Archive for October, 2010

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Gleanings

October 26, 2010

from The New York Times: a story of a father inspired (by his son’s questions) to send a video camera attached to a weather balloon into space.

http://www.brooklynspaceprogram.org/BSP/Space_Balloon.html

from Elvis Costello’s “Spectacle” – Neko Case performing Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me”. I love the full, rollicking quality of her voice…. and I think she’s really pretty, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9KrotLtC-Y

I just edited my previous post correcting a couple of errors. Since then (last post) I’ve finished reading Neil Peart’s “Ghost Rider”. While good I didn’t enjoy it as much as his follow-up “Travelling Music”. Michael J Fox’s “Always Looking Up” was a really engaging read and inspirational as well. The last couple of nights I’ve been enjoying a short story collect by Joyce Carol Oates entitled “I am no one you know”. Such a ‘voice’ this woman has. I had been seeing repeated references to her and I’m glad for the introduction to her work. Wonderful.

I had a meeting last Friday with the big cheeses up at ‘the house’ – the treatment centre – where I was offered another severance package. Lord, it has been a year since the layoff… which explains the meeting. They’re required to offer another package at a year. Nice thing is that the offer is more than double the original so I’m considering it. They want an answer by Friday. They say that construction has been delayed by the approvals necessary from various government agencies and have yet to tender the job. Completion sometime in the spring…. b*llsh*t!!

Purposely hadn’t mentioned Lynda of late but thought I’d say she’s coming around somewhat and has returned to work. Still a mixture of good and bad days but the general trend is upward. The only good to have come out of this tragedy is that we’re closer and more in love than ever. She’s my gal.

I’ve been in touch with the woman who hypnotized me a few years ago for smoking cessation which resulted me being free of the damned things for about 7 months. While I’m ready to have another stab at it she has some upsetting stuff happening in her family and isn’t taking appointments for another few weeks. Soon….

Copy of Roma’s FB post regarding Mary Carr’s “Lit”, to whit:

Roma Arellano

Roma XXXXXXX – I tore through Mary Karr’s third memoir Lit so fast that now I’m going to re-read it.

    • Janine  I loved Lit. Hadn’t read Mary Karr before that (no idea how I missed her) but then got to read Liar’s Club and Cherry, very satisfying.

      October 16 at 1:09am ·
    • Barbara  Lit soars! Like Janine, don’t know how I missed the other two. Happy to have them to look forward to— so hard to chisel out actual reading time these days. 😦

      October 16 at 7:57am ·
    •  

      Norm  Just finished it myself and thought the lot of them wonderful. Liar’s Club A+, Cherry a B, and Lit A+. Sweeping use of language.

      October 16 at 10:21am ·
    • Laurie  Agree with Norm except maybe skip the + on Lit. Got Lit for Christmas last year and like Roma consumed it in one sitting — but Liar’s Club is a mighty tough act to follow.

      October 16 at 10:57am ·
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      Norm  ‎@ Laurie – The + was because she succeeded in making me cry in Lit. A very rare accomplishment in my reading experience.

      October 16 at 11:58am ·
    • Roma – Norm, I’ve been tearing up in airport terminals all over the place. 🙂 Laurie, I can imagine a similar set of grandparents–your parents are firecrackers, too. And that touch of twang in your voice… 🙂

Mr BigHead

coldfirexray

Oh yeah; afterthought….. A few weeks ago I saw an ad for this concert and impulsively bought tickets for it (tho we really can’t afford it). Hadn’t been to a concert since Dylan was in town a couple of years ago so “What the hey”, eh? Great line-up of artists presenting some of my all-time fave music. http://www.experiencehendrixtour.com/schedule.php.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

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Recent Readings

October 19, 2010

Alrighty then……. (drum roll) here we go. Not sure I have enough time for a lot of description or editorializing or rating what I’ve read during these last few months but we’ll see if I have time at the end for that. Right now I’ll concentrate on getting it down accurately.

First off a couple of books about writing – how to write properly; and the process of it.

– re-read Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” – the sourcebook of choice.

Stephen King’s “On Writing” – wonder of wonders; well written!! (Ha,ha) Very accessible.

A couple from my ‘recommended list which I haven’t tracked down as yet but intend to read as and when I can. Anne Lamott’s “Word by Word”, Lawrence Block’s, “Spider Spin me a Web” and anything I can lay hands on by Natalie Goldberg (esp. “Writing Down to the Bones”). We have a good, well stocked library system but alas, no Natalie to be found.

Carrying on, this next list wouldn’t be here except for the interest generated in me by the two women at red Ravine, ybonesy and QM, who have written extensively about memoir. I used to think it was a fancy name for autobiography and have happily learned the difference. Onward!

“Glass Castles” by Jeanette Walls

“Drinking: a Love Story” by Caroline Knapp

“Liar’s Club: a Memoir” by Mary Karr; it’s sequel “Cherry”, and completing the tryptic “Lit’.

Roseanne Cash’s recently released memoir “Composed”. (Same trip I found her new CD “The List”. Woo-Hoo! Bonus!!)

