Moon Palace: Feelings

The narrator’s only known living relative, an uncle, decides to form a singing band when the narrator enters Columbia. He tells his nephew, So long, we’ll meet again, I’m sure of it, here are 1493 books and my suits.

So the narrator wears that suit “every day, from the beginning of the year to the end . . . I realize what a curious figure I must have cut: gaunt, disheveled, intense, a young man clearly out of step with the rest of the world.”

(He’s supposedly saved later on by someone named Kathy Wu, and if that turns out to be some stereotypical Asian female, self will immediately stop reading.)

MILD SPOILER

When his uncle dies . . . Oh you didn’t know his uncle dies? Well, his uncle dies.

When his uncle dies, he arranges the funeral, cries for four-hours straight, sleeps with a gray-eyed prostitute, then heads back to Columbia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Share Your Desktop: June 2021

Not sure how old she was here: perhaps in her 40s?

Self’s desktop this month is Dearest Mum, wearing traditional Filipino formal attire (the scoop back, the butterfly sleeves) at her beloved piano.

Her name was NENA DEL ROSARIO. A graduate of Curtis Music Institute in Philadelphia (which she entered at 11), she won the New York Times International Piano Competition at 14, played twice at Carnegie Hall, passed away 4 June 2021. Long, hard fight: she got covid in Manila in March.

Much love to her nurses: Sol, Amy and Rodelyn.

In Memoriam, Dearest Mum: PEONIES

A friend brought these from her garden when she heard about Dearest Mum.

I’m also posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge.

Three years after her first appearance in Carnegie Hall, Dearest Mum played there again, for the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concert, Main Hall, 5 January 1952. She was just 16.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Self Learns New Things Every Day

So far, in her reading of The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells, self has learned that:

  • “The classic dish Lobster Newburg, according to legend, was actually developed by” a wealthy slave trafficker named Ben Weinberg, a prominent member of the New York Maritime Exchange.
  • The biggest slave traders “were natives of Portland, Maine . . . that town was infamous for helping to outfit ships” for the slave trade.
  • One of the most prominent defenders of the slave trade was a lawyer named Gilbert Dean, a graduate of Yale and justice of the New York Supreme Court whose law firm, Beebe, Dean, and Donohue, on 76 Wall Street, “not only aggressively defended accused slavers, but also sued accusers for libel,” which included “officers of the British navy” who had apprehended the captain of a slave ship and pressed charges against the ship’s captain and its owners.
  • The SDNY was so famously nonchalant for “prosecuting slavers” that a Captain Cornelius E. Driscoll boasted that “you don’t have to worry about facing trial in New York City . . . I can get any man off in New York for $1,000.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New York City in the 1790s

Here’s the sentence of the day, about the beginning of the New York Stock Exchange.

Based on earlier models of exchanges like the Dutch East India Company’s trading in the early 1600s and Frankfurt’s even earlier stock exchange, a handful of New York businessmen had begun to trade shares under a buttonwood tree in 1792.

Chapter Three, The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells

New York in The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War

Three people self knows have COVID. And she found out just today. She was going to get more stamps at the Post Office, but after she got the last text, she turned right around and went back inside.

Which means, she’ll have to rely on her books to carry her through, like she did in the start of this pandemic, when she blazed through the first five books of The Expanse (and discovered the TV series).

The book she’s just starting is The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells, whose main setting is early 19th c New York.

The last time self was in New York, she stayed in the Bowery. The pictures below are from that time.

Wells does a very good job at evoking the setting. Here’s a description from Chapter One:

  • Most streets were unpaved, so dirt and mud were everywhere, and horses provided the main means of transportation. The city would have smelled different than it does today, with wafts of horse manure mixed with the smoke from burning hearths and factories and the stench of an inadequate sanitation system. The loud shouts of the stevedores, bricklayers, lumber merchants, and others working in the city added to the noisy movement of railroads and omnibuses, not to mention the constant whinnying of horses pulling people or goods.

A book like this rewards immersion.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

New York City, April 2020

Self suspended her subscription to The New Yorker a few months ago, since the pile of unread issues was getting ridiculous. She’s now just working her way through March/April.

But that resolution (not to renew The New Yorker) lasted just two months. There was a 20% off sale for former subscribers, and she signed up just like that. Her new subscription starts with the Dec. 7 issue.

In the 13 April 2020 issue, David Remnick in the Talk of the Town:

  • The streets of New York City are so desolate now that you half expect tumbleweed to blow along the pavement where cars and cabs once clustered. There is barely a plane in the sky. You hear the wheeze of an empty bus rounding a corner, the flutter of pigeons on a fire escape, the wail of an ambulance. The sirens are unnervingly frequent. But even on these sunny, early-spring days there are few people in sight. For weeks, as the distancing rules of the pandemic took hold, a gifted saxophone player who stakes his corner outside a dress shop on Broadway every morning was still there, playing “My Favorite Things” and “All the Things You Are.” Now he is gone, too.

Self is preparing to teach a 10-week course on Creative Nonfiction for UCLA Extension’s Writers Program. She enrolled in a class that helps teachers prepare.

Self has to turn in a video Welcome message this week. She printed out the instructions and they were three pages. She is not enthusiastic. Not to mention, her looks have really gone downhill this year: she hasn’t been to a salon in months, everything about her appearance is really rough. She’ll have to do some extreme intervention. On herself. She planned 10 different outfits to wear for each of the 10 Zoom classes. Which will make her feel more confident. Also, will choose a room with nice background (art, maybe?). No bedrooms cause that’s just tacky.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 110: Creativity in the Time of COVID

Self was inspired by this Photo Challenge (Creativity in the Time of COVID) to give a shout-out to the USPS.

She bought a sheet of first-class stamps commemorating the Harlem Renaissance. Aren’t they beautiful?

DSCN0133

She receives all her literary journals through the USPS. Here’s the latest delivery: the Win/Spr 2020 issue of Calyx Journal, one of the oldest women’s presses in the United States, founded by her friend, Dear Departed Margarita Donnelly (She put the whole thing, she told self, on a credit card):

Cover Art: Dale Champlin’s “Mother Nature.”

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Finally, Filoli Garden, in Woodside, is one of the area’s most beautiful gardens. The current art installation is by Kristine Mays. Here’s a picture self took on a visit to Filoli in July.

DSCN0050

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Poetry Saturday: Molly Peacock

Among Tall Buildings

from the collection Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2002)

And nothing, not even the girl you love
with the mole on her arm, will be left. Huge
trenches will be dug just beyond the stove
the whole northeast corridor will become
and the dead will be piled in each rude gouge,
even that girl whose left ear always sticks
slightly out beyond her hair. To fix
the names of who died on tape won’t be done
since they’ll dig quick to prevent disease. Nobody
likes to hear this kind of talk. I always
hated to hear it myself until I began
loving the mortar between blocks, that cruddy
pocked cement holding up buildings so a man
and a woman can embrace in the maze
of what they’ve built on the errors of their ways.


Molly Peacock is the author of How To Read a Poem and Start a Poetry Circle (1999) as well as a memoir, Paradise Piece by Piece (1998). Former President of the Poetry Society of America, she was one of the originators of Poetry in Motion, which placed poems on subways and buses. A more complete biography can be found on the Poetry Foundation website.

Sentence of the Day: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

Two people on the New York Subway. Self was beginning to think this was a rom-com, until:

For sixty years, we sat in that car, just barely pretending not to notice each other.

Missed Connection — m4w, Story # 4 in Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory

Pain!!!

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