Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Simple

But nothing ever is simple, is it? Even death is, one way or another, not simple. Certainly life, and the questions of life, are not.

Art at its best is anything but simple - and yet it may look deceivingly simple once done. It may feel deceivingly simple in the process, if the steps of that process have been learned until they are bone-deep intuition. But if you try to break it down and explain, not merely the technical parts, but how you select each starts to look very, very complex.

I sometimes say I want my life to be simpler. But I don't, not really. I treasure the daily complexity that surrounds me, the machinery, the intricacies of a picture, the interplay of people, the sometimes-fickle attentions of my cats. None of these things are particularly simple.

And to simplify them would be to take the heart out of them. I don't want my life to be simpler. I guess I want it to be easier, but even that, not at the price of losing the precious details.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I have borrowed this meme from GreenishLady.

Bold the books I've read. Italicize the ones I want to read. Cross out the ones I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. Put a cross (+) by the ones on my bookshelf.Put an asterisk (*) by the ones I've never heard of. (The ones with a + may be short of the true count, as I'm going off memory. My bookshelves are a mess.)

I feel obliged to note on #5-7 that I find the story quite fascinating. I simply cannot read the man's writing; I acquire a headache, and fail to figure out what is going on, because the sentences and paragraphs are too long to hold in my head!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
*9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon )
*10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
*12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
*14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
*17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) (And I hated it, thank you very much. Nasty, and pointless.)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
+26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
+28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
*30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
+31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
*32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (George Orwell) (Hated this one, too. Not pointless but quite unpleasant.)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
*36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
*37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
*38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
*39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
*40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
+41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
*42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
*43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
*44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
+45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
*50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
*51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
*56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
*58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
*65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
*77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
*81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
*83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
*88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
*89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
*90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
*91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
*94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
*96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
*97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
*98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Guess I have a few to check out, although the list is so hit-and-miss I'm not sure whether I will. A lot of the ones I am familiar with but have not read, I am just disinterested in.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sputter, Sputter.

Or, false starts. I'm back off the morning pages. What I found was that they unearthed where I was stuck...and then got in the way of getting unstuck by using up time while just repeating the same thing. I quickly grew frustrated with the time it takes to write them, which is actually a very common reaction to the MPs for me. I did them diligently throughout the AW back when, and sometimes they helped and often they didn't. So now I am more of the mind to do them when I am feeling stuck or caught, then let them go for a while. Maybe I am rationalizing (okay, I am rationalizing; maybe I am also right, maybe I am not), but I think this is what I need to do. ADs are another matter. I'm trying to figure out what mine should be this week - a little late there, aren't I? Maybe I will go up to the Gardens today except I am not really in the mood. Oops.

I am doing okay. And dealing with my grief, I think. I'm not sure quite what brought that poem to the surface in April (or the dream that led to it). I know this - I know I welcome dreams of my parents, though I'd rather connect with them, not see them sitting there tired and fading.

I have been doing some swaps at - just sent a few items in the first ones, waiting to get my items. So we'll see how that goes. But it's interesting, and it's another way of connecting to people.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Slowly starting back. And a poem.

I am beginning my morning pages again, and today I go on an artist's date. Not doing The Artist's Way, but doing Vein Of Gold. Or rather, I will be, maybe, probably. Right now I am just trying to get back into the basic tools, nothing more. I haven't started the walks yet.

And on a totally unrelated note, this is a poem that I wrote back in April. I've let it sit, and edited a bit. I'm not wholly satisfied but I'm not sure whether that is justified or just fussing for fussing's sake.


I had a dream this morning. Not like how it really happened.
In the dream, my mother outlived my father. She was sitting
in the cream brocade chair she reupholstered twice.
She wasn't healthy; her face was grey and her breath was short
and she didn't speak at all. Not that I remember, and I hope
I'd remember every word if she did. Even the ones she never said.

There were children, looking at something, on a trip -
she had invited them, I think, but I no longer recall
why they came. They were unconcerned with the woman
dying in their midst. As full of life as she was empty of it.

This is not so far from the truth, even if almost all of it
never happened anywhere but after dawn, in the hours
when sleep comes and goes, and dreams hover close enough
to waking to be remembered, to pretend they might
have happened somehow, somewhere that is not here.