The poem's title "天天" is evidently reduplicative. This much the English reader who knows no Chinese can observe. The poet plays with this — the explanation is proceed by the image of drawing a lake to save a jumping girl — the drawn lake is built of words and so is she...


bending to drink
this street like a river.
In Chinese, 天 means both

heaven & sky.
From a distance, a body
falling is nearing


Past Lives, Future Bodies
K Ming Chang

And so for day 2422

Incandescent Feline

Robert Graves in the introductory note to his On English Poetry Being an Irregular Approach to the Psychology of This art, from Evidence Mainly Subjective concludes with the observation "that when putting cat among pigeons it is always advisable to make it as large a cat as possible."

Rabih Alameddine writing in Harper's.

We invade your countries, destroy your economies, demolish your infrastructures, murder hundreds of thousands of your citizens, and a decade or so later we write beautifully restrained novels about how killing you made us cry.
No escaping the claws of that pronoun "we".

And so for day 2421


Tanka First Person memento mori

Facial massage—
I feel my skin
stretch over holes
that will soon
define me
George Swede from First Light, First Shadows

Soon but not yet.

And so for day 2420

Beginner's Mind


Particularly for the novice practitioner, good data modelling is something to be done iteratively, interrogating and refining the model through a dialogue with both the source material and the operational context of tools.
Julia Flanders and Fotis Jannidis "Data modeling in a digital humanities context: an introduction" in The Shape of Data in Digital Humanities: Modelling Texts and Text-Based Resources

And so for day 2419



the definite connection that exists
between ravishing meaning from her and
magic boxes

Nicole Brossard Daydream Mechanics translated by Larry Shouldice
Northrop Frye in the preface to the Well-Tempered Critic (1963) writes that the lectures "are intended to fit inside one another, like the boxes of Silenus" [9]. Frye references** Silenus in a review of Robert Graves's collected poetry (Hudson Review vol. 9 no. 2 Summer 1956) but the Graves poem "Warning to Children" that Frye points towards although constructed in a most marvellous mise en abyme does not mention Sileni of any sort nor play on the inside-outside associations of Sileni boxes. Frye's reading characterizes the link between imbrication and the Sileni as a theme. The association of Sileni boxes and nesting appears throughout Frye's career. It is also found in one of the notebooks from the early 1970s where Frye remarks "Also Egyptian is the boxes-of-Silenus mummy cases, of one inside another: Rabelais."*

But there is no mention of nesting in Rabelais (Preface to Gargantua). Nor in Erasmus. Nor in Plato. My quandary: where does Frye get the image of nesting boxes? What can account for the leap from a multiplicity of boxes to nesting?

I have also located another reference to nesting Sileni: in Charles L. Griswold, Jr. Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (1999) describing his own work with the figure of nesting Sileni: "my discussion here will resemble a series of Sileni, one nested inside the next."

Andrew Ford in "Alcibiades's Eikon of Socrates and the Platonic Text: Symp. 215a-222d" in Plato and the Power of Images (2017) has a pointed aside: "There is no archeological evidence for anything like the nested 'Russian Dolls' we may picture to ourselves."

Frye's figure of the nested Sileni is of course an instance of a model of text at work in generating readings. One that remains for me opaque: the origins of the connection between Sileni boxes and nesting remain a mystery.
* The “Third Book” Notebooks of Northrop Frye (Collected Works 9) The "third book" notebooks of Northrop Frye, 1964-1972 : the critical comedy edited by Michael Dolzani.

