Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Sort of another advertisement ....

Among the lessons of history ....

Sort of a riddle: What can be old and new in the same instant of time?

How many answers exist to such a question, I have no idea, but one answer is an author or a book from years past being read for the first time by an individual. In that light, here are two authors, one long dead and the other very much alive while writing in a historical context: Sinclair Lewis and Diane Wilson.

Lewis, as every English major born and raised in Minnesota presumably knows, arrived on earth in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and wrote a number of stories including "Main Street,” which is 100 years old this year. He was here from 1885 to 1951, when he died in Rome. There is a new exhibit at the Minnesota History Center designed to make his life and work more recognizable. It is something I believe everyone would benefit from seeing ....

 Lewis was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his novels "Main Street," "Babbit" and "Arrowsmith." He won for "Arrowsmith," but turned down the prize. In 1930, he became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Lewis lived in a number of places in Minnesota including Summit Avenue in Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth, Mankato and Lake Minnetonka. Nine of his novels and six of his short stories were turned into films, three of the novels twice. His second wife, Dorothy Thompson, was a well-respected journalist who interviewed Adolph Hitler and was the first reporter expelled from Germany for anti-Nazi commentary.

Diane Wilson grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota, and is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe. "The Seed Keeper," is her second novel and third book. She currently lives on 10 acres near Shafer. Wilson's great-great-grandmother, Rosalie Marpiya Mase, was a full-blood Dakota who married a French-Canadian fur trader, Louis LaCroix.

In short (more-or-less), the story evolves from how Native American women sewed seeds into the hems of their dresses and hid more in their pockets to be able to plan corn and other food in their new homes when they were forcibly marched from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling after the Dakota War of 1862.

According to a quote from Wilson in a Saint Paul Pioneer Press article by Mary Ann Grossmann .... "Their actions in protecting seeds to be sure there was food for their family teaches me what we need to do today to protect seeds for future generations. That story wanted to be told."

 "The Seed Keeper" begins in 2002 when Rosalie Iron Wing returns to the cabin where she was raised by her father, who taught her to hunt and to prepare dry meat and fish. She finds carefully-stored old seeds in the cabin and plants them. From there, the story moves between her contemporary struggles to grow crops from the old seeds and 1862. Other characters enter the book and start telling the story in traditional teachings of how we have relationships with food and the effects of assimilation.

"It took about 10 years for me to get at that magical, mystical part of seed that gets people to fall in love with them. I am awed by the brilliance in that single seed that holds the spark of life. It knows when to be dormant, when to come to life. It knows what to do. It's beyond comprehension."

The unnamed author of Ecclesiastes may have been correct when he wrote: " .... there is no new thing under the sun."

But, we do not know what we do not know and we all need occasional reminders about things we already should know. As someone who is in awe of the complexity of life, I plan to read Wilson's book and hope many others will, as well ....


Kelly said...

Sinclair Lewis is certainly a familiar name (as are the titles of several of his novels), but I've never read any of his work! I used to be almost ashamed to admit some of the things I've not read, but no longer make excuses or apologies. It's just the way it is.

Sometimes I'm not sure whether I've read certain authors. Rather than reading entire novels, we were often assigned portions of classics to read in school. I guess the point was to introduce us to different writing styles, etc. I just know it didn't often inspire me to read more from them.

Anita said...

Nice book review!I have never heard any of them and had to google a bit..What I like was his way of thinking "His works are known for their critical views of American capitalism and materialism between the wars"

I think we should be very critical about history books and what is shared at schools...as a true story..
As here, no important litterature from foreign countries are in the book shops
You have to dig it up your selves..Many things can be said why it is so but that is another case and to long to discuss --
What I have been studying this days are democracy and critical thinking in textbooks and it is.. a"long long way to tipperary" ..hih hih(I dont know why i said this)

Like the music videos as well a bit old ,not?

