Morning and Evening Trees

This is the view from my window of the morning sunlight on the flame tree and evening sunset on the umbrella tree – Spring 2020. 

Note: These images appeared at different times on my regular Home page ‘Photo of the Week’.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

IMG_20201102_053916
Morning Flame Tree © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020

 

IMG_20201019_180357
Evening Umbrella Tree © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020

Bernard Shaw says…

IMG_20200617_141756

 

Bernard Shaw (he disliked his first name George) was not a good scholar but developed a wide knowledge of music, art, and literature from his mother’s influence and his visits to the National Gallery of Ireland.

In 1876 Shaw resolved to become a writer and he joined his mother and elder sister, by then living in London.  Like most creatives in their 20s, Shaw suffered continuous frustration and poverty.  He depended upon his mother’s pound a week from her husband and her earnings as a music teacher.

I love a good rags-to-riches story

Shaw’s early days were spent in the British Museum reading room, writing novels and reading what he had missed at school… eventually he became an internationally known and celebrated playwright, producing more than sixty plays.  His work is still performed today, the most well-known from 1912 is ‘Pygmalion’ aka ‘My Fair Lady’, and in 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The rest of Shaw’s long and remarkable life can be found in Britannica—
https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Bernard-Shaw

Gustavo’s blogspot has the original source of Shaw’s quote
http://shawquotations.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-power-of-acute-observation-is.html

Film Camera Lights Action MovieNOTE:  Britannica shows a film clip of Bernard Shaw (in his 70s) speaking on the marvels of Movietone and the novelty of technology; excerpt from a Hearst Metrotone newsreel (c. 1930), (29 sec; 2.6 MB)  J. Fred MacDonald & Associates.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Three Things #10

Bookshelf for ABC Radio 04

Did not think I would get to number ten on my Three Things list!  One post in three parts “Reading Looking Thinking” a clever idea started by Book Jotter blogger Paula Bardell-Hedley for those little things in life.  I have posted TT irregularly since June 2018.


READING

‘The Strings of Murder’ by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

This lurid Gothic treat took me by surprise!

For starters, I didn’t exactly click with the protagonists Inspector Ian Frey and Inspector Nine-Nails McGray.

Londoner Frey is foppish and fastidious about his clothes, and Scottish McGray is the opposite, a rough tough fellow who believes in the supernatural.  McGray has formed Elucidation Of Unsolved Cases Presumably Related To The Odd And Ghostly subdivision within Edinburgh CID.  This goes against the grain for scientific Frey who resents being posted to Edinburgh under the pretext of hunting a copycat Jack The Ripper.  Animosity and resentment bounces between the two men most of the time, especially when McGray gives Frey an effeminate name.

Frey and McGray investigate the ghastly slaughter of prominent violin players in Edinburgh who used beautiful old violins prior to their death.  Clues range from an ancient curse, a Will, madness, and the work of the devil himself.  What is that shadowy apparition the townsfolk see at night?

This is the first book in the series (four other books) so I overlooked many of the author’s foibles in relation to the Victorian era, but will mention these:

  1. Characters regardless of status say ‘erm’ before they hesitantly speak.
  2. Characters, particularly Frey, continually raise or arch their eyebrows in surprise.
  3. Characters blush visibly; flush with fury; go red-faced; red with rage, etc.
  4. People are described as fat or thin and most are ‘coarse’ in looks or behaviour.
  5. Female characters are secondary and written as lowly, crazy, slovenly, weird, etc.
  6. The unwarranted inclusion of horses for the Inspectors.

Regardless of the above, I did enjoy the paranormal plot with its clever use of clairvoyance and chemistry.  It has some gruesome yet original chapters, with the occasional clue more obvious than others, but it’s written in a way that lead me through the story at a fast pace.  I wanted to find out what was going on!

The author Oscar de Muriel was born in Mexico City.  He lives in Manchester after moving to UK to complete his PhD in Chemistry.  Oscar is a violinist and chemist, and both professions are used to great effect in his Frey and McGray series. GBW.


LOOKING

Computer 10

Of course I am looking at a screen!

Today, two of the main things holding my world together
are the internet and my computer screen.
GBW.


THINKING

My current thoughts!

  Thought One

Since my forays out into the real world have been curtailed by The Pandemic, my writing has suffered.  As mentioned above, a screen has replaced real human contact (except for family) to the extent that my ideas and creative stimulation have been subdued.  Yes, I can Zoom and watch as much as I like online—more than ever before—but it’s not enough, it’s not the same as laughing and chatting in a coffee shop with best friends.  Okay, yes, I know I’m an introvert who enjoys ‘stay home days’.  However, there is a limit.  It’s not necessarily tolerance, or intolerance, more a case of suspended animation.  Australia has done well facing the COVID-19 challenge, we have done all that was asked of us as a nation.  Now, as the country slowly grinds back into action, we are wondering how much has changed, how much will never be the same again. GBW.

  Thought Two

I have long believed that everyone should read anything they like and that includes comic books.  The more we read, the more we discover what we like to read, and sooner or later we become aware of the good authors and the not-so-good authors.  Then it’s not long before we realise there are divisions in the reading world.  We falter, we question our choices in literature.  The Guardian article (below) says do not let snobbish separatists stop you from enjoying your favourite books. GBW.