** Frye writes in his review of Graves "We notice that the central theme of a relatively early poem, 'Warning to Children,' is that of the boxes of Silenus, the image with which Rabelais begins."
A theory:

Frye repeatedly references Rabelais. Although one doesn't find direct reference to nesting Sileni boxes, one does encounter in the Prologue to Gargantua the mention of onion, the peel to be exact, and from this emblematic vegetable might we assume the notion arose of layer upon layer upon layer?
[...] Just such another thing was Socrates. For to have eyed his outside, and esteemed of him by his exterior appearance, you would not have given the peel of an onion for him, so deformed he was in body, and ridiculous in his gesture. He had a sharp pointed nose, with the look of a bull, and countenance of a fool: he was in his carriage simple, boorish in his apparel, in fortune poor, unhappy in his wives, unfit for all offices in the commonwealth, always laughing, tippling, and merrily carousing to everyone, with continual gibes and jeers, the better by those means to conceal his divine knowledge. Now, opening this box you would have found within it a heavenly and inestimable drug, a more than human understanding, an admirable virtue, matchless learning, invincible courage, unimitable sobriety, certain contentment of mind, perfect assurance, and an incredible misregard of all that for which men commonly do so much watch, run, sail, fight, travel, toil and turmoil themselves.

François Rabelais translated by Thomas Urquart (our emphasis)
The proximate image of the onion lodged in memory and the subsequent application to Graves's poem cemented the association that we find decades later in link between Egyptian sarcophagi and Sileni boxes. Further comment: "peel" gives rise to the notion of layer. The French "copeau d'oignon" is more like a sliver or shaving and less connected to the image of a layer as to a piece.

"Warning to Children"
Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness,
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel—
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
he lives — he then unties the string.
Notable not only for its nesting but also for the imperceptible (to the too quick reader) variations — those colours change positions... waiting for children like magic boxes.

And so for day 2418

On Stock Responses

Northrop Frye
The Well-Tempered Critic

Again, stock response cannot read a poem, but can only react to the content of a poem, which it judges as inspiring or boring or shocking according to its moral anxieties. Stock response is apt to hanker after some form of censorship, for it cannot understand that works of literature can only be good or bad in their own categories, and that no subject-matter or vocabulary is inherently bad.
And would you judge this book by its cover?

cover well-tempered critic
Balanced? N'est-ce pas?

And so for day 2417

More Intellectual Virtues

Black Trillium
Marion Zimmer Bradely, Julian May, Andre Norton

The quest both individual and collective is to achieve balance. It is a psychological quest. The key is knowledge: its possession and disposition.

"And when you have this knowledge, what do you do with it?"

"What do you mean?" Haramis asked.

"Would you use knowledge to hurt and destroy, to manipulate and bend others to your will?"

"Of course not!" Haramis replied indignantly. "That's wrong. People are supposed to be free to make their own choices, not used as puppets for the amusement of those stronger or more intelligent than they are. But why should I have to do anything with knowledge? Why can't I simply study and learn and rejoice in the knowledge and vision I achieve? Why should I have to use it?"

"Because you are what you are, and it shows. I can see it, Orogastus can see it, and any other with a knowledge of magic can see it." The Archimage's voice grew intense. "Haramis, you understand words. Most people never realize that words are important, that they matter, that to say a thing is to give it at least a shadow existence—and to name truly is to give it life. You hear, you listen, and you remember, and that is a rare gift. Without it, you would never understand magic, most of it would literally be inconceivable to you. Kadiya possesses great ardor and determination, and Anigel has compassion and a loving heart, but these gifts while they are great in their own right, are not what is required for the full use of magic. [...]
The image of interlocking strengths and weaknesses reminds me of Veronica Roth's factions.

And so for day 2416

Mould, Canalize, Direct

Aldous Huxley
Words and Their Meanings
(Los Angeles: Ward Ritchie Press, 1940)

Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

From the book flap on the dustcover:

This is the first publication of a new work by Aldous Huxley in a field in which he has long been interested. It is a consideration of the power of words "to mould men's thinking, to canalize their feeling, to direct their willing and acting. Conduct and character are largely determined by the nature of the words we currently use to discuss ourselves and the world around us."
From inside, on continuity and the presence of records:
There may be geniuses among the gorillas; but since gorillas have no conceptual language, the thoughts and achievements of these geniuses cannot be recorded and so are lost to simian posterity.
From further inside, an ascesis:
To learn to use words correctly is to learn, among other things, the art of foregoing immediate excitements and immediate personal triumphs. Much self control and great disinterestedness are needed by those who would realize the ideal of never misusing language.
I could remain silent and listen to Bach. I should.

