Monday, November 07, 2016

 

i'm with her


We define ourselves and each other in so many different ways - mother, father, husband, wife, child, adult - by gender, orientation, race, profession, nationality, community, and so forth.  I won't speak for anyone else, but I believe that no one fits easily into any kind of a box or wears only a few labels.  Human beings are too complex for that, and I think most of us only get hints of our abilities and potential, and are happiest living on continuums of experience rather than being pigeonholed.  I know this is true for me, and yet I am wordy and I do like definitions, so here are a few of mine.  I keep these on my blog banner and I enjoy identifying with them: painter, reader, writer, bookseller.  On facebook and on my painting blog I add one more to that list: generally happy person.  I am also: an idealist, daydreamer, romantic, sister, daughter, wife, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, property owner, small business owner, nature lover, peace lover, cat lover, tree hugger, pantheist, feminist, liberal.  Democrat.  Mainer.  American.  

And tomorrow, another:  I am a VOTER.  Please, be one too!  Please vote!   It's so important! 

I am voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton.   

One last definition:  I am Sarah Faragher, and I approved this message.

;O) 

Monday, October 24, 2016

 

spending money on books


Again!  Help!  It keeps happening.  And I let it.  A brief break from Lees-Milne and Frances Partridge and diaries in general to speak instead of recent book purchases.  This weekend we visited a few local antiques shops, where used books are also known to lurk.  I bought some interesting but common books to browse in then resell, one inexpensive art book to read and keep, and one other, to read and treasure.  The last of these is this little item:


A hardcover first U.S. edition of one of Vita Sackville-West's books of poetry - King's Daughter (Doubleday, Doran 1930).  Black cloth covers, paper label on the front cover, with a lovely little device of two birds in a potted plant, which is repeated on the title page, and of course has me thinking something along the lines of A book in the hand is worth two in... the shop?  Back to the shop - we had circled the place, both floors, without finding anything we needed or wanted, then on our way out, in a glass case near the entrance, Ryan spotted this.  The only book in the case.  With a little flag that said signed by author.  I asked to see it, held it, wanted it, pined even.  Then I said I'd think about it, and handed it back to the proprietor.  We left the shop.  I was of course furiously thinking about it.  We got in the car and Ryan, prince that he is, immediately said, "I can't believe you're not going to buy that book!"  I looked straight ahead and said, to myself as much as to him, "I really should buy that book."  He said, "Get it, get it!"  So I walked back into the shop and said, "I thought about it.  I'll take it."  I wrote a check for a hundred and twenty bucks and we brought the book home to stay.

Sackville-West's travel and gardening books all survived the big book room sort/divestation of last month.  I love her travel narratives Twelve Days and Passenger to Teheran, and own a first U.S. edition of the former and a reprint of the latter.  Until now I had only seen her handwriting reproduced in other books, but here it is now, up close, in our very own home:


I am attempting not to gloat (it's not an attractive trait, is it? but still, justified sometimes...?).  Signed on the front free endpaper, inscribed to a student at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts when Sackville-West was speaking there.  On the pastedown Ms. Allen tipped in her bookplate, the glue of which has registered a faint ghost, but nothing major.  Bought and read on Saturday, admired on Sunday, and re-read on Monday.  I have a very long convoluted story, involving several books, a few people, and a certain place, about why Vita Sackville-West means a lot to me, above and beyond her writing, but I will save that for another day.  Meanwhile, I'm simply enjoying this new addition to the book room.  It's very thin and small, too, so it hardly takes up any shelf space.

But I almost forgot to mention the text itself, the contents!  The book contains poems mostly from a he to a she, or a she to a she, that point isn't specified.  Love poems they certainly are, however, and darkly sweet.  A taste (p.24):

"Onyx is counted black, and marble white;
Peaches that ripening hang on a sunny wall
Are counted soft and downy to their fall.

