Monthly Archives: August 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0-374-22243-7

The Nimrod Flip Out by Etgar Keret

“Every time I hear classical music in elevators, I think someone is going to be murdered.” This was a text I received from EH earlier this week. I laughed because it is preposterous, funny, and I am immune to violence thanks to the media.

A few years back, I went to AWP in Denver. Etgar Keret was the opening reader for George Saunders. I remember EK standing up there, obviously nervous, explaining that this was one of the first times he would be reading his work in English to such a large audience. Because I’m a jerk, I kept thinking, get on with it already. I want to hear GS.

Once EK started, I didn’t want him to stop. His stories fall into that dark humor category of Dennis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son . You feel uncomfortable laughing, but you can’t help it, like getting a case of the giggles at a funeral.

I bought The Nimrod Flip Out after his reading and forgot I had it. Later, I bought and read his latest story collection, Suddenly, A Knock At The Door. Once again, EK’s mind amazed me. The things he comes up with and the places he takes a reader are more than unexpected—they’re unimaginable. They are like getting a text message, apropos of nothing, that makes one laugh.

And laugh. And laugh. And then, grow silent. Oh.

Wow. That’s messed up.

For instance, in the title story, “The Nimrod Flip Out,” three friends (Uzi, Miron, & Ron) felt haunted by their dead friend Nimrod, so they have a séance. They create a makeshift Ouija board using construction paper for the board and a glass as the pointer. Later, when Uzi gets married, he stomps on a glass and calls out, “Mazel Tov.” He then freaks out Miron for the rest of the night by telling him it was the same glass they used for Nimrod’s séance. What really got me, or the “Oh” part of the story, was how Nimrod got his name—I’m not going to say how here because that would give too much of the story away—but I believe EK is making a statement about how Nimrod dies.

Munny

I’m pairing The Nimrod Flip Out with Daniel Campbell’s work this week because just as EK’s stories are disguised as jokes, but really address themes such as violence in the world, infidelity, mental sanity, and parenthood—DC’s art is disguised as a toy, but actually addresses characterization and imagination.

As one can tell from the pictures, DC works in the medium of the Munny. What’s a Munny? Technically, it’s a toy for children. Munnys are white figures that one can glue bits of glitter and sequence to or paint or color.

In an effort to open up more dialogues with other artists, I wrote to DC, and asked him a slew of questions for this post:

Me: What are you reading?

DC: Cloud Atlas, but my childhood favorite is Watership Down.

Me: You write children’s fiction, correct?

DC: I write Picture Books, Middle-Grade, and YA Fantasy. While my work varies quite a bit

Zasz by Daniel Campbell

between genres, I find that the theme of “Home” and finding your place in the world rings true in each story.

Me: Do your Munnys ever correspond to what you write?

DC: While my Munny art doesn’t usually share a space with my writing, I’m thinking a crossover project would be fun. I have translated several illustrations into Munnys before.

Me: The book has a short story titled, “Actually, I’ve Had Some Phenomenal Hard-Ons Lately.” Are you okay with your work being paired with it?

DC: Yup, that’s fine.

Good thing DC doesn’t mind odd titles. There are over thirty stories in this one hundred and sixty-seven page book. Here is a sampling: “Fatso,” “For Only 9.99 (Inc. Tax and Postage),” “My Girlfriend’s Naked,” “The Tits On An Eighteen-Year-Old,” “Bwoken,” and “Iornclad Rules.”

Caida by Daniel Campbell

What can I say to summarize my experience with this book like this? Have you ever seen a dead animal, gutted, on the side of the road? The type of road kill that everyone stares at but no one does a thing about? I felt like that dead animal after I read, The Nimrod Flipout.

And why would I read EK if after each story I felt as if I were rammed by a semi going eighty miles per hour and now my guts were strewn all over the pavement?

Because I laughed right up until the point I was slain.

And if you ask me, there are worse ways to die. Like being murdered in an elevator while classical music plays in the background.