I have started to read "For whom the Bells Tolls" only a few pages ,they are at the bridge that shall be bombed in Viscaya at the border to France not so long from my father family town

Gosh! I have so much to read these days !Iam stuck with Norwegian litteratur ,growing-up novels, trilogies from Bergen from the 1900s that are historical novels until after World War II. I also watch a series called Norske Frontkjempere. A series about World War II that breaks out and Norwegians volunteer for the German Waffen SS. operation Barbarossa and in the German attack on the Soviet Union

So all in all much stuff for the brain to chew

Have a nice spring week over there

Here it will be another snow storm again..one has to find the snow shovel again and thick clothes Grr..

See you around ,Sorry my broken english

Greetings !

Fram Actual said...

I know there were segments of "classic writers" where our introduction was the same way -- a chapter or two from a novel if short stories were not available -- but I cannot immediately recall any names. More often, for me, was reading a child's version of a novel -- Daniel Defoe and Zane Grey and H.G. Wells, for instance, then later in life trying the "real thing."

My mother had me reading before I started school, and I had superb English teachers for my last five years of public school, for which I am grateful beyond words. Right place at the right time, I guess.

I have read the three novels by Sinclair Lewis listed here, and that is quite enough.

There are times I feel guilty for not having read a particular book or writer, but c'est la vie is my motto in that regard.

I would assume with your agricultural background, Diane Wilson's books might interest you a bit.

If this is not too personal, do you do any writing byond the blogs yourself?

Thank you, for coming here, Kelly .... thank you, for writing here .... take care / be safe / have fun ....

Fram Actual said...

If one could live as long as Methuselah, there still would not be enough time to include all one would wish or could hope to read, Anita. All we can do is establish reading priorities according to their relevance to our interests and perceived needs while going on with our lives in our usual ways.

Personally, I plan to have a few books in the coffin with me .... sort of a "just in case" measure.

I consider myself fortunate in that I took some college courses specific to "foreign writers" and gained a taste of South American and African authors, for instance, as well those from all over Europe and especially Russia and former Soviet bloc countries. You are, for sure, right about one thing: It is often difficult to distinguish between fact and propaganda.

I did not mention the musical selections in the blog, so here are some remarks about them:

"I Will Always Love You" was composed and recorded in 1973 by Dolly Parton and "made famous" by Whitney Houston after she recorded it for the 1992 film, "The Bodyguard." It is the song playing on the jukebox when Houston and Kevin Costner are dancing in the saloon and she asks him if it is a "cowboy song." He replies that it is ....

"Never My Love" was written by Don and Dick Addrisi and was a 1967 hit for The Association. The song has been recorded a number of times. The singers in this version are "country western" types.

I think both songs are wonderful. I like to say my photographs and words and music all are linked. In the case of these two songs, I was thinking of Diane Wilson's great-great-grandmother, Rosalie Marpiya Mase, a Dakota, who married Louis LaCroix, a French-Canadian fur trader. Listen to them with that in mind ....

So, here we are .... or whatever .... no apology is necessary for your English, Anita. It is better than that spoken (written) my many people I know.

Take care and be safe and keep on reading, young lady of the far/far north .... hmmmmm .... far/far/far ....

Kelly said...

Hi, Fram :)
The Seed Keeper sounds like an interesting book and I will check it out. Your first question: What can be old and new in the same instant in time? I like this question as there are so many answers. I was thinking of myself, old, ahem...or older, and yet new at the same time. As thinking humans, we are always evolving, changing, becoming new. That's the beauty of living. We experience new people, places, learn new things and evolve into new creatures. The core seed of our genesis is always present and roots us but we bloom where we are planted, and when the wind blows us, just like seeds, we expand in new directions. Enough of the metaphors, but I do find them apt in the context of old and new :) Whitney Houston's rendition of I'll Always Love You is perfectly beautiful...what a song. I could listen forever. Like Anita and Kelly, I too, have probably 100 books to read. There never seems to be enough time. Just yesterday I was looking at my bookshelves with a sigh wishing for more time to read. One day...one day...This is something I have to look forward to :)
Stay well and happy and always, always dreaming, Fram.
See you :)

Kelly said...

