#amreading about Monastic Ireland in THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

The reading matter became more absorbing last night, when Gibbon stated that it only took eighty years for Christianity to move from being a persecuted religion to becoming the main religion of the Roman Empire. This latter development happened when Constantine, a Christian, became Emperor and swore to rule according to the dictates of his Christian faith.

Gibbon (whose faith is obviously important to him) then starts enumerating early monasteries around the Roman Empire, and these include not only monasteries in Syria, Egypt, etc but also monasteries in Ireland. Which leads self to look up names on the internet, and she stumbles on:

  • Glendalough: Monks built the Church of the Rock.
  • Iona, in the Inner Hebrides: Work on the Book of Kells was begun here, but when Viking raids became frequent, the work was transported to a monastery in Kells, hence the name Book of Kells.
  • Kildare: There is Cill Dara, the Cell of the Oak, which was founded by Saint Brigid and became a convent.

Self would love to visit some of these places, if she has time.

She remembers that one of the most exciting things about visiting Venice, a few years ago, wasn’t Venice itself, but her exploration of outlying islands, especially Torcello.

Torcello has a very old stone church, with a very high tower. When you ascend to the very top, you can see all over the Venetian lagoon. This was a watchtower. As Torcello is farther out from the mainland, small bands of Christians took shelter here, away from the barbarian hordes. Gradually, as Italy became more stable, settlement moved inwards, closer and closer to Venice. The culmination of the growing power of the Venetian state was the building of Saint Mark’s.

Self has always loved history.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Book #3: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Mary Oliver’s Swan

Self has never read Mary Oliver before.

How I Go to the Woods

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unbearable sound of the roses singing.

* * *

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What The Writing Desk Looks Like Today, Saturday, 11 March

Necessary Writing Accoutrements Today:

  • a pair of scissors
  • a found book: Leap Into the City: Cultural Positions, Political Conditions, Seven Scenes from Europe, edited by Katrin Klingan and Ines Kappert
  • a hardbound copy of The Oxford English Dictionary (Word of the day: omerta. Self, can you just not? Why do you all the time have to be so bloodthirsty???)

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Book # 2: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Libretto for Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten:

  • Women’s Chorus

O when you pray you shut your eyes
And then can’t tell the truth from lies.

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Yesterday (9 March 2017), Unit # 1

  • Auntie

Loud man. I never did have time
For the kind of creature who spits in his
wine.
A joke’s a joke and fun is fun.
But say your grace and be polite for all that
we have done.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Book # 1: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Am just freshly arrived in Annaghmakerrig.

The first task is to catalogue all the books this Unit holds.

Self was in this same unit last year. But she was not very organized. Not like she is now.

The first book she settles on is Thames Way (Alba Publishing, 2015), by Diarmuid Fitzgerald. There’s a dedication: To the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, February 2017

The man was literally just here.

He elected to walk the length of the Thames from the city of London to its source, a distance of about 170 miles. (Reminds self of one of her favorite books, read 2016: Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, about a journey Basho took in the 17th century, on the old Edo circular road. He also wrote it in haiku.)

The book is divided into three sections: Lower, Middle, and Upper.

From Lower:

no one wishes me
well on my long way
except for one old man

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Road Taken: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 March 2017

Show us something that delighted or surprised you on “the road taken.”

— Krista, The Daily Post

  • Tree-house, Backyard of Doris Duterte Stutely in Driffield, East Riding
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Tree-houses are fabulous. Self would like to live in one.

  • Before the Daly City Council Meeting, Monday 13 February 2017: Nikki S. Victoria, Filipina activist, greets fellow members of the community who volunteered to speak on behalf of making Daly City a Sanctuary City:
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If ever there was a time to speak up, it is now: City Hall, Daly City, February 2017

  • It is always exciting to discover a new museum. The below was one block away from self’s hotel in Washington DC, where she had flown to read for Quarterly West at downtown bar-restaurant Sixth Engine:
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Lobby of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC: Tour Guide, lower left

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 3: London Cabbie

Ben Huberman, The Daily Post:

In my book, coffee, sparkling water, and a donut (okay, I confess: a fancy donut) make one such perfect combination. Sweet and bitter, cold and hot, smooth and fizzy — all these sensations come together to create a coherent, “this morning is going to be just fine” experience.

