#amreading: AMAZING RARE THINGS by David Attenborough, Susan Owens, Martin Clayton and Rea Alexandratos

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Delphinus delphis (Common dolphin): a print in the ‘Paper Museum’ of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588 – 1657), antiquarian and collector

Found this amazing book in the London Review Bookshop. Hardcover, heavy, it was the only indulgence self allowed herself during her last trip.

Stay tuned.

The Book of Henry Movie: What the What

If you’ve ever wondered what Naomi Watts looks like holding a high-powered rifle in her hands, this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered why American child actors are so darn cute, this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever had a creepy neighbor who reminds you all the time that you need to blower your yard, this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of private life a waitress in a diner has, this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered about tree-houses in general — their uses in a story — this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered what boy geniuses do in their spare time, this movie is for you.

If you’ve ever had cause to doubt your eleven-year-old’s stock market advice, this movie is for you.

Stay tuned.

 

Re-Reading: Mejhiren’s “When the Moon Fell In Love With the Sun”

Still one of the most beautiful Everlark self has ever read. The author, Mejhiren, updates about once a year. The most recent chapter dropped on December 2016.

Katniss, a poor girl from the Seam, has been whisked away by Peeta to be his servant in a palatial wooden house by a lake. In her utter loneliness, Katniss befriends a dove:

We’re the same color, just as I’d guessed; my skin a dusky dove-brown that matches her feathers as though painted by the same brush. “Are you mine, little one?” I wonder, daring a fingertip-stroke across her tiny head, and she closes her black-bead eyes in unmistakable pleasure.

It’s as inevitable as it is irresistible. I lean in, almost without thought, to brush her head with my lips, and she answers with a hushed, throaty coo that exudes sheer contentment. “Oh, I love you!” I whisper, my eyes beading with disbelief and joy and an overwhelming flood of affection for this first wild thing to reach out to me, to trust and love and care for the huntress who’s killed so many of the woods’ inhabitants for food and furs and nourishing bone broth. I should be more like my patient father but I’m too sad, too eager, too hungry for more, and I curl my free hand around my tiny sweetheart and bring her to my chest, pressing her gently over my heart.

Thankfully, this particular dove has waited a long time to tame me and doesn’t flail or strain or struggle at the sudden intensity of contact; rather, she curls her tiny claws in the weave of my sweater and coos drowsily as I stroke her in wonder, over and over again.

Just beautiful.

Stay tuned.

 

Three Days, Three Movies

Self has been so starved for movies.

In a prevous life, she’d be in her local cine-plex every other day.

The past couple of years, though, unless she feels really driven, she’ll go months without seeing a movie.

Here are some of the ways she shows her movie geek street cred:

Oxford, UK: She gave up seeing the Ashmolean in favor of watching Captain America (In all fairness, the movie theatre was so conveniently situated: just across from Gloucester Green)

London: She walked — walked — in full summer heat, from Russell Square to Shaftesbury Avenue, simply to watch X-Men in the Odeon.

Fort Bragg, CA: She went during a lull in a storm. The movie? Kingsmen, with Colin Firth. When she came out of the movie, the wind was blowing flat out. Self thought she was going to be swept into the ocean.

Now, in the past four days, she has seen three movies:

  • Band Aid
  • Beatriz at Dinner
  • Wonder Woman

Sorry to say, she nearly fell asleep during the action sequences at the end of Wonder Woman. But woke right up again when she saw, in the closing credits, the name of her friend’s daughter:

DIRECTED BY PATTY JENKINS

Of the movies she’s seen so far this summer, her favorite would be Beatriz at Dinner. For Connie Britton and John Lithgow’s performances.

Today, she’s going to see The Book of Henry, even though it hasn’t gotten good reviews. She loves Naomi Watts, even though she’s been so under-used by Hollywood lately.

A long time ago, self met a Mills College student at one of her San Francisco readings. Chatting with the young woman after the reading, the student revealed she made money by working part-time as an exotic dancer. And self happened to mention how much she liked Naomi Watts (What’s the connection to exotic dancing? Nothing), and the young woman said even though Watts had turned 40, if the young woman were a man, she’d definitely consider her hot.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

TRANSIENT 2: AT SFMOMA

Went for the Edvard Munch exhibit. Stayed to view the permanent collection. Forgot about Gay Pride and got stuck in the hugest traffic jam. At least, got to see the mayhem starting.

