The Birdcage Archives

Sunday 31 July 2011

The Good Terrorist

Hello Gentle Reader

I must have been sitting on this review for a while, though it was in certain need of some tweaking, re-wording, editing, and rewording in order, to make this review a little bit more acceptable, and up to my standards; which hopefully is up to your standards Gentle Reader. Being unemployed, leaves one feeling a certain bit of feeling helpless. Before being unemployed, was fine. It had been so long since the last job, which it felt just fine. It felt perfectly normal. But once one tastes, touches, smells, hears, and enjoys the rush and enjoyment of working once again. All of it once again is gone. But now in this limbo of life – a feeling of a need to live and have a purpose (most people you will find say that work gives them a purpose a meaning) and the slow descent into the feeling of simply existing; the drifting to and from each day; each one the same, never changing. Yet the one to blame is myself. One in such a case cannot victimize them self, and think: “oh poor me.” Such an attitude will not get anything done I shall inform you of that, right here right now. If one simply thinks to themselves, that it is all poor them, then no nothing will ever get done. They simply refuse to accept the fact of their life, and choose to wallow in their own self pity, will only remain in the current of the self pity, and can never come ashore, because they themselves refuse to buckle up and swim towards the shore.

On a quick off topic note – trust me all of this makes sense as the review comes; Margaret Atwood, often described as the Canadian Literature Legend, by many, recently held a campaign via twitter, to save budget cuts for Toronto Libraries. Margaret Atwood challenged the budget cut and the Mayor of Toronto’s brother who is a councillor of Toronto Doug Ford – who was quite happy to have the idea of closing down libraries. Though when Margaret Atwood stood up to the platform to fight such a notion – in which she took up towards twitter, and fought the Mayor of Toronto and his more outspoken hot headed brother. Margaret Atwood had directed all of her, two hundred thirty three thousand one hundred and twenty nine (in numerical form – 233, 129) followers, to an online petition which was temporarily shut down, because of the response. From my last research twenty three thousand signatures have been signed on the petition so far. But it is not the fact that the libraries that were being closed that had first interested me in this story. What had interested me was the comment that Doug Ford had mentioned of Margaret Atwood.

(The following comments come from: cnews on their website. I shall post a link after the quote has been written down)

“’Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood, I don't even know her. If she could walk by me I wouldn't even have a clue who she is," Ford told reporters on Tuesday. "But she's not down here, she's not dealing with the problems, and if she did, tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected and we'd be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood.”’

This coming from a Canadian does not surprise me personally. I can’t think of many people I have talked to – other than literary places; that know of Margaret Atwood here in Canada. Maybe I am just hanging out in the wrong place though also, to have discussions. But what is ironic is that the last bit of Doug Ford’s comments, is that almost says that he doesn’t give much a damn about Margaret Atwood’s freedom of speech, of a concerned citizen, who is working to save libraries – a symbol of knowledge, a symbol of freedom of speech, and the written word – all of the things an author like Margaret Atwood herself stands for. But that is just me twisting words – just like a politician. But perhaps what really sets the swirling anger in my mind, is not the dispute over the libraries itself – I do not live in Toronto, so the libraries are not my concern; what was my concern is that Margaret Atwood herself was insulted by some politician. That woman was writing and helping shape Canadian identity before the councillor and brother of the Toronto Mayor was born. His comments left a bitter taste in my own mouth. – This whole political, and economic and literary battle that has taken shape. The outcome will be interesting. But as Margaret Atwood pointed out, the entire battle is not about her, it is about the fate of libraries themselves.

What does the Margaret Atwood fighting for the safety of Libraries, and my own personal story of becoming unemployed, once more have to do with Doris Lessing’s two thousand and seven Nobel Laureate in Literature, novel “The Good Terrorist,”? Plenty to be honest. “The Good Terrorist,” centers around a group of rather pathetic and political or pseudo-political vagabonds, who are victims of themselves, and their own victimization, and refusal to move on in their life. They blame everything around them, not themselves. They blame the “bourgeois fascist,” for their circumstances, and their less than perfect – even less the normally acceptable lives. All the characters in some way or another, blame the outside world. They blame the system. They blame the council. They blame the government. They blame their families. They blame their pasts – and childhood traumas. But the person they really need to really need to look, towards to blame is themselves.

Doris Lessing, is quite good at sketching some very interesting characters – even if they are unlikable. Perhaps it is not only the characters that I find unlikeable but rather the vey theme itself. Or perhaps the word “communist,” and “communist ideological sympathizes,” is the same as biting into a rotten apple for me. It should be noted here and now that Doris Lessing once upon a time, belonged to the Communist Party. However the entire ideology of communism itself once upon a time appeared to have meant to do some good. But as everything and anything show itself, it is nothing more than a flawed political ideology. A political ideology that has shown itself to have failed, time after time again. During World War II the fight of Nazism and fascism (as in Italy) and all the atrocities that these two political ideologies had done. The tyrannical rule of it all. The mass murdering. The human rights violations. All of it, absolutely horrible. It was in this time that Communism became somewhat of a golden boy ideology. Especially for the more “creative,” type of people. The people who have a “heart,” so to speak. Care about the suffering of others, and wish for complete equality and fairness. However things changed in nineteen-fifty six (Hungary revolution). Doris Lessing herself, left the communist party after being disenfranchised in a more spiritual sense. Now everything has changed. Communism is no longer something of a golden boy, but a atrocity that still survives.

