Archive for March, 2007

I’m going to the jungle – well, on a camp with Year 10 anyway

March 26, 2007

SO I’m leaving my little boys tomorrow for four long, long, long days. I have never been apart from my boys for this long before and I have never wanted to be. We have been having days filled with “you know I’ll miss you SOOOOO much! Just give me ONE more cuddle!” kind-of-moments and each time we have left each other – to go to school or sleep – we have given a thousand big squeezes sent via air mail to cover the distance our steps placed between us.

I love my little men. They are the best of their kind in the world! Just to prove it to you, here is a story the boys have ‘published’ for me. It is just one of the gifts they have made for me to take away so that I will always have something of theirs close by. In the interests of cuteness I have not tampered with their text in anyway. Sadly, as I am technologically illiterate at this point of tiredness and my scanner is attached to a computer in another room and is also quite temperamental, I have not included the pictures. Just know that they are gorgeous and of the type that melt a mama’s heart.

Cover: White pencil on black paper

The Monkey and the Elephant

witien by [little man]

pictures by [smaller little man]

First title page: black texta on white paper

The Monkey and the Elephant

witien by [little man]

pictures by [smaller little man]

Second title page:

To Mama xxxooo (heart heart heart)

The Monkey and the Elephant

witten by [little man]

& pictures by [smaller little man]

Page 1:Once there was a monkey who lived with a elephant. One day monkey said “let’s go on a adventure.” Into the Jungle.

[picture: Elephant and monkey look at each other. Both stand on green grass and have a trunk and tail respectively that appear to quiver with excitement. Monkey says “Let go on a trip.” Elephant says “okay.”]

Page 2:They packed their bag’s. Monkey packed bannanas and elephant packed penuts penuts peanuts.

[picture: monkey swings from a vine next to a banana. Monkey has a green backpack.]

Page 3:The next day they set of to the jungle. On the way they met a lizard it was 9cm tall and 10cm long.

[picture: Monkey is smiling and swinging down his vine with his green backpack on. Elephant is walking underneath with a red backpack on. Elephant is looking at an orange lizard on a grey rock.]

page 4:The lizard said “where are you going?”

“We are exploring the Jungle”! “By” he said.

Just then they where in the Jungle.

Monkey had his dinner and fell asleep. So did Elephant.

[picture: Monkey swings from his vine. His bag swings from another vine. Elephant lies down. Elephant’s red bag is on the ground.]

page 5:The next morning he ate sum mashed bannanas and elephant ate sum peanuts. Monkey new he had to find sum food for on his way Home.

[picture: monkey stands near a tree smiling and holding a round yellow ball.]

page 6:He seached hight and low. But he could not find sum food. Just then he saw a big bunch of bannanas. quick turn the page!

[picture: monkey points to a bunch of bananas hanging from a rope above him in a tall tree.]

page 7:He put his hand on the rope and he flew up and up in the sky. Just then lizard climed up on a tree and bit the rope off.

[picture: close up of the tree. Just under a fork in the branches, Monkey is hanging from the rope with a sad face as lizard who has climbed up the tree is very close to the rope.]

page 8:Monkey fleww fell down on elephants. back. Huray “Hurrah” “Hurrah” They Shouted. from that day on they became

[picture: monkey, elephant and lizard hold balloons. Monkey’s is green. Elephant’s is red and Lizard’s is orange. Elephant holds his balloon with his trunk.]

page 9:

best friends.

The End.

[picture: All walk off into the beautifully glowing sunset together.]

Last page:

published 2007

24 March

AND so I could never love them too much.

Now that I have a good book to read while I am away, I better go and pack some clothes.

Till anon, dear friends, fare thee well!

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some days make it all worthwhile

March 25, 2007

Even though I was lamenting the fact only a few days ago, there are some benefits to being a mum and a teacher, for today was Darling Harbour’s inaugural Open Day for Teachers! This meant that I got into a whole heap of tourist/educational venues for free with free admission for my boys as well or at least a 20% discount for them, depending on the venue. So, today, we took full advantage of these freebies and discounts and we hit the educational town! Here is what we did:

We saw platypus darting and diving underwater, lizards swimming, seals growling, sharks circling, penguins flopping, crabs scurrying, starfish sticking, stingrays gliding, eels gaping, octopuses avoiding entanglement, jellyfish floating, and even patted a shark at Sydney Aquarium.