And so for day 2415


Cyrus Cassells
The Crossed-Out Swastika

"Riders on the Back of Silence"
end of section VI "Trains"
[the stationmaster is remembered]

storefronts of Kristallnacht
How it would've angered him to see

that his beloved trains
we're used to betray us.
"Sabine Who Was Hidden in the Mountains"
and learners whose hair

would never thin or silver
"The Fit"
Section IV "Youth"
How two boys ignite,
fit together,

is a burst of summer fireworks,
a radiant cartwheel —
Note to "The Fit" points to the memoirs of Pierre Seel and of Gad Beck

Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel

An underground life : memoirs of a gay Jew in Nazi Berlin

And so for day 2414

Follow the Brush, Guide the Reading of Numberous

Thomas J. Harper
Afterward to Jun'ichirō Tanizaki In Praise of Shadows

One of the oldest and most deeply ingrained of Japanese attitudes to literary style holds that too obvious a structure is contrivance, that too orderly an exposition falsifies the ruminations of the heart, that the truest representation of the searching mind is just to "follow the brush". Indeed it would not be far wrong to say that the narrative technique we call "stream of consciousness" has an ancient history in Japanese letters. It is not that Japanese writers have been ignorant of the powers of concision and articulation. Rather they have felt that certain subjects — the vicissitudes of the emotions, the fleeting perceptions of the mind — are best couched in a style that conveys something of the uncertainty of the mental process and not just its neatly packaged conclusions.
* * *
the gesture she makes — this is her way of attempting despite the sovereign prohibitions to find again a place to reflect open space favourable for calligraphy with marvellous drawings with numberous incursions (infractions) accomplished as such with arrogance then following the course of what is written       fount of apprenticeship to pleasure and density — process of composition (vertically the pieces of chalk on the black board!) which she justifies field of action for new forms in the realm of consciousness
Nicole Brossard
Translated by Larry Shouldice
"Field of Action for New Forms, June 1971"
in Daydream Mechanics

Numberous - so many that it is numbing

And so for day 2413

Externalities, More Than

In the series The FUTURE of WORK

"Dollars in the Margins"

[intro blurb - a quotation from the article]

The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn’t Just Improve Lives. It Saves Them. A living wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.


And so for day 2412

Fantastic Cells

Library catalogue subject headings for Fantastic Voyage:

Brain--Diseases--Diagnosis--United States--Drama.
Medicine--Specialties and specialists--United States--Drama.
Scientists--United States--Drama.
I believe and others have noted that Dr. Who "The Invisible Enemy" is indebted to the Fantastic Voyage.

And so for day 2411

Drawing the Line

Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Heads of the Colored People
"A Conversation about Bread"

Junior was always trying out white folks stuff and brining it to school for us to try. [...]

When he brought potato bread to school for lunch, we were all like, what's up with the yellow bread? For it was surely some white folks stuff and the dumbest thing we'd ever heard of until we tasted it. Once that yellow soft hit our mouths, though, it was like Apple Jacks; it didn't even have to taste like apple, or potato.

Croissants, too, not those pop-can crescent rolls our mamas and the lunch ladies tried to feed us. Junior had real croissants—the kind where you aren't supposed to pronounce the "r"—from a little bakery at the edge of the Fondren District. We ate the flaky edges of those croissants like they were Pop Rocks, just doing all their work in our mouths.

But most of us drew the line at brioche.
There follows a whole story devoted to ethnography and perspective and focalization and story telling and drawing the line.

The emboîtement of narrative elements is a feature of many of the stories in Heads of the Colored People and it is fitting that the endpapers pick up this notion in their design.

Head outline or profile cascading and seeded throughout the page space. Telling and told.

And so for day 2410


Scott Ferguson
Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Care

Critical theory must, therefore, loosen its historical attachments to power's shifting vicissitudes and risk the embarrassments of care's apparent guilelessness. Without this affective labor, its conceptual tools remain inert.
Packed into these two sentences is a bold invitation to think otherwise. And to renegotiate perception and feeling... dare to imagine money as a boundless public reserve. Through imagination, to contest.