*Daniel Campbell’s work will be featured at three upcoming shows: Vinyl Thoughts 3, at Life

Uzima by Daniel Campbell

in Deep Ellum, 2803 Taylor Street Dallas, Texas, September 13th. Vinyl Thoughts 3 focuses on the art of animation and illustration throughout the decades and translated into vinyl. Website: www.vinylthoughtsartshow.com

A Month of Munnys at Blick Art Materials, 2389 Fairview Avenue, Roseville, MN, September 20th, from 3-7PM. A Month of Munnys is Blick’s first vinyl art show. Daniel will be teaching a workshop on Munny Design from 3-6pm. Website: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blick-Art-Materials-Roseville/139423023769

Under the Net at Homewood Studios, October 10th-20th. This event is meant to help generate awareness and raise money for Imagine No Malaria, a charity working to end malaria in Africa. Website: www.homewoodstudios.com

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Filed under Art, Books, Fiction, Life, Literature, Random, Writing

ISBN-10: 1-4231-0960-0

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems

This week has been a celebration of children for me, starting with babysitting K for my friend M, having K and her son L over for MN State Fair weekend, and ending sweetly with the arrival of a new niece A. (Another girl to buy books for! Congratulations T & G!) I officially have 5 nieces and no nephews.

To celebrate the delightful children in my life, I thought I’d write about, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems. The book’s target reading age is 2-6. This info can be found on the back of the book. When I first became an aunt, I had the hardest time trying to figure out age appropriate books for my niece. I don’t feel like 6 was a suitable age cap as I am nearly 30 and found the book thought provoking.

This folio devotes itself to a pigeon that uses a variety of emotional tactics to convey to readers that it wants a puppy. Strange as it may sound, this book reminded me of a class I took in college called, Empty Selves. Empty Selves had nothing to do with pigeons and puppies, but the course did address the general ennui and dissatisfaction with life that plagued recent generations. I watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers and read Something Happened by Joseph Heller, for the course if this helps explain it.

Recently, many of my friends and colleagues have expressed that they have disenchantment with life. Many of them had set realistic goals: go to school, get a professional career, find a partner, purchase some real estate, start a family, rescue a dog from an animal shelter. Now that my successful friends had obtained most of their goals by age 30, they found that life was not what they expected. Their lives did not look the way they imagined. They were stuck in unhappy routines, and it seemed plain unfair.  Many pulled me aside, teary-eyed, and confessed that they weren’t sure who’s life they were living, and they all thought that perhaps obtaining the last goal on their list would help them find that happiness.

K, S, Husband and I got to talking this weekend about life goals and how frustrating it can be when one comes to a certain age, or point in their life where they feel they should have met all those ambitions, but have not.

Me: Everyone just needs to chill-lax. It’s like in any book when the protagonist is at their darkest hour, and it seems like they will never get what they want—then BOOM! Mr. Darcy appears. And 9 times out of 10 they didn’t even know they wanted Mr. Darcy because they were taught to want something else. They ought to try some creative visualization*. It seems to work for Deepak Copra.

Pigeon has the same mindset, fixation on a goal, and when pigeon obtains that goal, ze** just creates another goal. I can’t solve Pigeon’s problem in one blog post, at best I can just address it, but this is a topic adults should breech with children before they hit their 20’s. I’m glad Willems created this book. I think children will identify with Pigeon, and by the end, readily see ze as a silly character. I hope children consider this when they are older. This way, when Mr. Darcey (or a walrus) pops into their life it will only be a fine addition to an already happy and satisfied existence.

* Through The Wormhole with Moragan Freeman cites many interesting studies that respond to the question, Did God invent humanity or did we invent God? Find case studies interesting? So do I. Check out some peer reviewed articles on the APA website.

** Gender neutral pronoun, another topic K and I discussed, that Husband feels is made up. You can be the judge by checking out Urban Dictionary or this Wiki article. Or you can believe me when I say I have friends in the LGBT community who use it. At any rate, pigeon seems genderless and this problem permeates both sexes.

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ISBN 1-58234-416-7

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a novel by Susanna Clarke

My thesis advisor, ML, recommended that I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It was similar to my thesis in many ways; both were large complex stories, both involved magic, the fantastical, and both were going to take ten years to write.

From the look on ML’s face when she recommended it to me, I knew there was something else contained within the story that I would understand once I read it.

I was unable to physically read the book at that time, so I bought the audio book hoping that this would help matters. It was still no use. Try as I may, I could not get past chapter three.

That was a year and a half ago.

