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Sunday, 15 October


My Story michaelwrites

pages pile up
as if that means something
I have to do it
even if hardly anyone cares
it's my story
I insist on telling it


Woman and Dog in Front of the Moon, Joan Mir, 1935 The Lion of Chaeronea

Woman and Dog in Front of the Moon, Joan Mir, 1935


Ancient Egyptian granodiorite statue of a man named Hor-nakht,... The Lion of Chaeronea

Ancient Egyptian granodiorite statue of a man named Hor-nakht, holding the standard of a ram-headed god (possibly Amun-Ra) in his left hand and an ankh in his right.  Artist unknown; ca. 1220 BCE (19th Dynasty, New Kingdom).  Now in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.  Photo credit: Walters Art Museum.


365 Challenge: Day 216 Grocery This Is My Truth Now

Grocery: (a) place you buy food items, or the food items you buy in a store, (b) a place to get compliments and NOT be rude


Todays 365 Daily Challenge message is simple. You never know when what you see happening isnt really happening.

Weeks ago, I mentioned the frustrating grocery store near me that had no brisket to cook for Ryder on the return from our vacation. Well I went back yesterday to buy another one to cook last night for dinner this weekend. The store had no brisket again, but at least I picked up a pot roast as an alternative. I added everything else to my cart and got in line at a register where I was next to be checked out. There was an older couple taking their time with packing their own groceries and being a bit rude to each other and the cashier. Lines were building up and another cashier was just wandering around doing nothing, as this couple kept re-bagging multiple times. I was slightly annoyed at how the store failed to provide appropriate customer service and formulated some words in my head to try to help speed the situation along; however, I was also inclined to be careful not to be rude myself, so I said nothing and just let it go.

The customers leave and the cashier rings up my groceries. I begin bagging my own (I always help, as I was once a cashier and appreciated the help) and then the other cashier who had been wandering around doing nothing, walks over to the register. All three of us have a c...


Records for Solving Farm Problems (Williams) New Online Books

Records for Solving Farm Problems (University of Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service circular #492; ca. 160), by Charles W. Williams and E. P. Callahan (PDF at

Techniques for Sewing Tricot Lingerie (Roberts) New Online Books

Techniques for Sewing Tricot Lingerie (University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service circular #543; ca. 1977), by W. Jeannette Roberts (PDF at

Crawfish Production in Arkansas (Dorman) New Online Books

Crawfish Production in Arkansas (University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service publication #554; 1985), by Larry W. Dorman, D. Leroy Gray, and Gary J. Burtle (PDF at

The Gazette New Online Books

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) (partial serial archives)

Texas Business Review New Online Books

Texas Business Review (full serial archives)

Reveille New Online Books

Reveille (student yearbook for Fort Hays State University and its predecessors, 1914-2003) (full serial archives)

Selected works and commentary (Murthy) New Online Books

Selected works and commentary, by B. S. Murthy (HTML at

Kalee's Shrine (Allen) New Online Books

Kalee's Shrine (New York: New Amsterdam Book Co., ca. 1897), by Grant Allen and May Cotes (multiple formats at

The Unpardonable War (Barnes) New Online Books

The Unpardonable War (New York and London: Macmillan, 1904), by James Barnes (stable link)

By The Gods Beloved (Orczy) New Online Books

By The Gods Beloved (London: Hodder and Stoughton, ca. 1907), by Baroness Orczy (multiple formats at

Mary Melville, the Psychic (Denison) New Online Books

Mary Melville, the Psychic (Toronto: Austin Pub. Co., 1900), by Flora MacDonald Denison (multiple formats at Google)

The Strike of a Sex (Miller) New Online Books

The Strike of a Sex: A Novel (Chicago: A. B. Stockham and Co., 1896), by George Noyes Miller (page images at HathiTrust)

Darius Green and His Flying-Machine (Trowbridge) New Online Books

Darius Green and His Flying-Machine (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1910), by J. T. Trowbridge, illust. by Wallace Goldsmith (page images at HathiTrust)

