Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #84

Thursday Thirteenprint for sale on

Today I set out to accomplish two tasks at once. It was time to do TT but it was also urgent for me to take stock of where I stand with the Shakespeare related materials I have out of the library. And lo and behold there were 13 items.

That is all you need to know about the TT list. Unless you have an interest in the work habits of writers and how they plan stories and research for them and so forth, you can skip the rest of this rambling preamble.

I ordered these items in late January and early February and purposely spaced out their arrival so that I could space out my attention to them. I ordered them for a specific writing project: a story involving three high school teachers overseeing students performing Macbeth on stage. I am fairly familiar with the story of Macbeth and have read the play and seen more than one production of it on film whether it was a made for screen or a filmed stage play. But I know little to nothing about what is involved in putting on any kind of play let alone a Shakespeare play.

Besides specifics about the themes in Macbeth and methods and problems of staging it, I also needed to keep my eye out for controversy that I could tap into for the bickering that is an integral characteristic of the relationship between the three teachers--Faye and her twin sister Julia and Wilma the twin sister of Faye's husband, Inny.

The story I have in mind is intended to be folded into another one already written: Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities. This is the story which introduces the three women, the one I created them for. After finishing that story I began another one featuring the same characters which evolved into Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes. Before I had finished that story I had figured out I had enough material for a novel and that the two stories would probably be chapters one and three. I have posted both stories in sections for Friday Snippets and this post acts as portal to them.

When I got around to mapping out chapter two (still unwritten) I discovered it had the same format as chapter three: alternating scenes between what I call the NOW thread and the THEN thread. The NOW thread takes place in the weeks following the events of chapter one and the THEN threads are events several years in the past that are directly relevant to the events in the NOW thread.

I realized then that I should consider adding a THEN thread to chapter one. Later I realized this could solve another problem. The fact that several characters in Rag Doll Babies integral to the entire novel would seem to drop in out of the blue some 12K words into the story if I could not find a way to introduce them earlier. Since two of the characters in question had already been established as previous students of Faye and the others were in their circle of friends and family it followed that the THEN thread for chapter one should involve that student/teacher relationship. And since quotations from Macbeth are an integral part of the story in Of Cats and Claws, it seemed that a high school production of the play was a natural fit and that also made it easier to include all three of the women while keeping Faye as the POV.

Writing the THEN thread for chapter one and both threads for chapter two were to be my primary focus for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge that began March 1st. I was planning to spend the month of February preparing. But I spent the month of February fighting two colds or possibly one that relapsed. Then around the first week of March I had a jarring fall that made typing difficult for over a week and just as I was getting back on track the Friday following Easter I came down with the flu and was laid flat by it for three weeks. The last two weeks have been a slow, turtle paced slow, recovery of energy and stamina.

Meanwhile the Shakespeare materials started to flow in as planned but I was unable to use them. Our library system allows for two renewals if no one else is requesting an item. Most books are checked out for three weeks so two renewals means a potential for keeping an item for nine weeks. Well I am on the eighth week for the first batch of Shakespeare items. I needed to at the very least make a thorough evaluation of each one as to its relevance and usefulness and prioritize them and see if there was anything I could hope to accomplish with each one in the time I had left with it or should I exercise the option of sending it back now and resending for it.

Thirteen Library Items Regarding Shakespeare On My Shelf Now

1. Lectures on Shakespeare by W. H. Auden reconstructed and edited by Arthur Kirsch
319 pages + Kirsch's 15 page introduction. I hope to read the whole thing eventually but this book is due next Thursday so this time around I'm going to focus on the 11 page lecture on Macbeth, the 11 page concluding lecture and Kirsch's intro. For a total of 22 pages.

These lectures were given for anybody interested in Greenwich Villiage, New York from the fall of 1946 through spring of 1947 and took he read and commented on the plays, one per lecture, in the order in which they were produced.

2. The Authentic Shakespeare: and other problems of the early modern stage by Stephen Orgel
256 pages. This book is also due next Thursday. It is a collection of essay's written by a Berkley professor between the mid 1960's and late 1990's. Every one deals with scholarly debates over a variety of issues to do with Shakespeare from the authenticity of existing manuscripts and folisos to the speculations about what the audience at the time experienced at a performance. Just by the titles of the essays I know I want to read the whole book but it too is due next Thursday so I must limit myself to these three: #4 Acting Scripts, Performing Texts at 28 pages. #11 Macbeth and the Antic Round at 14 pages. #15 The Authentic Shakespeare at 25 pages. For a total of 67 pages.

3. Shakespearean Tragedy as Chivalric Romance: Rethinking Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear by Michael L. Hays. 210 pages. Again, the entire book interests me but it too is due in one week so I'm limiting myself to the 26 page Introduction and the 25 pages chapter, Macbeth: Loyal Stewards and Royal Succession for a total of 51 pages.

4. Shakespeare: The Seven Major Tragedies by Porfessor Harold Bloom. 14 recorded lectures on 7 CDs. Part of The Modern Scholar: Great Teachers Teaching You series.

These lectures are based on Bloom's book Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human a book I first encountered in the late 90s via the Longview WA library and then bought my own copy while we lived in Sunnyvale CA and then had to sell in 2001 along with nearly 700 more volumes out of my personal library. I've just ordered the book through the library again.

I have two weeks left with the audio lectures. I doubt with all else on my agenda that I will be able to listen to all 14 so I'm going to start with the two on Macbeth. Though I will know better once I know the length of a lecture. I can't find any indication on the case, the accompanying booklet or the CDs themselves as to the length of the lectures. That probably has something to do with why I've not got started listening yet. That and the fact I spent over two weeks with such compromised hearing that listening to lectures on anything would have been a most frustraing and unproductive use of time and energy.

The booklet includes helpful websites for each play discussed which I hope to visit and bookmark. Starting with the ones for Macbeth of course.

5. Shakespeare: An Oxford Guide editied by Stanley Wells and Lena Cowen Orlin. 696 pages including a chronology of the plays and Shakespeares life. I've got two weeks left with this one and will limit my focus to issues of Macbeth and of stage productions of the plays in Shakespeare's lifetime. Even so I estimate well over a hundred pages involved.

There is also a chapter that really fascinates me about Shakepseare resouces online which invloves a critique of the Internet as a resource. That may have to wait until another turn with it.

Overall this book is such a good resource I drool over having it on my shelf permanently.

6. Witches & Jesuits: Shakespeare's Macbeth by Garry Wills. 149 pages. I have two weeks with this one and really need to read the whole thing as its very thesis is related to my current focus--the performance of Macbeth then and now and how its themes relate to the political, theological and social millieu of the audience it was first performed for.

7. Will Power: How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days by John Basil with Stephanie Gunning. 344 pages. I'm sure every page would be helpful but I'm going to prioritize the introduction and the first 8 days which focus on interpeting the clues for performing Shakespeare embedded in the text and in the manuscripts which the first performers used i.e. italics and capitalizations which most modern pritings of the plays eliminated to conform to gramatial rules.

8. Gender in Play on the Shakepsearean Stage: Boy Heroines & Female Pages by Michael Shapiro. 204 pages. Also due in two weeks. I'm very interested in the material in this book but sinse it doesn't relate to my current needs regarding the themes of and the stage production of Macbeth, I may have to let it go and send for it again.

