The veteran writer, poet and broadcaster Ira Joe Fisher has compiled a series of essays from columns he has written for various publications. Perhaps not surprisingly, the portly reporter’s observations often concern food. His gustatory ruminations run from chowder to cashews (soup to nuts, as it were.)
Almost every entry is a showcase for his wry humor; in a passage about a watch with no numbers on its face he observes: “If I want a blank disc on my wrist, I can always tape a Necco there.” His ability to go on for 1000 words or so about why he loves coffee, or a certain ink pen, displays an eye for detail and an ear for self-deprecating humor. He is Andy Rooney without the eyebrows.
In the opening essay, Soda Jerk, he muses over the arcane decorations in an anachronistic soda shop as he awaits a bowl of potato soup. But food is not his only focus. In the title essay, which is by far the longest, he celebrates his love of trains and the thrill of encountering the sudden blackout as a train unexpectedly enters a tunnel.
In Taking the Week Off, he writes an ironic column about not writing a column in which he refers to a place he calls the “Word Attic:" “…where words and phrases wait to be rescued and hugged and taken home.”
The typical writer, he has a love affair with words. He believes Pterodactyl is proof that dinosaurs had tiny brains—why else would they spell their name with a silent P? In Great Word(s), He tells of being at a poetry reading and getting so carried away by the word anemone that he misses the entire rest of the presentation.
His own poetic talents are often on display as when he refers to fallen leaves as “Flowers on the grave of summer.”
There are a few too many Sentences. Like. This. And a few too-many-phrases-like-this. And like the trains he loves, his essays wander off the track from time to time, but without the disastrous effects. Wide and Wavy is an enjoyable volume and one of the few books I’ve read recently that left me smiling at the end of each reading session.
I am a writer and educator publishing fiction, essays, reviews and poetry. I write reviews for Wendy Welch's little bookstore at Big Stone gap blog. I am a writing teacher and workshop facilitator, and have published fiction, essays, reviews, poems and photographs.