Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012.12.25 — Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor: Finished & a Triptych of Small Fushigis*

Timothy Taylor
Stanley Park
Toronto:Random House Canada ISBN 9780307363596.

Began 2012.11.27
Finished 2012.12.23


I have a dream, chef and struggling restaurant owner Jeremy Papier avers. I want my restaurant to bring the hyper-industrialized, homogenized, world back to its roots: food, specifically, that which is grown locally.

And so he gets his dream when, through struggling to find his own family's roots, he begins to cook the wildlife of Vancouver's Stanley Park: the squirrels, starlings, ducks, geese, raccoons. His first park repast was with his father. They dined on the duck that his father had caught. Eventually Jeremy began to feed a collective of the homeless living in the park. His father, 'The Professor,' is a social anthropologist who, in doing this project, his last, has gone back to finish where he began his career. He is exploring his own and the city's roots by choosing to live amongst the homeless who reside beneath the forest's canopy, hidden from the city's eyes that are too busy to see them. He is exploring what it is that are the ties, the roots, that bind people to homelessness. During the course of the book, this sub-theme comments that, in some ways, these people are more closely connected to their environment, more alive if you will, than the grasping many who have big houses, but spend most of their time feeling alienated and disconnected from their lives.

But the protagonist is Jeremy, and his dream falls apart when his self-destructive impulse purchase of a $3000 knife cuts the final threads of his credit card kiting. With creditors hounding him, he turns to the international coffee czar to save him and his dream. But a czar doesn't live the dreams of others, and in an elegance only a wealthy thug can envisage, he steals Jeremy's dream and twists it into an ungrounded international smorgasbord.

What would any creative and daring Chef do to see his dream survive beneath the tyranny of the condescension of wealth?

And so Taylor writes a complex and elegant fugue that explores the roots of family and food. This is an engaging delightful and complex read. I highly recommend it.

Fushigi Triptych
During the course of my reading SP it joined me to participate in several small fushigis. Some I've already blogged. See 2012.12.15 — Bonfire of the Vanities, and 2012.12.01 — Anna Russell and Kris Boyd and Lamb Stew: Three Tiny Fushigis. But three small ones, collectively, have crept up in the final pages that have moved me enough to blog them as one.

Third One First.
… There was a great quantity of Scotch going down and many, many cigars being waved around.

Olli was offered a Scotch with this very thought, leaning back in his chair thinking about it and watching through the front window as Kiwi hailed a cab and disappeared into the night. Just thinking about that and a voice next to his ear said: "Scotch, sir?"

"What do you have?" he asked by mistake.

"Glenmorangie, Loch Dhu, Balvenie, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinkchie, Cragganmore, Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Macallan, Laphroaig, Connemara, Glenhaven and Sheep Dip."

They didn't even have Glenfiddich (393).
What makes this interesting is that the day before I read this I was sent out to buy a bottle of Scotch for our upcoming party. I don't drink Scotch, and so many years ago a friend recommended that a good one to have on hand for Scotch drinking guests is Talisker. Alas, my local liquor store no longer stocks it. So, after talking with the sales rep, she suggested Glenmorangie. To the best of my remembrance, I've never seen nor heard of either of these scotches before.

The Second One Second. A little earlier in the book, I read:
"It really looks . . . dramatic," Margaret said, moving on. But Jeremy just kept stroking his chin and scratching his ear, glancing around the room. He looked pale; had he lost weight? (369)
Well, earlier that day I read the stories in the WSS's weekly short story contests: Week 148: Witchcraft. In it, Tim has written an excellent story called Darrens. Here's the first paragraph:
I walk the one hundred twenty three steps from my desk by the elevators to the cafeteria and congratulate myself on not having thought about her. Unfortunately, this involves thinking about her. I touch my left earlobe with my right index finger.
Initially this wasn't strong enough to blog, even as the second of two funny fushigis.

First One Last. Okay, not the first first in this book, but the first since the last time I blogged a fushigi from this book. This one started on December 18th. Again, in the WSS, but this time in the TPBM (The Person Below Me) thread, when M posted # 2397. He wrote:
TPBM sometimes gets chocolate on the keyboard.

The following day ML called up from the living room. She was impressed by a computer tech pre-Christmas 'news' story that covered, amongst other things, a kid-proof computer keyboard.