Shapiro discusses the role of cross dressing in the plays of Shakespeare and in Elisabethean England. It was the practice of the time for all female roles to be played by males in female costume. Shakespeare played with that to the amusement of his audiences with the plays in which female characters were disguised as men.

I do have story lines in mind for my FOS story world (Faye's world) that explore the meaning of gender and involve some gender bending which is why I sent for this when I spotted it in the library catalog.

9. How to Enjoy Shakespeare by Robert Thomas Fallon. 104 pages. Based on the blurb on the cover, I need to read the whole thing: "A Guide for the Perplexed--This book will help you overcome puzzles of language, theme, staging, character, and plot so that you can delight in the bard's great plays." Due in two weeks.

10. Speaking Shakespeare by Patsy rodenburg. 356 pages. If this one renews for me tomorrow (Thursday) I will have another three weeks with it. The whole book applies to my current need as it is advice for actors on performing Shakespeare plays. Even with a full three more weeks, I may not be able to do all 356 pages justice.

11. The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public fiascoes, Palace Coups by Ron Rosenbaum. 550 pages. I may have over five weeks left with this one as I just renewed it Monday for the first time and have another renewal available unless someone puts in a request for it. I want to read the entire book eventually but my main interest in it for the current project is to find fodder for the bickerig among my characters over the 'correct' way to stage Macbeth. The wars referred to are those between the scholars of Shakespeare.

12. The Shakespeare Sessions with John Barton and featuring Sir Peter Hall. 60 minute DVD. The legendary directors and founders of The Royal Shakespearean Company work with some of America's brightest stars, teaching the power of the language of the plays as the way to bring the characters alive on stage. A must. I have two weeks.

13. Macbeth. The play on DVD 148 min. The BBC-Time Life production staring Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotire. Another must. Obviously. This was the second Macbeth production on DVD which I checked out this year. The other one was also a British production and starred Judy Dench. I didn't get to watch it before it went back and plan to send for it again. I wish I could get a DVD of the legendary 1955 performance starring Lawrence Olivier.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Better Get This Done



And this. And this. Oh, and this too.

That's the theme of my day, with one of the most physically active agendas since I got sick over a month ago. On the agenda with a lot of ifs is a possible chance to go to the library. If Ed gets off work in time. If I get all my chores done. And if after that I've got any energy left for the outing.

The chores mostly fall under a single category: Remove all traces of mine and Ed's messes from the bathroom, laundry room, living room and kitchen. By noon if possible as the pressure will be on after that. His folks left for the coast Saturday afternoon and are due back this afternoon or evening.

I've already been working at it for several hours, having gotten up before five this morning. I just sat down for a break--it's just after nine--and got to thinking I better start working on a post ASAP as I will likely be as tired tonight as I was last night after being awake from 3AM Sunday morning.

I have the last two loads of the laundry in the machines. I could have had that done yesterday but chose to spend some time sitting outside instead of working on it. Am so glad I did as the sun is gone again today. It is chilly, overcast and has rained several times since before six this morning. Bleh.

I started the laundry Saturday within minutes after Ed's folks pulled out of the driveway. But by the time I had it all pulled out of the room into the hall and partially sorted so I could get the first load on I was so exhausted I had to lay down. And I fell asleep. That was about 2PM and tho Ed woke me to say goodbye when he left for the dirt track races at 3, I could not get myself in gear. I fell back to sleep and tho I woke several times that afternoon, once even getting as far as the living room couch before crashing again, I could not manage to stay awake let alone get busy.

I did not get up until after 9PM Saturday! Then I had to rush to get the rest of the bedding through the machines so Ed could make the bed when he got home at midnight. I also managed to finish sorting the clothes but then left them on the laundry room/hallway floor until this morning.

I had counted on Saturday afternoon and evening while Ed was at the races to focus on my Friday Snippet piece but did not get started on it until after Ed was in bed which was well after midnight. Which was why I didn't paste it into the shell I had posted Friday night until after noon Sunday. Then I slept from three to seven Sunday, getting up for the dinner Ed made: Chicken Alfredo from scratch.

I started to work on my Monday Poetry Train post after dinner but could not keep my eyes open so I lay down for a 'nap' and didn't wake until 2:44 almost six hours later. So Monday started dark and early for me. I spent the morning yesterday cleaning up after two days worth of our use of the kitchen. So thankfully I've only got last night and this morning's messes to clean up this morning.

There goes the dryer's buzzer. The washer beeped half an hour ago....

OK. Last load in the dryer. I just used twenty extra minutes of energy to take pictures of Merlin, Sweetie and my temporary office setup on the living room couch. I moved out here in dribs and drabs starting Saturday night. But I have to get it all moved back into the bedroom in the next two hours. I should probably start that project next even before dishes and definitely before my shower and putting the bathroom to rights.

I set up my office on a card table but since there is no room to set it up anywhere else out of the way of pathways through the room and eye paths with the TV, I set it up over the top of one end of the couch by extending only two legs and propping the other side on a cardboard box that also served as a 'drawer slot' for a boot box top to keep odds and ends in. It is going to take between six and ten trips between the couch and the bedroom to move it all back in there. I hope I have the strength left to fold the two legs of the table back down. I can't count on Ed getting home before his folks.

Well, that's a twenty minute rest and leaves me 100 minutes to finish my chores. I suppose I better get busy. But I'm not going to post this until later. I am going to try to get the pictures off the camera first and prepare a few for posting. But I'm not going to start that project until my chores are done.

Later. Much Later. It is after six and I'm loosing steam fast. But it has been a very good day. Very productive in many senses though I didn't get to write on anything but this post or read anything or surf blogs. :( But I did get my chores all done before noon. And I did get to go to the library--two days short of a full six weeks since the last trip.

And as you can see, I got the pictures off the camera and prepared for posting. That is such a chore as for some reason the application for getting them off the camera is different from the one that I process them with and I don't know why that is. The program that transfers them off the camera automatically opens when I upload the pictures and it isn't even the one that came with the camera.

Both of the applications are heavy RAM users and I have to shut other applications like IM and email and anything using a lot of graphics, flash or memory before I can start the project and I can't have both of the photo managing aps open at the same time either.

This didn't use to happen. I once had it set up for the computer to ask me which ap to use. But this new program got downloaded as part of another download and elected itself as primary photo application. I guess I need to figure out how to give my computer orders. Thing is both aps can do both aspects--taking the pics off the camera and processing them for the web. But I don't know how to do the latter with the new program and haven't had the time to learn my way around a major new ap. It would be worth it to make the time though as the new program can do way more things.

My Weekend Workstation

Back side

Close up of desk

Front side.

This is where I worked on my Friday Snippet between midnight and noon on Sunday


Monday, April 28, 2008


The highlight of my day today was an hour and a half spent sitting in the yard reading with Merlin on his leash nearby and Sweetie roaming the yard or sitting beside me. The first time this year! I was going to talk about the books I had outside with me. About the pure bliss of feeling the warmth of the sun on the tops of my feet--yes, I was barefoot. A week ago we had three days of snow showers and today I sat in the yard barefoot and bare armed. I had meant to take the camera out with me but forgot and could not spare the energy of returning to get it. So I was going to hunt for the pictures taken about this time last year of Merlin on his leach perched on or beside the big white lawn chair like he was today and post them instead. But I literally cannot keep my eyes open one more minute. Less.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #43

My First Bike
by Joy Renee

Feet on the pedals
Push, push, push.
Wheels go round.
Time is neither
Here nor there.
Space is a rush
Past my face
And nothing is
Except this.
And this is NOW
Balanced on the seat
Of Eternity.