At the beginning of spring, I made a list of things I wanted to do before the summer ended. It wasn’t until last week that I looked at this list: cleaning and painting closets, trimming over 15 bushes in the yard, painting the basement, cleaning the attic and garage, etcetera. The audio book for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was 32 hours.

Perfect. Nothing could make bleaching the backyard patio more fun than a novel read to me in an English accent.

ML continually impressed the importance of the story upon me during thesis. I wanted to cram everything into my novel that I possibly could, but the ever patient ML would return draft after draft with the same comment: the story must come first. Themes, ideas, and social commentary should be subtle, and if possible, written almost subconsciously.

I didn’t understand the depth and weight of ML’s advice until I listened to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. On one hand, there is a perfectly good story about two magicians and their pursuit of magic. On the other hand, there is a tale of the creative process, the toll it has on relationships, what one pays in pursuit of their art, and a dance on the line between sanity and insanity.

Perhaps the reader wonders why it was that I was unable to physically read or listen to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell the first time around. It wasn’t the footnotes, the old timey language, or the fact that it was seven hundred and eighty-two pages. In the middle of thesis, I had suffered from a severe manic episode that landed me in the hospital for ten days with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

In the weeks that followed, I could not read. I could not write. I could not think. The deep, dark depression that preceded the mania was nothing compared to the trials and errors of finding a treatment plan that worked for me.

Husband sat with me. Every. Day. When I least wanted him there, he made me get out of bed and find the path back to myself.

In the midst of the darkest of dark times, I learned what love really meant.

If this news makes one flinch and feel all sorts of uncomfortable, then I feel sorry for them. Depression is a silent killer amongst artists. When one tries to suppress or hide their irregularities out of fear of what others will think or say, they do a disservice to those who lost their lives. I thought hard about sharing this experience. The last thing I wanted to do was sound melodramatic or solicit sympathy.

There is no reason to be ashamed of mental illness. The same way one’s hair is brown, or eyes are green, is the same way other people’s brains misfire.

When I found out that I had bipolar disorder, I immediately told my friends and family. No one made fun of me, at least not to my face. Some people did talk to me in the same tone one uses with a puppy, but that wore off eventually. Dozens and dozens of people told me that they too suffered from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. They told me they saw therapists and were on medication. Others told me that their best friends, sisters, brothers, and parents suffered from mental disorders, substance abuse, or both.

If this is the case, why is humanity so afraid and ashamed of mental illness? Why was it that less then one hundred years ago women were locked away in rooms in the attic for such displays? Why is judgment cast upon those who are different? Can one help the color of their eyes? Can one change the circumstances into which they were born?

I dance this line daily, like some of the characters in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and many of the magicians that have come before me. There are days when I cannot turn off the disparity produced by the negativity I see around me. But there are also days when I cannot help but surrender to the blue of the sky and the endless vibrations of love that I feel coming from so many around me. I suspect this has more to do with the creative process and less to do with mental disorders.

I want to thank ML for not only recommending this book, but for knowing me so well. And I would like to

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke audio book and hard cover

thank Susanna Clarke for writing it. She’ll never see this post, but at least that gratitude is out there in the universe.

I would gladly toil for ten years in the pursuit of one novel that remembers the story and shows us love when all we see is darkness. Love isn’t going to be some huge thing that knocks us over when we enter a room.

Love is going to be subtle. It will creep in when you are pulling the weeds, painting the closets, and reading your books. It will happen when someone cuts the crusts off your raisin bread because you are busy writing a blog post.

Those who do not recognize it are the insane ones.

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Filed under Art, Books, Life, Marriage, Mental Disorders, Poetry, Writing

CONTEST

Common Grackle

I forgot to add this to Monday’s post:

In an effort to meet the goal of getting one hundred likes for the Facebook page by the end of August, I have decided to hold a small contest.

The hundredth person to “like” the Facebook page for That Girl Who Reads Books will receive their choice of any one of the books that I’ve already read for the blog—with the exception of The Hobbit and Richard Scarry’s Best Story Book Ever, as these are not mine to give away.

If you’re wondering how I will know who the hundredth person is, Facebook shows an amazing number of statistics. Like how many people are talking about the page, how many people saw the posts, how many of the views were organic and how many were viral, and a count of those who like the page in order. The statistics are sorta amazing, and remind me of Malcom Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point.

