The Big One

I awoke this morning with a “feel” for the memoir I’ve been meaning to get to, after my initial attempt twenty years ago turned into a 500-page door-stopper of flashbacks. That in turn became two YA novels, Mine Dances and Monkey’s Wedding (loved but ultimately rejected by Harper-Collins–not high concept enough). Five years later, I wrote Loveyoubye, a memoir, but this was not the one I initially set out to write.

This is the first “feel” I’ve had for that original concept. Nothing big, an inkling, but this time the idea was contained as it were, not some vague sprawling inundation of memories, of game reserves and out of the way bush hotels and attacks by rebels. A possible start on the shores of Lake Nyasa, Malawi, our first stop on a three-month motoring holiday up to Kenya from our home in Nkana, Zambia. This was where I fell in love with a twenty-year old man–I was thirteen–who paid me the slightest attention and where I won a Bingo round.

I lay in bed regretting throwing away that flash-back monstrosity that had been gathering dust in my old studio, chucked when the ex flew the coop and I had to move my writing studio to its present location at the front of the house. My memory was a tad better back then, and as bad as this account was, it had all the dates and events I’d need if I’m to write the Big One. But I do have a truckload of old 3×5 floppy disks with the entire manuscript on them. Now to find a way to extract that information, given that my computer doesn’t accomodate those relics. And are the disks still workable?

V is For Vulture

Jake, my Staffie thinks he can catch one of the local vultures on our hikes up the big hill. That’s because as the bird swoops across our view a little further down the hill, it looks as if it’s reachable. I’m talking about the turkey vulture, the kind we have around here, shown below. According to Wikipedia, along with the Andean Condor, it is one of the New World vultures, found in the Americas, up to southern Canada and northern Argentina. I always think of old cowboy movies when I see one above us, can almost hear John Wayne saying, “It don’t look good, Jeb, even the buzzards know we’re done fer, they’re just waiting for us to die.”

And then there are the Old World vultures, to be found on African plains as well on every other continent, except Australia and Antartica. I remember seeing one of these guys, an African White-Backed hunched over the carcass of a zebra when we took a trip to the Tsavo National Park when I was thirteen.

My favorite though is the Griffon also known as the Himalayan or Great Vulture, found in Europe, north Africa and Asia. It’s magnificent as you can see below. I say favorite because I’m quite fond of vultures. For one thing, like all creatures on earth they perform a valuable service. And, I don’t know, they just seem so unflappable. Get it? Unflappable.