The following day, when I recommenced perusing Stanley Park I was amused to read:
Angela's idea [for her own restaurant] was Grazer, a high-concept tapas Web bar. Satay, tofu spears, samosas and slivers of super-fusion designer pizza. Caviar and quail egg was mentioned. The Web part centred on the stand-up tables with shelves for the tapas dishes and pop-up, active-matrix, flat screens. Waterproof touch-pad keyboards (324).
By itself, not worthy of noting as a fushigi, but first of three in a row.

I debated about including this, but… well, here it is. A little earlier, on the 17th, in post #2380 of TPBM thread I wrote:
Thank you Al and Christa for your confidence in my writing! OMG, now I'm feeling so much pressure! Me and my big fat mouth! I'm having trouble breathing.... [clunk a;ldkfja;sdlkfha;sdofja;sldfjka;sdfjka;sdfjka;sdfkjas;dfjas;dlfjas;dflkasdf — oops, sorry about that. Head fell forward onto keyboard.]
End of Fushigi Triptych.

Book Review Resumes and Closes — an extended citation
Here is a passage I flagged while reading SP to include in my blog book review.
"Shitty week," Jeremy snapped. But he stopped at that, because in the Professor's eyes, those impervious eyes, there was a colour that he recognized. A shade of bruising. A shade of vulnerability. He lowered his voice. "How is Caruzo?"

"Sends his best."

Jeremy steadied himself.

The Professor spoke first. "There was a woman in the park on the day they died."

Jeremy dropped his head. God.

"She saw something that day... someone..."

Jeremy turned and stepped into the street. The Professor remained on the grass. He held the last inch of his park. "The two are meant to be together," he said, talking to Jeremy's back. "Just as the two were drawn from the same soil, so too must the same soil hold them...."

The strange words.

Jeremy spun, standing in the middle of the empty nighttime street. From her expensive apartment window high in the concrete and glass monolith behind them, had the resilient old lady of the West End risen for a nocturnal glass of grapefruit juice just then, she might have looked down and seen a small, charged scene on her quiet street. A rumpled figure, tired, authoritative, holding court on the grass by the curb, his arms crossed, his head back looking at the sky. And opposite him, a leaner, younger frame of a discernibly similar type, angular, also in black, hands in his jacket pockets rigidly, critically, dubiously. Staring at the older cast of himself.

"From the file in the library," Jeremy said.

The Professor pantomimed applause.

"And if you've read it," Jeremy went on, "may I ask why I—"

"Because you are a part of what is going on here."

Jeremy stared. He didn't want to know. He plunged.

"I accepted an offer." Even to his own ear, the words clanked coldly out into the night air between them, but he couldn't have predicted that the statement would bring the Professor's arms limply to his sides, that it would pull him a step forward. Out of the park. Onto the curb. Into the gutter. The Professor was staring at his son, his blood. Standing in the street, in the city. "Oh, you have made such a mistake."

"It's a good deal. It gives me freedom."

"Freedom. So many things done in this name."

Freedom from debt, Jeremy tried to say, but the Professor was looking past him now. Over his shoulder and up between the buildings. Beyond. He was whispering.

"Too often, I think, the desire for freedom masks the desire for destruction."

The words a thin stream. A last breath.

"You want to destroy everything around you, everything you have created for yourself or been given by others. To be free."

Tapering. Diminishing. Losing angularity, presence, power.

"Natural for you, perfectly natural," the Professor whispered. "Natural to refuse the key that is given. To be blind in the darkness of knowing. To be filled with a dark light that we must shine on the people around us. A light that makes us weep and pull down our own houses."

The wind spoke in the cherry trees, a hissing speech through purple leaves and thin black branches. The city hummed, hypnotic. Winding through the deepest part of a Wednesday night.

"Come stay with me," Jeremy said. He could hardly hear his own words. "Do your research but sleep in a bed. Write your notes at a table. You could shave."

"Stay involved," the Professor said. Back. Alert. "Stay interested."

No second for an answer. He turned. He descended the hill at a determined trot. He threaded through the cherry trees, from the branches of which hung the fruits of their joint linkage to this place.

Around the lagoon went the Professor, dwindling down, then swallowed by the darkness (195-7).