After posting my musings about the nostalgia of bike riding in my Sunday Serenity, I thought I remembered that one of the pictures I scanned while at my Mother's last December had been of me on my first bike around age 11 or 12. The bike was a hand me down from cousins if I remember right; given to me the summer I was eleven.

I considered tracking it down to post into the bottom of that post but then I decided it would make a good subject for Monday Poetry Train. I started out trying to make a Haiku but I guess I had more to say than eleven syllables could handle.

Note those two-toned Oxford Saddle shoes. White and peanut butter tan. I got a new pair for school each year from kindergarten through sixth grade. Picture me running in these! I ran more than I walked for the first 17 years of my life. My first pair of school shoes that were not Oxford Saddle shoes were chocolate brown suede Waffle Stompers for seventh grade. Does anybody remember those?

Ah, nostalgia. It seems to offer a kiss but it greets you with a bite.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunday Serenity #53

Ed introduced me to the music of Tangerine Dreams through YouTube several months ago. I believe he has used them for his Sunday Serenity before. I was watching and listening to them this evening with a double purpose--to enjoy the music and accompanying slide shows of luminous art and photography and thus soak up the serenity that simply exudes from them like steam from a hot cup of tea; and to find one to post for my Sunday Serenity.

I had a hard time choosing. I finally settled for this one because it features thee figures on bicycles riding against sun rise and sun sets in a dreamscape in which there seems to be zero obstacles. This brought back to me the nostalgia of riding a bike, once one of my most favorite things to do.

The last time I road a bike on city streets and sidewalks was in the spring of 1989 about six months or so before I got the official diagnosis of the RP and learned I was already legally blind. My Mom who had been diagnosed in the early 70s had been suspecting I had inherited it for over five years and thus I did too though I was in major denial. The last several times I road my bike on the street I had close calls and that last time, on the way home from the library at dusk in Longview, Washington, I was nearly hit by a car. That finally got my full attention.

Shortly after that I gave my bike to the young girl who was my parent's ward--the same one I mention here often as my sister-friend. Then several years after that she moved out and into her adult life and left the bike behind and my Dad asked if I'd like it back for Ed to use since we were without a car at the time. So it came back to me and Ed did use it some but so did I. Not on the street or sidewalks but in the yard and driveway of the house we were renting at the time and in the parking lot and driveway of the church next door. And always with Ed or one of my nieces or nephews watching out for me. This was in the spring and early summer of 96 and I remember several joyful rides during those months. The last one was the most joyful of all until the moment I crashed into the front porch of the house as I took the corner to tight. I had been gaining confidence and got careless. No, it was more than careless it was downright heedless negligence and reckless abandonment of all common sense. I was riding as fast as I could make the pedals go and I kept pulling ahead and out of sight of those who were keeping their eyes on where the obstacles were, including the cats and the kids and Ed on inline skates who could not leave the parking lot to follow me to the far side of the house as the wrap around driveway was just ruts left by tires in the mud of the last rains before our car had died a couple years before.

To this day I cannot believe that was even me that day. I had been cutting up and acting more rambunctious the nieces and nephews that spent a lot of time with us that year. More teen-like than I'd ever acted in all my own teen years. I was 38. I joked with my 13 year old niece earlier that day, after she had cast a skeptical look my way, about having had a personality transplant.

I wasn't hurt too bad. Just bruised and skinned several places on my right side--arm, ribs, hip, knee and shin. Once we had assured ourselves there were no broken bones or sprains, Ed insisted I get back on and I did and rode it a bit wobbly on the paved driveway and parking lot of the church for a few minutes. Although I put the bike away that day with the full intent that I would ride again, I never did.

One might wonder what this has to do with my quest for serenity. Well, in my musings and meditations about serenity and joy and love over the last several years I took note of all the times in my memory that there had been negative repercussions after I'd experienced moments of exceptional happiness and how the lesson I took from it each time was a sense of being punished for taking pleasure in something frivolous or even just for being happy itself. This tendency goes back to my early childhood. Pre school years. By becoming conscious of it and applying rational arguments to challenge the irrational conclusions I'd attached to these experiences, I hope to dissolve the hold that this thought construct has over me.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Snippet 41

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

OK. Part seven is now pasted into the shell I put up Friday night as a placeholder.

You can catch up or review via the links to the first six parts available below.

Thanks for your patience.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; )

Crystal returned with the basket of cheese bread and lay it on the table accompanied by Winston's chants. "Cheese fred. Cheese fred. Cheese fred."

"OK we're all set." She said. Then making direct eye contact with the still chanting Winston she added, "As soon as it's quiet, Jasper can lead us in giving thanks." Winston immediately put both hands over his mouth but continued to bounce in his chair. Crystal sat in her own place between Winston and Jasper and reached for Winston's hand as Jasper took her other hand and reached across the table to grip fingers with Jade who took Nadira's hand.

Winston still held his mouth with his other hand and was apparently holding his breath for he was tuning a red that was nearly a match for the spaghetti sauce. She squeezed his hand and said softly, "Winston. Good job getting quiet. Now take a breath and then take Nadira's hand." she nodded across the table at Nadira was reaching shyly for the boy's hand.

He pulled his hand away from his mouth and inhaled deeply with widened eyes as though incredulous that he remained quiet. With eyes still locked on Crystal's he reached out with his free hand and allowed Nadira to take it. Crystal nodded affirmation to him and whispered, "Now close your eyes and bow your head." As he complied she said quietly, "Jasper?" squeezing her other brother's hand.

"Our Father," Jasper intoned, "Who art gracious and good. Thee Who hast made us in Your image. We thank Thee for this bounty. Bless this meal and the fellowship of those who partake together. We thank Thee most humbly for the blood of Your Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior, which covers our imperfections and cleanses our impurities so that we can stand before Thy eyes and live. We ask Thee to be with our Mother in her distress and if it be Thy Will to return her to wellbeing. We ask that Thee be with our Father as he delivers his sermon tomorrow morning and to bless his message to the hearts of the congregation as Thee bless this meal to our body's health this night. In the Blessed Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen."

"Amen." chorused Crystal and Jade followed by a whispery echo from Nadira and a hearty one from Winston who immediately grasped his plate with both fists and thrust it at Crystal.

"Cheese fred!" he said.

Crystal took his plate and stood up so she could reach the serving dishes and quickly forked about a tablespoon of spaghetti noodles onto his plate, topped it with a dollop of sauce and then fished out of the salad bowel a few chunks of tomato and avocado which she knew he loved and a few token pieces of the shredded Romaine, choosing those with a generous coating of the shredded cheeses. Only then did she add one of the smallest slices of the cheese bread. "OK big guy," she said, making eye contact as she lay the plate in front of him. "You know the drill. No more cheese bread until you eat everything on this plate." He was nodding vigorously as she spoke and grabbed up the slice of cheese bread before the last edge of the plate settled on the table.

Crystal turned to Jasper who was starting to reach for the noodles. "Will you do me a favor Jasper? Dish up Father's plate and take it to him so I can take Mother's tray up and check in on her?" When Jasper nodded and reached for Father's plate instead she added a heartfelt "Thank you."