The entire character ensemble are all quite a pathetic lot really. Every last one of them, disgusts me. Their self-righteous sociopatholical ideals are farfetched. For some odd reason or another they believe in these ideals, as if they are still children. Children fighting against what? The bigger parent – the government? -- And who better to align oneself with then the group that is attacking the government head on The Irish Republic Army.

Alice Mellings is one of these characters. Many praise her for her complexity that Doris Lessing has drawn out of Alice. Her motherly skills. Desire to organize, to fix things up, and to make everyone live happily in one home – even if they are squatters. Here’s what makes me laugh at this. Alice Mellings, is university educated. She has a university education in political science and economics. However she chooses to live as a squatter, to help with the (fictional) Communist Center Union, and take care of all its members. How can they do is? How can they live the life they have? Why it’s quite simple really. Just like spoiled children, that they are, they have the government pay for everything – with their social security or whatever it’s called. Too lazy to hold jobs; and to rebellious to do much of anything, but whine, complain, and call the middle class fascist pigs – this is nothing more than spoiled children that refuse to accept what has happened in their lives, and move on with existence. Maybe they find their current situations always so much better. Perhaps they enjoy being what they are. Nothing more than a bunch of rag tag cretins, living off government money, complaining about the government, picketing and tagging. But what really happens is this slow rag tag gang of mischievous trouble makers – who only fool themselves, into thinking they are some form of revolutionary ideas. As if they are some form of freedom fighters. But eventually we watch them do some pretty horrible acts. How sad. But I couldn’t tell myself, if I cared or not. I suppose they get or got what they wanted. Not much of a moral tale though. It’s more of just how personal and political life mends together in some way or another. It’s about the group thought versus the individual. In the end it’s quite sad and rather disgusting. I couldn’t say I found any of these characters likeable. They are simply swine, and are a waste of time, in any way or shape or form. They simply are a bunch of “Rebels,” without a cause. An unlikeable bunch of characters. But I do applaud Doris Lessing for being able to tackle the hard hitting social problems. Maybe it was her goal to make such unlikeable characters. But I praise their complexity.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
*And Remember: Downloading Books Illegally is Thievery and Wrong.*

M. Mary

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Short Story Review (No. IV)

“Dusk,” by Saki (H.H. Munro) – From “The Complete Saki,” by Saki – Section: “Beats and Super-Beasts.”

“Dusk,” is a story by Saki which is the pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro, who is considered a master of the short story. Most of which satirise the entire Edwardian Era and its culture. His witty and sarcastic tales with the paint stroke of the macabre. “Dusk,” is not like the other tales that I have read by Saki. It does not have the humour; however this also shows Saki’s versatility. With working nights, I see three things in the sky. At the beginning of my shift I see the sunset, and the eventual sunset. During the near end of my shift I see the sunrise. The title of this short story (“Dusk,”) which is what attracted me to it in the first place. There is something about this time. This time of change. Children have already headed in doors for a night of washing up, watching some television with their parents, and then heading to bed. The dogs can be heard crying out and howling. The sidewalks appear less populated. Lights are on, illuminating the streets, unnaturally. Their pale orange glow reflected dully in the pavement, and the sidewalks. Shadows are cast in the alleys. Shifting and scurrying dancing in the lights. The tiniest moth becomes a large bat. People even start to change. More people can seen in a state of amiss, or in a sense of unassembled appearances.

“Dusk,” by Saki is just about that. About the people that crawl out of their homes, their situations, and take up residence in park benches, that once upon a time earlier that day had rested the buttocks of a mother watching her child, play in the park, or an elderly lady dressed up as if to go a church service, or a wedding, and in some cases a funeral; who waited for a bus. These benches would soon in time become the spots where the vagrants, the disposed, the stressed, and the hopeless swimming in despair took up residence.

There is a lushness to the prose of “Dusk,” by Saki. Also a very tightly controlled plot, and manoeuvre throughout the entire short work. This is the strength of the short story form. Some authors like Saki and Yasunari Kawabata (the Nobel Laureate of Literature nineteen-sixty eight) are able to work the wonderful short story form. Just reading a Saki short story is tightly plotted, tightly controlled, and tightly done. It moves like any story, or novel would. At least in the traditional sense. It follows a beginning, a climax and an end.

