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Monday, March 30, 2015

Head, Heart- by Lydia Davis

Heart weeps.
Head tries to help heart.
Head tells heart how it is again
You will lose the ones you love.  They will all go.  But even the earth will go, someday.
Heart feels better, then.
But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.
Heart is so new to this.
I want them back, says heart.
Head is all heart has.
Help, head.  Help heart.

(Paris Review, 213, Spring 2015, page 194)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jo Ann Beard: The surface is always calling

I have just finished "The Boys of My Youth" by Jo Ann Beard - and absolutely loved it.  If you want to hold, read and cherish a marvelous book, this is the one you should read right away.

Also reading some interviews with Ms. Beard and enjoying quite a different type of personality - refreshing in this age when everything is "me, me, me!"

Here are some fragments:

JB: "When I finally sit down, I spend a lot of time trying to sink down into the dream of it and then stay there. It’s like walking on the bottom of the ocean, all these incredible creatures float past, neon and scary, so absorbing, but the surface is always calling." - thedaysofyore

"Interviewer: How do you see the world when you’re not writing it?

 JB: As the most beautiful and glorious place imaginable. With woods and birds and turtles and the giant starry sky and nice people and the other kind who aren’t nice but who have their reasons and the raccoon who killed my ducks and now once a night comes up to the infrared camera outside the newly-secure enclosure and stares into the lens with his hair sticking up everywhere.

Interviewer: What are your secret hopes for, say, ten years from now? If you could do anything or have achieved anything? Secret!

JB: Honestly, I just hope to be alive in ten years. If I am, I would like to have written another book, or at least some stories or essays that were good. If I am not, I would like to be in the woods across from my studio, with the birds and the turtles and the photogenic raccoons." freerangenonfiction

Monday, December 1, 2014

How far you go in life...

Browsing through old photographs, I found some I shot two years ago at the Botanical Garden in St. Louis, one of the best in the nation.  The quote below is from George Washington Carver, a fellow who, born into slavery, has chosen the path of education (read: enlightenment) to become a brilliant scientist and inventor.  

And why is it that any time we see anything that slightly 
resembles a shelter we feel the urge to enter it, to be part of its peace, of its promise?  The picture below shows a gazebo in the Shaw Park, part of Botanical Garden as well.  

Every time I visit the Park somehow this gazebo finds itself in my path.  


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

...în schimbul paşaportului mi s-a tăiat limba...

Norman Manea: „Geniul american constă în simplificare”

Secvente din discutia publicata in • luni, 06 octombrie 2014

Text integral in Comisarul de Iasi

Norman Manea este unul dintre cei mai traduşi scriitori români aflaţi în exil.  El este autorul unor cărţi ca  „Noaptea pe latura lungă", „Captivi", „Atrium", „Primele nopţi", „Cartea fiului", „Zilele şi jocul",  „Anii de ucenicie ai lui August Prostul",  „Octombrie, ora opt", „Pe contur", „Plicul negru",  „Despre clovni: dictatorul şi artistul", „Întoarcerea huliganului",  „Plicuri şi portrete", „Fericirea obligatorie", „Vorbind pietrei", „Variante la un autoportret", „Vizuina", „Laptele negru". 

Norman Manea, despre rolul intelectualului în societate
O întâlnire cu un om de litere ca Norman Manea nu putea să nu ducă şi spre întrebarea care caută să înţeleagă rolul intelectualului în societate, într-o lume cum e cea de azi, ameninţată de crize.
„Intelectualii de mare marcă care au jucat rol de pedagogi sunt în umbră la ora actuală. În America sunt peste 40 de laureaţi ai Premiului Nobel, dar nu prea sunt convocaţi la dezbateri. În epoca noastră intelectualul este înlocuit de vedeta de cinema", crede acesta.

Dar, pentru Norman Manea, experienţele esenţiale din care îşi extrage şi o mare parte din materialul folosit în cărţile sale sunt cea a deportării şi cea a exilului. „Am avut un traseu existenţial complicat. Primul meu exil a fost la 5 ani. În 1945, mă consideram un bătrân de 9 ani."

Influenţa lui Ion Creangă asupra lui Norman Manea
Tot atunci, la 9 ani, a primit şi o carte cadou care i-a declanşat mecanismul de scriitor, un volum de basme de Ion Creangă. „Am descoperit o altă limbă, nu mai era o limbă de stradă, era o limbă extraordinară."

America vs. Romania
Până spre finalul discuţiei, scriitorul român cu o viaţă în America, ţară fără de care nu şi-ar imagina harta lumii, a recunoscut că se întoarce des în România pentru limbă, adevărata sa patrie, şi pentru a vizita mormântul mamei.„E copilăria mea aici şi e mormântul mamei mele."

Limba Romana 
Deposesia de limbă a fost şocul cel mai puternic când am plecat. Când am ajuns pe Otopeni, am avut senzaţia că în schimbul paşaportului mi s-a tăiat limba.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Paris Review, Herta Müller, codițele şi fundițele!

Just got my Paris Review and what do I find there?  An interview with Herta Müller and this lovely photo.  Everything is SO Romanian in this photo.  I had a dress that looked so much like hers.  And the hair!  Codițele şi fundițele! 

ETA after reading it: Feels like I've read this interview many times.  Pretty much the same song, you people could've, should've etc.  The Guilt, with capital G.  Things are not even white and black, they are all black.  

History, I believe, proves to be a bit more complex.  

I still like the picture, though.

My forgotten friend, Anatole France

Three quotes from Anatole France:

“It is good to collect things, it is better to take walks.” 

"Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom."

"It is by acts and not by ideas that people live."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My pin oak is sick!

Have you ever heard of wasps laying eggs into a leaf?  I had not either until my pin oak got sick this year, perhaps just to teach me an extravagant biology lesson.  

A few weeks ago I noticed some swollen brown bumps on its leaves; the back of the leaf was covered with a fine white dust.  Therefore, I wrote to the Plant Doctor at the Botanical Garden here in St. Louis.  Like this:

Dear Plant Doctor,

My pin oak needs your help.  The symptoms are: many round brown bumps on the top of the leaves that correspond to brown stains on the back of the leaf.  There also seems to be some whitish dust on the back of the leaves.  The unfortunate thing is that I believe the whole tree is affected by this. 

I was wondering if you can tell me what the disease may be and if there is any treatment for it.  I am attaching a few photographs.

And the good doctor wrote back with unbelievable news: 

Hello Gabriela,

Your good pictures tell us that your pin oak has been attacked by two different organisms, a small wasp and a fungus. Neither is life-threatening, but each can make the leaves unsightly. They also make good clean-up of affected leaves and their disposal very important.

The wasp causes those bumps, called leaf galls. The female wasps inject the leaf tissue with a growth regulator during the process of egg laying. There are many types of leaf galls. For more information, see our web page on the subject at:

The fungus causes the whitish-gray material, called powdery mildew, on the undersides of your tree's leaves. For more information, see our web page at:

We don't recommend spraying for either leaf galls or powdery mildew.

Thanks for visiting GardeningHelp. We like to hear from our members.

So, I have a pin oak inhabited by wasp larvae.  There must be thousand of them, because every leaf of this immense tree is affected.  When they mature, the wasps fall down, "released" by the leaf, get buried in the soil, from where they emerge to fly around a bit before resuming the cycle.  

The blind cycle of life.