Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Morning: Coffee, "My Funny Valentine," and Blogs

Coffee, with lots of hot milk, frothy.

Cold outside, very cold. Gulls skimming the Hudson, Brant Geese seeking shelter by the ferry landing.

"My Funny Valentine" -- the Miles Davis version.

And time to catch up on what others are saying. To savor and digest.

Three whose separate musings constantly inspire: Kate Castelli's Wandering But Not Lost,Sonya Taaffe's Myth Happens, and Leigh Batnick's Jezebel, Correspondence for the Vagabond Heart. Reading their daily entries is like reading Stefan Zweig or Borges, receiving a letter from Virginia Woolf or Marianne Moore, scanning the sketchbooks of Klee or Matisse.

Above is "A Field Guide to Airships," Castelli's February 4th entry--inspired by Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities.

Picking a recent post at random from Myth Happens, the January 23rd on Macbeth ("your eyes were glacial and your promises all rang true"): "The world of Macbeth is one of witches and worse things waiting, curses and prophesies and adynata that come, however slantwise—none of woman born, till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane—true. (I'm with Tolkien, however, in being disappointed that the actual wood does not go anywhere. I really expected it to, the first time I read Macbeth. It's like an entire forest of Chekhov's gun.) It's not the most supernatural play in the canon, but it's got to be up there. Ghosts and apparitions are not suspensions of disbelief, but factual as branches or blades. And words are spells. Our chief guest, all-thing unbecoming, a most indissoluble tie, this is performative speech. So don't command someone to dinner and then kill him, for the love of little green apples. Especially in a Scotland of völur, you're a fool if you think a man's death is a stronger bond than his word."

Or, at Jezebel ("bookworms, gin drinkers, slip off your satin slippers...I've been waiting for you"), the February 12th entry on the death of Alexander McQueen: "A ghost in your world, before you became a ghost in ours. The angels will be more beautiful than ever - a dressmaker for the cosmos is in their midst."

Elegies also for two other recently departed: Cat Rambo's "Goodbye to Kage Baker," February 4th in Fantasy Magazine, and Ambling Along the Aqueduct's Feb. 9th "RIP Phil Klass" (a.k.a. William Tenn).

Gary K. Wolfe in the current Locus (paper version, pg. 16, not sure if this has been posted online yet) captures my feeling perfectly: "Like many, I was never particularly anxious to see [Peter S.] Beagle return to the world of The Last Unicorn, which is one of those books that seems such a pristine emblem of youthful reading and discovering the possibilities of fantasy, that it just shouldn't be messed with..."

Check out: "Nice Makes Write: An Interview with Casey Wolf," by Robert Runte, Feb. 8th in Strange Horizons; Sharon Butler's coverage of the discussions at the College Art Association's annual conference, Feb. 13th at her Two Coats of Paint; Laila Lalami's Feb. 12th note on Monique Truong's debut novel; and Jonathan Jones in The Guardian, Feb. 11th on Gorky and Rothko: "they aspired to greatness – a quality almost no art nowadays believes it can attain. Some people call them pompous for that; I call them courageous."

To round out the morning, a haunting poem by Mitchell Douglas, "Poem of the Week" right now at Cave Canem, entitled "Midnight Hour." It opens:

"He plays when dreams come, when
the hour is as late as the moon
allows, when
ribbons of light
slice window panes, shine
for the sake of sight."

Go re-fill your coffee mug, put some more Miles in your headspace, and read the rest of the poem.


jezebel said...

It is Monday morning, I am drinking coffee, I am moved, upright, upside down by your post,I am thinking about The Reunion, about Miles, Trane, Bird, I am very late for our intergalactic Jan. 20th date.

Casey Wolf said...

Cheers for the link, Daniel.