What Is Life But a Bowl of Cherries

  • Let’s celebrate the cherries on top! — Michelle W., The Daily Post

The good news: self was back in London in the spring. The Cherry on Top? She was there during the week of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Just look at the fresh flowers framing the entrance to the Bloomsbury Hotel!

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The Bloomsbury Hotel, London: May 2016

The good news was: Self was in Philo, CA. She found a small market that sold delicious potato salad. And the cherry on top? The ceiling lights were things of beauty. From a glass studio in Fort Bragg, the checkout lady told self:

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Ceiling Light, Lemon’s Philo Market, California

The good news was: self was spending another winter in Mendocino, CA. The cherry on top is that she got to see “Quills,” a play about Marquis de Sade, performed by members of the local community (It was a very entertaining production!)

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“Quills,” a drama about Marquis de Sade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sailors Fighting In the Dance Hall

In the spring, self was in the UK. She remembers wandering around Heathrow (window shopping) when Bowie’s “Life on Mars” began playing over the PA system.

Sometimes, life is perfect like that.

The chorus is fantastic:

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man!
Look at those cavemen go.
It’s the freakiest show.
Take a look at the lawman,
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s on the best selling show.
Is there life on Mars?

Also, great song title, seriously.

There was a short-lived BBC cop series starring John Simm which was about a time-traveling cop. Grrreat series, ended too soon. The title: Life on Mars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“All the Missing” Continued

Some are blonde. Some are brunette. Some are redheads.

Some have braces. A few have freckles.

The parents stand on street corners. They organize search teams. They implore complete strangers:  Please, please.

Self wrote “All the Missing” before she discovered Galway Kinnell’s 9/11 poem, When the Towers Fell (just this year) but it’s almost uncanny, the similarities between her scene and Kinnell’s. No, this does not mean she’s putting herself on the same level as Kinnell. But it does mean that sometimes writers in different parts of the world stumble on the same cultural pulse, working off pure intuition! Pay close attention, dear blog readers: you will see this happening over and over again.

In Kinnell’s poem (which is one of his longest), people stand on New York City street corners, holding up pictures of their loved ones, asking “Have you seen _____ my child/my husband/my wife/my brother/ my sister/ my friend?” And people can’t look them in the face. Passersby sweep past them, muttering,  “Sorry, sorry.”

And here’s a site that references poets who’ve written about 9/11.

Stay tuned.

Simeon Dumdum, Jr: “Cattle Egret”

Excerpt From CATTLE EGRET

— by Simeon Dumdum, Jr.

You’re riding on a carabao
(Oh, what a day and what a life)
As birds would settle on a bough

Light cuts the sky with a long knife
And morning drops its load of dew
(Oh, what a day and what a life)

— from the collection If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010)

Simeon Dumdum, Jr. is a judge in the central Philippine island of Cebu. His other poetry collections are The Gift of Sleep, Third World Opera, and Poems: Selected and New (1982 – 1997)

The white Cattle Egret is found throughout the Philippines. It perches on grazing cattle and rids them of lice. Its native name is: talabong, tabong, tagak kalabaw.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still On: Anne Enright’s THE GREEN ROAD

The Green Road is taking self to some very unexpected places. Such as: New York City, 1991. Which turned out to be a watershed year for self as well. Just read her story “Lenox Hill, December 1991” in Charlie Chan Is Dead, Vol. 1, edited by Jessica Hagedorn.

Here’s an excerpt from Enright’s novel:

DAN – New York, 1991

. . .  if the question was whether Billy was still sleeping with Gregory Savalas, then the answer was that they had barely slept together in the first place. Billy was a blonde boy, on the sturdy side, with a thug/angel thing going, so there was a line of sad bastards queuing at his door; half of them married, most of them in suits. And Billy hated the closet. What Billy wanted was big, shouty unafraid sex with someone who did not cry, or get complicated, or hang around after the orange juice and the croissant.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: John Muir

Writing about Mount Shasta:

When I first caught sight of it over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, I was fifty miles away and afoot, alone and weary. Yet all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.

— John Muir, Letters: 1874 – 1888

Fan Fiction, Save Self

Beginning to read a new fan fiction by Amelia Day (an alias, of course), and it begins with a quote from F. Butler:

Nothing is infinite, not even loss. One day, you are going to find yourself again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Miguel Hernandez: Been So Long

A creature must grow
From the seedbed of nothing
and more than one turns up
under the design of an angry star,
under a troubled and bad moon.

an excerpt from “Bloody Fate” (in the collection Miguel Hernandez, NYRB/Poets) translated by Don Share

OPPOSITES: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 July 2016

There are so many ways to infuse photos with drama, from choosing an unusual angle to focusing on a strong, vibrant palette. One idea I often explore is contrast. No, not so much in the technical sense of shadows and highlights (important as they certainly are), but more fundamentally: I love the power of a single frame to bring together conflicting elements.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

**********

Self has been pondering this challenge for a few days. It turns out she likes taking   high-contrast shots, mostly silhouettes, but on re-reading the prompt, she decided to try something different.

Here’s a picture from an illustrated version of Noah’s Ark. The etchings, by Arthur Geisert, are very fine. Self picked this particular drawing because of the way the straight lines of the support beams and the wooden floors are set off against the ark’s round bottom:

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An Illustration by Arthur Geist for THE ARK (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)

Here’s a sign showing opposite directions:

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Self-explanatory, really: near the Mendocino Headlands

Finally, two sharply contrasting book covers: Another Kind of Paradise is an anthology of short stories from the “new Asia-Pacific” edited by Trevor Carolan. After is an anthology of nineteen stories of “apocalypse and dystopia” edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Wandling. Both books are highly recommended (Self has a story in one of them).

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Two Anthologies: Wildly Different

Hope you like these interpretations of the theme “Opposites”!

Stay tuned.

FIRE: Sylvain Landry Week 50

This Sylvain Landry photo challenge — FIRE — was unexpectedly challenging!

Self scanned her photo archives and finally came up with the below picture, a window display of the London Review Bookshop, 2015. The David Harvey book has a torch on the cover. Good enough?

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London Review Bookshop, Spring 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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