Then we went to the Powerhouse Museum where we pretended to be steam train drivers as we climbed aboard old steam trains, and astronauts as we visited the SPACE exhibition. We looked at some fancy pants chairs, simulated making a quilt, looked at how solar powered boats are made, and then got a little bit lost.

Then we caught the monorail through the city, got off at City Centre and walked to the Art Gallery where we ate lunch and looked at the Tezuka: the Marvel of Manga exhibition because we love Astro Boy! Then we looked at the most ginormous painting of a battle we had ever seen and made up a story about it. Then we bought some souvenirs from the gift shop. Then we caught a bus back to Town Hall and walked back to Darling Harbour.

My little man asked if we could “sit and watch the calmness of the water” but when I said we were ready for our next activity and he saw that we were walking towards the IMAX theatre he said, “Oh, yeah! Okay, mama. Let’s go!” and we sat and watched the mostly uncalmness of Lions in 3D. After emerging from the theatre we went to watch the calmness of the water but realised my oldest little man had lost his Astro Boy pencil case and so we searched through bags and theatres, under seats amongst sticky lollies to no avail. The pencil case was gone. “I still had a good day anyway, mama, ” said my gracious angel boy as we walked back to the car tired but happy because we’d had a day together. A great, fun day.

on Ulysses & omnitemporality

March 23, 2007

Rebecca is considering the meaning of the word omnitemporal. She is wondering if omnitemporal means “in all times at the same time” and “time [is] a succession of moments, how can something be in all of a succession at one point in the succession?” It is a good question. I think perhaps Ulysses has the answer. Actually, I don’t think it does at all but it reminded me of an essay I wrote a couple of years back on aesthetics and the transcendence of time through art and it made me think, since, as Rebecca Writes, everything’s coming up Irish, I guess omnitemporality must come up Irish this month too. So, by way of killing two birds with one stone, here is an excerpt from an essay I wrote which I am now using to express my take on omnitemporality in Irish literature. It’s a longbow, I know.

 

“The Homeric parallels, and in fact all mythic parallels in Ulysses, contribute to the aesthetics of the text in which a continuum is created enabling the past, present and future to continually influence each other. The effect adheres to the aesthetic theory T.S.Eliot deems essential to the creation of an immortal work which is not static but constantly changing in relation to past, present and future works of art.[1] In this way, Ulysses has relevance to society at all times in history: it is universal and immortal: it is art…

“…Homeric parallels and symbolism in the Cyclops episode enable Joyce to depict the action occurring in Barney Kiernan’s pub on 16th June, 1904, while simultaneously transcending this temporality to make references to future events in Ireland, namely the Easter Uprising of 1916. The action is simultaneously reflective of the past, present and the future; however, the representation and achievement of such is anything but simple. Consider the Homeric parallels within this episode: The characterisation reveals the first, perhaps most obvious, parallel, for on entering Kiernan’s pub, the reader is confronted with the grotesque gargantuan form of the citizen.[1] The citizen parallels the giant one-eyed Cyclops of the Odyssey; yet he is also representative of a Nationalist Irish consciousness and the historical figure of Michael Cusack, founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association.[2] Into the cave of the one-eyed giant walks Bloom, Joyce’s Odysseus, and without delay he finds himself in conflict with violent one-eyed nationalism as embodied by the citizen. The image is powerful and the complexity profound; for in such a seemingly simple allusion Joyce represents ancient, contemporary, and recent historical eras in simultaneity. We must observe that the parallels between the Odyssey and Ulysses are not literal. Bloom is not heroic in the same manner as Odysseus: he does not slay his aggressor; he is not even proficient with a red hot poker;[3] yet Bloom, like Odysseus, escapes the savagery of the Cyclops. The futility and barbarity of the Nationalist ethos is revealed as the grotesque citizen espouses violence as a remedy and defence against English imperialism.

