feeling odd and some books I’m reading


I had a very odd day yesterday. The entire day I seem to be disconnected in a quiet way from everything. I didn’t feel excited about anything, no motivation. Fortunately, I continue to function with or without conscious motivation, so that’s was fine.

I noticed it most when I worked on choosing new anthems for the choir for Advent and Christmas. I had difficulty finding works that I found interesting and rewarding and that I would guess would also be so for my choir. I did find some, but usually this process resembles composing, improvising, or writing.

By that I mean,  I inevitably find myself in a bit of a “zone” or a low state of exhilaration. But not yesterday.

The evening rehearsal went fine. As I say, I still functioned.

Today I’m more myself.

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I interlibrary-loaned several books by Daniel Siegel. Having finished his rather dense book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human and watching  numerous presentations he has done on YouTube, I decided to read Brainstorm, his book on and for adolescents. It’s also directed at adults who either live with them or want to understand more about themselves.

I have three adolescents on my radar at this point in my life: my California grandchildren. I’m considering sending a copy of this book to my grandson, Nicholas, asking him to read it (if he has time, he’s attend college and working a part time job). Then, if he thinks its worthwhile to pass it on to his sisters.

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I”m also reading Morgan Parker’s YA novel, Who Put This Song On? Parker is a poet and this is her first work of fiction. It’s the story of a 17 year old who is the only African American in her Christian high school. She is in therapy and also likes music a great deal. Her tastes seem to tend to emo and Indy groups with a dash of hip-hop.

I was attracted to the fact that it’s a book about someone who likes music. As I hoped, she mentions many songs and groups. I’m making a list.

Image result for fleishman is in trouble by taffy brodesser-akner

I say Taffy Grodesser-Akner on a Politics and Prose Bookstore YouTube video. She is a hot shot magazine writer who has profiled many people.Counter-intuitively (since she’s obviously involved in the world of celebrity) I found her charming and interesting. She is interviewed by her friend, Jake Tapper on the linked video. This is her first novel. I’m about a hundred pages in and so far it’s fun and well written.

‘Completely untrue and illogical’ – News

This is a Holland Sentinel article about some local conservative candidates running in the next local election who seem to be anti-gay. I just put it up on Facebook. As I say there, it’s better written than I remember articles in the Holland Sentinel being.

alex art, finished books, links


Pictures by granddaughter, Alex

Somehow, my email that I sent last Wednesday to the office correcting the anthem for this past Sunday was ignored. So, the anthem in the Sunday bulletin was incorrect. Rev Jen was nice enough to announce this for me. Too bad. The one we sang fit the readings well.

While waiting to return to church for the annual Blessing of the Animals, I finished reading two books: Nabokov’s Pale Fire by Brian Boyd and Quichotte by Salman Rushdie.

Boyd failed to convince me entirely of his idea that Pale Fire purports to be a creation from influence of dead characters on living ones. His theory is that Hazel Shade, the dead daughter of John Shade influences Kinbote to write a crazy commentary on Shade’s poem called Pale Fire. And that after his death, Shade joins her to further influence Kinbote’s crazy commentary.

None of this is explicit in the text of the story, only deduced. While Nabokov was fond of puzzles and hidden meanings, I’m not quite sure that what Boyd thinks is there is there in quite the way he says.

But the book, Pale Fire by Nabokov, is a beauty. And so are the crazy reverberations throughout it. Boyd gets these, but goes another step that confuses me.

“The top one is a horse with a bunny. The horse lost its tail and the bunny lost its front legs. They are on their way to the vet.”

Rushdie, on the other hand, has written a very enjoyable book. He has inspired me to go back to Don Quixote. Rushdie reread it a new translation. I have not read this translation but a copy of it is on its way to me via AbeBooks.com.

                                                            Bunny and her baby

I have been having weird, vivid dreams. For example, last night in one of them Salman Rushdie and Leonard Cohen had collaborated to write a very cool, highly stylized, Tango like, prayers of the people. I was very impressed in the dream. Rushdie and Cohen were in it. Cohen was stockier than I ever saw him in photos. He also had shaggy shoulder length hair and couldn’t keep his hands off a woman in the dream.

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How did I miss this? Terry Gilliam did a 2013 movie and I only just heard about and watched it. I found it on Kanopy which I have access to via the local library. I enjoyed it immensely but need to watch it again.

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Opinion | In the Land of Self-Defeat – The New York Times

This is an excellent article published in Sunday’s Times. The author interviews people in her small county who engage in a fight over funding for a local library.

How Seamus Heaney Became a Poet of Happiness | The New Yorker

I picked up a volume of Heaney when I was in Ireland. I have been reading in it since then. I have bookmarked this article to read.

The 8 Best Fact-Checking Sites for Finding Unbiased Truth

I’m always on the look out for these kinds of sites. I recognize many of these but not all.

Immigration in Holland: an Interview with Maggie Houseman

A former student of Hope talks about her studies.

Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle – The New York Times

These “Overlooked No More” obits are cool.