Sylvain Landry – Week 45: BIRDS

Self has skipped a few weeks of the Sylvain Landry Photo prompts, mostly because, since leaving the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, she’s been doing much traveling. She went to Cork, then Dublin, then back to Cork, then to Wexford, then back to Dublin, then to London.

Now, in London, she’s had a couple of days to restore her energy. She finished reading Anjelica Huston’s memoir, Watch Me, in six days. Which is something of a record (Last year, she thinks she read a total of six books. Time was, she used to blaze through an average of 60, per year).

She started E. L. James’s Grey and decided that, alas, this novel was not for her.

She started Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. That title alone is in itself brilliant. Whenever one titles a book, it should have something positive in the title. Like: My Brilliant Islands. Or My Brilliant Dreams. Or Beautiful Dreamer. Or something along those lines.

This week’s Sylvain Landry prompt is BIRDS.

And self has to go back to her pictures of Tyrone Guthrie Centre to find a bird picture. Here it is:

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From Her Window in Unit # 1 of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, April 2016

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Sentence of the Day: Anjelica Huston

“He was as weak and transparent as lace.”

— Anjelica Huston describes her father, the legendary film director John Huston, on his 81st birthday. From Watch Me, her second memoir

The trouble with self is that she cannot stop at just the one sentence. Here’s another good one, describing John Huston, post-embalming: “a rather florid paint job. He looked benign, if a little pink and waxy.”

Halfway through Huston’s book. Next: E. L. James’s Grey. Which she expects to breeze through, lol.

Stay tuned.

Anjelica Huston’s Beautiful Life

Finished reading Paul Theroux’s Deep South a few days ago.

Currently reading Anjelica Houston’s second memoir, Watch Me.

Self doesn’t understand why readers on Amazon have bashed this book for being nothing but a collection of names. Names and Places. Names and Places and Things.

Self likes that it’s just a collection of Names and Places and Things.

Theroux’s book was so deep. If she had to read another deep book, she might end up with serious issues. Sometimes (like right now), she likes to indulge in superficiality.

So far (Chapter 3), Huston describes doing  the following:

  • seeing Milan from the back of a friend’s Harley-Davidson, while wearing a fetching “Missoni cloak”
  • visiting Britt Ekland in a hospital in Hampstead Heath (Britt’s just had a baby boy)
  • visiting iconic model Jean Shrimpton at her home in Berkshire
  • visiting a friend’s apartment in New York’s West End Avenue, an apartment that’s all “high-gloss black lacquered walls and blacked-out windows”

Huston writes this about LA:

Things happened at a leisurely pace. Unlike New York, where the pavements abounded with energy and purpose and everyone seemed to have an objective, Los Angeles was filled with friendly people who seemed content to hang out at home in tracksuits and kaftans, waiting for good things to come to them, or those who relied on whimsy for advancement.

Nice!

There is something corrosive in Anjelica Huston’s life, though, and that is the black hole of being the girlfriend of philandering Jack Nicholson. Already, Huston’s shed many, many tears  (and self’s only on p. 22). Self wants to comfort Huston by saying: “He’ll get old. Don’t worry.” Self is no fortune-teller, but she can’t help feeling smug about the fact that Jack Nicholson has indeed grown old.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Theroux: “I drove off the main road, Highway 71 . . . “

The day was dusk-dark but there was still no sign of a storm. I drove off the main road, Highway 71, and took a dirt road up a steep slope into the woods, past shacks and trailers. At the summit, where the road became a muddy track, I came to a ramshackle house — a spectacular ruin at the edge of a field littered with cast-off shoes, rags of clothes, old rubber tires, hubcaps embedded in the earth, children’s faded toys twisted apart, plastic bags tangled on bushes, areas strewn with bottles and jugs, and shards of broken glass — a hovel with junk heaped against it.

Deep South, by Paul Theroux

Two days in Cork, one afternoon on the train to Dublin, morning in the Irish National Portrait Gallery, and the end of Theroux’s Deep South is in sight.

