Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Assignment Two – Ben Franklin

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

The “The Fiction Class” is a novel about a fiction writing teacher, her life, and her class. Included at the ends of each chapter about her classes are the assignments. Here’s my take on assignment 2 – to write about a person in history having a meal.

ASSIGNMENT TWO by Pam Lindberg
Benjamin Franklin sat at the large table in the formal dining room in his home in Philadelphia. As a boy, he was one of so many children. Mealtime was a race, a competition, to get as much food as possible. Now, in his adult life, a more prosperous life, sitting alone at the table, mealtime was more enjoyable. An event that was served to him. It was leisurely, indulgent.

He enjoyed his indulgences. And they were many. As he was served his first beer of the evening, he pondered his fortunate circumstances.

As ambassador to the world he had great freedom to travel many nations and partake in each of their cultures. He often indulged himself in the food, wine, and women during his travels.

A great advocate of self study and self improvement, Mr. Franklin seemed stuck in his ability to consume in all the physical pleasures afforded to him.

He sipped his ale. “Ah”, he thought to himself, “The brew master has out done himself with this one.”

As a fan of the turkey – an advocate, really – rallying for it to be the national bird, he often felt somewhat guilty when satisfying his hunger on a turkey dinner. He so love turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing all smothered in gravy. Fresh vegetables were not a favorite but on occasion he enjoyed a carrot pulled freshly from the ground. Corn was another exception. He could eat corn on the cob every day. Save those couple of veggies, Ben was more of a meat eater.

As he consumed the meal he patted his ample belly. His physical stature was certainly a sign of his prosperity. He sighed with contentment, looking forward to a lively discussion with his contemporaries after his meal. He often met menfolk at the local pub for debate and exchange of ideas. Ben truly believed in Free Speech and the exchange of ideas. Many of his own inventions were the result of synergy, the outcome of a little too much to drink in combination with wild conjecture about “could be”. The “what if” parts of the evening were what he looked forward to most of all.

At the end of the night he was almost always accompanied by a lady friend. Ben’s charismatic way was like a babe magnet. He had a twinkle in his eye, a spring in his step and a sense of humor that not many females could resist. He was a master at getting the ladies to smile and, in fact, belly laugh out loud.

Wiping his lips with a cloth napkin he turned his attention to finishing the last of his meal before venturing out to sate his desires of the mind and flesh.

Assignment Two from “The Fiction Class”

Monday, June 6th, 2011

From “The Fiction Class”, a novel about a fiction writing teacher, her life, and her class are classes exercises as well as assignments. The classes assignments are listed at the end of each chapter about the class sessions. I’ve done a couple of the assignments … want to join in? They’re fun.


Think of a person from history who intrigues you. Napoleon? Cleopatra? Martin Luther King?

Write a two- to three-page description of that person eating a meal. What would s/he eat? How would s/he eat? What would s/he be thinking about as s/he ate? Would someone be sharing the meal with him or her? What would that talk about?

Remember! Bring your character to life!

Assignment One – Obessions

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

List five obsessions and write a paragraph about one of them.

1. Yoga
2. Words and Games … Word Games
3. Food
4. Loneliness
5. Time

I am obsessed with yoga, doing yoga, teaching yoga, figuring out how many classes I can teach, how yoga fits int my life, influenced my life and how to have it nourish me rather than deplete me.

Assignment One from “The Fiction Class”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I’m reading “The Fiction Class”, a novel about a fiction writing teacher, her life, and her class. Included at the ends of each chapter about her classes are the assignments. I’ve done a few of the assignments along the way and they’ve been fun.

Assignment One is to list five things you are obsessed with and write a paragraph about one of them. What five things are you obsessed with?

Meals Alone

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I very much liked “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson, a book in which I found several quotes that resonated with me. The main character has his own set of rules. I have some of my own “Pam Rules”, part of my personal code, that come in really handy when I’m out of sorts or in a place where I feel stuck or unsure. Here’s one of the quotes from the book and some thoughts.