Neil Peart (drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush) “Traveling Music: Soundtrack to my life and times”.  {Robin – I think you’d like this. It’s not about band tours} I’m currently 100 pages into his previous memoir “Ghost Rider: Traveling the Healing Road” which describes the extended road trip he took following the deaths first of his 19 y.o. daughter, then of his wife 16 months later.

Autobiographies – Biographies – Tributes

Eric Clapton; an autobiography

Michael Moore; a biography by Emily Schultz

Michael Streissguth – “Always Been There; Roseanne Cash, The List & Spirit of Southern Music”

Crystal Zevon – “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: the Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon” – interviews and anecdotes from bandmates, friends, producers, etc compiled in a chronologic fashion. Very interesting.

A tribute to life lessons learned from late husband Hunter S Thompson – “The Gonzo Way” by Anita Thompson.

Farley Mowat’s “Otherwise”.

Next on my list is Micheal J Fox’s “Always Looking Up” which marks 8 years since his first autobiography.

Next section is short and untitled but comes from the fact I needed a spiritual kick-in-the-ass as I recovered from my stepson Craig’s death back in June. Had a wee problem with this ‘power greater than myself’ – anger, resentment, etc – not a good head space. So I picked up one of Joyce Meyer’s many books – ‘The Secret to True Happiness’. No I didn’t expect to find my solutions between the covers of a book but it managed to at least begin the dialogue once again. God and I are on speaking terms again – I try to let him do most of the talking, then act accordingly.

Novels; I haven’t read very many and found a couple which I couldn’t get into lately. I’ll share a few I really enjoyed. First off, one recommended by cousin BJ – “Water For Elephants” by Sara Gruen. Excellent!! She has a just newly released book called “Ape House” which is also getting good reviews (edit: subject is a species of monkey called Bobobos). Another Canadian author is Elizabeth Hay. I really enjoyed both “Student of Weather” and perhaps slightly less “Late Nights on Air”. Great flowing prose, wonderful eye for detail. Hmmm…. another Canuck; a humorist by the name of Arthur Black, author of “Black is the New Green”. I like his satiric take on the everyday. (He works his surname into all his titles.) One novel that broke a lot of rules and that I liked is Reif Larson’s “Selected Works of T S Spivet”.

Is anyone excited about non-fiction?? In Stephen King’s “On Writing” he recommends reading more than you write; read according to your interests; and read great writers as you’re bound to pick up things useful to you for your own expression. Well, one of Canada’s greatest writers – prolific, varied, etc. – is Margaret Atwood. Over the years I’ve read some of her fiction and enjoyed it but I recently borrowed her “Moving Targets: Writing With Intent 1982 – 2004”. It’s a compilation of her essays, book introductions, speeches, reviews…. you name it. I started the book with some trepidation as she can be a sometimes daunting figure to approach. What I found was one of the singularly BEST collections of writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Fluid, insightful, compelling… now wonder she’s Canada’s acknowledged ‘Lady of Letters’. She has written poetry, fiction – both in short story and novel, criticism, a couple of series of childrens books, taught at several universities, been writer in residence, etc….. it goes on and on.

Writing about her reminded me of another noted female Cdn author – Alice Munro. Noted short story writer and recipient of awards too numerous to mention… I read one of her collections a few months ago, Selected Stories (?). Highly recommended.

That’s all the time I’ve got right now. I’ll expand on impressions when I get a chance. Funny how I when from a very occasional reader to hard core in such a short time. Reading is a great diversion sometimes but this has also been an interesting and entertaining portion of my life lately.

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Pages Turning

October 13, 2010

In reference to the post title; I can see where I’ve made some mental and emotional progress. I’m not where I was 3 months ago, or 2 or 1. Just not entirely sure how that happened is all. ‘Time heals all wounds…’, etc. Not to say I’m all better and everything is hunky-dory but I’m finally sleeping better, the nightmares are less frequent and not so vivid. Now if I could just regain the 10 – 15 lbs. that dropped off in nothing flat.

I’ve been back to work for 8 or 9 weeks now and have been averaging 55 to 65 hours per, with a day off here and there. Thankfully last week it landed on the best day for son Russ, his new bride Melissa and daughter Madison to visit. More on that later. Yesterday I was off and puttered about the yard raking leaves and cutting back all the flowers and shrubs in the front garden. Nice mindless labour on a sunny fall day. Back on the job later this evening for a couple of nights at least.

I’ve started taking pictures again – tah-dah!! For the longest time there everything was flat, shapeless and monotone. Gradually things have begun taking on colour, form and dimension again – I feel like I’m seeing the world again in the truest sense. The scales have fallen from my eyes, so to speak. Same with music – for a long time I was best with silence; then quieter, melodic sorts of stuff. Now I’m okay with occasional forays into louder more percussive headbangin’ tunes. My nerves must be coming around finally.

And I read!! Mainly because I’m not usually at home when the news is on I’ve become a daily reader of the Toronto Star newspaper… so I’m up on the news, lit, music and art scenes. Frequent trips to the library keep my mind fed with all sorts of topics that interest me and I’m finding it funny how one book will reference another that I’ve picked up on the same trip. (The list and review / recommendations are coming…. just haven’t had time as yet. I’m keeping track.)

That’s it for this quick installment. Many thanks to all of you who have kept in touch and offered kind words… it has helped knowing you’re out there.