When we are young – or at least when I was young; we are taught that every story must have a problem. Now in such a young mind a “problem,” can be something so grandeur. Not to mention that stories sometimes have the most grandeur problems. A magical ring that a giant eye wishes to have in order to enslave the world. A magical man who wishes to live forever (out of fear of death,) and have complete control over the world. Stopping a countdown to doomsday. These conflicts are of the most exaggerated and large scaled. However this is what is primarily thought of as a typical “climax,” or what a “climax,” should be. However in a short story form, the climax cannot always be so simple, and so easily spotted. Sometimes it must be something else. Something different, something smaller. Like small conflicts of life itself. The misplacement of keys; or getting soap in your eyes, or not having butter or milk for breakfast. These are the conflicts that may be used in a shorter story.

Dusk is the tale of those that come out at night. Escape their predicaments. Their hopeless situations. One of these situations is a man traveling or visiting London – presumably from somewhere else in the country, maybe another city. He explains how he went to check into the hotel that he had hoped to be staying in, only to find it had been torn down. The cab driver then told him of another place he could go and visit, that was nearby. But the young man’s unfortunates were not about to stop there. He went down to a chemist’s shop to buy some soap. He does not like to use the soap that is supplied in hotel rooms. However upon getting the soap the man had since become lost, and does not have much money and is in need of some good charity. All this is relayed to the narrator of the story, who quickly spots a falseness though to it as well. The fact is the young man might as well be lying – there is no soap, and so the young man quickly leaves. However the narrator finds the box of soap on the ground and quickly chases the young man, and gives him some money and then departs back to where he was perched before, only to have another man come by and say that he has lost a box of soap. It’s a story of judging circumstances at face value. There is always going to be mistakes, and rewards for good deeds. But the time of Dusk is really what Saki writes about in this story. A time when things in the city change. When different groups of people emerge from the holes, of the landscape. Almost as if the city itself works on night shift and day shifts, and the switch comes at dusk.

“Yuriko,” by Yasunari Kawabata the Nobel Laureate in Literature of nineteen-sixty eight – From “Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories.”

The short story Yuriko by Yasunari Kawabata (the Nobel Laureate in Literature of nineteen-sixty eight) is a different piece of work by the author. It’s more of a fable then his other works. “Yuriko,” (which means “lily child,”) is a tale about being someone else because you adore or love them. The title character (Yuriko) always tried to be someone else, since she was young. When she was young her friend (she found) was most adorable when her hands and ear lobes were red from the cold. So she would soak her hands in cold water before she went to school, and then splash some cold water on her ear lobes, so she could be adorable like her friend. When she married she did everything her husband did. She wore thick rimmed glasses. She did not apply make up to her face. She dressed like him, and even walked with that slight bounce (I always though it looked rather arrogant,) that men usually walk in. Her husband forbade her to do such things.

Yuriko explains though why she does what she does: “—it’s just too lonely when the person i love and I are different.”

Yuriko then falls in love with God. When she prays to God to show him or herself, clearly replied from the sky or heavens or universe, and told Yuriko that she shall become a lily and love everything. So Yuriko is turned into a lily.

The entire way this story was written is in a light-hearted sense. Not light-hearted in the sense of comedy, but just the way the fabulist story is portrayed. How the one who wished to be the one she cares about, finally becomes a lily and loves everything. I can only think and assume this is what an Italo Calvino story feels like after reading it. It just leaves you with a sense of alright that was nice, feeling.
“When It’s Human Instead of When It’s Dog,” by Amy Hempel – From “The Collected Stories,” by Amy Hempel – Section: “Reasons to Live.”

I quite enjoyed this short story by Amy Hempel a lot. This is where the neatly well crafted sentences work to her advantage, of the story she wishes to tell. Sentences no matter how well crafted they are must be, able to fit together like pieces in a puzzle. Consider the entire concept of any piece of writing like a puzzle in that sense. That every word, and every sentence, is a piece of a large puzzle. The finished product which is the story itself is the finished puzzle. All the pieces neatly placed together. However some stories or novels will leave parts missing. Done correctly this works. If it is not done correctly it is a complete mess. When this is done, then the reader is supposed to fit the missing pieces with the information they have, together. However this does not always work. In Amy Hempel’s story “When It’s Human Instead of When It’s Dog,” is done precisely with the concept of the puzzle piece. Every sentences works accordingly to the precision to the story itself. It is a truly touching story. Lately I appear to have been in a really touching mood, and touching stories, seem to amuse and entertain me. Much like “Pool Nights,” last line really touched me last time. So has this story in all its way shape and form. There is something about Amy Hempel’s world, that in some way or another, one almost feels like they are inhabiting the same space as the characters.

