Saturday, October 31, 2009

more Atwood

From Negotiating With the Dead. Atwood on her childhood and her capable and outdoorsy family.

"My own view of myself was that I was small and innocuous, a marshmallow compared to the others. I was a poor shot with a 22, for instance, and not very good with an ax. It took me a long time to figure out that the youngest in a family of dragons is still a dragon from the point of view of those who find dragons alarming."


Friday, October 30, 2009

Margaret Atwood

from the introduction to Negotiating With the Dead:

"I'll begin with the standard disclaimer. I am a writer and a reader, and that's about it. I'm not a scholar or a literary theoretician, and any such notions that have wandered into this book have got there by the usual writerly methods, which resemble the ways of the jackdaw: we steal the shiny bits, and then build them into the structures of our own disorderly houses."


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Maria Callas 1923-1977

from The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, edited by Clifton Fadiman.

When Maria Callas was singing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she was interviewed by a reporter who said, "You were born in the United States, you were brought up in Greece, you are now practically an Italian. What language do you think in?" Miss Callas replied, "I count in English."


Friday, October 23, 2009

Salley Vickers

My new fav writer is Salley Vickers and no, that's not a typo, Salley is the Irish word for willow. I'm right now slowing down as much as possible, for when I finish reading Mr. Golightly's Holiday, I will have finished all novels available to me in the states, and will begin in pine over the upcoming book, due in the UK soon, but expen$ive to ship here. So far my absolute favorite of her novels is The Other Side of You, which came out here in 2008, and deals directly and deeply with "The Supper at Emmaus" by Caravaggio.

It is rare indeed to read such good writing about such a good painting, and with such exciting and deeply felt characters, but that's not all. These are characters that live after the last page is closed. Vickers' two favorite authors are Penelope Fitzgerald and Shirley Hazzard, and they are on my top ten list, so I thought I would feel right at home, and I do.

Oh, and did I mention how compelling the story lines are?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lydia Davis at Seattle Arts & Lectures on Nov 4.

Wooo hoooo! Lydia Davis is coming to Seattle to read on Wednesday, November 4th, 7:30pm at Benaroya Hall. Tickets start at $25, less for students and under 25. No senior discount, rats.

Lydia Davis was interviewed by Sarah Manguso for The Believer in the January 2008 issue. The following is from the introduction:

"Her writing defies generic classification. Some of her fiction could just as easily be called essay or poetry. Many of her stories are extremely short. Her narrators are often given a drastically narrow scope but an extremely sharp focus. Their observations might be described as dispassionate—sometimes humorously so—and for this reason the considerable emotional component of Davis’s stories is often subtextual.

Davis works as a translator of French literature and philosophy, and is well known for her translation of Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann, which earned her wide critical acclaim. Her other translations include books by Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, and Michel Leiris.

She has won many of the major American writing awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship for fiction, and was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. She was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. On hiatus from teaching at SUNY Albany, Davis lives and works in upstate New York."

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Bertie on the news

Komo News - SoCal Fire Dogs rescued.

From the article:
"Hundreds of dogs left behind or who ran away during the California wildfires last month are finding new homes around Western Washington - thanks to a local pet rescue group. Many of the animals were about to be euthanized until Ginger's Pet Rescue in Seattle intervened. Now the group is bringing the dogs here - to start a new life."

And the lead photo for the article is my own sweet Bertie, whom I adopted Saturday. I named him Bertie after Bertie Wooster (think Jeeves, PG Wodehouse) because in spite of all that must have happened in his five years, this dog is twenty pounds of optimism.

Here is Bertie in my office: