Reading on the Fourth of July, 2019

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HOME: 4 July 2019

Today self finished Stephen Westaby’s Open Heart and began a re-read of the Rosario Ferré collection The Youngest Doll (University of Nebraska Press, 1991). Some pieces are memoir, some are nonfiction, some are magical realist.

  • Being a writer . . . one has to learn to live by letting go, by renouncing the reaching of this or that shore, to let oneself become the meeting place of both . . . In a way, all writing is a translation, a struggle to interpret the meaning of life, and in this sense the translator can be said to be a shaman, a person said to be deciphering conflicting human texts, searching for the final unity of meaning in speech.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Back in London!

Prague was very pretty but people do not speak English there.

London is adorable because as usual there is traffic and the skies are grey.

It’s another Bank Holiday. OMG, so many of these! Can someone please explain what is going on?

The last thing she remembers doing in London was watching John Wick 3 at the Odeon on Tottenham (Five Stars!) and meeting Jennie for dinner at Chez Nous immediately after. Then walking with Jennie down Great Russell Street and pointing out the British Museum and the Antiquarian Bookseller and paying a very brief visit to the Bloomsbury Hotel (The lobby looks like most of the space is taken up by a bar. Or mebbe it’s always been that way and she’s just mis-remembering?)

In Paddington, she used an ATM to withdraw pounds. A message told her: PUT YOUR CASH AWAY QUICKLY.

Then, as if she needed another reminder, the PA system began to squawk: THERE ARE PICKPOCKETS HERE.

She dashed into an exit elevator like her pants were on fire. GOTTA GET OUT OF PADDINGTON I’M SURE I’M BEING STALKED BY SOMEONE WHO SAW ME USE THE ATM.

The taxi rank was beautiful: it snaked all the way back, looked like at least 50 taxis, each moving smartly forward evey few seconds. She wished she had the wherewithal to take a picture. But she was SO deathly afraid of pickpockets. Seriously, though, that is some serious taxi business going on at Paddington.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Throwback Friday: Raindrops, Paris (Photo-a-Week Challenge)

For only her second post participating in Nadia Merrill’s Photo-a-Week Challenge, she has to go back, waaaaay back, to 30 December 2017. She’d just spent one of the loneliest Christmases ever, in Paris. Lo and behold, when it was time for her to leave, she realized she’d come to feel comfortable in Paris (after spending two weeks holed up in a hotel just a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, where a very discreet hotel staff never asked her a single personal question, and only interfered with her routine once, when they insisted she go to the Louvre on Christmas Day — No lines, Madame!)

This week’s Photo-a-Week Challenge is RAINDROPS.

She thinks that’s what’s going on in these pictures. Or mebbe she was just too tired and it was too early in the morning and her hand was shaking. She was in a cab headed to the airport, where she was going to fly, first, to London, and then to the Philippines.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Good Morning to Fowey Only

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Three-Of-a-Kind II

Walked around Dublin with visual artista Jacinta O’Reilly. We were going to check out the Chester Beatty but, disappointingly, the museum was closed.

While waiting for Jacinta, self checked out the Surface Matters exhibit at Dublin Castle. Amazing show. Featured stunning pieces by, among others, Alan Meredith, Cecilia Moore, Jack Doherty, Coilin O Dubhghaill, Ciaran McGill, Mike Byrne, Joe Hogan, Grainne Watts.

The medium used in Picture # 1: wood

  • Alan Meredith’s preferred material is the wood of the national tree, Irish oak . . . He turns, hand-distorts, steams, ebonises and fumes his pieces . . . 

Took pictures of several “three-of-a-kind.”

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Alan Meredith’s “Wood”

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Mike Byrne, Limerick Artist

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Joe Hogan’s “Venus Figure Pods”

Stay tuned.

 

 

Kenan Malik in The Observer, 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday)

Self arrived in London several hours ago. So most of her quotes (for the next couple of weeks) will be from British or Irish papers, like The Observer.

“The problem is not fierce argument, but a rush to damn our opponents.”

Self wishes she could quote every sentence of this piece. Here’s the opening, including the header:

Robust debate is evidence of a healthy society.

But it is not debate America is having right now. Those who cite “freedom of speech” to bash others are not really open to freedom of speech, and they prove it by coming up with labels like “socialists” or “the extreme left” or “crazy liberals.”

And BTW, can self just say that Meghan McCain is almost unwatchable. Every episode of The View now, she has to say something like “those on the left” or “the extreme left.” Self would like to send her a link to the Kenan Malik piece. It is NOT helpful to bandy about labels like these, which sound altogether too neat (as if she really knows what “the extreme left” is. You know how self knows Meghan doesn’t know what an “extreme left liberal” is? Because self doesn’t know herself. It’s a label that was born with this White House. And she doesn’t trust it. Because it sounds like a label concocted purely for political purposes. Which means the very label itself is a lie.)

In contrast, self is 100% sure when she says “the GOP is no longer a credible political party.” You will never find self saying “The GOP is not a credible political party because they are made up of rightists.” No, she’ll say “the GOP is no longer a credible political party because they fronted us Donald Trump.” And even now they can’t admit it. Self knows they can’t admit it because they keep coming up with more ridiculous labels.

We in America (and self knows this, since she lives there) are driving ourselves crazy trying to parse stupid statements like “I’m not a robot” — endlessly.

Or, “rake the forest floor.” And when we defend ourselves, the White House will bring up “crazy liberals.” Which the base seems to accept as fact.

Self would just like to say that pairing “crazy” with anything is the surest way to kill debate. Something America so desperately needs.

Here’s some advice: When a person brings up “crazy liberals” in a conversation with you, you should stop speaking to that person. Immediately. Because you’re having a fake conversation. And those are the worst kinds. Absolutely the worst. Because the person’s just using you as an excuse to air a platform.

Which was the case with Sarah Sanders and George Stephanopoulos last week.

Also BTW (this post is so full of them, apologies), Sarah Sanders took a page right out of the Justin Bieber playbook: his “sorry I make mistakes but I’m not a robot.”

Yes, Sarah, you have just followed in the footsteps of a twenty-something pop star. High Fives!

 

Paris, December 2017

For NOVEMBER ROAD, Memories of a Long-Ago Las Vegas

Lou Berney’s thriller, November Road, is nearing its mournful denoument. The killer’s getting closer and closer.

NOOOOO!!!

Before we get there, however, there’s the 1963 Las Vegas Strip, where Frank Guidry discovers his past and Charlotte discovers her future.

Las Vegas was the one place self associates with “family vacation” — the one place we returned to, year after year, for about five years. We’d stay at a hotel — either the Bellagio, the Venetian, the Paris, or the MGM Grand — and loll by the pool and take in a show. We’d grow fat at hotel buffets. Here’s a picture of self and son, taken about 15 years ago, at Hoover Dam. How ironic that this is the ONE picture she has of a particular trip. And it’s not even IN Las Vegas.

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With Son at Hoover Dam, Just Outside Las Vegas, a Lifetime Ago

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge: BLUE AND YELLOW

This week, Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge is BLUE AND YELLOW.

As it’s a grey and chilly morning where self is, the Blue and Yellow will come from her archives.

Here’s a picture she took in Heathrow, December 2018. Somewhat blue and yellow:

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The Oceania Exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art in London. The yellow is in the gilt frames on the wall.

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Finally, sign on a sidewalk in front of Blackwell’s bookstore in Cambridge, England. Blue and Yellow, upper right-hand corner:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: PAIRS

Self is always happy when she can participate in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!

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Rose Bowl Parade, 1 January 2019

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Straw Angels, December 2018

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Reading, December 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

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