And so for day 2409

Horsing Around

Yoland Villemaire
Pr&eacuate;sentation critique
French Kiss: étreinte/exploration by Nicole Brossard

Les intrigues se chevauchent et se confondent, les protagonistes frenchkissent au point de disparaître dans l'étreinte. Ça danse tellement que l'armature du récit n'est plus qu'une radiation du sens et des sens. Ça bouge tout le temps comme une langue, comme une langue dans une autre bouche. «Ça n'est arrivé ni en français ni en anglais» et ça s'écrit dans une toute autre langue! C'est pire que joual; c'est un cheval de Troie [...]
See the galloping: chevaucher, joual, cheval de Troie [...] A form of metonymic enrichment.

And so for day 2408


The Book of Green Tea
Diana Rosen

The copy I acquired had a very smooth excision.

The book is designed with wide margins coloured in light green and adorned with various quotations. Very enticing for someone in search of bookmarkers. Or so at least this is the rationale I give to the disappearance of the design elements from page 17 and page 18. The absence is almost invisible until one goes to turn the page.

green tea open book

Consulting the library copy, I was able to see what attracted the scissors.
green tea p 17 Tea is a miraculous medicine for the maintenance of health. Tea has an extraordinary power to prolong life. Anywhere a person cultivates tea, long life will follow. — Eisai, Kitcha Yojoki (1211)
green tea p 18 The Way of Tea by Sen-no Rikyu (1522-91) harmony (wa) respect (kei) tranquility (jaku) purity (sei) These four elements are critical to bringing the art of the chanoyu to its exquisite end.
The cutting offers a kind of reverse curation.

It reminds me of my favourite passage in The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo. Where the emperor is greeted by a garden shorn of bloom but finds a single specimen in the tea house. Ironically our book was pruned to show a verse given by that very same emperor to the tea master: "When tea is made with water drawn from the depths of mind / Whose bottom is beyond measure, / We really have what is called cha-no-yu. - A verse given to Sen-no Rikyu by his shogun, Toyotomi Hideyoshi."

And so for day 2407

Encouraging Cooking

This set of observations came in response to a call out for assistance in encouraging the reluctant to cook ...

When I look back on my own culinary explorations at few suggestions stand out:

- adopting a spice or an herb and scouring the cookbooks - this helped me develop confidence in seasoning - good place to start is with homemade tomato sauce which is quite forgiving if a wee bit more garlic is added or if the bay leaf is accidentily omitted.

- getting acquainted with equipment - wok, cast iron frying pan, steamer, omelette pan, bain-marie and the simple saucepan - good to known which cooking techniques are suited to the kitchen gear - recipes are often silent on such matters (I discovered that a bain-marie is good not only for custard but also for rice pudding; a video of Jacques Pépin and the good counsel of Julia Child led us to invest in an omelette pan which we now make regular use of - and of course knives! (I am now much more confident with chopping, slicing and dicing since having learnt to hone knives properly).

- using the library to rifle through cookbooks - good way to explore cuisines and chefs without investing in one's own copy and seeing one's shelves groan under the weight - there is one book that has no recipes but is a great resource for flavour combinations: Niki Segnit The Flavour Thesaurus (It has no pictures).

- asking the food purveyors for instructions - thanks to the butcher I discovered the way to cook duck breast to ensure its skin crisps up nicely and was encouraged to explore adding crépinette to my list of sought after pleasures

In short, there is no end to engaging with food - constantly something to learn and try.
And so we send all our best wishes in coaxing your cooking partner along.

And so for day 2406

Welsh for Carrot

This is a short piece from Adam Jacot de Boinod The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World p. 116

Menu Envy

In some cases, though, it’s the unfamiliar word rather than the food itself that may alarm the outsider:
flab (Gaelic) a mushroom
moron (Welsh) a carrot
aardappel (Dutch) a potato (literally, earth apple)
bikini (Spanish) a toasted ham and cheese sandwich
gureepufuruutsu (Japanese) a grapefruit
I guess the English for banana sounds funny too.

