December 15th, 2010

Me 2 (B&W)

Entry #4,999

Getting closer to true winter here. Which a lot of you have already reached, so I feel for you. Colder and wetter, it's been getting, though today so far looks dry.

Played in a hard-fought Geek Trivia last night. My team wasn't good enough to win prizes this time, but we had fun guessing and pontificating. And also being amused. One of last night's trivia questions was "List the five women that have worn the Batgirl mantle." Someone asked "In comics or in my bed?" As Merrick Monroe reported, "Nerds are pervs." I told her, "You wouldn't want us any other way."

Today is a day off due to work reasons. I can schedule a nap. In fact, I think I will.

How exciting was this? Be sure to tell me! And also tell me how you're doing.

Sometimes, poetry comes out.

Dust, stillness, silence:
A layer to many things
A damped-down feel, a damped-down sound --
Much is filtered. Much is less forceful. Much is too quiet.
A place is merely brushed with its signs of habitation:
-- maybe plants have shown the first signs of wilting
-- maybe a faucet drips...drips...drips...
-- maybe bedsheets are improperly made, pulled up but askew, pillows still impressed with what once lay there
-- maybe a book has fallen over, covers and pages splayed and bending
-- maybe undisturbed spiders and flies find their spaces and corners.
Something is missing.
Some light reaches it. Not as much as expected.
And the dark hours ensure that less light will enter.

Another day. Further dust. Stillness still. Silence stretches.
Entropy on a one-room scale.
The creases, the dust, the draining go on --

Another day.
Another day.
Another day.

Christopher Walsh, 2010

This was written in mind of a friend who I hope is getting better.

© Christopher Walsh, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Walsh (chris_walsh) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Whale fluke

The House on the Strand

It's OK just to like a book.

It took me a ways into liking Daphne duMaurier's The House on the Strand to realize that I was just liking it, not loving it. And that I was at some level disappointed by that.

Previously, about 11 years ago when I was around age 26 and living in Hermiston, I'd read and loved Daphne duMaurier's Rebecca. This built on my fondness for the film version Hitchcock directed: one of his more emotional works, that film. Even had family-related reasons for liking it: the copy of Rebecca came from my dad's parents. Later I passed it along to my cousin Amy Max/"Maximy" Walsh for her to keep. Why? She'd really loved Rebecca, even earlier than I had. She read it around age 12. Among other things, she fell in love with the name Maxim, felt it was a strong name in an androgynous way that appealed to her. She later took the name Max because of it. ("Maximy" is the nickname I gave her and she accepted. Combines Amy and Max.) So it seemed really right to give it to her for her safekeeping. She still has it. I smile when I visit her and see it.

Also no surprise that my Stephen King-fan side would also like King's Bag of Bones, which I read in early 2004 (a stressful time in my life and a time when I was able to use some comfort reading) and which is King's homage to Rebecca.

It took a while to let go of my impression, an unfair one, that I'd have the Rebecca experience with The House on the Strand. Once I realized that, I could more clearly see the book's pleasures. For one thing, I'm an absolute sucker for a thoughtful time travel story, which Strand sort of is: in the 1960s, narrator Richard Young and his scientist friend Magnus are able to use a drug to induce visions of real events that had happened in Cornwall, England 600 years earlier. I like that it acknowledged the language barrier: the 14th-century people Richard sees in medieval England speak French, but somehow the drug allows Richard and Magnus to understand it, and Magnus wonders how it can do that. (Presumably if they'd run into anybody nearby who spoke Middle English, they'd have understood them, too, but they don't run into that stratum of society.) Come to think of it, there's what you can consider an answer for this late in the book, if you want to think of it that way.

And the language is strong. Makes me want to read more DuMaurier, eventually.

I'm glad I eventually was able to accept the book, a good book, on its own terms.