Hemingway, how can your short stories be so good?

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I don’t list Hemingway as one of my favorite authors. I’ve read two of his novels and disliked them both (“A Farewell to Arms”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”). It was an odd feeling when I finished both books; I enjoyed them all the way to the end and then felt let down and disappointed in the last chapter.

For some reason, I didn’t give up on reading his works; I bought a copy of “The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, The Finca Vigia Edition.”

I found that every time I started one of his stories, I couldn’t put it down. I consumed one after the other: “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife”, “The Capital of the World”, “One Trip Across.” I re-read some that I have covered or taught in various classes: “Soldiers Home”, “Hills Like White Elephants”. All of them are brilliant stories that I love so much, I can re-read them over and over.

Of course, I love Hemingway’s use of concise language; I feel that it puts a lot of pressure on the reader to build a world inside their imagination. His characters are interesting and very human. The worlds he builds are authentic.

But, that’s not it. I think the reason his short stories are so good is because he does what all short stories should do. He enters the scene late, and leaves early: hardly any exposition, no dénouement. Not knowing all the answers builds tension that makes each story resonate. It’s how writing should be.

I know, you’re saying: why not give us examples. And you know, I’m going to say, pick up a copy and read it. Oh, and when I get time, I will sit down and do an analysis of “One Trip Across” that fits this idea of entering late and leaving early perfectly…

The dreaded coil pack!

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I’ve been waiting for this with the Land Cruiser: the check engine light, the code reading, the coil packs.

The other day, I was headed into Seattle, going down Queen Anne Ave, when the truck started running a bit off. Then the check engine light came on, and the VSC lights… Uh-Oh. I limped it home; it was running noticeably rough. Missing. Low power.

I borrowed an OBD-II reader and pulled codes: 1). random misfire 2). #3 misfire 3.) #6 misfire 4.) #6 misfire (pending). My first guess is that the coil packs are toast. Just to make sure though, I swapped the #1 and #3 coils, cleared the codes, and drove around. Check engine light. New codes, all misfires.

Then, I thought I better check the Mass Air Flow Sensor; I ran to a parts store, grabbed some MAF cleaner and pulled the MAF sensor. Clean, reinstall, clear codes, drive around. No check engine light, but I can feel the misfire. I check the codes: #6 misfire.

I’ll double check my diagnosis, order parts, and do the repair… (hopefully with photos). I didn’t see any damage to hoses or vacuum leaks. Everything else seems to be in order. It’s probably time to replace coil packs and plugs. Ouch.

This isn’t like owning an FJ60.

A shovel and an axe? What are you going to do…

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with those, you apartment dwelling city slicker?

Maybe I’ll home, and have somebody send me some potato dirt. and some potatoes. I’ll fill one of the planters here, plant the potatoes, watch them grow.

In the fall, I’ll harvest the papas, dice them up, throw them in the cast iron with onions, peppers, some chorizo.

The apartment will smell like El Valle. My chin will be stained red. I will wipe up the Manteca with words and poetry.

I’ll take the axe, drive to where there are pinion trees, find one that is silver and dead. I’ll chop off some branches, build me a fire, watch the white smoke rise…

My Poetry week so far

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Sunday, I read at Da’daedal’s Second Year Anniversary at Vermillion in Capitol Hill, Seattle. This was actually the first time  that I performed in Seattle outside of a quiet event. That was a trip. They have improv music being played behind the readers along with projections and lighting effects; it was interesting to have to find a cadence and pace that worked with the music that was going on behind me. The lighting and music made everything surreal as I sat in the row ready to get up to the mic. The night include poetry, music, visual art…

I’m still plugging away at the preliminary edit/revision of the manuscript. Every chance I get, I sit down and do a few things. I did some light revision on a the copy I printed; I’m also going through works that weren’t part of my time at Antioch to see if and where they would fit in…

Reading, reading, reading. I have been just randomly grabbing books of poetry off the shelf and reading a little bit everyday.

And this blog post is short, because after editing works, I now need to get to work!