Mrs. Hatano (I presume is an immigrant) who cleans a house, and makes dinner or supper and in return receives forty dollars for her services. Now this may sound boring but is not really boring at all. Amy Hempel has been said to write in the minimalist literary style – not quite to the extreme that the Nobel Laureate in nineteen-sixty nine Samuel Beckett wrote in his later years, but in a more precise way. It’s more or less these splinters of the mundane or superficiality of someone’s reality and life. Not a whole lot though is revealed about Mrs. Hatano’s life. All we know is she cleans the house, and makes dinner for a man by the title the Mr., and someone else by the title the Mrs. As the reader learns the Mrs., was never well. Presumably ill as the story progresses. But Mrs. Hatano tries her best to avoid such a personal feeling, and moves on with her usual routine. When she first arrives at the house no one is home, and she goes to kitchen, grabs a piece of paper – the kind of note pad paper people may have by their telephones to take down a message; and writes down dinner options for the Mr. She then moves upstairs where she does light dusting according to her schedule, and vacuum. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, she finds a room that is usually locked. Upon entering she lights a lamp, and though it is claimed it is not in her nature to pry, she reads a sympathy card. By this time the Mr., has returned home, and decides to help Mrs. Hatano with the bed. Which has been stripped and new linen, waiting to be placed. It is then declared that the Mr., stares into the bedding. Life continues on though for Mrs. Hatano, as she continues her routine. There is a real sense of detachment to the way she holds herself and interacts with the Mr., and the events that have befallen the household.

Mrs. Hatano though is in one way or another tossed into the circumstances of the household. When she discovers a stain, that she remarks look like a piece of geography on a large map, she tries to clean it. Though all attempts fail. She makes calls to others; she knows to see if they know how to get rid of the stain. Though no such luck. It becomes clear now that the enigmatic Mrs., has since passed away. As Mrs. Hatano finishes her cleaning the Mr., passes by the stain which now looks like a body outlined at a crime scene. The Mr., retreats up stairs. Mrs. Hatano grabs the forty dollars, and replaces a five dollar back, because she could not get the stain out.
Reading just a simple outline or summary of a story is not the same as actually reading the story my dear gentle reader I do promise you that. There is something about Amy Hempel’s story “When It’s Human Instead of When It’s Dog,” is incredible. Something that struck a heart string. Plucked it and made it vibrate. The vibrations like the saddest little violin song, that could resonate throughout my body. The vibrations just pulsating throughout. Though in a vulnerable situation with starting work at night, one might be a bit vulnerable to such emotional things. But it still was a story that hit home for me. A story that just places recognition on oneself to say that: “yes I am human. I feel emotions.”

“Deep-Holes,” by Alice Munro – From “Too Much Happiness.”

When I first read “Deep-Holes,” by Alice Munro I for some odd reason or another, thought of “Death of a Salesman,” a play that I hated reading. For a few reasons, plays should be performed not read, like a short story or a novel. Oh well, I suppose some people get a good kick out of making people read plays. Especially plays that are just really boring, and quite frankly influenced by the political feeling of the era, to the point of just disgusting. I mean in no way shape or form am I all for capitalism, nor am I the person who would run around and scream communism is the way comrade, either. But it is quite obvious that the writer Arthur Miller, was pro-communist; something that was quite popular of his era. In fact being pro-communist was something fashionable as Kingsley Amis said, about his communist party membership. Other famous writers noted for their communist sympathies which have since dissolved for whatever reason are Doris Lessing the Nobel Laureate in Literature of two-thousand and seven, Italo Calvino (it should be noted that he lived under Fascist Italy,) Jean-Paul Sartre (though embraced Marxism never did join the communist party, and denied the Nobel Prize for Literature which is why he is not named a Laureate,) Simone de Beauvoir (though she may or may not have been like her friend and lover Sartre and may have embraced Marxist ideologies; she certainly was a feminist, but may not have joined the communist party,) Elfriede Jelinek the Nobel Laureate in Literature of two-thousand and four, Iris Murdoch (she joined for ‘religious,’ reasons). Any how the entire story of the relationship between the father and son in the play by Arthur Miller “Death of a Salesman,” was something that was depicted in “Deep-Holes,” by Alice Munro – that being said any story that has a father or son relationship can be compared to any one or another. But in this case the father and son relationship in Alice Munro’s story “Deep-Holes,”

Things start of rather normal. Much like all of other Alice Munro’s stories in this collection of stories. However beneath the surface of the idyll, and normality of life, the very earth may give way and shatter all around. The normal picnic of this family has a certain sense of something wrong to it. There is just an undercurrent of something wrong within the family. The way the husband looks away when his wife Sally, breasts feed their infant child Savanna. The way the father treats his children – but it does certainly become apparent to me that he singles out Kent more. Perhaps there will always be a sense of complexity to the relationships of fathers and sons. The relationship between Kent and his father Alex could be seen as the complete down fall of the family itself.

It’s hard to say or why it had happened – though the experience that Kent had experienced when he fell down one of the holes in the ground of where the family was picnicking when he was younger that lead to his own unravelling and undoing. The split from the family. The absolute search for something that he may never find. There is something about this story; something that just felt off at sometime or another. The entire gratefulness, the appreciation, the gratitude, that Kent bestows upon his father, all seem out of place, and the way they are brushed off by his father. Just like how Alex pushes off the entire ordeal as nothing. As if loving his son, Kent is torture. He scoffs off the fact the, that he saved his sons life when fell into one of the “Deep-Holes,” that the family picnicked at. Yet the dynamics within the family changed considerably. Kent appeared to have gained his father’s approval and perhaps pride, in his high school years when he (Kent) studies the sciences. The harder sciences. Alex himself is a scientist a geologist in fact. Then all of a sudden the family dynamics shifted once again. Kent disappeared from college. He disappeared from his family. He left without a word. The relationship between the family and their now estranged son Kent gradually becomes worst and deepens considerably.

