Saturday, January 24, 2015


Seamus Heaney--my favorite poet--translated Beowulf some years ago.  His first sentence was one word.


The idea, Heaney said, was to emphasize that the story was very much just that ... a story.  Told first around campfires, then in the Great Halls of the Norsemen, then in the classrooms of Oxford or Cambridge or the University of Virginia, for a thousand-plus years.

Sew:  a needle pulling thread.

No, that's not it.  It's more like when you begged your grandfather to tell you a story back when you were a kid and he finally relented, took a deep breath and said "So."  And then the story began.

So that's why "Saigon: Too Big To Fail" begins with the same line.


I spent eight years writing The Year of Magical Painting.  It remains, with Beowulf and some few others, one of the great achievements of western civilization.  But I'm not as interested in painting right now as I am in writing.  So I put the lid on TYOMP and started this, because it's obvious that a writer today needs a blog the way a man, Neil Young might suggest, needs a maid.

Are we invited?
Of course you are.

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