I much prefer reading to writing, though I've sometimes thought it might have been interesting to be an editor. Actually, my "what do you want to be when you grow up?" answer was always "librarian".

Fram Actual said...

I do like your metaphors, Kelly of Kali, and agree with them, especially in context to you.

You really should take a look at Diane Wilson, I think, for a few reasons. I can visualize you writing a similar book linking your ancestral roots to today and to the future. I never have met Wilson, but after I read her book (maybe her books), it is possible I will try. Shafer is only a hop, skip and a jump from me, and the countryside in that region is gorgeous.

Hmmmm .... I wonder if she is into sweat lodges and pow wows ....

I sort of favor this version of "Always Love" over any other I have heard, largely because John Doe sings it the way I imagine a cowboy would sing it. Doe, in reality, is John Duchac of the punk rock band "X" from your neck of the woods. I have listened to the band and to him sing a few other songs, and do not care either for the band or for his voice/style .... but, for me, he is spot on with his rendition of "Always Love."

There never can be or will be enough time to read every book an individual would want/hope to read. The only thing to do is prioritize and accept the fact you will be gone before you even have put a dent in the number .... unless, possibly, there is "instant knowledge" and "endless time" in the "great beyond."

Well, it is time to say farewell, Mermaid, and to wish you the best of everything life has to offer.

Hmmmm .... by the way, are you into sweat lodges and pow wows .... I would wager you could do a fantastic "jingle dance" .... seriously ....

Fram Actual said...

I can appreciate the choice of being a librarian, especially in the sense of the all the knowledge which would be acquired and accumulated over the passage of time about books and authors -- especially before the era of computers.

There are different types of editors and my primary experience has been in a newsroom, which is complicated by the fact most reporters are prima donnas (and primo uomos) and expect to one day be writing fantastic novels. It is being in the midst of competition among inflated egos as well has having to possess a fair degree of grammatical knowledge and being willing to compromise on conflicts between "proper grammar" and newspaper style books. And, if I may add, being a quick thinker and a decisive individual.

Competition between newsrooms and advertising and circulation and “back shop” departments often is boisterous and bitter, too, and how does one handle complaints or threats or offers of brides from people in the community? Deadlines are merciless, as well ....

I also have done a bit of freelance editing for magazine articles and books, which often means having to be a referee between a writer and a publisher.

All-in-all, I would not trade away a minute of it.

Thank you, Kelly of Arkansas, for replying to my question and I hope you consider expanding your writing. My mother kept diaries late in life, which are fascinating for me to read ....

Kelly said...

Aww, you are always so sweet, Fram. Thank you for the nice words :) I believe Shafer is calling your name. Sounds like a fun adventure. I ordered her book and I noticed she had another called "Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past." That sounds like a good one too and I do like the artwork on her covers. I'll let you know what I think after reading. A good healthy sauna, a jingle dance and a meeting of the minds in a pow wow all sound super to me!
Have a happy week, Fram :)

Liplatus said...

An interesting book "The Seed Keeper" based on what you said.
Diligence and perseverance. Knowledge from one generation to the next. Close cohesion, we will survive.
The book is probably very instructive. Also open your eyes to how easy it is today.
It also evokes respect and appreciation for times gone by.
I can say a little when I lived as a child in agriculture and natural food.

Beautiful music, please. I love calmer music.
I admit that listening to rock music is hard, I often skip it.;)

Content of your blog is always interesting, thought-provoking.

Fram Actual said...

Life is interesting in many ways, among them the places it takes you and the experiences you have during the journey, Kelly of the Sea of Magellan.

My experiences include a number of "real deal" saunas when my domicile was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. One of the young ladies at the newspaper owned (through inheritance) 240 acres of woodland with a cabin and a separate sauna in the middle of nowhere. We occasionally had parties there in midwinter (getting to the place often was a challenge in itself) which involved going into the sauna (after consuming sufficient "spirits") and then diving into snowbanks and the lake if it were not ice covered.