In the intervening time, she’s learned about: Faulkner. Erskine Caldwell. Gun shows.  Clinton’s boyhood. Poverty. Segregation. Dying Towns. Activists. Meth labs. etc.

She read the reviews on Amazon. One woman says she wishes Theroux had focused on the “nicer” parts of the south. Instead, he stayed on back roads, and focused on talking to poor people.

That is who self wants to hear from! The poor people! The ones who make some parts of the South resemble a Third World country! Because — that is reality.

Keep going, Theroux.

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Reading DEEP SOUTH in the National Portrait Gallery, Dublin

Earlier, she was in Hodges Figgis and bought yet another book to weigh her down: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Things You Never Wanted to Know About the Ku Klux Klan

The presiding office is called the Exalted Cyclops (Say what?)

A local Klan is referred to as a Klavern.

Followers are called Klansmen.

Extremely young followers are called Ghouls or Knights.

They killed a young black man on March 21, 1981. Of the two perpetrators arrested, one got life in prison, the other death. The man sentenced to execution was kept in a prison referred to by inmates as “the slaughter house.” He died in an electric chair painted yellow, the so-called “Yellow Mama.”

Fascinating, simply fascinating. Paul Theroux is such an avid researcher.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Oh, Theroux

  • That was why, whenever I mentioned I was a writer, most people smiled in what I took to be pity, as though I had just disclosed a personal failing, but a lovable, forgivable fault. Because to nonreaders a book is a riddle and a challenge . . .

Deep South, by Paul Theroux

People don’t know what to say in answer to “I’m a writer,” they’re put in a spot which “baffles” them, it’s as if “a dinner guest among carnivores takes a seat at the table and says, By the way, I’m a vegan.”

ROFL!

BTW, if anyone cares to know, self is on p. 177, and the book is 441 pages in total, and so that makes self almost at the halfway mark.

Her concentration’s drifting. Oh no, oh no! Must find a way to re-focus. Otherwise, it’ll be another month before she finishes.

The next book on her reading list is the Anjelika Houston memoir, Watch Me.

Stay tuned.

Something About the Deep South

There is something about America’s Deep South that arouses melancholy in Paul Theroux, for which self can only say:

THANK GOD

Usually he is so caustic and cranky (which is fun too, don’t mistake self’s meaning), but here, for instance:

  • It was always assumed that I was merely drifting, and I suppose in a sense I was, but not “merely.”

Isn’t that so elegiac-sounding? So very dream-like, as if Theroux was losing himself in some esoteric landscape of the heart?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quite A Sentence: DEEP SOUTH, Tuscaloosa

Are dear blog readers getting sick of the Theroux quotes? Well, too bad! Because even at his crankiest, Theroux has something to offer everyone!

Tuscaloosa is a cluttered urban island in a great, soft, rural sea: the misleadingly serene surfaces of the South — low hills, grassy swales, cotton and bean fields, swamps humming with flies, dejected woods.

Stay tuned.

More Theroux: DEEP SOUTH, Atomic Road

That is a great name for a country road. Especially one in the Deep South. Lucky for Paul Theroux, he found it. And was not deterred by a sentry outside a “big fence” who told him, in no uncertain terms, Get lost!

No, what the sentry actually told Theroux was, “Turn your car around, sir, and keep going.”

Same thing. There’s nothing more freezing sometimes than that oh-so-stoic American politeness.

And then Theroux writes:

. . .  in the South I traveled in eccentric circles, in and out of the fourth dimension, always hopeful, making plans to return, and saying to myself, as I did that day on Atomic Road: I’ll be back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Paul Theroux’s DEEP SOUTH, West Alabama

Theroux is a master of the caustic zinger. Exhibit A:

  • I was the sinner sitting among the publicans, well behind the Philistines, in a back pew. I was not normally a churchgoer, but what made a Sunday in the South complete was a church service, a gun show, or a football game.

Stay tuned.

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