January 29, 2013 § 5 Comments
Arti will understand. I began reading ANNA KARENINA weeks and weeks ago, at the beginning of Arti’s book challenge. I don’t regret a moment of it, tho’I've lagged and lost in terms of meeting any deadlines. I still have 250 pages of that magnificent novel to go. And not allowing myself ‘to see the movie ’til I finish the book. Yes, people like to say to me, “But you know how it ends, don’t you?” Sure I do, but it’s the getting there that’s so entrancing, so full of detail and delight in the million little things that Tolstoy does. Still when reading such a tome, one is allowed to have a break, to cheat on the book, to take in another book, as it were.
And so I picked up a picture book the other day at the library. That is, it’s made to look like one. Actually, it’s a graphic novel by Audrey Niffenegger. She’s quite the talent, she is. Those who have read THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE and HER FEARFUL SYMETRY have an idea what she can do. I had no idea she could draw as well and come to find out, she’s done two other graphic novels, too. But this one, the one I just finished titled THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE has the look of a child’s picture book and none of the angst-y edge-y appearance that many graphic novels of our time posess.
I read it, wondering how it would go, with some of the enchantment of a child, wondering, anticipating how it could unravel, what could happen, not sure what would happen.
Seems this story of hers was a winner in ZOETROPE, Coppola’s story magazine (which has since grown into writing workshops in his Central America rancho location as well). So I read it, delighted, somewhat disappointed as I neared the end, due to the turn it takes. I should have guessed it. Had I paid more attention rather than getting somewhat lost in it, I might have realized what Niffenegger was going to do.
Still it was a lovely break from ANNA, tho’in retrospect, yikes, they share a certain alikeness. But I read it with a certain delight based on its shape and presentation, it’s faux return-to-childhood based on its looks. At one point I was turning the book on its side to see what novels and stories were pictured on the shelves drawn on the pages. (part of the fun!)
Now that I’ve had my little dalliance, I can return to the land of Anna and the inner turnings of the 19th century Russian mind which is, I suspect, somewhat different from that vast country’s thinking presently.
Oh, all that cold and those grand layers of fine clothes and people stashed in huge country houses trying to live a high life, and hearts breaking and unbreaking.
But for her part, Niffenberger wasn’t humorous, either; her picture book is, in fact, a little modern-lonely, but worth the break from the usual read to see what one can do with “story.” (Note: the 3 images used herein are from Google images.) (Another note, hours later: I just corrected spelling of the author’s name; apologies.)
January 27, 2013 § 6 Comments
Current issues of THE NEW YORKER are starting to breed like rabbits around the house. I haven’t had time to read them all, much less in order. HM tracked into our house some insidious little ice melters from the courtyard of the building where his office is found, and they hurt bare feet and yet break into pieces like little apsirins. I’ve been chasing them with the vaccum. Everyone in his building complained; the superintendent doesn’t know who put them down in anticipation of an ice storm, but it was discovered they’re not ice melters – they are, in fact, for breaking down grease. Someone got confused.
Meanwhile, the weatherman can’t get the weather correct, which ultimately is ok, because he’s so darn dire with forecasting sleet and slips-n-slides and rain and frozen temps, all stirred into one big weather pot so that he doesn’t actually appear to be wrong…and who cares? we have ourselves and our cars as winterized as possible with layers of hoodies and coats and fingerless gloves and scarves and scrapers, sand-in-the-trunk and big fat all-weather tires, so …bring it on.
Friends and neighbors have been quiet in the gloom this weekend, with everyone badly needing some rest and some unscheduled time. Christmas is boxed, bagged and stacked in the tool room, everything labeled and the house has lots it glitter but there’s a certain uncluttered thing going on that’s not so bad. Greenery does perk a person up quite a bit though, even if only sticking one’s head out the back patio doors and breathing in the cold humidity and discerning among the many winter greys which branches are holding birds and the squirrels, all waiting to hit the feeder as soon as the human stops sticking her head out there, into their business.