Activities at the prison where I worked in Dakota included pow wows and sweat lodge ceremonies.

Among my most satisfying experiences was as a guest at a warrior initiation ceremony in Montana for a young Assiniboine (Nakota) just returned from war.

I am visualizing you doing a jingle or a shawl dance .... very attractive, indeed, m'lady ....

Fram Actual said...

I will read "The Seed Keeper" and, hopefully, Diane Wilson's other books, as well.

I often think about going into a wilderness area and living off the land. A surprising number of people do that, both men and women. Some prosper and some fail. I doubt I would last long without periodic resupply from civilization. I always have thought of myself as a hunter, rather than as a gatherer, but no long hunt and probably the end to my story would come before many months had passed.

I agree with your comments, Liplatus. Survival does depend on diligence and perseverance, but I am not at all certain humankind has the ability for that. "We" possibly have become too "civilized" for "forever survival" as a species.

Respect and appreciation for times gone by is fading into the mist of time, but it is possible there will be resurgence. Some say anything and everything are possible.

Music, like everything, is in a state of constant change and evolution. I wonder how much of our rock 'n' roll will be around a century from now, but I hope some of it will last (like Strawberry Fields Forever) and newer forms of it will come into existence. Some really loud and wild music pleases me, some does not. There are so many variables it is difficult to generalize. My mood also is a factor ....

My thought about my blog can be described this way: I write what I please about what interests me; if others look at it, fine; if some actually read it, better; if some read it and write a comment, better yet. I do like to toss many ingredients into the soup and discover what it tastes like and what reactions to it are ....

Thank you, Liplatus, for being one of those who comes and who reads and who writes ....

A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for the introduction to two authors I'd never heard of. :-)

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Greetings, CiL .... it has been a long while since you have been out and about ....

Diane Wilson is relatively new to the literary world, but it would surprise me if you never crossed paths with Sinclair Lewis. That said, his life was among the most obscure of any in his generation and his work was mundane when put alongside that of his contemporaries.

I hope your travels on the sea of blogs will be more often .... take care and stay safe ....

Smareis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smareis said...

Olá Fram!
Andei um pouco sumida em? risos.
Eu fiquei ausente apenas em palavras, mais passava as vezes aqui pra ler suas postagens, só não comentava. Me enclasurei um pouco dentro de mim. Essa travessia é como uma cortina de fumaça, só o tempo vai clareando a nossa visão.

Gostei muito da sua reportagem.

O que pode ser antigo e novo no mesmo instante?
Então, boa resposta essa tua. Um autor, um livro de anos anteriores(verdadeiro).Pode ser também um filme, existe muitas resposta em relação a sua pergunta. Eu poderia citar algumas mais deixa, pra outra ocasião.

Sobre o autor Sinclair Lewis.

Eu gostaria de ler “Rua principal, de Sinclair Lewis”. Esse livro me chama atenção pelo enredo e tambem pelo preço kkkk. À primeira vista, o romance é uma acusação aos valores da pequena cidade e aos sonhos frustrados da heroína Carol Kennicott. Alguns críticos dizem que ele pode ter começado o romance com a ideia de espetar todos os aspectos da vida de uma pequena cidade, mas no final da história. Creio que deve ser uma história bem bacana. Eu vou adquirir esse livro e acredito que vou aprender um pouco de inglês ou me enbananar toda na leitura kkk. Podemos também fazer o download do livro, não sei se vem traduzido, ou não.

