Sunday, 9 November 2008

Life is Good

Two Books and an Art and Pottery Show

I handed over The Brain on Music to my book buddy who called me yesterday to ask what the hell was wrong with her. She couldn't read the damned thing. She had no desire to know every single technicality about music. I laughed and told her to forget the first chapter. The book was not wonderful but that first chapter was deadly because it was written in such boringly dense and unnecessarily complex prose.

It did improve. Eventually I began to interact with the material ... perhaps by chapter 4 or 5 ... and by the time I was skimming the last chapter in order to pass on the book, I was thinking I might re-read the final bit, if not for pleasure, at least for information.

In contrast, Merle's Door is also well researched and filled with information, but I like reading it. The style is engaging and down to earth. The voice of the writer as he deals with his subject is that of a man I can relate to. Unlike The Brain's Leviton, Kerasote never sinks to name dropping or veiled braggadocio.

There were so many parallels ... brain activity research ... historical and anthropological tracings ... two men intimately connected with their subjects ... an interest in autism ... comparisons of theories about the subjects ... that it became very easy to note the differences.

One difference was the fact that I was far more interested in how dogs and people interact than in how music affects the brain, but I wasn't completely disinterested in the other subject. If Leviton had been a more human writer; if he hadn't puffed himself up; if he'd come down from his university lectern more often, I would have found his subject far more interesting than I did.

And that first chapter ... whew! ... wonder where his editor was when that appeared right up front instead of at the end as an appendix. Probably asleep ... and too impressed by the writer's credentials to be helpfully critical.

I have a few more pages to read in Merle's Door. Last night I couldn't see through my tears to read on. Merle was failing and Kerasote was having a difficult time knowing what to do; when to intervene and say enough. Any of us who have had to make that decision will understand.

Yesterday my only social excursions were to the Nearly New Shop where I spent less than $10 on sweaters for Arrow and felting, and to Cathy Payne and Dave Fisher's show.

Dave's work is always professional but Cathy's work is growing by leaps and bounds.

She is doing really interesting things with glazing and with texture, and has started making bottomless pieces that are thrown on the wheel and cut apart. Then she uses slab which she imprints with lace to make the sides and bottoms. Sometimes she just makes the bottomless pots, distorts their shape and makes textured slab bottoms. The result is some wonderful pieces. If I had had money I'd have bought far more than I did. I came away with a very small casserole dish that can be used to cook one or two portion casseroles or to serve vegetables.

Back at the lake I spent the rest of the day baking. Today I will get outside with Kenya, do some more baking and make a curried pumpkin mushroom soup ... and Tammy and Carlos will be coming with the boys. Kenya will be delighted to have some canine buddies around.

Life is good! Enjoy this wonderful fall Sunday.

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