reproduce themselves and are in constant comepetition with other memes.

I love the Babar panel too. Weird thing is, it actually kind of sums up the "existential" content of the panic attacks I had . . . I guess I still wonder about stuff like that . . . :)

Thank you for comment on my blog, by the way. I left a brief response in the comment box - wasn't sure how to best to reply to you otherwise. Very best of luck and wishes to you!

Patry Francis said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Jay--and for all your other kindnesses.