While the mythic parallels are part of Joyce’s aesthetic technique, they also serve to further meaning through allusions to ancient and contemporary myths. Time and space are transcended as the ancient and the modern converge in moments located within the experience of the characters on June 16, 1904. In these moments, the mythic and the modern reciprocally comment upon and interrogate each other through allusion, symbolism, paradox and parody. For example, the Jacob’s biscuit tin in the Cyclops episode, is a symbol, which when placed in the hands of the citizen – who is simultaneously Irish Nationalist consciousness, Michael Cusack, a plethora of Irish heroes,[4] and the Cyclops – gains greater significance than is first evident; for it symbolises the Jacob’s biscuit factory in which insurgents in the Easter Uprising of 1916 barricaded themselves in rebellion against the English and their occupation of Ireland. The climax of the episode in which the citizen hurls the biscuit tin at Bloom contains many references drawn from myth which shape and bring significance to past, present and future events. Firstly, the action mirrors that of the Cyclops in the Odyssey who throws a rock at Odysseus as he escapes the island. Secondly, the action reflects Michael Cusack’s skill as a hurler,[5] his desire to revive hurling as a national sport,[6] and the association of sport with warfare[7] which is also addressed earlier in the episode.[8] Cusack also drew upon mythology and mysticism in the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association when he sought to re-establish hurling as a notional sport.[9] Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the action reflects the association between the Jacob’s biscuit factory, the Gaelic Athletic Association’s Fenian ties,[10] and the violence of the Easter Uprising. It is all three of these allusions together which contribute to the meaning derived from the Cyclops episode. Further, the meaning is derived from many myths – ancient Homeric myth in the Odyssey; contemporary cultural myth surrounding national figures such as Cusack; and ancient Irish myths – which though spanning many eras, blend in a contemporary moment situated on the 16th June, 1904. When we are aware of these multiple allusions, it is impossible to read the episode as being representative of one particular moment in time. The representation clearly scrutinises the events of the Easter Uprising of 1916 by associating them with the barbaric brutality of the Cyclops in the Odyssey. As the events of the Easter Uprising have not yet occurred in the Dublin of Ulysses in 1904, Joyce’s representation of Bloom’s interaction with the citizen is at once prophetic and reflective. Joyce has effectively used myth to transcend time and space and manipulates “a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity”[11] in which the meaning derived from allusions to myth in Ulysses transcend the time of the events represented and produce a relevance to the past, present and the future.”

Mellifluous, M., (UNSW, ©2005)

Clearly Ulysses is omnitemporal.

If you have a clearer example of omnitemporality why not go and join the discussion at Rebecca’s blog. I’m sure she’d appreciate it.


[1] Eliot writes “ No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere is not onesided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new. Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of European, of English literature will not find it preposterous that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past.” ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent,’ in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Vincent B., Leitch (Gen. Ed.) New York: W.W.Norton & Co., 2001,p1093

[1]Joyce, Ulysses, p284

[2] Notes on Uysses in Ulysses, 281.33, p885

[3] Joyce, Ulysses, p318

[4] As signified by the images of the heroic, and not so heroic, Irish and not so Irish, characters on his belt. Joyce, Ulysses, p284-285

[5] Mandel, W.F., ‘To Test the Pulse of a Nation,’ The Gaelic Athletic Association & Irish Nationalist Politics 1884-1924, Dublin: Gill & MacMillian, 1987, p1

[6] Ibid

[7] Hurling “was an aristocratic, even royal, game, always associated with violence and death.” Ibid, p15

[8] Joyce, Ulysses, p305

[9] “’In my dreams,’[Cusack] later wrote, ‘I was living with the men of Erin of pre-Christian times. Inspirit I hunted and fished with Fionn’s invincible hosts from Antrim to Kerry. I hurled with Fenians of sixteen centuries ago from Tara to Killarney. Iresolved to bring back the hurling.’” Mandel, p2;

“The boy Setana became Cuchulain by driving a hurling ball into the mouth of Culann’s monstrous hound and killing it.” Mandel, p16;

“Many traditionalist argue that the origins of the [Irish] games stretch back into the depths of time, and sit in the long history of Ireland alongside such legendary figures as Cú Chulainn (who was reputed to have been a useful hurler).” Cronin, Mike., ‘Gaelic Games,’ Sport & Nationalism in Ireland: Gaelic Games, Soccer and Irish Identity Since 1884, Great Britain: Four Courts Press, 1999, p70

[10] “In time, and a very short time at that, the IRB was to take open control of the GAA,” Mandel, p10

[11] Eliot,Ulysses, Order, and Myth,’ p27

 


 


 

A fabric fiend

March 23, 2007

These are just two of the beautiful Amy Butler fabrics I have bought lately. I love her retro designs! They are absolutely gorgeous and I am completely jealous of anyone in America who can just go to a shop and buy her fabrics, funky patterns – you can get some free ones on that link!- , stationery and the other little goodies designed by Amy Butler. These fabrics are going to be made into a bag. Either this gorgeous Betty Shopper or this lovely Weekender Travel Bag, the patterns for which I had to buy from America.

fc8e_1.JPG

So, I’m wondering…are there any Amy Butler fans out there? Have you bought any of her materials or patterns? What have you made?

