02 October 2015

On Middle-Aged Reading

Middle age is when you can't read for more than half an hour without feeling sleepy. So when the lids start to droop, you get up off the couch, pray Midday Prayer, take down and fold the line-dried laundry, wash a load of bedsheets, then sit down and read again. Half an hour later, your lids droop, so you get up, wash the lunch dishes, clean the bathroom, get a glass of water, and see what's going on in Facebook land. Then you get back on the couch, open your book, and after another half hour your whole head begins to droop. Then you give up and watch silly game shows on GSN and shout answers at the contestants because, you know, they just might hear you. Then you pray Midafternoon Prayer and ask, as one does at the beginning of every Office, "God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me." Perhaps one should do that before one tries to read.

01 December 2014

Hey, remember me?

     Oh, my. It's been forever and a day since I last posted anything on this blog, and even longer since I posted anything that remotely resembles an essay. My last several posts have been of the "cop-out" variety, I'm afraid, memes and such, rather than products of a fertile and creative mind. I suppose my mind has been neither fertile nor creative in recent months.
     I realize, too, that I've left poor Aminta/Amyntas hanging on a cliff. I really should post the rest of the play, if for no other reason than to say I've done it.
     The truth is, I've been attending to other things. Lame excuse, I know. Even now, as I type this, I'm deliciously distracted by Dinu Lipatti's rendition of Schumann's Piano Concerto. Stunning performance, this; probably my very favorite of this particular piece.

     In fact, I've been on a Lipatti kick lately. The more I listen to his tragically few recordings, the more convinced I am of his profound greatness. Born in 1917, died in 1950, he left us far too soon. Who knows what he would have achieved, had he lived at least ten or twenty years more? Already, his technique was as close to perfect as one could wish for, and his interpretations were pure, devoid of self-indulgence.
     Have I been busy writing poetry? No. How many new poems have I written this year? One. Am I worried? Not really. It comes and goes, waxes and wanes, swells and troughs (is "trough" a verb?). However, The Lyric will be putting three of my older poems in their upcoming issue, so at least I'll be in print again soon.
     Do you know, Lipatti is the only pianist I've heard so far who takes the last movement of Schumann's concerto at what I think is the proper tempo. Just thought I'd throw that in.
     Well, it's been swell connecting with "you" again, whoever "you" are that bothers to read my "important nothings." (Quick, from what famous author did I lift that last phrase? Answer to come in my next post. Who knows when that will be.)

20 July 2014

My Favorite Things Beginning with T, U, V, W, and Y

  • Author and/or poet: Elizabeth Taylor (d. 1975), Tennyson
  • Book: The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins, They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth
  • Film: The Trouble with Angels; Truly, Madly, Deeply; A Touch of Class; The Turning Point (1977)
  • Actor: Spencer Tracy
  • Actress: Emma Thompson
  • Composer: Tosti
  • Opera: Tosca
  • Food: tiramisu, trout
  • Book: Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mays
  • Film: Under the Tuscan Sun

  • Author and/or poet: Virgil
  • Book: A Village in a Valley by Beverley Nichols
  • Composer: Vivaldi, Verdi
  • Author and/or poet: Wordsworth, Mary Wesley
  • Book: William by E. H. Young
  • Fictional character: Wilmet Forsyth (A Glass of Blessings, Barbara Pym)
  • Film: When Harry Met Sally, Working Girl, Where the Boys Are (1960)
  • Actor: Tom Wilkinson
  • Actress: Kate Winslet, Julie Walters
  • Composer: Hugo Wolf
  • Opera: Werther
  • Food: watermelon, but I've become allergic to it

  • Author and/or poet: E. H. Young
  • Film: You've Got Mail
  • Actor: Michael York
  • Actress: Loretta Young
  • Food: yogurt

19 July 2014

My Favorite Things Beginning with Q, R, and S

  • Film: The Queen
  • Composer: Roger Quilter

  • Author and/or poet: Christina Rossetti
  • Book: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Fictional character:
  • Film: Return to Me, Roman Holiday
  • Actor: Alan Rickman, Oliver Reed
  • Actress: Rosalind Russell, Diana Rigg, Meg Ryan
  • Composer: Rossini, Rachmaninov, Richard Rodgers
  • Opera: Rigoletto
  • Food: rib eye steak, medium rare
  • Author and/or poet: Dodie Smith, George Bernard Shaw
  • Book: The Secret Garden, The Soul of Kindness (Elizabeth Taylor)
  • Fictional character:
  • Film: Don't make me choose one, or even two or three. Summertime, Sense and Sensibility (1995), Shadowlands, The Shop around the Corner, Sleepless in Seattle, Sabrina (both versions)
  • Actor: James Stewart
  • Actress: Maggie Smith, Juliet Stevenson, Meryl Streep
  • Composer: Schubert, Schumann
  • Opera: Suor Angelica, Serse (Xerxes)
  • Food: shrimp

17 July 2014

My Favorite Things Beginning with O and P

  • Author and/or poet: Ovid
  • Book: Can't think of one at the moment.
  • Film: Old Acquaintance
  • Actor: Peter O'Toole
  • Actress: Maureen O'Hara
  • Composer: Okay, I guess it's Carl Orff .... but not really.
  • Opera: Orfeo
  • Food: oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bread
  • Author and/or poet: Barbara Pym
  • Book: Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Film: Persuasion (1995), The Philadelphia Story
  • Actor: David Hyde Pierce
  • Actress: Joan Plowright, Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Composer: Purcell
  • Opera: I Puritani
  • Food: Pasta, in just about any preparation. I could eat pasta every single day. Potatoes – ditto and ditto. And did you know that when both pasta and potatoes are cold (e. g., pasta salad, potato salad, etc.), their starches do not completely convert to sugar in your body?

16 July 2014

My Favorite Things Beginning with M and N

  • Author and/or poet: F. M. Mayor, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Book: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, The Man of Property by John Galsworthy
  • Fictional character: Mildred in Barbara Pym's Excellent Women
  • Film: Moonstruck
  • Actor: Sir Ian McKellen
  • Actress: Anna Massey, Hayley Mills
  • Composer: Mozart
  • Opera: Madama Butterfly
  • Food: mozzarella di bufala
  • Author and/or poet:
  • Book: No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym, The New House by Lettice Cooper
  • Fictional character: Niles Crane!!!!!
  • Film: Notting Hill
  • Actor: Paul Newman
  • Actress: Mildred Natwick
  • Composer: Thomas Newman (film)
  • Opera: Le Nozze di Figaro, Norma
  • Food: New England clam chowder

14 July 2014

My Favorite Things Beginning with K and L

  • Author and/or poet: Emily Kimbrough
  • Book: Can't think of any, but I'm sure something will come to mind later
  • Fictional character: Kit in the Sue Barton series
  • Film: The King's Speech
  • Actor: Greg Kinnear
  • Actress: Deborah Kerr, Diane Keaton
  • Composer: Jerome Kern
  • Opera: none
  • Food: Knoblauchsuppe (German garlic soup—it's dee-lish!)
  • Author and/or poet: Rosamond Lehmann
  • Book: Little Women, Little Town on the Prairie
  • Fictional character: Lotte in The Enchanted April
  • Film: Little Women (1994), Love Affair (1939)
  • Actor: Jack Lemmon
  • Actress: Christine Lahti
  • Composer: Lully, Loewe (of Lerner and Loewe)
  • Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Food: Linguine with white or red clam sauce, lasagna (almost any kind, but no mushrooms)
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