Geyserland (Hatfield) New Online Books

Geyserland: Empiricisms In Social Reform (Washington: Printed for R. Hatfield, 1908), by Richard Hatfield (page images at HathiTrust)

The Rite of Spring (Stravinsky) New Online Books

The Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia in Two Parts (orchestral score; London et al.: Boosey and Hawkes, c1921), by Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich (page images at HathiTrust; US access only)

Pectinidae of the Eastern Pacific (Grau) New Online Books

Pectinidae of the Eastern Pacific (Allan Hancock Pacific Expeditions v23; Los Angeles: University of Southern California Press, 1959), by Gilbert Grau (page images at HathiTrust)

The Gates of Kamt (Orczy) New Online Books

The Gates of Kamt (American edition of By the Gods Beloved; New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1907), by Baroness Orczy, illust. by Troy Kinney and Margaret West Kinney (page images at HathiTrust)

Lieut. Gullivar Jones (Arnold) New Online Books

Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (later editions titled Gulliver of Mars; London: S. C. Brown, Langham, and Co., 1905), by Edwin Lester Arnold (page images at HathiTrust)

Centuries Apart (Bouv) New Online Books

Centuries Apart (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1894), by Edward T. Bouv (page images at HathiTrust)

The Man Who Dreamed Right (Holt-White) New Online Books

The Man Who Dreamed Right (London and New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1911), by W. Holt-White (page images at HathiTrust)


Equestrian portrait of Prince Boris Yusupov, Antoine-Jean... The Lion of Chaeronea

Equestrian portrait of Prince Boris Yusupov, Antoine-Jean Gros, 1809

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Saturday, 14 October


Up to You michaelwrites

if you remember better times
you are deluded 'twas always
thus and up to you to see the
beauty and realize the good
unless something bad happens
and all is lost or loved ones
hurt or dead or sick yourself
then it's not your fault and
altogether necessary to be sad


Crossing the Pasture, Winslow Homer, 1871-72 The Lion of Chaeronea

Crossing the Pasture, Winslow Homer, 1871-72


Cold as Ice (The Country Club Murders Book 6) Any Good Book

Author:  Julie Mulhern
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635112672; 97816355112115
Henery Press Publishing
268 Pages
$29.86; $15.95; $6.99 Amazon
October 17, 2016

Ellison Russell's life resembles a rollercoaster ride.  And rollercoasters make her ill.  Her daughter Grace has a crush on a boy Ellison doesn't trust and she's taken to hosting wild parties when Ellison goes out for the evening.  Worse, the bank which represents Grace's inheritance from her father may be in trouble.  When a meeting with the chef at the country club leads to the discovery of a body, Ellison can't afford cold feet.  She must save the bank, find the killer, and convince Grace (and herself) that powerful women don't need men to rescue them.

It's nearing Thanksgiving in Kansas City, and life is -sort of - getting back to normal for Ellison Russell.  But while everything seems to be going along smoothly, it just...isn't.  Her daughter Grace has been caught throwing a wild party in her absence, and while that may seem to be enough of a headache, it only gets worse when her bank president tells her the bank - her late husband's legacy to Grace - may be going under due to an unpaid loan.

The loan, owed by Tom Michaels, is the father of a boy Ellison does not want Grace seeing.  But each time she tries to call Tom, he's unavailable.  And when she does get a chance to speak with his wife Laurie, she leaves before anything is resolved.

But it's while she's at the country club planning a party for a friend when the sous chef opens the walk-in freezer to find Laurie's frozen body that it turns into a nightmare.  Another body.  The wife of the husband with a million dollar loan.  And the mother of a boy with lax morals who seems to be interested in her daughter.  Life is definitely not normal for Ellison Russell.

While warned to stay out of this investigation by the ever-present homicide Detective Anarchy Jones, Ellison's maybe-boyfriend she doesn't want to say anything about the bank.&...