On her way out of the room she turned to the girls, "I need you two to keep an eye on Winston. Remember: No more cheese bread til he cleans his plate. If he asks for more of anything else, give him very small portions. Tiny. Smaller than I just did." she smiled at Jade's knowing grin and said to Nadira, "Jade can tell you why."

As she left the room and grabbed the tray she had prepared for Mother earlier and headed for the stairs she listened to Jade's animated explanation which was plenty loud enough to hear even as she climbed the stairs. "When you put a lot on his plate he just finger paints with it all over the plate and the table and his chair and himself. Even his hair! We have to take him straight to the tub afterwards!"


One comment re the Grace Jasper said. It may sound over the top to most of you and fill you with incredulity that a twelve year old could compose such a thing off the cuff like that. But I can testify that among many fundamentalist Christian sects this is fairly typical. It is much like, in tone and ornateness with all the Thees and Thous and references to God's various attributes, the prayers I heard before every meal and twice during each of the five Bible Study services I attended weekly. So it shouldn't be too unbelievable that the son of a preacher, raised from infancy to the sounds and rhythms of it, could speak this peculiar dialect of his Mother tongue as trippingly as the one he speaks with his playmates. Jasper's prayer was short compared to most I remember some of which could continue for upwards of five minutes though not at our family's table thank goodness.

There are some significant differences in Jasper's prayer to the one's I remember though as I've inserted some hints as to the unique doctrine of the Garnett's sect. One which my sect would consider bizarre and heretical.

I do hope that Jasper's prayer doesn't read as a caricature, rendering the effect as unintended satire or worse as an expression on my part of disrespect for the sincerity of those who use this method to give a sense of hallowedness to their communing with their sacred Other.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Playing Catch Up

This post was intended to be a book review of the the book I finished today. But after I spent three hours researching online for links and confirmation of facts etc I was too weary to do a formal book review and decided I would just ramble for a paragraph or two on the theme of catching up which has been the theme of my week as recovery from the flu progresses. I figured a quick thirty minutes would do it.

HA. Since when do I do quick. Four hours later...

Well the book cover graphic is still relevant so I'm leaving it there but you'll have to read til pertineer (as my Grandpa used to say) the end to see why.

I won't be posting my Friday Snippet until late tomorrow or like the previous two weeks I may put up a shell containing the title and links to the first six parts to allow myself a day or two extra. This is partly because I am struggling with an aversion to advance the story in a meaningful way. Oh, I could keep meandering along adding humorous interactions between fifteen year old Crystal and the motel maid, managers and residents in the NOW thread and touching interactions between her and her several siblings a year earlier in the THEN thread or backstory. But until I am willing to face up to the need to bring her oppressors on stage to interact with her--Father in the THEN thread and the two figures posing with her in the sleazy poloroid photos she found in the motel room she woke up in with no memory of how she got there... Until I can face the need to write those scenes that make my skin crawl to think about, there can be no real advancement of the story towards climax and resolution. And please that is not a double entendre!

Well, anyway, as I said, that is only part of the reason why I am delaying the snippet again. There is also the issue of a great number of tasks and duties neglected during the month that I was sick. As my energy and strength levels slowly increased this past week I began to add some of them back into my routines and tackled a few hugely backed up tasks. Like getting the bib slips made or sorted out of the file for the two batches of books that Ed picked up for me at the library two weeks apart. The first and largest batch had sat in the bag unpacked for two weeks! Ed picked up the second batch for me Monday evening and I set myself the task Monday morning. There were about twenty and it took me over four hours as part of this task always involves browsing in the books to remind myself why I sent for them and to judge their relevance to the project they were meant for. And of course I usually succumb to the temptation to start reading more than the paragraph here and there necessary to make that judgment.

Can you believe it has been FIVE weeks since I last got to go to the library myself? It was five weeks ago that I made the full round trip walk to the new Phoenix branch building that opened February 6th. In the six weeks between the opening and the third week of March I'd had two colds and the aftermath of a jarring fall to contend with. I got to go only those times Ed was available to give me a ride during the very limited hours the library is open--16 hours spread over Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The week following my triumphant round trip walk, I chose to skip a trip to the library to put the brakes on the incoming books and use the time to read instead. It was probably a good thing I didn't attempt the walk that Thursday because the following evening I was hit with the first symptoms of what turned out to be a nasty lingering flu virus. Four weeks later I am still far from up to par.

Meanwhile the flood of books I'd brought home that first six weeks after the library reopened began to surge back as their renewals were used up around three weeks ago. So, so many of them I had barely handled after the week I brought them home! And the surge continues with the batch that was supposed to go back today but didn't because Ed didn't get off work before the library closed at 4PM. I have been pushing to finish several of them this week and did finish two and now with the weekend to give them I may finish one or two more but that will eat into the time available for the even larger batch due next Thursday. And next week the first of the Shakespeare and Macbeth materials head back. These are needed specifically for research related to my novel, The Substance of Things Hoped For aka Faye's story which is part of the Fruits of the Spirit story world. (And btw, Crystal's story is in that story world. I'm not sure I've stated that outright.) I have a chapter/story planned in which Faye, Wilma and Julia put on a high school production of Macbeth. Themes from Macbeth was already intricately woven into the first chapter, Of Cats, and Claws and Curiosities in which Faye, Wilma and Julia encounter a strange old lady who speaks only in lines from Macbeth. I want to intersperse a THEN thread into that chapter, the putting on of the play several years earlier. To do this I need to do more than reread the play and review its themes and how they relate to the themes of my story. I needed to learn about how Shakespeare is performed on stage. A completely new field of study for me.

This was the project I had planned for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge. But I need all 150 watts of brain and creativity power to work on a story this complex so I gravitated to Crystal's story and challenged myself to produce a hot off the keyboard snippet each week. Even though work on Crystal's story would still count for 70 Days and I managed an output of 1-2K per week in spite of the flu, I kept forgetting to check in at the hub on Sunday's so I suppose that makes me a dropout. I still want to proceed 'as if' though with a revised goal and if Sven shuns me then it will have to be my personal self-challenge. The idea is to keep writing. Something. As regularly as possible. Along with daily interaction with the story world via vivid dreaming of it and with its ever expanding files. There were many many hours while I was sick that intense imagining of scenes I hope to write kept me sane. I comfort myself with knowing that will pay off eventually.

The last two days my focus has been on two things primarily: Finishing The Qur'an: A Biography by Bruce Lawrence. And returning all the visits to this past week's memes--Friday Snippet, Monday Poetry Train and Thursday Thirteen. I owe even more from the previous three weeks but thinking about that made me tired before I lifted a finger to click a link. So I set the first order priority to start with catching up this week's worth and then staying current. Second order is catching up with previous weeks owed visits. Though I may have to let most of the poems and TT from previous weeks slide and put those visitors at the top of the list for the current meme edition this week and next; but I will eventually catch up on ALL the snippets though I may leave comments only on the latest one. They are stories after all! I spent over five hours returning visits today, spending an average of 3o minutes per blog. It just isn't in me to do a flyby. And as you can see with this here post, I don't do short very well either.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #83

In the spirit of yesterday's Earth Day:

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things You Can Do To Promote Earth's Health

1. Use reusable cloth shopping bags. Keep some of the billions of plastic bags that take 10K+ years to degrade out of the landfills and save some of the 100 thousand plus of trees made into shopping bags each year.

