Wullie Campbell, What a Prince

Wullie Campbell (Agnes’s dad) returns from the war to find a strange baby in his house, and a high-end pram.

Ah!

  • “the baby’s pink arms reached out to him, like it knew and trusted the deep well of goodness from which Wullie Campbell had sprung.”

His wife:

  • “She had never let Mr. Kilfeather kiss her, she felt she had to tell him that.”

Wullie takes the strange baby out in the pram. Neighbors hear him whistling all the way down the street!

Self rushed all her errands today (even forgave that young Asian woman in the bright blue compact who cut into her lane and gave her the most WICKED side eye — you can bet self leaned on the horn, the loudest bleeaaaeat she could manage. It’s amazing how rude some people can be) just so she could grab her book and read further about Wullie Campbell and the strange baby and the high-end pram and Mr. Kilfeather.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

April 18 BRIGHT SQUARES

For today’s BRIGHT SQUARES Challenge, self took pictures at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento! Which is just as fabulous as she remembered it being, all those years ago (Then, she was lucky enough to catch a Norman Rockwell retrospective)

(Left to Right):

  • Dale Chihuly (almost identical to the one that hangs in the lobby of London’s V & A)
  • Portrait of the playwright, screenwriter and diarist Christopher Isherwood, by Don Bachardy, American (born 1934). Isherwood wrote the 1964 novel A Simple Man; the movie adaptation won Colin Firth an Oscar.
  • Pacific Ocean, a painting by Jennifer Bartlett, American (born 1941)

What a great museum. Self is so happy she returned to Sacramento for this brief visit. If only the café had been open, she’d happily have lingered the whole day.

For lunch, she stopped at this small pop-up on 16th. The metal chairs had been baking in the sun, which she did not think mattered until she actually sat down. A lady who was sitting at the same table smirked and said, “That’s why I avoided sitting on those.” I took a chair that was sitting in the shade, a bit closer to the lady, and she immediately said, “I’ve had my two shots, don’t worry.”

The lady also told self that there was a “Chinse supermarket” not half a block from where we were sitting, and self got very excited at the thought of loading up on goodies for back home.

In addition to tacos, the pop-up also sold, somewhat improbably, mac’n cheese, and since it’s been forever since she’s had mac’n cheese, she decided to try it. It was good!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The System

The system is broken. When you have adult children hustling parents off into “assisted living,” and giving up the home they’ve lived in for four and a half decades.

The parents give in because, at the end of life, we all become children again. We become helpless. It makes me angry.

3/4 of I’ll Be Seeing You is about what is past. The past is very pretty. The present isn’t. And the future doesn’t even bear contemplating.

Me thinking as I read: Why would anyone want to look at a bunch of total strangers and do crafts? What is so damn delightful about living in a place where you have the crafts option? Who cares about keeping busy? Why doesn’t “assisted living” have a library?

At the same time, the parents are such a burden to the author. She has meals with them, every gesture delicately described.

To me, the parents are functional. Childish, but functional. In the home, they become truly lost, not themselves. They have to adhere to meals at set times, and talking to people. Isn’t the fun of growing old the fact that you can do whatever you like? Because you’ve earned it, right?

And then the big end-of-life talk. Which comes, deadeningly, at the end. It’s so predictable, and really sad.

This is the third week that my mother has been in hospital in Manila. She got COVID. No one in the family has seen her. No one can visit because COVID is raging through the Philippines. She has a trach.

But she is a fighter to the very core. She is somehow hanging on, and a few days ago they transferred her out of the “critical” section of COVID patients. What I think I am trying to say is: Don’t count the very old out. Never, ever count them out. Give them that last shred of dignity, and don’t count them out.

I am nearly through with this book. On p. 171, author states she hopes her 90-year-old father “will find a friend.” His “assisted living” place offers the author a partial schedule of the father’s daily activities:

  • current events
  • exercise
  • lunch

The children auction off of all their parents’ precious things: “the auctioneer arrives promptly” and offers them five hundred dollars.

I am outraged by the author’s nostalgia for all the events that happened in her parents’ house. How dare she indulge in touchy-feely emotions while her parents aren’t allowed to have them. She expects them to be “objective,” to accept that what is happening is inevitable.

REALLY?????

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

April 12 BRIGHT SQUARES

The life of B‘s Bright Squares Challenge runs through the month of April. Fun!

Today, self is back to photographing flowers. She had so many things she could have posted today, but she decided to leave some pictures for a future post.

Pictured:

  • clematis montana rubens (one very long strand trailing down, almost completely covered by delicate pink flowers)
  • clematis montana “white surprise” (self’s newest clematis)
  • cistus (rock rose)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Things About Sandman Slim

Things that are cool about Sandman Slim:

  • He is Nephilim.
  • He has a flaming sword called Gladius (like a light saber, but cooler).
  • He has PTSD from being in Hell.
  • He can go anywhere, anywhere in the world, as long as he can find a shadow.
  • His ride is called the Hellion Hog.
  • While in Hell, he developed a taste for Malediction cigarettes.