Fragment of an ancient Roman wall painting in the Second Style,... The Lion of Chaeronea

Fragment of an ancient Roman wall painting in the Second Style, depicting a winged genius.  Artist unknown; late 1st cent. BCE.  From the peristyle of the villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, near Pompeii; now in the Louvre.


Staff Picks: Witch-Hop, Typingpool, and Salkis The Paris Review


Suzy Hansens Notes on a Foreign Country is a deceptively narrow book. It seems to be the memoir of a young, untested journalist who finds herself in Turkey, almost by chance, and begins to learn about the U.S. involvement in the Middle East. In reality, it is a book about what it means to be white and American, in the world and at home. I havent stopped thinking about it since I picked it up. Among its many virtues, it is the first book Ive read that gives an honest account of what, for my generation, passed for history class at even a good high school. I was in high school for the Rwandan genocide and the war in Bosnia, but I was conscious of none of it at the time. During my senior year, I learned twentieth-century American history through the lyrics of Billy Joels We Didnt Start the Fire  Many years later I unearthed a research project I made about the song. If that doesnt make you wince, then you may not recognize yourself in Notes on a Foreign Country. Not everyone will. If you do recognize yourself, then you may also recognize the connections Hansen draws between American exceptionalism abroad, white supremacy at home, and a national self-image based on virtuea self-image that could survive in no other free country on earth, and that may finally be falling apart in ours. Lorin Stein

Maybe it was the cover image of Freemans: The Future of New Writing that p...


New-York Historical Society Quarterly New Online Books

New-York Historical Society Quarterly (with some annual reports; 1917-1980) (full serial archives)

Freedom to Differ (Miller) New Online Books

Freedom to Differ: The Shaping of the Gay and Lesbian Struggle for Civil Rights (New York and London: New York University Press, c1998), by Diane Helene Miller (HTML with commentary at NYU Press)

Teaching What You're Not (Mayberry) New Online Books

Teaching What You're Not: Identity Politics in Higher Education (New York and London: New York University Press, 1996), ed. by Katherine J. Mayberry, contrib. by Nancy J. Peterson, Barbara Scott Winkler, Janet M. Powers, J. Scott Johnson, Jennifer Kellen, Greg Seibert, Celia Shaughnessy, Christie Farnham, Barbara DiBernard, Celeste Michelle Condit, Jacqueline Jones, Lavina Dhingra, Indira Karamcheti, Craig Heller, Robert S. Levine, Gary L. Lemons, Gerard Aching, Donna J. Watson, Mary Elizabeth Lanser, and Rene R. Curry (HTML with commentary at NYU Press)

Faith Born of Seduction (Manlowe) New Online Books

Faith Born of Seduction: Sexual Trauma, Body Image, and Religion (New York and London: New York University Press, 1995), by Jennifer L. Manlowe (HTML with commentary at NYU Press)

The Alien (Jones) New Online Books

The Alien: A Gripping Novel of Discovery and Conquest in Interstellar Space (Galaxy novel #6; New York: World Editions, c1951), by Raymond F. Jones (stable link)

The Hampdenshire Wonder (Beresford) New Online Books

The Hampdenshire Wonder (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1911), by J. D. Beresford (stable link)

Concordiensis New Online Books

Concordiensis (partial serial archives)

The Daily Tar Heel New Online Books

The Daily Tar Heel (partial serial archives)

Sol Rising New Online Books

Sol Rising: Newsletter of the Friends of Spaced Out Library (full serial archives)

Truth (Labouchere) New Online Books

Truth, contrib. by Henry Du Pr Labouchere (partial serial archives)

Amenophra, and Other Poems (Edkins) New Online Books

Amenophra, and Other Poems (Detroit: E. B. Hill, 1889), by Ernest Arthur Edkins (stable link)

A Journal of the Life, Gospel Labours, and Christian Experiences of That Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ, John Woolman, Late of Mount-Holly, in the Province of New Jersey, North America (Woolman) New Online Books

