Quote of the Day: Deborah Levy

I became physically strong at fifty, just as my bones were supposed to be losing their strength. I had energy because I had no choice but to have energy. I had to write to support my children and I had to do all the heavy lifting. Freedom is never free. Anyone who has struggled to be free knows how much it costs.

The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography, p. 17

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Deborah Levy, memoirist

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Patterns

For this week’s Fun Foto Challenge, PATTERNS, self is posting pictures from Lovejoy’s, an English-style tearoom tucked away in downtown Redwood City, CA, only a block from the library; and a picture of a plant with bright orange flowers that just began sprouting in her backyard. This winter saw heavy rain, hopefully in a month or so there will be tons of flowers blooming.

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Tea at Lovejoy’s, downtown Redwood City, 1 March 2019

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Adorable Porcelain Cup and Saucer, Perfect for Tea!

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About to Bloom: 28 February 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sawyer: Record of a Spaceborn Few, p. 175

Self loves Becky Chambers’ world-building. She first picked up on Chambers’s absolutely on-point world-building skills in the Sawyer sections (This novel uses one of those mutliple point-of-view structures, which normally self finds extremely annoying, but here actually likes). As a result, Sawyer quickly became one of self’s favorite characters.

In a recent chapter, he met the crew of a salvage ship. His observations about the crew, especially one with a “flip-eye”, and the way he’s asked to “break code” is completely beguiling. She almost quoted it in a blog post yesterday, but had to complete her week’s assignment for a memoir class she’s taking from UCLA Extension (a comp; after all these years of teaching, she’s entitled to at least a dozen of these!), so decided to forego the pleasure.

This morning, she happily begins to read a new Sawyer section (p. 175). Once again, the inventiveness of Chambers comes through!

A few pages earlier, Sawyer met Eyas, self’s second-favorite character.

Sent message

Encryption: 0

Translation: 0

From: Sawyer (path: 7466-314-23)

To: Eyas (path: 6635-448-80)

Hi Eyas,

I hope you don’t mind my sending you a note. I found your scrib path in the ship’s directory (you’re the only one with your name!). Anyway, I wanted to thank you again for your advice the other day. I’d just signed up for sanitation work when I met somebody outside the job office looking to hire workers for a salvage project. It’s just a gig right now, but it might be more. Plus, the crew’s been the only group of people other than yourself to offer to show me the ropes. They seem like fun folks. So I’m on board with them now, but don’t worry! My name’s still in the sanitation lottery. I took what you said seriously, and I’ll help out when I’m needed. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

Sawyer

Oh, Sawyer. He’s good at reading code, but doesn’t bother encrypting his message to Eyas? What a neophyte! The message has self thinking: Danger! Danger! He is entirely too trusting of his new crewmates.

And now that Sawyer’s sent the message, he sits on his bed thinking: I should have bought new clothes.

lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Luke Perry: Laid-Back American Hotness

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A Poem About Donald Trump: FUGUE, Summer/Fall 2011

Self hangs on to everything. This is important. Why else would she have a copy of the literary journal Fugue in her closet? An issue from 2011?

Nevertheless, she picks up the issue, opens to a random page, and finds Mark Wagenaar’s poem:

That The Unified Field Theory Must Somehow Include Donald Trump’s Hair

(An Excerpt)

Add the video of the dog playing the accordion
to the List of Things That Remind Me of Seville,
right beneath rainwater baths & patios of bitter oranges.
I never found who was playing, though from the jaunty
tuneless songs the musician had a great sense of humour.
You could also add the dog to the List of Things I’d Watch
Instead of “The Apprentice,” which is a list that would reach
La Giralda from here. I’m not sure hair can be that bad,
whether it’s real or some sort of Trump l’oeil, but I’m sure
it falls somewhere in the Unified Field Theory, which includes
the zebrafish’ new eyes, & the ghostly hair of nebulae —
the theory of another way to count it all up, to name the world
around us, blackbird, thorns in deadfall, thirst sudden as flight.

From the Contributors’ Notes: Mark Wagenaar’s book, Voodoo Inverso, won the 2012 Pollak Prize. He lives in Denton, TX

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

This Is How An Alien Drinks Hot Liquid: Record of a Spaceborn Few, p. 59

Lacking lips, Ghuh’loloan held the Human-style mug up, flattened her face back into her body so that it lay almost horizontally, and poured a little waterfall into her wide mouth. Her whole body shivered. ‘Ho! Oh ho!’

So, here’s a question: Why do aliens need gender? Is this something essential to reproduction? Self would have thought, being such a superior life force, aliens would have found a more efficient way to reproduce.

She honestly didn’t think about this until she noticed the pronouns in the passage above: Her.

Stay tuned.

Record of a Spaceborn Few, pp. 38 – 40

Self is enjoying this book. She didn’t think she would, because of the alternating viewpoints.  But she already likes one character a lot: Sawyer.

She loves Becky Chambers’s world-building. It is multi-layered and also precise.

For instance, there’s some kind of class system (with Humans somewhat farther down on the scale than they are right now, lol). Self knows this because Sawyer bags a transport to The Fleet. There, he immediately encounters “a branching sign that read Cargo Bays on the right and Central Plaza on the left, all the scales and claws went right.”

Sawyer is “a grounder.” He’s never been to the Fleet before. As a grounder, he’s used to mingling with ‘species.’

But suddenly he’s in a place where there are mostly humans. They speak a language called Ensk. Sawyer isn’t used to speaking Ensk: “His face said Human. His vowels said Harmagian.”

He looks for a place to eat and stops at Jojo’s (What a mundane name for a restaurant of the future!) and asks a woman behind the counter for a menu: “Exoskeletons crunched between her hands.” The woman tells Sawyer, “We’re out of red coaster stew.” So Sawyer says, “I’ll have twice-round pickle.”

Already self’s insides are roiling, imagining what goes into this dish. Sawyer’s insides are roiling as well, since he can’t see what the preparer is doing: “Something was chopped, something was ladled, a few bottles were shaken.”

Too funny.

Self would like to thank The Guardian for recommending Record of a Spaceborn Few. And for recommending The Essex Serpent and November Road.

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Smooth

Self missed last week’s Fun Foto Challenge. But this week, the Challenge is SMOOTH.

Here are: a sidewalk near Fleet Street, London (smooth sidewalk); a canal in Cambridge (smooth, tranquil boat ride); and sweet potato fries and an assortment of (smooth) dips!

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London, Near Fleet Street: 20 November 2018

And here’s Cambridge University, during last November’s Cambridge Literary Festival:

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Cambridge, England: 25 November 2018

And here’s a dish from Coupa Cafe, whose owner might be Venezuelan because there are a number of Venezuelan items on the menu:

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Sweet Potato Fries w/ an Assortment of Dips: Coupa Cafe, Los Altos, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Selma Blair, Beautiful

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Went to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party! YES! Look at that gown — beautiful and ethereal. Who was the designer?

This actress is so beautiful and so fierce.

She told Vanity Fair that she realized, finally, that what she really wanted to do was to act. “But I don’t know if it’s too late.”

SELMA, YOU CAN ACT.

Stay tuned.

We Meet Aliens: Record of a Spaceborn Few, p. 16

A hatch yawned open. How, Kip couldn’t say, because there weren’t any edges on the outer hull to suggest doors or seams. The crowd broke into a cheer as three Aeluons stepped out. Kip had really wanted to see them up close, but even at a distance, they made his heart race. Bare silver heads he knew were covered in tiny scales. Patches on their cheeks that swirled with color.

abstract architecture background buildings

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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