Monday, October 09, 2006

Heads Talking

While up in Evanston this weekend for a working seminar on "listening" my wife, daughter (Northwestern '07, good to see her for the weekend too!) and I went to the new B&N there on Sherman.

I picked up Harold Bloom's book on wisdom through the ages at the remainders desk (note to self: teach course on wisdom), but on the way out spied Robert Olen Butler's newest on the shelf near the door. Have followed Butler's work for a few years now. He resides in that top creative writing program at Florida State, and I watched his live writing of a short story on the Internet a few years ago. Remember that one?

Oh yes...his latest book, you ask: Severance. He put these two thoughts together: One, the human head is believed to stay conscious for about 90 seconds after being decapitated. Two, in a heightened state of emotion, human beings can talk at 160 WPM.

So, of course, what is next for Butler? A series of 240 word stories from various heads across history...Marie Antoinette, Jayne Mansfield, a chicken...even the author himself, decapitated in 2008.

We had already paid a bushel of bucks and were heading out the door, but I will probably read this book!

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