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Favorite Passages: City Island

From On the Move: A Life. By Oliver Sacks

After 3 months, I’ve returned to Dr. Oliver Sacks’ memoir – On the Move: A Life.

Reading each page is skiing downhill. A smooth, lightning shot of a journey that slaloms through Dr. Sacks’ curious life.

It’s been a joy.

From the chapter, City Island:

Especially in our early days, I sometimes felt terrified of his directness – terrified in particular, that he would find my writings, such as they were, muzzy, dishonest, talentless, or worse. I had feared his criticisms at the beginning, but from 1971 on, when I sent him Migraine, I was eager for his reactions, depended on them, and gave more weight than those of anyone else.

Dr. Oliver Sacks

Even Dr. Sacks feared critique of his writing. Especially from his friend and correspondent the poet Thom Gunn.

But as much as Gunn’s directness terrified Dr. Sacks, he valued Gunn’s feedback of his writing more than anyone else’s.

Sacks understood Gunn’s feedback would improve his writing.

Sacks also describes Gunn in the opening of the City Island chapter as a tremendous walker:

Thom was always a tremendous walker, striding up and down the hills of San Francisco. I never saw him with a car or a bicycle; he was quintessentially a walker, a walker like Dickens, who observed everything, took it in, and used it sooner or later in what he wrote.

Throughout On The Move, Sacks introduces us to new characters as if you’d be joining them for a Friday dinner party.

Sacks’ detailed descriptions of their character quirks reveal their humanity.

P.S. I want to be considered a tremendous walker!

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amreading Commonplace Book Poems

When a sentence grabs you, share it.


Afternoon light ripened the valley

From: Another Life, by Derek Walcott. As read from Teju Cole’s essay Derek Walcott, from his collection of essays – Known and Strange Things.

I read this Derek Walcott line repeatedly. I admit I’d never heard of Walcott before reading Teju Cole’s essay.

With a few words Walcott took me to a mountain range.

I could see the orange and yellows wash across the shrubs. I watched the white and pink light flood over the granite.

I wanted to keep going back there.

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How to Write a Poem

Thoughts from an amateur.

 

1. Watch a Kurosawa film.

How to write a poem

2. Daydream like the late Mitch Headberg.

 

3. Write dope words in your favorite notebook.

 

4. Remove crap words.

 

5. Paste in notepad.

Paste in Notepad

6. Click Publish…

clickpublish

 

Or for a true poetry lesson read Mary Oliver’s: A Poetry Handbook