Friday, 16 March 2018

183 - Wells/Araluen/Howard

Short Story
H.G. Wells:  The truth about Pyecraft
A funny story about someone who is fat (this story was, of course, written at least 100 years before political correctness arose) asking help to lose weight, rather than to lose fat. The solution, in an Indian potion has hilarious results.

Evelyn Araluen: Guarded by Birds
Here is a podcast. (The poem starts around 6:50.) It won the 2017 Judith Wright prize. I'd love to see a printed copy, but can't find one as I don't think it's been published yet. Suicide among the Indigenous population here is a really big problem.

Melissa Howard: Now no-one here is alone
A sad and (probably suitably) crude essay about personal experiences of the court system dealing with domestic violence.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

182 - Wells/Dickinson/Coetzee

Short Story
H.G. Wells: The New Accelerator
This is a strange story about a scientist who develops a drug to accelerate the taker's passage through time, so the people around them appear to be moving at glacial speed in comparison. It might be useful, as when taking the drug, writing a reasonably long story like this one only takes a few minutes. Maybe I'd like some of that so I can fit more into my days.

Emily Dickinson: A precious, mouldering pleasure 'tis
... to read an old book. As someone who loves old books myself, I really appreciated this poem. As usual, for Dickinson, there's an interesting discussion of the poem in this blog.

J.M. Coetzee:  Zama: Life at the limits of Empire
I'm not familiar with Argentinian literature, and so it took me about 1/3 of this essay to figure out that it was about a novel by Di Benedetto. The last section was about Di Benedetto and the dreadful torture he went through, and this made me slightly interested in looking him up, but I'd already skipped much of the beginning as the essay seemed to be about an unsavoury rapist character from the late 18th century -- and not the sort of person I'm eager to read about. I'm aware that Coetzee is a multi award-winning author, having won the Booker twice and the Nobel prize for literature, but I'm afraid this essay failed to make me want to read its subject.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

181 - Wells/Dickinson/Shum

Short Story
H.G. Wells: A dream of Armageddon
This is a very strange story about a man telling the story of his living a couple of hundred years in the future and being killed in a war. Was it a dream? Was he a time traveller? What is remarkable is that the story was written before the first plane ever flew, but his story at times made me think of those WWII films with the sky full of planes. He even has planes hovering -- like helicopters.

Emily Dickinson: I had a guinea golden
And about 50 others... I have to return the book to the library soon, and while she probably wrote enough poems to take me through the 1000 days, I do want to read other poets. Still, today's was one of my favourites, perhaps because (according to Dicko) it's a ditty -- and therefore lighter and more easily understood than many of her poems. There's an interesting discussion of the poem here.

Keane Shum: The tamarind is always sour
A sad and sobering essay about the Rhohingya refugees, written by a U.N. worker. I'm deeply ashamed of the way the government here in Australia treats refugees and don't vote any more because all the parties want to treat refugees like scum of the earth instead of like the poor unfortunate victims they are.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

180 - Wells/Dickinson/Crawford

Short Story
H.G. Wells: The man who could work miracles
A rather far-fetched, but very entertaining story about a man who suddenly finds he can work miracles. Wells takes the idea about as far as it's possible to go. It's the only story I've ever read in which all the readers die a horrible death a year before they start reading the story!

Emily Dickinson: The sun kept setting, setting still
In this poem, Emily describes her vision of what it's like to die. It's a very peaceful process, with no fear, even when she realises that " 'tis dying I am doing."
The sun kept setting, setting still;
No hue of afternoon
Upon the village I perceived, —
From house to house 't was noon. 
The dusk kept dropping, dropping still;
No dew upon the grass,
But only on my forehead stopped,
And wandered in my face. 
My feet kept drowsing, drowsing still,
My fingers were awake;
Yet why so little sound myself
Unto my seeming make? 
How well I knew the light before!
I could not see it now.
'T is dying, I am doing;
but I'm not afraid to know.
Anwen Crawford: Towards Joy
This essay reflects on the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan (Crawford's not a fan of this), and the music of Lady Gaga and Prince.

Monday, 12 March 2018

179 - Wells/Dickinson/Mikosza

Short Story
H.G. Wells: The star
This is a straight science fiction story (written in 1897), and a good one, of some unknown astronomical body entering the solar system, colliding with Neptune, and then the combined body careening close to Jupiter and then Earth. Nicely done.
(It's been a while since I posted a video on here, so I'll post a link to the audio book below.)

Emily Dickinson: Color, caste, denomination
There's a discussion of this poem here. It seems clear that what she's saying is that race and colour aren't important in the big scheme of things. She is sure we'll be judged after death but that judgement won't take colour, caste or denomination into account.

Janine Mikosza: How not to speak Polish
This essay has me a little confused as it's about a woman called Janine, who is of Polish extraction and who was the victim of child abuse. Is she talking about herself though? Or someone else with the same name? An interesting essay anyway.

The Star

Sunday, 11 March 2018

178 - Wells/Dickinson/Rutherford

Short Story
H.G. Wells: A story of the stone age (parts IV and V)
This didn't finish as well as it started, at least for my sensibilities. I hate patriarchy, and the end of this story made me hate it even more and wish again that this culture we're lumbered with had become extinct 50,000 years ago. The men in our culture are encouraged to value violence and killing over love and compassion. They are endlessly urged to congratulate themselves on how magnificent they are at violence, aggression, and anger, and expect everyone else to worship them for their power. Well, frankly, it makes me sick to the stomach. (And yes, I know, there are lots of lovely men who are every bit as sickened by violence as I am, and who suffer just as much under patriarchy as women do. I just wish we could all grow beyond it and replace it with something sane.)

Emily Dickinson: Some keep the Sabbath going to church
Then again, there's our Emily writing a poem I completely relate to.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along!

Jennifer Rutherford: House of Flowers
This is a really good essay interweaving the impending death of a mother, impending departure of a daughter, the deaths of some beloved chooks, and a treasured doll of childhood. Very nicely done indeed. I'll look out for this author as I love the way she writes, and her heart is pure gold, which is what I needed this evening.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

177 - Wells/Dickinson/Vincent

Short Story
H.G.Wells:  A story of the stone age (parts I to III)
A story of Britain 50,000 years ago, and how one man, Ugh-lomi, invents the axe and early feminism, and who is the first person ever to ride a horse (on what would later become the site of a horse racing track). Tongue-in-cheek, and rather fun. It was written (or at least, published) in 1897.


Sam Vincent: Peasant Dreaming
Sam is a man after my own heart, I think. I'm moving effortlessly towards growing up to be a peasant too. "I don't think quality of life is something you'll find in the Aldi specials catalogue." Indeed. I wish someone would tell our idiot politicians.