Jenny Allen, Essay # 15: WOULD EVERYBODY PLEASE STOP?

Self’s favorite essay so far. She loves the motherly distress over the thought that her 13-year-old daughter receives dick pics from an acquaintance. The mother, a true Mama Bear, calls the boy (whose number she finds from an email on her daughter’s computer — Bad Mama for snooping! Bad!)

“Hello?” says the boy, “warily.”

“Hi! Who’s this?”

“M—-” he says, giving his name. Good Lord, this boy would probably follow a guy who said he had a hurt puppy in his car.

Anyhoo, the conversation never touches on the dick pic, and yet there is eventually a

Long pause. “Oh.”

And I think, he’s putting it together. He knows.

The mother does talk to her daughter about it, and succeeds in being very light. Trusting, you know. She lets it go. But inwardly, she can’t stop worrying. So, some time later, when she and her daughter are “on vacation in the country,” she brings it up again:

“Were you shocked when you saw the picture?”

“Yes.” She’s smiling, but she says ‘Yes’ in the same tone that she might say “Of course” or “Duh.”

“Well, what he did was send an assault, and that’s wrong, and — “

“Bye-bye.” She walks outside. She has always been a private person. She hates Talks.

And the mother is rebuffed. Again. And yet again.

The last image is of the daughter sitting on a swing: she “swings slowly, the wood making little creaking sounds like a sailboat’s mast in the sea.”

How lovely the image!

And a few sentences later, the piece ends.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.

 

Work-In-Progress: Meeting at an Ashram

A man and a woman meet at an ashram in Amritsar (Onomatopeia! You like?)

Man feels betrayed when he finds the woman’s only joined the ashram for research so she can complete her Senior Honors Thesis at Stanford. They have a bitter argument, and never see each other again.

Ten years later, they’re at a Druid conference in Las Vegas (don’t ask) and bump into each other, friendly-like. They agree to go for drinks at a bar.


“You said you were going to find another ashram. Somewhere in Himachal Pradesh. Did you?”

“I did. And you?”

“I had to go home. My boyfriend said he missed me.”

“I thought so. A girl as gorgeous as you, 21 years old, if you didn’t have a boyfriend — or girlfriend — I’d begin to wonder. You were always very guarded about your life and I didn’t want to encroach on your privacy. That’s also the reason I decided to lose your e-mail as soon as we separated. I didn’t think I’d be able to resist e-mailing you if I still had it, so I did this little ritual.”

“What kind of ritual?”

“I found a secluded field and lit an incense stick and burned the paper you wrote your email on, trusting that if the universe was working as it should, we would meet again.”

 

Why du Maurier’s JAMAICA INN Is Epic

There’s a scene where Mary Yellan is trying to escape from . . . take self’s word for it, something evil.

Across her path, Harry the pedlar. A man seemingly mild, not too smart. He nods at her, “reassuring . . . smiling . . . smirking and sly . . . ” Then he lands a “furtive hand” on her. And her reaction?

She moves “swiftly, lashing out at him, and her fist caught him underneath the chin, shutting his mouth like a trap, with his tongue caught between his teeth. He squealed like a rabbit, and she struck him again, but this time he grabbed at her and lurched sideways upon her, all pretense of gentle persuasion gone, his strength horrible, his face drained of all colour. He was fighting now for possession, and she knew it . . . ”

du Maurier shows us how the man’s affect changes from moment to moment: first he is smiling, then he is sly, then he is furtive, and then he attacks.

But every step of his transformation, Mary Yellan meets fiercely.

This is a woman who has been raised on a farm, who has known only friendly neighbors. Having spent an entire quarter at Stanford reading Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, self was steeling herself for only one outcome. But du Maurier had something else in mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Week 5: Coffee

“Coffee, you complete me.”

That pretty much sums up what self feels about coffee.

So glad she can participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

Self has two coffee makers: a red and a white.

The white is a 10-cup, and the red is a four-cup.

DSCN0209

She also has a favorite coffee mug, which she bought from a wee little store in North Beach.

DSCN0211

The other side of the mug has a picture of Han Solo.

