Each week on the 49th Shelf homepage, we highlight new releases. We also make theme-based lists and showcase lists from guest contributors and 49th Shelf members. This page archives these selections so they are always available to our members.
"Benny, please put your plate in the sink."
"What would you do if I said no?" asked Benny.
"I'd tell you that just saying no is rude," replied his mom. "Then I'd explain why it's important to help out around the house."
"Well," said Benny, "what would you do if I said that I liked being rude, that I didn't care about helping out around the house, and then I chucked my plate across the room?"
Outgrowing an old mythology in the intellectual sense is a first (and in hindsight relatively easy) step; bearing emotional freight is another matter. The "Bindy" for whom this book is named grew up with me speaking an ethnically Mennonite and religiously fundamentalist tongue. Despite its anathemas (or perhaps because of them), the language became a strop on which our words were keened, for Bindy until his death, and for me still to this day.
I am a latecomer to the creative arts. Arthur Miller called writing "a way of synthesizing all of one's insides." This is a philosophical tussle with Blake's Old Nobodaddy throughout 1998, the year of Bindy's dying. Partly it's a confession (scary bi-polar genre, scorned at the newsstand end and extolled in St. Augustine), but also a kind of repentance of former uses of language in my own wordy careers as a minister, counsellor, and university instructor.
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