Wednesday, June 29, 2016

short story slam week 47, music and meredith blecha wells from edmond sun

books, goodies, gas,
diet coke, orange juice,
hamburgers, and french fries


cello strings, evan tonsing,
merdith blecha, thomas lanners,
nayomi munaweero, james apple, james smith

more voices,
anne perry, phyllis naylor, carolyn hart,
vickie ange, rachel drutin

mary janice davidson, thomas davis,
dao yang, judy blume, greg burnam, scott jackson,
david krajicek, dobbs braddock, tina yu
emily hoebing, timothy hayne,
gary soto, tom lee wu, abbey wood, amelia wilson,
sheng wu, jiahong wu, janie hutch
mangum falcon, alan noel, william jaco,
ann hargis, burns hargis, lynn nusom, yebin kim,
matt braum, jane sheridan, gary houck

mary pitts, brad henry, mary fallin
matt schapiro, morton owen, mimi schapiro,
alissa schapiro, julio ottino, wei chen

mark wrighton, drew faust, charles rosenburg,
joseph singer, alex zhu, amelia zhen, grace lu, olive wells
tom foster, reece foster, lily passmore

braxton noble, gina noble, philip noel,
sophia bollag, kate middleton, michelle obama, jill biden,
hilary clinton, heidi cruz, nicholas zeppos

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

short story slam week 46, the ducks from scotland and wisiconsin

short story slam week 46: escape

  Image result for scotland 

Image result for scotland   Jayni Palmer

Image result for wisconsin 

Wisconsin and Miwalkee,
Iowa and Madison

Jayni Palmer and Cliff Palmer make romance
so do Tony Payne and Jamie Payne

a smile from Joe Poe is sweet,
a laughter from Pam Poe is funny

Jerry and Cari Ritchey make world history,
so do Ajoy and Sapna Raje

John and Tina Meier hoot a song,
Toby and DeeDee Lewis chip along

we do recall Qian Yu and Xiaohua Lu,
We do keep in mind of Dan Little and Linda Neal,

say, Mike and Keri Mathis join us,
so do Curtis and Nikki Luper, and Chris and Valerie Luckett

Scotland wishes
one way to reach Nomie Fuel at Bluebonnett is Save and Pick food shop

short story slam week 46: Not the Booker prize shortlist: a long look at The Smoke Is Rising by Mahesh Rao


Despite an exhausting profusion of points of view, this is a fascinating drama of Mysore's halting journey into an uncertain future
'Home of many talented snooker players' … Employees bike around the Infosys Mysore Campus in Mysore. Photograph: Bloomberg/Namas Bhojani
Novice writers are often warned about using multiple points of view in their narratives. The earlier Not the Booker entrant Louis Armand could feature as the poster boy for that advice. The varying perspectives in Cairo overwhelm the story, confuse and distract. The book is so fractured, so out of control that it's nigh on unreadable. Reading that book, apparently, also gave me a certain amount of plural perspective phobia. When I started The Smoke Is Rising, I had a sickening sense of familiar problems.
But this time there were compensations. The writing was reassuringly smooth, even elegant. There were also a few charming visual flourishes: "Mala looked at her feet, strangely flat and round in the rippling water like brown table-tennis bats."
Even so, getting through the opening pages was a battle. Rao introduces a lot of characters. There's the young wife Mala and her husband Girish, Mala's richer siblings and her parents; they all have occupations that need to be described, and frustrations. Then there's the widow Susheela, the various committees she belongs to, the busy-body neighbors who call on her, not to mention her growing affection for an older man who helps her home in a rainstorm. All of which again require languorous passages of introduction. There's also Uma, a servant of Susheela, who lives in miserable housing, among a different set of neighbors, and yes, we meet a lot of them …
Great chunks are given over to filling in the background, delving into past histories, explaining events before the narrative started. It's one step forwards, two steps back, with a scenic detour in between.
And yet, as I progressed, I realized that the problem was mine, rather than the novel's. I gradually managed to put aside my worries. The stuttering pace began to seem like a brave decision: an act of faith. Rao has to trust that his reader will push through a slow beginning in order to reap rewards further down the line.
And there are rewards aplenty. As the book matures, all those detours start to feel like they're pointing somewhere after all. That confusion of characters and buzzing of voices coalesce into a single articulation. All the different elements combine to form a detailed and intriguing map of a place and record of a time. It all forms into a single overarching character: the city of Mysore (described delightfully as "India's second cleanest city and home of many talented snooker players".)
The Smoke Is Rising turns into a fascinating and involved portrait of bustling Indian urban life and of a city eager for the future, but always keenly aware of the past. As I began to take in this bigger picture, the halting pace also started to make sense. Progress through the novel is only as fast as progress on the ground. This is a place where every decision seems to involve endless committees, where thousands of obstacles and impracticalities (not to mention the unreliable electricity overseen by Girish) stand in the way of anyone wanting to move forward, where progress itself is a questionable virtue. And in a place with such a rich history and such a complicated ecology, change doesn't necessarily mean improvement. There's an obvious – but nonetheless pleasing – irony in the fact that Rao has provided the main impetus for local change through the mooted construction of a high-tech tourist attraction called HeritageLand.
Rao carries off a neat conjuring trick in creating something so solid with such a diffuse, misty focus. And he manages to take it even further, by allowing sharply defined and urgent stories to emerge from these clouds and by ensuring that the lead characters' emotional lives take on weight and gather serious momentum. There are also a few good shocks. There are sudden sharp moments of disturbing violence. Comfort is broken by the quick intrusion of unwanted, hectoring voices. Security is undermined by flash floods and rash decisions.
In short, I began to enjoy this book. Some of the descriptions still felt a little rich and indulgent. Occasionally I thought the author was straining too hard for profundity. There was a little too much of this kind of thing: "Or maybe to someone on the inside it had all been curiously noiseless; maybe all that could really be heard was the sound of the deep hush that lay thick at the heart of any betrayal." As I became ever more involved with the various strands of the story, I also wondered if they were pulled out a bit thin. For instance, the story relating to the widow Susheela and her faltering courtship takes on a lovely melancholy tinge – but I felt it maybe deserved a whole novel.
But then again, in this book it suits the setting and the characters that not everything should fit together perfectly. It left me wanting more – which is no bad thing at all.