Monday, October 16, 2017

Micro-Memoirs: Beth Ann Fennelly's Heating and Cooling

When I read some books, I can't put them down. Each chapter, I'm thinking, "Well, maybe one more. . . ." Other books I have to savor slowly--dark books that haunt me if I overload the images, dense books that require concentration, retention. Sometimes I have to stop while reading a particularly engrossing book to call or write someone else who needs to read it too. Right now.

But some books make me want to write. I can't finish even a short chapter without digging out my little notebook to write down the scrap I recalled in response to what I'm reading or opening my laptop and laying down a few lines.

I'm in the middle of at least two books right now--on on CD, another for book club on the iPad, but after hearing Beth Ann Fennelly reading from Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs at the Southern Festival of Books this past weekend, I had to dive right in.

After finishing her book project The Tilted World with husband-novelist Tom Franklin, she found herself unable to write poetry but filling her notebook with fragments. She sifted through and published the pearls, the ones she said she kept thinking of later. Some are only a sentence or two; the longest may be four pages. They pack a wallop.

But as I read them, I keep having my own little micro-memoirs surfacing, tiny but meaningful experiences, family stories, overheard or stolen bits and pieces. Fennelly has a doctor story; I have a doctor story. She has a neighbor raising chickens; my mother started raising chickens in her late seventies.

Meanwhile, I drift over to Facebook where more and more of the women I know are posting two single words: Me too. And I know that what silences, what saves us is our shared histories, as different as we might be.

1 comment:

michaelbelow said...
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