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012.12.23 — Lullaby for Pi: Movie Review

Have you seen the small independent film Lullaby for Pi? No? Well, no surprise. This joint Canada / France production (2010) has received a rating of 6.2 from a whopping 205 raters in IMDb. But, more interestingly, a total of 0 (zero) viewer and critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I found a French critic's review: Nicolas Gilli, which is on a France-based web-page and is in, no surprise, French. Nothing in the (English) Wikipedia. A Google search will bring up a couple of reviews, for example, The Hollywood Reporter's castigation that LFP is
… a ludicrous romance so full of clichés and forced whimsy that it is nearly unwatchable.

Basically, this is a movie that for all intents and purposes, doesn't quite exist. I don't remember having heard anything about the movie, but came across it by accident while flipping through the movie listings on TV. And that is a shame! Okay, it hasn't gone completely unnoticed, as the tumblr people seemed to like it, and their blog is filled with images.

Synopsis: young brilliant musician goes into a deep depression with the death of his wife and stops music. Instead he spends his time in the hotel room where he first met her, waiting for her to call. A young woman, who doesn't want him to see her face and who lost several years of her youth to being in a coma, forms a friendship with him through the bathroom door. And, like magic, and with the help of the kindly chess playing hotel desk man, the two eccentric people tentatively and quirkily begin to live. He, again, she for the first time.

And it is the quirkiness that I can see being a thumbs down for some. Why? I've been struggling to articulate my thoughts, but it comes to what may be an odd split in the human population between those who delight in Magical Realism versus those who delight in cartoon violence or the un-magical realism of saccharine sentimental (happy / sad) movies. The emotional life of the characters is brought forward in the storytelling through exaggerated setting and character. So the young woman struggling to find her place in the world hides in the bathroom of the man having lost his place. Each have erected a wall between themselves and the world which, by the magic of life, is embodied in the locked bathroom door.

And thus we see a visual metaphor dance around the theme of finding/losing/rediscovering one's voice. The metaphor is re-enforced with the subplot of the young musician who has to struggle to keep his own musical voice while it is being excoriated by the good-intentioned father.

And, in the best of a magical realism typical of many Canadian writers, such as Barbara Gowdy and Margaret Atwood, the theme is explored in different ways. The young woman begins to find her voice using mute media: she uses film frames clipped from the movies she's paid by a theatre company to project and, with a kind of homage to Timothy Findley's novel Famous Last Words, journal writing on the wall of her loft that she would paint over until the day she met Sam…

This is a fun movie. The directing kept it light, and the performances by the leads are engaging and don't fall into maudlin sentimentality. Forest Whitaker as their unassuming spiritual guide was perfect in the role. The filmography is good and contributes to the story with its own subtle quirkiness. And the music is also excellent. As is noted, Charlie Winston contributes perfectly to the sound track, including Rupert Friend's extemporaneous blues/jazz 'hit' I'm in Love With a Bathroom.


Benoît Philippon
Actors: Andre Richards, Clémence Poésy, Colin Lawrence, Dewshane Williams, Forest Whitaker, Matt Ward, Rupert Friend, Sarah Wayne Callies

Finally, in the most peculiar and delightful of ways, LFP participated in a delicious as Pi fushigi on the day I watched the movie.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012.12.15 — The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe: Finished in 1992(?) and Fushigi*

I wrote a review of Bonfire of the Vanities on 2012.12.14 to post on Goodreads. When I wrote it I was going to leave it there because I read BotV in the early 90s and because I felt
compelled to wrote a contrary voice to the effusive praise and awards this book has undeservedly received. I finished editing and posting the 'Goodreads' review around 1am.

Before you get to read the review, however, I'll introduce the remarkable fushigi. This morning, I resumed my perusal of Stanley Park by Canadian (Vancouver) writer, Timothy Taylor (ISBN 9780307363596).
At the bottom of the page where against which my mark sat were the words Will Work For Food in italics. Here's the paragraph that that text finishes:
He stood and approached this tree-like diorama and began to examine its leaves and branches. There were childhood pictures, here. There, a wedding picture he had not seen before. The Pelikan pen itself Scotch-taped to the wall in a cluster that included a letter from the dean of anthropology approving extended sick leave. A page torn from Will Work for Food (276).
Now that, as it turns out, is a remarkable fushigi because of what I didn't include in my review of Bonfire of the Vanities.

Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe. Macmillan. ISBN: 9780312427573 or ISBN10: 0312427573.


Here's the review I wrote:

This was one of the few books I've read because of the chit chat around it. The movie, which I felt had potential but which I thought was ultimately a directorial failure, was the final element that brought me to pick this book up. I was curious at how the movie failed and needed to read the book to see if my impression that it was a directorial failure was accurate or not. My reading that book did not answer that question with any certainty because BotV has become one of the touch stone books marking me as an outsider to the society
within which I live. Its award winning popularity is a complete mystery to me. Poorly written, it has uninteresting characters and characterization espousing a heavy handed superficial morality — sort of. My few observations of Wolfe in book interviews did not in any way dissuade me that he is an overrated wind-bag, filled with ego and hubris and little of what I would consider critical intelligence. It struck me that he was an advocate of American hegemony both domestic and foreign.

So, with that in mind it was with surprise and even fascination that I read a Tom Wolfe encomium of American domestic practices under Reagan get severely castigated by Noam Chomsky. In his satirically way, Chomsky basically puts Wolfe's social commentary into the ranks of the rantings of a delusional apologist for the greed-based policies that successfully impoverished the majority to the benefit of the very few. So, in a perversion of a 'proper' book review, here is a taste of Chomsky chastising Tom Wolfe — note, I hadn't even heard of Chomsky before reading BotV:

What the [economic] "paradox" [in 1992 of a 'Weak Economy but Strong Profits'] entails for the general population is demonstrated by numerous studies of income distribution, real wages, poverty, hunger, infant mortality, and other social indices. A study released by the Economic Policy Institute on Labor Day, 1992, fleshed out the details of what people know from their experience: after a decade of Reaganism, "most Americans are working longer hours for lower wages and considerably less security," and "the vast majority" are "in many ways worse off" than in the late 1970s. From 1987, real wages have declined even for the college educated. "Poverty rates were high by historic standards," and "those in poverty in 1989 were significantly poorer than the poor in 1979." The poverty rate rose further in 1991, the Census Bureau reported. A congressional report released a few days later estimates that hunger has grown by 50 percent since the mid-1980s to some 30 million people. Other studies show that one of eight children under 12 suffers from hunger, a problem that reappeared in 1982 after having been overcome by government programs from the 1960s. Two researchers report that in New York, the proportion of children raised in poverty more than doubled to 40 percent, while nationwide, "the number of hungry American children grew by 26 percent" as aid for the poor shrank during "the booming 1980s"—"one of the great golden moments that humanity has ever experienced," a spokesman for the culture of cruelty proclaimed (Tom Wolfe Boston Globe February 1990) [I did a Google and found these relatively contemporary items: A Rising Hunger Among Children and Infant Malnutrition at Staggering Levels in Massachusetts.]

The impact is brought out forcefully in more narrowly-focused studies; for example, at the Boston City Hospital, where researchers found that "the number of malnourished, low-weight children jumped dramatically following the coldest winter months," when parents had to face the agonizing choice between heat or food. At the hospital's clinic for malnourished children, more were treated in the first nine months of 1992 than in all of 1991; the wait for care reached two months, compelling the staff to "resort to triage." Some suffer from Third World levels of malnutrition and require hospitalization, victims of "the social and financial calamities that have befallen families" and the "massive retrenchment in social service programs" (Boston Globe September 8, 25, 1992).
By the side of a road, men hold signs that read "Will Work for Food," a sight that recalls the darkest days of the Great Depression.(Year 501: The Conquest Continues, p280-1).
I am being a little mean here, I fully acknowledge. But in the few Wolfe interviews I saw, I found myself becoming angry that a bad writer was being heralded as a visionary and truth seeker to be paraded by the media in their campaign to mis-represent the extent of income polarity and impoverishment that is the direct result of American policies that are benefiting very few, but doing so to a staggering degree.
End of Goodreads Review

What made the highlighted text above not just a fushigi, but a remarkable one is that when I originally cited Chomsky in the review I omitted that line, and only that line. I remembered reading it, but because I was squeezing my citation I felt that that line wasn't necessary to make the point I was trying to make. I have, since then, edited the review to include it.

