Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory: Stories, p. 4

fullsizeoutput_6a1

Perhaps every can of cashews has a fake snake lurking, but you keep opening them, stupidly, because in your heart of hearts you still believe in cashews. And every time you discover the cruel fiction of the cashew can, you swear to yourself you’ll trust a little less next time, you’ll be a little less open, a little more hard. It’s not worth it, you say. It just isn’t worth it. You’re smarter than all that. From now on, you’re going to be smarter. Well, I’m here to tell you that this time will be different, even though I have absolutely no evidence to support that claim. Open this can and everything will be okay. The salted circus cashews are waiting. They are so savory and delicious.

Anthony Johnson on ‘Folk Memory’

Oh what a treasure trove of riches is this book Solving Stonehenge (which self had in her possession for at least over a decade, which she never had the time to read properly until now)

Mystery: Who/ What transported the stones to Stonehenge? (The stones are “bluestones” from west Wales)

In pre-literate societies the shaping of important facts into narrative form was a sure way of ensuring their survival in the collective consciousness of the community.

My Irish grandmother would often say that a kettle, on taking a long time to boil, ‘had stones in it.’ I was six or seven years old at the time and had no idea what this meant and, more importantly, neither did she … almost 20 years later while working on an archaeological excavation … I was examining a collection of large, scorched and fire-cracked pebbles that had been subjected to a greater episode of burning than represented by the small prehistoric hearth on which they lay. Similar stones had been found elsewhere on the site, remote from any burning — they were of course ‘potboilers.’ My grandmother was, unknowingly, referring to the use of stones to boil water by heating them and dropping them into earthenware pots which would have been incapable of withstanding the direct heat of a fire. This was a revelation; an ancient memory had been relayed to me from days when water was boiled not in metal pans or kettles, but in pottery vessels … Archaeology and oral tradition are not necessarily incompatible.

Self has a question: HOW were those bluestones transported from Wales? They look hella heavy. Another question: WHY? Seems like such an enormous investment of labor and time. She means: if people were laboring to transport, they couldn’t be hunting. Only large, settled communities could spare that much manpower for the time it took to transport and erect the stones. It involved organization — the assigning of specific tasks.

A Bronze Age man did not in isolation have an AHA moment where he said: let me try and move these BIGASS stones from Wales to here. He wouldn’t even have had the imagination to think up such a project. He didn’t up the ante by saying: I’m going to put two lintels here, and then raise a massive horizontal slab to lie on said lintels (which BTW must have been required enormous, enormous strength — the strength of many people. There had to be a fairly large human settlement.

Enter Henry VIII and his personal project: the cataloguing of England’s antiquities (Wasn’t Henry VIII the one with the many wives? Self knows him so well for one reason only: he beheaded Anne Boleyn, lol) The job was assigned to John Leland, who labored FOR TWELVE YEARS (from 1533 to 1545)

This is all so RUSSELL HOBAN. His novel, Riddley Walker, is about bards who travel up and down Britain, singing songs about a man named Adam whose body was pulled in two directions at once and who eventually split in two. Way to keep the memory of the atom bomb and the nuclear holocaust alive! After the apocalypse, there are no more libraries. No more books. No internet. But, there ARE ‘walkers’ to tell the tale.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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.

Ann Glenconner and Imelda

Yes, they were friends. Of course they were.

Proof is in the photo gallery, circa 1978. Which self just paged through this morning.

20191112_115150

Currently Reading Memoir

Next on self’s reading list: Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (Vol. II of his Book of Dust)

Stay tuned.

Patricia Westerford’s Father Explains Trees: The Overstory, p. 118

Her father explains how the trick is done. “Think about it! They’ve figured out how to live trapped in place, with no other protection, whipped by winds at thirty below zero.”

These magnificent Monterey pines were planted by the original owner of Fowey Hall, in Cornwall. Self encountered them for the first time in May 2019.

She had always thought Monterey pines were found in only two places in the world: California, and Kilkenny Park in Northern Ireland (She contributed a piece about Northern Ireland’s Monterey Pine for a book on Trees of Kilkenny, edited by poet Csilla Toldy and published last year)

DSCN0253

De la Lengua Bisaya (Concerning the Bisayan Language)

NOTE: The Bisayan Islands are in the central Philippines. There is not just one Bisayan language, there are several. The two major Bisayan languages are Hiligaynon (spoken in Dear Departed Dad’s home province) and Cebuano. After reading this chapter, self thinks that Alcina used Bisayan and Hiligaynon interchangeably.

from Alcina’s History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, Book III:

In good Spanish we use one word, lavar, to wash, to express one idea while in the Bisayan language many are utilized: so this language has a curious property, namely: that there is a different word for each thing that is washed. The Spaniard says ‘wash the clothes’ while the Bisayan conveys the idea of ‘washing clothes’ with one word and no more. We say ‘wash the plates or the pots’ etc. while they say hugas, this includes the entire idea. We speak of ‘washing fish’ or ‘washing meat’ while the natives say lawsaw, which signifies exactly the same. In this way, each thing that is washed has a different term. To wash or to clean the body is our way of expression; theirs parigus, and means the entire body. We say to ‘wash the feet’ and they say pamusa. We say ‘to wash the hands’ and they say hunay, and refer in similar manner about all the parts of the body.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Word of the Day, 3rd Sunday of August 2019

DSCN0331

KINAADMAN is a Visayan word signifying both knowledge and wisdom. The sailboat (vinta, a familiar sight in southern Philippines seas) carries on its sail the letter K in the old native syllabary.