Are you lucky enough to have an Amy Butler store near you?
6c03_1.JPG

Who are the sewers amongst us? I am not exactly a sewer myself as sewing requires sitting still for a long time – something I am not very good at – but I do love to find the material. I am a consultant in the creative process, not a sewer as such. How about you?

March 23, 2007

Wahooo! I’m home! I’ve kicked off my work shoes, shed my sensible teacher clothes like they were an old skin and suddenly I feel brand new.

The weekend is here and all I see stretched out before me is hours of fun with my boys. Yay! Now to decide what we will do…

…there are so many options!

March 20, 2007

I cried and cried and cried myself to sleep the other night. I usually save my sobbing for the shower where I am surrounded by millions of drops of water so that my tears do not feel quite so out of place – in some strange way it is like the shower cries with me – or as many, or as overwhelming. Sobbing in the shower is better than sobbing in bed because it doesn’t matter if your cheeks and hair get soppy and wet in the shower whereas a soggy pillow is not much fun. The pummeling water, as well as being therapeutic, also drowns out any desperate gasps or sighs and thus shelters other house dwellers from the discomfort of being confronted with unrestrained emotion. Sobbing in bed is reserved for moments of desperation, exhaustion or times in which you are simply overwhelmed.

I am not sure which of these situations it was that brought me to be sobbing in my bed instead of the shower, probably exhaustion or maybe a mixture of all three, but there I was, sobbing against my better judgement when I should have been sleeping blissfully.

Lately I feel like all my hard work at uni, getting trained to teach so I could be a good mum to my children and be available to look after them and earn money to support them on my own while doing something that I love to do, has been a stupid waste of time. I don’t have any more time for my children now than when I was at uni. In fact I have less. I do have more money which allows me to send my boys to a private school where the teachers have the same vision for education and life that I have and want to pass onto my children, but I don’t think I care about the money right now. It is important to send my children to a good christian school but I miss them when I am working all the time to do it. I miss them. I don’t know if teaching is actually what I like to do either. It’s a lot of hard work, hours and hours of preparation, marking – especially in English – and coaching that just takes me away from my little ones.

I miss being at home with my boys.

When I married all I wanted to do was be a wife who served her husband through doing all those mundane things women are expected to do but are meant to hate. I didn’t hate it. I loved it. I was married to a violent barstool and still loved it. I loved the cooking, the cleaning, the washing, the shopping – well not so much the shopping- the mothering. I loved it. I loved my family.

I am angry at my ex. I’m angry because he stupidly wasted what was meant to be good. I am angry because now I feel like I have to be a mother I never wanted to be: a working mum who spends more time away from her children than with them. A mum who is busy working even when she’s at home. A mum who feels guilty skipping on class prep to play with a Thomas the Tank Engine train set, or watch a dinosaur movie, or look at a cool butterfly emerging from a cocoon. How did I become this mother I never wanted to be?

I was feeling all sullen and woeful on Sunday when I stumbled across CoffeeSwirls, a brilliant-every-word-is-gold kinda blog that I hadn’t read for some time. And this is some of what Doug had to say there:

“Have you ever felt that your life was getting out of control?…How you you view the trials of life? Do you gnash your teeth at them and strive even harder to overcome them [I was gnashing and striving!] or do you thank God for His work in your life, bending your stubborn will to Him? When you pray do you ask God to lift these trials or do you ask for the grace to look beyond this vapor that we call life and look to the joy that God has set before you? God is our reward.”

and I was reminded that what I really have to do is enjoy what I do have. Re-prioritise. Give God and my boys more time and keep on because, for whatever reason, this is God’s plan for me. Sigh.

i love the concept

March 20, 2007

I love concept plans. Everything looks so beautiful, so ideal in a concept plan. I think I should have become a Landscape Architect. I want to draw one of these for my life. lowerdonregen_large.jpg

photo_24.jpg

because it’s beautiful

March 20, 2007

One of my favourite Yeats poems.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939). The Wind Among the Reeds. 1899.

It’s Irish month @ Rebecca Writes. Play along. Post something Irish and let Rebecca know.

elusive but not extinct: i think i’ve been stuck in a hole

March 18, 2007

bird

noun

1 a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, a beak, and typically by being able to fly.