And so for day 2405

Pastry & Pedal Power

Wickedly invoking the Queen chorus to Bicycle Race

Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my
Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
and juxtaposing it here with an entry on Paris-Brest
A Paris-Brest is one of the finest of French pastries. [...] I have been unable to pinpoint the origin of the name in any of the most reliable dictionaries or encyclopedias, but always assumed that it was named for the world renowned train that ran between Paris and Brest and was known as the Paris-Brest. As it turns out, it was an ill-educated guess. Several people wrote to point out that it was actually named for a bicycle race between Paris and Brest many years ago. One added that "to celebrate this event, a Parisian chef concocted the desert. If you visualize this dessert, You can see that it is in the shape of a bicycle tire."
Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Food Encyclopedia

Ever now associating the song with the traces of choux pastry and cream on a moustache ...

And so for day 2404

Onomastic Fox

"By Way of Introduction' in which a surprising appearance puts the reader off track, given it is a cookbook that is being read:

Chester County — that glorious rolling countryside in Eastern Pennsylvania whose hills and valleys, woodlands and streams and quiet ponds, whose clover meadows and tilled fields and green pastures with nearby red barns and silos and herds, and whose stone farmhouses and spotless dairy buildings all show what the best traditions of farming and husbandry can mean — it is in Chester County, fox hunting country of the East, that Cooking and Cookery come into their own!
Out of the enumeration of countryside features pops the fox. !!

West Whiteland, Pennsylvania: St. Paul's Church, 1950. Compiled and edited by Virgina Penrose. Illustrated by Cécile Newbold Barnett. [Set up and printed by Princeton University Press]

The copy I have examined is inscribed. In the same hand and the same ink there is a signature by Virginia Penrose and an address for a Mrs. Charles Penrose.

To Margaret Church
With every good
  Virginia Penrose
  July 15, 1954

Mrs Charles Penrose
"Hilltop Cottage"
West Chester RD 2

In consulting the list of contributors (identified by initials throughout), one discovers that "VP" is given as Mrs Charles Penrose and one would assume by the shared initials (and a little knowledge of the custom at the time on how to address married women) that this is the same person as Virginia Penrose, our compiler and editor and one so knowledgeable of fox hunting country.

And so for day 2403


I once sent a posting to Humanist about objects and electronic text editing and as the thread progressed I was reminded of a formulation from Owen Feltham: "Contemplation is necessary to generate an object, but action must propagate it."

The two ways (vita contemplativa and vita activa) bring to mind a statement by Jerome McGann in his essay "The Rationale of Hypertext"

To the imagination, the materialities of text (oral, written, printed, electronic) are incarnational not vehicular forms.
To be found in Electronic Text: Investigations in Theory and Method. Ed. Kathryn Sutherland. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997 (p. 19).

I am intrigued by the possibilities of recasting McGann's exclusionary dichotomy into a pair of allied pursuits (incarnation-contemplation and vehicle-action). The question takes on a hermeneutical hue: just where does the encounter between the horizon of the reader and the horizon of the author take place?

The answer may require a whole (social) renegotiation of what it means to contemplate versus to act upon a text. I suspect that the vexed question of the relations between powers of abstraction and embodied knowledge is at play.