2. Buy organic foods. Organic means grown without herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, is not genetically modified and is not irradiated. Healthier for you and for the earth.

3. Turn your computers off when not in use.

4. Walk, ride a bike or take a city bus whenever possible.

5. Recycle! And buy products made with recycled elements--paper, plastics, glass, metals etc.

6. Reduce your use of paper towels and napkins

7. Reduce your use of plastic drink containers--water bottles and polystyrene cups. Use your own reusable coffee mug or water bottle at home, at work or on the go whenever possible..

8. If you have a garden, compost your organic garbage.

9. Unplug all home appliances that do not need to run full time (as refrigerators and freezers do of course) as more than half of the energy appliances use is consumed while they are turned off tho still plugged in and kept in a ready state. Besides entertainment electronics this applies to toasters, blenders, coffee makers, microwaves, curling irons, hair dryers, can openers, lamps and more. Alternatively, use a surge protector strip for multiple appliances and turn them all off via the strip's switch.

10. Lower your theromstat in winter and raise it in summer. i.e. use less heat in winter and less air conditioning in summer.

11. Replace one or more incandescent light bulbs with CFL (Compact Florescent Lamp) bulbs and save up to $30 over the life of the bulb in the savings generated by its 70% less energy use and its typically 10 times longer life span.

12. Remove your name from junk mail mailing lists and save some of the 100 million trees per year currently dedicated to this practice. Start here.

13. Reduce your time in the shower. Every 2 minutes uses 10 gallons of water. Reduce the water use more by installing a low flow shower head.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Make Every Day Earth Day

Take the spirit of Earth Day into the your everyday life. Find out how you can make significant contributions toward promoting a healthy Earth with small daily choices.

Earth 911
Planet Pals
Planet Green
Greener Choices


Monday, April 21, 2008

Read You Like a Book

This is one of the videos I found while collecting YouTube vids featuring bookstores for last week's TT. This one is a movie trailer for a movie I'd never heard of even though Danny Glover has a bit part in it. It is an independent film by Echelon Studios and made the rounds of the independent film festivals starting in 2006. Here is the blurb off the info section:

A magical book transforms all who come in contact with is in a neighborhood bookstore. Our main characters include Dante, manager of the bookstore, who harbors a crippling secret from his past; Gina, a quirky customer, who know about every subject except the most important -- love; Zoe, Dante's former lovers, whose life is falling apart; Norman, a clerk, who is short on size, but big on political paranoia; and Marcia, another clerk, who's a wise-cracking movie buff...When the magical book is used to hide incriminating data, we add to the mix some dangerous intruders and Rick, a whistle blowing doctor up against a powerful pharmaceutical corporation. What our audience will experience reflects what they might discover on the shelves of any bookstore: different genres -- fantasy, romance, comedy, eroticism, and mystery and a tapestry of storylines that weave together to form Read You Like A Book.
There was also a link above the blurb and under the imperative: BUY IT NOW!
I followed this to find out more. The same trailer was featured on that page along with links to more DVD for sale. But the only 'more' I found out was that the DVD was not available in the US or Canada. This had me very curious. Why would a film in English be unavailable in the largest portion of the English speaking world? I spent hours with Google trying to find out.

I never did find a definitive answer but I made an educated guess based on info I found on the movie's own website where there was an announcement that the December 6th DVD release party at the Berkley CA bookstore, Black Oak, where the movie was filmed, had been canceled and would be rescheduled in late January or early February. Though it says to check back for further updates there have been none to date. Considering that it also says on that page that the film had been a hit at the Mill Valley Film Festival, my best guess is that the delay in release for Canada and the States has something to do with the writer's strike. If anyone reading this knows what the scoop is, I'd be grateful hear.

Meanwhile, in my research I discovered the blog which improv performer Shaun Landry kept over the two weeks of the filming of Read You Like a Book in which she played a principle role. Reading that from first post to last makes me want to see this movie even more. And makes me want to see more of Shaun Landry's work. below is a clip of Shaun Landry in the scene she had with Danny Glover.

I do hope I'm not overdoing the bookstore theme on here but I can't promise to lighten up. I seem to be in the grip of an obsession. I have joked often over the years that I would love to live in a bookstore or a library. It isn't as much of a joke as I pretend. I find my passion for being surrounded by books to be as strong as my passion for writing itself. Once I answered a meme question re what I would do if I won the lottery by describing my dream bookstore in which I would live and install my dream writing office and hold book clubs, author readings, writing workshops and free tutoring in literacy and second languages. I began that answer in the spirit of frivolity but by the time I'd finished describing it, I felt far from frivolous. I felt, during the thirty minutes or so it took to imagine and describe, that I had found the home I'd been looking for for decades. It was very hard to snap back into the reality of that moment.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #42

Frozen rose
Wonders whether it
Bloomed too soon.


I took this picture yesterday after an April snow shower dropped nearly an inch of snow in just under two hours. The snow stopped falling about an hour before I took the picture and the snow had already mostly melted. I wasn't able to get out sooner as the family was still at the dinner table when the snow stopped and I still had to clear up and wash the dishes and then get bundled before I could go 'play in the snow'.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunday Serenity #52

You guessed it. It's another bookstore. But in this video the bookstore is the scene of a cute story about a girl who finds adventure between the pages of the books she pulls off the shelf. It is pretty well done for an amateur production.

Today, Saturday, Saturday was supposed to be the first day of dirt track racing season. I was soooo looking forward to it. I don't go to the races but Ed and his folks do and that leaves me home to enjoy alone time and a chance to do laundry and room cleaning without worrying about being in anyone's way. But races were canceled due to the weather. We actually had snow today!!! Almost an inch fell and stuck on all but the darkest colored things between five and six.

Last Saturday it reached the eighties!! Go figure.

I'm hoping to spend part of my Sunday lost between the pages of a book. If, that is, I can get my snippet inserted into the place-holding shell I put up yesterday.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Snippet 40

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

OK part six is now inserted into the shell I posted Friday.

You can catch up or review via the links to the first five parts available below.

Thanks for your patience.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; )

By the time her father returned with the kids, Crystal had dinner all but ready. Only the last minute things were left to do. The spaghetti sauce was simmering in one pan, the water for the pasta was gently boiling in another. The cheese bread set on a baking sheet with a mountain of grated cheese covering it ready to go under the broiler. The table in the dining room was set for five--Father, Jasper, Jade and her sleep-over friend, Winston and herself.

The tray for Father to take up to Mother was also prepared with a carafe of hot ginger tea, an assortment of crackers, another carafe of hot vegetable bullion and a lemon gelatin square--not the name brand sweet treat but a homemade version flavored with real lemon juice and lemon zest and sweetened with organic honey tho this confection of Mother's own concoction was only mildly sweet. The bullion too--a vegetable broth--was one of Mother's recipes as was the spaghetti sauce and like the spaghetti sauce the bullion had been made in large vats and frozen in containers of both single serving and family meal size.