So may they be, yet I will not compare
Her heart to onyx, throat to marble fair;
Nor say, 'Beside her skin, are peaches rough.'
She is herself, and that shall be enough."

So, a bit of advice, for when you are hesitating, book in hand, thinking, This is self-indulgent, I don't need this book, I own so many already, and the money, o the money, what to do, what to do...  Give in.  Spending money is for spending.  BUY THE BOOK.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

 

words matter


"Diary-keeping is a difficult habit to break, and I must confess that I have failed to do so.  I take up the thread, therefore, where I left off."  (Everything to Lose:  Diaries 1945-1960, Frances Partridge, Gollancz 1985 p.11)

Since last we spoke, I finished my fall book-sort.  The books-about-books section wasn't as difficult as I had feared, in fact it was about the same as the other sections - the books I kept were mostly first-person accounts.  Of which I have many, by booksellers, publishers, librarians, collectors, printers.  It was altogether delightful to discover this, and visit once again with so many friends-on-paper.  Other books were easy to let go of, once I held them in hand and decided for myself.  I took away many cartons of books and even a few bookcases, and arranged them all in my book booth (at the antiques mall where I sell my books).  I have been doubly rewarded by a general feeling of lightness here at home, not to mention bookshelf-space, and above-average sales from my booth over the past month.  Both are most welcome.  Frankly, anything positive to keep my spirits up during this ridiculously offensive and depressing election cycle, I will accept with open arms.  I mean, really.  We don't need to go into it, do we...?  All I will say in that regard is that during the last debate, when He Who Shall Not Be Named said, "It's just words," regarding his taped descriptions of women and how to assault them, my blood may have actually boiled.  Oh, tra-la-la, only words.  As if what we say isn't indicative of who we are.  As if words do not incite actions.  As if... but I don't need to continue, other than to say that I cannot wait to vote and go from this slimy ordeal to whatever comes next.  (I hope with all my heart that it's not yet another slimy ordeal.)  Let's talk about words some more, and how much they matter.

All twelve volumes of the diaries of James Lees-Milne are behind me.  I feel like I should write a long comprehensive missive about their depth and tone and the thousand details that fascinated me throughout.  I took pages and pages of notes from them, about people mostly, and how he describes them, but I also transcribed sentences I love, and wonderful descriptions of places.  And in the later diaries, the final volumes, his process of aging, and losses of all kinds - their cumulative effect becomes a harrowing primer on growing old, yet remains oddly comforting, as he maintains his intellectual curiosity and myriad interests and friendships until the very end.  I may still write that long comprehensive missive, but not today.  Since I am already on to other things, namely the diaries of Frances Partridge.  I owned one odd volume (unread) from the set, and brought it to light after a kind blog-reader suggested that I might like to read them all.  (Thank you!  How right you are!)  They are the perfect follow-up to the Lees-Milne diaries, as they cover the same time span, and describe many of the same people.  Not to mention the fact that they knew each other.  But oh, the writers themselves are so different!  In a nutshell, Lees-Milne a conservative man, Partridge a liberal woman.  Both so very intelligent, but Partridge takes that particular cake, and then some.  Not that there needs to be a competition.  But even Lees-Milne says:

"I am finishing Fanny's latest diaries, which are of course splendid.  What an intelligent woman.... She makes my own diaries seem adolescent and low-brow."  (The Milk of Paradise:  Diaries, 1993-1997 p.128)

What he doesn't admire about her turns up in another of his diary entries, and tells us more about himself than about her:

"I find Fanny Partridge's diary riveting, especially as I knew most of those she consorted with.... She is a very good writer.... But the more I read the less I care for Fanny.  Her prejudices come through like vitriol - anti-God, anti-royalty, anti-upper class..."  (ibid p.53)