Post-Script 2012.12.16:
And I know this is completely irrelevant, and totally meaningless, but I have found it a little bemusing that the colour of covers of Year 501 and Stanley Park is almost identical. I have no idea why I am writing this down. When I first noticed it I dismissed that detail as trivial and uninteresting and likely to make me look like an idiot if I were to put it out here. But, each time I pick up Stanley Park to recommence my perusal — I'm now page 278 now — that thought gets into my brain and buzzes around for a while. So, I have written this post script to stop that thought from floating around and to fully prove my madness to the few who read my blog. (But then, those few will already know that I am mad.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: Finished 2012.12.08 & a Small Fushigi*

Benjamin Hoff, editor and biographer.
Opal Whiteley, author.
The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whiteley. New York, Ticknor & Fields 1986. ISBN 0899194443.

   Began 2012.09.22
Finished 2012.10.14


At M's terse and cryptic recommendation I bought this book on-line. It was delivered to work and, as is her habit, when my friend BV saw it asked 'May I read that please?' She is endlessly fascinated by the books I bring to work, and has read many from my library. And since I was at the time busy reading Debt: The First 5,000 Years, I said 'Okay.'

She couldn't put it down, and proceeded to read it twice, back-to-back. It has gone to near the top of her all time favourite books list and BV has read a lot of books.

And, likewise tSCWtWG is now jostling for position in my top 50 books. Hoff's description of finding the lost book in the first place resonated with me because he has described how it is that I have found many of the books that have been most important to me in my life: a serendipity and the feeling that I can 'hear' them calling out to me to be read. And likewise, I had that feeling when I read M's recommendation, which rarely happens when I get book recommendations from people.
Hoff has created a book of strong contrasts and clashing ambivalent emotions. So strong that they make this a book hard to describe. It begins with his short biography of Whitelely, which is really more a vindication of her having been libelled and dismissed as a fraud than a biography. In doing his research Hoff came to understand that Whitelely had been willfully destroyed by a malevolent press.

Hoff's brief account left me feeling enraged by what is to me an example of a bloodlust and scapegoating by a mob of journalists that collectively decided to suspend their professional and social
responsibility in order to demonstrate that they have the power to destroy the life of someone who somehow magically embodied the magical spirit of the earth and life. The near religious zealotry of the defamation against this life-spirit reminded me of something I read in News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness, edited by American poet Robert Bly. From an 1999 English seminar I wrote about this idea:
Both William Blake and Novalis very clearly saw that a key aspect to the empiricist's "truth" was the arbitrary and hypocritical denial of the sensual part of the empirical world. That the empiricists were able to "rationally" assert this denial of life is only marginally less astounding than their being successful in doing it! This was why both Blake and Novalis stressed the sensual in their works — they knew what the empiricists were unconscious of, which is that they had arbitrary accepted Christian notions of the earth and female as vile and devoid of life. Robert Bly cites a blunt, but typical, example of the roots of that empiricism being anchored in conventional Christian mythology:
The French Priest Bossuet, writing at about the same time as Descartes, expressed in this passage one of the more prevalent Christian attitudes towards nature:

May the earth be cursed, may the earth be cursed, a thousand times be cursed because from it that heavy fog and those black vapours continually rise that ascend from the dark passions and hide heaven and its light from us and draw down the lightening of God's justice against the corruption of the human race.

[Bly continues:] This attitude was acceptable to the Church Fathers and to developing capitalism. When we deny there is consciousness in nature, we also deny consciousness to the worlds we find by going through nature (News of the Universe 9).
It is no wonder that Blake wrote "The Eternal Female groand! it was heard all over the world" or that Novalis wrote "They [the shallow men] have no idea that it is [the Numinous Night] who subtly embraces the breasts of the young girl, and turns her darkened cave into the Garden of Delight, and have no clue that you are the one ... opening the world of delight ... at the edge of the old stories..." (News of the Universe 49).

Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Novalis' Hymns to the Night are celebrations of all that the empiricists manage to deny in their sensual world, namely the sensual, the feminine, sexuality and the unconscious. That science is puritanical in its structure and actions can be linked straight back to the widespread acceptance of Newton's single vision which is firmly grounded in his Puritan beliefs.
Whiteley's diary is one of the most spiritual sensual examples of the written word I have ever come across, and I can't help but think that her voice was the voice of capital 'L' Life that an industrialized, greed-biased anti-life society found threatening and needed to crush.