Crystal knew that the nausea and violent vomiting that plagued all of Mother's pregnancies held another level of torment for her beyond the physical distress and the loss of the simple pleasures of eating--it prevented her from engaging in her passion for food preparation, including the growing of the herbs and vegetables in the garden. It also took from her the deep satisfaction she had in serving her family and church--nourishing both bodies and souls with food prepared and offered up in loving-kindness.

When she heard the car pull into the drive, she and Winston were sitting together at the kitchen table where she was chopping tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado while Winston busily tore up large green Romaine leaves into bite sized chunks and dropped them into a big wooden bowl. As Father and the three kids trooped through the front door she was scooping her piles of diced veggies into the wooden bowl and tossing them with the lettuce with her hands. She grabbed up the remaining leaves and hurridly tore them into the bowl and tossed it all again. Then she garnished the top with a little of the mixture of three kinds of shredded cheese--cheddar, mozzarellas and Parmesan--which she'd used on the cheese bread.

"All done!" Winston said, clapping his hands as Crystal wiped the cutting board down.

"All done." she said, trapping his hands in the towel to wipe off the bits of green stuck between his fingers. "You want to help me carry the bowl into the dinning room?"

"Wishtong help!" he clapped as she lifted him down from the high chair which also needed to be moved into the dining room but she could ask Jasper to do that if it still needed doing by the time he got to the table.

She took the salad bowl and bent down to Winston's level and laid it atop his outstretched hands. Then she put her own hands under the bowl and began crab-walking towards the dinning room in Winston-sized steps. She didn't need his help carrying the salad bowl but she needed to keep tabs on him while there were so many hot or sharp items scattered about.

They were setting the bowl on the big table when she heard Father instructing Jasper and Jade to take their stuff up to their rooms and wash up for dinner.

"No dawdling." he called after the herd of feet on the stairs. "And keep quiet. Your mother is unwell."

Back in the kitchen she stood Winston on a stool in front of the sink to 'wash' a jumble of plastic containers and utensils with cold water and a sponge. This would keep him busy while she broke the long spaghetti lengths in half and submerged them in the boiling water. She was reaching for the tall jar containing the pasta lengths when Father entered the kitchen.

He glanced at the tray she'd prepared for Mother but instead of reaching for it he nodded at it as he said, "You'll have to take that up to your Mother. I find I still have a great deal of work to do on tomorrow's sermon. I'll be in my study. You can send Jasper in with a tray for me later. While you're dishing up for the kids or after you've got them fed." He saw her setting the jar of pasta down and added, "No, go ahead and get the meal on the table. Your Mother is probably not in a great deal of hurry anyway. Wait until the kids are served at least. You can eat first yourself if you wish."

She had begun breaking the spaghetti into the pot as he spoke. Now, at the sound of footsteps overhead, he was backing out of the room as he continued speaking, "You will, of course, need to supervise the girls activities as well as Winston's this evening. And again in the morning. I suspect your mother won't be up to it."

Crystal's heart was racing as she stirred the pasta into the roiling water. Something was up. Something had put Father in a barely restrained foul mood between the time he left to pick up the kids and now. There was, as her English teacher would say, a major subtext going on here. Why was Father shunning the family? And even Mother? Yes, shunning was the exact right word. Choosing to isolate himself in his study at evening meal time was not something he did casually. It was a loaded message. And Crystal had learned long ago that it was imperative to figure out the sub-text before Father lost patience with subtlty.

As soon as the pasta was all in the pan and completely submerged, Crystal moved over to the oven where the baking sheet with the two long slabs of French bread mounded with cheese was waiting. She switched on the broiler and then punched the button on the pre-set timer.

"OK big guy," she said to Winston. "Time to saddle up." She swung him down off the stool and led him to his high-chair which he climbed into. She buckled him in and then kicked the brake away from the back wheel and began rolling him into the dinning room. "You keep an eye on that salad for me. Don't let it run away." She left to the sound of his high-pitched cackle.

In the kitchen she quickly dumped the spaeghetti sauce out of the pan into a large white ceramic bowl and carried it into the table. "Now don't let these two start dancing." she said to Winston. "If they run away together all we'll have is naked noodles for dinner."

Winston crowed and hooted at the joke but as Crystal turned to leave he said, "Cheese fred."

"Oh, that's right. We still got the cheese bread. And I'm sure you would be quite fine feasting on only cheese bread leaving the naked noodles for the rest of us."

"Cheese fred. Cheese fred." Winston chanted as he bounced in his chair and slapped his palms on the table.

Just then a buzzer sounded from the kitchen. "And that's the cheese bread calling." she said.

She grabbed oven mitts and pulled the baking sheet out of the oven and set it on the kitchen table before going to check on the noodles. Finding them ready too, she picked up the pan with ovenmitted hands and dumped its contents into a colander waiting in the sink. Leaving it to drain she returned to the cheese bread with a chef knife and quickly sliced repeatedly across both slabs at once turning them into a double line of inch-wide pieces which she scooped up with a spatula and lay in a flat basket.

She knew better than to tempt Winston by leaving him alone with the 'cheese fred' so she left it on the kitchen table while she tended to the spaghetti. She heard the kids on the stairs as she picked up the colander and heard their chair legs scrape the floor as she dumped the 'naked noodles' into a red ceramic bowl. Mother always put as much thought and effort in the presentation of the food as in its preparation. Thus a red bowl for the white pasta and a white bowl for the red sauce. Mother's presentations were a work of art and most of them were one of a kind but this spaghetti dinner was one of a handful which she had distilled into a formula and carefully taught to Crystal.

As she entered the dinning room she noted that Jade and her friend sat on the near side and, reluctant to hoist the hot pasta over their heads, she walked around the table. Jade and Jasper were busily 'sword-fighting' across the table with their knives. "Stop it, you two." she said. "What if Father sees you?"

They stopped and glanced guiltily at the doorway to the front hall. "Don't worry. He's not planning to come to the table. You're to take him a tray as soon as I've prepared it but first I need to dish up for Winston."

Jade's friend was huddled face to face with Winston singing 'Itsy, bitsy spider' as she walked her fingers up his arm. Her long dark hair was a curtain hiding both their faces. "Jade? Are you going to introduce me to your friend?"

Jade tapped the girl's arm nearest her. "Hey, Nadira, this is my sister, Crystal. Crystal, this is Nadira, Jasmine's cousin."

And as Nadira lifted her head and held out her hand, the sub-text of Father's 'shunning' became clear. The thick black hair framed a cinnamon-dusted dark tan with features straight out of an illustrated vollume of One-thousand and One Nights.

How had Jade reached the age of twelve in this family without learning that friends with 'natural tans' had to be kept out of Father's sight? Or did she know and was purposely flaunting the unspoken rule? And Mother, who must have given permission for Jade to bring a friend home, she must not have realized that Jasmine's cousin was...was...was not as prone to sunburn as Jasmine. And for this she was suffering Father's shunning. Though she probably was unaware of anything amiss as yet.

"Pleased to meet you Nadira." Crystal managed a bright smile as she took the proffered hand. "And thank you for entertaining Winston. I can see he is quite smitten."

"Cheese fred." Winston hollered out.

"Yes Winston. I haven't forgot the cheese bread." Crystal put a hand to her hot cheek as she turned back to the kitchen, hoping fiercely that the flush that spred over it looked like nothing more than slaving over a hot stove.

