Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
No, the title of this post isn't a bureaucratic law firm. It's my traditional Holiday Reading List! Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I gather my favorite Christmas stories together, station them on my night stand, and let the reading celebration begin.
Here they are in all their yuletide splendor . . .
#1. Truman Capote's short but sweetly sentimental A Christmas Memory:
"A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable - not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. "Oh my," she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, "it's fruitcake weather!"
#2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come around apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely . . ."
#3. A Child's Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas
"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six."
The holidays wouldn't be the same without these treasures. Do you have reading traditions for this time of year?
Monday, November 15, 2010
Have you ever repeated a hackneyed aphorism only to wonder what you've just said? I do this once in a blue moon, don't you? I guess the proof is in the pudding . . . Sorry. I'm wincing, too.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Branwell Bronte painted this portrait of his sisters, Anne, Charlotte and Emily. Originally, he was in the painting as well, but later removed himself so as not to crowd the scene. I like the warm, smooth tone of the colors he used. Branwell was also a poet and created fantasy worlds with his sisters which they wrote about for many years. Troubled with alcohol and opium addictions, he died of tuberculosis at 31.
I love this portrait of Charlotte. She's lovely, isn't she? And doesn't she look kind and intelligent? One of my favorite writers ever, I like to think of this remarkable lady as a friend from another era. Jane Eyre brought Charlotte great literary success, yet she remained quiet and shy with strangers. Fair, delicate and small, Charlotte died at 38 while expecting her first child. Her cause of death was recorded as tuberculosis, though further research suggests that it might have been typhus.
This is the title page of the original Jane Eyre. Notice that Charlotte wrote under the pen name of Currer Bell. The subtitle An Autobiography is interesting, isn't it? Charlotte Bronte lived through much of what Jane did. She attended a harsh boarding school similar to Lowood and also served as a governess. While teaching, Charlotte developed deep feelings for a married man, but later, separated herself from him and married another. That scenario reminds me a bit of the whole Rochester-Jane-Mr. Rivers triangle.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
We have any number of clocks in our house. There's a Napoleon Dynamite chiming clock that rings at odd, random moments and a faux-antique kitchen clock with huge Roman numerals on its face. And then, there are the radio alarm clocks. These digital gadgets are plain evil.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sometimes life is magical. I'm not referring to Frodo-and-the-ring or unicorn blood magic, I'm talking about the amazing little miracles that take place each day. The ones we take for granted because they are so commonplace.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
This bookcase hinders my concentration since I love to read, and it's just sitting there looking interesting. My muse, Daniel Craig, reminds me each day that work comes before the reward. Darn you, Daniel. I'd take a good book over almost anything.
These are bleeding hearts. They bloom outside my office window in the Spring.
This is the Japanese Maple that softens the light through my plantation shutters. I feel protected with this leafy beauty guarding me.
Have an awesome afternoon, bloggers!