Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still points, various

Time for a little reading matter.

What with various stresses going on in life, I figured it was time to revive my meditation practice, using a really helpful little book which comes with its own CD. I was a bit delayed by my inability to lay hands on the helpful little book and CD which had been put away when we did the Great Book Move for the Beautiful Floor, and found I was starting to get all mad and huffy over it. After I cracked up laughing at the notion of losing my temper because I couldn't get my meditation started, all the mad went away.

The reason the CD is useful is that it gives you, aside from comments, a couple of periods of silence (yes, I see the irony of buying a silent CD) where a gong strikes to start your meditation and another one ends it.

This helps me a whole lot, since I can stop looking over at the clock anxiously, and just do it. Also, this man has a great method of counting, so that you count one exhale, two inhale, three exhale, etc., up to ten. But if stray thoughts come jostling in, which they always do, you simply let them drift off and start over at one exhale, two inhale. It's good.

I notice that when you do this, all the surrounding animals also calm down, must be the vibes.

So that's for nonreading nonknitting nonmaking tapestry (backing is now ON and drying up in the studio) times. Distractible? me? oh look, a bird, no not me...

Poetry also keeps breaking in, and I want to mention Ted Kooser, Lights on a Ground of Darkness, a wonderfully evocative title. And the lead poem, about his mother, has this passage which is the most totally musical, carry the reader along in good hands, passage I've read in ages:

Mid April already, and the wild plums
bloom at the roadside, a lacy white
against the exuberant, jubilant green
of new grass and the dusty, fading black
of burned-out ditches.

What an opener! I stopped in the middle of a stanza, because this is the bit I wanted to say, oh, look, listen, read it, it's a great ride. The way it tapers off to the end. It's a memory of his mother near his own birthday, the gift she gave him of birth, and her own recent death, and well you just might want to read this whole collection.

Then Alison Lurie, not a novel this time, but a series of essays about classic children's stories, very interesting insights. Dr Seuss does not escape her laser beam -- she really explained to me why I hate Oh The Places You'll Go. I hadn't grasped that it's really a yuppie, acquisitive, bigger is better, famous is even better, rich is best of all, sort of ode. I just knew I hated it. She mourns the early Seuss who didn't think much of following the rules and getting rich, was more subversive.

And she is worth following for her accounts of Grimm, Anderson and various other children's myth and fairy tale and morality tale writers.

And my latest detective story discovery, by a wonderful writer, now a TV series, too, I notice locally, her Sergeant Murdoch, a Victorian policeman in Toronto. Apparently very authentic settings and historical accounts, but mainly rattlin good mystery stories. Maureen Jennings wrote them. And I'm very glad she did. All the elements to like: Victorian historical settings, great story, good mystery, appealing hero, strong women. All you need is a cup of tea and you're set.

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