A Journal of the Life, Gospel Labours, and Christian Experiences of That Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ, John Woolman, Late of Mount-Holly, in the Province of New Jersey, North America (Warrington: Printed by T. Hurst, 1840), by John Woolman, ed. by James Cropper (stable link)

The Ho-o-den (Phoenix Hall) (Okakura) New Online Books

The Ho-o-den (Phoenix Hall): An Illustrated Description of the Buildings Erected by the Japanese Government at the World's Columbian Exposition, Jackson Park, Chicago (Tokyo: K. Ogawa, 1893), by Kakuzo Okakura (stable link)

A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (Stowe) New Online Books

A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin: Presenting the Original Facts and Documents upon Which the Story Is Founded Together with Corroborative Statements Verifying the Truth of the Work (Boston, MA: J.P. Jewett and Co.; et al., 1853), by Harriet Beecher Stowe (multiple formats at

Lima Gozosa (Manso de Velasco) New Online Books

Lima Gozosa: Descripcion de las Festibas Demonstraciones, con Que Est Ciudad, Capital de la Amrica Meridional Celebr la Real Proclamacion de El Nombre Augusto del Catolico Monarcha El Seor Don Carlos III (in Spanish; 1760), contrib. by Jos A. Manso de Velasco (multiple formats at

Looking Forward (Pedley) New Online Books

Looking Forward: The Strange Experience of the Rev. Fergus McCheyne (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1913), by Hugh Pedley (stable link)

The Tunnel (Kellermann) New Online Books

The Tunnel (New York: The Macaulay Co., 1915), by Bernhard Kellermann (multiple formats at

Typhoon (Lengyel) New Online Books

Typhoon: A Play in Four Acts (London: Methuen and Co., c1913), by Menyhrt Lengyel, trans. by Laurence Irving (stable link)

Die Deutschen Dominikaner im Kampfe Gegen Luther (1518-1563) (Paulus) New Online Books

Die Deutschen Dominikaner im Kampfe Gegen Luther (1518-1563) (bound with some other monographs, in German; Freiburg im Breisgau et al.: Herdersche Verlagshandlung, 1903), by Nikolaus Paulus (stable link)

An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America; To Which Is Prefixed An Historical Sketch of Slavery (Cobb) New Online Books

An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America; To Which Is Prefixed An Historical Sketch of Slavery ("volume 1" only volume published; Philadelphia: T. and J. W. Johnson; Savannah, GA: W. Thorne Williams, 1858), by Thomas Read Rootes Cobb (multiple formats at Google)

The Pallid Giant (Noyes) New Online Books

The Pallid Giant: A Tale of Yesterday and Tomorrow (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1927), by Pierrepont Noyes (page images at HathiTrust)

The Wind Between The Worlds (Brown) New Online Books

The Wind Between The Worlds (New York: Macmillan, 1920), by Alice Brown (stable link)

The Kingdom in the Sky (Brown) New Online Books

The Kingdom in the Sky (New York: Macmillan, 1932), by Alice Brown (page images at HathiTrust)

The Ecology and Sociology of the Norway Rat (Calhoun) New Online Books

The Ecology and Sociology of the Norway Rat (Public Health Service Publication #1008; Bethesda, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, 1963), by John B. Calhoun (page images at HathiTrust)

A Wine of Wizardry, and Other Poems (Sterling) New Online Books

A Wine of Wizardry, and Other Poems (San Francisco: A.M. Robertson, 1909), by George Sterling (stable link)

The Beales of Chester County, Pa. (Hitchens) New Online Books

The Beales of Chester County, Pa. (Brooklyn, NY: Abell Press, 1957), by Mary Beale Hitchens (page images at HathiTrust)

The Maryland Dents (Newman) New Online Books

The Maryland Dents: A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Judge Thomas Dent and Captain John Dent Who Settled Early in the Province of Maryland (Richmond, VA: Dietz Press, 1963), by Harry Wright Newman (page images at HathiTrust)

Clothing (Latzke) New Online Books

Clothing: An Introductory College Course (Chicago and Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., c1935), by Alpha Latzke and Beth Quinlan, ed. by Benjamin R. Andrews (page images at HathiTrust)