But I would expect him to say this, since his own diaries are often quite concerned with God, royalty, and the upper class.  (Generally speaking - he had religion, lost it, and possibly regained it; he admired the monarchy in general but doesn't spare the royals in his writing; he lives with and observes the upper class, constantly).  Anyway, I love this reading transition I am making, from Lees-Milne to Partridge, it feels perfectly right and suited to our own times, and I am already well into volume two of Partridge's diaries.  The first volume, A Pacifist's War (Universe Books 1978), covers the years of World War II, and her life with her husband Ralph Partridge, at their house, Ham Spray.  They were conscientious objectors, and spent most of the war years farming, raising livestock, taking in refugees and friends, raising their young son, and trying to maintain their beliefs in music, art, reading, and intellectual life, in the face of war.

She wins my heart with her writing, time and time again.  This from 1940: 

"A long conversation with R. about the French Revolution, Napoleon, Hitler, and so forth.  I am now in the last volume of Walpole's Letters, and his horror of the violence and savagery across the Channel made me realise what it must have been like having it going on year after year.  H.W. was so affected that he felt there must be something radically wrong with the French nation never before suspected, some monster blood in their veins.  (Just in fact what people are now saying about the Germans.)"  (A Pacifist's War p.57)

And this from 1949:

"This evening after much cogitation I began reading Madame de Sévigné's letters.  I am so tired of reading bad books, and books (Cyril) Connolly says I ought to like and I don't.  It is heartening to embark on these fourteen stout volumes of reality."  (Everything to Lose p.83)      

I could say the same about her books, here and now.  And there is so much more I could write!  I mean, I have seven books by other people on the bedside table right now, in various states of readerly unfinishedness, but you'd never know it, because all I want to do is keep right on reading Frances Partridge.  Since she knows words.  She has the best words!  Oh wait, we seem to be straying into the thicket of politics once more.  But I'll let her have the final say.  She speaks so eloquently about words in this passage, written after reading Virginia Woolf's essays (ibid p.65):

"How tired I get of being imprisoned in my own vocabulary - the words I choose to fit my thoughts into when talking or writing.  If it had no other purpose, reading would be enjoyable for the change alone."

Monday, September 19, 2016

 

a reasonable number of books


A report from the trenches, from the front lines of recurring book-love:  once again I am sorting the book room.  Cleaning, culling, reorganizing, reshelving.  Moving entire subjects to new places, and merging others.  Every fall I seem to get this urge to clean house, literally and figuratively.  Some years I act on that feeling and this is one of those years.  Over the past two weeks I have culled several hundred books from my various collections.  I came to this pass after seeing stacks of books on the floor and thinking that I just couldn't stand this state of affairs for one more day.  Seriously.  Had it.  Because I would like bookshelves with enough space to accept new arrivals now and then.  An equitable flow of incoming and outgoing.  A not-needing to hold on to every little thing I have ever read or been interested in.  A reasonable number of books.  I would like to walk into the book room and feel pleasure and comfort and not anxiety nor admonition.  And the only way to reach such ideal circumstances is to weed out the languishing titles, as the new ones arrive.  Those books I read and didn't love, those I love but don't need to keep forever, those I loved once but love no longer, those I meant to read someday and am now realizing that that day may never come and you know what, that is perfectly fine.  The book police are not going to show up at my door and write me tickets for not having read these books, or those books, or that stack of books over there.  Which, for the record, I did keep handy, for years - just in case.  I realize this may have a lot to do with the passing on of my biological father last winter, who was so well-read it was frankly devastating, and whose shadow I was well aware of, even though he did not darken my door often.  Sigh.

It was slow going, but during several rainy days and even some sunny ones, I unshelved, cleaned, and sorted out almost all of my books here at home.  Some of these sections haven't moved since we brought them here, when we bought this house, so it was an undertaking.  I did a few things I'd wanted to do for a long time, chiefly integrating memoirs and essays with literature and fiction, so all an author's books are now together, one one big wall, alphabetically, with books written about them, too.  I also ransacked the travel and history sections, taking away most of the books therein, and then gave my art and poetry books significantly more room to breathe, since they are what I want more of, in general.  I kept only one shelf of religion and spirituality, trying to stick to what I love best - first person accounts of spiritual experience (akin to the art and poetry books - direct accounts of how people manage, in this world of ours), along with seminal religious texts that I find meaningful, from various cultures.  Other sections suffered similar fates - in the realms of house and home I kept only my very favorite books, on gardening, cookery, birds and animals and natural phenomena, and architecture.