Unless they fall down a hole that is.

We found a bird last week. It had fallen down a construction hole and had not been able to get out. Poor little bird looked rather ruffled and was unable to walk properly or fly after being stuck in the hole for a couple of days. My dad, being the great man that he is, rescued the bird and took it home. After having stuffed worms, weetbix and caterpillars down his throat, the magpie looked a little happier and then went off to stay with a vet until he fully recovers.

Lately, I have felt a little like a bird stuck down a hole. Work is busy. So busy and so tiring. I feel like only get little glimpses of the sun every now and then, but am too stuck in my busy hole to get out and fully enjoy the sun. Despite the work, I have found some ways to escape the monotony a little. One of these is through reading.

Strangely enough, the story I’m reading is about a bird. Well, kind of anyway.

the_conjurors_bird_jkt.jpg It’s called The Conjuror’s Bird, a story that wonderfully weaves the story of Joseph Banks and the woman he loves in the Eighteenth Century with a modern detective plot about a professor and his student assistant who go in search of the “Mysterious Bird of Ulieta”: a bird that is now extinct. It may seem like a silly premise to go in search of an extinct bird but really, it is quite compelling. A single specimen of the bird was once known to exist and was briefly in the possession of Joseph Banks – a botanist and naturalist who accompanied Captain James Cook on his expeditions to the Southern Hemisphere – until it disappeared without a trace.

The book is beautifully written as you will discover upon reading this excerpt:

“He never told her of the night in Otaheite when she came so strongly into his thoughts. There had been a feast and dancing and he had been at the centre of both, laughing and shouting and clapping hands with every person there. Then, as he paused for breath, he caught a glimpse through the palms of moonlight on the sea and without a thought he slipped away to the water’s edge. There he stood for a while, strangely detached from the noise behind him, suddenly aware of the night sounds: the wind in the trees, insect song, waves very far away breaking on rocks or a reef. And as he stood and absorbed the beauty of the place, he found himself all at once filled with an overwhelming sadness, an aching melancholy that flooded out of him until it seemed to fill the night.

At first he didn’t understand. But as he waited in the shadow of the trees, he began to realise it was the moment itself he was grieving for, that whispering moonlit night that could never be his to keep. No matter how many birds and plants he gathered together in the hold of the Endeavour, he could never take back with him the perfection of that moment. And it was when he thought of her and her drawing, and he knew that if she had been there, then this was the place he would have found her: curled by the shore, quietly storing away every nuance of the night.”

Can you see how it gives me wings? It’s a beautiful and compelling book.

I’m loving this…

March 14, 2007

images.jpgimages2.jpg
so smooth. so beautiful.
corinne bailey rae

 

what do you think?

 

what are you listening to?

Incredible!

March 14, 2007

sunfish260.jpg

“When two Macquarie University academics sighted a fin poking through the water on NSW’s south coast they suspected they were in for an encounter with a massive shark…But instead of a shark the fin turned out to belong to something far more wonderful – a remarkably large sunfish, big enough to fill a room and weighing perhaps 1.5 tonnes.”

What a beautiful fish! Read the full article @ The Sydney Morning Herald Science Blog.

leaf skeleton

March 13, 2007

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Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

March 11, 2007

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These are for you.

And because everything is coming up Irish this month, I’m thinking that should apply to your birthday too. If I lived in Ireland I would have picked you a bouquet of these Irish wildflowers. As I don’t, what I can give you are some Irish birthday toasts just for you: (they must be read with a certain amount of Irish humour)

We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.

May God grant you many years to live, for sure he must be knowing, the earth has angels all too few and heaven is overflowing…

May the doctor never earn a pound out of you.

May the good Lord take a liking to you…
But not too soon!

And some of my favourites…

May the frost never afflict your spuds.
May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms.
May the crows never pick your haystack.
If you inherit a donkey, may she be in foal.

May the rains sweep gentle across your fields,
May the sun warm the land,
May every good seed you have planted bear fruit,
And late summer find you standing in fields of plenty.

and finally, because you can never have too many Irish blessings:

An Irish Prayer

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Breithlá sona duit!

who loves books? me[!]me[!]

