Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reinette

‎"Champagne is the only wine a woman can drink and still remain beautiful." Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, a.k.a. Mme de Pompadour, born 29 Dec 1721


If you click on the link indicated above, les technologies inexplicable will take you to a little feast of information about a long-gone lady once nicknamed Reinette "little queen." Many another has written much about Madame de Pompadour so I'll confine myself here to writing only that I adore the paintings of this storied lady, the manner in which she was dressed... well, this brings to mind the notion of the 'whited sepulchre; when you think upon what the woman represented, the times, the manner in which she lived, the appalling costs thereof. Better to think about the beauty. Perhaps you might have seen La Pompadour's turquoise gown, [if I remember correctly - there's a dubious proposition] as painted by Fran├žois Boucher in 1756, reproduced for the actress Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons some years back ... 1988? that long ago? sheesh. Time passes too quickly. Away I go....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

oh well....

"America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us."

So, you might agree with me that the quotation above sounds good, but it might also be labeled under such headings as Drivel or Inspiring, Albeit Meaningless, Blather. Nonetheless, this is one of many many things said to have been said by one of our nation's presidents, Woodrow Thos. Wilson, born on the 28th of December, 1856, down in Staunton, Virginia. An antebellum childhood. There was a time in my exceedingly impressionable youth when I wished I'd had one of those and why? Because I so adored the photographs, drawings, paintings, and engravings of crinolined ladies. Oh baby, those bell-like skirts and ruffles! One of my very earliest memories is my pre-K self gathering up the hem of our pink translucent curtains: held very close to my soft little fist and the little poof of nylon resembled a ballerina's tutu. Up a little higher the proportion was that of a lady's dress, her skirt beautifully gathered as was many a skirt in 1956. Higher still and the skirt was what once was called 'waltz length' ... then 'evening gown.' Sigh... how many pages of notebook paper and used Blue Bonnet Margarine boxes I covered w/ drawings of dyspeptic looking ladies in long dresses. Years later and a long time ago, now, I sewed a black cotton gown of the sort President Wilson would have seen ladies wearing in his boyhood. Made a corset too, w/ tidy channels sewn in for the steel stays and for the steel button & hook fastener. Steel grommets for the lacing and boy howdy, let me tell you, make some time in your life to dress up from the skin out in the garb of another time. Thinking 'this is how, in part anyway, it felt to be _____' Stockings. Chemise. Rather fun it was, stopping for gas on my way to a school visit, seeing the looks on the faces of other customers, seeing my wired, poofed-out skirt boing-ing out the door of my Ford Escort. Thanks be to the fates and all that's holy that I don't have to wear all that foofy tyranny everyday but didn't it satisfy a hunger for beauty? Oh yes, it did that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12th of December

"Be regular and orderly in your life so that you might be violent and original in your work." Gustave Flaubert, b. on Frank Sinatra's birthday, did he but know it, in 1821. Later on, in the spring of 1880, he kicked the bucket on Harry Truman's birthday, just for you to know.


'Twas on this day, many of you may know that a vision of the Virgin, 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' appeared in in the vicinity of Mexico City in 1531. It's the anniversary of the birth of a long-gone statesman, John Jay (1745) and the abolitionist & orator, Wm. Lloyd Garrison (1805)
Edvard Munch, the painter (1863), Edward G. Robinson (1893) & J. Bruce Ismay (1862)exec of the White Star line, notorious for not having gone down w/ his 'unsinkable' ship, in the spring of 1912, It's a deathday shared by such actors as Talullah Bankhead (1968), Douglas Fairbanks (1939), & Anne Baxter (1985), the "Eve" of whom the great film was "All About."
The 12th of December was special to me because it was on that date, in 1968, that my validation-starved, deeply dorky 17-year-old self was inducted into my high school's chapter of the Nat'l Honor Society. The actress Celeste Holm, who was so delightful in All About Eve, once said, "We live by encouragement & die w/o it - slowly, sadly, angrily.' ...at many a place of employment, if one is fortunate enough to have one. I had had one since the fall of 1982, at Current, Inc. in Colorado Springs. I worked so hard there and was such a fool, back in the days before I gave up men forever. By the 12th of December, 1989, Ms. Holm's words were all too relevant. No one wants to be deemed animate office furniture, however useful. So I turned in my notice. Never a regret in all these years, but gosh that was a great job while it lasted. All of those people I worked w/ there, as far as I know, it's over for all of them now. Wasn't there a Merle Haggard song about nothing being so insecure as a secure job? Oh baby.

