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.

What the Writing Desk Looks Like Today, 16 March 2017

It’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day: YAY!

Also, it is raining.

Here’s what the desk looks like today:

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Busy morning.

Self is preparing to send out a story to a writing contest. It’s hard but, since the contest offers a 1-year subscription in return for a (smaller-than-average) entry fee, she figured it was worth it.

The copy of The Guardian next to her laptop is weeks old. But reading about Spicer et. al. is endlessly entertaining.

The Oxford English Dictionary word of the day is aliasing (noun): the misidentification of a signal frequency, introducing distortion or error.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Link to The City of 10,000 Buddhas

Self went to school with Shari Epstein, who teaches in the City of 10,000 Buddhas. She’s been wanting to see this place, forever and ever.

Last year, when self was staying at the Mendocino Art Center, she called The City of 10,000 Buddhas in Ukiah, and got the number of Shari, and Shari and self spoke!

Happiness!

But self never did make it to Ukiah. Because once you get into Mendocino itself, you enter a different state of mind. It’s like Brigadoon. Everything just floats away, so mesmerized are you by the sight of Ocean! Ocean! Ocean!

Since Rogue One is out, and self is planning to see it, and because she can’t stop worrying about Princess Leia and refuses to give 2016 the pleasure of even one more death, she is wondering whether she should really make one last effort to see Shari Epstein.

This morning, she calls The City of 10,000 Buddhas and is told that if she wants to enroll in a course on the Buddha mind, the course is three weeks. Starts January 8.

Self has known for the longest time that she needs a good mind cleanse. A three-week course on Dharma Buddhism might not be a bad thing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation 3: Because You Can Never Have Too Much

ANTICIPATION: A looking forward to.

Below are a couple of things self looks forward to. Because you can never, in self’s humble opinion, ever have too much of them:

Christmas:

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A beautiful sunset:

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Relaxing on a beach in December:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 16 December 2016

What are you waiting for?

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Now that is a very, very interesting question.

Here are some things that help her to answer that:

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Reminders on the fridge, December 2016

Self would love to have dimsum at her favorite place in Chinatown. It’s been too long!

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Chinatown Dimsum Love, October 2016

So looking forward to seeing the Frank Stella exhibit at the de Young!

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Sculpture Garden, de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Starting New Everlark: HEEEELP!

Self, what is wrong with you? At this point in 2016, the last thing you need is to start a new Everlark fan fic.

She posted it as a one-shot last weekend. Just 400 words, no biggie.

Then she got comment after comment. Which kinda got her excited.

This is her story: Peeta is a homeless man, and Katniss is an office worker, and the homeless man strikes up a very innocent conversation with Katniss. Everyone was all like: OMG that is so sweet!

Self wrote 3000 more words in one day! But all the interchanges so far take place on the street and self has no idea how to move the action to Katniss’s apartment. Where it obviously needs to go.

Readers are naturally impatient and begin offering self some helpful hints:

“Umm. Maybe it’s raining and Katniss invites Peeta to step inside?”

Or: “It’s foggy and chilly and Katniss doesn’t want Peeta to freeze to death!”

“She drops her wallet and Peeta retrieves it and Katniss’s address is on the license so he finds her building and rings the buzzer?”

Then, the backstory for why Peeta ended up homeless. More reader suggestions:

  • “Maybe he’s a war vet suffering from PTSD?”
  • “Maybe he was evicted from his apartment because he lost his job and couldn’t make the rent?”
  • “Maybe he’s a filmmaker doing a documentary on the homeless and decides to do guerrilla filmmaking?”
  • “Maybe he was a chef and the restaurant closed?”

Johanna appears in the story as a punk drummer in a rock band that plays in grunge places (fast disappearing in San Francisco but — creative license, after all!) She has a tattoo of a picnic basket on her arm and Gale, Katniss’s current boyfriend, finds that so overwhelmingly hot! Gale is all over that picnic basket tattoo! Hell, yeah!

Turns out Johanna and Peeta are related. Like, distant third cousins. Johanna doesn’t know Peeta has become one of the homeless. Peeta gets hired to model for Cinna because even though he is homeless he still has a pretty good figure. He gets paid $1000 in cash.

