A Veritable Smorgasbord

Here are the goofy things I’ve brain juggled today. Consider it a veritable 513152_origsmorgasbord. Here’s Templeton’s song from Wilbur to whet your appetite.

My dad used to call young guys, Butch. Not all of them. It was sort of balinghis compliment to a teenager who seemed like a tough looking fella. I suppose it was his verbal pat on the back to another alpha-type. I don’t know if he called my brother that when he was young, but I do know when Dad hired teenage guys to help lay pipe or bale hay, he usually nicknames at least one of them Butch. I only know this because I also went along on those work days. I drove the tractor when laying pipe, and I really don’t remember what in the heck I was doing when we were baling. I couldn’t have thrown the bales, and I doubt I drove the tractor. Maybe I just tagged along to watch the high school boy’s muscles flex… although I really don’t remember having crushes on any of the boys he hired. They all just looked greasy and dirty to me.

Speaking of greasy and dirty, I just finished reading Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell. Geeze. I had no idea THAT was coming. Such pathetic… everything… I couldn’t even pull myself away—it reginald_marsh_tobacco_road_d5534149hwas like watching the proverbial train wreck. I’m not judging it because there are plenty of people out there doing so and have been for many a year. I am saying, he painted a fine picture of depravity using some unique tools from his writing tool box. It’s written like the author was simple-minded (one of the tools he used.) As a writer, I kept wanting to rewrite redundant sentences. Then at the end of the book, Caldwell’s true writing voice shows up to give the reader the denouement. In the end, I have to say, I kind of weirdly liked the book, but I also really hated it. Yet it had some kind of peculiar effect on me. It’s like eating raw oysters (which I adore.) While you’re eating them, they are so darned good in such a funky stinky kind of way, and as long as you don’t stop to think about how slimy they are, or that they were alive a moment earlier, you can enjoy them. But reading that book was almost like a shameful thing. Like admitting you read the most craptastic, bodice-ripping romance novels, or vampire porn, or, GASP… that you don’t read books at all!!! Here’s another earwig for you. Tobacco Road.

IMG_1874Where else did my mind roam today? To my baby kittens who are growing so fast. Their names are Smudge (The tan one) and O’Mally (The yellow one). Both boys. Very rough and tumble and just darn fun to watch play. Smudge may turn into Pudge soon, as he’s so fat he makes a thump when he does a somersault over his brother and lands hard on the ground. O’Mally tends to cry right before he goes to sleep, just like a toddler fighting a nap. I love them to death, but what in the hell was I thinking! Two brawling male cats in the house! This can NOT turn out well. I’ll keep you posted.

12 thoughts on “A Veritable Smorgasbord

  1. I was watching Shark Tank last night and a woman was pitching a potty training device that trains cats to use the toilet. I couldn’t figure out whether I found the idea incredibly sensible or totally insane!

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Seems like I watched a movie where a guy walks into a bathroom and there’s a cat sitting on the toilet. He backs out of the room saying, “sorry!” Then stands there wondering… WTH!!

  2. I had to read Tobacco Road when I was in college. Those crazy hippie years with Vietnam protests, “free university” classes out in tents on campus and other craziness. (I was more of an observer than participant.) I remember writing a satire based on Tobacco Road that my college prof liked. He suggested I do more writing. He said he saw potential as a writer. I didn’t follow the instructions he gave us for the paper, but he didn’t downgrade me for that at all. I wish I still had it. I would have liked to reread what I had written. I will have to re-peruse the book. Maybe it will trigger my memory.

  3. My daughter helped my brother bale hay last summer on his farm. She’s so allergic to everything that I think she was one miserable chickie afterward from touching all that hay…but it was an experience I think she loved despite the hives. I love the name O’Malley. He was such a cool character in the Aristocats.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      I didn’t remember the cat from that show. There’s an Irish Pub in a town in Missouri we’ve been to, called O’Mally’s. When we were there, the Irish guys were singing at the top of their lungs and dancing and wrestling. This cat is totally Irish!

  4. Lucy Adkins says:

    Wow, that Tobacco Road…I haven’t thought about that book in a long time. I link how you compare it to eating oysters–wow, that’s great–there’s a poet inside you, Gina! Good post.

  5. Tobacco Road, Gina. I read it about a year ago with much the same reaction as you had. Imagine the poverty, ignorance. hopelessness that could result in the total lack of moral standards. Yech!! Nobody in that book seems to have any value–particularly to him or herself.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      I suppose in a lit class they’d dig into how he chose to make everything about the book filthy and broken and hopeless, including how he chose to write the first part of it… so in character even in the narration. But it did keep my attention. I’ll give it that.

  6. I’m not familiar with Tobacco Road, though I’m not sure I should admit that. But I AM sure I will never eat a slimy oyster. 😉

    The kitties are adorable! Nothing like being a new mommy, hmm?

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Oh, it’s one of those old novels from the thirties. Considered one of the 100 most important novels of the 20th century, but it was kind of turned into a joke, from what I’ve read, and Caldwell didn’t appreciate that. It reminded me of Cormick Mcarthy’s, The Road. Someone in one of my critique groups referenced it and I thought, hey, there’s a classic I haven’t read. I got right on it and then wondered at length about how much writing has changed since then.

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