Variety In The Field

Sunday, October 13, 2019

I’m taking turns reading several books at once–ancient history and current politics. I know, it’s some kind of combo, but offers ideas that I hope to absorb, understand, and synthesize. Now, I’m about to set them aside, for awhile, after receiving a book by the Polish author Olga Tokarczuic. Two days ago, she won the 2018 Nobel Prize for literature. This award, announced a year late, got delayed because a 2018 scandal that involved someone on the Nobel Board shut-down the award process. To make up for that lapse, this year the Nobel granted two prizes, one for 2018 and another for 2019. The board member is history who last year misbehaved and threw the Board off its tracks.

Since the award, I’ve sought information about this writer. Apparently she’s very talented, has written many books, and some published in English are marketed in America. Honestly, prior to the news of this prize, I didn’t know of her. Her American translator, in interviews, says that Tokarczuic’s writings, all in Polish, are specific and fine, making her work easy to translate without sacrificing either meanings or art. That’s surprising, for it would seem very difficult to translate complex writing. That’s why I tend to avoid translations. Anyway, I chose an early-2000s book that’s popular in America and am eager to read and feel what this winning author communicates.

Serendipitously, my friend Susie swung by on her bicycle and brought an easier-to-read book, dealing with some of my favorite subjects–cattle ranching and coyotes. It’s a first-person work by an actual Southern Oregon rancher, a naturalist, who managed to develop a connection to a wild coyote. That led him to become involved with other coyotes and to gain more understanding of the species. His story will be fun and an appropriate counter-balance to the Tokarczuic work.

Coyotes, interesting and amazing creatures manage to live in close proximity to humans and still remain wild. Here on the high desert, and especially, like now during fall, they often wake me (and the dogs!) around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. The pack is out, hunting and drawing nearby, communicating frequently its presence and intent with strings of howls–high-screaming and stretched.

Reading and writing are incredible gifts that expand human knowledge and friendships. I can think back to my third grade classroom and starting to learn cursive, that chore of repetition. In those days, without a smige of comprehending how written words would greatly affect my world.

Dear Friends: Enjoy this lovely fall day, and if possible, include some reading. Diana

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