I’m enjoying Elif Shafak’s surreal novel “The Gaze,” which explores beauty, ugliness, and how we distance ourselves from those we’re ultimately connected to.
Wherever a person hurts, that’s where his heart beats. Keramet Mumi Keske Memis Efendi pressed his fingers to his eyes. To no avail. It didn’t stop. His heart beat in his eyes. And suddenly, the pieces were revited together. He found a way to unite women’s suffering with his own suffering. Because everything was dependent on everything else.
This blog is ostensibly about books, music, and coffee, and it occurs to me I’ve never written about coffee. So here’s a recommendation.
I usually start my day with a cup of a strong Italian roast from Port City Brewers. But for my second cup of coffee, which I usually drink midday, I’ve come to like Alma de la Tierra, an organic coffee from Peet’s. It’s silky with a hint of citrus.
In my writing group the other night, we had 15 minutes to write something beginning with this line from Auden: “About suffering they were never wrong.” Here’s what I came up with.
About suffering they were never wrong. They had scoped our pains with surveyor’s eye And spanned a compass o’er travails long That ran from dawn to lights that die. All humanity’s woes and cares Were catalogued as sundry snares. There’s grief, there’s woe, there’s dark despair, And lust and loss without compare. And when the survey was mapped out neat They took the chart and tacked it high And aiming darts did then compete To see which pains on souls should lie. Thus the Fates do now compete Leaving shears aside as dated, So when you suffer, sore, complete, Know your pain was struck, ill-fated.
(I can’t type this without wanted to revise it (e.g., do now contend), but that’s beyond the scope of a 15-minute exercise.)
We begin the new year in the corner of the last year. Our path to any door is blocked by yesterday’s mess—the dismaying newspapers, the chairs toppled in arguments or slumber, the bills scattered about the mail slot.
Another trip around the sun: Every revolution has its barricades, and these are ours.
Let’s overthrow what’s failed, and build a new order.
In “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the mechanized army of villain Immortan Joe is led by a truck loaded with loudspeakers and a heavy metal guitarist suspended in a harness. His anthemic thrashing spurs the army into battle.
The craziest driving I’ve ever seen is on the freeway between Austin and Dallas.
Now I’m picturing Texas blues guitarists suspended above the grill of every racing Cadillac and 18-wheeler, blasting “Love Struck Baby” at 85 mph. When dusk comes, and soft purple light settles over land, the vehicles slow, and the strumming becomes brooding and wistful. On a rural delivery road amid fields of cotton, one might even hear strains of “Pancho and Lefty,” lightly picked on a Martin 12-string.
Meanwhile in downtown San Francisco, Priuses dart past busses, pedestrians, and stalled UPS trucks, their Fair-Trade hemp-clothed musicians, beards trimmed and straw fedoras smartly askew, hunch on hoods, fleetly strumming ukuleles.
The climate, social, financial, political — it’s dispiriting because you don’t see eye to eye. But the world can be safe if each of us is concerned. This starts with our own life, with our family, with our friends, with our village. If everybody was ready to help others, to do something, the world would be different. We are too ready to say, ‘Well, this is not my problem,’ and I think when you see the reaction from fanatical people, you see that the first enemy of humans is ignorance. Ignorance makes fanatics. The second enemy is hatred. And the third is egoism. And all these things can be saved with the development of a sensitive language, like music.
Jordi Savall, from an interview in Listen Magazine.