Friday, October 19, 2007
Blogging has been a little sparse here for the last couple of weeks -- okay, nonexistent. As I've noted before, sometimes inspiration just dries up and one has to wait until the well is replenished. I'm all wet again.
It's not that I've had nothing to blog about. Lots of bloggable events have been happening and I was going to write much about them, but it never happened. Maybe I was waiting for the perfect thing to say instead of going with "good enough." That's a weakness of mine.
Rachel Ries, folk singer and songwriter from Chicago was here at the end of September for a house concert at the house of my brother, the Humble Philosopher/Carpenter, in our twin city. Rachel has a clear, musical voice and she writes songs with idiosyncratic lyrics. She has developed a cult following all over the country. She grew up in South Dakota of Mennonite stock, attended a Mennonite college for a semester and then dropped out to become a full time musician. The Crockheads got to know her a few months ago in Kentucky when her brother married my niece. She is on tour to points west, promoting her new album, Without a Bird. You can read a review of the album, an interview of her and sample some excerpts of her songs here. One neat thing about the concert is that one of her fans, who had heard her in Chicago, was checking her website to see when she would be playing again and discovered she was playing at that very moment in the house concert just a few blocks from his house, so he came over and heard the last half of the concert.
The day after Rachel Ries, our reading group met at our house to discuss The Echo Maker, the new book by Richard Powers. The book won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Powers lives in the twin city and rode his bike over to join our group for the discussion. He was with us once before, to discuss his book, The Time of Our Singing. This time, like the last, Powers was most gracious with out little group of amateur readers; answering each question as if it was the first time he had heard it. Powers is easily the smartest person I have ever met, but he wears his intelligence easily, never condescending or acting bored to have to interact with mere mortals like us. He hung around until almost everyone else had left and then rode his bike home in the gathering dusk, to the distress of one of our members who thought it was too dark to ride on city streets without a light and without a helmet.
I'm in Las Cruces, New Mexico, this weekend, hanging out with my buddies from 40 years ago, doing our now annual reunion. This is the home of Earl, the surveying professor, and his lovely wife, who stuffed us with Mexican lasagna and pecan pie. Our plane left Bloomington this morning at 6:00 a.m., which meant I had to get up at 3:00 a.m. in order to shower and get to Bloomington an hour before takeoff. The flight was uneventful except I have to tell you about going to the bathroom at O'Hare. (No, I didn't get arrested.) That will have to wait for a later blog.