I invite you to submit excerpts from your writing that relate in some way to the writer, Michael Perry. This may be something you’ve written that captures a memory evoked by a current-day event. Or, it could be writing in which you describe the size of something without using standard measurements — but rather convey size by comparison, as Perry did in the excerpt about his poster being used in a hamster cage! Or, surprise me! Perhaps you’ll wish to share a poignant memory of a remembered experience with a family member when you were a child. We look forward to hearing from you!
Okay, I can’t help myself! Here’s one more excerpt from Michael Perry’s Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting —
“The days have cycled through. The maple buds have unbundled. The hills are a green divan buttoned with clusters of bloom that foam apple-tree pink and chokecherry white. After lunch I am trying to allow Anneliese a nap. She is upstairs, and I am downstairs with Jane across my lap. The deadlines have stacked up, so I am also trying to write, the computer balanced on my knees. But of course I can do little more than study the baby. Her sleepy tics, her bursts of rapid eye movement, her bow-perfect lips, her candy-floss hair glinting auburn in the sun. Her nose is resting on her knuckles, and her head rocks slightly with each breath drawn.
I am playing music on the laptop: Innocence Mission. The volume is way down. The song sounds tinny and faint. I am studying Jane’s impossible ear — this perfect miniature conch, a leaf just partially unfurled — when the final chorus repeats, barely audible: ‘this is the brotherhood of man … this is the brotherhood of man … this is the brotherhood of man …’ When I turn my eyes to the valley below the big window, it is beautiful for a moment and then all the blooms and green dissolve in a watercolor wash.
After a suitable interval, the guinea pig whistles and flips his purple plastic igloo.” (p. 181, hardback version)
Website readers: Do you see what has happened when the view “dissolves”? Genius!!
Below is an example of a humbling anecdote, taken from a memoir by Mark Sullivan, explaining how he got his given name, Mark. It seems that shortly before Mark was born, his father was helping neighbors with a log-raising for a new barn. The expectant father suddenly told the others he had to leave for a half hour —
“ … he must make a trip to the village to get a bar of castile soap. The unusual errand — obviously not related to barn-raising — excited curiosity, and my father explained that in the house a child, his tenth, was about to be born. One of the neighbors — his name was Mark Hughes — said to my father, ‘If it’s a boy name him after me.’ My father replied, ‘That I will, Mark.’ Doubtless my father was glad of a suggestion, for he had already exhausted the more familiar of the saints’ names that were practically a requirement in Irish Catholic families — he had used u Cornelius, Mary, John, Thomas, William, Joseph, Benjamin, Francis and Edward. Of the nine children, three had died in infancy. His tenth and last child, the youngest of the severn sons who grew up, he named Mark Sullivan.” [From Mark Sullivan, The Education of An American, Doubleday, 1938]
[Note: The reason I have the above book, by Mark Sullivan, is that my grandfather recommended it to my mother when she was in college the year it came out. Curious about what my grandfather enjoyed reading in his 40s, I found the book and discovered that it is still a great read!]
Interesting and humbling name-origin story!
Click here to send in entries!
Awaiting your entries for the February Challenge!