A Word of Advice, Cousin

Brideshead Revisited, p. 36:

“None of these people you go around with pull any weight in their own colleges, and that’s the real test. They think because they’ve got a lot of money to throw about, they can do anything.

And that’s another thing. I don’t know what allowance my uncle makes you, but I don’t mind betting you’re spending double. All this,” he said, including in a wide sweep of his hand the evidence of profligacy about him. It was true. My room had cast aside its austere winter garments, and by not very slow stages, assumed a richer wardrobe. “Is that paid for?” (the box of a hundred cabinet Partagas on the sideboard) “or those?” (a dozen frivolous, new books on the table) “or those?” (a Lalique decanter and glasses) “or that peculiarly noisome object” (a human skull lately purchased from the School of Medicine, which, resting on a bowl of roses, formed, at the moment, the chief decoration of my table. It bore the motto Et in arcadia ego inscribed on its forehead.)

“Yes,” I said, glad to be clear of one charge. “I had to pay cash for the skull.”

“You can’t be doing any work. Not that that matters particularly if you’re making something of your career elsewhere — but are you? Have you spoken at the Union or at any of the clubs? Are you connected with any of the magazines? And your clothes!”

Advice for the Oxford Freshman

Book One, Chapter One:

  • ‘Change your rooms.’ — They were large, with deeply recessed windows and painted, eighteenth-century panelling; I was lucky as a freshman to get them. ‘I’ve seen many a man ruined through having ground-floor rooms in the front quad,’ said my cousin with deep gravity. ‘People start dropping in. They leave their gowns here and come and collect them before hall; you start giving them sherry. Before you know where you are, you’ve opened a free bar for all the undesirables of the college.’

 

Donald McNeil, New York Times Health Reporter

“If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”

Self Writes 16th Century

Self wrote the below section in a tone deliberately deadpan. It’s from her novel, Camarote de Marinero: Voyages.

An archivist to a young missionary who is shortly to depart Spain for the Philippines (1597):

  • As regards your health. The only hospitals are in Manila. You will be ill, but there is no help. There are two seasons, the dry and the wet. Fever is common during the wet season.

The Telegraph: Boost Your Immune System Now!

Here’s the link The Telegraph sent out: Anna Magee’s Guide to Boosting Your Immune System.

Ignore POTUS speeches also. You’ll just end up more confused.

Look at flowers. Think Peace. Feel Love.

DSCN0443

Backyard, Redwood City, 7 a.m.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Gaslighting

On Quora:

What is a single very detailed example of narcissist gaslighting that you have personally experienced first hand?

This is a very hard question to answer because gaslighting is like a symphony.

Hedgebrook to Self: There’s Always Centrum

Years ago, when Calyx Publisher Margarita Donnelly was still alive, she told self about Hedgebrook. She said, It’s the most magical place. But you can only go once. So don’t waste it.

Self had Hedgebrook, that tantalizing lure, in the back of her mind, for decades. Eventually, she started writing a novel. Then she thought: This could be finally be the project I can apply to Hedgebrook for.

She did not hear back on her application, for almost a year.

Wow, they must have tons of applications, self thought.

Finally, because her landlady was pressuring her to extend her lease, and self didn’t want to do that if she was going to Hedgebrook, she decided to call Hedgebrook.

“Umm, hello,” self said. “Have the results of next year’s residencies already been released?”

Impactful (maybe also painful) silence.

Who is this?

“Marianne Villanueva.”

Another long silence. “The results were announced six months ago. We’ll have someone call you.”

And that’s when self’s gut fell all the way to the bottom of her shoes.

Sure enough, someone did call to tell self she’d been rejected. Not wait-listed. Just flat-out rejected. “There’s Centrum, if you like the area,” said the caller.

“Oh,” self said. “Thanks so much for the recommendation.”

Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: Angela Narciso Torres

If You Go to Bed Hungry

(an excerpt)

If you go to bed hungry, your soul will get up and steal cold rice from the pot.
Stop playing with fire before the moon rises or you’ll pee in your sleep.

Sweeping the floor after dark sweeps wealth and good fortune out the door.
Fork dropped: a gentleman will visit. Spoon: a bashful lady.


Torres_author-photo-1024x1024

The poem in its entirety can be found on the Poetry Foundation site.

About Angela: She is the author of Blood Orange (Willow Books, 2013). Her second collection, What Happens is Neither, is forthcoming in 2021 from Four Way Books.

Perhaps that is why good things never last long with self: she is always sweeping the floor just before she goes to bed!

Stay tuned.

Why THE HOBBIT Still Matters

  • “The old maps are no use: things have changed for the worse and the road is unguarded. They have seldom even heard of the king around here, and the less inquisitive you are as you go along, the less trouble you are likely to find.” . . . Then the rain began to pour down worse than ever, and Oin and Gloin began to fight.

The Annotated Hobbit, Chapter II

Everyone should read this book in 2020! It will help you.

Happening to Neelay in Redwood City, California: The Overstory, p. 279

Really love these Redwood City scenes (where Neelay bases his electronic game company), just sayin’.

Below, a scene self has just finished reading (Neelay’s just had a telephone conversation with his mother, who’s misconstrued his reference to his female caregiver as a reference to a fiancée):

“Goodness. These things take time, Neelay.”

When they hang up, he raises his hand in the air and slams it down onto the desk’s front edge. There’s a very wrong sound, and a sharp white pain, and he knows he has broken at least one bone.

In blinding pain, he rides his private elevator down into the opulent lobby, the beautiful redwood trim paid for by millions of people’s desire to live anywhere else but here. His eyes stream with tears and rage. But quietly, politely, to the terrified receptionist, he holds up his swollen, snapped claw, and says, “I’m going to have to get to the hospital.”

He knows what’s waiting for him there, after they mend his hand. They will scold him. They’ll put him on a drip and make him swear to eat properly. As the receptionist makes her frantic calls, Neelay glances up at the wall where he has hung those words of Borges, still the guiding principle of his young life:

Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe in the future he shall be.

Note to dear blog readers: Never ever let your mother have this kind of an effect on you. Or you may end up like poor Neelay here!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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