...Vou te contar uma coisa, o interior pra mim é uma vida sagrada, livre, saudável. Foi onde eu nasci, são minhas raízes. Embora não seja fácil viver no interior, a pessoa precisa gostar pra estar lá, porque é trabalhoso.
Nasci no interior do meu Estado e fui feliz demais por lá quando criança. Sempre que possível vou pro interior onde tenho uma irmã que tem um sitio muito aconchegante. É muito bom você viver do que você planta, embora minha irmã hoje em dia vai a cidade comprar a maioria das coisas necessárias. Mais ainda tem muitas plantações de café, milho, animais, vacas de leite, muitas frutas, verduras, animais de várias espécies. Ela criou os filhos, hoje em dia moram em São Paulo, outros foram pra uma cidade aqui do lado e só vão pra lá em tempo de comemorações como Natal e outros... Eu adoro essa coisa de vida remota, vejo umas series do Alaska muito bonita. Tem um canal de TV Discovery que que tem varias serie sobre vida no campo.

Sobre o livro da autora Diane Wilson,
Diário de um Eco-Fora-da-lei: uma mulher irracional viola a lei para a Mãe Terra. Deve ser uma história de força e coragem, pois fala de sua batalha para salvar sua baía em Seadrift, Texas. Foi presa mais de 50 vezes por desobediência civil. Através da resenha pude perceber que ela afundou seu proprio barco pra defender as águas onde ela pescava camarões. Gostaria muito de lê esse livro. O preço dele é muito bom, vou encomendar esses dois livros.

Eu agradeço pelas dicas desses dois autores, estava querendo mesmo algo novo na leitura, e sua postagem veio pra complementar. Ainda não tinha lido nada a respeito dessas duas obras.

Sobre a música eu adorei- John Doe - Eu Sempre Amarei Você (versão HQ)
Whitney Houston e Kevin Costner, eu adoro o filme o guarda-costas, amo. Essa versão é a melhor. Gostei bastante. Enfim amei sua postagem Fram. Se cuida fica bem, e eu volto pra terminar de ler o que comecei há alguns dias.

Fram Actual said...

I truly understand and appreciate these words you wrote, Smareis: "I love this remote life thing ...."

My own childhood was idyllic in many ways and I can remember when I was 11 shouting into the sky: "I wish I could stay 11 forever."

Can you imagine that?

I know the exact location where I said that sentence and go there whenever I am in my home town to repeat the words. They reassure me about what and who I am -- an 11-year-old boy who loves being a small-town kid and would forever stay that way if only he could -- and, in many ways I still am that boy.

When I left my home town -- the place in which I had grown up -- I was 18 and determined to experience as much of life as I possibly could. I have been faithful to that objective. I purposely did not return to my home town for 20 years because I was constantly witnessing the obvious, that everything changes, and I wanted one place that I could hold in my mind and my memory that did not change from the way it was when I was a boy.

I am including now two paragraphs I wrote in a response to another comment because they apply here and I am not good at "rewriting" my own words.

"I often think about going into a wilderness area and living off the land. A surprising number of people do that, both men and women. Some prosper and some fail. I doubt I would last long without periodic resupply from civilization. I always have thought of myself as a hunter, rather than as a gatherer, but no long hunt and probably the end to my story would come before many months had passed.

".... Survival does depend on diligence and perseverance, but I am not at all certain humankind has the ability for that. 'We' possibly have become too 'civilized' for 'forever survival' as a species."

For what it is worth, I am not a fan of Sinclair Lewis. I only read the three novels because they were part of a required college reading list. I sometimes think I should reread "Main Street" because I have seen many places and done many things since I was a college boy and I might appreciate the story and learn from it in ways I did not way back then. But, we are prisoners of time, which makes reading picking and choosing and setting priorities, so ....

I will read Diane Wilson. It was not just human life I was referring to when I wrote I am "in awe of the complexity of life." It is all manner of life -- animal, plant and whatever -- which is magical and mystical to me. I agree with her concept of being "awed by the brilliance in that single seed that holds the spark of life. It knows when to be dormant, when to come to life. It knows what to do. It's beyond comprehension."

I think I am overdue to learn a bit about gardening, just in case I decide to pack a bag or two and head out in search of a glade in the midst of a wilderness forest near a deep, clear lake.