New dilemma: What in the heck is self going to have Peeta do with $1000 in cash?

  • Maybe he could open a bank account?
  • Maybe he could buy some new clothes?
  • Maybe he could buy Katniss some flowers?
  • Maybe he could take a few art classes?

Self will sleep on it.

Stay tuned.

 

 

If Self Had But World Enough and Time

She’d go here:

  • Antarctica, to follow in the foosteps of Ernest Shackleton
  • New Zealand, just because
  • Burma, because she’s always wanted to
  • Vietnam
  • the Nile River
  • Cuba
  • Varanasi
  • Patagonia
  • the Serengeti

It feels good to make a list, doesn’t it?

Stay tuned.

Lookup 2: Calgary Stampede

Self wasn’t kidding when she vowed last year to return to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede.

As it turns out, this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — LOOK UP — gave her many opportunities to get a little more creative with her shots as she walked around with her cousins Mike and Pixie.

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Gotta love those emoji pillows!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Adjusting the Reading List

The Girl On the Train was a very satisfying read! She will keep her eye out for Paula Hawkins’s next book. She hopes that, someday, there will be a sequel to The Girl On the Train.

In the meantime, self got a few pages into Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk etc. and was quite surprised to find that it is mostly about a playground in Japan, one the author encountered when she accepted the invitation of a friend to visit her in Tokyo. Self doesn’t know what she was expecting, but she knows it wasn’t a meditation on a children’s playground, not with a title like Savage Park.

Since she is still so keyed up after finishing The Girl On the Train, she decides she’s in the thriller-reading mode, so she opts to put aside Savage Park and go for the next book on her reading list: Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart.

The next book after Girl Waits With Gun: The Green Road, by Anne Enright. And after that, a book called Lonely in the City: Adventures in the Art of Living Alone. And after that, a couple of travel books, starting with The Narrow Road to the Deep North: Travel Sketches, by Matsuo Basho. Will I be able to finish more by the end of summer? Hope so.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Elena Ferrante, pp. 112 – 113

Self went to the Victoria & Albert this morning.

About the V & A: apart from the gorgeous Chihuly in the lobby, she is not enthused over their special exhibits. Last year, she went to one on shoes, and the shoes were the kind she has seen in Manhattan, in shop windows. So why would she pay extra just to see those very same shoes in a museum?

This morning, she went to a special exhibit on Re-imagining Botticelli. Alas, the exhibit seemed rather gimmick-y. Honestly, why waste time seeing how other people interpret Botticelli when one should so clearly be looking at Botticellis themselves! She did, however, learn that after the Renaissance, Botticelli fell into obscurity and was only “rediscovered” sometime in the late 19th century, by art dealers. Also, his first name was Sandro. It got to the point where self began wondering who this Sandro Botticelli was. And only figured out later that Sandro was Botticelli. Because all these years, self has only ever heard Botticelli referred to as Botticelli. Not as Sandro Botticelli. Naturally, it had to be a British museum that referred to him by first and last name!

Anyhoo, enough of this useless prattle!

She’s back in her room reading My Brilliant Friend.

Because of the stately cadence of Ferrante’s prose, self finds herself, while reading, being lulled into a hazy, dream-like state. She thinks she is reading Remembrance of Things Past, the Italian version. Only to be confronted with the brutality of — society!  Especially, of men! For instance:

SPOILERS! HEY HO, SPOILERS!

Don Achille was murdered.

Another instance: Shortly after she enters adolescence, the narrator finds herself beset by male attention. At one point some boys in a car follow her along a street, and the boys keep inviting her to get in the car with them. Self read this scene in an absolute stupor, she didn’t realize it was dangerous, until she read this:

  • I said no because if my father found out that I had gone in that car, even though he was a good and loving man, even though he loved me very much, he would have beat me to death, while at the same time my little brothers, Peppe and Gianni, young as they were, would feel obliged, now and in the future, to try and kill the Solara brothers.

What? What? What?

From the sedate to the overwrought. There are just no rules, with regards to Ferrante’s writing.

Stay tuned.

 

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