While taking a coffee break at SFMOMA, she shared her little table with a young woman from Japan named Yoshie Yam. It turned out we both love traveling. Love, love, love traveling. So, self chooses to begin her second post on The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge, TRANSIENT, with this, our little table at the SFMOMA Coffeeshop:

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Coffee break at SFMOMA, after seeing the Edvard Munch exhibit

On the second floor of the SFMOMA is this huge black-and-white photo. Not quite sure about the decade. 1960s? Which reminds self, it is the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love! There’s an exhibit commemorating the anniversary at the de Young. Self wanted to go today, but was put off by the traffic that always surrounds Gay Pride Day:

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Finally, the Munch exhibit, the one that self drove all the way to San Francisco to see. The paintings are striking, powerful, disorienting. The one below is one of the largest. It’s called “The Dance of Life.” The men are already turning into ghouls:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Leontia Flynn: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 1939 – 1945

Self cannot believe that the hotel gives away these precious little poetry collections, collections of all the poems written about The Bloomsbury Hotel.

Here’s an excerpt from a Leontia Flynn poem about the hotel during wartime:

Shutter the windows. Tumble down the wall.
Sleep under a curtain in the swimming pool
and shelter in the old gymnasium.
After the talks, the shying and denial,
War has come again. War: the word’s a bomb

on everyone’s lips.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Gelato” by Gerald Stern: The New Yorker, 10 April 2017

Here’s an excerpt from a poem she encountered today in The New Yorker, one in a huge pile that gathered dust while she was on her latest trip:

we turned to Chinese poetry and Kenneth Rexroth’s
“Hundred Poems” and ended up
talking about the Bollingen and Pound’s
stupid admiration of Mussolini
and how our main poets were on the right
politically — most of them — unlike the European
and South American, and we climbed some steps
into a restaurant I knew to buy gelato
and since we were poets we went by the names,
instead of the tastes and colors — and I stopped talking
and froze beside a small tree since I was
older than Pound was when he went silent
and kissed Ginsberg, a cousin to the Rothschilds,
who had the key to the ghetto in his pocket,
one box over and two rows up, he told me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transient: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 June 2017

  • “For this week’s challenge, show us your perception of transient . . .  a depiction of the state of impermanence.”

—  Andrea Badgley, The Daily Post

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Tray Table Art by Self’s Seatmate on the Flight to San Francisco, a Girl Named Caroline Rose

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Pedestrians on Waterloo Bridge, London, June 2017

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Paper Birds, Church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry About the Bloomsbury Hotel, London

They give poetry books to each guest, which is how self happened upon this poem by Jo Shapcott:

New commission

It’s a hot night. We walk our wheelies from the tube.
The brick walls seep warmth. On the way we smell shop-
flowers through the traffic, hear church bells, loiter
in the odd sweet spot until we’re here, looking up
at a paradox of double steps. Still curbside, we sense
that if there’s a muse of stairways, she lives here,
inside these buildings made of red brick and rain.
Through the doors and we’re inhabiting a chandelier
or library or a chapel or a cave, and our minds flash and glow
with noises, words and tastes until our hearts have softened
inside our bodies and when we leave, the street is silk under
the lamps.

 

Emma Rice: Shakespeare and Love

This year, self was fortunate enough to catch two plays at Shakespeare’s Globe: Twelfth Night and Tristan and Yseult.

Both plays were terrific. But only one was truly unforgettable, because self watched it her last night in London, that fabulous city.

Here’s an excerpt from the Tristan and Yseult programme, written by Director Emma Rice:

Love, I celebrate it, practise it, mourn it, and fight for it.

But my appreciation and experience of this most seductive of topics is dwarfed by Shakespeare’s understanding of love. My mind spins when I imagine how his life must have been: how hard he worked, how far he travelled, how dark and scary the landscape he lived in was. If I close my eyes and propel my imagination back in time, I hear the tectonic plates of the planet creak, I see the ground opening up and Shakespeare clambering out of a deep crack in the earth’s surface, dusty, desperate and gasping for air . . . then, with the clarity of clear water, he sings from the earth he was born. Shakespeare gave voice to desire and to grief, to parenthood and to marriage. He charted the waters of courtship and the loneliness of a failing marriage. He mourned for us, married for us and betrayed for us. He gazed fearlessly into the human existence like no other, before or since.

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Shakespeare’s Globe, Just Before the Start of “Tristan and Yseult,” June 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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