fantastical friday

fantastical friday: January 31, 2014

the possibility of rain is on the horizon, a friend is coming over tonight to drink wine & ogle Shakespearean actors, and these were the articles that caught my eye this week.

some of the comic book references were a teeny bit over my head, but this interview with Jacob Pitts about his role as Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson on FX’s wonderful show “Justified” made me fall a little more in love with both the character and the actor’s public persona.

saddening information that over a third of school-age children can not read, despite a push that sees more children in school worldwide.

the second of three episodes in the most recent season {series} of “Sherlock” with Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular detective and Martin Freeman as his foil, where Sherlock must give a best man’s speech for Watson on his wedding day, is heart warming, hilarious, and makes the season finale this weekend {in America, while Britian has already watched} even more gut-wrenching. You’ll be glad you watched.

I have no children, but this list of “44 Things We’ve Said to Our Kids to Get them to Eat” made me giggle. I imagine it makes actual parents cringe in recognition.

fiction, new from the book

new from the book

it’s not Shakespeare, Hemingway, or Ian McEwan, but it did get typed today:

“Bring me that coffee when you return,” Amon called after the drooping boy. Garby Fulton perked back up and set off on a zigzag, fetching as unerringly as a bird dog.



“but now, in winter, when everything is inanimate, living nature no longer covers the dead; in snowy outline the past can be read more clearly.”
–“Doctor Zhivago,” Boris Pasternak

there’s something to be said for waking up to the sort of snow cylinders that occur only in the most specific of weather conditions.

musings, musings on creating

terror & writing & pushing through

anxiety, worry, concern, thoughtfulness: all are parts of my general makeup. I think things through, as much as is feasible, then I decide and move on with my decision. Sometimes, after moving on with the decision, I realize that the decision was the wrong one, or I have grown in a way that makes a previous path one I’d like to fork away on a new path. Thinking things through is part of who I am, but rarely am I paralyzed by the making of a decision or an inability to get started.

until now. I’m working on a project I find fascinating, one that seems tailor-made for me. A novel, not too long, that starts from a true story. I’m good with facts and easily carried away with putting my own spin on them. The story from 167 years ago about some illustrious doctors about town grave robbing in order to perform an illegal autopsy for fun has some serious potential for good storytelling. I’m enthusiastic and excited and researching to my academic heart’s delight.

there are charts and character lists that mix fact with the fictional direction I see the story going, plenty of details I know I likely won’t need but have in case I do. I sit down to type, I bring pen to paper, I plug in a microphone to dictate, and I am paralyzed. I want this so badly, I’m so concerned that I won’t make it good and honest and true that I can not write it.

situations swirl through my mind. Bits of dialogue are tucked away alongside an expansive willingness to allow the characters their freedom. Everything tries to claw its way out…but my fingers will not work. I don’t know if I’m putting too much pressure on myself. I don’t know if I’ve become too stagnant in a life that has come far too easy for far too long. The I don’t know bit is the bit that terrifies me the most, but I think I’ve a slightly better understanding for why brilliant writers drink.

this is it, though. This is the project I want, the one that wants me. I am doing this, and in doing this I hope that some time, some one, will spend a few hours reading it and being transported out of their own life, even if only once every few pages.

fantastical friday

fantastical friday: January 24, 2014

the temperature is eight degrees Fahrenheit, the sun shines intermittently, and the winds blow. wool sweater and socks keep me warm, while a silk shirts keeps the wool from becoming itchy. these are some of the ideas that I found interesting in the past week.

living near enough to a little town that has been struggling financially since before the Great Depression, I’m intrigued and pleased to learn about Eastport, Maine’s hard work at resurgence, and James Fallows’ American Futures project.

with Bohemian-Slovak ethnic streak a mile wide {complete with stuffed cabbage, walnut horns, and familial restlessness}, I identify with people from Eastern Europe more than my otherwise typical German, Scotch-Irish, English, American melting pot make-up would indicate. This review of two new books out about Tevye {star character in “Fiddler on the Roof”} creator Sholem Aleichem might just be better than the books themselves.

Yankee I may well be, but soul food is soul food whomever you are. Michael Twitty works hard to make sure we realize all the historical and modern aspects of antebellum Southern cooking.

artists as subjects of art are sometimes fascinating, but not always. This selection of tintypes of actors taken by Victoria Will at the Sundance film festival are deservedly making the rounds of Pinterest.

Google maps tells me that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani could drive from his diplomatic and financial charm offensive in Davos, Switzerland to the Syrian peace talks in Geneva in four and a half hours, though I’d imagine a private plane could make the trip even quicker and entirely feasible, in case you were wondering.


“sing me home” part one

something created ages ago:

She was a late-night chambermaid, in one of those run-down hotels that still clung to their faded grandeur in the midst of peeling paint, faded velvet, and the smell of old food.  Subject to the occasionally unwanted advance from a worse-for-the-bourbon guest, but never from where she most wanted.  There was the same air of former glory to her features as that of the hotel, though she was far too young for the sort of faded beauty that clung to her ever-shrinking curves.

The town should have been a small town, for the gossip and busybodies that inhabited it, but it was large enough, and held enough history, for the constant stream of visitors looking to catch a glimpse of glory, and those looking to hold it in their hands for a moment.  The Montgomery had been a hotel for neither in its better days, but those had been long gone before Genevieve came to work, looking to survive long enough to catch just the amount of success that would allow her to return home to triumph instead of disdain.

There had been a man, a boy really, who moved to little Genevieve’s town when she had just grown into the promising beauty she had displayed as a young child.  It was the most common of stories, Genevieve’s.  Hazel eyes that flashed with anger and love intermittently, a girl who sang in the church choir, not for particularly love for Jesus, but for the love of fellow voices joining together in song.  She was no great star in that little town with no name remembered now, but had close enough friends, an interested boy or two, and not enough desire for something more to be malcontent.

Perhaps the beginning of this part of her story would be more interesting, if only there were some great love or tragic scene involving this boy and a shotgun wedding, perhaps unrequited love.  Alas, there was not.  They found in each other a nurturing spirit and enough desire for something more to become, the both of them, malcontent with their little town and its little people, who generally were quite happy with the lives they had chosen to lead.

There were doctors and lawyers and even the odd writer, who could have made more money and led lives with their mental contemporaries in big cities, moving to that corridor to the northeast that seemed to lure those from Middle America in droves, but they knew they were happier along the Gulf Coast, with its barely slower way of life, and simpler times.  Instead, they made a home there, dumping sand out of their shoes from time to time, and popping champagne on New Years’ Eve.  Many left, but more stayed.

Genevieve belonged to neither the most successful families, nor their less fortunate kin, but was still raised to be a calm and capable wife, good at raising children but fully willing and able to work for the family’s sustenance.  So, when it came time for her seminal moment there was a reasoned explanation of growth and opportunity in moving, and a fellow who promised to work with her, and look after her, so long as she did him.  Parents were reassured, and children left with smiles and hopes and tears, setting off on a great adventure to, not one of the far-away cities with bad reputations, but one of the more sinister sister cities a few hours away, with family and friends and destroyed hopes waiting for them.