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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Taking Mr Ravenswood

A short story from William Trevor's Last Stories:
Belonging to her time on the counters—before they moved her upstairs to Customer Care—Mr Ravenswood’s easy smile stirred in Rosanne’s memory, the paisley handkerchief tidily protruding from the top pocket of a softly checked jacket, the tweed hat on the counter for the duration of whatever transaction there was. Stylish in his manner, Mr Ravenswood was friendly in a way the other men who came to the counters never were, and always asked her how she was. The cheques he regularly lodged were dividends, unearned income from inherited means, and you could sense from his manner a faint disdain of money’s self–importance... Read more here

Evelyn Waugh’s Home On The Market

Evelyn Waugh’s magnificent home in Gloucestershire, UK could be yours if you had £3m.

Once the backdrop to Waugh’s literary scribblings, the eight-bedroom Piers Court is almost as grand as the buildings he wrote about.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Baby’s First Eames

Baby’s First Eames, an ABC of modern architecture and design by Julia Merberg, will gently push your child towards an early appreciation for design.

More: PLAIN Magazine

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nabokov’s Synesthetic Alphabet

The synesthete experiences a transliteration of the senses — a number or letter or music note or day of the week are rendered in color in their mind’s eye. The writings of Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, William Faulkner, and Charles Baudelaire embodied synesthesia.

Vladimir Nabokov writes of his “fine case of colored hearing” and describes his own Moses Harris color wheel of the alphabet:
Perhaps “hearing” is not quite accurate, since the color sensation seems to be produced by the very act of my orally forming a given letter while I imagine its outline. The long a of the English alphabet (and it is this alphabet I have in mind farther on unless otherwise stated) has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French a evokes polished ebony. This black group also includes hard g(vulcanized rubber) and r (a sooty rag being ripped)...  Read more 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic ‘New Journalist’ and Novelist, Dies at 88

Tom Wolfe, an innovative journalist and novelist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattans moneyed status-seekers in works like “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” “The Right Stuff” and “Bonfire of the Vanities,” died on Monday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 88.

More here

The Manuscript Forms Of Emily Dickinson

Mike Kelly, curator at the Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, explores highlights from their Emily Dickinson collection which includes a variety of manuscript forms. They were written on envelopes, concert programmes, and even chocolate wrappers. Dickinson died on this day in 1886.

“Necessitates celerity”, Amherst Manuscript # 540 – Source.

“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450 – Source.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

The House Of Bernarda Alba

"A domineering, reclusive, and ostentatiously pious widow in a small Spanish town keeps such close watch on her daughters that they are unable to have normal social lives. However, the eldest is allowed to become engaged to an unprincipled young man, primarily for the financial advantages it will bring the mother, Bernarda. Jealousy and envy ensues among the other daughters."

The House Of Bernarda Alba from Dant B. Hat on Vimeo.

This Yoda bookend, strong the Force is

Buy this Yoda bookend for $19.95


Saturday, May 12, 2018

We had seen the world dead. This was within the power of nature - Virginia Woolf’s Account of a Total Solar Eclipse

On June 29, 1927 the Moon’s shadow swallowed the sun in southwest England. Virginia Woolf was traveling by train with family and friends when the eclipse occurred and recorded what she saw and felt in vivid detail.
We had fallen. It was extinct. There was no colour. The earth was dead. That was the astonishing moment; and the next when as if a ball had rebounded the cloud took colour on itself again, only a sparky ethereal colour and so the light came back. I had very strongly the feeling as the light went out of some vast obeisance; something kneeling down and suddenly raised up when the colours came. They came back astonishingly lightly and quickly and beautifully in the valley and over the hills — at first with a miraculous glittering and ethereality, later normally almost, but with a great sense of relief. It was like recovery. We had been much worse than we had expected. We had seen the world dead. This was within the power of nature.
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Friday, May 11, 2018

One For Old Snaggletooth

I know a woman
who keeps buying puzzles
pieces that finally fit
into some order.
she works it out
she solves all her
lives down by the sea
puts sugar out for the ants
and believes
in a better world.
her hair is white
she seldom combs it
her teeth are snaggled
and she wears loose shapeless
coveralls over a body most
women would wish they had.
for many years she irritated me
with what I considered her
like soaking eggshells in water
(to feed the plants so that
they’d get calcium).
but finally when I think of her
and compare it to other lives
more dazzling, original
and beautiful
I realize that she has hurt fewer
people than anybody I know
(and by hurt I simply mean hurt).
and she has had some terrible times,
times when maybe I should have
helped her more
for she is the mother of my only
and we were once great lovers,
but she has come through
like I said
she has hurt fewer people than
anybody I know,
and if you look at it like that,
she has created a better world.
she has won.

Francis, this poem is for you.

From: Love Is A Dog From Hell
by Charles Bukowski

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dorothy Parker’s FBI File Is Available to Public for First Time in a Decade

In the 1930s, the FBI began keeping a file on Dorothy Parker.
One of wittiest voices of the 20th century, the prolific critic, poet and screenwriter became active in the political scene after Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were convicted of first-degree murder on shaky evidence in the 1920s. Parker herself was arrested in 1927 at a rally for Sacco and Vanzetti just months before their execution, where she was slapped with a $5 fine for “loitering and sauntering.”
“This,” writes Michelle Dean, in her new book Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, was Parker’s first taste of protest and it “gave her an appetite for more.”

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Solar Bones

“ all those human rhythms that bind us together and draw the world into a community, those daily / rites, rhythms and rituals / upholding the world like solar bones, that rarefied amalgam of time and light ”
This book by Irish writer Mike McCormack won the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker. It begins on on All Souls’ Day, 2009 when engineer Marcus Conway hears the ringing of the Angelus bell. It's a rough time for Ireland with the economy in a state of collapse. Against this backdrop Conway ruminates about his family, politics, his work, human nature and life in small-town Ireland. The book is written as one long open-ended sentence and at the start I had to do some googling to make sure my e-book didn't have a glitch. Once that was cleared up I got into the rhythm of Conway's thoughts that flow like a stream across the page. As he sits at his kitchen table waiting for his wife and children to return home he ponders large issues like occupational integrity in a world that seems to be collapsing. Tractor parts, the structure of concrete, sandwiches, agricultural slurry, art trends and his deep love for his wife also enter the monologue. It is a lovely, haunting story of a middle-aged man looking back on his life.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Hum Bom!

Bono and US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera read and discuss Allen Ginsberg's anti-war poem "Hum Bom!" for Poetry in America.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Mother's Day Reading

Ahead of Mother’s Day Brazos Bookstore in Houston will be selling books this week that are are ideally read by mothers, mothers-to-be, friends of mothers, parents, parents-to-be, and people who at one point came from mothers.

More:  Literary Hub