The relations are not likely to be a one-way street. And this has bearing on what is involved in the telos of editing. I turn to Julia Flanders, "The Body Encoded: Questions of Gender and the Electronic Text" (which we find p. 129 in Electronic Text: Investigations in Theory and Method) for a recovery of a history of what were deemed the stakes in editing. She draws on Stephanie H. Jed Chaste Thinking: The Rape of Lucretia and the Birth of Humanism (1989) to trace and critique a spirit/flesh dichotomy at play in textual editing:
The organizing terms of this relationship revolve around a familiar binary of body and spirit: each physical text, the manuscript or printed book, is a particular concrete carrier of a universalized and disembodied textuality, the "text of the author" which may be fully represented in one physical object, in many, or in none at all. Within this schema the physical object, in a manner familiar to any student of neoclassical aesthetics, is subject to corruption and debasement, its very physicality and particularity drawing it towards the realm of the monstrous and the deviant. The task of the scholar and editor, then, is to discern the universal text within the various documents which instantiate it, and by patient study and labour produce a new — but also originary and authoritative — witness which perfectly transmits the "text of the author". In Jed's example, these texts are the foundational documents by which republican Florence was to construct a public ideology based on an assertion of lineage from ancient republican Rome (p. 75)
Of course the story does not stop here.

And so for day 2402


David Holbrook
"Me and the Animals"

I share my knee bones with the gnat,
My joints with ferrets, eyes with rat
I walk upright, alone, ungoverned, free:
Yet their occasional lust, fear, unease, walk with me
Always. All ways.
To be found in full in any of these (if tables of content are a guide)
  • Selected poems, 1961-1978
  • The Animal Anthology, edited by Diana Spearman
  • The New Poetry, edited by A. Alvarez
Yet to compare for any variance.

And so for day 2401

The Falcon, the Fish and the Heron

Denying oneself one's prey to not become prey in turn...

Then there are the bird fanciers shops, where they train and sell falcons, hawks and other birds of prey. One day in his Majesty's ante-room the Master of the Ceremonies told his Excellency that he himself saw a fine feat performed by a falcon, who seized a large fish in the air. He was flying at a heron who in the strife by instinct threw the fish which he had in his claw, into the falcon's face, and thus escaped the enemy's talons.
Anglipotrida by Horatio Basino
The Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts Relating to English Affairs. Existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice, and in the Other Libraries of Northern Italy. Volume XV (1617-1619), Edited by Allen B. Hinds. (London, 1909)

This comes to me via a friend, Willard McCarty who kindly digitalized a sheaf of photocopies and brought my way the collection of observations about London processions and performances. His calligraphy adorns the bibliographic info:

And in providing permission to reproduce his handwriting, Willard provides a tale of its route to Berneval...
I am so glad you like the observations on English manners. You certainly have my blessing to reproduce my handwriting. Years ago, but many years after I had graduated from skimming the State Papers [in Toronto], I loaned the photocopied pages to my former head of department here [London]. He then moved house, and in the process these pages found their way into a box that remained unpacked all the years he then lived in the new house. It was only when he moved again, from London to Edinburgh, that the box was unpacked, the pages in question discovered and returned to me. Yesterday I scanned them in.

So, a long journey and a new transformation.
And yet such a short interval between friends.

And so for day 2400

A Twinkle

Samuel R. Delany
Historifying Marginal Practices
in Time and the Literary: Essays from the English Institute

Taking on one of the biographers of Hart Crane

As a gay man today I read this with a cold eye. As far as homosexuality not being a problem till Crane was twenty. I hear myself muttering: "A problem for whom?" Homsexuality was the greatest problem for me between the ages of ten and eighteen: once I started doing it, believe me, it became less problematic by whole orders of magnitude.

As far as Crane's contempt for effeminate men, (which Loveman repeats later in his Conversation and Susan Slater Brown declares in Robber Rocks), the only problem with it as a blanket statement is Loveman himself. I can't speak for Loveman's self-presentation at age 30 or 40 (the height of his friendship with Crane), but the single time I met him, with poet and critic Hunce Voelcker, when Loveman was on the far side of 70, he was a wonderfully warm and friendly old gentleman — who looked as if he were moments from flying off through the sun-shot leaves above Greenwich Avenue on twinkle-toed slippers. And Crane had felt nothing but affection for him.
Simply sparkling.

And so for day 2399


Juan Gabriel Váquez in Browse: The World in Bookshops edited by Henry Hitchings.

Reflections on chance:

A reader's life is, among other things, this tissue of opportune coincidences.
And so by luck we arrive.