In fact the entire relationship – though Kent surely protests against such a word, especially with his family that he may or may not despise. It is odd though. This almost normal family – all families have issues that is part of life; just split apart. Could Kent blame his situation on his piss poor relationship with his father Alex? Could he blame it on the fact that he could have died when he fell down the whole himself, and was saved by his father? They could all be answers. But what is odd in some other way or another, is that they are never answered. Sometimes one can suppose in some way or another, whether or not they want to admit it, nothing truly ties up nicely. The relationship that Kent has – or the resentment of a relationship that he once had, and now refuses to have, are never answered. His brother and sister (Peter and Savanna) are both successful people. Even his mother Sally, has an interest in geology. We cannot choose our parents. We don’t get to choose our children. As much as we hate to admit they are both a part of us, and also individuals, completely unique on their own. The successfulness of her other two children, and the comfortable life she lived with her husband Alex, are all contradicted in her son Kent. Who if one were to ask me in some way or another, is simply running away from something, or searching for something he will most likely never find. Kent’s lifestyle, his resentment, and maybe slight subtle anger and hatred, all in some way or another, also affect his mother, who is not entirely sure how to deal with him, and his lifestyle. It is a challenge that she as a modern woman faces, and may and most likely will have to cope with.

“Incubus: Or The Impossibility of Self- Determination as to Desire,” by Will Self – From: “Grey Area”

“Incubus,” or if one prefers to call it: “The Impossibility of Self-Determination as to Desire,” – was first commissioned by publishing house Serpent’s Tail for their anthology titled “Seduction.” Serpent’s Tail used to be an independent publisher (or may still be considered a independent publishing house) was bought out by Profile Books in two thousand and seven. Serpents Tail is an interesting publishing house, in a few ways. It is noted for publishing predominantly publishing left wing or center leaning political oriented novels. It is also noted for its translations, of European crime fiction. It is also the publisher (I think before she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature of two thousand and three) of Elfriede Jelinek, not to mention another Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature, of nineteen-ninety four and the second Japanese author have been awarded the prize Kenzaburō Ōe, whose prose much like Elfriede Jelinek lean towards the left. But interesting enough Serpents Tail also publishes an authors who in my opinion is not left leaning, because of her life ruled under the dictatorship of the Romanian Communist Party and the larger Union of Soviet Socialists Republics. Herta Muller the Nobel Laureate of Literature of two-thousand and nine. Though her prose could be seen as a bit centrist in a political spectrum. However her novels predominantly deal with the power and fear and terror of communism – which is somewhat interesting because Elfriede Jelinek the Nobel Laureate in Literature of two-thousand and four was a member of the communist party for many years. Serpent’s Tail is also noted for publishing some of the more risqué and more transgressive fiction.

The entire story of “Incubus,” or if one prefers to call it: “The Impossibility of Self-Determination as to Desire,” – is about a philosophy professor and his research assistant, that he has, and how he wishes to seduce her. The funny part about the entire story is that the entire seduction, takes place in some sex-worshiping Christian cult. If one were to ask me this professor should be more interested in occult and teaching the occult rather than philosophy. Or perhaps one would consider the occult a form of philosophy. I mean if the entire New Age ideologies get their own way they would consider their rather quack theories a form of philosophy – though I care to disagree.

In all this entire story is quite strange. An interesting concept is taken so far, and in typical Will Self fashion is exaggerated and blown over in that same surreal fashion. It’s all been done; it appears in the past few stories beforehand. After a while, this over blown way things are done, that is typical (or so it appears) in Will Self’s stories becomes, a bit repetitious and cease to lose that sparkle, and the charm that was once held, becomes lost.

So is the case with this story, and was the case with the last story. When an author begins to repeat themselves over and over again, or their writing style becomes so predictable, then they cease to hold the interest of the reader. Which is why a author should always keep being fresh and write about something different, always, or else they are just writing the same book with slight variations over and over again.

