How To Look Like You Belong, in Hotel George V, Room 815, Paris

First, don’t ask for directions, just head on up to the room in question. And don’t fuss too much at the door to the suite. Just go right in.

A hotel maid will pass you in the hallway, she will glance at you but keep on walking. Expect the hotel manager in 10 minutes.

When the hotel manager lets himself into the suite (accompanied by “muscle” of course, this is a five-star Parisian hotel! Rooms cost upwards of $1000/night!), you will say, “Bonjour!” You will introduce yourself, you will say you’re a friend of whoever, and you will demand, DEMAND, the name of the manager, and then you will ask to see his ID.

Bearing, bearing is absolutely important.

Also, a silk scarf.

If it is autumn, then a beautiful autumn coat.

Just think “classic.” Be “cordial, but aloof.”

After all that, I’m sorry to say the manager will probably say something rude like “I would like to see what you’ve taken from the suite” and also mention the “small issue of” the bill.

You should say, “Of course!” And hand over your credit card.

And then you must keep smiling, even when they charge “three-thousand five-hundred euros. A night.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The “Fishwife Call”

If Lamorna Ash had written about nothing else except the pubs of Newlyn and the eight days on a fish trawler with six (or was it seven) Cornish fishermen, this book would have been worth the read. But we are only on p. 40, so one can only imagine what other Cornish memories lie in store!

So far, on this eight-day fishing trip, Ash has made reference to Moby Dick and something by Conrad, this interspersed with anecdotes about the crew (Kevin, a flaming redhead and the youngest of the crew is, naturally, the cook. First night’s dinner is “chicken burgers and lovely fucking peas.”)

Speaking of Moby Dick, self read that book for the first time in her first quarter as a Creative Writing Fellow at Stanford. Everyone else was reading Raymond Carver but, self being so obstreperous, she read Moby Dick. It took her, she thinks, something like three months, and she was in pain the whole time.

The trawler’s name is the Filadelfia –why? Next thing self knows, she is trolling her archives for pictures of Philadelphia, her favorite American city next to her own, the city where Dearest Mum attended Curtis (Dearest Mum was only 11 when admitted, and became super-famous, a famous like Britney Spears! For winning the New York Times International Piano Competition, at 14. Her teacher at Curtis was a Madame Mengerva, who told Dearest Mum she should never get married, which is why, when Dearest Mum was 21, she eloped and ended up having five children with Dear Departed Dad)

On p. 40, self reads about the Fishwife Call, that lovely seafaring tradition where “whoever is on watch puts the kettle on, makes mugs of coffee and then heads down to wake the snoozing crew for the next haul” with a hearty ‘Alrightfuckers!’

So interesting.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Eight Days on a Fishing Boat from Newlyn

Lamorna Ash is a beautiful writer. Self appreciates the precision in the following description, especially “they will repeat this performance over fifty times more in the week to come”:

Dressed in their oilskins, the men head out onto the uncovered deck to spread the nets ready for the first haul. They will repeat this performance over fifty times more in the week to come. The ancient, bird-like being heaves her wings back up, pulling the chainmail-clinking nets high up into the air above us, before dropping them down into the water with a smack. They break its surface and disappear beneath. The nets will remain sunken for the next few hours, stroking along the seabed, gathering fish into their cod-ends.

The salt-licked wind makes my eyes red . . .

Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town, p. 33

And since self has so many pictures from her own trip to Cornwall in 2019, she’ll just throw in one more, why not?

Hemingway-esque

A very laconic, almost Hemingway-esque scene in a bar, and then, here it comes:

Someone was always ready to laugh about the Filipinos in the kitchens, or about the management pricks. It always had to be late and they had to have drunk too much.

High As the Waters, Rise, p. 151

Introduction: NO RULES RULES

In her 2018 book, The Fearless Organization, she explains that if you want to encourage innovation, you should develop an environment where people feel safe to dream, speak up, and take risks. The safer the atmosphere, the more innovation you will have.

Introduction, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 128: And Here Comes the Holiday Season

  • I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year? Leya

Self did not expect 2020. Neither did any of us. Right?

Nevertheless, today self was checking out viveka’s blog, my guilty pleasures, and she had the most stunning array of Christmas photos. Inspired, self came up with a few Christmas photos of her own.

Here’s a picture from the night of Dec. 15, when Amazon Prime dropped the first 3 episodes of Season 5 of The Expanse! So exciting! Each succeeding episode is on Wednesday, that means the next ‘drop’ is Wednesday, 23 December. And that is the nicest Christmas present she could have asked for.

She did buy a wreath from Trader Joe’s for $10.99, and fastened a few multi-colored Christmas balls to dress it up a little.

And she put out her lighted angel, that she puts out every year. And brought out a tin angel that was made in the Philippines.

So, very simple decorations this year. Not even half of her usual lay-out. Usually, she gets a big, fresh-cut fir, and hangs about 100 ornaments on it. And she scatters greenery on every available surface. Last year, her neighbor Wendy dropped by, and the first thing she said when she crossed the threshhold was: WOW.

But, Christmas is in her heart, even though this year was a very hard one.

Shout-out to Restless Jo for her great Christmas gallery, to don’t hold your breath’s Four Views of Panchgani, and to Bend Branches’s lovely Christmas ornaments.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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.

20191228_145217

Stay tuned.

 

p. 5: The Haunting of the Mexican Border

. . . when people from south of the Border drove to Tucson to work and then returned home to live, a time when the U.S. Mexico line was a wire lying on the ground and we crossed the border like birds.

— Kathryn Ferguson

Everlark: The Great Bake-Off

The baking teams, final round:

  • Gale/Delly (???????)
  • Cato/Clove (stole Peeta’s cupcake recipe, BOO!)
  • Peeta/Katniss (Katniss can bake???)

The Judges: Effie, Haymitch and Cinna

Master of Ceremonies: Caesar Flickerman (but of course!)

First Person Point of View, Peeta

“So what do we have here?” Caesar bounces up to our table.

“It’s a dandelion and pear cupcake with a honey buttercream and walnut garnish.”

“This is lovely,” says Effie. “Such unusual flavors, and yet you balanced them nicely.”

Cinna nods at us. “Pear can be a delicate flavor. Speaking of which, nice job with the dandelion!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: CANDID

HAVE YOUR CAMERA READY AND JUST SHOOT.

— Leya, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 67

Prague, May 2019

Irene (self’s niece) and Martin (tour guide) crossing the Charles Bridge, our first day in Prague.

DSCN0056

DSCN0073

Street Performers, Prague, Last Week of May 2019

DSCN0115

Prague Castle, Last Week of May 2019

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