Saturday, August 28, 2010

Long Overdue

For the next ten days, starting right now…….. starting many hours ago, I have no intention of working. No intention of doing anything I do not want to do. Gonna' chill. Eat a lot of carbs!
Usually when I have a vacation time I get on an airplane and visit someone. Siblings. I am always the guest -- so rarely the host.
I'm the consummate vacation-parasite.
But this shall change in the early a.m., when I pick my brother up from the airport, and commence a time of vacation-hosting.
I'm excited.
My brother is the last of my four siblings to visit me [and Jack] here in our Downtown Penthouse Hotel.
If I am not around much for the next little while, my dearest blogfriends, it's only because my brother is proving to be not only an excellent host [as he has always been, for me] but also, now… a downright wonderful guest!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Splash du Jour: Friday










Gold and White


Tell me two true things my dear, and we heard a flapping.
Well, the water is gold and those darlings are white.

Au contraire, said I. You speak of celestial reflection.
And no bird was ever all white, it is but their feathers.

This is when you, pulling a clump of sod, fed me it.
And I rolled you off the blanket as those wings beat the air.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2009

Have a great Friday!
********

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Splash du Jour: Thursday

I wonder if I will ever be this famous for my literary achievements…
Little presses write to me for manuscripts and when I write back that I haven’t any, they write to ask if they can print the letter saying I haven’t any.

-- John Steinbeck, soon after publication of The Grapes of Wrath



Have a great Thursday!

*******

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

The Vatican is against surrogate mothers.
Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born.

-- Elayne Boosler --


Have a great Tuesday!
*******

Monday, August 23, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday

He wanted to know everything; he did not mean this carelessly. He wanted to know the child and the schoolgirl, what she'd believed in and whom she'd loved, what she'd worn and what she'd read -- no detail was too small or insignificant - so that when at last he touched her, his hands would have this intelligence.
-- From The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels --

Have a great Monday!
*******

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Unaccountable Feeling

There are so many things, he said quietly, that we can't see but that we believe in, so many places that seem to possess an unaccountable feeling, a presence, an absence. Sometimes it takes time to learn this, like a child who suddenly realizes for the first time that the ball he threw over the fence has not disappeared.
-- From The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels --


I'm finding that this author Anne Michaels does not waste words.
In other words, every part of what she has her characters realize, is important.
As with poetry, here, in her prose, one must often re-read lines.
I brooded over those phrases, "an unaccountable feeling, a presence, an absence." I thought of Abraham Maslow's phrase, "freshness of appreciation."
Life bursts with things that ought to be appreciated.
Freshly.
The discovery of these things depends upon our willingness to be aware.

I like relaxing.
I like the sound of wind in trees.
The sound of wind in trees, relaxes me.
Hence, whenever I can….. I listen.

In June, I visited my sister and her family in Saskatoon.
The event, the wedding of her daughter, my niece.
One morning I awoke, inexplicably early. Not a creature was stirring…
I went outside, into the same backyard that, the evening before, was the site of a party. In fact, the embers of the fire were still…. embering -- in the firepit yonder. Wisps of smoke. And the trees were chattering.

So I went back into the house, and retrieved my camera. I lay down, flat on my back, and recorded the conversation.
When I finished this breathless minute of footage, I set the camera down in the grass, and my sister asked me if I was a lunatic.
She had come out of the house, and was standing directly behind me the whole time.
I replied in the affirmative.

The very paragraph in The Winter Vault, cited above, goes on to say:
I used to sit with my mother in Grandmother Escher's Cambridgeshire garden and we would feel that strong wind from the Ural Mountains in our faces. The wind is invisible, but the Ural Mountains are not! Yet why should we believe in the Ural Mountains that we can't see when we're sitting in a garden in Cambridgeshire and not believe in other things, an inner knowledge we feel just as keenly? Nothing exists independently. Not a single molecule, not a thought.


video

Friday, August 20, 2010

Splash du Jour: Friday








It Was The World


Mornings I would wait for them.

I never knew it then, but I did, I waited.
They had a way of arriving. Of staying --
He'd read the paper or a book.

She'd bury herself in a Harpers or New Yorker.

-- of making me feel young.

Feigning a chore I would lean forward

just to hear some of their talk.

Refill his coffee, her tea, slowly, to catch more of it.

Those words between them like dew on grass,
sunlight aslant.

A wayward blueberry on her lip once sat

and she smiled, unbeknownst. No napkin
but his finger, lifted it. Right then it was the world.

When his head bent slightly to the left,

so did mine, and I loved her too.

