Monday, March 23, 2009

Who will run the Frog Hospital?

I normally tie my life into music and lyrics, I think it goes back to  that year as a child my sister and I decided that somewhere out in this great big world, there is a town that does, in fact, break into song.

We serenaded the rest of our family for a week, breaking into dance routines and harmonizing about putting the groceries away or cleaning up after the dog in the back yard.  Yes, we knew that Rodgers and Hammerstein had nothing to worry about - but when you combined our great love of singing normal conversations added with our 5 years of tap lessons it made for an exciting time putting the eggs in the fridge. 

And yes, the rest of the family would just sigh after each number and go about their business.  Pretending it had never happened in the first place and hoping that there wouldn't be a repeat... poor family... 

That is why I lean on music
It is one of my greatest loves
Secretly I still wish and hope there is a land I can go to and just sing all the time.
Life would be easier to digest in song

OK - maybe it wouldn't but it would make me happy! (Fred Astaire how I miss you)

So that's part of why I do that - my made up land of musical bliss - but tonight I'm going to stray to my next love... 

Classical lit is where part of my heart is and will always be.  Alexander Dumas, Gustav Flaubert, Anton Chekhov, they are all some of my great loves.  Tragic events twisting and changing the world of one person.

Beautiful.  Sardonic.  Disturbing.  Perfection.

Modern lit came to me later.  Bukowski.  Kerouac.  Burroughs.  Miller...  The drunk tank of Bukowski, the adventure of Kerouac, the experimental aspects of Burroughs and the risque nature of Miller.  
Capote, Rand, Vonnegut, Steinbeck are others I love... I could do this all night.
Start from the Bible and make my way to JK Rowlings... I love reading.  I love stories.  I love getting lost in a world that is not my own and seeing where it take me, how it moves me, how it changes me.  

And you know what, it can be anything from Dante's Inferno to a novel by Nora Roberts - I just love the written word.  I will not discriminate against it.  No matter the form.  James Elroy was the featured author in the last playboy - I'm the one that read the articles... there had to be one of us now didn't there?

But in the end... that brings me to Lorrie Moore the author who wrote "Who will run the Frog Hospital?"

Its a narrative piece about a character named Berie Carr.  It's her life in present time and back when she was a kid.  Moore intermingles the two stories seamlessly, when you get to each part you want to know more in each prospective.    I could always relate to Berie Carr, even with all of her eccentric oddities.  
The story starts out about her and her husband, attempting to get pregnant and having the hardest time doing so.  Then it flips back to her meeting up with her best friend from her childhood.  She takes you on a story about their last summer together, when a ton of things go wrong and works it's way back to present day.  
I think that I liked it so much because it's a memory.  Fitting the past into your present isn't always that neat and comfy. 

Sadly, I don't own this book.  I realized after I started writing this that I had borrowed it from someone I no longer talk to.  I own Lorrie Moore's "Birds of America" which is a compilation of short stories that are just as good. 
But if you ever get a chance to pick it up, Lorrie Moore, "Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?" I say go for it.

Here is a quick excerpt - 

"...WHEN I WAS a child, I tried hard for a time to split my voice. I wanted to make chords, to splinter my throat into harmonies—floreted as a field, which is how I saw it. It seemed like something one should be able to do. With concentration and a muscular push of air, I felt, I might be able to people myself, unleash the crowd in my voice box, give birth, set free all the moods and nuances, all the lovely and mystical inhabitants of my mind's speech. Afternoons, by myself, I would go beyond the garden and the currant bushes, past the lavender-crowned chives and slender asparagus, past the sunflowers knocked bent by deer or an unseasonal frost, past the gully grass to the meadow far behind our house. Or I'd go down the road to the empty lot near the Naval Reserve where in winter the village plow and dump truck unloaded snow and where in summer sometimes the boys played ball. I would look out upon the wildflowers, the mulch of swamp and leaves, the spring moss greening on the rocks, or the boulderous mountains of street-black snow, whatever season it happened to be—my mittens clotted with ice, or my hands grimy with marsh mud—and from the back of my larynx I'd send part of my voice out toward the horizon and part of it straight up toward the sky. There must have been pain in me. I wanted to howl and fly and break apart..."

It is just one of those stories that has always stuck with me, even though I can't really tell you why.  I love her style of writing and the honesty of the characters.

Honesty... hmm... 

Everyone has a story
What's yours?

Sleep well

~good night...

(and please, enjoy a little Rita Hayworth before you leave...)


  1. Nice story...I'm not sure what my story is...Yet...How I would have loved to see you two singing and dancing throughout the kitchen!

  2. It was something thats for sure! I remember sliding across the floor on my knees and my sis following a second later - our arms in the air. My mom dropped the bread we scared her so bad! LOL!

    I can't wait to read your story.