“Isn’t it terrible how dry you can be . . . I can’t seem to write a single paragraph which interests me. It’s like looking for something in the dark, there’s such a huge amount of chance in writing.” ~ Robert Phelps, from a letter to James Salter (March 1, 1969-70)

Statue of Liberty by Jeff Nesanelis (FCC)

Sunday afternoon, cloudy, not quite as hot, 86 degrees (feels like 93)

We’re supposed to get rain. We need it. Last night was quite a light show of lightning in the distance, but the rain never got here. Corey parked my car where it can be rained on because it’s so dirty. I never used to let my vehicles get this dirty.

I thought that I’d share part of an interview with writer Catherine Chung from the June 18 “Ten Questions” feature in Poets & Writers. I like this particular feature as I find it interesting to read what writers have to say about their craft. P&W is a wonderful publication, one that I really should take better advantage of, but as with most things, I do not.

Oh well . . . Know thyself, as they say.

Here are Chung’s answers to two of the questions asked:

2. What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
My mind! My mind is the biggest challenge in everything I do. I write to try to set myself free, and then find myself snagged on my own limitations. It’s maddening and absurd and so, so humbling. With this book, it was a tie between trying to learn the math I was writing about—which I should have seen coming—and having to confront certain habits of mind I didn’t even know I had. I found myself constantly reining my narrator in, even though I meant for her to be fierce and brilliant and strong. She’s a braver person than me, and I had to really fight my impulse to hold her back, to let her barrel ahead with her own convictions and decisions, despite my own hesitations and fears.

3. Where, when, and how often do you write?
I write where I can, when I can. I’ve written in bathtubs of hotel rooms so as not to wake my companions, I’ve written on napkins in restaurants, I’ve written on my phone on the train, sitting under a tree or on a rock, and on my own arm in a pinch. I’ve walked down streets repeating lines to myself when I’ve been caught without a pen or my phone. I’ve also written on my laptop or in a notebook at cafes and in libraries or in bed or at my dining table. As to how often I write, it depends on childcare, what I’m working on, on deadlines, on life!

Here is a link to the list of P&W “Ten Questions” features.

P.S. Thought I’d post the beautiful sonnet by Emma Lazarus to which I alluded in yesterday’s post, “The New Colossus,” which is mounted on a plaque on the pedestal below the Statue of Liberty. You know, the universal symbol of freedom, that woman who greets immigrants to a better life here in the U.S.


Music by Mumford & Sons, “White Blank Page”


The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

~ Emma Lazarus

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

The San Francisco Examiner, California, February 25, 1935
“More and more, it feels like I’m doing a really bad impersonation of myself.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, from Choke

Friday afternoon, partly cloudy, warmer, 73 degrees.

I thought that I’d add something a little different to today’s leftovers post. I was trying to fall asleep when I thought of this list of firsts:

First:

  • word that pops into your head: palimpsest
  • song that pops into your head: “House of the Rising Sun”
  • TV theme show you think of: “Gilligan’s Island”
  • smell that reaches your nose: freshly mown grass
  • sound you hear: a rooster crowing
  • name of first person you think of (not a relative): Sarah
  • name of first person you think of (relative): Alexis
  • artist you think of: Van Gogh
  • classical composer that comes to mind: Chopin
  • author you think of: Tolkien
  • poet you think of: Anne Sexton
  • kind of food that comes to mind: peanut butter cup
  • drink that pops into your head: chocolate milkshake
  • movie title you think of: Legends of the Fall
  • fictional character that comes to mind: Sherlock Holmes

Vintage newspaper articles:

The Herald-Press, Saint Joseph, Michigan, August 5, 1938

Anxiety problem:

From ultrafacts.tumblr.com:

Lone females retreated to isolated nesting boxes on penthouse levels. Other males, a group Calhoun termed “the beautiful ones,” never sought sex and never fought—they just ate, slept, and groomed, wrapped in narcissistic introspection. Elsewhere, cannibalism, and violence became endemic. Mouse society had collapsed.

Beneath the surface of Japan’s Tateyama Bay stands a shrine called a torii, sacred to the Shinto religion. But more than being a place of spiritual importance, the underwater site is host to something else that’s remarkable — a unique friendship between a man and a fish.

For more than two decades, a local diver named Hiroyuki Arakawa has been entrusted with overseeing the shrine and being a guide to others who wish to visit it. In that time, he’s become well-acquainted with the local marine animals who live in the area — including one friendly Asian sheepshead wrasse named Yoriko.

Over the course of 25 years, the pair have forged an incredible bond based on trust and respect.

Perhaps the sweetest testament to their friendship can be seen in Arakawa’s custom of greeting Yoriko with a kiss.

I used to have a beautiful Samoyed named Sasha. I’d love to have another one:

And finally:

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Friday afternoon, cloudy, scattered thunder showers, cooler, 71 degrees.

Well, no sitting outside today. The skies have been mostly overcast, and the temps have dropped 5 degrees since noon.The dogs are restless because they haven’t been able to play out in the fresh air all day. We’re supposed to have falling temperatures and rain through the weekend, but then a nice week following. I’m trying to convince Corey that it would be a good weekend to paint. Here’s hoping.

I do have a good collection for today, so I hope that you enjoy.

More later. Peace.


I love the little things they used to put in daily newspapers:

Mauch Chunk Times-News, Pennsylvania, October 10, 1931
The Journal Herald, Dayton, Ohio, February 10, 1947

Cats in bars . . . why not?

by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa
by Arna Miller and Rava Zupa

I never knew this:

A moment (momentum) was a medieval unit of time. The movement of a shadow on a sundial covered 40 moments in asolar hour. An hour in this case means one twelfth of the period between sunrise and sunset. The length of a solar hour depended on the length of the day, which in turn varied with the season, so the length of a moment in modern seconds was not fixed, but on average, a moment corresponds to 90 seconds: A day was divided into 24 hours (of unequal lengths, twelve hours of the day and the night each), and an hour was divided into four puncta (quarter-hours), ten minuta and 40 momenta.

This used to be me every morning when the kids were growing up; now it’s me every time the roosters crow:

Yep.

I have to give it to this man—I cannot begin to imagine being bitten by a snake even once, let alone 170 times:

Must have this now . . .

or maybe this:

And finally, I just love this:

1976 public unveiling of the NASA prototype, Space Shuttle Enterprise. On hand were crew members of the original ship, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)