Who was going to explain this to Jade before Father gave up on subtle and directed one of his creative object lessons at her aimed at shocking her into seeing things his way? Crystal cringed at the thought of having to find a gentle way to explain this to Jade. But with Mother so ill and still unaware....

Well, the mystery was solved anyway and Father was not going to move from shunning to object lesson before tomorrow after church at any rate.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #82

Thirteen Videos Featuring Bookstores

1. Green Apple Bookstore in San Francisco.
2. City Lights in San Francisco.
3. A Bookstore Cat Has Playdate with Boxer Pup. No idea where but it is so funny. The puppy tries to teach the cat how to play catch but the cat is having none of it and instead tries to teach the Boxer pup how to box.
4. Eslite Bookstore in Taiwan is open 24/7 year around.
5. Hodges Figgis in Dublin is Ireland's largest bookshop, stocking 60K titles.
6. Wigtown, Scotland's largest secondhand bookstore.
7. Go Negosyo Big Time--Bookstore Business. This is Part 1 of an episode of a Philippine TV show aimed at young people that examines careers. There are several bookstores featured and their owners interviewed. I'm only posting the first one but it is easy to find the rest via the 'Related' list at YouTube.
8. C-Span's Book TV interview with Sander Hicks founder of Vox Pop, the bookstore and coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York.
9. Bookstore Road Trip Part 1. A tour for book addicts of independent bookshops in New York City.
10. Bookstore Road Trip Part 2. A tour for book addicts of independent bookshops in Los Angeles CA
11. El Alteneo Bookshop in Buenos Aires.
12. Antiquarium Bookstore in Omaha. A several story used book store tour guided by a man who fondly remembers it as a beloved childhood hangout.
13. Powell's Books Portland OR. The biggest bookstore I've ever been in, is about 45 miles from where I grew up. Though I didn't discover it until the early 90s when I was in my mid thirties. I couldn't decide between them so here is another video featuring Powell's. The last time I was there was on the day I was heading back to the Rogue Valley after my two week visit with my family in December. I got to spend all of maybe an hour.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm So Dizzy!

The flu thing is waving a long good-bye this week and it seems to have left behind some baggage. I've still not got much of the hearing back in my left ear and it spends most of the day and night talking to itself in sloshy smacks and whistles and ticks and tocks and ringing and humming. And that always giggle-making sound (for five-year-olds) of blowing bubbles into a milkshake through the straw.

Adding to the giggles is the vertigo. It is as bad as for the toddler in this first video who climbs out of a chair just after being spun in it. I navigate through the house like a pinball.

I was working on a major TT project on a theme related to yesterday's post but didn't get it finished before the stamina of both myself and my laptop gave out. I think it is because I've been watching so many YouTube in the last several days without restarting that my laptop is acting nearly as dizzy as I feel, expressing its discombobulation with excessive amounts of the spinning hourglass

I'm putting up this second video mainly for the song accompanying the visuals. The lyrics include the line, I'm so dizzy. I'm not sure who the artist is but it sounds very familiar and I seem to remember hearing it at least as far back as my teens which would be the 1970s. The visuals though, including both the optical illusions in the first minute or so and the video clips of spinning, toppling, tumbling people, pets and etc. is a pretty good representation of what it feels like in my head. Please ignore the taunting, sadistic text messages which the creator of this video left at the beginning and end. I almost didn't post it because of them but I couldn't get that silly song out of my head and I couldn't find another version of it on YouTube.

I was preparing a major TT on the theme of yesterday's post but didn't get it finished before both myself and my laptop ran out of steam. I think it was because I was watching so many YouTube in the last couple days without doing a restart that the computer began to act as dizzy as I felt, expressing its discombobulation with excessive amounts of the spinning hourglass. I should have done a restart before I started working on this post. If only I would have 'wasted' the half hour it would have taken for a restart. I will never get back those ten thousand spins...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Bookstore Of My Dreams...

Or nightmares.

I have mentioned here many times that I have dreamed of owning my own bookstore so that I could live in it and turn it into a gathering place of writers and readers.

Well here is the story of one man who did just that. An American in Paris in the 1950s named George Whitman. He ran a bookstore and allowed writers to live there in exchange for a couple hours of work each day. The bookstore Shakespeare & Co, on the Seine directly across from Notre Dame has popped up in my reading of novels and biographies and memoirs of writers over the last several decades but I was definitely not visualizing this! (Though it may not have always been this one I was meant to visualize. As it turns out this one was named after the one Sylvia Beach made famous before WWII and which was closed by the Germans during the occupation.)

This documentary is split into five parts on YouTube. I'm going to embed only the first part and add the links to the rest. It is worth watching the whole thing if you are interested in bookstores, the literati scene in Paris over the last half century or just eccentric people with stories that make your eyes pop. (There is a scene from the film that isn't in any of these parts but posted separately of George cutting his hair with a lit candle!)

Ummm. Maybe I should warn you not to watch this while eating or drinking or even too soon thereafter.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

There are several ways this deviates from my ideal but the one that makes it a nightmare version of my dream (from the proprietor's POV) is Whitman's, ummmm, housekeeping style. From the boarding writer's POV the nightmare is in Whitman's abrasive to the point of abusive labor management style.

And yet.

Part of me would still like to experience living in this bookstore, if only for a week or so. I don't know if I would get much writing done though. I think I would be too enthralled by the labyrinth of book shelves. I would have to be equipped with a miner's helmet and a very long string....

According to Shakespeare & Co own website, George Whitman, now around 94, retired in 2003 and turned the running of the store over to his then 22 year old daughter Sylvia, named after the proprietor of the first Shakespeare & Co. Maybe her housekeeping style is a bit less nightmarish? I believe she was the petite blond talking about the Sunday pancake breakfasts near the end of part 1 of the documentary which I learned on Wikipedia was running on Sundance channel in 2005 and was directed by Gonzague Pichelin and Benjamin Sutherland.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #41

Words can't give
A fuller knowing
Than one taste.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time Flies--As the Pages Turn

I'm postponing my Poetry Train post until sometime tomorrow. At least I hope I am just postponing--will have to see how things are after I've had a good rest.

Tonight I'm racing the clock to finish Duma Key before Ed leaves for work in the morning--about seven. With just under a hundred pages left that would mean about two hours normally but things aren't normal yet. My eyes tire easily and need breaks. I tire easily and have difficulty holding this 600 page hardback steady in the right position. But hey, at least I'm reading some every day now. Couldn't say that a week ago. So things are looking up.

By the way, re the burning question of Thursday's post? According to my Father-in-law's doctor the bug running rampant through our family since early March was the flu. He based that on descriptions of the symptoms though and not on a definitive lab test. But the story is that there was a nasty flu strain that wasn't covered by this year's flu vaccine. And the Rogue Valley was hit pretty hard by it.

Well, back to Duma Key. I passed that point in a typical thriller where the tension starts ramping up without pause for breath about a hundred pages ago. I hated putting it down long enough to post this and I hope I won't have to put it down again before the last page is turned.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday Serenity #51

This is a well done video. Apparently amateur but whoever handled the camera and later the compiling of image and music obviously knows what they are doing. The images are of a number of people reading in the various nooks and crannies of a large bookstore called University Book Store. There is no clue left as to where this is unless the Seattle Sea Hawks shirt one young man is wearing is no coincidence.

The music is a kind of Rock ballad called "I Like Reading a Book" and unfortunately there is no info included about the artist or songwriter. It is a pretty cool song. Could be my anthem.

