Next: Chris Offutt, The Killing Hills

The old man walked the hill with a long stick, pushing aside mayapple and horseweed, seeking ginseng.

The Killing Hills, p. 1

Sentence of the Day: The Butcher’s Boy, p. 155

What is it about Las Vegas? It just seems to pull the best writing out of writers, especially writers of noir. Which Thomas Perry definitely is.

  • The dealer looked young, his carefully sculpted hair blond from the sun, but already he had the ageless look of detached competence they all seemed to have worn into them.

Water Water Everywhere (WWE) Challenge # 1

Yet another new Photo Challenge: Water Water Everywhere.

This one’s hosted by Photos by Jez. Enjoy his gorgeous photos of trees reflected in the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Guidelines for Water Water Everywhere are here.

Below: the last time self took a picture with water in it was at the Strybing Arboretum, 23 September.

It was a somewhat chilly day, not unusual at all for San Francisco. Note the flock of geese in the background.

The Enigmatic Kathy Wu, First Mention

“Is something wrong? I’m just wondering if you’re a friend of Kitty.”

“Kitty?” I said. “I don’t know anyone named Kitty in my life.”

“You’re wearing the same shirt she is. It made me think you must be connected to her somehow.”

“I looked down at my chest and saw that I had a Mets T-shirt on. I had bought it at a rummage sale earlier in the year for ten cents. “I don’t even like the Mets,” I said. “The Cubs are the team I root for.”

“It’s a weird coincidence … Katy is going to love it. She loves things like that.

Moon Palace, p,35

Hello, Summer of 1969 (Moon Palace, p. 28)

The narrator’s uncle is dead, HOW IS THE NARRATOR GOING TO PUT HIMSELF THROUGH COLUMBIA? Self presumes this was an era before student loans? Narrator being a very resourceful sort, starts selling his uncle’s 1493 books. That buys him two months rent. But then:

  • I had come to my last hundred dollars, and the books had dwindled to three boxes. Paying rent was out of the question now, and though the security deposit would see me through another month, I was bound to be evicted after that. If the notices started in July, then the crunch would come in August, which meant that I would be out on the streets by September. From the vantage of June 1st, however, the end of the summer was light-years away. The problem was not so much what to do after that, but how to get there in the first place. The books would bring in approximately fifty dollars. Added to the ninety-six I already had, that meant there would be a hundred and forty-six dollars to see me through the next three months. It hardly seemed enough, but by restricting myself to one meal a day, by ignoring newspapers, buses, and every kind of frivolous expense, I figured I might make it. So began the summer of 1969.

The young narrator might not realize it, but he is over 50% of the way to being a bona fide writer. Self means: anyone who can live like that and make decisions about getting by, without thinking: I MUST FIND A JOB!

RESPECT.

Stay tuned.

Last on the Card, September 2021

Thanks, bushboys world, for hosting the Last Photo on the Card photo challenge.

I’ve been taking more pics with my cell these days. The last pic I took with my Nikon coolpix on September 23, 2021:

“Pink Over Red”: Mark Rothko, American, born Latvia (1903 – 1970), Stanford’s Anderson Collection

Stanford’s Anderson Collection had re-opened to the public, the day before. It so happened that Sept. 22 was also Dear Departed Mum’s birthday; she would have been 86. So, I was full of FEELZ when I stumbled across this Rothko.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This One’s a Real Winner

Quote of the Day, Last Monday of September 2021:

Dr. Yakunin administered medicines strictly in inverse proportion to their necessity. He kept chloroform from the dying and let them writhe in agony, whereas patients overcoming mild infections were given sedatives in high doses. Surprisingly, this absurd system worked because all his patients tried to show signs of recovery, to obtain prescriptions if nothing else. This spared Dr. Yakumin from having to deal with the usual charades of screams and groaning, and his clinic was consequently an oasis of tranquillity.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 258

The Revenge of the Dog Tzileyger

When you try and separate a dog from its bone.

There was a time when self had two beagles. And they were generally well-behaved and gentle creatures — until one of them tried to poach the other’s food. Then they would growl and bite and scratch. If self tried to intervene, they would even snap at her.

In The Slaughterman’s Daughter (which self finds highly enthralling), a man who has been baiting a starving dog (the dog’s name is Tzileyger, which is probably the only time in self’s memory when a stray dog has been given a name. And not just any name, but one with three syllables) gets his come-uppance. Self will spare dear blog readers the gruesome passage, but the doctor who treats the man’s wounds comments, “I’m afraid he will live.”

p. 57: “The old man never appeared in public again.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

One Word Sunday Challenge: CLOSED

Sunday, 19 September 2021 Theme: CLOSED.

Love Travel with Intent’s gallery of the old Berlin Tempelhof Airport (closed in 2008).

Decided to post a few from the archives:

Cal Shakes’s Philippa Kelly waits on the stage of Bruns Amphitheatre to begin the post-play discussion of The Winter’s Tale. It was Cal Shakes’s first live production in two years (Last season was wiped because of the pandemic)

Century 20, Downtown Redwood City, September 2020: The theater re-opened on a limited basis after being shut down in March. I made myself a home version of a Hazmat suit and saw Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.”

East London, near Spitalfields Market, November 2019

Yes, I am Schizophrenic. I Also Make Art.

Hans Prinzhorn begins his amazing collection, gathered from inmates in mental asylums all over Germany, in the decade immediately following World War I:

Around three-quarters of Prinzhorn’s artist-patients were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The rest shared a range of conditions from “manic-depressive” to “paralytic,” “imbecile,” and “epileptic.” Though more than half of the patients living in German asylums were female, fewer than 20 percent of the works Prinzhorn received were by women, a reflection both of their status in society and of a narrow definition of art, which excluded many traditional female handicrafts. An exception to this trend was Agnes Richter’s jacket. Richter, a Dresden seamstress, had been committed in 1893 after being arrested for disturbing the piece. In the asylum at Hubertusberg, she began work on an institutional garment made of gray linen, re-stitching the arms on backward, and embroidering it all over with expressions of her plight. “I am not big,” read one; others spelled out “my jacket,” “I am,” “I have,” “I miss today,” and “you do not have to. Her asylum laundry number, 583, appeared again and again. The writing was mainly stitched to the inside, where it would have lain next to her body — an attempt to reinforce her sense of self, perhaps, in a place where that was easily lost. The jacket was Richter’s only item in the collection.

— p. 23, The Gallery of Miracles and Madness, by Charlie English

If you want to know exactly what this jacket looked like, author @CharlieEnglish1 (the author himself) tweeted a picture of it on Sept. 10.

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