Husband thinks this contest will deter people from liking the page, as they will hold back to try to be the hundredth person. I hope this will not be the case because the contest ends September 1, 2012.

For those of you who were amongst the first ten people to have liked the Facebook page, I know who you are!  You won a small token of my appreciation, and I will be messaging you soon to see how best to deliver that item to you.

If you already like the Facebook page, I realize that this may not benefit you, but perhaps it will be of advantage to one of your friends. Thank you for your support.

The blog post for the book I read this week will be up later this evening/afternoon.

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ISBN 1-40540-732-8

Understanding Your Cat: An Illustrated Guide to Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior by Don Harper

My neighbor used his garden hose to spray the f . . . uzz ball out of a stray cat.

N, a retired gentleman who had taken to sitting in his front yard and yelling at cars that drove too fast down our street, didn’t notice that Shadow* and I were on the front porch reading. When I saw this happen, I made a mental note not to ask N to cat sit.

N did not know a thing about cat behavior. If you mess with a cat, it will exact its revenge. I would not be surprised if N found a massive cat poo-poo in his grill or on his favorite patio chair. Too bad N hadn’t read Understanding Your Cat: An Illustrated Guide To Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior by Don Harper.

The book contains such useful information as:

Over one quarter of the population owns a cat.

The flightless kakapo has now become one of the rarest parrots in the world because of feral cats.

Cats find antifreeze appealing and drink it readily. And then DIE.

One can give their cat a bran bath by warming bran in the oven, rubbing it into the coat, and brushing it out.

Catnip is a member of the mint family.

Many household plants are poisonous to cats. One should obtain a full list from their vet.

One should never keep a cat on their lap when driving.

Do not teach babies to pull a cat’s tail or disturb it when it is sleeping.

Before reading this book, I planned to teach every baby I met to not only pull my cats’ tails, but also poke them in the eyes, and spray them with sunscreen.** And maybe it’s just the psychology degree in me, but I found the case studies to be of particular interest. They were, by far, the best part of the book.

I don’t just like cats.

I have an unbridled love for them.

I’m can’t wait for the INTERNET CAT VIDEO FILM FESTIVAL.

The fact that I don’t speak Polish couldn’t dissuade me from purchasing Szulerzy’s album Blues’ n’ Roll after I saw the cartoon of the cat band on the cover.

On a recent trip to the county fair, I saw two projects that made me wish I were a 4H judge. CB deserves a

Cat tree by Cody Bromenshenkel Carver County Fair 2012

blue ribbon for sheer ingenuity alone—I mean a Christmas tree stand? Bravo.

N’s behavior + the 4H kids got me thinking about what I could do to help strays in my community. I called the local animal shelter and spoke to Barb Kastens:

Me: How can one help if they have, like, no money and no time to actually volunteer? I’m featuring a cat book on my blog next week.

BK: I wrote a book about cats.

Me: Really? Want to be friends?***

BK told me that her book was called ‘Niser’s Nine and it could be found on Amazon. I told BK more about the blog, and how I refuse to write bad things about books because they take so much work to create.

BK: Oh, can you say how much hard work goes into making a book on your blog?

Me: Yup.

“Inspired by Jenny” by Kati Buckenti Carver County Fair 2012

BK said that the animal shelter would take new or used cat trees, carriers, and toys. Some volunteers made fleece blankets for the animals by ting the ends together in knots. The shelter needed donations of food, but nothing already opened. Cleaning supplies were always in demand.

BK: You would not believe how many paper towels we go through. Oh, and birdseed.

Me: Birdseed?

BK: Yes, we have bird feeders outside the window of the cat room, so the cats can watch the wild birds. To prevent boredom.

Me: And what about volunteering? Can someone just show up and pet the kittens on, say, Thursday afternoon?

I was thinking about my artistic nature, and general inability to commit to schedules. Also, it was Wednesday. BK informed me that volunteering hours needed to be scheduled in advance, but people could volunteer for a few hours a month if that was all the time they had to spare.

Me: If cats aren’t your thing? (I was thinking about N.)

BK: We have rabbit evaluation volunteers. Someone who comes in and looks at the rabbit’s behaviors and then writes helpful comments for new owners. We also need old newspapers to line puppy cages.

