Poetry Tuesday: C. L. Odell

Self loves C. L. Odell’s poem in the 24 June 2019 New Yorker.

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Geraniums, Front Porch, August 2019

PEONY

An excerpt

So let me have this now
before the blossoms
take my absence
from the yard

and I am again only one-sided,
a living thing responsible
to live, finding myself in tall grass,
whispering back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge — LOCK

Look at the beautiful set of lock photographs in viveka’s my guilty pleasures, one of the blogs self loves! There’s a little history behind each lock.

She was posting for the tuesday photo challenge.

And here are self’s pictures of the locks in her wee cottage/house, 1250 square feet, good enough for a couple, built in the best, the absolute best neighborhood in Redwood City, CA, in 1939.

The original owner was Jack de Benedetti, who died at 90-something, in this house.

A developer bought it for a song, worked on it, then sold it to us in 1991.

He added a half-bath, but kept all the original bones of the house, and that included lots and lots of windows.

The locks on the windows are much in need of refurbishing, but heck the windows won’t even open. The wood has warped. In a way, that’s good, because the house is very safe (no burglars will be creeping in through the windows)

Without further ado: window locks on an old old house

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 57: TAKING A BREAK

Self’s current book, Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi’s FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE is a very, very interesting book.

Her son and daughter-in-law were Psychology majors at Claremont, the school where the author taught. In fact, she read about him in the Claremont Graduate University alumni magazine, The Flame.

She is trying to practice Flow thinking (see graph below). She is trying to achieve “complexity” in her consciousness. This will be her project for the rest of the summer.

She thinks this goal is very much tied in with the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: TAKING A BREAK.

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Today, she walked downtown, which she hadn’t done in two weeks. Courthouse Square was empty. Nevertheless, the trip was not in vain, for she saw a movie: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Is this a ‘Flow’ experience? Self thinks it is. Watching movies is one of self’s most enjoyable activities.

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Mid-Afternoon, Courthouse Square, Redwood City, CA

And, she spends A LOT of time in her garden, where her efforts are repaid with gorgeous blooms like this one, on her Sheila’s Perfume rose:

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Sheila’s Perfume, last week of July 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More From Rosario Ferré’s Essay, The Writer’s Kitchen

  • Any writer or artist, women or man, has a sixth sense which indicates when the goal has been reached, when what she or he has been molding has acquired the definitive form it must have. Once that point has been reached, one extra word (a single note, a single line) will irreversibly extinguish that spark or state of grace brought about by the loving struggle between the writer and his or her work. That moment is always one of awe and reverence: Marguerite Yourcenar compares it to the mysterious moment when the baker knows it is time to stop kneading the dough; Virginia Woolf defines it as the instant in which she feeks the blood flow from end to end through the body of the text.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 55: DREAMY

Thanks once again to viveka for inspiring self to try posting to the current Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: DREAMY.

Self is a short story writer (though some of her stories are over 50 pages!).

  • This Red Riding Hood Lamp followed her from one childhood home to another; self’s parents gave it to her when she was about five.

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She brought it to the States with her, when she left for grad school. And here it is now, in self’s home in Redwood City, California.

It was the perfect gift — one that nurtured her imagination and encouraged her to dream.

  • Here’s an image from the cover of Hotel Amerika, a literary magazine (based in Chicago) which published self’s flash, Ghosts. She loves the surreal, and so she loves the image.
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Hotel Amerika, Vol. 8 No. 2 (Spring 2010)

  • Finally, a landscape absolutely made for dreaming: Mendocino.
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Mendocino Headlands: April 21, 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

“A Good Wife and Mother”: Rosario Ferré

The day of my debut as a writer, I sat at my typewriter for a long time, mulling over these thoughts. Inevitably, writing my first story meant taking my first step toward Heaven or Hell, and that made me vacillate between a state of euphoria and depression. It was as if I were about to be born, peering timidly through the doors of Limbo. If my voice rings false or my will fails me, I said to myself, all my sacrifices will have been in vain. I will foolishly have given up the protection which, despite its disadvantages, at least allowed me to be a good wife and mother, and I will justly have fallen from the frying pan into the fire.

Recommended Reading: Rosario Ferré’s short story, The Youngest Doll, from the collection of the same name

Global Dickens

Self spent the morning at the Charles Dickens Museum on 48 Doughty Street, checking out the house where Dickens and his wife spent probably the two happiest years of their marriage. The house offers fascinating glimpses of the man’s domestic life, and the audio tour is highly recommended. She came away with a small fridge magnet showing her favorite painting of Dickens: he sits in his study, surrounded by a cloud of his inventions.

She saw a very distressed copy of David Copperfield and read that this copy “travelled with Robert Falcon Scott and his men to Antarctica in 1910. When half of Scott’s men were stranded in an ice cave for 7 months, they read to each other every night for comfort and entertainment. After 60 nights they finished David Copperfield and, as one of the men wrote, they were very sorry to part with him.”

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Dickens also exists in manga form!

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Long Day; Thirsting for Henry Tilney

It’s been a long day walking around Prague. Finally back in the hotel, self finds herself thirsting for Henry Tilney. A wine bar across the street says:

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Henry Tilney, p. 246:

  • If the effect of his behaviour does not justify him with you, we had better not seek after the cause.

The wisdom of a 23-year-old man! He is so kind to our heroine.

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Stay tuned.

Thought for Tax Sunday, April 2019

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Self travels the world.

And does her best to be happy.

That is all.

Thursday Read: The Economist, 16 March 2019

An article on Artemisia Gentileschi is in the Books section.

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Illustration: Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes

“Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria was acquired last year by the National Gallery in London, becoming only the 21st work by a woman in a 2,300-piece collection.”

Artemisia Gentileschi was the “first female artist to be admitted to the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence.” She was raped by Agostino Tassi, who her father had hired “to teach her perspective.” Her father “petitioned the pope for compensation. His daughter was considered damaged goods.” The case went to trial. Tassi, found guilty, “was exiled from Rome,” but continued to receive commissions from successive popes.

Gentileschi was “married off to a mediocre artist” but “nevertheless set up her own studio . . . She worked in Naples and London. She became the great artist she always wanted to be.”

“A play about Gentileschi’s travails that won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, transferred to London and will soon be staged elsewhere.”

“Roughly 60 paintings by Gentileschi survive . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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