The areas I had the most trouble with were the oddities, the unclassifiable stuff, family books, gifts, and the sections I used to love but find myself no longer even glancing at.  (Ryan said, "But they're old friends...!"  Oh, the heartbreak!)  Seriously, though, some books are impossible to part with, and you know, I'm not going to, because I don't want to!  Like these:

Books inscribed to me by authors I met when I worked in a new-book store, twenty years ago.        

The book with my great-grandmother's name inside the front cover, written in her own hand (and many other such books, from family members on both sides, going way back).

The book my grandfather was awarded as a school prize, with a very nice bookplate stating such (a two-volume set of Virgil).

A book specially bound as a wedding gift for my grandparents, with their initials in gilt on the slipcase.

The book written by my first boyfriend (based on his PhD - he sent me a copy, thirty years later).

My favorite children's books, which I still read and love wholeheartedly.

A book signed by Lillian Gish.

A book signed by Hedy Lamarr.

The big sets I have read and loved over the past several years - Pepys, Byron, Mark Twain, Samuel Johnson and James Boswell.  Horace Walpole.  And now James Lees-Milne,  And, on order from booksellers around the globe as we speak, the diaries of Frances Partridge (I own one, and another volume arrived in the mail this morning, and the rest are on approach - she is my next reading project when I finish Lees-Milne, which will be soon).

A few in this category - oddities, let's say - I didn't find it that hard to part with after all.  Such as:

The book inscribed to me by someone who wished to be a boyfriend, long ago (even though he told me, shortly before we parted ways forever - I kid you not - "I can't imagine that you could bring any gifts to our relationship that would equal what I would bring."  I just looked at him.)

The book I found in my book booth, a duplicate of one given to me by another old friend, I won't say old flame since we weren't, but it contained a note saying, in effect, "This better not be the copy I gave you!"  (It wasn't, but jeeze, so much pressure!  Well, guess what.  Shelf space is at a premium here.  Off with its head!)

Books written by my other grandfather, who was a terrible parent to one of my parents, and I decided I didn't need him looming around my library any longer, just because we happened to be related.

Some books I am still on the fence about, so am keeping for now:

My much-less-than-half-read set of Proust (hardcover Modern Library editions), which takes up so much shelf space, and does seem to admonish me from time to time.

The very few books I have kept as investments - some signed books, one valuable set, a few first editions, various antiquarian items - nothing amazing, just great books quietly accruing value as they age.

The Oxford English Dictionary, the "compact" edition in slipcase, with the magnifying glass in its little drawer, since I was raised to believe that a house was not a home without an OED, although come to think of it I haven't used it for anything other than a doorstop in years, and I am on the lookout for irritating signs of childhood conditioning, but still, don't we all want an OED on hand if the zombie apocalypse actually comes to pass?

These are the kinds of questions I ask myself, one by one, with book in hand, while I sort through what I own.  It's raining today, so I took a look at the other place we keep a lot of books - the junk room, really, since we have no basement or attic storage to speak of - in which I have two large bookcases full of books about books.  I approached them this afternoon with a sidelong look of despair, thinking of what they represent to me, the bookseller I'd hoped to be, the bookseller I did not become, the wonderful old boys' club that was the book world of the past, something I'd wanted to join but came to too late.  I made and continue to make other choices, which are my own and which I do not regret in the least.  I had my shop, and did the best I could, then moved on.  Still, I love these books about the trade!  Books about publishers, printers, booksellers, bookshops, type, bindings, great collections.  It's going to be a challenge to decide what to keep. 