And so for day 2398

Landscape Amid Crashing Waves

A new take on the sublime

John Adams notes to The Dharma at Big Sur
East Coast / West Coast: Some Musical Autobiography

Coming upon the California coast is a different experience altogether. Rather than gently yielding ground to the water the Western shelf drops off violently, often from dizzying heights, as it does at Big Sur, the stretch of coastal precipice midway between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Here the current pounds and smashes the littoral in a slow, lazy rhythm of terrifying power. For a newcomer the first exposure produces a visceral effect of great emotional complexity. Many writers have tried to describe it directly, but Jack Kerouac did it best. In both his poetry and his novels he comes the closest to evoking my own sense of liberation and excitement, an ecstasy that is nevertheless tinged with that melancholy expressed in the first of Buddha's Four Noble Truths: "All life is sorrowful."
The music travels to you if you cannot be there. Be here.

And so for day 2397

Simple Forceful

From Cyrus Cassells, The Gospel According To Wild Indigo

she will never fear sale
or the bottom of the sea.
This ends a section. It sends the imagination to a space beyond the Middle Passage. The future tense and the negation operate like a promise. The assertion is strong. The partial rhyme sale/sea adds its own authority, or so I would like to claim. It does via an evocation of its homonym hint at a sail flapping in the wind — open to a new direction.

And so for day 2396

Once We Were Nomads

Margaret Atwood
Foreword to A Breath of Fresh Air: Celebrating Nature and School Gardens by Elsie Houghton

Describing the Post-War period after the Victory Gardens disappeared:

There was an undeniable emotional charge to throwing stuff out. Scrimping, saving and hoarding make a person feel poor — think of Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol — whereas dispensing largesse, whether in the form of a prize goose, as in Scrooge's case, or in the form of filling up your garbage can with junk you no longer want, makes you feel rich. Saving is heavy, discarding is light. Why do we feel this way? Once we were nomads, and nomads don't carry around grand pianos. They don't hoard food; instead they move to where food is. They leave a light footprint, as the green folk say. Well, it's a theory.

But we can't all be nomads any more. There isn't enough space left for that.
Not enough space and not enough grace. Just enough humour.

And so for day 2395

In Praise of Felines

Dedication to
Pellegrino Artusi
The Art of Eating Well
Translated from the Italian by Kyle M. Phillips III.

I dedicate this book to two of my best, most pure-hea[r]ted friends, Biancani and Sibillone.

To you, who keep me constant company without envy or resentment and are never bored; to you, who, when I was preparing theses dishes in the kitchen, would rub against my legs while holding your tails high and tremble with the desire to be the first to give me your opinions; to you, who, unlike your kind, cannot be called thieves, and if you are occasionally guilty of a slip, it was just the irresistible attraction you felt for a scrap of cheese or roast chicken that made you transgress; to you, who, with your friendship, offer an example of brotherly love to men, and, intent on grooming yourselves, do not turn your minds to sin.

Finally, to you, who often thrill me with your games and graceful leaps, and have never made me feel unloved.
Affirming meows. Whether from heat or heart.

And so for day 2394

Bon Mots and Fine Images

I wonder if I had been given as an adolescent a copy with such a cover

would I have developed such a love for aphorisms.

I had long ago passed it along. But I came upon it years later and picked it up for the nostalgia factor and that it sported the same cover I remembered from my teens:

And found within the imaginative verve of illustrations providing narrative appeal to the aphorisms. Who knew that Voltaire's "Save me from my friends" would take the form of a duel about to unfold?

The title page truly describes this Hallmark Edition:
The French on Life and Love, Selected by Edward Lewis with frivolous illustrations in color by John Trotta.

And so for day 2393

A Set of Visual Puns

Wallace Edwards
Mixed Beasts

There is an appendix that gives a key made up of line drawings of some to the beasts to be found in the preceding colour illustrations. Here are a few drawn from the abecedarius order.

animal visual puns

Dandylion * Deer Mouse * Dragonfly * Fiddler Crab
Fly Ball * Fowl Ball * Fruit Bat * Horsefly

And so for day 2392