“Blow it,” by Patricia Highsmith – From: “The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith”

I shall certainly confess it, that I find Patricia Highsmith a much more interesting person then I do her work. I find the misanthropic, reclusive, pessimistic, sultry, bitter, turbulent writer and her life, far more interesting than I date to admit I find her work. Her home country of America rejected her, throughout her life. Many would not know in her life time who she was, as a writer, but she was quite popular in Europe. Regarded by most as a crime writer, and the grandmother and trendsetter of the psychological thriller, in Patricia Highsmith’s time, she broke all the rules of crime fiction and noir literature. She made her own rules. She wrote about how she saw the world around her. A world deprived of logic, reason, and meaning. Not everyone paid their dues. Not everyone paid for the crime they may or may not have committed. Private detectives, police officers, homicide detectives – anyone whose job it is to catch the criminal or to solve the crime is incompetent and inadequate in any attempt to solve the crimes or murders that are committed. It is no wonder that Patricia Highsmith was ignored by her home country. She refused to play by the rules. For the rules themselves, were useless to Patricia Highsmith. Why try and make order and a world full of random events, and has no order itself. This explains why murder in Patricia Highsmith’s stories and novels, works more like a reaction, then anything else. There does not necessarily have to have much of a meaning to any meaning at all behind it. It just happens. An extreme emotional response. Why in the traditional noir and crime fiction, murder is something planned. Planned by someone evil; this bad person then is to be hunted down by the troubled private investigator, who has relationship problems and a less then happy emotional state of well being; then justice is served. Not in Patricia Highsmith’s world. Never in Patricia Highsmith’s world.

“Blow it,” by Patricia Highsmith was a bit different then the other stories that I have read by Patricia Highsmith. It delves into the more mundane. I much prefer this rather than the hurried quickness of getting to the murder, that can happen in her short stories, and sometimes the bits of information that are left out like one characters knowledge, about something, and no real explanation for how the character could have gotten the knowledge. It is further more appropriate then Patricia Highsmith’s sketches or attempts at what would now be known as flash fiction – her “Little Tales of Misogyny,” were just not that good if one asks me. To write in such a restrictive and restraining style takes much practice and restraint, something I don’t think Patricia Highsmith had, to write such fiction. Let’s face the facts, that is something that she cannot do. Yasunari Kawabata the Nobel Laureate in Literature of nineteen-sixty eight could pull it off – in fact he said the true essence of work can be found in his “Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories.” Amy Hempel, one of the writers of the nineteen eighties short story Renaissance in America, who prefers the title “miniaturist,” to the term “minimalist,” which is best to describe Samuel Beckett the Nobel Laureate in Literature of nineteen-sixty nine; however Samuel Beckett if anything is he would be considered (in my most humblest of opinions anyway) avant-garde.

“Blow It,” is a bit creepy and a bit different, then her other work. Far more subtle and I quite like that. A reader can always tell when something is being forced, and at times Patricia Highsmith’s fiction, has a sense of being forced. “Blow It,” reminds me somewhat of the other story that I quite enjoyed by Patricia Highsmith “Broken Glass.”

The Short Story Review (No. IV) Introduction

Hello Gentle Reader

Working nights certainly does make it a bit more difficult to blog, and make sure that everything goes according to schedule, while fitting in with the current schedule that one works. Working nights makes it a bit difficult because you work however long, you go home, you’re tired and sore and stiff, and you just crawl into bed and fall asleep for however long until you wake up. My time varies to be honest. However I am still making the effort to read, and review. Let’s face some facts for sure Gentle Reader, you were here first, so was the blog, so were the books. It is only justifiable that I do make the attempt to keep up with the blog, to keep up with the reading and the reviewing, while working nights.

Just the other day while I was walking home, I have to cross a busy street, and the button on the signal for walkers to cross wasn’t working, but I went when the cars going in the direction that I was going in. Of course, half way across the road, the light turns yellow, and only a few seconds would it turn red, so I ran across the street. Thinking to myself, just how much my feet hurt, but wasn’t particularly looking forward to getting run over. So running across the street was how it goes usually you could say. Though I can only think of how many people sat in their cars laughing at me as I ran across the street. Though I’d rather have them laughing at me as I ran across the street, rather than them getting impatient and deciding to teach me a lesson and run me over with their car. After that, walking down the walking path the birds were chirping. In a garbage disposal bin where a restaurant appears to dispose of their garbage (or perhaps the entire strip mall) there were two crows sitting on a cardboard box, beating the box with their beaks. The thump, thump of the drumming of their beaks on the cardboard, was an interesting sound, with the mixture of the chirping calls of the red winged black bird. One can only wonder if this is the sounds of the nature and urban life joined together. The pesky feeling and the calls of the crows and the red winged black birds. The less the harmonious squawk of the ducks; or those honking calls of the geese (which have all but left though). Still it is interesting to see urban life and nature trying to live peacefully with the each other.

The last Short Story Review (which was No. III) did not have an introduction, based on the short time period that I had reviewed all short stories. Pressed for time and not sure what to say No. III was not able to have an introduction. However The Short Story Review (No. IV) will have an introduction as you can see, by reading this.

The last short story review, was partly a fifty/fifty feeling to it. I know personally from reading some of the stories, that there were hits and misses, particularly from Will Self and Patricia Highsmith. For some reason or another I think these two authors are good, I just had trouble getting into their last stories. Will Self for sure, takes an idea and runs with it far and wide, twisting and exaggerating the said idea, until it is something completely different yet original from the first concept of the idea. Patricia Highsmith’s stories are dark little jewels. An irrational world. A world full of no meaning whatsoever. Nothing can be explained. Murder is just a reaction, and everything that follows after that, is just the chain reaction to the explosion of the murder.

