Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Allen Magee, Barry Lopez, and Pankaj Mishra

I've been to a couple of literary events lately. The first was a conversation at the Frye Art Museum between Allen Magee and Barry Lopez. I knew nothing about Magee. The exhibition of quite a few paintings and several sculptures enlightened me about that. His paintings are everything from beautiful lifelike drawings in pencil with watercolor, to rather abstract portraits of individuals. One immense painting of river rocks was so lifelike that one felt as though he could pick an individual stone and hold it in one's hand. Barry Lopez was the one I went to listen to. I've read several books by him, mostly essays about the outdoors and the environment. The museum's auditorium was packed with over a hundred people. The conversation was of a very high tone, often quite intellectual. Two bright minds exchanging views on the subjects of art and literature for an hour-and-a-half. Stimulating!

Several days later we attended a reading at the Eliot Bay Book Store. The reader was a young East Indian by the name of Pankaj Mishra. He has written for the Times Literary Supplement and for the New York Times Book review, as well as for Granta. His new book is An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World. It's a sort of history of Buddhism coupled with Mishra's own introduction to and study of the history and current state of Buddhism, both in the east and in the western world. He read briefly from his book and then took questions from the audience. Mishra has traveled in Afghanistan, Nepal, Myanmar and other more Buddhist nations. He is going to spend nine months in New York although he admitted that he would rather spend it in Seattle. Quite educational. It's things like this that make the seventy-five year old brain turn over.


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