Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Time Around Scars

Michael Ondaatje is another one of my favorite Canadian poets. I'm slightly biased in saying so, but I think Canadian poets are putting out some of the best poetry there is right now... aside from 50 Cent. Ondaatje is most famous for his book "The English Patient". I'm not finnished reading The English Patient and I'm not sold on the story line completely as of yet, but the text is true to all the Ondaatje I've read in that he creates a rich template with every word that wraps the reader in imagery and emotion. This is one of my favorite poems by him as I have a number of scars. Most from DH Biking and none with really good stories. Closest I guess would be a scar that runs from the bottom of my palm on my left arm to midway up my forearm. It happened as a result of a swimming center wristband and a poor technique in cutting it off but often leads to questions of emotional stability as though it were the result of a suiside attempt gone wrong. I, like the speaker in this poem, wish that my scar wasn't the result of a silly accident, but rather the result of some emotional conquest as that would have better utilized the emotional time-capsule capacity that scars have. I do have a guitar that my father gave me the year before my family began it's incidious dissasembly, it's ironic as writting songs is how I work out difficult emotional situations and the giver of the vehicle for that device has since caused more than his share of those. So even though my scars have little meaning there are other things that serve similar purposes, according to Ondaatje, in my life.

The Time Around Scars
Michael Ondaatje

A girl whom I've not spoken to
or shared coffee with for several years
writes of an old scar.
On her wrist it sleeps, smooth and white,
the size of a leech.
I gave it to her
brandishing a new Italian penknife.
Look, I said turning,
and blood spat onto her shirt.

My wife has scars like spread raindrops
on knees and ankles,
she talks of broken greenhouse panes
and yet, apart from imagining red feet,
(a nymph out of Chagall)
I bring little to that scene.
We remember the time around scars,
they freeze irrelevant emotions
and divide us from present friends.
I remember this girl's face,
the widening rise of surprise.

And would she
moving with lover or husband
conceal or flaunt it,
or keep it at her wrist
a mysterious watch.
And this scar I then remember
is a medallion of no emotion.

I would meet you now
and I would wish this scar
to have been given with
all the love
that never occurred between us.

Monday, May 29, 2006


I am about half-way through Pride and Prejudice and am looking forward to being done so I can watch the movie, already! It has been a slow, difficult read so far. First of all, I had to "learn" the language before I could start enjoying it. Second, I just keep expecting it to be amazing, but it's not. I know I'm only half-way through it so maybe my amazement will come when I've completed it. I admit it's well-written, and there are times that I am completely absorbed in it and find myself smiling at the social commentary, but it has yet to live up to its reputation for me.

So, I was at the local library today and I noticed one of their new purchases was a book called An Assembly Such as This (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman: Book 1). It's book one in a trilogy of books taking the point of view of Mr. Darcy. When I was looking for it on Amazon, I noticed a lot of books derived from Pride and Prejudice; sequels,etc. I didn't realize that fanfiction was such a common thing. I hadn't actually heard the term until Dagga gave me The Night of the Triffids.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Circle of Cats

Charles de Lint is fast becoming my favorite author, check out this beautiful children´s book illustated by Charles Vess. It´s a charming tale of a little girl bitten by a snake and saved by cats, tree spirit and a spirit panther. It´s loosely connected to Medicine Road that I talked about a few posts back.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I've been irritated by the false information being spread by the media (2 instances on cbc) in relation to The Da Vinci Code. In an interview on The Current (scroll to part 3, "Shadow People") someone described as an "expert on secret societies" purported that in the book Christ hadn't died and had children with Mary Magdalene. This is not the case - in The Da Vinci Code after His crucifixion Mary and His daughter Sarah are taken to France.
I expect someone who is commenting on the book to have (at the least) read it; conjecture doesn't count.
He may have been an expert on secret societies, but it was hard for me to really believe anything else he said fully when he opened with something that I knew was untrue.

