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September 19, 2001 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-19

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4

Didn't get enough books?
Join B-school Management
Series authors for a book
signing tonight. Borders.
7 pm. Free.
michigandaily. com/arts

£tdli.ml jaiu
ARTS

WEDNESDAY
SEPTEMBER 19, 2001 10

Collings to read on
investigative danger

Bausch's new complex novel
reveals 'hole' in one man's soul

By Ryan Blay
Daily Arts Writer

By Ryan Moloney
Daily Arts Writer
The life of an investigative jour-
nalist does not come complete with
the generous trappings of a plush,
well-lit anchor desk and an adoring

Anthony
Collings
Shaman Drum
Wednesday at 8

nightly televi-
sion audience.
They often live
modestly in
depraved cor-
ners of the
world, bravely
shielding them-
selves from the
ubiquitous, per-
ilous glare of
violence in
order to report
the facts about
government and

the criminal
element.
They are the lifeblood of truth
throughout the world.
Communications professor and
former CNN correspondent Antho-
ny Collings writes about the unsung
heroes of investigative journalism in
his book, "Words of Fire: Indepen-
dent Journalists Who Challenge
Dictators, Drug Lords, and Other
Enemies of a Free Press." Collings
will conduct a reading of his book
at 8:00 tonight at Shaman Drum,
with C-Span recording the event for
future re-play.
Collings first got the idea for the
book in 1981 when, while working
for CNN in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley,
he and his crew were captured and
held at gunpoint by Syrians and
Palestinians who mistook the Amer-
icans as Israeli spies.

"We were interrogated and we
told them we were with CNN," said
Collings, "but nobody had heard
of" the then-fledgling cable news
network.
The punishment for espionage in
the region was execution and
Collings feared a firing squad was
imminent.
After a few tense hours of captiv-
ity in Beirut, Collings and his col-
leagues were released.
"Although it scared me to death,
it was not as bad a situation as oth-
ers have faced." Not as bad in the
sense that Collings was fortunate
enough to live - others are not so
lucky.
One of the journalistic martyrs
Collings profiles in the book, Irish
journalist Veronica Guerin, was
shot and killed in June, 1996 by
Irish gangsters. Guerin's gutsy and
unabashed reporting on Ireland's
underworld made her prey for
repeated physical assaults, but she
remained relentless in her search for
the facts.
After getting shot in the leg in
1995, Guerin tracked down her
assailant, encountered him, and told
him she was not afraid of his
threats.
Another investigative journalist,
Russian Dmitri Kholodov, was
killed in 1994 when he came too
close to uncovering secrets of cor-
ruption within the Russian Army.
In a case of twisted irony,
Collings's book might serve as a
premonition for the dilemma many
independent journalists now face -
whether to risk their lives in the
"battleground countries," as
Collings calls them, of the Middle

Courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press

East.
"They will have to go to danger-
ous places and talk to dangerous
people," Collings said. "These ter-
rorists are fanatics and they will kill
anybody who doesn't agree with
them.
"For an American to get any of
these facts, they must go right into
it - there is a danger of being held
hostage or even death."
Last week's attack on the World
Trade Center prompted Collings to
reorganize his reading and presenta-
tion of the book. Shaman Drum is
preparing for a larger crowd than
expected, given the subject matter
and the presence of C-Span.
"There might be a large crowd,
but we should be able to accommo-
date it," Shaman Drum manager
Ray McDaniel said, "People might
be coming out with the hope of hav-
ing a more civic-minded discus-
sion."
Collings came to the University
in 1997 as the Howard R. Marsh
Professor of Journalism after a long
and distinguished reporting career
with the Associated Press, the Wall
Street Journal, Newsweek and
CNN.

tAH Hole in
he Earth
Robert Bausch
Grade: A
Harcourt
L Grade:
~'

surprised by what I nearly missed.
Henry Porter is a man with deep
problems. His affinity for horse
racing led to a divorce from his
wife, and a subsequent estrange-
ment with his teenage daughter,
Nicole. His wonderful girlfriend
Elizabeth is pregnant - but may be
breaking up with him. His deeply
religious parents never forgave him
for his divorce. And Nicole just
showed up on his doorstep at the
beginning of the summer.
This wonderful character sketch
of Henry comes not just through
his actions, which consist mainly of

One could, presumably, start reading "A Hole in the
Earth" without knowing what to expect, save for some
spare information on the back cover. It worked for me,
and I was extremely impressed by what I found - and

lost his first wife because he gambled and his second
love because he refused to gamble. His introspection is
appealing because of thoughts like this.
But not all of Henry's life is amusing. His complicat-
ed relationship with Elizabeth makes his life with
Nicole seem easy. Although he thinks he loves her, he
doesn't feel ready for fatherhood again, or marriage for
that matter. Yet he can't lose her. The letter he compos-
es to her over a period of days (Bausch dedicates a
whole chapter to it for a reason) is wonderful and tragic
in its honesty.
One warning: This novel isn't for the reader looking
for a quick, shallow read. It's addictive and a little long.
Plan on spending some time with "A Hole in the Earth,"
and annoying your friends by laughing out of the blue.

gambling on horses and offending his family. It stems
from the pain he feels as he tries to connect with his
daughter. It comes from the author's wonderful first-
person narrative. Nicole didn't just fix her tresses, "She
brushed her hair with the impassivity and assurance of
a person who has not yet come to understand that she is
mortal." Henry, at age 39, is already world-weary.
Author Robert Bausch is an English and writing
teacher, and his students must be extremely fortunate to
have such a clever writer to guide them. His use of lan-
guage, although bordering on bad sentimentality at
times (listening to him babbling about his version of
the Fates is like listening to a certain bad Alanis Mor-
risette song), is moving and pure.
But it is his use of humor that sets him apart from
most writers. At times the book is so funny that the
reader is forced to laugh out loud in spite of himself.
Henry is simply too amusing to ignore, despite his
plight. Whether poking fun at Nicole's supposedly irra-
tional vegetarianism or threatening to not pay a creditor
who demands payment, Henry channels his bitterness
and loneliness into humor - both the laugh-out-loud
type and the bittersweet.
During one meal, Henry discovers that his ex-wife is
celebrating her tenth wedding anniversary with her new
husband. He then poses the question "Are you happy
that I'm happy that she's happy that her mother's
happy?" to his father. Another time, he realizes that he
Driscoll gives off a
honest, fresh appeal

Williams hits the
MI theater tonight

Courtesy of Harcourt

By Nicholas Harp
For the Daily
Lucinda Williams is the best
songwriter in the United States.

Really. Shove thei
L.ucinda
Williams
Michigan Theater
Tonight at 7:30

mephistophelean
specter of
Dylan off to the
left, let the
earthy warbling
of Nanci Grif-
fith flutter back
to Austin, leave
James Taylor to
hum placidly in
the elevator,
blow Emmylou
a kiss, remind
yourself that
Hank Williams
and Townes
Van Zandt are

Essence, in stores now, you'd think
she could enjoy a certain presump-
ion of recognition. But the
Louisiana-born Williams, who per-
forms tonight at the Michigan The-
ater (with Canadian crooner Ron
Sexsmith), doesn't really need to
worry about the promotional manu-
factories of the record business or
the trendy celebration of "O Broth-
er, Where Art Thou?" roots music.
After all, she's got her songs.
Essence finds Williams slower
and shakier than her work in Car
Wheels. In songs like "Reason to
Cry," "Lonely Girls," and "Steal
Your Love," her voice pushes
through you like the first autumn
wind. It's a tremulous, mezzo-
soprano mixture of loneliness,
plain-spoken heartache, and a long-
ing so desperate you feel her
wounds in your own chest.
In "Blue," she writes, "So go to
confession/Whatever gets you
through/You can count your bless-
ings/I'll just count on blue," and
turns its simple phrasing into a
hymnal apotheosis of regret and
solace. Williams is the daughter of
the poet and professor Miller
Williams (who read a poem at Clin-