DSCN0330

In the olden days, Filipinos were sailors. Using only the stars for guidance, our fast-moving sailboats ranged far across the Pacific — to Guam, the Micronesian Islands, even  Hawai’i.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Pearl Shop, Philippines

It always surprises her to learn that self’s got a following. Not here, IN THE PHILIPPINES. Which has thrived in her TOTAL ABSENCE. Like, go figure. In fact, she’s on the curriculum in the University of the Philippines.

She remembers giving a reading at a hotel in Cebu during International PEN, and all her books sold. Every last copy. Amazing, right? It sold out, even though the book was expensive by Philippine standards: 500 pesos per, almost $10 US. For a country like the Philippines, to have sold out at that price, for a writer who rarely goes home, is truly something.

She was at a dinner after her reading, and someone tapped her on her shoulder. She turned, and a woman self did not know said, “I just wanted you to know. I really loved The Lost Language.”

At the Cebu Airport the next day, a stranger came up, introduced himself, and said he flew from Cagayan de Oro to Cebu, JUST TO HEAR HER READ. Her hair was a sweaty mess, her clothes were rumpled. If she had known people would recognize her, she would have gone to a parlor.

Dearest Mum is always berating self for her lack of style. She looks, Dearest Mum said, like a slob. Because she has no compunction about wearing any old thing that happens to be clean.

The man who spoke to her at the airport in Cebu turned out to be a writer himself. He gave her a copy of his book. He writes plays. His book was published IN DIALECT which is so totally earth-shattering and amazing. No English translation, and self doesn’t know the dialect. But. Still. Self really believes in regional literature. Because literature from the margins is MORE powerful.

The writer’s name was Carlos A. Aréjola.

Here are the production notes, setting, cast of characters etc. from his play Unang Yugto:

Tagpuan (Setting): Cottage sa isang resort (A cottage in a resort)

Panahon (Time): Kasalukuyan (The Present)

CHARACTERS:

Edwin – matangkad, guapo (tall, handsome)

Toledo – mestisuhin (mestizo), 18 taong gulang (18 years old)

Dagul – 21, moreno (dark-skinned), medyo pandak (somewhat short), may body piercings.

Falcon – mestisuhin (mestizo), ayos na ayos ang buhok (Hair fussed over; sorry, that’s the best she can come up with)

Dalawang Dalaga (2 girls): college girls, magaganda (beautiful), mapuputi (white-skinned)

Mga Pasahero Sa Airport (Passengers in the Airport)

Cagayan de Oro isn’t exactly unknown, it’s a very populous province. But she’s never set foot in Cagayan de Oro, never given a reading there, doesn’t know a single person from Cagayan de Oro. Somehow, over there, in her home country, her book (with no marketing at all), has trickled from the urban centers to the provinces. Which means her work is embraced as a  vital part of Philippine culture. The knowledge is so humbling.

(Here, there’s a 40 Filipino Writers You Must Read List, which is published every December from San Francisco. She’s never on that list)

A few days ago, on Facebook, she met the owner of a shop called The Pearl Shop. Self accepted his friend request and then he told her that they sell her book. She said, Hey, I could send you some autographed copies if you like!

He was happy at the news.

The store is in Manila, and they are a purveyor of PEARLS (not a bookstore, in other words).

Heart Eyes, Pearl Shop.

To the end of time.

 

Again, a Shift

Did not finish The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. With only one or two exceptions, the case studies were elderly people. Everyone knows growing old SUCKS. Oliver Sacks is masterful in telling all the different ways. Next!

Diving into Tim Dee’s Landfill: Notes on Gull Watching and Trash Picking in the Anthropocene, a book self began reading a while back, which got pushed back because when traveling, she finds novels easier to digest.

Tim Dee did not always have a fascination for gulls, just as gulls are no longer necessarily seagulls.

pp. 17 – 18:

Calling them seagulls is wrong — that was one of the first things I learned as a novice bird-boy. They are as much inland among us as they are far out over the waves. Yet, in fact, this state of life for them is new. Over the past hundred years, human modernity has brought gulls ashore. They have lived in our slipstream, following trawlers, ploughs, dust-carts . . . They live as we do, walking the built-up world and grabbing a bite where they can.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: WATER

The prompt is WATER IN NATURE.

Clearly self hasn’t been spending much time outdoors because she had to go all the way back to May, in Prague, to find pictures of a body of water.

So, here are three pictures of Prague’s Vltava River, from the trip she took with her niece, Irene, end of May. All these pictures were taken during one beautiful Sunday. She wouldn’t have thought of posting them (She likes to post her travel pictures IN REAL TIME. Which is to say: as they are occurring) but she was going through her photo archives and, well, a river is a natural body of water.

A local told her that in Prague one could never be lost. And he was right! As long as you see a bridge, you can orient yourself. Luckily, the city’s not that big.

And besides, the city is so beautiful. So why be in such a hurry to get to your destination? Just relax, enjoy discovering new streets.

DSCN0184

DSCN0182

Families Enjoying Sunday on the Vltava River, Prague, Late May

DSCN0170

Hiring Pleasure Boat on the Vltava River

DSCN0163

The Vltava: Giving the Seine a Run For Its Money

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

« Older entries

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor

Kanlaon

Just another Wordpress.com weblog