One Fish, Two Fish – Books, Flags and Fishy Stuff

September 13, 2009 § 8 Comments

DSC_6549flags at Missouri Botanical Garden Japanese Festival

The wind refused to blow as I snapped photo after photo of a these flags.  I thought about asking HM to shimmey up the pole and blow on them, but he was kind enough to wait as I stood in the middle of the road to get any shot at all and likewise, he prevented the SUVs and muscle cars from running me down.

Trying to take good pictures always puts me in mind of the fantastic shots we see and take for granted. How often do you wonder where the photographer was in order to get the picture? Was he on a roof, hanging from a glider, pimping his own beliefs to hang with some sort of crowd in order to get their pictures, walking along the edge of something swampy or sly, risking his or her life, or sliding through the ocean or nearly falling off a cliff or hanging in some sort of human twist to catch a glimpse on camera of some gorgeous thing growing out of the skin of a tree twenty feet above ground?

Of course thousands and thousands of photos imply no risk at all. They are the wondrous magic of timing. Of being there. Of seeing. So many blogs willingly and freely put marvelous remarkable shots out there for others to see. Those are my mentors. I learn and learn, and then I go and take a dumb-ass picture anyway. But photos are  another way to communicate. You see them. You feel the stories and look more closely and get even more.

I had no intention at all of talking about photos, but I must express my delight to ALL those who post pictures. Who climb up on their desks and the backs of their couches to get shots of their desks and manuscripts, of their offices, who stand on porches, fences, hills, knee-deep in water, or in the grocery store, the streets of Paris, the waterways of Venice, the Outback of Anywhere – everywhere out there, in places we cannot get to and see without being time travelers.

Back to the topic: Fish.
I am a Pisces. This “fish” thing is important to me when it applies. Thus, the above photo taken at the Festival.

Book recommendations

But what of having read books about fish?
‘”Course there was PINOCCHIO, with the whale, not really a fish but a mammoth mammal and a scary one when you’re a kid….
and then there was MOBY DICK and I pushed the entire senior class in a Maine high school through that book, propelling them towards the apparent final battle between Ahab and Moby….
and then there was THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and you know what?  I read that book far too quickly. I read it just to say I had read it. Foolish. I must go back. Not to look at the story; I know full well how that goes. I have to go back and look at the language. 
You can buzz on over to Scobberlotch and hear Hemingway’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, plied with pictures of “Papa” and evocative. Especially for those who write. Have a look. 
And then there was ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH when the kids were little.  Not completely silly, you know. It’s the memories such books create as much as the silly rhymes which they remember as well.

Do movies figure in this aimless rambling riff? Let’s say ‘yes.’ Consdier  BIG FISH. It’s a fantasy. It’s a story of a son and his father and the former trying to understand the latter. (That is a terrible over-simplification!)  Watch it if you haven’t already, just let it happen and avoid making sense. You’ll feel  it, which, we could say, is the essence of fantasy.

OK, here is my book recommendation for this “fishy” entry:  It is…
SHARK’S FIN AND SICHUAN PEPPER – A SWEET SOUR MEMOIR OF EATING IN CHINA by Fuschia Dunlop.
I won’t give you a long complicated review on this one since it would pre-empt the review I just handed in to an editor (but you can read it in October’s SAUCE Magazine.)
Needless to say, anyone I know in book blog world will like it. Not the shark’s fin and maybe not the pepper, but certainly the writing, humor and info all wrapped up in a to-go box with chopsticks. The book is good. She is, in fact, one of the finest “foodie” writers I have ever read. So British, so open-minded, so talented, so humble. Don’t tell me you don’t care much about Chinese food. Me, either. This book, though, I’m telling you, even if you read any chapter, out of order, will weave you true tales, tell you anecdotal history, chat you up on why, why, why an expat in ’90s China longed and lusted to learn cook like a Chinaman (cooking school was rife with guys; Fuschia was odd “man” out in that sense). And she does.

Are there other books with fish in the story or the title? Oh, thousands, likely. But without coffee, this little tug has run out of steam. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead….

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§ 8 Responses to One Fish, Two Fish – Books, Flags and Fishy Stuff

  • Joanne says:

    Good timing! Since I’m away fishing this sounds like a good book to read, very ‘fishy’ indeed. 🙂 And by the way, I think you take beautiful photos, nothing dumb-ass about them at all. 🙂

  • oh says:

    thanks, J! Fishing, you are? Sounds lovely, actually. All that water and lapping sounds and wondering what will take the hook…enjoy!

  • Nora says:

    I haven’t read most of the fish-related books you mention here. I suppose I best add them to my list! It seems to me that I did read a book about fish or involving fish sometime in middle school though I can’t remember the name…

  • ds says:

    Your photographs are stunning! What are you talking about?! For the rest, we had a pop-up (yes) book of Pinocchio growing up (no idea what became of it)–not Disney,obviously–and right in the center was the whale. I can still see the teeth and the way the jaws opened wide with the book…loved, loved loved Big Fish; it is one of those movies you have to see as adequate description fails.

    Have already written down title of Chinese food book as it is a fave cuisine around here…A Fish Out of Water (also Dr. Seuss?) was Mr. L-S’s all-time favorite & the Rainbow Fish…I had to make a cake out of that one. A challenge. Thanks. Keep “tugging” along.
    A very good week to you!

  • jeanie says:

    First of all, this image is glorious — it has angle and color and is beautiful. As soon as it came up on my screen, I smiled!

    Second, thanks for mentioning Big Fish, one of my favorite movies! I need to own that one someday! I’ve seen it repeatedly and it never fails to fill my heart.

    Finally, don’t forget “Jaws.” It’s not art — but it’s fun!

  • You forgot one of my all-time faves:

    A Fish Called Wanda!!!

    Classic. 😉

  • oh says:

    Jeanie’s right: JAWS!!!! duh DUH duh DUH duh DUH – and all you have to do is allude to it when I’m in the ocean and voila – I run right out of there!

    And Jen reminds us of A FISH CALLED WANDA! I did forget about that one as well though i remember laughing when seeing it though I couldn’t tell you why. So for those of you who read comments: check out both those movies.

    DS – ah, yes, THE RAINBOW FISH! and if there were a cake around here right now, resembling that or not, I’d eat it – several pieces. i am soooo longing for a nice dessert right now. (i digress again…maybe some coffee will do the trick). Anyway, very glad to hear you liked BIG FISH. That movie draws more odd looks than it does “Yes! I loved it”, right? I must might have to have another look.

    Nor- You really do want to read THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, if you haven’t. And I may get a hold of THE ORCHID THIEF and will loan it to you but I suggest cruising Irish’s bookshelves. It’s very likely he has a few of these!

  • Carrie says:

    i love the challenge of trying to capture what I see *and feel* in the photo. Most of the time I think I have dumb-ass pictures too… but ahh… the critic can kiss those be-hinds. (your photos are flourishing quite nicely I might add.) Why is it that putting a photo out there is so different than words. I’m not sure why, but it is; there is a different sense of vulnerability. Maybe it’s because words don’t seem as subjective as the visual medium, but we of course know they are. Keep posting your wonderful words… and photos! 🙂

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