Terrania (Bradford) New Online Books

Terrania: or, The Feminization of the World (Boston: Christopher Publishing House, c1930), by Columbus Bradford (page images at HathiTrust)

History of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Kern) New Online Books

History of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Dayton, OH: A. Kern, 1918), ed. by Albert Kern (page images at HathiTrust)

De Anaxandrida Polemone Hegesandro Rerum Delphicarum Scriptoribus (Weniger) New Online Books

De Anaxandrida Polemone Hegesandro Rerum Delphicarum Scriptoribus (in Latin with extensive Greek quotations; 1865), by Ludwig Weniger (page images at HathiTrust)

The Messiah of the Cylinder (Emanuel) New Online Books

The Messiah of the Cylinder (Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Co., 1917), by V. R. Emanuel, illust. by Joseph Clement Coll (page images at HathiTrust)

The Tunnel (Kellermann) New Online Books

The Tunnel (London et al: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915), by Bernhard Kellermann (page images at HathiTrust; US access only)

Calcutta International Exhibition, 1883-84 (Victoria. Royal Commission for Victoria) New Online Books

Calcutta International Exhibition, 1883-84: Report of the Royal Commission for Victoria, at the Calcutta International Exhibition, 1883-84 (Melbourne, Australia: J. Ferres, Govt. printer, 1884), by Royal Commission for Victoria, contrib. by J. Bosisto (PDF at Stanford)

Suicide and Its Antidotes (Piggott) New Online Books

Suicide and Its Antidotes: A Series of Anecdotes and Actual Narratives, With Suggestions on Mental Distress (London: J. Robins and Co., 1824), by Solomon Piggott (stable link)


The Orangerie of the Chteau de Versailles, tienne Allegrain... The Lion of Chaeronea

The Orangerie of the Chteau de Versailles, tienne Allegrain and Jean-Baptiste Martin, ca. 1695   


Jewish Comedy Is Serious Business The Paris Review

From Nize Baby by Milt Gross (1928).


You want to hear a joke? Ill tell you a joke. Whats green, is nailed to the wall, and whistles?
I give up.
A herring.
A herrings not green!
Nu, you can paint it green.
But its not nailed to the wall!
You could nail it to the wall. If you wanted to.
  But a herring doesnt whistle!
All right, fine, so it doesnt whistle.

Or: I just threw in that part to confuse you.
Or: All right, all right, so its not a herring.
Or: What am I, some kind of herring expert? And on and on.

Is this joke, with its multiplicity of potential punch lines, a Jewish joke? And if so, why? Is it the syntax, with its faint Yiddish overtones? The slightly smart-ass sensibility? The comfort with its meta-jokiness, or, put another way, the subversive, near-parodic jab at the jokes very form? Is it the particular refusal to provide the closure of a punch line, which could be taken, by an overzealous interpreter, as a metaphor for a Jewish historical consciousness ever in wait for messianic redemption? Or is it just a joke about herring? While you think about that, heres a story about telling Jewish jokes. Its an old story, a tale of the Preacher of Dubno, an eighteenth-century Hasidic rabbi famous for his apt and witty parables. Asked by an admirer how he always managed to find such an appropriate parable for each and every sermon, he answered, not uncharacteristically, with another parable. He told the story of a general visiting his troops who was struck by the results of their target practice: while most of the chalk circles drawn as makeshift targets on the wall revealed your regular variety of hit-or-miss results, one showed nothing but bullseyesdead center,...


Cooking with Ivan Doig The Paris Review

Whipping up recipes from a fictional 1930s creek picnic.


Ivan Doigs characters take their food seriously. Doig (19392015), a canonical writer of the American West, was shaped by the effects of the Great Depression. His family were Scottish farmer-settlers. In his 1978 memoir, This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, Doig recounts his ancestors struggle to ranch the poor, high-altitude land of the Tierney Basin. It was a peculiar and maybe treacherous country where instead of homesteads, the land turned out to be landing sites, quarters to hold people until they were able to scramble away to somewhere else. In English Creek, the first novel in Doigs acclaimed McCaskill trilogy, the 1930s landscape is littered with abandoned farms. The thirteen-year-old narrator, Jick, cursed with a teenage boys appetite in a rural environment of relative scarcity, is always on the lookout for his next meal.

