e c l e c t i c a n o n f i c t i o n
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Memories of Seumas
Our first dog was the brightest and most beautiful of all the bright and beautiful dogs we have owned. He had been adopted from a Maryland dog pound by my Foreign Service colleague Neil McManus and his wife Clare. They named him Seumas McManus, after Seumas MacManus (sic), an Irish patriot and the last shanachie, storyteller in the ancient tradition. MacManus published many volumes of tales that, he said, he had learned by a hundred firesides in Donegal.
How to Translate Saudades
My father once told me, not without pride, the French Jesuits who ran his high school in Rio made the boys speak only the learned language of Pascal during class and recess. I forget what the penalty was for breaking into the mother tongue, but whatever it was, it worked, at least for a while, turning Brazilian boys of his day into mouth-pursing, French-spouting young men for whom everything French was de rigueur, including, if one were lucky, French mistresses.
What The Smart People Think
The best of my English teachers, Mr. A., to whom I do owe a very considerable debt, made no real pretense of being a belletristic type. He'd been a journalist for years, and thus owned a keen eye for the sort of filler and froth with which I liked to lace my prose (as perhaps in unguarded moments I still do).
I had just read an article on visualizing. What I took away was the fact that two sets of basketball players practiced free throws, then competed against one another. One group had practiced by doing. The other group by merely visualizing the act. The visualizers beat the doers. There was more to the test, but that's basically what happened.