Saturday, May 26, 2007
Hemmingway, My Son, Fiction, and the Yaks
In preparation for the fiction reading (see my previous post) that I'm doing tomorrow night, I was thinking about how fiction differs from poetry. I'd love to be really clever. I always want to be really clever and in my best writing, I thankfully fail at that completely. Here are two definitions of fiction and poetry that I was thinking about:
a real box
with an imaginary mime inside
an imaginary box
with a real mime inside
One of them is a definition of poetry. One of fiction. Of course either one would serve as a definition of either form. Maybe a more accurate definition would be more like
an imaginary mime
with a real box inside
with an imaginary inside
with no outside
See! My mom just called me to say how clever that was!
My son Aaron is 14 today. He and his brother and several of their friends are in the back yard around a big campfire playing guitar and singing. It's almost midnight and I'm surprised that the neighbours haven't called. They didn't call when they lit the big firecrackers. Or had the food fight with the fruit flan. Inside each of my sons is a mime climbing halfway up the imaginary staircase of their intestines. Singing half a Rolling Stones' song into the imaginary wind. climbing through a real window in an imaginary wall. They've pitched a tent big enough to hold a herd of yaks if a herd of yaks would gather in a backyard in Hamilton, Ontario on a Saturday night and then shuffle into a tent with a handful of teenage boys and their guitars. I seem to remember a Hemmingway story about that or was it a Leonard Cohem poem? The guy wires of the tent have just caught fire and it is falling. The yaks are moaning disconsolately. Their wailing is fiction or poetry in the humid Hamilton air. A mime creates the illusion that a real mime is there.
But none of us believe him.