PHOTO ESSAY: HOW MEMORY WORKS

In 2013 I find my subscription to 1965 has not yet lapsed.

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I was only two in 1965, but special editions of newspapers covering the flood haunted our living room for decades (flaking like mummy bandages in drawers, on the cluttered mantel over the fireplace), and I have an early recollection of being taken in a subsequent spring to the parking lot of Sears in west Davenport to help fill sandbags with my plastic green shovel and matching bucket. We were saving the world! I looked out for arks. Nuns were there, shoveling. My mother, in the muumuu, shoveling. Men we didn’t know, shoveling. The tan sand piles were high mini-mountains and dump trucks were parked and the lot not flat but inclined (at the base of an urban river valley hill) and I was warned: don’t climb! and uniformed members of the Red Cross served coffee to perspiring volunteers talking about the weather, nothing but the weather.

“TUNING A PAGE”: THE NORMAL SCHOOL LITERARY JOURNAL INTERVIEWS THE UN-NORMAL AUTHOR OF RIVER BEND CHRONICLE

JA: I’m a student of writing, so I continuously found myself enjoying the challenges the book presents through both form and unique sentence constructions. But do you worry about accessibility to a larger audience?

BM: I am a student too! It’s good, always, I think, to remain a student in the best sense of the word: open to learning, eager to be surprised. When you stop being a student the discoveries end. And if you think about the reading life, it is often those books which overturn our assumptions that most excite. Accessibility is a concept created anew with each work of literature, on each page—and if the prose tends to be dense, as mine sometimes is, the author must expend effort creating alternative ways for readers to enter and comfortably remain in the space of the book. Mood (via an accumulation of the right details), for instance, can be a powerful aid, as well as the sheer raw rhythmic momentum of sentences. Think of Dostoyevsky and his complicated riffs on universal themes—passages hold readers via galloping rhythm and a weight of ideas lifted by gusts of feeling far above the realm of the dry and conceptual. The sensation of wordiness is blown away.

To read the entire interview visit: http://thenormalschool.com/?page_id=332

SPARKLING QUOTE FOR ALL THOSE SPENDING THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND QUIETLY READING AND WRITING

“Our world goes to pieces; we have to rebuild our world. We investigate and worry and analyze and forget that the new comes about through exuberance and not through a defined deficiency. We have to find our strength rather than our weakness. Out of the chaos of collapse we can save the lasting: we still have our ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ the absolute of our inner voice–we still know beauty, freedom, happiness…unexplained and unquestioned”–Anni Albers