Friday, December 10, 2010

“Every piece of writing... starts from what I call a grit... a sight or sound, a sentence or happening that does not pass away... but quite inexplicably lodges in the mind.” Rumer Godden


More than once in my life, when asked my favorite book, I've cheerfully talked way too much about a little masterpiece entitled Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, published in 1961, written for children [does this mean that you have to be a kid to read it? certainly not] by the great Rumer Godden (10 Dec. 1907~8 Nov 1998.) Ms. Godden wrote many a fine book for adults, including In This House of Brede (set in a cloistered nunnery) & Black Narcissus.
Miss H. & Miss F. is about a shy, homesick little girl, newly come to live in London with her cousins. Her empathy for "two little Japanese dolls, only about five inches high" and her determination to create a house for them draw her out of her loneliness. As if this delightful story weren't enough, there's a bunch of great info about traditional Japanese culture at the back of the book and instructions and plans for a proper Japanese doll house. Need I say more? no.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

well...

"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit."

John Milton, b. 9th of December, 1608

“Life is like a B-picture script! It is that corny. If I had my life story offered to me to film, I'd turn it down.”

Kirk Douglas, 94 today, who shares a birthday w/ fellow writers John Milton, Dalton Trumbo, Mary Downing Hahn, & Joel Chandler Harris, a.k.a. "Uncle Remus"; fellow actors Broderick Crawford & Margaret Hamilton, & Emmett Kelly. the great circus clown


Ah well, too preoccupied I have been w/finishing [and submitting - my fingers, they are crossed!] a manuscript for a middle grade novel and other things to write anything about the past, this past few days. Nothing about Almanzo & Laura's long-gone, brilliant cranky daughter Rose having had a birthday on the 5th – same as Walt Disney's. Nothing about St. Nicholas Day on the 6th, 201st anniversary of the day upon which Washington Irving published Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York. Nothing about the Day of Infamy or that the 7th also marks the 20th birthday of my little brother's daughter. It was that little brother who notified me that some troubled soul blasted John Lennon into the Blue Beyond. I hope he found the answers he'd been seeking & that he got to see Julia once more.
Your thoughts? I'd love to see them. I'd hoped, being sort of an isolated old poop, that there would be a bit of conversation here. However, but for one exception that I recall, no one comments on my posts. Certainly it has corroborated my natural pouty-ness, inherited from my sad old dead dad, Raymond, bless 'im, but I've been told recently by someone w/ nothing better to do than read this here almaniacal hoohah that said person would have liked to comment but could not. Is it because one must have an account w/ the faceless Google poobahs & minions? Could be... In any case, this blog will be changing its character and perhaps its location after the first of the year.... Don't know yet. Haven't decided.... changing location is always my answer when faced w/difficulties, being ignored & such. just ask my former husbands if you can find them. or the callous art directors for whom I worked at Current, Inc. up until I gave notice on 12 December, 1989. Still remember how my hands shook, but then I remember all sorts of dumb things.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December

So, once upon a time, when toga'd Romans went about unaware that we far-off future-dwellers considered their world to be 'ancient,' December was deemed the 10th month of the year... and now it's the 2nd day of the month.... Bette Midler turned - here's me taking a deep breath and remembering the large thrill of seeing her on her first tour through kansas city... the auditorium seemed to smell of rose petals..anyway The Divine turned 65 yesterday, the 69th birthday, too, of an old lover [from my own ancient world] W. Jody Corbell, if he's not dead, that is and I guess he could be. haven't seen him in 25 years, which is something to be thankful for. sure was a sexy old buster.... and today, today, the 336th day of this present year, marks 152 years since John Brown , the meteor signaling the coming war, was led to the scaffold.
"I, John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood." 2 Dec. 1859. So, on the 3rd of Dec, what did the soul that had so recently occupied the husk, the avatar, the carrying case, known as John Brown know? What did he find out that that he hadn't learned down below, on the other side of the veil? Fun it is to fancy him meeting or reaccquainting himself with souls who'd once gone about in togas when Rome was in its glory.