Archive for August, 2013


Maybe it didn’t look exactly like this when I walked past it with my friends. But this is a fun way to remember it.

[ I seem to be on a “memory and its distortions” theme lately…]

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Sometimes it’s exhausting trying to establish who was right, or at what point someone was starting to be wrong.  Without checking history books [and typically checking several, preferably from different publishers] even establishing what happened in a well-publicized event can be tricky.

RememberTheMaineNCThe ship, USS Maine, exploded and sank.  The circumstances were such that some combination of patriotism and opportunism transformed the event into a catalyst for the Spanish-American War, laid the groundwork for Domino Theory, and any number of sword-shaking calamities.  What do I remember from High School US History? What can I see now that was missing from those books, meant for a Northern audience, and taught by a skeptical Italian?

Or maybe the truth is different again from all of the stories in official print.  I don’t know how many of these plaques there were [although I suspect there was one created for every extant US state of the time period], and I don’t know what it meant for a conquered region of the South to mourn this loss so soon after the end of the Civil War.

“Soon” means so many different things, as does the phrase “…too soon?” we use these days to mark a tasteless joke made at the expense of still-injured parties.  30 years ago for me, vs 30 years past for them, vs…..

[Now I’ve got music from the show Tintypes in my head — one song ends with the Teddy Roosevelt character shouting “Remember the Maine!”, although the song I love best is “Fifty-Fifty”, with Lynne Thigpen‘s strong alto anchoring the harmony]

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Castles and Clouds

Some of you have been watching the Heavens for the Persieds — I hope your views have been clear!

I’ve been watching, too, even if by now supposedly the peak is past.

The image here is a section of a Maxfield Parrish illustration for The Knave of Hearts — in the full view, I think the Knave is kicking his legs out as he leans against a wall, looking up and over at something to his right. Knaves don’t interest me as much as castles do. [shrug]

It crosses my mind to wonder whether more children now know about Cosette’s “Castle in the Clouds” than Snow White’s Prince’s Castle-in-the-Clouds (Disney version).

The Castle in my life was a much more down-to-earth place, smelling of damp rock, old wood, and furniture polish. I have relics in the garden. There’s an image of it on my finger. The miles between here and there are measurable in time and tolls, and the leaps of imagination required to get there are those of scheduling, not of suspended disbelief.

Having just read bits of A Stolen Tongue, I guess I’m just thinking about the power of belief, and the kinds of truth that can be found [or lost, or misplaced] in objects.

But it also occurs to me — maybe because I just used the word ‘leap’ a few moments ago — that my imaginative power can go in different directions because I don’t have to imagine castles. I remember castles; I know what it’s like to wake up there, to stretch and start an ‘ordinary’ day by walking out onto a balcony and seeing what the very real weather was like.

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LittleWaveBoxI know, I know — you’ve seen it before…

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I think I have an image of an adult here somewhere…

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Some assembly required


We used many words today — pardon me while I get some more…

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City trees don’t often get this mossy….

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