ATOP: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 March 2017

For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ATOP, self goes back to the pictures she took of a London church she visited in 2015. She’s not sure if she’s interpreting the theme correctly (“a view from the top”) but she’ll post this anyway.

Two years ago, self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge. She took The Infernal Devices trilogy with her to the UK, and decided to plan her days around places cited in the books.

In her website, author Cassandra Clare says she used St. Bride’s near Fleet Street as the titular setting for the Shadowhunters Academy. And self did get to see this church. And it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.

You can see an exhibit on the history of St. Bride’s in the crypt. The spire was designed by Christopher Wren. Building began in 1671 and was completed in 1703:

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Rendering of the Steeple of St. Bride’s (aka “The Church of Journalists”) Just Off Fleet Street

The steeple was destroyed during the Blitz (see newspaper headline below).

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World War II London Newspaper

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A Modern Rendering of the Christopher Wren Steeple

The steeple has been rebuilt; you can see it from the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a long, slim needle that feels surprisingly at home with the modernistic buildings surrounding it.

Self returned to St. Bride’s last year, with poet Joan McGavin. The main space was closed for refurbishing, but the crypt was still open to the public. While Joan went down to look at the exhibit, self chatted with a clergyman, who asked what brought her to St. Bride’s. And she said, Shadowhunters. He was highly amused.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

8 February 2017: Self Read at Sixth Engine, Washington DC

Self’s dystopian “First Causes” appears in the latest issue of Quarterly West.

Self very much enjoyed the reading for the launch of the issue because: 1) it was in Washington DC, and she got to see some old friends again; 2) she re-connected with a few people she hasn’t seen in years. Such as Letitia. Who was a student at Old Dominion University in Virginia when self read there for a literary festival (2007?) Now, Letitia is an Editor/Linguist/Poet (see business card below).

Self is tempted to ask Letitia if she’d like to help edit a collection of her speculative fiction she is getting ready to send out:

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The reading was co-hosted by two other literary magazines: 32 Poems and Smartish Pace.

And oh boy it was packed. To the point where the audience was all standing like a can of sardines.

A man threw copies of his poetry collection at the audience. “That is so cool!” a young man remarked. Since self was reading next, she was hard-pressed to think of something attention-getting.

She moved front, started babbling about how fan fiction got her there. And — received enthusiastic applause from somewhere on the right!

Forever grateful to the listeners, and of course to Quarterly West. Here’s a shot she took that night of the (very crowded) venue:

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The bar-restaurant Sixth Engine, downtown Washington DC, night of 8 February 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Benjamin Britten’s Libretto for PETER GRIMES

MRS. SEDLEY
(whispering to Ned)
Have you my pills?

NED
I’m sorry, Ma’am.

MRS. SEDLEY
My sleeping draught?

NED
The laudanum
Is out of stock, and being brought
By Mr. Carrier Hobson’s cart.
He’s back tonight.

MRS. SEDLEY
Good Lord, good Lord —

NED
Meet us both at this pub, The Boar
Auntie’s we call it. It’s quite safe.

MRS. SEDLEY
I’ve never been in a pub in my life.

NED
You’ll come?

MRS. SEDLEY
All right.

NED
Tonight?

MRS. SEDLEY
All right.

Self is really, really loving this libretto. So beautiful. Absolute poetry.

BALSTRODE/NED:

The tide that floods will ebb, the tide, the tide will turn.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fort William Henry, 1757

The Indians (thousands of them) allied with the French, who assigned each of the three largest tribes a chaplain: “Piquet for the Iroquois, Mathevet for the Nipissings . . . and Roubaud for the Abenakis.” (Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 336)

On the eve of a great battle between the British and the French, the Indians perform war dances and make sacrificial offerings to the Great Manitou, the God of War.

“This greatly embarrassed the three priests, who were about to say Mass, but doubted whether they ought to say it in presence of the sacrifice to the devil . . . ” whereupon Montcalm, their general, advised them: “Better say it so than not at all.” (p. 337)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 3: London Cabbie

Ben Huberman, The Daily Post:

In my book, coffee, sparkling water, and a donut (okay, I confess: a fancy donut) make one such perfect combination. Sweet and bitter, cold and hot, smooth and fizzy — all these sensations come together to create a coherent, “this morning is going to be just fine” experience.

So here is self’s idea of a a good match:

Arriving in London and taking a cab from the airport. It is not cheap. But it pays off in spades because the cabbies are very interesting conversationalists. They know more about London than the average person. Most of them grew up in London. They can tell you where the best street markets are, where the best fish and chip shops are, and where St. Bride’s Church is. (If you are in a rush, this is not the mode of transport for you. It takes almost an hour, esp if you arrive during rush hour. But why would you go to London to rush? Especially if traveling alone and not on a particular schedule?)

A few years ago, when self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!) she followed the path of Will Herondale and it took her to: York; Blackfriars; and St. Bride’s.

St. Bride’s was not easy to find. She asked about three people, and no one had even heard of it. Until she saw a parked London cab, and asked the driver if he knew where it was. His prompt reply: “Course I do! I’m a London cabbie!”

Nick Townsend was the cabbie who drove her in from Heathrow. He owns his own cab, and is a certified city guide:

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Licensed City Guide (and Cab Driver) Nick Townsend proudly showed self his badge.

He talked about a church named St. Bartholomew the Less (The other, St. Bartholomew the Great, is next to the hospital. “Not that one,” he told self), which is a beautiful example, he said, of fine Norman (13th century) architecture.

He told self she must visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has candlelight tours “every last Tuesday of the month.”

He also told self about the Wallace Collection, which self has seen, but wouldn’t mind seeing again.

Self took notes.

London: oh, what a city. It is not cold. The rooms are damp. But go outside. Just keep going outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: More “Down”

So far in self’s story, the two characters (who are as yet unnamed) argue about anything and everything while Pinkie Pie (the name of the bathosphere) floats expectantly a few yards away.

It’s the end of the world, people. The sky’s all kinds of lurid colors, and what these two want to talk about is:

I haven’t seen cake in almost 30 years. Even forgot what it tastes like.

Are you serious? All right, let me refresh your memory: Cake is sand, rain, and seaweed, all mixed together.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: “Down”

Two men are getting ready to begin a new life on the ocean floor.

But first, they argue. About everything: from the name of the bathosphere (Pinkie Pie) to whether or not they should leave the girlfriend of one of them (Go Go):

We’ve never tested the ride. And we haven’t got any maps.

We don’t need maps. There’s only one way to go, and that’s down.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS, p. 307

So far, really enjoying this road trip with supernatural elements thrown in.  There are so many interesting encounters, and Gaiman writes like a dream.

The below is part of a very long rant by a woman named Sam:

  • I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS, p. 239

San Francisco isn’t in the same country as Lakeside anymore than New Orleans is in the same country as New York or Miami is in the same country as Minneapolis.

— Wednesday, in a conversation with Shadow, p. 239 of American Gods

 

AMERICAN GODS: A Visit from a Dead Wife

p. 117:

Shadow opened his eyes.

“Where did all the blood come from?” he asked.

“Other people,” she said. “It’s not mine. I’m filled with formaldehyde, mixed with glycerin and lanolin.”


“It’s easier to kill people, when you’re dead yourself,” she told him.

“It’s still a big deal,” said Shadow.

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