Do I really need to explain why I'm posting it as a Sunday Serenity? Didn't think so. Seriously. There is only one place on earth I feel more serenity than in a book store or library and that is walking or sitting in the sand on the edge of the surf. But I could conceivably live n a bookstore while it is hard to imagine living on the edge of the surf.

I slept nearly ten hours today. Except for the extreme fatigue, I am feeling much better. The respiratory symptoms have mostly abated. I still have vertigo and hear as though under water.

I Spent hours reading Stephen King's Duma Key. Part of that time on the front porch after a shower and shampoo. It was a beautiful spring day; sunny and warm but not too warm and a nice breeze took the edge off the heat. This was the first time I was out of the house in over ten days. It was heavenly.

I will probably spend tomorrow much like today. I've got at least another four hours to go in Duma Key and it was due Thursday. But if it is in the drop box before ten or so Monday morning I won't be fined because our branch isn't open Friday through Sunday. There are several more items that were due Thursday too. I was unable to make the walk and Ed worked that day. Since he also has to work Monday he wants to be able to run everything over to the library drop box before dinner tomorrow. So I better get with it.

But before I can pick up Duma Key again, I need to get my snippet ready and paste it into the empty shell of a Friday Snippet post I put up last night.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Snippet 39

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

OK Part 5 is now inserted into the empty shell I posted last night. Thanks for your patience.

For the forth time, this is hot off the keyboard and this time I've done much less than the usual editing so I hope I've not made any of the glaring errors I discovered in last weeks snippet.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four;)

Crystal stopped by the fridge on her way upstairs to shower off the pool water. She wanted to see the menu so she could start planning the meal preparation. Ah, it was spaghetti and cheese bread and tossed salad. One of the easiest of the possibilities actually. The sauce for the spaghetti was pre-made by her mother several gallons at a time once a season or so and then frozen down in meal sized portions. The cheese bread was easy. A matter of slicing a couple loaves of French bread in half the long way and grating cheese over them and sticking them under the broiler to melt the cheese and then slicing them into kid-friendly chunks.

The mystery though was what she was supposed to put on the tray Father had instructed her to prepare for Mama before his return with Jasper, Jade and her friend. It wasn't possible to have the spaghetti ready by then even if she skipped a shower. And besides he had said she wasn't feeling well. That was too vague to be able to guess what she might need on that tray. If it was one of her frequent migraines she wouldn't want anything but ginger tea and dry toast, if that. Guess I'll have to check on Mama and ask her she decided as she headed for the stairs.

On her way past Winston's room she peeked in and saw he was still sleeping. But that couldn't last much longer. Nor should it if they hoped to get him to sleep again before midnight. It was almost four. But she was going to risk leaving him be until after her shower.

Crystal ducked into her room and dropped the school books she was still clutching to her chest to hold the beach towel in place onto her desk. She grabbed up a clean T and black sweats and headed for the shower. It was while her head was under the water that she first heard the sounds that sent chills up her spine and goosebumps sprouting on her arms and legs. They came from the other side of the wall where the Master Bath was and were unmistakable. Violent retching.

Not even the migraines made Mama that sick. There was only one thing that did. There was going to be another jewel in the Garnett family. At least if both mother and baby survived the four to five months of dehydration and malnutrition. Last time Baby Pearl had not made it past 16 weeks. Tiny pearl-colored Pearl had fit in the palm of twelve-year-old Crystal's hand. The memory of the encounter still made her shiver with goosebumps. She had not wanted to hold the alien-looking thing her father was calling her sister. Mama had seen her terror and disgust and said 'Don't make her Stan.' But Father had grabbed the hand she was pulling back and held it fast as he lowered the cold, naked amphibious thing into it saying, 'Can you think of a better object lesson for a twelve year old?'

Later that week they had held a private service for the immediate family at the mausoleum which Mama had attended in a wheelchair holding little Winston on her lap. The tears Crystal had shed that day as she watched the shoebox sized coffin slid into the wall slot had not been grief but rather a regurgitation of the emotions she'd felt as Father had gripped her wrist that day--fear, disgust, anger, and shame mixed with gratitude that Father had not insisted on a open casket ceremony. But her tears must have mimicked grief well enough for Father had relented of his coolness towards her that he'd imposed since that moment beside Mama's hospital bed when she had blubbered and squeezed her eyes shut refusing to open them until he'd taken that T H I N G out of her hand.

A few minutes later, dry and dressed with a wet braid down the middle of her back, she entered her baby brother's room and gently shook him awake. As he stretched and opened his almond-shaped eyes and grinned wide around his protruding tongue saying 'Wristal' and holding out his arms, she wished for him that something as simple as tears shed at the appropriate moment could earn him a reprieve of Father's coolness toward him. But, she thought as she checked his naptime diaper, Winston is never going to do the appropriate things at the appropriate times and Father is going to continue to show his disappointment by looking anywhere but at him and witholding all show of emotion toward him.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cold or Flu?

I set out to solve the dilemma once and for all. Is it a cold or the flu? After hours of Googling I'm as confused as ever. Only with a lot more words and images jammed in my head to argue both sides of the debate.

I'm too tired and bored now to regurgitate it all but I thought I would share a few pretty images of viruses and the sites which create and present them as they are both valuable resources and and fascinating to explore beyond the cold and flu virus images.

The first site is which has a lot of images and animations in 3D of a variety of human anatomy and biology subjects. It was there I found images of the influenza virus.

The second site is The Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. In their Virus World database they too have a plethora of images and animations but as the name indicates it is all about viruses. Yet I found no images of flu viruses there. Though there were images of both the adeno and rhino versions of the common cold virus.

Those last two bear a strong resemblance to Koosh balls don't they?

{Did you come looking for my Friday Snippet? Try again tomorrow. My intent when I began the research for this post was to throw up a quickie in fifteen to thirty minutes to limit the time and energy expenditure as I'm still quite low on stamina. And to allow me to return to the riveting Stephen King novel, Duma Key for a couple more hours.

I should have know myself better than that. Here I am SIX hours later. Still no answer to the burning question of the week. And still no snippet prepared--it only took me three hour to write and post a hot-off-the-keyboard snippet last week; and around two the previous week. To top off the insults I am no further along in Duma Key which is now on the overdue clock--tick, tick, tick.}


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #81

Since this post makes my 700th since debuting Joystory and follows yesterday's post which marked one full year of posting daily, I had hoped to do something special. But I am having another rough day with this virus. It's day 12... Surely its on its last hurrah!

At any rate, that's why you all are getting another batch of those silly titles. Besides they seem to go over pretty well so I guess I don't need to apologize for them.

Yet Another Thirteen Silly Author/Title Combos

Fallen Underwear by Lucy Lastic
Falling Trees by Tim Burr
Fastest Gun In The West: Everett DeReady
Fat Lady In The Sideshow: Ellie Funt
Feelings: Cara Lott
Financial Insecurity: Wilma Moneylast
Fingerplay: Jacob Sladder
Fish Story: Rod Enreel
Fixing Computer Programs: Dee Bugger
Flips and Tumbles: Jim Nastics
Flogging in the Army by Corporal Punishment
Foot Coverings: Susan Socks
Foot Problems of Big Lumberjacks by Paul Bunion

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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