Embracing the Morning

A thought-provoking ocean view
Morning on Moraca Playa, Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea
Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening…

excerpt from “Morning” by Billy Collins

Morning is my favorite time of day. I like to be up bright and early, but, if I can help it, I don’t like to leave the house first thing in the morning. That way, I can start my day in the most unhurried way possible. If I have the luxury of waking up slowly, I feel calm and focused, and then I’m ready to start my work. Like the speaker in Billy Collins’ poem, I feel potent and alive in the morning. A little caffeine coursing through my veins doesn’t hurt, either. Read more

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Everything we’ve ever imagined

We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.Michael Cunningham, The Hours

It’s 9 pm on Thursday evening, and I’ve just done something I haven’t done for a very long time. I read an entire book today. I woke up, having finished reading Call the Midwife last night, and sat down at the foot of my bed to pick another book. I reached for The Hours, opened it, and looked up 30 pages later like I had just awoken from a dream. My own surroundings seemed strange, because I had been so completely invested in what this book laid out before me that the story seemed, momentarily, more real than my own existence.

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“By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”
Virginia Woolf

The Imbibing Habits of Phryne Fisher

Book Pile

Grab a drink. We’re about to get a little bit rambly. Might I suggest that you skip ahead, make a White Lady, and then relax while you (hopefully) enjoy this post?

It was only a matter of time until I could no longer resist writing a post on Phryne Fisher, lady detective, of the book and TV series. First among the many reasons that I love her is that charming, larger-than-life personality. Add a considerable dash of intelligence to the mix, and you’ve got a sort of James Bond meets Sherlock Holmes character. But you can’t forget that she’s a very feminine kind of feminist, a flapper through and through. Regardless of what is deemed acceptable for a lady in 1928, Phryne Fisher does whatever she damn well pleases. She has the skills of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, but uses them in a way that only a clever woman could. All the while, she proves that women are valuable and capable because of what distinguishes them from men. Read more

She had always wanted words

“She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.”

It’s been about two months since I first opened “The English Patient.” In a masterstroke of stupidity, I picked up the book during final exam week of the fall quarter. Needless to say, I did much more reading than studying that week. Usually, I get the feeling of not being able to put a book down because the plot is exceptionally compelling, and drives me forward. This experience was different. “The English Patient” does have a compelling plot, but it accumulates slowly. Read more