Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Sunday, the river flows upstream.

When I sat down to write today's blog, the words "On Sunday, the river flows upstream" immediately came to mind. Maybe that's because I had just read the announcement of the upcoming Theme Thursday theme - Water. I don't know. In any event, the sentence made my head spin. By definition, (do correct me if I'm wrong) the term "upstream" refers to the direction opposite the direction in which the river is flowing. Therefore, my opening sentence is oxymoronic, no?

And yet, there it is.

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Lewis Carroll - Through the Looking Glass


I'm with the queen, in that I can and do believe impossible things sometimes. The other night, while I was watching Carmen Grant onstage in The Syringa Tree, I could believe - just for the moment - that Carmen was a six-year old white girl, her mother, her father, a pregnant black woman, a baby, a police official, a young revolutionary man, and more. All these characters taking their turns on the stage were really this one slight, redheaded woman, but because of her skill and that of the playwright, I was able to see an entire community in her, to enter into what Coleridge called the willing suspension of disbelief. What a gift.

I've been researching my NaNoWriMo book, trying to make sure that I have my facts straight - that whatever happens in my story happens at a time and in a place where it could, in fact, have happened.

(Anachronisms) OK, this is admittedly pretty obscure but it's still there: In the movie "Hang 'em High" our hero, Clint Eastwood, has 3 bad guys in a farm house surrounded (all by himself). So the head bag guy turns loose the farm dog on ol' Clint. The problem is that the movie takes place in the old west cica 1880 and the dog loosed on Clint is a German Shepherd, a breed that did not exist as we know it until the early 20th century. Shocking? Spoil the movie? No, just maybe the most obscure movie anachronism of all time. (TV) - vintagemxr
  • Info: The first German Shepherd Dog exhibited in America was in 1907. (Source:

The above is from a site called Whoops! Movie Goofs. See? People notice these things - and not just in movies - in books, too. That's embarrassing for the authors implicated, but worse - factual errors get in the way of the willing suspension of disbelief.

That's just scary. It's a wonder anybody ever writes anything at all.

Never mind. Back to work. Nobody said it would be easy.


John Hayes said...

That is a beautiful opening sentence-- & I love the Looking Glass quote.

Eberle's working on a historical novel, so I know the arduousness of fact-checking at close secondhand. It makes me love poetry all the more. But hang in there!

René Wing said...

sometimes my river flows upstream too! thanks for visiting my site Sandra. I am enjoying your sense of humor, and that is a favorite quote of mine.


René Wing said...

I just noticed the poem on the side. it's fabulous. Thank you.

Sandra Leigh said...

Thank you, John. Please give Eberle my sympathy.

René, I think that when National Poetry Month is over, I may just continue rooting out poems from the net and posting them, because I've been enjoying the poems, too.

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