The Delights of Beginning a new du Maurier

The seven-year-old’s guardian has taken him to gawk at the body of a hanged man. It’s been four weeks, self can only imagine the smell.

She’s still only on p. 1 of My Cousin Rachel:

“There you are, Philip,” he said. “It’s what we all come to in the end. Some upon a battlefield, some in bed, others according to their destiny. There’s no escape. You can’t learn the lesson too young. But this is how a felon dies.”

OUTSTANDING.

Kudos, Daphne du Maurier. So many kudos.

Stay tuned.

The Father in THE SUMMER BOOK

Self finds the utter lack of drama in everything the father in The Summer Book does so compelling. He reminds her a little of Will Parry in His Dark Materials: that combination of stoicism and steadfastness.

On p. 144, the little girl, Sophia, prays:

  • Dear God, let something happen. God, if you love me. I’m bored to death. Amen.

In answer to her prayers, a whopper of a storm hits the island.

  • “Wonderful,” the Grandmother said. “But the nets are out.”

Alone, the Father takes out his boat and heads to the point in high wind, to try and salvage their nets.

  • He did it to save his family.

He is literally the only person that his daughter and his mother have to depend on. And never once in this entire book (she’s almost to the end) does he utter a single line of dialogue. It is his stoic immovability, the sense of permanence he radiates, that adds yet another layer to this wonderful book!

This is the storm:

  • The seas breaking against the sheer outer side of the island had grown. One after the other, the waves rose up in their white immensity, to a tremendous height, and foam hissed against the rocks like the blows of a whip. Tall curtains of water flew across the island and sailed on west.

Self remembers how, a few pages ago, a boat came to the island. The father had gone off in a great hurry to meet it and never returned, even though the daughter waited up for him until the wee hours. When he does finally show up, he goes straight to bed. The whole next day, he has a headache and is unable to work. Self finds it so amusing that the girl calms only when her grandmother invents a story about how the father was kidnapped and given a sleeping potion (Does this story ring any bells? It sort of reminds self of Circe in The Odyssey)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Hillary

“I think that if you live long enough, you realize that so much of what happens in life is out of your control, but how you respond to it is in your control. That’s what I try to remember.”

Today, Pondering Joan Didion

Mulling over a list of attitudes that can be considered “magical thinking.”

Remember the book that Joan Didion wrote, several years back, called The Year of Magical Thinking? Ying was reading it in the apartment in Tel Aviv when self visited her, just a few months before she succumbed, at 37, to leukemia. Ying told self it was a very good book.

Honestly, self does not know how Ying managed to read a book like that when she herself was struggling for her life. But that’s how Ying was. She was compassionate and loving, but also remarkably clear-eyed and unsentimental. She was brave. The last thing Ying told self, shortly before she left Tel Aviv was, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

Today, self flipped open one of her journals and the first thing her eyes landed on was this list:

EXAMPLES OF MAGICAL THINKING:

  • My “stuff” will save me.
  • My writing will save me.
  • Being good will save me.
  • My degrees will save me.
  • My 260-thread-count bed linens will save me.
  • Other people will save me.

Denial is the most dangerous form of coping mechanism.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

A Poem About Dentists on EUNOIA REVIEW

Self has a dentist appointment, later today.  She is not at all looking forward to the prospect.

This morning, she checks in on Eunoia Review and what does she see?

A poem about dentists.

How’s that for synchronicity, dear blog readers?

Here’s the first half:

Inheritance

by Katherine La Mantia

The dentist showed me
the x-rays where the
radiation lit up my teeth
like strings of lights at Christmas.
can you imagine how
marie curie glowed
And she pointed with
her pen tap-tapping
on my molar
or bicuspid, I don’t know.
the metal rings shrill
hammer on enamel

She showed me where
she would put metal brackets
and metal wires
and how she would
pull

What a beautiful name.  The poet has.  Katherine La Mantia.

Katherine La Mantia is an undergraduate at the University of Georgia.

Stay tuned.

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