So, today, when the bell tinkled,

and I turned with two saucers in my hands

toward one man -- nothing more needed to be said.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2010

Have a great Friday!
*******

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Every Lost Country

This is the third Steven Heighton novel I have read.
He does not stumble. Three-hit wonder!
For me as a reader, I need to feel that an author is in control of his story, and this is what I get with a Heighton book.
Often people will ask me what kind of books I like to read, and I used to hesitate, but I've learned that the answer is "Literature". When they ask me what I mean by that, I get positively nebulous. If I could adequately answer the question I would probably be writing literature!
The closest I have come to explaining it to myself is that literature is something that breathes beyond its own pages. When the covers are closed, a dialogue ensues. Especially if you are alone.

I have noted [elsewhere] how Heighton loves to pit his characters against the elements, I won't repeat myself here. They [his characters] battle nature, and in so doing, discover aspects of their own nature that they would have never known, otherwise.
Reviews can often say too much about the plot and I think that should be the dictionary definition of evil. But I think it's OK to say that this book takes place in Tibet/China.
The slash mark in between is so significant. It is a book about borders.
But not just between fractious nations.
In Every Lost Country, Heighton explores the borders between immediate and larger concerns.
Immediate, being those of personal safety and prosperity. And familial concerns.
Larger, being the safety and well-being of others -- those others we could just as easily avoid, or discard with impunity.
For Heighton's protagonist, Dr. Lewis Book, there is almost no such thing as this latter beast. He responds with his entire being to the needs that present themselves. This is exemplified when his ex-wife says over the phone at one point: "I know Lewis, when people are in trouble, there isn't a border."
In this novel, a lot of people are in trouble.
Lewis Book goes to Tibet with his teenage daughter, to be the doctor for tempestuous mountain-climber Wade Lawson, and his team. The expedition is quickly altered by the political [border] problems of the area.
Lewis makes a quick choice that radically alters the lives and deaths of many.
For the love of others -- others are saved, and lost.

I admit, I haven't always been completely sure of what literature is, or has been. But in this case, I'm quite confident that Steven Heighton knew. Knows.
And he gave it to us.
Could've kept it to himself, but he didn't. Ran into the bloodied snow with his supplies. The "Book" getting the better of him….
Get your own
--> HERE.
*******

Splash du Jour: Thursday

[The Sound and the Fury] was the one that I anguished the most over, that I worked at, that even when I knew I couldn't bring it off, I still worked at it. It's like the parents feel toward the unfortunate child, maybe. The others have been easier to write than that, and in ways are better books than that, but I don't have the feeling toward any of them that I do toward that one, because that was the most gallant, the most magnificent failure.
-- William Faulkner, University of Virginia, 1958 --


Have a great Thursday!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Hawthorne finished The Scarlet Letter on February 3, 1850. On the evening of that day he read the latter part of the book to his wife who -- as always -- had religiously refrained from any inquiry or intermeddling during the process of composition. "It broke her heart," Hawthorne wrote… "and sent her to bed with a grievous headache, which I look upon as a triumphant success."
-- Randall Stewart, Nathaniel Hawthorne --

Have a great Wednesday!
******

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee.
I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery , and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five --

Have a great Tuesday!
*******

Monday, August 16, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday

"Animals don't behave like men," he said. "If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill, they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality."
-- Richard Adams, Watership Down --


Have a great Monday!
******

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Joe Bonamassa

Every so often I have to say something about music, on my blog.
A while ago, my friend Trevor introduced me to
Joe Bonamassa, and I feel compelled to spread the net wider.
Joe Bonamassa is awesome.
He received his first guitar from his father at the age of 4, and by age 7 he was playing Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix tunes note for note.
In 2008, one reviewer said of him:
“In a thousand years, when archeologists dig out Joe Bonamassa’s guitar from the strata of the earth, it will still be smoking… He holds the guitar like a shotgun but what comes out of it is poetry, color, and a story is told in notes.”
Do you like the blues?
Let me answer that in Holden Caulfield style
--> "Who doesn't?"
Do you appreciate gutsy vocals? Terrific guitar work?
Is the Pope Catholic?
Instead of asking a pile of questions that are all answered in "Yes" -- maybe you just need to have a
listen to Joe's studio-video of his song "Stop." That ought to convince you that it's high time you started listening to this lad from Utica.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Girls, BEHAVE!