In addition, the cbc article on Opus Dei claims that: "Brown's novel paints the real-life religious organization as a sinister Catholic cult, embodied by the book's villain, Silas. Brown depicted Opus Dei as a secretive, powerful and murderous sect, whose members whip themselves bloody. Members of Opus Dei say their portrayal in the book is a mistaken and exaggerated caricature."
This is at best a half truth. In the book, Silas is working under the direction not of Opus Dei but of The Teacher who has made an arrangement with
Bishop Aringarosa. As well, The Teacher had promised him that there would be no killing. Silas isn't the villan of the book either - he's a pawn of The Teacher.
But, this would require actually reading the book.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The new landscape of home

From Michael Ondaatje to Dennis Lee I love Canadian Poetry. As Canadian culture becomes less outwardly driven, and continues to fall prey to the assaults of mindless consumerism and inward selfindulgence from the south, I fear we are losing crucial features of what it is to be Canadian. As the poem to deflower myself on this blog I wanted to share Daryl Hine's "Northwest Passages". The reason I chose this poem is that it reminded me of what it used to be like to be Canadian; of those long road trips through the Rockies and the distinct smell of dried pine needles and camp fires; of leaving the mountains only under the strict compromise that you would soon return. As our beautiful landscape becomes less sacred and more a marketable commodity, I fear the nature my children know will be distinctly different from the one that had me addicted at a young age. Not only the physical landscape but also the way we perceive nature. I have never felt like the mountains, or nature in general, was an escape from home, rather I've always seen them as a return to it. I hope my children, when the unlucky little guys arrive sharing the same bald head and dazed look as their father, will feel the same way I do about nature but also fear that instilling that in them may be more of a battle than it was for my father many years ago.

Northwest Passages (Daryl Hine)

Here low tide and morning coincide
When oceans underside, as if a veil
Were twitched aside, denuded by the tide,
Emerges flat, unprofitable, stale.
Here pubescent forests fail to hide
The five-o'clock shadow on the mountainside
Close shaven to make news print and junk mail.
Here civilization, predominantly male,
Perpetrates unnatural matricide.

Snooty, aloof, polluted mountaintops,
Stuck-up their heads forever in the clouds
While they cold-shoulder low-brow tourist traps
Strike forbidding, lofty altitudes
Against a breathless sky, sublimely iced.
How isolated and exclusive are
the uninhabitable altitudes
Domesticated by the calendar,
The picturesque prohibitively priced.

Stark on the covers of slick magazines
Where landscapes look too beautiful for words.
The wilderness excels at making scenes.
Its present rate of defloration means
That travel nowadays is for the birds.
The home of mobile homes away from home,
Once the haunt of cormorants and cranes,
Of eagle and of seagull, has become
The realm of Burger Kings and Dairy Queens.

Thoughts. Oh and thanks for letting me post on this blog everyone and I look forward to a more serious discourse as is often the case over in the fruit basket.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dagga filled me in on the premise of The Da Vinci Code last june, some of it's nuances caught my attention.
i recently found an unabridged copy of it in the public library on cd.
i've been meaning to write about this for a week or 2, it still seems timely enough now.
i assume that everyone has already read it and i am the last one, so be warned:
it was a mediocre mystery or thriller or "who-done-it" or whatever you want to call it, and fairly predictable too. (i still don't get the connection between the protectors of the grail and sex rites in secret societies.)
the interesting things about this book are in the details:
Christ was married and had children
the holy grail were his wife and offspring
the new testament is a collection of accounts - innumerable are missing
so, with the characters offering some convincing additional support it can be pretty convincing- sure it's fiction (inspired by what i've heard called "pseudo-science") but, the book doesn't once say that Christ was not the son of God, or that he wasn't resurrected.
i'm happy to see these ideas brought to the mainstream, true or not.
besides, it's not hard for me to believe that Audrey Tautou is a direct descendant of Deity.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

a few of the best t-shirt ideas this week:

"where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?"

"Q: what's the difference between a hummer and a hedgehog?
A: a hedgehog has the pricks on the outside."


