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What are you Reading?

It's about a month now that we've been staying in. How are you doing? Getting a lot of reading done? If you're looking for a new read may I offer some suggestions? On April 11 the NY Times published "Plague through the Eyes of Writers", by Dwight Garner. Step 1, from Kingsley Amis? Drink wine in quantity. Another quote caught my eye:

"The burden of keeping three people in toilet paper seemed to me rather a heavy one." Barbara Pym, "Excellent Women" I went through a Barbara Pym period; in the autumn after we lost Larry I was teaching, I had a two-year-old, and we were renovating the loft that would become our home, in a race to complete the work and move in before my due date to deliver Sam. I sought refuge in Ms. Pym's novels, where women just carried on and the most important thing was, who will polish the communion plates and who does the young curate prefer?

I went back to her recently and found that I had moved on. I'm sorry to say I found her a little dreary and didn't read past a few pages. In the interest of fairness, I looked her up to get a second opinion and found this piece by Matthew Schneier in the Times. He says, "Pym is often compared to Jane Austen, whom she revered. But Pym’s comedy is of a grayer-shaded kind than Austen’s effervescence." You might give her a try; her titles include, "Excellent Women," "Some Tame Gazelle," Jane and Prudence." As I said, these books got me through a long tough time and they might help you, too. A writer I never tire of is Robertson Davies, 1913 – 1995, a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best known and most popular authors, best known for his three trilogies. Deptford, Salterton, and Cornish. I used to pray for him to keep on writing, and whenever I find myself in a second-hand book store I look for copies of these books so I can share them. My friend, Betty Van Zandt, Trinity's librarian, handed me "What's Bred in the Bone", and I couldn't put it down. The second in the Cornish Trilogy, it's the life of Francis Cornish and his artistic development from his first pencil drawings; he becomes an art restorer and forger, a spy during World War II, with mystery and intrigue and romance. The sense of place, the characters, the visual delights-I've read it several times and it never disappoints. It stands alone beautifully but it's followed by "The Lyre of Orpheus" the story of producing an opera. Parts of this one are laugh out loud funny. "A Mixture of Frailties", from the Salterton Trilogy, is the story of an innocent Canadian girl who goes to Europe to learn to sing. Again, I laugh out loud even on the third reading. I recommend Robertson Davies wholeheartedly. He'll make you happy to have so much time on your hands.

a toy theater in shades of blue with a starry sky

Here's an update on my latest work. It's almost done, but I can't decide what to do with the stage floor. I can't leave it all white. I ran out of Winsor Yellow for the sun but I ordered some and it should come on Monday. I may put this away for a while and let it percolate in my brain. In the meantime, I've begun a new stage, this time in Green.

Here's something that tickles me.

license plates spelling out the preamble to the US Constitution

Can you read this? If you can, and you're the first to write to me with a translation and explanation, I'll send you a present. Then we can talk about the feat of organization, cooperation, and patriotism required to complete this work of art.

Here's something else that tickles me.

the Prophet Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel and Rosie the Riveter

Did you know that Norman Rockwell used Michelangelo's figure of the prophet Isaiah as a model for Rosie the Riveter? He was following that cardinal rule for all artists; "Only steal from the best."

April 16, 2020

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