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Stories about Stories and Stuff, Stuff, Stuff

Don’t know about you, but my life (and life’s work? Work?) is all about stories: listening, telling, writing. I grew up in an extended family of storytellers. Stories, true life and otherwise, could erupt at any time. Often during family gatherings on Sunday afternoons, and always at bedtime tuck-in with one or the other parent.

Those stories encouraged me to become a person interested in almost everything at one time or another, from archaeology and botany to x-rays and zoology. The natural, physical world and a lot in the invisible realms. World literature, the human condition—heart, mind, and soul—all of it. My curiosity knows no limits. Like my family, I’ve been a collector of books, music, hand-made objects, and beautiful things I’ve found in nature: smooth stones, sticks, feathers. Now that my hair is whiter and my glasses thicker, I’ve amassed an amazing amount of stuff. And of course, I would end up marrying a man with the same interests and similar collections. Put them together, and what you’ve got is stuff, a lot of stuff.

All those childhood stories gave me permission to become a generalist, not a specialist. A fox, not a hedgehog. That’s just who I am and what I came here to do. I’d have to agree heartily with E. M. Forster who wrote: “My defence at any Last Judgement would be that I was trying to connect up and use all the fragments I was born with.” So, on good days, I call myself a Renaissance woman. Other days, well, I’m scattered, that’s what I am, especially now that I’m working from home instead of from my downtown office and am sorting through dozens of boxes of books and papers.

Having so many varied interests means I’ve never [Read more →]

June 8, 2011   No Comments