More questions.  What do I want to have around, want to live with?  What do I want to read and re-read?  What is reasonable and comfortable in a house this size?  How many books is too many?  I haven't yet counted what remains but I soon will, after I tackle this last subject.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

 

editing the self


A few days ago I finished reading the aforementioned Untold Stories by Alan Bennett (Picador 2005).  The last essay in the collection, after many other essays and a big section of his diary entries, is a fairly detailed account of the discovery of and treatment for and recovery from cancer.  One of the things that blew my mind about the entire thing was his secrecy about it all, while it happened.  For example, in the essay he quotes a few of his own diary entries from that harrowing time.  Yet earlier in this same book, and out in public in the London Review of Books before that, his diary entries appear, I thought, in full.  But no.  In those versions, he edited out any reference whatsoever to his cancer.  I flipped back in the book and looked at surrounding diary entries from that year, when he was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, and found it mind-boggling that he presented everyday events as they occurred, while completely leaving out the biggie, the thing that must surely have been occupying much of his copious brain space, not to mention his time.

But that was of course his choice, as he explains in the final essay in the book.  Since he didn't want to be known as a cancer patient, or anything else in particular, for that matter.  Didn't want to call attention to himself, didn't want the headlines and attendant stress, didn't want to put himself forward in that role, wanted to be able to be a private person, even as he remained a very public person indeed.  But - and this is the point of the entire book and its title - here are some of the events in his life that he hadn't mentioned, until now.

I have so much respect and affection for him, as a writer and person, and when I finished this wonderful compendium I actually kissed the front of the book and quietly said Thank you.  Then (finally! after a two-month hiatus!) returned to the diaries of James Lees-Milne and proceeded to feel a bit petulant that they weren't more of Alan Bennett's, which I really want to continue reading.  Because even while I love them, I recognize that Lees-Milne's have a tone, on paper - something like conservative persnicketyness - that gets under my skin.  Only a little, like a tiny splinter.  Since his diaries are fascinating and entertaining, and he's honest about who he is, even though he too edited out some major life events, when he was alive to edit his own diaries.  He's no Alan Bennett, though, who seems to be an ideal writer for the likes of me.  His diaries remind me of Michael Palin's.  They have a friendly honesty, and some slight subversiveness to balance out what could seem like too much cheerfulness, if I didn't also recognize a tendency toward melancholy (which I identify with).  Palin a definite up, Bennett a slight downbeat.  But I feel like I could happily keep reading them both for years and years.  And so I hope they keep writing their diaries and publishing them for years and years. 

I'd love to hear from others about this - do you keep a diary?  Or did you?  If you stopped, how and why did you stop?  Did you begin again?  Or would you like to start but haven't yet?  I kept one as a child, then again in college, then stopped for several years in my late 20s, then began again and am still writing today.  And plan to continue indefinitely.  Michael Palin has written a sweet note for would-be diary-keepers.  And made a goofy video too.  I know from my own experience that what goes into a diary isn't what gets written on a blog.  Many things I've written about extensively only in my diary - really to exhaustion - and I can't imagine they would interest anyone else, so they never make it to the blog as a subject or even as a hint.  Nothing terrible or tragic, I don't think - just run-of-the-mill life events, so don't worry about that!  More like, notes about each of the paintings I make, as I make them, a gazillion quotes from the books I read, as I read them, and family events and suchlike (okay, some terrible and tragic, but that's life) - things that are other people's business, and I respect that and don't want to air anyone's laundry in public, even in a small way such as this.  And, all my deep thoughts, about life, the universe, and everything - I mean, omg, ugh!  Helps me to put it down, I know, and I've gotten into the habit, and it feels natural and good to do so.  But the unedited self can be a bit much at times!  Well, diary, or no diary?  Handwritten or electronic?  Am finding myself curious about what other people do, in this day and age...

