Chicoan Dick Cory is a man of the sod. The theme runs from "Six Boys and a Bag of Dirt" (essays about growing up in small-town Nebraska) to his latest compilation, "Seeking Common Ground" (self-published paperback; write the author at firstname.lastname@example.org to order). Cory writes that the title conveys "multiple meanings and connections to earth. My books promote the value of dirt. We all have a stake in protecting this common ground."
But, as the author makes clear, that doesn't mean everyone has to agree. "Seeking Common Ground" is dedicated to long-time writing teacher Hannie Voyles, whose poem, "Contradiction," celebrates the energy produced when "We meet and merge, / and counter and clash." In seventy-six chapters, Cory takes some decidedly strong views, from the importance of unions to his wish not to be cremated or buried but to be turned into soap slurry and purified at a water treatment plant. (Ever the punster, he calls this "a slurry with a fringe on top.")
Cory will be signing copies of his books this Saturday from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Made in Chico, 127 W. Third Street.
The chapters include several short stories (a sexy murder mystery and a steamy gym workout among them) and ruminations on the importance of one's conversational community. For Cory, that means the R.O.D.E.O. club ("Retired Old Duffers Eating Out"). "Our former professions, political and religious views, and lifetime experiences cover the full spectrum. We agree and disagree with equal passion." Other essays opine about the demise of bumpers (replaced by plastic that breaks at a mere nudge) and the difference between care giving and "caretaking." Some of the reflections are somber, some more light hearted (Cory is a notorious prankster).
He claims to have been the first to use "reality check" back in 1976 or so. And "it may be dum (mud spelled backwards), but I love mud" (except for "mud slinging by rivals with muddled-minds" who "seek to muddy the waters of progress").
Cory's generation came after "the Greatest Generation" and "carries no moniker. . . . All of our experiences (including six-man football), work ethic and job stability are recorded in our brain. This legacy must be shared with our descendants if they are to profit from our successes and failures."