Things that are not cool about Sandman Slim:

  • Janet
  • Janet
  • Janet again
  • Just, in general, Janet and their lack of ambition. She works in a donut shop. (This does not seem like a “transitional” phase.) She explained to Sandman Slim that she is against binary pronouns — he/she. He must always refer to them as “they” or whatever.
  • Janet is tiresome. They are the type of woman who likes their men to rescue them. Notice I have to submit to calling Janet “they/them” because that is how they want Sandman Slim to refer to them. And they are mixed up. Did self say already how weird they are?
  • They belong to a club where people find sexy ways to commit suicide, such as rushing straight across a freeway during rush hour traffic. To get into this club, Sandman Slim must show how adventurous he is by killing a vampire. He does it handily because of supernatural ability. Also because of flaming sword. Mostly he just does it to impress Janet. Which is lame, boring. Because they are boring.

Anyhoo, self is reading fast now and hopefully will get to her next book, a memoir by Elizabeth Berg, about aging and how we all must go through it, blah blah blah. Hopefully it will NOT be depressing, because nothing’s worse than reading a book about aging and being depressed. Also, it’s about a real-life couple who have a great love, and sometimes it’s depressing to read about that.

But oh, it’s such a gorgeous day. And oh btw, she edited a story and sent it out. Her story’s about exploration, and discovery, and about how a one’s character can pretty much dictate the arc of one’s life, and when you get to the end, do you say, What’s next? Or do you say, What was that all about? Or do you say nothing.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Free Submissions, Today Only, FIVE SOUTH

All day today, Sunday, April 11, the literary mag Five South is temporarily suspending submission fees.

All other writers guidelines still apply. Such as WORD COUNTS:

  • Flash: 1000 words
  • Short Fiction: 5000 words
  • Poetry: Open

Here’s the link for full guidelines.

There is a typo: Simulataneous Submissions.

But hey, this is a good journal, and they do get back to you fast.

Vidocq

Sandman Slim encounters sees a man named Vidocq who tells him very many things:

  • “You are a Nephilim. The last of your kind. We don’t have any trustworthy descriptions of previous Nephilim. We have no idea if their complexions were smooth . . . your scars are simply part of your divine nature . . . I’m sure this process will continue and that you’ll acquire new scars in the future.”
  • “Nothing is ever the same the second time. It might be worse. It might be better. But it’s never the same.”

Dear blog readers can tell how much self is enjoying this novel. She found out today that it is the penultimate of the series. GAH. She also found out that in the book previous to this, Sandman Slim was in Hell, and readers were generally not liking it as much as the ones set in L.A.

Don’t know whether to go with this opinion or not. All she knows is that Sandman Slim returned to L.A. with a fondness for Malediction cigarettes and a desperate longing to appear normal.

L.A. is the best setting for fiction. Self doesn’t think she’s read a single L.A. novel that she hasn’t liked.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Thoughts of a Ghost Janitor

I’m nervous about her coming to the party. So I’ll be extra polite, wear a clean shirt, and try not to set anything on fire.

Ballistic Kiss, p. 19

Self is excited about this party the MC’s been referring to since opening pages. He’s even lining up movies for his guests: Face/Off, Con-Air (Movies self has watched more than once! Did self mention how excited she was for this party? Something big is sure to go down!)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Angst in All the Devils Are Here

Whew! The angst in this mystery. There’s enough angst here to power a whole galaxy. Everyone in the family is a suspect to Inspector Armand Gamache, including his own son!

Did self mention the angst?

The angst also comes wrapped in a bow in the person of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, former hardscrabble kid (from East Montreal; self never having been to Montreal, or even to Quebec, she can only imagine the horrors of growing up in East Montreal), “found” and made his boss’s No. 2, thereby earning a) the love of the boss’s daughter; b) the hatred of the boss’s son; and c) the curiosity of every reader of Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache’s series (mostly female, self’s assuming)

Better than the mystery is the suspicion, the miscommunication, the times we worry for Jean-Guy Beauvoir (there’s “something wild” about him, muses a character in this book), the times he’s called stupid by a prissy female colleague (French), the times Inspector Gamache’s son Daniel looks at him with deep hatred, the times Jean-Guy looks at his boss and mentor with fierce protectiveness.

Self doesn’t know if Jean-Guy is as integral to every Inspector Armand Gamache book as he is in this one, but let’s just put it this way: if you do not like the character of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, you will probably not like All the Devils are Here.

Self, it turns out, does like the character, hence she likes this installment (#16!!!) of the Inspector Armand Gamache series, very much.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

What’s Not To Love?

All the Devils Are Here is great: It’s got Paris. It’s got angst. It’s got the son who thinks his father doesn’t love him. It’s got the deputy married to his boss’s daughter (How did that relationship come about? Self wants to know the backstory). It’s got loads of wit. Did self already say this? She’ll say again: It’s got Paris.

Now self knows that the Sixth Arrondissement — hello — is so much classier than the Seventh Arrondissement. A three-bedroom apartment in the Sixth will run you “several million euros.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

« Older entries

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon

myguiltypleasures

welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through fashion and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other