#amreading: Lydia Davis, “Five Signs of Disturbance”

She is watching everything very closely: herself, this apartment, what is outside the windows, and the weather.

There is a day of thunderstorms, with dark yellow and green light in the street, and black light in the alley. She looks into the alley and sees foam running over the concrete, washed out from the gutters by the rain. Then there is a day of high wind.

— from “Five Signs of Disturbance” in Davis’s first collection, Break It Down

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Fall 2016

Self often uses Lydia Davis in her teaching. Something about the crispness of her sentences. Her elegance.

Stay tuned.

Karen Joy Fowler: WIT’S END

This novel was published seven years ago, but it’s about a 2006 mid-term election.

That shows you how long self hangs on to reviews of books she’s adding to her reading list. She will go to a bookstore, armed with her file of New York Times Book Review clippings, she will first search the shelves and then end up asking for help from a bookstore staff person, and that person will look at self’s clipping, then his/her eyes will wander down to the date at the bottom of the page, and they will say (which has happened on at least three separate occasions), in a very offended tone: “Ma’am, this review is dated 2010.” Subtext: Are you freaking nuts?

The last novel she inquired about was Sara Gruen’s Ape House.

What can she say? She’s been living la vida loca for a very, very long time. So long that hyperactivity seems to be the norm.

In an incredible stroke of luck, self is reading Fowler’s Wit’s End the week after the elections. It would seem that, in 2009, there was the same kind of zeitgeist roiling around northern California. Because while reading Wit’s End, it could be 2016. She doesn’t even have to change a single word in a few passages, it reads like 2016:

  • Well, Ohio hadn’t delivered the complete Democratic rout that had been predicted.

A few pages later:

  • “How about that election,” the sushi chef said.

It’s been really hot in San Francisco (Ha, ha, ha — she’ll never complain about San Francisco coolness again! It’s sweltering hot. Like Global Warming with a capital G. W.) Self went to the Ferry Building to cool off. And overheard a woman say: “I’m still traumatized over those election results.”

And then, a few steps further, a vendor was calling out “Sea Salt! Sea Salt!” He beckoned to a young couple passing by and said: “Young lovers, this might be your last shot at happiness! Have a taste!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

‘Chaos’ Photo Challenge: Other Views

These blogs captured self’s attention this morning:

Stay tuned.

Rainbows, Lamps, and Watercolors Transmogrify and Delight

An ordinary day became great because there was this rainbow:

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The lamp below was in a down-home grocery store in Philo, California (Pop. 360 approx.)

The surprise of it being over Aisle # 3 is why self is including it in this post:

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Lemons Grocery, Philo, California

Lastly, self’s friend Mary-Ellen Campbell has been all over the world. She brings watercolors and sketchbooks wherever she goes and makes quick paintings of her surroundings. Look at this simple yet beautiful rendition of Angkor Wat, Cambodia:

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Angkor Wat, Watercolor by Artist/Traveler Mary-Ellen Campbell

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Shine 3: San Francisco Medallion Cab In Rain

All cabs have little TVs in the back seat now.

What does this mean? Does it mean that people are so tethered to their entertainment that they can’t bear missing a) their favorite shows or b) the news?

This evening, it rained. Self quite likes the city when it rains.

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What does this mean?

Sitting in the back of the cab, self suddenly remembered the Daily Post Photo Challenge. So she whipped out her camera and started snapping away.

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Streets of San Francisco

The cab driver heard self clicking away but didn’t utter a word. San Franciscans have this really steadfast devotion to respecting your privacy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SHINE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 October 2016

  • Has something bright or reflective caught your eye in the moment? Share a photo of something you were able to explore a bit!

— Nancy Thanki, The Daily Post

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Behind San Francisco’s Ferry Building, A Few Days Ago

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Bush Street, San Francisco, After Light Rain

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In Situ, Ground Floor, San Francisco MOMA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay

Interpretations, H20: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 7 October 2016

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge — H20 — is interesting. Self actually spent a good part of the day snapping pictures that she thought fit the theme, but in the end none of the pictures she took were particularly noteworthy.

Luckily, there are so many gorgeous posts from other WordPress bloggers. Here are a few:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Random Thoughts on Summer 2016 Movies

SUMMER!  SUMMER IS HERE!  WOOT HOOT AND HIGH FIVES!

Self swore, way back in January, that she would find joy again in watching movies. And she has! She has! Even when she was in venerable Oxford, UK, she managed to watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Captain America: Civil War”! (Which is probably why she ran out of time before she could drop by the Ashmolean. But she is not a complete Philistine: she did spend time in the Bodleian, and took a one-day poetry workshop at Saint Hilde’s)

So, let’s see, here are the list of summer movies she’s seen so far:

  • Me Before You (Emilia Clarke meets Bridget Jones: Clarke is too adorable!)
  • The Shallows (Blake Lively and her cute butt and her long legs and her killer smile meet a totally focused great white in the wilds of — Latin America? Mexico? Where the pretty Texan encounters very chivalrous men. The only un-chivalrous man who comes within Blake’s orbit gets . . . umm, well, let’s just say: Payback’s a bitch)
  • Love & Friendship (Xavier Samuels: What is her life? AAAARGH. When you put a handsome man in period duds, it’s lights out. At least, as far as self is concerned)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (Let us give credit where credit is due: the only reason self watches anymore is Evan Peters)
  • Captain America: Civil War (American snark rules! Especially in this series! YES!)

She will probably end up seeing Independence Day: Resurgence even though it has Liam. And mediocre reviews (Liam, you need a new agent! Pronto! Someone who can find you movies that convince people you can actually move!)

Of the above, the best ‘summer movie’ movie is, in self’s humble opinion, The Shallows. Any movie that can evoke hoots, laughter, and finally a triumphant YEEEES from a California audience has definitely earned its spot in the Best Summer Movie pantheon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIND: Sylvain Landry – Week 46

Saw “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Globe this evening, accompanied by Joan McGavin.

What. A. Fantastic. Production. Self can’t even.

The setting was modernized to Ireland, 1916, and the Irish music was so lively and helped keep up the tempo of the production.

The actress who usually plays the lead was “indisposed,” so the role of Catherine/Kat was played by the understudy. Who was terrific.

At the intermission, self went outside to look at the view.

There was a stiff wind.

Good thing she remembered the Sylvain Landry Photo prompt this week: WIND.

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View From Behind the Globe Theatre: 1 June 2016. Self and Joan McGavin watched “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Spare 2: Still in Oxford

Pictures tell their own story.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is SPARE.

Krista explains the thinking behind the prompt. She is writing about California’s Joshua Tree National Park:

Gazing into this distance, pleasantly spent from the exertion of the climb, I couldn’t help but feel at home in this spare landscape — despite the great differences in climate and altitude to where I live.

Self is still in Oxford. Spending Sunday with poet Jenny Lewis and her granddaughter Abigail and Abigail’s dad, Tom.

We went boating!

It was a lovely, overcast day on a tranquil river.

SO peaceful.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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