Archive for the ‘March, 2011’ Category

Geoff Dyer and Jigsaw Puzzles

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Geoff Dyer is a very interesting writer (as usual, a great place to start finding out about him is at the Complete Review‘s author page).  Like most of us, he knows a little about a lot of things and a lot about a few things.  And like most of us, some of what he thinks he knows may not be as unusual as he thinks.  I was surprised to see this in a recent essay from the Threepenny Review:

My mother had a particular way of doing jigsaws: we sorted out the side pieces and made a hollow, unstable frame, then filled in the middle. Our approach to jigsaws was, in other words, methodical, rigorous.

Doing the frame first — isn’t that the way everybody does jigsaw puzzles?? I remember reading in Margaret Drabble’s jigsaw-infused memoir, The Pattern in the Carpet:  A Memoir with Jigsaws, a discussion of sorting pieces by color (and I’ve been tempted at times to sort by shape, but usually don’t) — now that seems methodical and rigorous, but doing the frame first, that just seems normal, not especially “particular.”

From The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

On why people like mysteries (from pages 255-256):

“I think I love the idea that problems have solutions.  I think that’s the appeal of  mystery stories. . . .  As opposed to  a world that’s random. . . . Not knowing is the worst outcome for any mystery story, because we need to believe that everything in the world is knowable.  Justice is optional, but answers, at least, are mandatory.”

FD wonders if these attitudes are colored by the studies of the author, who has a degree in religious history.  Anyway, he also says (page 287),

“He’d read thousands of  happy endings and thousands of sad ones, and he had found himself satisfied with both.  What he had not read, he now realized, were the moments after the endings. . . .     . . . he had never before thought that find one [an answer/solution to a mystery], and then having to go on living with it, might be worse.”

Conversations in the Supermarket

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

FD and Mr. FD were at the supermarket today, as they are every Saturday.  Actually, at two supermarkets, but that is another story.

At the supermarket, FD met someone FD and Mr. FD are having dinner with tomorrow night.  That was a brief conversation and everyone simply moved on.  But a few minutes later, in the soup aisle, an old and seldom seen acquaintance appeared.  Someone FD really likes.  So, of course, there was a fairly lengthly conversation, though not completely unlike many other conversations going on around us.  It’s not a big city, and one often runs into friends and acquaintances.

But, what was interesting was that, after all, one is trying to buy the weekly groceries, and it’s a task one does want to get on with.  And of course one doesn’t want to impede anyone else’s completion of the task.  So, after a few minutes of happy chat, FD and Mr. FD continued on, as did the friend.  Usually that would be the end of the event.  But today, all the participants ended up a few minutes later sharing another aisle.  At which point the friend made a good joke about “shadowing” FD and Mr. FD (well, it was funny at the time).  This is not what happens in most other situations.  Ordinarily, if you meet a friend out in the world while doing errands, you may have a happy chat and move on AND YOU WON”T SEE THE PERSON AGAIN.  But in the confines of the supermarket, multiple meetings, or at least passings, aren’t unusual.  And yet, FD isn’t sure what is the etiquette, or even the common custom, for such meetings???