Currently Reading SOLVING STONEHENGE, by Anthony Johnson

The book was a gift from the author, who self has never met. He mailed it to Redwood City from Oxford University, where he taught. Self was blogging about Stonehenge (and was also writing flash about Stonehenge — those flash can still be found in Wigleaf). He left her a message on this blog. Then sent her the book.

In 1992, a burial site was discovered, 5 km east of Stonehenge. It was the grave of an adult man, “around 35-45 years old.” The man was deemed to be important because “ten times the usual number of finds accompanied the body.” He “had been laid on his left side … facing north.” Buried with him were:

  • two archer’s wristguards (one of which was made from black sandstone and came from the coast, 50 km away)
  • three copper knives
  • He must “have been buried with a bow and a quiver containing arrows, for 17 flint arrowheads were also present.”
  • a type of miniature anvil known as a ‘cushion stone’
  • a pair of sheet gold loop earrings

In 1993, a second grave was discovered, 6 km east of Stonehenge. This contained “the remains of seven individuals, all males: three adults, a teenager, and three children.” The oldest individual was “buried with his legs tucked up” and his head again pointing north.

The man in the 1992 grave has been given the name the Amesbury Archer.

In 2001, at Rameldry Farm, in Fife, Scotland, “a farmer’s plough caught the capstone covering an early Bronze Age” grave. Inside “a stone cist lay the skeleton of an adult male around 40 – 45 years, whose bones produced a radiocarbon date of 2280 – 1970 BC.”

Why is self reading so diligently about Bronze Age graves? She’s trying to finish her horror story and it’s about a team of scientists who stumble on some very disturbing findings in Antarctica. Hoping she can absorb some of the language.

She has so many questions: Why were people buried with heads facing north? Did they come from the north? Why were the oldest individuals around 40-45 years old, was that the normal life expectancy in the Bronze Age? Why were the graves of males exclusively? Where were the females buried?

More:

Suddenly, around 1700 BC, there is a disruption in the quality and quantity of metalwork found in graves in Britain. This coincided with “the apparent abandonment of Stonehenge.” By 1400 BC, “it appears that Stonehenge, already some 1,000 years old, had been abandoned.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Five Best Heroes Self Encountered in 2019 (All Fictional)

Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit

Frank Guidry, November Road

Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Niall Delaney, The Parasites

Sunny, Record of a Spaceborn Few

Quite a range of heroes, from a thriller, a romantic comedy, a du Maurier (who is in a class all her own), a fantasy, and a work of science fiction. Three of the five books that gave self her favorite heroes of 2019 were written by women.

Though self ended 2019 far below her Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, she is setting an even higher goal for 2020. Would you believe it if self told you that she used to be able to read 60 books a year?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Five Best Heroines Self Encountered in 2019: One Real, Four Fictional (Stay Tuned for Part 2: Heroes)

Anne Glenconner, Lady in Waiting, My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown (memoir)

Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey (novel)

Cora Seaborne, The Essex Serpent (novel)

Nora Gerraoui, The Other Americans (novel)

Rita Sunday, Once Upon a River (novel)

All of self’s favorite heroines were in books written by women. Coincidence?

Sunday Reading: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, p. 22

  • Later I will see Wenders’s film, Paris, Texas, written by Sam Shepard. Watching … in a dark movie theatre, I will experience in advance what I will later come to see on a desert trail — that we are all the myth of America. The playwright’s American dream of abundance is a fragile thing lined with longing, alienation, and rage, things that … we in the country know, and foreigners who adopt our country come to know.

From a Friend in New South Wales

Thank you for thinking of us. Most days we wake up with smoke haze, some days worse than most. There are a few bad days where visibility is less than 100 m.

My brother-in-law lives seven minutes away. He lives close to the bush. He received a text to be ready to evacuate. He asked if he could stay in our house, just in case. There were spot fires near him.

It is sad that people have lost their houses and homes, right after Christmas.

I sometimes wonder if this is the “new normal”? It is not sustainable. Definitive proof of climate change.

New Book: The Haunting of the Mexican Border, A Woman’s Journey, by Kathryn Ferguson

Found this book in Mesilla! Published by University of New Mexico Press. It begins with a quote:

For those who must leave home and travel to another land.

Introduction:

When you think of fear, you think about the five-foot-long Black Iguana with alligator eyes, ridges of teeth, and spiked backbone. It looks terrifying. As it charges you with world-record speed, you panic. But upon observation, you see that it prefers to dine on flowers and fruit. Such is the nature of fear. It is only imagination, up until the day you are eaten.

Stay tuned.

Latest Synagogue Attack: Levels of Generic Response

Strangely, the words that bother me most are these that I saw last night:

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HATE?

May I kindly request people to keep quiet if all they can say in response to an atrocity like this is Why Is There So Much Hate?

And now, since POTUS, no one can say:

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.

without sounding like a hypocrite.

How about this other generic response?

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The World This Year: The Economist, 21 December 2019

The Economist sent a reporter to traverse the length of the southern border, from El Paso to San Diego. The result below:

p. 39:

El Paso to San Diego: Donald Trump’s wall will irrevocably change America’s southern border

. . . a new wall is rising, and it will not be so easily sliced through. America’s new border wall is made of 30-foot-tall (18 in some places) steel bollards filled with concrete, sunk six feet deep into a concrete foundation and topped with five-foot slabs of solid steel designed to impede climbing . . .

Some Democrats argue that Mr. Trump is merely replacing walls that already exist. That is not true. When a 30-foot wall, impenetrable to wildlife and surrounded by a network of roads and lights, replaces a low fence, it really is a new structure, in much the same way that replacing a garden shed with a ten-storey office block would be. A journey from El Paso to San Diego makes clear just how deeply the wall will change the character of America’s southwestern border. Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty welcomes to America the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Mr. Trump’s wall sends the opposite message.

In Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an environmental atrocity occurs:

. . . along the new sections of wall . . . lie massive, fallen saguaro cactuses in sections — bulldozed for the barrier. They can live for centuries. Some of those cut down were probably standing before Arizona was a state.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Annotated Hobbit, Ch. II, p. 40

Not far ahead were dreary hills, rising higher and higher, dark with trees. On some of them were old castles with an evil look, as if they had been built by wicked people.

Calyx Journal 10: Summer/Fall 2019

Look at this beauty!

20191208_150717

Featuring the 2018 Margarita Donnelly Prize for Prose Writing, Michelle Cristiani’s Blessed Are the Breathing.

From Senior Editor Brenna Crotty:

  • This is the issue of transformation. I knew it would be as soon as we accepted two pieces with the word “Molt” in the title. Although they addressed very different themes — the pain of recovery versus the new freedoms of young adulthood — they both flung the windows open on deep feelings of change. And the more I looked for it in this collection of poems and stories, the more I found it. From the grief and catharsis in Ingrid Wendt’s “Blue Morpho” to Michelle Cristiani’s unfolding account of life after a stroke, this issue is filled to the brim with the challenging and exhilarating work of becoming something new.

It isn’t just the words, though. The featured visual art is stunning as well.

Submissions are open through Dec. 31.

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