I find reading and rereading Doigs work to be a moral tonic. Its soothing to encounter a writer who values small communities, stewardship of the land, and the merits of human endeavor. He extracts meaning from the simplest thingsa teenage boys appetite, for exampleand when pleasure comes along for his characters, he celebrates it fully. Cooking to keep up with Doigs women, though, is a challenge. Heres a description, through Jicks hungry eyes, of a Fourth of July creek picnic prepared by his mother and a friend:

There were the chickens my mother spent part of the morning frying. Delectable young spring fries with drumsticks about the thickness of your thumb. This very morning, too, Toussaint had caught a batch of trout in the Two Medicine and now here they beckoned, fried up by Marie...

Friday, 13 October


365 Challenge: Day 215 Chill This Is My Truth Now

Chill: (a) amazing coolness in the air, (b) relax, (c) shiver up your spine when frightened, (d) what you do to a bottle of wine or champagne to celebrate


Todays 365 Daily Challenge word was both easy and cathartic. I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I awoke to such an amazing and beautiful temperature in my bedroom. It was chilly, but not from the air conditioner; I left a window open overnight and the cool air danced its way around me. I love autumn and this is the first day I actually felt like it was beginning to materialize. Ill forget that on Sunday it will be back up to 78, but then it drops and I will be a very happy guy. I can wear a light pair of pants and a v-neck tee, perhaps a comfy cardigan or sweater, and not feel like Im in the depths of hell. Hallelujah, the weather deities are on my side. Sorry to everyone who misses summer or is concerned about winters approach between Game of Thrones and this, you must be on high alert.

The word chill is also appropriate because W is back from a business trip and we will celebrate my books launch this week by chilling a few bottles of wine and champagne; we can celebrate the next step in my hopefully new and permanent career. Even Ryder might get a taste, although hes a Prohibitionist. He turns his nose up (literally and figuratively) whenever either of us has a drink. I often use it to keep him away from the dinner table when he begs for too many scraps. I bring my drink to his nose as if to give him a treat, but he gets all huffy and walks away, perturbed at my beverage choices....


Jonathan Franzen Says No The Paris Review


From Baking with Kafka, by Tom Gauld. Printed with the permission of Drawn & Quarterly.


Above All michaelwrites

feeling better comes from doing
merely being not quite enough
you need exercise and to move
in space talk with other people
then you have a chance to rise
above all terribleness and loss


Musashi Plain Moon (no. 91 from the series 100 Aspects of the... The Lion of Chaeronea

Musashi Plain Moon (no. 91 from the series 100 Aspects of the Moon), Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)


365 Challenge: Day 214 Alert (Are you an author?) This Is My Truth Now

Alert: a message notification for people to pay attention if you are an author



As many of you know from reading my blog, and hopefully not thinking Im posting too much about it, I published my debut novel this week. It is called Watching Glass Shatter and you can read more about it or purchase it @; however, thats not why todays 365 Daily Challenge post is about the word alert but instead because it is time for me to give back a little to a select group of my followers. Given how hard it is (I now know!) to publish and market a novel, Id like to help out my fellow authors by building a new weekly segment on my blog called Author Alert. Let me explain

It is extremely critical for both new and established authors to get as many book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (and other sites) as often and as soon as possible after their books are released. It helps with marketing, ratings and sales, as I am learning. Id like to establish a stronger team of authors on my blog who can support one another and share news and tips. On the flip side, I dont want to be repetitive with my 365 Daily Challenge posts, so this gives me an opportunity to find a word that represents the author and blog about them, similar to my former Ryder Recommends A Blogger segment which finished...