"The Bodyguard" is among my favorite films, too, and I sort of favor this version of "I Will Always Love You" over any other I have heard, largely because John Doe sings it the way I imagine a cowboy would sing it. Doe, in reality, is John Duchac of the punk rock ban "X."

I am listening to the song now as I wind down this note to you, Smareis ....

So, young lady of Brazil, thank you, for coming and for reading and for writing and for being Smareis, who "was born in the countryside of my state and I was too happy there as a child ...."

Memories of a happy childhood give an individual inner strength as the weight of years accumulates ....

You always have my smile hovering near you ....

Smareis said...

Boa tarde Fram, Passei rapidinho por aqui, mais volto ok.

Eu já li postagem sua, que você cita o lugar onde nasceu e cresceu. Parece perfeito aquele lugar, parece que tem grande arvore. Tudo que foi importante na nossa infância a memória guarda num lugar especial. O cérebro é uma máquina do tempo, menor que aquelas que vimos em filmes, mas tão potente quanto. Bom demais fazer vez outra, uma viagem de volta na memória e reviver esses momentos bons. Recordar a infância nos permite reviver sentimentos potentes que ajudam seguir em frente fazendo nossa caminhada com fé e perseverança.
A natureza linda que antes tinha no lugar onde nasci e cresci, já não existe mais... Triste realidade.
Essa ideia de sair em busca de uma clareira no meio de uma floresta selvagem perto de um lago profundo e claro, é um sonho de milhares de pessoas, e que pouco tem o privilégio de realizar.
Quanto aos livros que citei, vou ver se consigo realizar essa leitura, depois que falo o que achei da história.
"I Will Always Love You” ficou ótima essa versão na voz John Doe. A letra é lindíssima.Ficou mais bonita do que a versão de Houston.

Bom mês de maio pra você Fram, cheio de coisas boas.

Um punhado cheio de sorrisos. Eita veja ai...

Fram Actual said...

My apologies for not noticing your comment here for a few days, Smareis. I have no excuses, only to repeat the obvious: My interest in the sea of blogs is waning and I pay less and less attention to it. I appear to have drifted into the Sargasso Sea ....

My hometown was perfect in many ways and, yes, has a very big tree. The town, in fact, was named for a tree which grew there in great numbers and often grew to great sizes.

Smareis writes: "The beautiful nature that I used to have in the place where I was born and grew up, no longer exists ... Sad reality."

The same is true of my hometown in the sense that much of it has changed since it was "my town" in the name of "progress." The fields where boys once hunted now form a golf course and are filled by houses. The lakes where children once swam and fished are now surrounded by houses and the waters are polluted. I did not return to "my town" for 20 years as I saw the changes coming so I could remember it as it was when I was a boy growing up there. I guess I am not sorry I eventually did return, because I came to realize everything changes over the course of years and we, like all living creatures, come and go.

I have lived in few "wonderful places" and hope to again. Possibly, "a clearing in the middle of a wild forest near a deep and clear lake" will be among them. I hope it is, but, in the meanwhile, I will be content to have what I have and to be alive.

Of all the things life has to offer, I have learned to see more clearly those who are both more fortunate than I am and those who are less fortunate, and to look for contentment and peace of mind within myself. I suppose some would consider that giving up, but to me it simply is beginning to coast into what I accept as the ultimate ending and still have some interesting times and continue to learn while en route.

Those words written, one of my "favored" poems is Thomas Dylan's, "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." There are a number of interpretations regarding the meaning of the poem. My own is rather simple and clear: Dylan is telling us that we all should fight aggressively and loudly and to our last breath to live. It is a sentiment I agree with in the sense that death is the inevitable price of life, but we should postpone it and fight it as long as we possibly are able.

You sing a wonderful version of the song of life, Smareis, and I know I am fortunate our paths have crossed so I am able to hear it .... take care, stay safe and forever be young ....

Something special ....