Sunday, March 14, 2010

Succulent Words

It is impossible to deny the power of a good beginning and a catchy title when creating a story to engage your readers. There are different ways to achieve a good beginning such as a dramatic lead, starting in the middle of a scene with dialogue, designing a lead to introduce the character who will in turn will tell the story or perhaps starting at the ending and explaining how such an ending came to be. I recently read the book Never Trust A Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital by Eric Dregni. Just the title caught my interest since I enjoy cooking and have been to Italy. Plus the fact it is written by a local author. Eric Dregni is an associate professor of English at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN and also holds the title Dean of Italia Concordia. Never trust a thin cook is an Italian proverb. His lead into this memoir makes you want to find more out about the man who convinces his girlfriend they both should take leaves from their jobs to go on a two year hiatus to Modena in northern Italy. He begins his story...I simply want to live in the place with the best food in the world. My scope has been narrowed to Italy:the country of beautiful chaos, the land of dolce vita.
It is admirable he was able to follow through on one of his dreams.
Even as a child I loved to read and have fond memories of going to the library and checking out 10-15 books at a time. One of my favorite books as a child was Alice in Wonderland. When the movie recently came out I was intrigued with choice of stars for the major roles and was curious what direction the storyline would be taken with Tim Burton at the helm. I was quite impressed with the movie. I thought it was brilliantly executed, stunning visuals and top notch performing. Be prepared for a bit of darkness and violence but it does not overshadow the movie.
Recently I came across an article (Saber Alumni Magazine Winter 2010 issue) that profiled Solfrid Ladstein. She is the department char of English at St. Thomas Academy. I was impressed at her eloquence as she wrote about how literature and writing are interwoven. Ms. Ladstein had this to say..."Literature allows us to live many lives. It teaches us to understand other people and opens our minds to a larger world around us. I like it when students read something that shakes them up and gets them to question. The ability to write well is equally important. Composition goes hand in hand with literature, expanding the richness that comes from reading. Our students need to be able to think critically and creatively, to express their ideas clearly and fluently, and to inspire and persuade others through their written words. Writing well is not only an academic skill but also a life skill. "
So celebrate our early spring thaw with a good book or movie or even both!

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