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Carmel Magazine HO15

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trips with him, from the very same, repeti- tive lessons that earli- er annoyed her. As Emma sets about find- ing her way out of the wilderness alone, we hear her father in her thoughts, her instincts and decisions. "I'd told myself I was just going to go and not look back. With all the water inside, the boat was even heavier than before. Unsteadily, I took a sweep stroke and turned so I was facing upstream. 'Stay out of trouble,' I said. It's what he said to me every time I stayed home alone. 'I'll try,' I always answered back. 'Try hard enough,' he'd say. I started bailing. 'I will.'" Treichel is gifted with description. About a tarantula: "…with its legs spread out, the spider was nearly as big as the mouth of a coffee mug…the tarantula paused for a second, testing with one of its legs, and then walked onto my palm. It weighed less than a cough drop. It stopped and bunched itself together and from overhead it looked like a delicate black flower, each leg a petal." Even though Emma's father is only alive in the first few pages of the book, the tender portrait Treichel provides, through Emma's eyes, makes us love this man and mourn his death. "During the last Olympics, my dad let me stay up late to watch the whitewater stuff with him. The kayaking and canoeing didn't air till the mid- dle of the night…While we were waiting, my dad made paper flags for each of us. He sat at the kitchen table and drank beers as he worked. He stapled computer paper to some barbecue skew- ers, colored the stars and stripes with the dried- out markers from the junk drawer. When it was almost time for the whitewater events, he made me go tell Mom, even though she was sleeping. He gave her a big smile and a flag when she came down- stairs. He chanted 'USA! USA!' and tried to get her to fist-pump the air." The treatment of grief is so subtle. In one scene, Emma and her little sister Andrea are looking through a notebook in which all the family members have done some drawings. "'Do you recognize Dad's?' I shouldn't have even been bringing him up. I wanted to ask her if she understood how there weren't going to be any more of these, that these were the last of Dad's bear-robot-crocodile creatures, and that this is what it meant for something to be rare, or precious or endangered…." Treichel's agility, writing from the point-of- view of a teenage girl, is remarkable. After read- ing his short story collection a couple of years ago, and then this novel, I wonder if there's any- thing this writer can't do. The World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write Various essays Originally spoken before live audiences at Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon, these essays are filled with quotes you will want to paste to the wall above your writing desk. Chimamanda Adichie, when talking about rit- uals, shares this quote from Don DeLillo: "Writers go out of their way to secure their solitude. And then, having secured it, they go out of their way to squander it." Hysterical and true. Ursula K. Le Guin says: "Well, the secret to writing is writing. Writing is how you be a writer. It's only a secret to people who really don't want to hear it." Wallace Stegner says that his book, "Crossing to Safety," was "…an attempt to make the commonplace memorable, to com- municate through the story of essentially unin- flected lives, all the pain, anguish, confusion, affection, sacrifice, the spontaneous pleasures and the unanticipated catastrophes of the kind of living that most of us experience." Check out more brilliance from Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, E.L. Doctorow, Marilynne Robinson and others included here. So much wisdom, delightfully delivered. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 5 91 Books available locally at Pilgrim's Way and River House Books in Carmel. Melanie Bishop's young adult novel was recently released. Bishop brings to the Monterey Peninsula 22 years of teaching creative writing, and 18 years as founding edi- tor of Alligator Juniper, a national literar y magazine. For more information, go to c o m d e t h e b o a t w a s e v e n a w m e s b w s ' t t g o n e s c e n e E m m a a n d h W l l a c e S t e g n e r s a y s t h a t h i s b o o k ,

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