“It is important not to be careless about supper when you are alone. It is easily done, boring as it is to cook for one person only. There must be potatoes, sauce and green vegetables, a napkin and a clean glass and the candles lit on the table and no sitting down in your working clothes.”

I certainly can relate … it is so easy to be careless about supper when you are alone. It *is* boring to cook for one person. There’s always more food than one serving. In the book, the character, Trond, has a dog, who gets the leftovers. People are always telling me I should freeze the leftovers and eat them later. Just can’t seem to get into the swing of that. I don’t always have potatoes, sauce or green veggies. Several years ago I started using cloth napkins, more as an environmental decision than anything else. I never have candles and I hardly ever eat at the table anymore. Most of the time I eat in front of the TV, sometimes the computer. Sometimes I’m in my work clothes, other times in my yoga clothes and even, some days, in my pjs.

Even though I’m not following his standards, I certainly have my own set of rules I try to follow to keep me healthy and happy. What are some of your personal guidelines?


Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Here’s another line from “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson (page 167)

“I wonder whether that is how we get after living alone for a long time, that in the middle of a train of thought we start talking out loud, that the difference between talking and not talking is slowly wiped out, that the unending, inner conversation we carry on with ourselves merges with the one we have with the few …people we still see. When you live alone for too long the line which divides the one from the other becomes vague, and you do not notice when you cross that line.”

I find myself doing this at times … surprisingly I hear myself talking out loud. A while back, one other day at work, in a shared space in which I was alone, I said something out loud and a co-worker walked in. I said “Ooops. You caught me talking to myself.” He told me that was OK … just as long as I didn’t answer myself. 🙂


Friday, March 25th, 2011

Over the last many, many months I’ve been really thinking about friendships, relationships, how well I know other people and how well others know me. I thought this passage from “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson summed things up nicely.

“People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are the facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No one can touch you unless you yourself want them to. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay, because they will talk about you no matter how much you squirm, it is inevitable, and you would do the same thing yourself.”

I love his distinction between knowing “about” each other and knowing how the events of life have shaped “who you are”. I think that’s what has been missing in my own definition of friendships. It was good to read and get clarity on concepts that have been rolling around in my head for some time.

Work of Wolves

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Just finished “Work of Wolves” by Kent Meyers and I loved every word. I would highly recommend it.

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was hard to get into and then, when I finally finished, I didn’t like any of the characters. It’s one of those books (and apparently series) that has caught the attention of readers … and I can’t quite understand it. My book discussion group read Dragon and, in March, will be discussing Fire. I just could get into it. Tired of vigilante justice and badly written text (maybe it’s just the translation from Swedish to English) I put in my requisite 100 pages and then gladly returned it to the library. There has to be something better in that huge pile of books next to my bed!

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I loved every word of this book. Enger has a talent with words, sentences, and crafting a story. At times, I didn’t care about the plot … just loved reading his words, descriptions, and the “declarations” of the characters. I’ve also read “So Brave, Young and Handsome”. His words are, as I like to say, like chocolate for my eyes. “Peace” has a better plot and more themes to discuss.

Right and wrong isn’t black and white and each of the characters in “Peace Like a River” find their own way to deal with the ‘rightness’ and ‘wrongness’ of the events that come to this family.

I’m partial to Enger and his talent. I love his descriptions of North Dakota. From page 146 – “A good thing about North Dakota, it has buckets of horizon; the sun comes up and you know it is there.” And from page 151 – “Have you been to North Dakota? In good sunlight you can see someone coming eight miles away.”

Every time I’m there I always think North Dakota really deserves Big Sky as the state motto. There isn’t a place on the face of earth with more sky, more horizon, more openness. People sing the praises of mountains and woods. Me? I’d rather be on the open prairie seeing forever. I’m claustrophobic in the mountains, caged in surrounded by trees, and yearn for openness, a flatness that’s unearthly, with rows of corn and fields of waving wheat … sunflowers with their bright faces. But, I’m off topic.

“Peace Like a River” is no doubt a tragedy. Along the way it’s funny, sad, thought provoking, and a joy to read. I highly recommend it.