Tuesday, November 6 is “Brian Doyle Day” made possible by a city proclamation last year in honor of a local esteemed author and friend to many. November 6 happens to be his birthday and so each year on that day the Lake Oswego community is invited to remember or get acquainted with the words and the wisdom of this very gifted man. Enjoy the beauty of the library’s Brian Doyle Garden, take home a Brian Doyle bookmark, and check out one of his books.
Doyle, whose novel-Mink River– was Lake Oswego Reads 2012 selection, would have turned 62 this year had he not passed away last year from complications related to a brain tumor. Over the course of his writing career he left a string of novels, short stories, essays, poems and prayers (or proems as he liked to call them) that speak to his love of language and his fascination with story.
Here is some insight into the man through his own words:
It’s fun, it’s fun to create things… they’re like little pieces of carpentry made out of ink.—on writing
The chance to connect, to rub hearts and brains with people, to catch and share astonishing stories of grace and courage and pain and endurance and creativity and laughter. Storycatching and storysharing are crucial ancient holy acts; if we do not do so we will eat nothing but lies and sales pitches. –on what being a writer means to him
My sister the smiling Buddhist nun says I am congenitally optimistic, as the well-balanced middle child in a large family, but I think it’s more that I just cannot repress the constant stream of amazing examples and chapters of grace and humor and courage and tenderness and humility I see every blessed day. –on his equanimity
I get teased a lot for my style. People are always saying, wow, you have these really long, rollicking sentences and they go on for weeks, a sentence will start on Tuesday and it doesn’t end ’til Friday. But I want to write like people talk. I want to write like I’m speaking to you. –-on his style
I dearly love playing with the linguistic tools we are given, and love wrenching it this way and that, seeing what it might do if you let it loose – I am sure, as I have often been accused, that sometimes I can be so headlong and thrilled by the racing horse that it’s hard to read my pieces, but I can also say with high glee that I bet no one ever had as much sheer fun writing prose as me. –on his love of writing
Oh, a matter of gratitude, I suspect; with Mink River in particular I wanted to try to write down Oregon-ness itself, the verb and song and brave of the place, its moist grace, its brawny gentle creativity and prickly communal vibe. I have lived here 25 years and Oregon has given me the people I love best, wonderful friends, good work, clean water by the ton from the sky… Also it’s my home and I want to celebrate its unique verve. –on his love of Oregon
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