March 10, 2007

For the Bookworms among us:

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Never a hardback unless it is all there is available, or it is a quaint old antique. Since I don’t even know what a trade paperback is, I’m guessing I don’t choose them. It’s the mass market paperback with a very pretty cover for me. Cover designs are important to me. I know it’s superficial but I am always tempted to judge, and even choose, a book by its cover.

Online purchase or brick and mortar?

Brick and mortar, or old shack by the side of the road, or plush store with shiny wooden floorboards with leather lounges, or the internet, or even the discarded books in a university corridor piled up under the FREE sign. Who asks where a good book comes from? Really!

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Who are Barnes & Noble? I don’t think they’ve made their way downunder. Borders! Borders! It’s all there: books, coffee, lounges, books, cds, books, movies, books, coffee. Do you want to know how long I spent in Borders today? When I go there I wonder why I should ever leave.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Gasp! Neither actually – unless I have a special bookmark made by a special person, which I do. Oh, and I just happen to know where you can find some. Otherwise, I just remember the page number.

Mark or not mark?

Depends on the reason for reading. I mark the books I study. Those I read to relax and enjoy can only be read without a pencil in my hand. I love a well marked book, as long as it is not highlighted!

Alphabetise by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Arranged by subject, alphabetised according to author, then by title for books by the same author. Is there another way?

Keep, throw away, or sell?

Keep. Unless I didn’t like it then sell on ebay to buy more books.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?

Can you read comfortably with a jacket on? I think not. I do not subject my books to anything I would not put up with myself, therefore, books may remove their jackets when being read. On the shelf they will wear them so as to keep from getting cold. I would never throw another’s jacket away.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?

Oh, I rushed ahead. See above.

Short story or novel?

Novel. Though I do appreciate a good short story. The only thing I don’t like about short stories is that they are inevitably too short.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Collection.

Lord of the Rings or Narnia.

Narnia.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Just one more chapter, just one more chapter, just one more chapter until I f a l l a s l e e p.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Do I have to choose? Both usually at the same time depending on my mood or fancy and the weather.

Buy or Borrow?

Buy…and borrow though I am hopeless at returning. It is best for me to buy books, it prevents me from inadvertently stealing them from the library.

New or used?

Depends on the book. Both.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?

Browse. That’s half the fun.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

Neither. I like realistic sad-but-good kind of endings. Tidy endings annoy me. Cliffhangers also annoy me.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or night time reading?

Huh? How about every waking moment. I read as I walk, as I eat, as I brush teeth, as I wait for a page on the net to load, as I drive – although I probably shouldn’t confess that.

Standalone or series?

Both.

Favorite series?

Mmmmm. None at the moment. I am reading more poetry right now.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?

The Last September, Elizabeth Bowen. Though it would be arrogant of me to think that nobody else had heard of it! I have read a few great books written by little ones, I’m sure you would not have heard of those so it is quite difficult to mention them. What a strange question!

Favorite books read last year?

Finders Keepers, Seamus Heaney

The poetry of Pablo Neruda

A Sentimental Journey, Sterne

Clarissa, Samuel Richardson (read but not finished – yet)

The Complete Short Fiction of Oscar Wilde

Charlie and Lola books, Lauren Child

Ohhh! there are so many more… I also liked reading medieval plays, 18th century poetry and many books I began and never finished. Sometimes I just like to dip in.

also, see below.

Favorite book of all time?

Cry the Beloved Country, Alan Paton

The Bible, the only living breathing book I have read over and over again for more years than I care to count written by the Creator of the Universe. The only book that gave me life.

Play along…I’d love to read your answers. And don’t forget to buy a beautiful custom made bookmark.

in which I succumb to the ineluctable attraction of irish literature

March 8, 2007

It is the month of all things Irish over at Rebecca’s blog. Till now I have not participated, mainly because I was overcome with excitement. Irish is one of my favourite things. Irish literature in particular.

So, I have been wading through my piles and piles of novels, plays, poems and essays on Irish literature and have been trying to decide what I should acquaint you with. I love Wilde, I get wonderfully lost in Heaney’s poetry, I love Elizabeth Bowen novels… there’s just too much to share.

I have chosen to begin by sharing one of my favourite Joyce quotes with you. I love the language in this excerpt but I’m not going to write about it. I’ll just let you read and hope you like it too.

Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di colour che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it’s a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.

Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o’er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably. I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do. My two feet in his boots are at the end of his legs, nebeneinander. Sounds solid: made by the mallet of Los Demiurgos. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick crick. Wild sea money. Dominic Deasy kens them ’a.

