The Bartender’s Tale: Hunnerd Percent Swuft – Here’s From A to Why

August 25, 2015 @ Angelika’s House: amazing dinner on back deck
Karen S >>Canada; Kitty>>African safari

Tiny Bits:

  • Happy 1st B’day to Ayla (thx for pics, Mary)
  • Sarajevo postcard/history lesson: thx & we miss you, Hege!
  • MoCo Fair = expensive, yukky; Howard Co Fair = so much better
  • Doggie DNA, Marie’s new pup, Maisie (1/8 mystery; 4/8 Plott Hound; 3/8 Doberman = 110% cute!)
  • Katrina, 10 years after: some fascinated/some ‘too soon/much’
  • college apts: some are so awesome, some are so NOT
  • Shelley’s house: back up nightmare but Servpro was so good & new flooring etc is all working out dandy

Themed Food!

  • Liz’s smoked trout appetizers
  • She
    lleys’ Manchego (goat/sheep) cheese, ham (pig knuckles) appetizer
  • Katie’s Orange Crush soda (okay, not really food)

Other Super-yummy stuff:  Viv’s salad, Sue’s guac & airy chips, Marie’s wine, Mary’s berry & peach (all hand-picked) crumble, Karen C’s something delish that Katie can’t recall (sorry, Karen), Angelika’s no-holds-barred dinner. It was all so SWUFT!

The Bartender’Bartender's Tale Aug 2015s Tale by Ivan Doig

Mary picked it because she really, really liked the story & the style that featured the ‘rich nothingness’ of wide 0pen summers and tween perspectives + unique insight from colorful characters. An ordinary story (well, on most days) under a Big Sky.

It was a BIG HIT! (Mary may still be grinning…). We all enjoyed the theme of connecting souls via stories (thru Rusty’s eyes). Mary & Liz are on a Books by Doig Read-a-thon.

Sound: so critical to so much…
small scale/big impact: Tom’s midnight movements in the house, listening through the vent, Canada Dan’s speech patterns
a longer echo:  Dell & his work; certain hints about past events dropped in current conversation

Rusty’s angst was so real & well-done; Dell’s description of his goals & passion was so compelling (the how & the why of it); Proxy…what would she do/say/reveal/get caught at next???; theater (cagey Vaudevillian bits & ‘high theater’ w/Shakespeare & Wilde & Mrs. Cloyce Renking (sp?)

Great treatment of history:  1960 (narrow view) & the bigger past; these 2 tributaries of time (plus other time streams) merged into a big River Now

Akin to Cannery Row (says Karen C):  small town, great characters, no great plot, but lovely sentiment; we all agreed

Mary Shared:

  1. Doig’s goal for mentoring writers to engage readers (paraphrased here):  Ground your work in local events and language but  be sure to talk about the larger story: life
  2. Actual history elements:  LIFE’s First-Ever Cover Story: Building the Fort Peck Dam, 1936
  3. Quotes/expressions from The Bartender’s Tale that struck (Mary’s) funny bone:
  • Don’t put beans up your nose
    • And with this in mind, Rusty says about Francine: “Uh oh. I knew she was awfully close to putting beans up her nose with that answer.” (p. 275)
  • Ess of Bees (son of a B….)
  • That’s the how of it. (p. 48 and lots of others)
  • Don’t be like a plague of locusts. (p. 48: you’re bugging me…)
  • “maddermoany”: matrimony (p. 60)
  • We split the blanket when she pulled out on you and me (p. 60) (divorced/split up)
  • Too bad they didn’t run down Arvin’s leg… (in reference to cousins Danny and Ronny, bullies. P.20)
  • Hunnerd percent
  • Everydamn where?
  • I’m getting middle aged , in the middle of getting too damn aged. (p. 161)
  • About parents: By the time we figure them out, we’ll be them. (p. 164)
  • He stood there restlessly, all pockets and ambition. (about Del when first presenting self to Tom at the Medicine Lodge, p. 172)
  • “The interviews, as conducted by Del, were like jazz or, yes, the blues; riffs of memory in a language all their own. “ (in reference to interviewing the mudjacks and their responses at the Mudjack Reunion, p 222.)
  • “Play the hand you’re dealt.”
  • “When you go through a gate, close it behind you.” (don’t look back…done is done)
  • Bits that the kids did: Muscles and Ace.

Theme Song:  Lead Belly’s signature song was Goodnight Irene
[‘Leadbelly’ often used; he wrote it as 2 words]

Other options abound. The Library of Congress recordings, done by John and Alan Lomax from 1934 to 1943, were released in a six volume series by Rounder Records in the early-to-mid-1990s:

  • Midnight Special (1991)
  • Gwine Dig a Hole to Put the Devil In (1991)
  • Let It Shine on Me (1991)
  • The Titanic (1994)
  • Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen (1994)
  • Go Down Old Hannah (1995)

NEXT MEETING:  Sue’s House, Sept. 27 @ 6 p.m.
Angelika’s selection: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Sue’s October selection:  The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

Other books:
Good YA:  The Orphan Train (Mary)
Awful:  The Language of Flowers (Karen C)
Good-ish: The Martian (Karen C)
Dark & Depressssing: The Hausfrau (Liz, Viviane)
Fascinating: Galileo’s Daughter (Katie)
Really great autobiography: Open [Andre Agassi] (Katie)


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