Let’s hope the selected short stories are chosen are much better than the stories that were selected last time. It does appear that Saki and Yasunari Kawabata (the Nobel Laureate of Literature in nineteen-sixty eight) Amy Hempel, and Alice Munro are unable to disappoint me, but then again nothing is ever truly certain. So far they have yet to disappoint me.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
*And Remember: Downloading Books Illegally is Thievery and Wrong.*

M. Mary

Monday 18 July 2011

Mondays With Mr. K (No. VII)

Most people in some time or another came into contact with Mr. K at least once in their life. Most of all though, those who had come in contact with Mr. K were most grateful for the encounter with Mr. K. Such a case was when a few youth’s presumably three – for four would be one too many – much like a cat. The youths were stumbling around town, and just happened to catch Mr. K’s attention, one night when he happened to be outside, enjoying the last warm nights of summer. He sat on a park bench; his eyes cast forward watching the stars twinkling above him. The moon in the distance – though it still looked magnified; glowed its pale gentle glow upon the earth below. The rays like gentle arrows of peace, piercing the world below.

However Mr. K’s enjoyable quiet night or early morning – references may differ you see; when the three young men – not adults yet; stumbled into the area that he sat on a park bench. Mr. K could smell the stench of alcohol coming seeping from their pores. He knew the young men’s parents. He respected them very much. He knew how much their parents spoke so highly of them. Mr. K then decided to take the boys in, and give them coffee, hoping to sober them up.

One, two, and a third cat – but not a fourth – much like the young men themselves; were already awaiting Mr. K and his new guests. The cats themselves, look up and over at the new guests and at Mr. K, with cold stares, showing how unimpressed they were with this new intrusion in their life. However they quickly went back to their own business after the intrusion. The three young men sat down on the sofa. Each one trying to squeeze in as much as possible. Though they found this all quite humorous. The cats on the other hand were only a little more annoyed with it, twitching their ears with annoyance at the laughs at the young men.

Mr. K came back with coffee, and had the young men drink coffee. Even when they protested against it. However when the young men were as sober as they could get, each one thanked Mr. K kindly. As the sun began to rise, the young men quickly tried to get home, and sneak inside, and tried not to be seen by their parents, who they had betrayed. The cats however stuck behind sleeping in their corner. While Mr. K himself quickly shut off the lights and headed back to his own bed to grab some rest.

“Gratefulness is something we all learn at the oddest moments of time. Sometime we learn what gratitude is from stranger’s kindness. Other times, we learn what gratitude is by the punishments we receive. However in time we all learn gratitude and what it means to be grateful. Such small moments of kindness can last a life time.”

Thursday 14 July 2011

The Thief and The Dogs

Hello Gentle Reader

It is still safe to say that North Africa is still feeling the winds of change brushing through its streets. Now it is up to the people though to keep the hope. To keep the ideals alive. To keep it all working, and moving. A better future. A better life. A better world. This is what every person – or so I am told; believes in. Everyone wishes to better their own lives though. By bettering their own lives, then that person is able to better the rest of the world. Or so some people think. Though it can be said is true. Some rather wealthy people have made some outstanding contributions to the world, through charities, and other events. While others are far more interested in their own lavish parties, and other events. However when one makes money, it becomes their own money. They can make the deals. They can call the shots. It is their money. But the protests in North Africa and the Middle East, continue to simmer and bubble on the surface. Even though media attention – which/whose attention can only be described as Attention Deficit Disorder; or who has the attention span of a door knob or welcome mat; has chosen of late not to focus on the issues happening in North Africa and the Middle East. The fate of Egypt’s revolution are all but difficult to find. Will change come? Will some reforms be made to a country whose beaten and bruised; whipped not only with the desert winds but with the sound lashing of the political tyrants as well. What of the current state of affairs of Lebanon, and now Syria. One can only hope – but keep realistic expectations on what may or may not happen.

These idealistic tendencies that these young and educated people are screaming – much like Fahmy in Naguib Mahfouz the nineteen-eighty eight Nobel Laureate in Literature’s first novel in his grand trilogy of novels “The Cairo Trilogy,” (the first instalment) “Palace Walk.” Though idealism also has a less flattering side to it. In Naguib Mahfouz’s nineteen sixty one novel (publication date of course) “The Thief and The Dogs,” – which was also made into a film in ninety sixty two; but also in ninety seventy five was made into a television series that only lasted for one season; shows the other side of idealism. Said Mahran the protagonist of the novel or novella, is an idealistic – overly idealistic; man who has a pretentious attitude towards intellect and justice. A petty thief – something he doesn’t appear to have much shame in; is released from prison after a four year sentence. Presumably for thievery. Prison has done little to change Said’s idealistic outlook on life – though he does appear more angrier and bitter towards the betrayal that he himself claims has happened on to him. His good friend Ilish; his former wife Nabawiyya; and old mentor Rauf Ilwan have all betrayed him in some format or another.