Won’t you come to Sandymount,

Madeline the mare?

Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. A catalectic tetrameter of iambs march ing. No, agallop: deline the mare.

Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.

See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.

They came down the steps from Leahey’s terrace prudently, Frauenzimmer: and down the shelving shore flabbily their splayed feet sinking in the silted sand. Like me, like Algy, coming down to our mighty mother. Number one swung lourdily her midwife’s bag, the others gamp poked in the beach. From liberties, out for the day. Mrs Florence MacCabe, relict of the late Patk MacCabe, deeply lamented, of Bride Street. One of her sisterhood lugged me squealing into life. Creation from nothing. What has she in the bag? A misbirth with a trailing navelcord, hushed in ruddy wool. The cords of all link back, strandentwining cable of all flesh. That is why mystic monks. Will you be as gods? Gaze into your omphalos. Hello. Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha: nought, nought, one.

Spouse and helpmate of Adam Kadmon: Heva, naked Eve. She had no navel. Gaze. Belly without blemish, bulging big, a buckler of taut vellum, no, whiteheaped corn, orient and immortal, standing from everlasting to everlasting. Womb of sin.

Wombed in sin darkness I was too, made not begotten.

James Joyce, Ulysses, Oxford: OUP, 1922, pp 37-38

Joyce did my head in for a whole session at uni but I loved it. He is a true master of language and the more I look at his work the more I am convinced that he was a vanguard. I like to read this passage, especially the beginning, just letting the words wash over me. Then I love pulling it apart for meaning. The text is so dense I’m sure I could tease it out for years and still keep on but I won’t. There are many scholars who already do that. I’ll enjoy it.

Moving in

March 5, 2007

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Thanks for following me over. Welcome to my new home.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

March 5, 2007

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(click on the images for a better view)

I have spent the last few days planning a Bible study on Matthew 24 & 25 for Year 10 students. Strangely enough, many things have happened to me this weekend which have really illuminated these passages for me. The chapters talk about the end times and warn us to be ready for the return of Christ. One of the many great verses in these passages warns us to beware of false prophets coming and saying they are the Christ or that Jesus has already returned. It says “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

There is a cult in China, the Eastern Lightning [sic] Cult, which claims that Jesus has returned and they are the lightening spreading from east to west telling of his return. They do a lot of damage in China, feeding, like parasites, off the villages that have been won for Christ, taking advantage of the newly converted infiltrating them with lies.

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While we were experiencing this magnificent storm in Sydney last night I sat in my hammock thinking, so this is what Jesus return will be like. Magnificent. A little terrifying. Seen by all. There is not a person I have spoken to today who did not see the lightening in Sydney last night. Jesus has not come back yet. We will know it when he does. I can only imagine how awesome it will be when Jesus really does return and the whole world sees. It will be incredible. It will happen, and the message in Matthew chapters 24 & 25 is simply this: be ready. Be ready because we don’t know when it will happen.

Apart from the storms, it has been an eventful weekend. I crashed my car on Friday – I’m okay, just feeling stupid – went to a wedding, and discovered that someone attempted to break into my car. I was amazed that these people intent on stealing my crashed car (?!) had spent so long fiddling with my locks right outside my house and had escaped my notice. It was crazy. I was home and didn’t even realise what was going on outside. I was not prepared for thieves. I had a crook lock but it was in my boot, not on my steering wheel. I left valuables in my car. I was comfortably complacent.

ON discovering the locks of my car had been pushed in, I remembered that Matthew 24 & 25 also says that Jesus will return like a thief in the night, when we are least expecting it. I realised how unready I am for thieves and also realised that I am not that ready for Jesus to return. I have become complacent about my faith and love for God. I put off reading God’s word, I put off prayer, I put off doing good, I think there’s time to get ready, perhaps when things are not so busy. But there may not be time.

I honestly don’t know how much time we have before Jesus returns. The Bible doesn’t say. But it does say he will return, like a thief in the night. And when he does we’ll know it: it will be like lightening that comes from the east and is visible in the west and we better be ready because we will not have seen anything like it.

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why sometimes there are no words

March 4, 2007

Pilfered from a comment at A. Stark Magazine:

This is a piece from Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.”

“If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing.”

March 3, 2007

The Blue Rider, Kandinsky

The Blue Rider, Kandinsky

This is one of my most favourite paintings ever! You may view more of Kandinsky’s paintings at the Guggenheim.