By William Martin
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Death is a personal matter, arousing sorrow, despair, fervor, or dry-hearted philosophy. Funerals, on the other hand, are social functions. Imagine going to a funeral without first polishing the automobile. Imagine standing at a graveside not dressed in your best dark suit and your best black shoes, polished delightfully. Imagine sending flowers to a funeral with no attached card to prove you had done the correct thing. In no social institution is the codified ritual of behavior more rigid than in funerals. Imagine the indignation if the minister altered his sermon or experimented with facial expression. Consider the shock if, at the funeral parlors, any chairs were used but those little folding yellow torture chairs with the hard seats. No, dying, a man may be loved, hated, mourned, missed; but once dead he becomes the chief ornament at a complicated and formal social celebration.” - John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat.
"When there was room on the ledge outside of the pots and boxes for a cat, the cat was there--in sunny weather--stretched at full length, asleep and blissful, with her furry belly to the sun and a paw curved over her nose." - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson
"He was a fairly humane man towards slaves and other animals; he was an exceedingly humane man toward the erring of his own race." - Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson
"He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it, inspiring the cabbages." - Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
" Possibly, I even regret, myself, that I have given so few slaps in the face during my life." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
“Above all, don't believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity.” - The Fall, Albert Camus
"Now was acutely itself: yesterday and tomorrow became the myths." - John Fowles, The Ebony Tower
This is the first book from my friend Mary I've finished and I loved it. I found I love short novels(20,000 - 30,000 words) in general. Longer than short stories, the author can go into more depth and detail and the reader has more to get ahold of. Being shorter than a full length novel the author is forced to be economical and write a tight story. No detracting filler in a novella. And collections of short novels like this one give the reader a variety of writers to experience between one pair of covers.
This volume offers a wide variety of well respected authors. The editor chose excellent examples of the short novel while avoiding selections over-represented elsewhere. I only out-right disliked one(Fowles' The Ebony Tower) and most of the rest make me want to explore more.
I've avoided Faulkner since high school, too thick, but I found Old Man like a delicious Southern gumbo. Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat is light and fun. Ward No. 6 gives us Chekov at the height of his short story powers before he switched to plays. O'Hara's Andrea gives us an interesting study in point of view. The main character is enjoying his unencumbered life and his long-running affair, but suddenly the ending makes it clear it was very different for her. And I discovered a love for Joseph Conrad and Willa Cather.
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Monday, November 28, 2016
“In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.”
“One should be in harmony with, and not rebellion against, the strength of the opponent.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
The real object of our love is not outside of us, the real object of our love is ourselves. We have to know how to love ourselves, know how to return to our true nature, to see the wholesome, the good, the true and the beautiful within us. Then we will be able to see that in others.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to be honored by Mama's Kitchen as one of their Volunteers of the Year. And my Friday Crew went an extra step and bought me a bouquet of flowers. I was embarrassed to be the center of attention and I ended up taking the most awkward picture I've taken since 1976, but I owed it to all of those good people to accept it graciously.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
I love this photograph by my friend Troy Davidson. Lots of interesting textures, great foreground, middle ground and background, great light and shadow. And it's an ordinary location. Finding beauty in the everyday is a true gift.
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Saturday, November 05, 2016
Friday, November 04, 2016
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
—Rumi; translation by Coleman Barks
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
This was a great concert! The music by itself as played by the San Diego Symphony was exciting and complex, truly thrilling. It was an expanded orchestra with saxophone, piano, harp, and lots of percussion. The large audience was very much into it, many of them arriving in costume. It was a great evening.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the novel that introduces Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to the world. There's an unexpected jump in the middle from London's foggy dampness to the blazing desert of the American Southwest which is really well done. I found this much more engaging than the shorter stories I've read so far.
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