Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moose Crossing

An e-mail from someone in Windham, Maine:

I have never seen a newborn moose. This one was not even a half a mile from our house. The mother picked a small quiet neighborhood and had her baby in the front yard at 5:30 am. We were out bike riding when we came upon the pair. The lady across the street from this house told us she saw it being born. We saw them at 5:30 pm. So the little one was 12 hours old. What an awesome place we live in to see such a site!

Note: If you know who took these moose photos, comment below so I can credit the photographer.

Recommended Books:

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
Beautifully written story about a wealthy Jewish family after the Iranian Revolution. On page one the father is arrested and disappears. This new release is a remarkable debut novel, reminiscent of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
A lighter summer read. Run away and join the circus. A portrait of Depression era America with an odd but endearing cast of characters. Rosie, the elephant, steals the show. The narrator was a circus vet now trapped in a nursing home and his aging body. As fast, busy and entertaining as the big top.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Hate Yoga

It seems like everyone is doing yoga. Even I wear the comfortable clothing when I’m writing. I do some of those stretches in the morning. I have nothing against the culture that produced it. My husband teaches in the East Asian Studies department at Bowdoin College, and yoga has done wonders for him.

Maybe I just had a bad first experience. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault, and the Bowdoin yoga club couldn’t have been more welcoming. Imagine this: a room full of 30 willowy women between the ages of 18-21 in spaghetti straps and drop-waist pants. A fantasy for any man, but a bit intimidating for a woman twice their age. I squeezed my mat into the far corner of the cavernous room.

In college, my roommate and I used to hang in the back row of aerobics with the men’s hockey team. We didn’t want to be anywhere near that wall of mirrors reflecting “the Goddess” and her bare-midriff attendees. Remember Jane Fonda in skimpy spandex and big hair? My roommate wore her splattered house-painting clothes, and I hid in shapeless sweats. We needed someone to shout at us to get in shape. The Goddess was from California: tan, fit, perky and blond. That might have explained the hockey team.

There were no male hockey players in the yoga club at Bowdoin. The only young man was the president of the outing club and could bend a mean bridge. The students all looked happy to be there and relaxed, but not I. My doctor had recommended yoga for stress and insomnia. Every week at yoga I discovered a new muscle to strain.

Was yoga at least relaxing? I’m writing a book called Moose Crossing, and there’s this enormous moose head on the wall. I tried a different location, but like in a Renaissance painting, the glassy eyes followed me around the room. If you read my novel carefully, you’ll find that very moose head, insinuated upon one page.

It wasn’t just the decapitated moose; I’ve never been much of a joiner. At school I signed up for dance to avoid being the second to last girl picked for team sports. I wasn’t a couch potato either. I enjoyed skiing, swimming, biking and horseback riding and still do. It makes sense. As a writer, you have to like being alone and not following the pack.

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