Reading Between The Lines

Feb 18, 2021 | 0 comments

I’ve never thought about the possibility that I am a literal thinker.  In fact, I take a bit of pride in being able to connect the dots.  To read between the lines, so to speak.  But sometimes, as in the case of When Captain Flint Was Still A Good Man, the dots are just too far apart.  Or the lines are too close together.

The book, by Nick Dybek, was suggested to me by my friend Aaron Rabin.  So I should have known.  Aaron, like my former brother-in-law, the late Jim Howell,  often thinks and talks on a plane that I only fully understand when we are face-to-face.  It’s as if we float along a wave length that doesn’t need literal translation.  But the wave length disappears when we part company.

Jim, now well known for his minimalist artworks,  once hired me to write some biographical material about him and his newly developing understanding of art.  I took copious notes in our many interviews and we communicated perfectly — or so we both believed. But once I got to writing, I found my notes undecipherable.  I simply could not put into words (or even thoughts) what we had discussed so thoroughly only the day before.  I had to tell him I couldn’t follow through.

Aaron Rabin

With Aaron, it’s more a matter of the books he likes and recommends.  Actually, the first was one I told him about — To Know What Dream by Millie Sherwood, my friend Ann “Memi” Anderson’s mother.  Aaron went to great lengths to borrow the last known extant copy from Memi, herself.  Aaron loved the book — even had it rebound for her in gratitude. I appreciate the book because of Millie and Memi — but I never could “get” it.

And now: When Captain Flint Was Still A Good Man.  “…it’s a fantastic PNW novel – and I couldn’t help thinking of you!” Aaron wrote.  So I borrowed the book from the library.  I’m reading it now.  I love the descriptions, the imagery.  But… so far we are not as one.  It makes me wonder…  literally.

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