Friday, August 26, 2016

 

the end?


The blog habit is a hard one to break.  I have tried and failed a few times and apparently here we are once more.  Are blogs over?  It seems so, but it feels akin another question I hear sometimes, namely, Is painting dead?  I answer, if only to myself:  painting never; blogs perhaps, but writing never.  August is nearly done and I have painted and read and written less than I'd hoped to, all month long.  I have, however, read two books that I cannot contain myself about any longer and so here I am to mention them somewhere other than merely in my diary.  Which I do write in, regularly, but which doesn't offer much in the way of reciprocity in the realms of empathy or community.  Instead it just shows me more of myself, which frankly I am sick of at the moment.  Anyway.  The books in question.  Both are from the library sale haul I wrote about a few months ago.  I finally picked them up in turn and thought Read this now

The first is Pat Conroy's collection of bookish essays, My Reading Life (Nan A. Talese 2010).  I had never read anything of his before, none of his sagas, no fiction whatsoever, none of his memoirs.  But a good book about books I am always up for and this one sure does shine brightly.  All the essays therein are about books, reading, his family and education, and his writing life, but one of the best deals with a bookshop (p.110):

"...by accident, I had discovered the nerve center of my deliverance in a nondescript bookstore in Atlanta.... Thousands of books roared out my name in joyous welcome when I entered that shop for the first time."

He elaborates (p.111):

"Books are living things and their task lies in their vows of silence.  You touch them as they quiver with a divine pleasure.  You read them and they fall asleep to happy dreams for the next ten years.  If you do them the favor or understanding them, of taking in their portions of grief and wisdom, then they settle down in contented residence in your heart."

My Reading Life is a delight and almost convinces me to read War and Peace, so fervent is his chapter on repeatedly doing just that.  A sample (p.271):

"On the third reading, I found that spending time between the pages of War and Peace was one of the most compensatory pursuits I had ever discovered."

Another (p.274):

"...this novel will make you dizzy with joyous affection for the people you will meet on these pages."

And again, as if we remain in any doubt (p.281):

"Over the years, many critics have said that War and Peace is not even a novel, and they may be right.  Whatever it is, there has never been anything close to touching it.  It stands alone.  A star in the east.  Magnificent.  One of a kind.... I envy the young man or woman picking up this book for the first time more than any reader in the world."

Okay, okay, I'll get to it!  He out-effuses every other book reviewer or critic I have ever come across.  A noble feat.  I have a recent translation of War and Peace, should I read it this winter?  I want to, and I wonder if I actually will.  I did read another Pat Conroy book, after finishing My Reading Life.  His memoir about teaching black children at a tiny school on an island off South Carolina, The Water is Wide (originally published in 1972, still in print, I read a recent softcover edition).  Pretty rough, pretty fantastic.  Not like anything else I've ever read, it left me wanting much more.    

The second book I feel compelled to mention is Untold Stories by Alan Bennett (Picador 2005) - over 650 pages, the middle section of which is made up of his diaries from 1996-2004.  The next installment (diaries 2005-2015) will be published in the U.K. in late fall and in the usual way of things I cannot wait but will have to, unless I want to read bits online, since his diary entries have been published annually by the London Review of Books.  Apparently it's no good having set aside my reading of James Lees-Milne's diaries, since here he is in Alan Bennett's diaries.  Not James Lees-Milne himself, but his diaries, since Alan Bennett is re-reading them himself and mentions the fact in his own diary.  I am lost in diary-heaven!  The volume of Lees-Milne I left off with is still sitting on my bedside table, by the way, and has been all summer.  Even though it's on the bottom of the pile I won't forsake it much longer, I know.  Meanwhile Alan Bennett unknowingly provides me with the impetus to continue my blog, even if only sporadically, when he writes (p.179):

