TELLING TIME

ANGELS, ANCESTORS, AND STORIES

In a luminous collection of essays, prolific children's author, poet, and novelist Willard (Sister Water, 1993) speaks of the magic and craft of writing. Many of these 13 pieces describe the power of poems in their ancient role as incantations that call us to see the objects and beings of the world anew—and of the power of stories as parables. The truth nestles hidden inside a good story, contends Willard, who quotes Eudora Welty: ``Fiction is a lie...Never in its inside thoughts, always in its outside dress.'' One of the most vivid lessons Willard ever got on the importance of giving truth some ``outside dress'' came from a University of Michigan student who briefly rented a room in her parents' rambling house. Willard relates that, according to young Danny Weinstein, Truth used to go around stark-naked, scandalizing everybody until he happened to meet Parable, who dressed him up: ``Truth put on a white linen suit, a pink shirt, and a black tie, and what do you know? People invited him here, they invited him there, they shook his hand when they met him in the street. Since that time Truth and Parable are great friends.'' Inspired by Weinstein's story, Willard weaves a series of delightful parables that dramatize basic writing principles like ``show, don't tell.'' The best stories, says the author, pull the reader into a special, ceremonial time and space in which past and present coexist. A writer must learn to wait actively for such tales, for they always seem to come through chance, as though delivered by angels. These are the stories that preserve the inner truth of beloved ancestors and places, that resonate—even if not explicitly—with the timeless human incantation, ``Once upon a time.'' Willard strings together insight after insight, creating a celebration of, as well as a guide to, the writing life.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 1993

ISBN: 0-15-693130-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1993

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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