Tuesday Photo Challenge: YARD

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge, YARD, is a great one, practically tailor-made for self. When the weather is good, self spends much time in her yard. She’s extra-inspired now, as the trellis has been painted.

This was the day the painters arrived:

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And this is what her front yard looked like when the plumbers arrived (She decided to take her son’s advice and have the decades-old galvanized iron pipes replaced with copper).

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Meanwhile, in the backyard, her plum tree is starting to bloom.

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Spring is a gorgeous time of year in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

STILL Reading I Capture the Castle, Can You Believe It

This novel is so droll. The entire thing is narrated by Cassandra, 17, the daughter of an impoverished writer.

She is concerned that her father, who’s suffered years with writers block, seems to be doing things with a certain Bohemian woman in London. Cassandra wishes he would just finish writing another book.

pp. 194 – 195

And he has spent one day in London. While he was gone, I told myself it was absurd the way we had been hypnotized by him not to ask questions, so when he came back I said cheerfully: “How was the British Museum?”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The New Emma

Mr. Knightley is the best. He has always been the best.

Standing in line at the concession stand on a Thursday night for the first Palo Alto screening of the new Emma, self got into spirited discussion with two young women about thoughts of different Emma iterations. “Oh! The Winona Ryder version, so under-rated!”

Self had to think a moment before saying “Christian Bale, right?” Ooh, that was good casting!

“The most under-rated Mr. Knightley is still Paul Rudd,” said a young woman.

That’s right! How could self forget! Clueless! Paul Rudd, what a dreamboat!

“I want Paul Rudd’s skin-care routine,” said another young woman.

“Me, too!” self put in, enthusiastic. “Mr. Knightley’s supposed to have a nude scene in this one.”

“The problem is when they make him too old,” said the young woman.

“Well, remember Johnny Lee Miller? He was GREAT. And THIS one’s a rock singer, too.”

“BBC, right?”

“Right! Romola Garai as Emma!”

That is the most fun self has had in a movie concession stand, EVER.

As to the movie itself. The reason self was madly rushing to the movie, despite her front lawn looking like this:

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was Sheila O’Malley’s review.

After seeing the movie, self doesn’t think Johnny Flynn unseats Johnny Lee Miller. Or Paul Rudd.

Since this is the first time she’s ever seen Johnny Flynn, she can’t tell if he always speaks in that languid drawl, or if he just speaks that way because he’s playing Mr. Knightley. But his eyes speak volumes!

Nevertheless, self was vastly put off by those great, bushy sideburns. And decided forthwith that sideburns are just — a mood-killer.

And the starched cravats slicing into Flynn’s cheekbones, what!

And she was completely shocked that there was no build-up to the nude scene. But was happy to see the actor was slender — i.e., not buff. Which would have been a real slap in the face to Mr. Knightley if he were, in self’s humble opinion.

Stay tuned.

 

When a Writer Attends a Dinner Party

I Capture the Castle, p. 115:

I had a queer sort of feeling, watching them all and listening; perhaps it was due to what father had been saying a few minutes before. It suddenly seemed astonishing that people should meet especially to eat together — because food goes into the mouth and talk comes out. And if you watch people eating and talking — really watch them — it is a very peculiar sight: hands so busy, forks going up and down, swallowings, words coming out between mouthfuls, jaws working like mad. The more you look at a dinner party, the odder it seems — all the candlelit faces, hands with dishes coming over shoulders, the owners of the hands moving round quietly taking no part in the laughter and conversation. I pulled my mind off the dinner table and stared into the dimness beyond, and then I gradually saw the servants as real people, watching us, whispering instructions to each other, exchanging glances.

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Stay tuned.

