let it be known in all the world that my dad is the very best because he maketh me coffee every morning. groggy of head, i stumble into the kitchen and lo! it is ready, piping and hot. glory be.


i was wrong.

Dear Tara,
I was wrong. I said Milosz was my favorite, but it wasn't true. John Donne is my favorite, and has been for some while. I guess I forgot because he's canonical and I didn't want to be pretentious. (Like there's something unpretentious about loving a Nobel-prize wining Polish poet in exile, recently deceased.) Here's my perhaps favoritest poem in the world. (But of course, with me 'favorite' just means 'that which gives me delight.') Anyway and however, this is a perfect poem and prayer, and more mine now than it ever was. Pass it along to Spencer.

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


on my way home, i noticed one of the billboards on 2nd street had changed. for a good long while, it was an advert for the movie coraline, with the tagline: 'be careful what you wish for.'
now it's an advert for a re-release of disney's pinocchio, with the tagline: 'your wish has come true.'



this is the text i just sent my brother who asked 'what should i read after emma?':

Gaskell if you can
find her. Most
stores just carry
cranford, which is
about old women
and not that
phenom. Read
jane eyre if you
haven't already.
It's em's favorite
book ever. Very
good. Ooh! Read
rebecca by
daphne du
maurier. I'm
reading it with
jenny e. After
the astonishing
life of octavian
nothing. Oscar
wilde's plays are
hilarious. And
anthony trollope
has some good
stuff. You liked
sir walter scott,
didn't you? And if
you're looking
for a novel even
longer than this
text, read
george eliot. Who
is a woman. I like
her middlemarch.


Someday, if there is a man trying to woo me and finding it difficult (unlikely, but possible), he need only put this on.
the poppies persist against the whip of the rain
the birds do the same, their hollow bones rising against the wind.


Check it out!!!!
You know you're brilliant when Colbert calls your name.

And if that's not enough!!!!
The Talisman Ring was the first Heyer book I ever read. Absolutely incredible how little of it I really remember - I am pleased beyond expression to find all her books coming back into print with pretty covers and stuff. Makes them look almost respectable. For those of you who don't know, Georgette was my guilty pleasure all through high school. I made up for it with things like this, of course. But I defy you to read the first chapter of any one of her quaint little romances and not find yourself chuckling and giggling like a lunatic.

This was my favorite.


Dear God, the ocean out my front window looks so beautiful - like the garb of a god - like the iris of an eye -



In defense of Chalice, if I may argue with myself, the book is really dealing with a sort of myth of sanctification. And I don't mean myth in the disillusioning sense; I mean it in the richest and most credible sense - which is, incidentally, pretty much the only way I use the word. In the last few days, there have been several moments when I have thought 'this needs sanctification,' and the image of Mirasol wandering over the four corners of her country desperately meting out her magic in drips of watered-down honey would come to mind. The book is full of these images. The bees, the honey, the fire - they are beautiful images because they have weight and depth and they call out directly to this need in us to have things of weight and depth lend us blessing. We need the words 'you are whole and healthy' to be spoken over us so that we can be whole and healthy. No wandering wordsmith will do. The one who reminds us of our healing is also the one who gives it to us with his own chalice, the cup of Christ, the body and blood of our Lord.



It's raining buckets, and of course that's a good thing. I'd like to remind all my Californian readers that there are plants in the world that don't have sprinkler systems to feed them. Though, I probably shouldn't be allowed to drive in the rain. Just not a good thing for the People. Even so, I'm making the trip back to my place of work in about in hour so that I can join coworkers for dinner and a movie. Coraline!!!! Can't hardly wait. We've been selling the book like bananas to strays. It's pretty incroyable.

So, I read Chalice, by our favorite Robin McKinley yesterday. That is, I finished it yesterday. Did I like it? Good question. As Jenny B. and I were saying the other day (on the couch - not on the blog. Don't go checking your references), McKinley has a habit of writing half of her novels with rich, concrete detail, fleshy, earthy, human stuff. And then half-way through, some bit of magic happens and everything gets vague. I don't mind vague - and I don't mind magic - but the contrast between pre-magic and most-magic is startling and difficult. You keep reading, expecting all the beautiful clarity and comprehension of the first bits, only to find the story morphing into colorful smoke all around you. It worked well in Beauty, and I managed to brush it off in The Hero and the Crown (mostly because I respect the opinion of the Newbery more than my own, and because I was growing increasingly fond of the vague and bizarre blonde mountain-dwelling man who habitually popped up in dreams and jungles and deserts. In the book, of course. Not in my real life.). But it did not work in Rose Daughter - mostly because the vagueness heralded cataclysms without source and unidentified Bad Guys and a triumph of the heroine that more or less constituted her shouting 'cut it out' to all the mysterious muck and watching whatever it was turn into hedgehogs. 'What???' That's what I said.

That hasn't stopped me reading her, though. I was excited, because Chalice is a relatively new book and it has a pretty cover. And the main character, according to the blurb, is a beekeeper. Very cool. So I read it.

The most significant difference between this and her other novels is that most of her others, as I said, begin with a beautifully fleshed out world of clarity and comprehension. Chalice does not. From the beginning, you find yourself moving around in a fog of characters in a fog of a made-up world in which earthlines speak to people of the right bloodline, particularly Chalice who is sometimes the Chalice and sometimes just Mirasol. It would be a fascinating world, I think, if I could ever lift the fog and just look at it. But Chalice or the Chalice is confused so we have to be confused too. I guess that's the reasoning. In The Hero and the Crown, McKinley begins en media res - and I have never read a more perfect example of that literary tradition. She does the same in Chalice, but with far less effective results. On the contrary, where in Hero the gradual revelation of backstory gives you an increasing sense of confidence and curiosity in the story, the backstory of Chalice offers no firm footing in the already murky waters of the fictional world.

I know I am being critical, and it might be difficult for you to believe that I actually liked the book. But I did. The fire-guy was pretty awesome, when he wasn't fattly lumbering between fearful attendants, and the bees were wholly satisfying. My favorite scene was when she woke up nearly frozen on the Listening Hill and the fire-guy was all fiery and thawing. But I must admit that the same scene - or something much like it - could be found in Beauty, The Hero and the Crown, and Rose Daughter. And if I re-read Spindle's End and Deerskin, I wouldn't be too surprised if I found it in those books as well.


okay, i didn't mean to disconcert anyone with the stalkerish world map. i just thought you should know that i can tell where people check my blog from. the information is distilled to me in a variety of ways as i choose, either in list form, or as a pie graph, or even in the manner below. i like to know where people are when they read my posts. but don't worry; i don't track down ip addresses to get names or anything. you're still anonymous.

unless i know where you live.

you are now entering the time zone

Hello, readers. This is you.


For Dickensians everywhere. Reading this article, I had a sudden and elaborate flashback of watching Hard Times in Edinburgh. Haven't thought of the adaptation since I gave the DVD back to Jess - many thanks.
Time to revisit one of my favoriter sites. It isn't updated as regularly as one would like, but I think that has something to do with its newness. Spread the word, send in your stuff, and see it grow like a bamboo stalk. There are some pretty pictures, too. And yes, this has everything to do with my present (and very old) preoccupation with fairy tales.
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