Chapter Six, TTTDOJ: The Birth of Julian Scaller

Chapter Six is possibly self’s favorite chapter so far. Alix E. Harrow, what a clever writer you are.

SPOILER ALERT!

It turns out that January’s father, whose name in his own world (“the world of the Written”) was Yule Ian Scholar, became the employee of a rich American businessman named Locke who, in addition to keeping January under lock and key, changed the father’s name to Julian Scaller. Oh! (Self snarls at Locke)

So many Will Parry/ His Dark Materials FEELZ! Will Parry and his endless search for his explorer father, only to hear whispers of a mysterious entity named Jonpari, a wild man, a hermit, an explorer who’s lost his way, who turns out to be the very much alive JOHN PARRY (in The Subtle Knife, one of self’s favorite novels of all time)

There is also an Italian grocer-boy who brings on the Will Parry feelz, because he is January’s devoted friend and helps to rescue her from a sanatorium.

Before self ends up spilling the plot of the whole book (which would not be very nice), let her just say that in Chapter Six, Julian Scaller begins to doubt the wisdom of leaving his daughter all these years in the care of the American businessman Locke.

He tries to come up with a plan: Option A, Option B, Option C and so forth.

Option D:

Run away, take refuge in another world. I could find a door and go through it, taking January with me, and build a new life for the two of us in some safer, brighter world. In favor: ultimate safety from pursuers. Against: see above. And I am far from certain that all worlds connect to one another — were we to flee to another world, could I ever find the Written again? And if Ade should claw her way back home, would she ever find us?

There was no E. Continue on precisely as before, but this is the course I ultimately chose. Life has a kind of momentum to it, I’ve found, an accumulated weight of decisions which become impossible to shift.

The Bone Ships: Sentence of the Day

On their way back to their stinking room in Fishmarket, Meas had them stop off at a cobbler on Hoppity Lane, where, by tradition, those born with a leg or foot missing carried on the trade of shoe making.

— Chapter 14, A Gathering of Cold Souls, The Bone Ships

LEEK, p. 196

SPOILER ALERT but since it seems quite a lot of you have read Shuggie Bain then just a re-cap of the one precious call Leek makes to his sister Catherine, who moved with her husband to South Africa.

(Self almost wished he was calling the Art Academy to say, Sorry it’s taken me two years, but I accept your acceptance!)

“Catherine, it’s me, it’s Leek . . . I’m sorry. It’s Mammy’s phone. Yes. She’s here actually, she’s standing right next to me.” He looked Agnes up and down suspiciously. There was a pause. Agnes could hear Catherine raise her voice in agitation. “Don’t worry, I never. I promised you I wouldn’t. Do you like South Africa?” There was a pause. “Oh, he’s fine. Nearly died up the Pit but he’s fine. Still a bit funny. You know, funny funny.” There was laughter on the other end . . . “Right, anyway, Catherine, is Donald there? No, I wasn’t checking. It’s just, I’ve got some bad news. It’s just, well, Granny is dead.”

Leek reminds self of another stoic kid, Niall in du Maurier’s The Parasites. And that novel almost destroyed self.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Wullie Campbell, What a Prince

Wullie Campbell (Agnes’s dad) returns from the war to find a strange baby in his house, and a high-end pram.

Ah!

  • “the baby’s pink arms reached out to him, like it knew and trusted the deep well of goodness from which Wullie Campbell had sprung.”

His wife:

  • “She had never let Mr. Kilfeather kiss her, she felt she had to tell him that.”

Wullie takes the strange baby out in the pram. Neighbors hear him whistling all the way down the street!

Self rushed all her errands today (even forgave that young Asian woman in the bright blue compact who cut into her lane and gave her the most WICKED side eye — you can bet self leaned on the horn, the loudest bleeaaaeat she could manage. It’s amazing how rude some people can be) just so she could grab her book and read further about Wullie Campbell and the strange baby and the high-end pram and Mr. Kilfeather.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Self’s Favorite Character

A boy goes scavenging for copper in the depths of an abandoned mine. He brings his younger brother along as “grass.” When he’s finally gotten as much as he can carry, he steps “back into the daylight, but it was too quiet. The grass was gone.”

Stuart’s writing is absolutely amazing.

Where has the grass gone? Where is it?

Just One Person from Around the World: San Mateo Farmers Market

The Just One Person from Around the World Photo Challenge is hosted by ThatTravelLadyInHerShoes. Read more about the challenge, think about participating, and look at the wonderful contributions.

During the California primaries, early last year, self campaigned for Elizabeth Warren. While she was tabling for Warren at the San Mateo Farmers Market, a young girl stopped by the table to chat. She was carrying a book, one of self’s favorites. Self just had to take her picture.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Poetry Friday: Melanie Almeder

Self likes to quote this poem every now and then. She used to think Almeder was Irish (because she first encountered this poem at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig), but she isn’t. She’s American.

MOCK ORANGE, An Excerpt

Everything on the tongue goes stunned bird.
Long past the hissy-fit thralls of April,
rashes of phlox, purple-thistle snowing a little.
And then, like too much love,
there was altogether too much gardenia
in the huddled yards. The heat in a flick of wind
picked itself up and dragged off,
old dog, into the damp cane fields, bee drone,
sighing, sighing of highway, hawks’ cries.

One Word Sunday Challenge: SIX

Travel with Intent has come up with a very interesting theme for this Sunday: SIX.

At first, self started browsing her archives and looking for pictures with six objects, six people, six flowers and so forth. But she came up empty.

Instead, she selected pictures of six meals she prepared during the pandemic! Who knew food mattered so much.

Two of the six are Filipino specialties: sinigang stew, and adobo fried rice.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Top Grimdark: The Brodd Silent Scene

In a minute, self has got to go water her roses (two new ones) and her irises.

In the meantime, she can appreciate a bit of humor.

SPOILER ALERT

In one of the last scense of TTWP, that sly Rikke, who wisely opted out of battle, despite her having given reassurances of loyalty to The Young Lion (who is all sorts of stupid: Rikke was his ex-lover, he went for the lovely lovely prize of Savine ‘barf’ da Glotka, and he still thinks Rikke has his back? This Young Lion is not the sharpest tool in the deck), shows up in the Ghurkish Kingdom to demand the surrender of Skirling Hall. She walks right up to the ramparts, orders a huge chest of gold and silver to be brought forward, displays the contents of the chest, and says to the soldiers on the ramparts, Open your gates!

Commander Brodd Silent leans over the ramparts and shouts: NEVER!

In the next moment, “there was a breathy cry and something came flying off the battlements.”

Rikke’s sidekick, a man called “The Nail” (one can only imagine) peers at the mess and says, “Who’s that, then?”

“Brodd Silent, I expect.”

“Hold on!” someone called from the battlements. “We’re coming down!”

Self loves Rikke. Rikke reminds her of Renfri in The Witcher, or Arya in Game of Thrones. There are fearsome runes tattooed on her face, to keep her Long Eye (the eye that sees the future) in check, and men are always calling her bad things. Ugly, for starters. Nevertheless.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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