Which reminds her: this time next week, son and his wife will be back in the Bay Area. He accepted an offer from a high-tech company in the area. Self is so happy to have them close by!

She only learned the news about two weeks ago.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jenny Allen: Essay # 5

Isn’t it strange? You start out life counting the people you didn’t want at your birthday party, and you end it counting the ones you don’t want at your funeral. Maybe we don’t learn anything in between. Maybe we just go through life gathering grudges, and then we die. Oh, God, isn’t that so sad?

Thursday self brings her car to the mechanic because, as she was driving one day, smoke came out of the steering column. Since she was in motion when this miracle occurred, she stared at the smoke and wondered: What is smoke doing here? Go away, smoke!

In five minutes the smoke had gone but she couldn’t see her dashboard; the instrument panels — the odometer, the fuel gauge, the digital clock — were black as pitch.

She brought her car to the mechanic. He tested the dashboard lights and saw they were non-functional. He asked self if there was anything else that seemed “off” to her.

She replied that she’d seen smoke coming out of her car’s steering column.

The mechanic remained expressionless and intoned: That’s not good.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Essay # 3: Would Everybody Please Stop?

Dear Answer Lady: Before he slammed the door and moved out last month, my husband spent a year looking at me darkly and saying things like, “What have you done with the spoons?” Do you think he has a girlfriend?

I do.

The Vicar of Altarnun to Mary Yellan

  • You have gained your knowledge of the world from old books, Mary, where the bad man wears a tail beneath his cloak and breathes fire through his nostrils.

Do you see now why the Vicar is self’s favorite character in Jamaica Inn, second only to Mary Yellan?

Stay tuned.

“Girls Gone Wild”: Jenny Allen, Essay # 1 (I’m Awake)

Self will put off My Cousin Rachel for a week or so, just so she can un-knot her nerves after reading Jamaica Inn (Five Stars)

She began reading Would Everybody Please Stop? by Jenny Allen.

Sometimes, when I first go to sleep for the night, I fall asleep to the television. And this is a strange thing: No matter what I have fallen asleep watching, when I wake up, what’s on is Girls Gone Wild. I never turn the channel to Girls Gone Wild, let alone turn up the volume, but the volume is ear-splitting.

If someone had told self that less than 24 hours after bidding farewell to Altarnun, Launceston, and the moors, she would be reading about Girls Gone Wild, she would have said: Shut up!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ranking the du Maurier Men (Open to Modification)

What cheek, especially since self has only read (thus far) two du Maurier novels: Jamaica Inn and Rebecca.

Anyhoo, here are all the du Maurier men self has encountered thus far, ranked in order of Personal Magnetism and General Badass-ery:

  1. Of course Francis Davey, the Vicar of Altarnun (Jamaica Inn) His mocking of Mary Yellan is the most delicious feint & parry.
  2. Frank Crawley (Rebecca): This good and loyal man has unexpectedly intense feelings.
  3. Joss Merlyn (Jamaica Inn): A drunk, a boor, haunted. His memories will haunt you.
  4. Jem Merlyn (Jamaica Inn): Younger brother, smarter than Joss for sure.
  5. Maxim de Winter (Rebecca): Attractive, rich, and umm, star-crossed?
  6. Frankie What’s-His-Face (The Bad Guy in Rebecca): Really shady.
  7. Harry the Pedlar (Jamaica Inn)
  8. Dr. Baker (Rebecca)
  9. Mr. Tibbs (Shipbuilder, Rebecca)
  10. Ben (Lurker in the Woods of Manderley)
  11. The Squire (Mr. Basatt, Jamaica Inn)
  12. Richards (groom to the Squire, Mr. Basatt, Jamaica Inn)
  13. Firth (Manservant, Rebecca)
  14. The Lynx-Eyed Man at the Horse Market in Launceston (Jamaica Inn) — who may in fact be Mr. Basatt, will re-read to make certain

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Half In Love with the Vicar of Altarnun

It’s an actual town, Altarnun. Self just looked it up.

Here is the vicar in Chapter 17 of Jamaica Inn (Hands down, her favorite book of the year):

  • He rose from his chair and stood before the fire, a lean black figure with white hair and eyes, and his voice was gentle now, as she had known it first.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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