The link to an edited version of the speech delivered by Emily Maguire at The Stella Prize 2019 longlist announcement  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/08/theres-no-shame-in-reading-whatever-books-you-want-literary-snobs-be-damned

Poetry Clipart 04

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Attributed to US author poet Albert Pike

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Audre Lorde, Poet

IMG_20191122_203220

Audre Geraldine Lorde was born on February 1934 in New York City, and went on to become a leading African-American poet and essayist who gave voice to issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Lorde’s love of poetry started at a young age, and she began writing as a teenager.  She attended Hunter College, working to support herself through school.  After graduating in 1959, she went on to get a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University in 1961 and was head librarian at Town School Library in New York City.

‘The Black Unicorn’ (1978), a volume in which Lorde explored her African heritage, is considered one of her greatest works by many critics.  In addition to poetry, Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer.

In terms of her nonfiction work, Lorde is best remembered for ‘The Cancer Journals’ (1980) in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer.  She died November 1992 on the US island of St. Croix.

Information from The Biography.com website  https://www.biography.com/scholar/audre-lorde

Citation Information

Article Title
Audre Lorde Biography

Author
Biography.com Editors

Website Name
The Biography.com website

Access Date
November 27, 2019

Publisher
A&E Television Networks

Last Updated
April 16, 2019

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Shopping – Bombeck and Kinsella say…

IMG_20190923_135318
“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.” ― Erma Bombeck (February 1927 – April 1996) ― American writer and humourist Erma Bombeck achieved great popularity for her newspaper column which described suburban home life from mid-1960s until late 1990s. She published 15 books, appeared on television shows, and wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, all featuring her entertaining and eloquent humour. Irma Bombeck wrote before social media, achieving world-wide fame through her books, and in 1970s her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in US and Canada.  Interestingly her work featured domesticity during the women’s liberation movement. She hid a life-long illness which was disclosed three years prior to her death. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erma_Bombeck

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Novelist Marguerite Yourcenar said…

IMG_20190911_151653
Marguerite Yourcenar, or Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour, was a French novelist and essayist born in Brussels, Belgium, who became a US citizen in 1947. Winner of the Prix Femina and Erasmus Prize, in 1980 she was the first woman elected to the Académie Française. Her most notable work is historical novel “‎Mémoires d’Hadrien” (Memoirs of Hadrian) and I have read “Denier du Rêve” (retitled A Coin in Nine Hands) set in 1933 over one day in Rome where a ten-lira coin passes through the hands of nine unusual people https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marguerite-Yourcenar The flower buds are Dianella caerulea (commonly known as the blue flax-lily) which turn into small green then purple berries and it grows in a terracotta pot near my kitchen door. GBW.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Quote by Malala Yousafzai

IMG_20190506_144844
Malala Yousafzai was born 12 July 1997 in the Swat district of northwest Pakistan, where her father was a school owner, active in educational issues and humanitarian work. Malala Yousafzai became a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the local Taliban had banned girls from attending school. Malala’s advocacy has grown, with acknowledgement and awards world-wide and the establishment of Malala Fund which invests in education programmes to help girls go to school and reach their full potential https://www.malala.org/malalas-story

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Quotation from Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese was an Italian novelist, poet and translator, and an outspoken literary and political critic.

Not well-known outside Italy, Pavese is numbered highly among the important 20th century authors in his home country.

Born in rural Santo Stefano Belbo, he often returned to the area, enjoying the solitude away from his turbulent career and heartbroken love life.  Pavese was not destined to live long, he died just before his 42 birthday.

Cesare_Pavese_Italian_Novelist_Poet_1930
Cesare Pavese (1930) rocking his Harry Potter glasses.

✨ Website Biography and Book Review

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/cesare-pavese
https://1streading.wordpress.com/2018/06/24/the-beautiful-summer/

✨ Cesare Pavese Poems

  1. The Cats Will Know
  2. Ancestors
  3. Habits
  4. You Have A Face Of Carved Stone
  5. Death Will Come With Your Eyes
  6. In The Morning You Always Come Backmy favourite
  7. Passion For Solitude from ‘Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950’.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Leonardo da Vinci said…

Gears and Cogs 15 Quotation
Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a painter, sculptor, architect, inventor and student of all things scientific but he had difficulty waking up in the morning. He wrote “Lying on a feather mattress or quilt will not bring you renown”. One of his earlier inventions was a personal alarm clock powered by water. Based on his elementary diagrams, Leonardo’s device would trigger an alarm by the collection of water dropping into a reservoir at brief intervals. I would have thought the drip, dripping of water all night would have kept him awake. Website https://www.leonardodavinci.net/ Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Strength without wisdom’ counsels Milton

gears and cogs 14
What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Strength’s not made to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command.


John Milton (December 1608 – November 1674) was an English poet of the late Renaissance period. He is particularly noted for his epic poem on the fall of Satan and Adam and Eve’s ejection from the Garden of Eden ‘Paradise Lost’ which he composed in blank verse after going blind.

Allow yourself plenty of time to read this legendary poem!

 

Poem of the Week: Paradise Lost by John Milton’ a unique viewpoint from of The Guardian who says ‘The muscular blank verse of this great classic reveals a visionary amalgam of the biblical and the classical.’
https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2019/jan/07/poem-of-the-week-from-paradise-lost-by-john-milton

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

 

john milton english poet