Still Life with Five Birds Nests, Vincent van Gogh,... The Lion of Chaeronea

Still Life with Five Birds Nests, Vincent van Gogh, September/October 1885


Henry Green Is As Good As His Word The Paris Review

Dean Cornwell, Options, 1917, oil on canvas.


Evelyn Waugh could push a joke to the outer edge of our ability to bear it, stopping just when laughter turns to tears, and hes had his imitators for the better part of a century now. So has Graham Greene, who blanched despair into a weary disillusionment; the contemporary thriller is inconceivable without him. Each of them added to the novelists grab bag of tricks. Their contemporary Henry Green didnt quite manage that. In such early novels as Living (1929) and Party Going (1939) he experimented with dropping out the definite articles in a way that gave his language a tense angularity, the nouns and prepositions grating on each other, uncushioned: Water dripped from tap on wall into basin and into water there. Sun. Water drops made rings in clear coloured water. Nobody followed him and he left no codifiable body of technique. But Green may have had something betternot followers but admirers, and admirers among all writers. Very little connects such disparate figures as Eudora Welty, John Ashbery, and John Updike, or indeed those who have introduced Greens other books in this series: little beyond their fondness for this strange elusive figure, not a model but an inspiration. Welty probably put it best. His work was ever changing and yet always the same, his books to an unusual degree unlike one another yet there could be no mistaking the hand [with its] power to feel both what can and what never can be said. Greens peers recognized his originality; thats achievement enough.

For a long time, though, it seemed as if only other writers had spotted him. In the early fifties, he was often described as the most innovative novelist in England; by the eighties, he looked always in need of introduction. His American editions went in and out of print, and I had to order his 1940 autobiography, Pack My Bag, from abroad; those of us who read him got a lot of practice in explaining who he was, the Green without an e. Or maybe not Green at all. He was born Henry Yorke, and rich, the younger son of a Gloucestershire landowner...


The Duration of Vexations The Paris Review

Erik Satie


Those who have undergone weeks-long silent-meditation retreats can attest to the power of durational focus. Stay with one thing long enough and miracles might occur. In mid-September, at East Londons Caf Oto, a venue known for avant-garde performances, the musician Charles Hayward presented 30 Minute Snare Drum Roll. The piece could not be more functional or self-explanatory in its title. What happened, however, in those eighteen thousand seconds of continuous drumming was the opposite of readily explicable.

A drumroll is a sonic metonym for anticipation, so much so that we use it verbally more often than we hear it literally. The phrase drumroll, please is an ironizing indication that what follows may fall short of spectacular but that it should nonetheless be eagerly awaited and greeted. Haywards feat subverted this notion. The preliminary, introductory flourish became the event itself. At Caf Oto, Hayward stood hunched over a single, spotlit drum as the seated audience was held rapt by the speed and precision and, most of all, duration of his playing.

Around the ten-minute mark, the drumroll began to take on the contours of a drone. Tones emergeda subtle chord sounding beneath or through the putatively pure rhythm. It became, in other words, its own melodic music. A few weeks later, toward the end of September, I saw another drumroll of sorts. This one lasted not a virtuosic thirty minutes but a mind-melting eighteen hours. Down in the bowels of the Guggenheim, twenty pianists took turns playing a short and generally neglected piece by the French composer Erik Satie.

Vexations comes with the stipulation that it be repeated 840 times. This may have been a throwaway jeer at Wagnerian pomposities of scale, but it also allows Vexations to be a thrilling precursor to the kind of late twentieth-century serial music we associate with John Cage and his contemporaries. Cage, in fact, unearthed and championed the piece in 1948, and in 1963 he staged a performance in New York. Several of those original performersPhilip Corner, David Del Tredici, Joshua Rifkin, and Christian Wolffreturned to take part in the musical relay of a recent Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon. Satie wrote...


Cincinnatus Leaving the Plow to Make Laws at Rome, Juan Antonio... The Lion of Chaeronea

Cincinnatus Leaving the Plow to Make Laws at Rome, Juan Antonio Ribera, 1806

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