If you watch this kitten video, and you still don’t like cats then you have no soul.

Either that or you are allergic to cats.

If you think driving a 0.99-cent roll of paper towels to your local animal shelter is inconvenient, try writing a book. Books take a lot of energy and hard work to make.

*Our dog. She seemed just as confused as I did by N’s behavior.

**My niece sprayed both of my cats with sunscreen because they “would not play with her”. This prompted a long talk about the moral and ethical treatment of those who are smaller than us, why we should avoid purchasing products tested on animals, and why some people don’t eat meat.

***I didn’t actually ask BK to be friends aloud. That part was in my mind.

****Please share your cat tales with me in the comments. It won’t seem random. I promise.

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Filed under Books, Cats, Kittens, Life

ISBN 978-0-307-27950-7

Walt Whitman lost money on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, writes Lewis Hyde in The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Wish I’d known that before I got my Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Just kidding.

But the topic of creativity in the market place had been on my mind. I came to CT, a fellow writer, with the question: if you knew you couldn’t sell your art as is – would you change it to fit the market? CT told me that there was a book endorsed by Margaret Atwood, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Letham that addressed this question.

The query morphed into a very real possibility: if I never gained financial compensation for my art, and my work never gained exposure – would I still continue to do it?

I started reading the book, and it was just pages and pages of economics. One page had a four-paragraph footnote. I failed economics. I needed help. I looked up from my desk and saw Husband swinging from a vine outside our yard. He didn’t seem busy.

Me: What do you know about economics?

Husband: (still hanging from vine) Adam Smith and the invisible hand.

Me: I went to school with an Adam Smith.

AS and his twin brother BS were identical twins. Once we were playing Hang Man in class. AS or BS (I got them confused) had a word on the board that no one could figure out. BS kept raising his hand, but AS would not call on him. The teacher finally told AS to just call on his brother, but AS was like, he knows it! The teacher was like, well, the man is basically dead.

AS called on his brother. BS pushed his thick now-trendy-hipster glasses up the bridge of his nose and, smiling, called out CYBORG. He was correct.

When I think of Adam Smith, economics, and invisible hands, I think of robots.

Me: Why are you hanging from a vine?

Husband: I saw that there weren’t as many plums on this wild plum tree as there used to be, and it’s because of these vines! I started yanking on one and (looking around at the massive pile of vines that would later fill four fifty-five gallon trash cans) I don’t really know . . . I just couldn’t stop.

Me: Now you know where my days go.

I asked Sarah Turner, a fellow writer, on a date to address the questions that had been plaguing me. ST told me to meet her at the ship mast on Lake Calhoun.

Only ST would suggest a rendezvous at a ship mast.

I didn’t know the location of this “historical ship mast”. Turns out 4 of 4 breathless joggers didn’t know either. Luckily, I was near a playground, and the first mom I asked knew where it was, proving that moms really do know everything.

I told ST about my question and the book. I told her that I had gone to the Uptown Arts Festival, in Minneapolis and reached out to several artists, asking them the same question. ST shook her head.

ST: They’re all gonna say the same thing. It’s not about the money.

I believed ST, but I had also spent some time on Twitter and the amount of artists peddling their wares – not at all concerned with creating dialogues with other artists – was alarming.

Hyde frames the history of gifts in the first half of his book with anecdotes and folk tales. In the second half, he cites the lives of Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound as a sort of folk tale in terms of art, morality, and money.  The book touches on the idea that true art is a gift and should be treated as such.

He’s not suggesting that artists shouldn’t make money. I believe he’s saying if you’re an artist concerned with only money, your art won’t feel like a gift. He writes that true art gives its observers a feeling. Sometimes that feeling is strong. One cannot help but respond by creating art in turn, thus creating a gift cycle, a gift economy.

I asked ST to tell me what was going on in the Creative Non-Fiction world. She was flustered.

ST: It’s all about what is new and shocking. I mean poets don’t have to worry about writing what’s already been written like CNF writers do. There are a million bird poems out there and people just keep writing more. In fiction, it’s like you want to write about vampires? Bring on the vampires! But in CNF, it’s like, we already have THE vampire-bird essay. Sorry.

