Wednesday, February 18, 2009

not far from the apple tree

last weekend we had dinner with my father and his wife. lovely company with lotsa italian food. ate so much and got so full that i was still stuffed the next morning. anyway, my father confessed that he had met with a writing group and wanted to know what i thought about that. what i thought? i told him it was great but what kind of writing was he thinking about. he wasn't sure but he has stories to tell.

and he does. i nearly broke a couple of ribs laughing so hard a couple months ago. and see, he has written already, his wife told me, for publication. my old man is a skydiver and has penned a few articles for the skydiving association's monthly publication. i didn't know that. he's not shown them to me.

his stories however, as he tells them, do not lend themselves to linear narrative very well. at least i don't think they do. but then i have a bias. i asked my old man if he ever thought of writing poetry. you see, i'm not a guild man but i know my mind doesn't work very well with long narrative compositions. rather i prefer to read and write in short staccato bursts. that's at least what i like to think of myself as doing. it's just that i get a chemical charge from poetry, both in the writing of it and the reading of it, that i don't get from other forms of writing.

nope, he doesn't think he'll be writing poetry. whatever he chooses to do i think is wonderful. i'm not an agoniste. i prefer pleasure over pain and prefer reading poetry and poets that make me, in the words of u.k. poet martin stannard, want to be alive. in other words, i don't have a strained relationship with my father and don't quite get why some poets insist on being dreadfully unhappy as a member of the human species, particularly with their family life. what were they, weened too much from robert lowell and sylvia plath? ah, give me the pleasure seeking heat missiles of villon and catullus any day. those poets knew also how to spit bile too. call me the happy pessimist.

i'm stoked that my old man wants to take up writing. i hope he persues it. whatever independent, anti-authoritarian, no shit-taking, but loving and kind all the same, attitudes i possess i know i inherited from him. whatever artistic personality i have comes from him. i even inherited my propensity to premature grey hair from him too. my old man has stories, fantastical forays into the human kind. let him write.


At 12:43 PM, Blogger Catalin said...

Haven't visited your blog in ages, but stopped by today and was so happy to read this. Hooray for your dad! Hooray for your good relationship with your dad! Hooray for people wanting to tell their stories.

The favorite pastime in the unelectrified remote villages of Solomon Islands where I lived for a time was "storying". It was understood that the most satisfying form of interaction and entertainment was simply people talking to each other, and it happened every evening on the bamboo and leaf verandahs of every house.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

thank you, cat. well, shit, me and my old have had a rocky past. too boring to go into details and i'm afraid common as hell to boot. not to mention rather personal as well. but we have a good relationship now and i hate reading poems by writers who think that having a miserable childhood permits them to call themselves poets. that's been done to death and the masters of the long whine, lowell for example, become boring too.


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