"Diaries lengthen the days.  To read back over a year when nothing much seems to have happened is often to be nicely surprised.... A diary is undoubtedly a comfort.  I feel better for having it written down, however hard the experience."  (p.179)

I look back in my own diaries and again here in this edited online version, and I must say I cringe sometimes, but at the same time I regret nothing!  A funny paradox.  Perhaps I have reached the stage of life where I'm no longer embarrassed by myself and my literary and artistic attempts and aspirations.  Not certain about that point yet, but there are glimmerings at least.  I don't know if I can bear to leave good books un-talked about, or diary entries unwritten, or paintings unpainted.  By me, I mean - tons of people are doing all that stuff, all over the place.  But I am talking about mustering up the bravery to make my own particular contributions, slowly, over time.  So I muddle along, and my work piles up as it usually does.  The older I get the more I think that these small day-to-day attempts are all that there is - they accumulate and may become something bigger or may not, but all start with the small choice, on any given day:  This happened; I have feelings about it and here they are.  You know?

Back to Alan Bennett, whose voice is so different from Pat Conroy's - reticence versus boldness perhaps, or even more simplistically, British versus American.  The essays in Untold Stories are terrific, and his diaries are compulsively good reading.  I want them to go on forever and dread that they won't.  Here is an example, perfect in my eyes - one entry from 1997 in its entirety.  Perfect purely for itself and also for that early-fall feeling, much in evidence around here, not to mention blackberrying, which I have been doing myself, along the roadsides of our small Maine town.  I'll leave you with this passage, which has everything I love most in prose - the decidedly rural, in contrast with the urban, where Bennett also lives; painterly colors and evocative repetitions of imagery; outward circumstances echoing inward feeling (p.217):

"15 September, Yorkshire.  Blackberrying up Black Bank, taking with me one of Miss Shepherd's old walking sticks.  Huge clusters of berries so that one can gather them almost by the handful.  Never so utterly at peace as when picking blackberries or looking for mushrooms, the spread of Ingleborough and Pennyghent still sunny while black clouds gather over Morecambe.  A flock of sheep comes up the road and won't pass me until I stand in the ditch.  The pretty farm girl who is bringing up the rear seems almost as reluctant to pass as the sheep, just giving me a shy 'Hello' and running on.  A mountain ash tree, weighed down with huge swags of crimson berries, catches the last of the sun.  It's like something by Samuel Palmer; paint it as bright and glowing as it is and it would seem like a vision."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

 

epilogue


Gorgeous summer is in full bloom around here.  I am working and working and working some more, at painting mostly, and various other projects.  For one, I've been putting together a small book of my watercolors, with some text, and I hope to finish it later this year.   Because of all this busyness, many other things and experiences have fallen by the wayside, at least temporarily.  I cannot, I find, do it all, much less do it all well.  So I am saying no to many things, in real life and virtually.  Especially virtually - screen time of any kind has become less and less pleasurable for me in recent months.  So I am letting myself off the hook and taking an extended break, here, for the foreseeable future.  Besides, my reading life is languishing - right now I read art books and look at the pictures, mostly, and have made no more headway in the diaries of James Lees-Milne.  Much less in any other books.  And my bookselling life, well, that has slowed to a veritable crawl.  Thus with no book news to report, I feel as if this so-called book blog has become as a field of chirping crickets.  Pleasant, distracting - to myself if not to anyone else.  Gentle noise.  When I am in need of quiet.  After more than ten years of sharing my life in books, I am content to call it a day.  Rest assured that I will return if and when I have anything of note to discuss.  Because it has been a great joy to write and communicate openly with other readers and book lovers, in this way, and the fact of that will never change.  Thanks for reading what I have written.  Thanks for talking with me about those wonderful papery-magic objects-that-are-more-than-objects that we all love.  Doing so has lifted my heart during many dark days and brought further illumination to many already sunny days.  I appreciate it more than you will ever know.  Please keep seeking out and reading wonderful books.  I promise to do the same. ♥ 

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