[Editor's Note: OK, here's the last writeup on the current batch of Not School group discussions. In this case, you actually get to hear (and see!) the full discussion without being a member, but of course, we're still trying to seduce you to join up so that you can join into these fun discussions, so we get more of them, with more people, filling in more of the gaps and pulling in all the directions that PEL itself doesn't have time to cover. ...we broadcast and a thousand flowers bloom and all that. Thanks to group leader Nathan Shane for writing this up.]
Not School's Fiction Group, Worlds of Wordcraft, met over Google Hangout this past Sunday to discuss our January Novel, Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics. Jordan Payne, Nick Story, and myself talked about the themes of science, love, beauty, loss, and existence from some of the book's twelve stories.
An inspiration from Cosmicomics and the first story, The Distance of the Moon:
Watch on YouTube.
We discussed the narrator, whose name is Qwfwq- (no, that's not a typo), a timeless being experiencing universal formations of gravity, signs, color and creative will. Calvino illustrates scientific ideas, like condensing nebulae and emerging atmospheres, with fantastic imagery while also exploring hearfelt love and loss.
From the Cosmicomics story, "Without Colors:"
Then, all of a sudden, those pea-green lawns where the first scarlet poppies were flowering, those canary-yellow fields which striped the tawny hills sloping down to a sea full of azure glints, all seemed so trivial to me, so banal, so false, so much in contrast with Ayl's person, with Ayl's world, with Ayl's idea of beauty, that I realized her place could never have been out here... and nothing was left to remind me of it, even remotely, nothing except perhaps that cold wall of gray stone.
The discussion was recorded via a program that created a YouTube video out of the whole, unedited Hangout session (1 hr, 19 min). Members also have access to an audio-only version for portability.
Our February Discussion will be on Don DeLillo's The Body Artist, you can stream the conversation live on Youtube, Sunday February 10th CST 2pm. To join the conversation, please sign up for PEL's Not School and join our monthly Fiction Group, Worlds of Wordcraft.
- Nathan Hanks