And the connection to Blake is, on reflection, quite astounding beyond it coming to me as an out and out surprise. Blake extolled the spirituality of the physical, too. And in deceptively simple writing.

I have seen other reviewers who waffle on Hoff's vindication, perhaps falling back on the 'there's two sides to every story' rationale. But Hoff's attention to detail, combined with my having become more fully aware of the social malevolence of the press, has convinced me of the evil done to Whitelely, and that it was willfully done by an agenda-ed press with the desire to hurt.

However, once you dive into Whiteley childhood writing, the charm, the elegance, the detail, the love Whitelely has for nature is astounding. Life is more alive with her writing than I have ever experienced before. And even the word love, which has become overused in our age of Hallmark greeting cards and texting, may not describe the feeling so much as rapture: Whitely was enraptured by nature. If I could I would reproduce the entire text here, but will limit myself to a blind random pick. Well, I thought I'd do a couple, but I flipped to Chapter Twenty-One: Cathedral Service in the Barn; a Lamb for Opal, and a Lily for Peter Paul Reubens, and the first few pages of this chapter are likely enough to give you a good sense of the book. And, I suspect it will be either something you will love or hate.

Today was a very stormy day — more rainy than other stormy days. So we had cathedral service on the hay, in the barn.

Mathilde Plantagenet [the baby calf of the gentle Jersey cow, that came on the night of the coming of Elsie's baby] was below us in her stall, and she did moo moos while I did sing the choir-service. Plato and Pliny, the two bats, hung on the rafters in a dark corner. Lars Porsena of Clusium [a pet crow with a fondness for collecting things] perched on the back of Brave Horatius [the shepherd dog]. Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus [a most dear velvety wood-rat] sat at my feet and munched leaves while I said prayers. Lucian Horace Ovid Virgil [a toad] was on my right shoulder, and Louis II, Ie Grand Conde [a wood-mouse with likes to ride in the sleeve of my red dress], was on my left shoulder, part of the time; then he did crawl in my sleeve, to have a sleep. Solomon Grundy [a very dear baby pig] was asleep by my side in his christening robe, and a sweet picture he was in it. On my other side was his little sister, Anthonya Mundy, who has not got as much curl in her tail as has [her brother] Solomon Grundy.

Clementine, the Plymouth Rock hen, was late come to service. She came up from the stall of the gentle Jersey cow, just when I was through singing "Hosanna in excelsis." She came and perched on the back of Brave Horatius, back of Lars Porsena of Clusium. Then I said more prayers, and Brave Horatius did bark Amen. When he so did, Clementine tumbled off his back. She came over by me. I had thinks it would be nice if her pretty gray feathers were blue. I gave her a gentle pat, and then I did begin the talk service. I did use for my text, "Blessed be the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

And all of the time, the raindrops did make little joy patters on the roof. They were coming down from the sky in a quick way.

Now is the begins of the borning-time of the year. I did hurry home from school in a quick way, in the afternoon of this day. Aidan of lona [a sheep] come from Lindisfarne has said I may name the little lambs that now are coming. All day, I did have thinks about what names to call them by. There are some names I do so like to sing the spell of. Some names I do sing over and over again when I do go on explores. I could hardly wait waits until school-getting-out-time. I had remembers how Sadie McKibben [a comforter in time of trouble] says no child should grow a day old without having a name. Now some of those dear baby lambs are two and three days old, since their borning-time.

When I was come to where was Aidan of lona come from Lindisfarne, I did tell him, "Now I have come to name all your lambs!" He did have one little lamb in his arms. He did tell me as how it was it didn't belong to anyone, and it was lonesome without a mother. He said he had thinks he would give it to me to mother. I was so happy. It was very white, and very soft, and its legs was slim. And it had wants for a mother. It had likes for me to put my arms around it. I did name it first of all — I called it Menander Euripides Theocritus Thucydides. It had likes for the taste of my fingers when I did dip them into the pan of milk on the rock and then put them in its mouth. Its woolly tail did wiggle joy wiggles, and I did dance on my toes. I felt such a big amount of satisfaction feels, having a lamb to mother. I am getting quite a big family, now.

