Repurpose: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 27 January 2017

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is REPURPOSE.

“I’m fascinated by birds and their nests. Imagine being able to craft the perfect home for your family with just a beak and twiggy feet?” — Krista, The Daily Post

Self’s friend Mary Ellen Campbell used twigs to represent a forest in a book about wild swans (The book’s language is either Finnish or Icelandic):

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Wild Swans: A Book by Artist Mary-Ellen Campbell

Self saw the artwork below while walking New York City’s High Line, December 2016. Every time she looks at this photo, she thinks of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.

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3-D Graffiti made of iron re-bar by Artist Damien Ortega: High Line, New York City

Finally, just for fun:

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Christmas Party, Queens, December 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Next 3 Books on Self’s 2017 Reading List

Self began reading Ape House, by Sara Gruen. It really plays with your head because right away, the bonobos are introduced with such clearly human traits, and we don’t see them as “animal.” (So what is the point? If they’re already human, why are we reading? Dare self say — because on p. 11 there are already seeds sown of a romance? Ugh. It’s not that self hates romance. It’s just that she wanted to read a story that was primarily about bonobos) But, no denying, Sara Gruen really goes for it. She bare-knuckles her story and you either buy her point of view or you don’t.

Self then began reading the next book on her reading list: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. And, OMG, he doesn’t pull any punches either. He goes straight for the mythopoetic, quoting from a book on American folklore (and, eerily, finding the exact quote to reflect what self has been thinking all these years, which is: why are there no tikbalangs or mangkukulams in the United States? Is it because these creatures cannot get on a plane?)

So, because self is always searching for certainty, and she just finished reading Peter Lovesey’s Skeleton Hill and it was excellent, and self thinks she might be on something of a run, she decides to be truly daring and pick up the third book on her 2017 reading list: Phil Klay’s Redeployment. And here’s yet another writer who doesn’t pull any punches. His stories of men fighting in the front lines in Iraq — they will not thrill you. For instance, the title story: “We shot dogs. Not by accident.”

Which to read first? In point of fact, self already has six books lined up: the other three books on her current reading list are by Mary Beard, Francis Parkman, and Edward Gibbon. Eminent historians, all. Self hasn’t read so much history in a very long time.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Iowa Review, Spring 2015

Excerpt from “Turtle”

by M. E. Hope

Seaman Recruit Robinson was a petite black woman
always smiling, though few met her eyes.
On first look you saw the scar, her entire
face was burn — a healed swirl of pink
and brown, a nose less nose than placeholder
for the center of her face. But her eyes
and smile — those calmed every one
of us. And she did know us all, knew
names and with every small conversation
remembered our stories.

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