Book Corner 2020.44

McCullers is at her best when her stories are about adolescents (almost always motherless, often gender-bending, and with a father who’s a jeweler) on the cusp of change. But I loved immersing myself in her world in every story.

This collection of short pieces culminates with MEMBER OF THE WEDDING; but I’ve read that very recently, so it wasn’t time for a re-read. For me it culminated with BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE. This is a very sad piece (as the title warns) featuring a grotesque cast of characters and a miserable ending. It is not “my thing”; but it was still a story to grab me by the throat, and it provided all of the collection’s best quotes.

“It is known that if a message is written with lemon juice on a clean sheet of paper there will be no sign of it. But if the paper is held for a moment to the fire then the letters turn brown and the meaning becomes clear. Imagine that the whiskey is fire and that the message is that which is known only in the soul of a man – then the worth of Miss Amelia’s liquor can be understood.”

“The atmosphere of a proper cafe implies these qualities: fellowship, the satisfactions of the belly, and a certain gaiety and grace of behavior.” That should be put on a sign and sold to cafe owners everywhere.

“In order to come into the cafe you did not have to buy the dinner, or a portion of liquor. There were cold bottled drinks for a nickel. And if you could not even afford that, Miss Amelia had a drink called Cherry Juice which sold for a penny a glass… There, for a few hours at least, the deep bitter knowing that you are not worth much in this world could be laid low.” (  )

The Sultan of (Mood) Swing

My endorphins for some reason are on the rise.

Below is my new office window, twice the size as it was before; and my new Verilux, which is a SAD*-alleviating light source put out by a company in Waitsfield VT. My neurologist recommended it. So far it’s 100% effective!

And OMG just look at the pretty fall picture outside those windows. I like to think of my widows as picture frames. Lots of people would pay money for pictures like that.

* Seasonal Affective Disorder

Book Corner 2020.43

Stuart Little

by E. B. White

I have no idea how this disjointed mess became a classic of children’s literature. (  )

I’m so depressed. I feel like I pissed away these past two weeks. The windows project is never going to end. It’s raining. We ordered and paid for hay that hasn’t been delivered. Milkweed has been off his feed for going on two weeks. I don’t want to do my live video tomorrow. Warm weather is over. I can’t sleep anymore without chemicals. I have to go back to work Monday morning. My work iPhone locked me out. and Oh! we live in a failed state and soon we will all know more & more people who have gotten seriously ill or died from our constant companion the virus.

I do poorly under conditions of uncertainty.

Argh!!

I need to quit Facebook and I need to quit the news. I MEAN IT.

I asked my friends, if any of them started talking about the debate, to please not talk to me about it. And of course they obliged. But when I tried to look at my FB feed that’s all it was! It’s all national politics. I wish there were no such thing as cross-posting. If everyone had to think up their own things whenever they wanted to share, there’d be so much less talk about anything.

National politics is a dumb game. I don’t care if I’m called a coward or willfully ignorant. It’s such a stupid shitshow. How little of it actually trickles down to affect our lives? I’m not saying I won’t vote. I’m saying I’m not tuning into the soap opera.

And I know the fault’s with me. I look at FB or the news telling myself I won’t read anything about Trumpass, but I do. I realize it’s an addiction. That’s why I’m trying to hold myself accountable here.

Book Corner 2020.42

And in the End…

by Ken McNab

A chronicle of Beatle trivia for the year 1969. There was a lot more about the business angle than i was prepared to digest, and McNab does very little to clarify exactly what is going on (who the hell is “Nems”? what exactly is ‘Northern Songs”?). I had little choice but to glaze over during some of the business dealing discussions; I TRIED to figure out the answers to my questions by using the index, thinking it was just my lazy inattentiveness that was the problem; but no, it’s him. In fact he never really introduces Nems or Northern Songs properly; I guess we’re just supposed to know who they are. I get that John, Paul, George, and Ringo need no introduction, and it was fine to throw us right in the middle of January 1969 with little backstory insofar as the personal angle. But I really felt like I had missed some prequel volumes.

It was also repetitive. E.g. I get what a great song “Something” was.

I learned plenty of fun facts though.

– The ending medley on ABBEY ROAD, probably my favorite Beatle “song”, was recorded the week I was being born.

– “Because” is in 9-part harmony. Because they did not have 9 tracks available to tape on, John, Paul, & George had to sing three of the parts together on one track. They had not had to harmonize like that together in years, but they could still do it, even though they hated each other.

– George recorded the guitar solo to “Something” on the same track with the orchestra.

– John wanted “Cold Turkey” to be a Beatle song and actually thought it had great single potential.

– “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” which I always liked and Xopher always hated (“It just goes on forever”) just goes on forever because it’s actually two different takes back to back. John couldn’t decide which one he wanted so he used both of them.

I love learning tidbits about what went on behind the actual recording of the soundtrack to my brain. (  )