 

That Moment in I CAPTURE THE CASTLE WHEN

The narrator’s father, who has only published one book, but a very famous one, says to his wife, the narrator’s stepmother:

My dear, you’re an ass. — p. 111

Poetry Monday: Jon Pineda

MISCARRIAGE

from the collection Birthmark (The Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry, 2004)

We’d been trying for months
when, one night, we heard
what sounded like a baby,
its cries sharpening outside.
Our neighbors had gathered
in the backyard & stared
high into one of the trees
where a young raccoon clung
to a branch bending slowly.
There were holes in the trunk
where its mother had nested,
& this one, no bigger than
your hand it seemed, flashed
its eyes in fear when spotlight
ricocheted through leaves.
I think about this animal’s
face, how it was taken away
from the tree boarded up
now, its mother long gone.
I take comfort in forgetting
the details & hold our son.


Jon Pineda was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Tideswater, Virginia. His poetry has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, the Asian Pacific American Journal, Puerto del Sol, and many other publications. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

The MC in I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

Cassandra wants to be a writer. Thinks of herself as a writer. Even though the family is so impoverished, and the father who is a writer cannot support them. The family dines on cold Brussels sprouts and cold rice.

p. 95:

  • My hand is very tired but I want to go on writing. I keep resting and thinking. All day I have been two people — the me imprisoned in yesterday and the me out here on the mound; and now there is a third me trying to get in — the me in what is going to happen next.

Stay tuned.

Still Poetry Saturday: Helen Ivory

SLEEP

from Helen Ivory’s The Breakfast Machine (Bloodaxe Books: Northumberland, 2010)

In this house, everything sleeps.
Even the walls have relaxed
and the roof is too tired
to hold up the weight of the sky.

It is so long since the front door
has opened, the skin has grown over.
The postman has given up
looking for the letter-box

The girl in the room upstairs
Is a woman now. In waking moments,
she sleepwalks to the mirror,
takes a brush to the long silk of her hair.

Before she lies down again, she’ll notice
the bird skulls on the windowsill,
how cobwebs have laced them together.
how her face has grown sharp as a knife.


Helen Ivory was born in Lutton in 1969, and lives in Norwich. She has worked in shops, behind bars, and on building sites with several-thousand free-range hens. She has studied painting and photography and has a Degree from Nowrich School of Art. In 1999 she won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Others;

London in I Capture the Castle

Some forward progress, at least! Today self managed to see Bad Boys for Life, and liked it quite a bit, except for the action scenes, which were just your run-of-the-mill, generic action scenes. It was really nice seeing Joe Pantoliano again: he still has that trademark Joe Pantoliano way of delivering lines! And Will Smith is still cool.

She has made it to p. 77 of I Capture the Castle, which self is finding very, very beguiling (even though it couldn’t be more different from her last book: The Goblin Emperor):

It was three years since we had been in London. We never knew it well, of course; yesterday was the first time I ever walked through the City. It was fascinating, especially the stationers’ shops — I could look at stationers’ shops forever and ever. Rose says they are the dullest shops in the world, except, perhaps, butchers’ (I don’t see how you can call butchers’ shops dull; they are too full of horror). We kept getting lost and having to ask policemen, who were all rather playful and fatherly. One of them kindly held up the traffic for us, and a taxi-driver made kissing noises at Rose.

I had hoped the lawyers’ office would be old and dark, with a Dickensy old lawyer; but it was just an ordinary office and we only saw a clerk, who was young, with very sleek hair. He asked if we could find our way to Chelsea by ‘bus.

“No,” said Rose, quickly.

He said, “O.K. Take a taxi.”

I said we were a little short of change. Rose flushed scarlet. He gave her a quick look, then said, “Wait a sec.” — and left us.

He came back with four pounds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Poetry Saturday: MIGUEL HERNANDEZ (1910-1942)

Rod Blagojevich claimed to Anderson Cooper that he was “a political prisoner.”

Here’s a real one:

THE CEMETERY LIES NEAR

from the collection Miguel Hernandez selected and translated from the Spanish by Don Share (NYRB, 2013)

The cemetery lies near
where you and I are sleeping,
among blue nopals,
blue pitas, and children
who shout at the top of their lungs
if a corpse darkens the street.

From here to the cemetery everything
is blue, golden, clear.
Four steps away, the dead.
Four steps away, the living.

Clear, blue, and golden.
My son grows remote there.

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