So here is self’s idea of a a good match:

Arriving in London and taking a cab from the airport. It is not cheap. But it pays off in spades because the cabbies are very interesting conversationalists. They know more about London than the average person. Most of them grew up in London. They can tell you where the best street markets are, where the best fish and chip shops are, and where St. Bride’s Church is. (If you are in a rush, this is not the mode of transport for you. It takes almost an hour, esp if you arrive during rush hour. But why would you go to London to rush? Especially if traveling alone and not on a particular schedule?)

A few years ago, when self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!) she followed the path of Will Herondale and it took her to: York; Blackfriars; and St. Bride’s.

St. Bride’s was not easy to find. She asked about three people, and no one had even heard of it. Until she saw a parked London cab, and asked the driver if he knew where it was. His prompt reply: “Course I do! I’m a London cabbie!”

Nick Townsend was the cabbie who drove her in from Heathrow. He owns his own cab, and is a certified city guide:

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Licensed City Guide (and Cab Driver) Nick Townsend proudly showed self his badge.

He talked about a church named St. Bartholomew the Less (The other, St. Bartholomew the Great, is next to the hospital. “Not that one,” he told self), which is a beautiful example, he said, of fine Norman (13th century) architecture.

He told self she must visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has candlelight tours “every last Tuesday of the month.”

He also told self about the Wallace Collection, which self has seen, but wouldn’t mind seeing again.

Self took notes.

London: oh, what a city. It is not cold. The rooms are damp. But go outside. Just keep going outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading MONTCALM and WOLFE Ch. 5 (1753 – 1754)

Among the many pleasures of getting to Chapter 5 is seeing a 21-year-old George Washington making his first appearance in the public sphere.

He is tall and slender but not otherwise prepossessing but then during a dangerous mission, he prevents one of his men from killing an enemy combatant, and later they fall into a frozen river and everyone spends a miserable cold night huddled on a riverbank but even back then, even at just 21, Washington already seemed to have that special something. Somehow the mission is successful. And that is a pretty remarkable thing for a 21-year-old tasked with his first assignment.

(Not two pages later, the 21-year-old is placed in command of 200 men, and he does not flinch)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading MONTCALM AND WOLFE, p. 79

Self is loving this book (she began it three days ago) so much. It’s about a battle that took place in French Canada, in 1759, a battle which culminated in a British victory.

The author, Francis Parkman, brings to life all the conflicting allegiances of that area. When he says “the Miami” and self realizes he’s referring to a tribe (not a city; not a university) — awesome.

An important ally of the British is an Indian chief called Old Britain, also referred to as the Demoiselle.

“. . . a fleet of canoes manned by two-hundred and fifty Ottawa and Ojibwa warriors” attacked an English fort, Pickawilanny, “about nine o’clock on the morning of the twenty-first.” The battle was one-sided: at the fort were eight British traders and fourteen Miamis, including the Demoiselle. Three of the British were caught outside the fort (no mention of what happened to them; self can only imagine) The other five managed to close the gate. The fort’s defenders held out manfully, “till the afternoon.”

Then, Parkman writes: “Seventy years of missionaries had not weaned them from cannibalism, and they boiled and ate the Demoiselle.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: AMERICAN GODS

Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.

— p. 47, American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Just starting to read American Gods, which she was drawn to because it seemed to be about hitchhiking. A kind of On the Road, with a twist of horror.

Finished Ape House a few minutes ago. Good job, Sara Gruen! The book succeeded in making self very curious about bonobos. She wonders if San Francisco Zoo has any?

A quick Google search revealed that:

  • Bonobos is the name of a men’s clothing chain based in San Francisco.
  • Bonobos is the name of a rock group.
  • They are endangered, they are found in only one country in the world: the Congo (Why only that one country?) According to the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, “they inhabit the heart of the Congo basin, the second largest rainforest on earth.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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