Order: London Eye, an Apartment Building in the Marais, the Islamic Collection at the Louvre

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is ORDER:

Sure, it’s fun to celebrate chaos every once in a while. But it’s others’ visions of order and harmony, from colonnades to geometric patterns on tiles, that most often intrigue me . . .

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Architecture has to have a sense of order. Otherwise, things just don’t get built.

Here are three beautiful examples of architecture self recently encountered on her travels:

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The London Eye, 7 June 2017

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Apartment Windows, the Marais, Paris: 2 June 2017

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The Collection of Islamic Art at the Louvre, 1 June 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy: Humorous Dystopia

Self worked on this story in Paris. It’s about the end of the world, naturalement.

A pink bathosphere named Pinkie Pi (Joke, joke, joke!), navigated by a pair of squabbling men, is the last to leave the surface of the planet (A new city awaits on the Ocean Floor):

We’re going under.

When?

Today.

Just like that.

Oui. N’est-ce pas. What do you think?

You’re talking about under.

That’s what I’m saying, oui.

That down there, on the ocean floor, we can — je ne sais quoi.

Yes.

In the shift and roll of waves . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Léa Outier for AIR FRANCE Magazine

You need to turn off the road taking you to your destination, watching out for elusive signposts while hugging the white beaches, to realize that this Pacific Caledonia shares more than verdant mountains and damp spells with Scotland: a certain predilection for solitude, for creating deserts.

— Léa Outier, “Conversations from the Other Side”

Another From Rinker Buck

Somewhere a few pages ago, Rinker Buck mentions that he is part Irish.

The Sentence of the Day is from The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey (Was reading this in Cork and the irony was rich: She was reading about of all things mules while listening to mostly cello music in a fabulous Irish city).

A rumination on the memory of Buck’s Dear Departed Dad:

Buck’s Dad: You’re not quitting. You just keep going . . .

Buck, years later: The idea that I could be doing quite a lot by not doing anything at all, just by not quitting, was quite beyond me at the time, but I did feel that night that I had the pioneer spirit.

Very wise, Mr. Buck.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Rinker Buck

“I cannot enjoy my life unless I am overactive, or find a challenge that makes me ebullient.”

— Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Self bought five books on this trip: five big, fat books. What was she thinking?

When she arrived in Cork, two days ago, she found that the platform exit was down a long cement ramp.

Of course, it was easy to roll two suitcases down a ramp.

What self completely failed to appreciate was that, if there is a downhill, there must be an uphill.

She decided to tackle this uphill ramp by finding the right attitude. That is, by sucking it up. About a quarter of the way, she stopped dead and had a most inconvenient thought: I will need a crane.

Then, an older woman in a black pantsuit turned and said, “Come on, give me the bags.” Self was all like, No! These are my bags! These are my punishment!

But the woman decided to pretend self was not protesting, and reached for the bigger of her suitcases.

All the way up the ramp self apologized. At the top, she reached for her big suitcase, absolutely dying with shame. The woman said, matter-of-factly, “I knew you’d never make it up that ramp.”

Meanwhile, it occurs to self that she cannot handle both these bags by herself when she needs to be off and on trains. Constantly.

But, since self has no choice, she decides that an attitude of cheerful denial is the best policy. After all, it’s always worked for her before.

The reason she knows it’s worked for her before is: she has never let go of the notion that suitcases, no matter how heavy, are no big deal. There is terrible disconnect here, but the importance of this notion, this notion of self-punishment followed by absolute self-reliance, is obviously something vital to self’s personality. Why, she has no idea. As vital notions go, this one’s pretty bruising.

Last year, she remembers being helped onto a London bus by the driver himself (No San Francisco MUNI driver would ever relinquish the steering wheel of a bus to help a batty woman. Self’s just saying) He reached down and grabbed her suitcase. After, he said: “I tell you, it must be really nice to leave home knowing you’ve brought all your books with you.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Honor of Earth Day 2017, #amreading

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

This is a grrrreat children’s book which gives a clear picture of the difficulties faced, through spare illustrations that evoke the truly epic nature of Shackleton’s journey.

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There’s a quote from Roald Amundsen on the publication information page:

  • No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.

— Roald Amundsen

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Self absolutely loves it.

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Stay tuned.

Self’s “First Life” (Juked.com)

“First Life” first line:

  • Ever since they moved our colony from Tonle Sap to the Philippines, my mind hasn’t been the same.

Now For One of Self’s: “The Lost Language”

This was published many years ago, in a magazine called Isotope.

Published in Utah and edited by a poet, Chris Cokinos.

It joined together two things: science writing and creative writing.

You would find, in the same issue, a play by a physicist, a nature essay, a poem by a mathematician. That sort of thing.

Self loved it.

Chris Cokinos, what are you doing now? Know that self considered Isotope a very noble experiment.

Here’s an excerpt from the story they published, which became the title of her third collection. It’s one of those hybrid things: part essay, part memoir, part myth, part short story.

The Lost Language

Filipinos once had an ancient written language. If I were to show you what the marks look like on a piece of paper, they would look like a series of waves. Or like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Like the eye of the Pharaoh I saw in my old high school history books.

The language was written on tree bark. Epics were probably written in this language, but I don’t know what they are. My ancestors are shadowy people. Shadows.

When I was a little girl, perhaps eight years old or so, my mother gave me a book of Philippine legends. The legends were mostly about beautiful maidens and enchanted animals. But the story I liked best was about Hari sa Bukid, which means King of the Mountain.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Conversion of the Iroquois

Montcalm and Wolfe is filled with references to the Iroquois. What happened to them? They were a mighty player in the French/British battles, with a capital city named Onondaga. And now they’ve just disappeared?

Self is suddenly consumed with curiosity.

An energetic French missionary named Fr. Piquet was particularly successful in converting them.

  • “The nature of the spiritual instruction bestowed by Piquet and his fellow-priests may be partly inferred from the words of a proselyte warrior, who declared with enthusiasm that he had learned from the Sulpitian missionary that the King of France was the eldest son of the wife of Jesus Christ.”

Since the Iroquois seem to have vanished, self has to assume that their conversion was simply a prelude to their — er, complete loss of agency, and eventual disappearance from the historical record.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Magellan Without Elcano

Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville with five ships in 1519.

Two years later, he was dead on a Philippine island.

Why does he get credit for the “first circumnavigation of the globe”?

If it weren’t for Juan Sebastian Elcano, who completed the circle, there would be no circumnavigation.

Self thinks the return leg was just as important — no, more — than the first leg.

Magellan set out with five ships and 270 men. Stocked to the gills, supported by experienced crew. Two years later, it was left to Elcano to return a demoralized crew back to Spain. He did it in one year, with one ship, the Victoria, which sailed from the Philippines to Borneo, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, north along the west coast of Africa, finally reaching Spain on 6 September 1522, with 18 of the original 270 men.

Now, that’s a journey. That’s epic.

Three years later, Elcano went on another expedition, but this time he was not so lucky. According to Wikipedia, Elcano died while on the Loaisa expedition to claim the East Indies on behalf of Charles I of Spain.  The cause of death was malnutrition.

Stay tuned.

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