Second Chance Books

Tonight’s Bill Moyers Journal featured an interview with Louise Erdrich. It has been awhile since I have posted anything Bill Moyers related, leading me to believe that my Bill Moyers obsession was of days past. I have to be honest; I didn’t think an interview with Louise Erdrich would be what would be what reminded me of how much I loved Bill’s show. My senior year of high school we read her novel Tracks in Dr. Cunningham’s class and I really hated it. I was upset, because the year before us in the place of Tracks the class had read Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which I thought would be far more interesting to read and discuss. In my view, Tracks was snore-inducing, and I swore off ever reading Erdrich again. And it still might be so were it not that I caught the second half of the Moyers interview tonight. Erdrich read a poem from her newest collection of poems that literally made me cry (Knightley just stared at me). The poem is called “Advice to Myself” and can be found in Erdrich’s compilation of some of her favorite poems Original Fire.

Lest I commit copyright infringement, I will not cut and paste the entire poem here (you can go to the link and read it all). However, I will point out a couple of lines that I found particularly compelling:

Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos…


Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Sigh. I wish I were a real writer. Within the lines of that poem contain so much sentiment that I never thought would be my own, and yet it is; it is there, so carefully stated and elegantly structured.

You can watch the full interview and sigh over well-stated things on the Bill Moyers Journal website.

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