Ya gotta love it, all the comforts of Sunday, wherever you can find them, as you teeter on the precipice of Work Tomorrow. While America is glad to have a job, sometimes the schedule just makes you want to put the typical time compendium on tilt and run it your own way. As the dowager Countess in Downton Abbey says, “What’s a weekend?” I am intrigued by how such a character, if real, would actually measure time.
Perhaps not at all.
And that sounds like a fine idea to me.
January 12, 2013 § 7 Comments
The trouble with organizing stuff is that once it’s all in a nice tidy stack, on a shelf or in a drawer, so much thought and exertion went into achieving that cleaning-and-tidying that you feel finished with it and may not return to any of the now-organized matter…whereas a lovely old desk piled with tasks and treasures in a more casual manner, off to one side in such a manner if it’s a very large desk therefore leaving workspace, offers up treats, surprises and reminders as you muck through it, all the while aware of and ready to tackle whatever is the major task at hand.
This is how far I’ve gotten…all the stuff that was on this desk is now covering a quarter of the office floor. (Yes, the desk is dusty. Yes, I like pencils though I don’t write stories with them. I use them for making lists.)
And this is not even one of those heirloom desks with drawers, cubbies, pigeon holes and open-out space. It’s a little black build-it-yourself Swedish design though I’m sure that if you examined it closely, there could be a made in china allusion.
Ah, the other issue with organizing (no, it’s not a new year’s resolution) is that it’s procrastination, keeping one away from the blank page that needs filling.
TIP: Get something on that first page, whether it’s a zentangle, one word written in large letters, a postcard pasted there or an arrow pointing you to the next pages! Then you can begin on the second page. (this tip, paraphrased, comes from the book RAW ART JOURNALING by Quinn MacDonald. Art and writing – so intertwined.)
January 6, 2013 § 3 Comments
They were left on the counter, having somehow escaped the holiday feasting madness…five little cuties…all alone…one of them was rather hard, it’s juice having gone somewhere, seeping through its skin maybe, I dunno. But it was rock hard and refused the juicing I was about to give the other four…because there’s magic in that juice…and writers can always use a little magic.
(photo by DCL)
January 5, 2013 § 8 Comments
Putting away all the holiday decorations should go quickly.
Yes, many decoration are still up because we traditionally wait ’til Little Christmas.
Most things have been moved to one table to next be tissue-wrapped and put back into the Christmas boxes.
One by one, surfaces are cleared and returned to Pottery Barn-type minimalism. (No, we do not have Pottery Barn decor. We’re still on the “this-and-that” plan – we like this and we like that, including old pieces from our families.)
But I’m leaving the greenery (not pictured) along the back fence. The critters like it, and so do I when I’m in the kitchen and look out into the back yard.
Below, before and after on the piano.
But the “after” is gonna get even more uncluttered. (You know what I mean; it’s something about this time of year. Form and Function, those things combining both, are put at the top of the list and remain, while anything considered “clutter” gets relegated to a closet…or a waste bin.)
January 1, 2013 § 6 Comments
It appears that Writers like a cornucopia of things that start with “c,” though be assured the following are not in any particular order nor is the list by any measure complete:
coffee (the “think drink”)
cats (I don’t have one and am concerned that this signifies something in terms of writing success)
consideration of others (of our writing time)
crowds (to get lost in and for observeation)
corks (from wine, really good wine)
calm (in which to write)
carbon paper (yes, it still exists) (zen spot)
A favorite on the above list is Coffee, which does indeed pertain to my resolution list:
- Drink it slowly (no pre-work drink-on-the-run)
- Treat it as a luxury ( it is)
- Have it in lieu of junk food, stress snacks, or sugar bombs of any sort
- Enjoy with a friend as a catalyst to whatever else is going on and as a focal point, something to stare at thoughtfully while listening and formulationg thoughts and maybe even for toasting!