Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Accidental Art with Glovettes!
Lately, the reading front has been wildly assorted, with Anita Brookner's Strangers upstairs, to read at night, A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book on DVD to listen while I knit and flutter about in the kitchen, etc., Dick Francis various suspense thriller type things when I want something that Doesn't Matter At All, and Penelope Lively, heard on DVD her latest, Family something, title escapes me, how unusual for me. I listen while I walk, too, if the weather is not particularly exciting.
But first for Brookner, who is quite simply the most elegant, unflinchingly brave writer you can imagine, but don't imagine her, read her. Some people think she's depressing, because she deals with fears about aging and loneliness and other life issues, but I find her wonderfully grounded and realistic. There's a feeling that you're in good hands when you read her, since she faces the realities, deals with them, and accepts that there are things we can't change, maybe shouldn't even try to,that simple answers are very often wrong. All very different from my own approach, so it's very useful as a counterpoint.
Above all, she's piercingly intelligent and perceptive and knows what not to say, and where to elide the emotion, where to lean on it, like a fine musician with words.
Very different from Byatt who is expansive and sort of blowsy as a writer, with her hair coming out of its pins and her skirt hem lopsided, and frankly self indulgent in her passion for fantasy and fairy tales and the dark side of them, and a bit too obvious in making connections and holding out bait for the reader to snap at, but still very entertaining. Her research tends to stick out a bit, though -- look out, reader, I STUDIED this bit! but despite all her faults, you can't stop reading, or listening as the case may be.
The current DVD is pretty well done, except that the narrator has an unnerving way of pronouncing words that sound wrong. Her "o's" come out as "u's" as in: there were scarlet puppies on her hat....at least that was how it sounded at first. And she is all over the place in her emphasis on syllables, usually coming down in the wrong place, aieee, my grammar police background bristles at these.
And Penelope Lively never fails to be incisive, skewering, and skewing, all and sundry, wonderful spare economical writing. I listened to her latest on DVD and found it a bit too overwhelming, since the narrator did a hugely irritating and silly voice for the mother of the family, making her into a fool and a clown, neither of which she was, but amazing how she could be made to come across that way with a high wobbly delivery. I'm going back to reading Lively in book form, as you see from the still life that heads up this post.
Also in the pic is a pair of those fingerless gloves, a better fit for HS this time, I think, anyway we'll see what he thinks, happily named "glovettes" by MAJ, thank you for this nomenclature, I love it!
The pic is a shot of my little wicker worktable in the corner (found at the dumpster) and turned out to be a nice composition without any intervention on my part. So I took it that I wasn't supposed to move stuff, just snap it.
Many years ago, I used to know a man who was an amateur painter, who assured me that it was CHEATING to ARRANGE a still life! heh. He was convinced that all still life was accidental art and design. No, he wasn't a serious painter, he was a translator. Just as well he had a day job.
He was Dutch, too, which just shows that visual art talent is not necessarily a national characteristic. The blood of Rembrandt and Van G., was nowhere near running in his veins. But in the case of the Dutch, musical art talent might be, given the streams of great compositions and performers over centuries on the recorder, right to the current day.
Speaking of amateur musicians, I continue to play regularly, keeping up the flute as well as the recorder. One fun thing I have started is to play the same piece on each instrument in turn to see how it changes and what happens. Since the fingering and the range is different, it's an interesting mindbender to do this, too.
And I'm adding in the third octave to my flute range, by replaying a piece an octave higher if it fits in the range, great fun. I play upstairs, but HP tells me he can hear it fine (not the cursing, though) and enjoys his personal concerts, usually performed while the laundry is in the dryer.