Hi from California!

August 31, 2009 at 8:58 pm (Family)

Youngest and I are in San Diego visiting my beloved sister.

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As you can see, we decided to take advantage of the plethora of plastic surgeons and hair salons to have some work done:

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My sister looks great:

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Youngest will surely look all So Cal after another week here:

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More when I get home …

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Writing in the desert, an adobe study

August 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm (Art, Book review, God, Gorgeous Writing, Literary spaces) (, )

willa-cather-archbishop

I think that Death Comes for the Archbishop is my end-of-August read because the lovely painting on the cover of my copy is filled with blues and yellows and oranges, the colors of late summer/early autumn. Also, there is something about returning to teaching that calls up what little Bishop Latour I have in me. And of course, woodsmoke. If you have never read this book, don’t let the title dissuade you. Only the last, very-short chunk deals with his death. Most of the book is very lively and uplifting.

mission…the Bishop sat at his desk writing letters … Father Latour had chosen for his study a room at one end of the wing. It was a long room of agreeable shape. The thick clay walls had been finished on the inside by the deft palms of Indian women, and had the irregular and intimate quality of things made entirely by the human hand. There was a reassuring solidity and depth about those walls, rounded at door-sills and window-sills, rounded in wide wings about the corner fire-place. The interior had been newly whitewashed, and the flicker of the fire threw a rosy glow over the wavy surfaces, never quite flat, never a dead white, for the ruddy colour of the clay underneath gave a warm tone to the lime wash. The ceiling was made of heavy cedar beams, overlaid by aspen saplings, all of one size, lying close together like the ribs in corduroy an clad in their ruddy skins. The earth floor was covered with thick Indian blankets; two blankets, every old, and beautiful in design and colour, were hung on the walls like tapestries.

On either side of the fire-place, plastered recesses were let into the wall. In one, narrow and arched, stood the Bishop’s crucifix. The other was square, with a carved door, like a grill, and within it lay a few rare and beautiful books. The rest of the Bishop’s libray was on open shelves at one end of the room.

oldestchurchThe desk at which the Bishop sat writing was an importation, a walnut “secretary” of American make. The silver candlesticks he had brought from France long ago. They were given to him by a beloved aunt when he was ordained.

The young Bishop’s pen flew over the paper, leaving a trail of fine, finished French script behind in violet ink.

“My new study, dear brother, as I write, is full of the delicious fragrance of the pinon logs burning in my fireplace. (We use this kind of cedar-wood altogether for fuel, and it is highly aromatic, yet delicate. At our meanest tasks we have a perpetual odor of incense about us.)”

The Bishop laid down his pen and lit two candles with a splinter from the fire, then stood dusting his fingers by the deep-set window, looking out at the pale blue darkening sky. The evening-star hung above the amber afterglow, so soft, so brilliant that she seemed to bathe in her own silver light. Ave Maria Stella, the song which one of his friends at the Seminary used to intone so beautifully; humming it softly he returned to his desk and was just dipping his pen in the ink when the door opened…

santa fe

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Literary Shot in the Arm

August 19, 2009 at 6:03 am (Book review, Gorgeous Writing, Writing) (, , , , , , )

Hey, writers! (and readers!)

If you are needing a shot in the arm to get you writing again or writing more or writing better (or reading again or reading more or reading better), the videos from the 2009 Colgate Writer’s Conference are now available on the CWC website and on Youtube.

This is Jennifer Brice, whose latest memoir is Unlearning to Fly.

This is Brian Hall, extraordinarily nice person, gifted writer, and my workshop leader.

This is J. Robert Lennon. I about peed my pants laughing during this talk.

This is the poet Peter Balakian.

This is Easter Island author Jennifer Vanderbes, my instructor two years ago.

This is Patrick O’Keeffe, about whom I posted in July.

These writers all also did readings from their work, also available on the CWC website. Ah, happy memories!

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Trolling for Chinook on Lake Ontario

August 9, 2009 at 5:45 pm (Childhood, Films, Fishing, God, Ireland, Marriage, Music)

Here is a movie of the trip Andy, Elliot, and I took on Lake Ontario. This is Andy at his very happiest – fishing.

(Elliot gets the credit for the ending footage of waves.)

Great_Big_SeaThe song is “Wave Over Wave” by Great Big Sea, a band that I love from Newfoundland. All the guys in the band are Irish, Canadian, English majors, and play hockey. Could you ask for more? The guy on the left is Alan Doyle (sigh) who will be in the new Robin Hood movie to be released next year. He is at his most charming in this video of Great Big Sea and the Chieftains singing Lukey’s Boat. My second choice would be Sean McCann, playing bodhran: so stinkin’ cute.

But of course neither one is as charming as my hubbie!

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I’m Excited About This Movie

August 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm (Asperger's Syndrome, Films, Rant)

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In the past two weeks the New York Times has featured at least two different articles about the just-released film “Adam” starring Hugh Dancy, billed as an Aspie-NT love story. I gave it the old “askance glance” at first, having been irritated by certain other media portrayals of Aspergians.

boston-legal96I got hooked on Boston Legal through Netflix because I knew that in later seasons they introduced an Aspergian lawyer. I was not impressed when Jerry Espenson finally appeared. Perhaps he also has Tourette’s, but any Aspergian who has become a lawyer would have learned over the years to control odd hand and voice behaviors.

mary-mcdonnell-on-grey-thumbSame with Dr. Virginia Dixon, the heart specialist on Grey’s Anatomy. Any Aspie who could get through med school and land that job would have figured out how to accept a hug and not completely freak out. Asperger’s is not Kanner’s (I hope I did not just completely display my ignorance about Kanner’s since I don’t live with it.)

I DO live with Asperger’s, though, and neither of these characters seems anything like the Aspies I know and love.

However, the trailer for Adam seems a little truer, and (blushing boastfully) I gotta say my own personal Aspergian husband does have all the charm and good looks of Hugh Dancy.

So I have high hopes for “Adam.” It was an independent film, bought by Fox Searchlight for distribution nationwide, so that speaks well of its intent: not mass market. It won the Alfred P. Sloan Award at Sundance for its portrayal of science and scientists. And I liked Hugh Dancy in “The Jane Austen Book Club” as well as what I heard about his research for developing this character.

“Adam” has already opened in New York City. I will luckily get to see it in San Diego later this month. And it will finally arrive here Under the Rock of the more rural areas of the country on August 28.

If you see it, please comment!

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