I hope this is not the truth. I need only think of Jonny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ (originally by Nine Inch Nails), Obdadiah Parker’s ‘Hey Ya’ (originally by Outcast), or Counting Crows  ‘Girl From The North Country‘ (originally by Dylan, re-recored with Cash, and covered by Roy Harper). Songs that are, in a sense, examples of the gift economy.

Back to Husband and the vines —

Husband: I was coming down the hill, admiring the way the sunlight now shone through the branches of that plum tree when I couldn’t see the plums! Immediately I thought, someone has been stealing my plums! But they just fell to the ground because they were ripe.

Me: I’m sure there’s a squirrel out there thinking the same thing.

Husband’s plum tree is not even on our property, but I feel his pain. His sense of, I took down the vines, I did the work, so now the fruit is mine. All mine. We want rewards for our work.

Whitman hung around staring at grass on graves and came up with a masterpiece. Now other artists look to his work for inspiration, and that’s a good thing.

I discovered Olive or o*Live Land at the Uptown Arts Festival. The pieces reminded me of the petulant, uniformly disturbed, monster-like characters that often populate my stories. Not that these little guys were petulant or uniformly disturbed monsters – they were loved, and a real gift.

I wrote O and asked what inspired her in terms of creating       art. O replied:

“Honestly, what inspires me is to make my living by making art. That is the goal. All artists I know hate this question. Artists are artists because they are naturally inspired all the time.”

O’s answer didn’t really jive with the moral of The Gift, but it did correspond nicely to the Ezra Pound section. I also asked if she felt that her artistic nature was a gift passed down from her parents or something she was born with. O replied:

“Is this what the book is about? I believe we chose to be born into the situation that we are: parents, country, circumstance, the whole lot.  I believe that, on some level, we chose everything. [Both are] Again, a choice. A deep level choice.”

Unfortunately, I can’t write back to O and tell her exactly what the book was about in one sentence. Hyde addresses this: “The Gift has always been hard to summarize in such pithy prose.”

The Gift left me thinking about AS, standing in front of a room full of people that hadn’t a clue what he was trying to express. With the chalk man near dead, AS was desperate, frustrated, and a little happy he was so cleaver, but there was one person able to fill in the blanks.

It only takes one.

If you are alone, in your studio or at your desk, and begin to wonder if any of this matters, or if you will ever see a small sign of gratitude from the external world — remember this: it only takes one.

Whitman on with your bad self!

Someone will see it as a gift, and the cycle will continue.

*If a brown elephant with ink eyes or a little cone headed man end up in one of my stories, you’ll know how they got there. For more of O’s work please visit her website at http://www.o-liveland.com . o*Live will be at the Saint Louis Arts Fair in September. Is it ironic that a bank sponsors the festival? You betcha!

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ISBN 0-345-31858-7 Part III of III

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

After reading The Hobbit, I discussed it with Husband.

Me: The sentences weren’t that long.

Husband: It’s a kid’s book.

Me: What? There’s a lot of the stuff that nightmares are made of in this book.

Husband: Like what?

Me: Like the [plural noun]. (I don’t want to give too much away.)

Husband: They stand for industrialization.

Me: As I said, the stuff that nightmares are made of.

I’m not going to address the obvious themes and morals The Hobbit makes one think of when reading. Instead, I would like to announce the unsung hero of The Hobbit 

The Thrush.

This bird was in right place at the right time, all the time. It listens. It watches. It shares. It’s nice that way. Might I add, that the thrush knows exactly which person needs valuable information at just the moment they need it? Don’t understand what the thrush is saying? No problem. It finds another who can interpret for it.

As I wrote this, ‘June Hymn’ by The Decembrists came on Pandora. Find lyrics here. How often is a thrush mentioned in a song?!

I spend the next half hour listening to thrush calls. Reason 9873 I love my job.

It’s not like the thrush has a comfortable, easy life either, for Bilbo Baggins himself throws a stone at the thrush. The bird annoys him. Thorin has to step in and be all, ‘What did you do that for? That’s a good and friendly bird, yo.’

I text Husband:

I love you more than Gollum loves his ring.

I go back to listening to thrush calls.

I think about J.R.R Tolkien, summer sun on his back, listening to thrush songs in 1937. I am so glad he had the heart to listen. To watch. To share. To shake off the rocks thrown in his direction from time to time. There and back again? Indeed.

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