Monday, October 24, 2016

A Local Author, A Memoir, and Burning Man - All in One

Composing Temple Sunrise is the memoir of local author, Hassan El-Tayyab.  And it's funny how I even found out about it.  I learned of Hassan through one of my favorite bloggers, Kathy, of BermudaOnion. She had an interview with Hassan on her blog (since then, I have run across another blogger who also interviewed him).  So Kathy must live in the Bay Area, right?  Nope.  She's in the Midwest.  Regardless of the source, I now have connected with Hassan and have read his memoir. Let me give you the subtitle of the book:  "Overcoming Writer's Block at Burning Man."  This is obviously not your typical memoir.

Here is what author Steven T. Jones had to say:

Going to Burning Man for the first time can be a powerful, life-changing experience.  That's particularly true when someone is involved with building a major art installation, and even more so when that person is wrestling with personal demons and searching for a new life path.  And so it was in 2009 when struggling teacher-turned-musician Hassan El-Tayyab found himself in a strange warehouse in a new city, buzzing with preparations to bring Fishbug to the playa in a few weeks...

One of the things I really liked about this book (which I've mentioned about a few other books) is that each chapter starts with a quote.  And just to give you an idea about who the quoters are, here are the 1st 5: Martin Luther King, Alexander Graham Bell, Bob Dylan, JFK, and Miles Davis.  Eclectic much? Oh, and we've got Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and Herbie Hancock too!

I also liked that I learned what Burning Man is all about.  I have heard of BM (don't snicker) for years but really knew nothing about it.  Now I do.

His writing is another plus for me.  It's not meant to be overly literary. It's written well but in a way that we can all understand and relate to it. A couple of examples:

When Hassan was asked to play some music, he said "It felt like being called on in math class without having done any homework."  I think we've all been there and know what that feels like.

"A cloud of dust rolled in behind him like we were in an old western movie."  Pretty visual, don't you think?

I liked how he overcame a cleft palate and a rough childhood.

And, finally, I'm happy to report some chills, tears, smiles, and even an "Unh."

This is definitely a book that will keep you engaged.


Jeff has written a book that all of us can benefit from reading.  Here's the back cover:

As parents, we often forget what it is like to be our kids age.  We struggle between their need for the here and now versus our desire to teach self-control and the realization of better things in the future.  We see their increasing cravings of independence flipped against our nurturing instinct and guidance to view and care about the world around them.
This funny, yet discussion provoking book shows kids the balance between urges and broader issues compelling awareness to help them (and us as parents) achieve balance so we're not classified in the extreme.