Riding the Wind and Other Tales

James Hoggard, Author Texas A&M University Press $19.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-89096-781-2
""Let's just say for now that in thinking by way of memory one learns new things about rhythms of perception; and writing as it has often been, is a process of discovery."" Here, Hoggard, an English professor at Midwestern State University, uses the personal essay to explore his life and his place in the world--or at least, his place in Texas. Though these tales and recollections are true, they take on a life of their own in the telling. The title piece describes the strength and devastation of four tornadoes that joined forces to ravage the land and its inhabitants. ""The winds that blow all around us are also blowing within us."" Hoggard's stories don't dwell entirely on Texas, however. He travels to the Middle East in ""Letter from Nineveh"" and observes the ironic twists of the culture. In ""Playing with Illusion,"" he tells of a normal childhood, yet can't quite figure why, 40 years later, he is referred to as ""the mean one"" by an old baby-sitter. Describing every parent's nightmare, trying to work at home with young children, ""Working at Home with Them"" tells of the wild changes children bring to a home, though he notes that they can ultimately bring peace as well. Most of Hoggard's tales are dense with portent, so much so that some need to be read and reread two, three times. Yet, though these pieces are carefully and eloquently constructed, some lack the deeper meaning that would justify the effort. For the most part though, the work is filled with wit, keen observation and illuminating insight. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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