By Marie Bernard
Daily Arts Writer
After a 1999 reading at the Cran-
brook Institute, I accompanied Jack
Driscoll and poet Michael Delp to a

I

- moment of silence - deceased,
and recognize that nobody puts
words atop music better today than
Williams.
Who's Lucinda Williams? Shame
on you. With a career more than
twenty years in the making, the
superb 1998 Grammy-winning Car
Wheels on a Gravel Road to her
credit, and a brand new collection,

oureyo- cin- o- 111Ia AJIII
"I am a Southern belle. I can seduce
any man. Bring It on."
ton's second inauguration), and
grew up around luminaries like
Flannery O'Connor and James
Dickey. Something in her work -
its quiet fidelity to the Delta blues
past, its plangent sense of time and
loss - really does evoke the gothic
woe of classic southern literature.
This is not the nasal yodeling of
the Dixie Chicks or the kitsch pluck
of Shania; this is literate, southern
music that pulls your heart out from
under you like a trap door.

Jack
Driscoll
Hale Auditorium
Thursday night at 5

local brewery
for dinner. We
sat at a corner
table, under-
neath a stuffed
moose head.
"Get a load of
Jack's blouse
- doesn't he
look like a
pirate in that
shirt?" Delp
c omm en ted,
tugging at the
loose linen
sleeves. "What
is this, a

tunic?" Driscoll chose to ignore the
jab. Instead he said to me, "It's real-
ly too bad you aren't old enough,
because this beer really hits the
spot." If I remember correctly, Delp

had to toss a glass of water at
Driscoll's sleeve to bring his atten-
tion to the garment in question.
Then, Driscoll looked down at the
thing as though it had come onto his
body by accident. "Is that what it
looks like, a tunic?"
In a way, that unconcerned atti-
tude was exactly the one that
Driscoll carried when he was my
creative writing teacher. It was the
semester that "Lucky Man, Lucky
Woman" brought him to a certain
level of literary stardom and wealth
- and the whole time he acted as if
all of the recognition was an acci-
dent. Anyone who reads his work
recognizes that it was only a matter
of time.
He is a man gentle enough to be
your uncle, inquisitive enough to be
your teacher and talented enough to
be a new literary icon. When he
read a rough draft of the last chapter
of his new book to our writing
class, I closed my eyes and listened
and couldn't wait to hear the rest of
the story.
Driscoll, who will be reading this
Thursday evening in the Business
School's Hale Auditorium, has writ-
ten four books of poetry, one book
of short stories and two novels. His
work has been published hundreds
of times in various literary journals
and magazines. He is the recipient
of the PEN/Nelson Algren Fiction
Award and an NEA Fellowship,
among other awards. His first novel,
"Lucky Man, Lucky Woman,"
received the prestigious Pushcart
Editors Award. An avid fly-fisher,
his non-fiction has been published
multiple times in "Outdoor Life"
magazine. His book of short stories,
"Wanting Only to Be Heard," is one
of the most quietly eloquent collec-
tions I have ever read.
Driscoll's work is honest. It is
bare and beautiful and honest all at
once. Driscoll wears sunglasses
indoors. It's hard to tell if this too
happens by accident, or if the flo-
rescent classroom is truly that
offensive.
Driscoll tells stories about him-
self with a type of reserved selfless-
ness, an understated finesse at

4

4

Courtesy of Norton Publishing

---

w . Ina

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1

of high drama but rather of a mar-
riage, of all things."
His follow-up novel, "Stardog,"
about one man's escape from his
life via the American highways,
received similar critical acclaim.
Driscoll's work has always spoken
from a particular mid-Western sensi-
bility, no matter where the stories
take place.
Northern Michigan, where
Driscoll currently resides and teach-
es, is an American culture of its
own. It is a world dominated by a
popular hunting season and a fan-
tastic/brutal winter. It is greatly
affected by rural poverty and it is
nknr nonulaition to a thriving natural'

Qi Gung Tue 6-7:3opm Oct 2-Nov 13 $45
Scottish Country Dance Mon 7-9pm Oct i-Nov 19 $45

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