After I did dip my fingers in the milk for Menander Euripides Theocritus Thucydides, I was going goes to see about getting a brandy bottle somewhere and a nipple, so this baby lamb could have a bottle to nurse, like other babies hereabouts. When I did make a start to go, Aidan of lona come from Lindisfarne did say, "You are not going away before you name the others, are you?" Of course I was not. And he said Menander Euripides Theocritus Thucydides was full up of milk for today, and I could bring his bottle on the morrow.

Then I did make begins to name the other lambs. They were dear, and so dear. First one I did come to, I did name Plutarch Demosthenes. The next one I did name Marcus Aurelius. And one came close by Aidan of lona come from Lindisfarne, and I called it Epicurus Pythagorus. One did look a little more little than the others. I called him Anacreon Herodotus. One was more big than all the others. I named him Homer Archimedes Chilon, He gave his tail a wiggle, and came close to his mother. One had a more short tail, and a question-look in his eyes, I called him Sophocles Diogenes. And one more, I called Periander Pindar; and one was Solon Thales; and the last one of all that had not yet a name, I did call him Tibullus Theognis. He was a very fuzzy lamb, and he had very long legs.

The shepherd did have likes for the names I did give to his little lambs, and the names I did give to his sheep, a long time ago. And today, when he did tell me how he did have likes for their names, I did tell him how I have likes for them too, and how I have thinks to learn more about them, when I do grow up more tall. I told him how I did sing the spell of the words to the fishes that live in the singing creek where the willows grow.

After I said good-bye to all the other lambs, I did kiss Menander Euripides Theocritus Thucydides on the nose. I have thinks every eventime I will kiss him goodnight, because maybe he does have lonesome feels too, and maybe he does have longs for kisses, like the longs I do have for them every night-time.

Before I was come to the house we do live in, I did make a stop by the singing creek where the willows grow. I did print a message on a leaf. It was for the soul of William Shakespeare [an oak tree in the lane]. I tied it on a willow branch.

Then I did go by the cathedral, to say thank prayers for Menander Euripides Theocritus Thucydides. And I did have remembers that this was the going-away day of Reine Marie Amelie in 1866, and Queen Elizabeth, in 1603. And I did say a thank prayer for the goodness of them. It was near dark-time. There were little whispers in the woods, and shadows with velvet fingers. I did sing, "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus."

Before I did come on to the house we live in, I did go aside to have sees of a cream lily that has its growing near unto the cathedral. I have watched the leafing of that lily, and I have watched its budding. A long time, I have had thinks about it. Today its blooming-time was come. There it was.

I went close unto it. My soul was full of thank feels. Ever since the day when Peter Paul Rubens [a very dear pet pig] did go away, I have looked for his soul in tree-tops, and all about. Now I have knows his soul does love to linger by this lily. I did kneel by it, and say a thank prayer for the blooming of this fleur Peter Paul Rubens's soul does love to linger near. If ever I go from here, I will take with me this lily plant. I did have feels that my dear Peter Paul Rubens was very near this eventime (217-21).
This is a truly amazing book. Sorry, I'll rephrase. This is a truly amazing example of how extra-ordinary the human animal can be and just how much we miss of the magic of Life in our day-to-day existence. Whiteley is an inspiration to be more aware, more compassionate, more open to the possibility of life.

Fushigi Alert
And now for a small amusement. Opal took great pleasure in her mice friends, Felix Mendelssohn, Louis II le Grande Condé, Nannerl Mozart, and the wood-rat, Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus.
Well, when I began writing this review I stumbled into an amusing blog on the harmonics of mice in, of all places, CBCR2.
Step aside One Direction and Backstreet Boys: scientists have found that mice know how to sing in harmony — and they do it to impress females.
And I understand that it is most likely the most tenuous of fushigi connections, but I can't help but think of this as a tiny musical fushigi because Opal saw music in everything, even the water of the singing creek:
I [Benamin Hoff] watched the water as it hurried along. The creek must have been bigger, I thought, before the trees in the area were removed. Before crossing the field to see it, I'd asked the man who lived in the ranch house what it was called. 'Carolyn Creek, Carolina Creek — something like that,' he'd said. He'd seen the name on a map. Caroling Creek would fit it better, I thought. It sang on in a high-pitched slivery voice, like the tinkling of little bells (337).
This is a truly beautiful, inspiring, and extremely sad read. I cannot recommend it highly enough. And, I now feel compelled to re-read some William Blake, to see just how strong or weak is the connection I intuitively made actually is.