"True Love Leaves No Traces"

As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill
So my body leaves no scar
On you and never will
Through windows in the dark
The children come, the children go
Like arrows with no targets
Like shackles made of snow
True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun
As a falling leaf may rest
A moment on the air
So your head upon my breast
So my hand upon your hair
And many nights endure
Without a moon or star
So we will endure
When one is gone and far
True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun
All this talk about poetry, especially Cohen's makes me think of this one. Rus e-mailed it to me when we were dating and it made me all mushy inside. Feel free to barf, but I thought it was another good indication that he was the man I wanted to marry!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

book club

We had our monthly book club meeting tonight. We took turns discussing the books that we had chosen for the past month. It was so fulfilling just hanging out in someone's living room, connecting with these women through our love of books. Some books that were discussed:
Hannah's Suitcase by Karen Lavine (a holocaust story)
Survivors: True Stories of children in the holocaust by Allan Zullo and Mara Bovsun
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
Every Good Thing (compilation of 1997 LDS Womens Conference especially good one by James M. Harper, I think his name was...)
The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander Smith (This one sounded the most intriguing, set in Africa. It is book 5 in a series. The first in the series is called The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency )
and then I talked about The Joy Luck Club. After I read it, I watched the movie (by the same name) and all the dialogue and narration in the movie was identical to the book, which is rare. It is a story of 4 women living in China who move to America and each have a daughter. It is told, in turn, from the perspective of these 8 women. The movie leaves out a lot of good stuff so I wouldn't recommend it. The stories of the mothers when they were growing up in China are pretty remarkable. I feel like they are true stories.
So, it turns out that I will be scratching another book off my have-always-wanted-to-read list because the club has chosen classics for the next month so I am going to finally finish Pride and Prejudice. Ah yes, it is all falling into place...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Planet called Treason

I just reread Treason by Orson Scott Card. It has been one of my all time favorite books for a long time. I remember my grandfather reading it to me and my cousin when we where kids. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time my cousin 11 or 12. He had a copy in English and translated it into Icelandic as he read on. I know now that he must have toned it down a bit for us as it is quite violent and bloody in parts. This is the third time I read it myself and it did not let down my memory of it. The story is almost lyrical at times, the character of Lanik starts out arrogant but ends up humble but always simpathetic. The violence is never just for violence sake it is always written to futher the story. The story itself is a journey of personal growth and a classical coming of age story, its also about greed, waste, and love. Orson Scott Card is one of the master writers of SF but he is very spiritual at the same time one of the few that can pull that of. Treason was only his second published novel but remains in my mind his best work beautiful in its simplicity, Ender´s game is a close second though.

Monday, May 08, 2006

that doesn't really have anything to do with what I'm gonna write about, except that it too is dumb:
lawns. "weeds". why??
mowing a lawn has got to be one of the stupidest things that our culture is obsessed with. weed control equally so.
as i drive around town i see people gruelling away digging dandelions out of their lawns, spraying or dragging pesticide applicators around the lawn, fertilizing. mowing, bagging raking, etc.
the waste of time, water, gas, and airable land confounds me.
i hope we can find some land out of town soon where we can let our grass grow as long as we want and we won't get a fine.

Friday, May 05, 2006

mascato youth choir

the photo's not the greatest but i went to go see a coule of awesome choirs recently; the Kokapelli youth choir and the guests the mascato youth choir from namibia. they were great and if you want to hear clips you can go the their websites. the best part of the concert besides the traditional african folk music, the tenors that could hit a high G, the two blind guys in Kokapelli or the beautiful combined songs was that after the standing ovation, everyone picked up a drum and just started dancing. it was thrilling.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Something pretty

Medicine Road by Charles de Lint, illustrated by Charles Vess is a lovely book. De Lint braids a beautiful story full of celtic and north american folklore and music. The characters are instantly likable and at the same time very human with all the flaws that come with that. It is a spiritual journey and a lovestory.
I´ve never been to Arizona where this story takes place but the characters/authors obvious love for the nature and the local culture woke a longing in me to visit the place which I never thought I would experience (there are scorpions and spiders in the desert). The illustrations by Charles Vess are beautiful, he really is one of my favorite fantasy artists.
Bottom line is everybody should read it. I have now ordered everything I can find by this author for the store, (read as me) .