It's so nice to return today to an author that I can trust.
<-- Plus, he's pretty hot. At least I think so!
Not that I'm… nor that it would be wrong if I was….. never mind!
I am in the beginning stages of Canadian author Steven Heighton's latest novel, Every Lost Country.
Having read almost all of his other work, as well as some of his poetry, I can confidently say to you that Steven Heighton is an author you NEED to invite into your parlour. You must let him in.
Heighton likes to explore, in
his fiction, the theme of human vs. environment.
Dire predicaments, with emphasis on cold temperatures!
In this latest one, we are in the mountains of Tibet. At least for now.
But he takes us many places -- for all I know, before this novel is done, we could all be falling off of some near-dead donkey in the sweltering heat of Mexico!
Wherever he goes -- he knows where he's going.
Poetry in prose. A depth, where every paragraph counts. No sentence should be excised. Nor another, added.
When you get your hands on him girls, remember to BEHAVE!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Splash du Jour: Friday

This cartoon has a special relevance for me!
Have a great Friday!
*******

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Missing The Mark

It is always difficult to move away from a book that you really enjoyed [ie., The French Lieutenant Guy's Woman by John Fowles] and pick up another directly afterwards.
I mean, the next book has to sort of compete with the chemical rush of the last one, right!
The synapses are all firing on that previous level!
The book I am currently reading [The Purest of Human Pleasures] is good, I don't want to 'diss it, necessarily, but it just ain't as good as the last one!
Have you ever read a book that was supposed to be so good [a real "Award-Winner"] and then the thing really missed the mark with YOU, as a reader? I have. Several times.
But perhaps never moreso than with this one book I am about to mention -- I hope I don't offend any fans of Gunter Grass, but seriously, I thought the book The Tin Drum [a Nobel Prize-Winner?] was not enjoyable at all. Just…. not GOOD.
I couldn't finish it, which is a very rare phenomenon for me.
I once wrote a more detailed diatribe against it --> HERE.
What would be a book, for you, that was "all the rage" and just made you want to "tear the page"?

********

Splash du Jour: Thursday

He said I was unequipped to meet life because I had no sense of humor.
-- J.D. Salinger's For Esme - With Love and Squalor, 1950 --


Have a great Thursday!
*******

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Splash du Jour: Wednesday








Constellation


There were dots on her shoulder, more than this
I cannot say. In that moment I closed my eyes
and leaned into her
constellation.

Any scientist will tell you that no one has ever escaped
such a journey. Gravitational forces are too great
and at that speed you are
light.

In that moment, time itself reconsiders, and yet
cannot do anything about its current direction.
Everything you have ever wanted to do, you are
doing.

c. Ciprianowords, Inc. 2008

Have a great Wednesday!
*******

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poeting?

I believe there are more poets out there than are currently…… poeting!
Many potential writers of poetry [poets?] that have not yet unleashed their inner wildebeest!
Why do I say this?
Because it happened to
ME!
See… if we were talking about writing novels or whatnot, yeah -- here is my opinion --> there are
TOO MANY people trying to do that! And not succeeding. Novel-writing is like.... it's like watching the earlier moments of every season of American Idol! So many people think they sound good. But Simon's right. Most of 'em can't do it.
Few and far between, are true novelists, in our day and age.
But if you can think, breathe, and hold a pen, you can write a "poem".
I just looked the word up in my Mac-supplied dictionary:

Poem --a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure.
Poem -- something that arouses strong emotions because of its beauty : you make a poem of riding downhill on your bike.

Let me liberate you, by showing you one of
my poems.
It's called
Wet Leaf and I wrote it about 48 years ago:

Wet Leaf

There was a drop…
There was a drop crystal clear
it clung and would not plop.

c. Ciprianowords Inc., 1952


Some might say that Wet Leaf is not a poem.
But see I would argue that it
is a poem, because I say it is a poem.
It's just me riding a bike downhill.
And
anyone can do that! Even if you don't have LEGS you can do that!
Check out some of my other gravity-induced efforts
--> HERE!
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Splash du Jour: Tuesday

If you went to your closet today, would you pull out the same outfit you wore 10 or 15 years ago? You wear feelings and faith differently as well.
-- Amy Grant --


Have a great Tuesday!
*******

Monday, August 09, 2010

Splash du Jour: Monday









Whatever sympathy I feel towards religions, whatever admiration for some of their adherents, whatever historical or biological necessity I see in them, whatever metaphorical truth, I cannot accept them as credible explanations of reality; and they are incredible to me in proportion to the degree that they require my belief in positive human attributes and intervenient powers in their divinities.

-- John Fowles --


Have a great Monday!
*******

Sunday, August 08, 2010

DO NOT READ THIS BOOK...

… although it is currently the best book I have read this year!
The French Lieutenant's Woman.
By John Fowles.
You know, you "discover" authors like John Fowles and then ask yourself what kind of a pile of cement you've been hiding your head under, until that moment! The man is [was] a genius. Now…..
"What is with your blog title then, Cipriano?"
Good question.
--> THE BOOK IS EXTREMELY SAD!
Finishing it this morning, I have now spent the day in a blue funk!
I've done more thinking about it than Rodin's statue there was thinking about…. whatever!
I cannot recommend, nor in any way endorse this book, with clear conscience, if you, my dear reader have ANY propensity to depression / catatonia / dogatonia / and/or abhorrence of anhedonia!

This is not a happy book!
Even if you believe in the first ending of the two that are offered at the penultimate and final chapter. Not happy.
Set in the Victorian era, but narrated by someone living next door to you today -- this is one of the most unique, brave, and I daresay brazen journeys into the depths of our still resonant confusion between feelings and assumptions.
And available to us in the here-and-now.
At a bookstore near you.

She loves me, she loves me not.
I love her, I love her………… yeah. Exactly.
Never a last petal was plucked as slowly, as this one.

********

Friday, August 06, 2010

As Soon As Possible

It's not often that I will think of a quotation for any sustained period of time. The truth is, I actually have a very difficult time with concentration, in general. My mind wanders a lot, it really does. I happen to believe that I inherited this negative trait from my dear and beloved mother, who, among her more positive characteristics, was known to be a terrible concentrator.
Like mother, like son.
But today -- I must admit, I've been thinking about the very Splash du Jour I placed on the site this morning. It's from author John Fowles.
There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not anymore what you will become. It is what you are and always will be.

I very much believe this to be true. And not only true, but important to act upon.
Some people, were they to observe my own life, would probably conclude that I am a person that believes I have several other lifetimes to live, after this one is done.
And in those next lifetimes I will have the opportunity to experience much of what I have missed, in this one.
Like -- being married. Having children. Managing a mortgage. Being in debt. Owning a house. Being divorced, etc.
Stuff people do.
But I have seemed to find an equilibrium, a happiness even, with very little.
Comparatively speaking, many would say that I have not really lived.
Yet, I myself do not feel in conflict. Nor am I depressed, or in angst.
Here's the kicker --> For many years I have felt that it was improper to be "OK" about this.
I'm 46 years old. At what point ought a person to come to terms with the fact that WHO THEY ARE is…. OK?
My answer would be --> AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
For me, the answer is TODAY.
RIGHT NOW.
And so it is that the quote from John Fowles today has really spoken to me, the very person that posted it -- for us all.

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Splash du Jour: Friday

There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not anymore what you will become. It is what you are and always will be.
-- John Fowles --

Have a great Friday!
******

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Splash du Jour: Wednesday










… this heart, I know,

To be long lov'd was never fram'd;

But something in its depths doth glow
Too strange, too restless, too untamed.
-- Matthew Arnold, "A Farewell" (1853) --


Have a great Wednesday!
*******

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Splash du Jour: Tuesday











In what does the alienation of labor consist? First, that the work is external to the worker, that it is not a part of his nature, that consequently he does not fulfill himself in his work but denies himself, has a feeling of misery, not of well-being… The worker therefore feels himself at home only during his leisure, whereas at work he feels homeless.

-- Marx, Economic and Political Manuscripts (1844) --

Wow -- I can so relate! I appreciate my job, but I sure do not love it.
After a long weekend of PROFOUND leisure, oh, it is so difficult to get back to this today…

Have a great Tuesday y'all!
*******

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Don't Tell Jack... [I Met Another Cat]









This [long] weekend I've done something that I have wanted to do for many many years.
No. I did
NOT phone Nicole Kidman.
I've gone on a pilgrimage to the city where I spent four years of my life, studying the Bible on a full-time basis.
Peterborough.
Not the one in England -- the one in Ontario, Canada.
Nearly 20 years ago. That's the last time I have been here. [I'm still "here" writing this].
I was able to not only visit my old dilapidated college [it looks like something from a movie, trying to depict
end-of-the-worldness]….. but some contractors were working inside and had left a door open -- so I stepped inside and roamed the place like an apparition.
Like something crawling to life out of the Book of Ezekiel.
It was eerie.
Eerie to re-enter those abandoned classrooms, and my old dorm room.

After I graduated in 1991, the college was sold to someone or other, and basically shut down. Students were relocated to Toronto.
So -- the thing is in a serious state of disrepair. Literally caving in, in places.
Anyway -- all this to get to the main event -- a cat!
This afternoon I visited a used bookstore in town, a place called Knotanew Bookstore. Again, the theme of
oldness. The proprietress was so friendly, and I picked up Alan Hollinghurst's 2004 Booker winning The Line of Beauty for a pittance.
Anyhoo -- this bookstore cat!
It was so adorable.
The above picture is of one street in this quaint place called Peterborough.
And today I visited many landmarks, tourist spots, etc. It's all so beautiful.
But meeting this cat, this was among my favorite moments.
This brief clip says it all, [and remember... don't tell Jack!]


video