Said’s worldview in some format or another was never one, to realistic. In fact it’s fair to say that it was rather overtly zealous, pious, and rather pompous. He sees a world cruel, and unforgiving. A world that has betrayed him many times before, and will not cease to betray him. However while the world has beaten him. Lashed him with whips in prison, he also picked up a skill – tailoring. After four years of prison, and picking up a new skill, would one think that Said would be able to live a normal life. Learning his lesson? Seeing the error of his overtly ways? It appears not. Seeing as he could have easily gone and worked in a tailor shop, enjoying a quiet and easy life, reading his books and getting to know his baby daughter who has since grown in his absence, and even have started a relationship with her; it appears that Said is or was far more interested in exacting revenge against the people he called “the dogs.” The people who had sent him to prison, who had betrayed him, and taken everything away from him. Whatever sense of intellectual pursuits, and rational mind he had, had since been corrupted by the thick thorny veins of vengeance and bitterness.

Said makes on claim, and one claim only. That he will display his own sense of judgement, his own sense of justice, and his own sense of peace with himself and the world, with the elimination and nullification, of the three people who have betrayed him. Who destroyed the life he once had. Who had warped him into a beast. Who have turned his daughter against him. Who left him for four years in prison to rot, and be tortured. Said blames the society he lives in quiet simply for his defeat. For his sentence, and for his current predicament. The putrid and disgusting society that he see’s disgusts him so much, not only in its attempt at justice, but its outright mockery of the justice system has left a rather disillusioned thief by the name of Said, whose main purpose is the murder of the three dogs, who had betrayed them. He makes it is his statement that he will kill them until he himself is killed.

If I remember correct from my edition of this – which comes with an short, simple and sweet introduction for each of the novella’s; this novella was the first time Naguib Mahfouz used the stream-of- consciousness in his writing. Which it does regardless. The stream-of- consciousness technique had allowed Naguib Mahfouz the opportunity to search deep inside the very twisted, tortured mind of Said and his abysmal soul. The stream-of- consciousness technique used in “The Thief and The Dogs,” is generally different then Naguib Mahfouz’s other work – or more specifically his earlier work; like “The Cairo Trilogy,” which is grounded more thoroughly in a realist style fiction of Charles Dickens and Honoré de Balzac. “The Thief and The Dogs,” is much more Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf in its more modernist approach of exploring the mind of the character. However Naguib Mahfouz’s novel “The Thief and The Dogs,” is not a complicated read at all. It is a tightly plotted novel. It is quick paced. Not to mention direct and decisive. However the shortness of this novel which can almost be called novella; let’s not split hairs here; also has a lot of potential that is not entirely grabbed in this work. There is a lot of potential to explore the past of Said, and his acquaintances and friends and former colleagues. There are a few scenes, where Said remarks about the palm tree he climbed like a nimble monkey in his younger days to grab his future wife, but also future former wife. But the more detailed version would be also quite nice to see. It would be really interesting to see Said before, and then Said after his prison time.

That being said; to see the main character Said after prison is quite interesting. As the reader one does not get to see him before hand. They are only left with a rather unstable and abstract man who sees himself, as a personal form of justice. A form of justice that wishes to take a sense of vengeance against those that had betrayed him. Cost him four years of his life; one thousand four hundred and sixty days; not to mention countless hours, minutes, and seconds he spent wasting away in prison, waiting for his opportunity at freedom, only to find the world has changed in four short years. His mentor Rauf Ilwan is a wealthy journalist and businessman. His former wife Nabawiyya has betrayed him and married the treacherous dog Ilish. All this confounds, and confuses a man, who expects the world to be as it was. Perhaps the only person that had not changed, and meets and greets Said with open arms is the Sheikh – who is more a metaphysical being in his confusing riddles taken from the Koran; yet a good hearted and good natured man. Though somewhat paradoxical in many ways, such as the time he said that he was reciting some of the saddest verses of the Koran to himself, though in a happy state of mind. Then there is Nur, the prostitute. The oddest of creatures in this entire novel. Why she loves Said is beyond me; though her devotion is unflinching and sometimes startling. Though the Nur part could have used some expansion. Certainly it could have used some more explanation, as to how Nur and Tarzan had come to know Said.

“The Thief and The Dogs,” in some retrospect or another is a lesser known novel of the first Egyptian Nobel Laureate in Literature Naguib Mahfouz. It is the first novel to imply the stream-of- consciousness writing method in the Arabic novel, sealing Naguib Mahfouz as a pioneer of the Arabic novel and Arabic Literature in general. It is not one of Naguib Mahfouz’s greatest novels though. Certainly there is room for improvement. Political in many ways – but can a novel or short story or poem or essay ever leave the Middle East and translated into another language and not be called political? Facing the facts the Middle East is a political zone. Full of religious extremists and fundamentalists. A place full of the wealthy and the downright poverty. Where hairs are split over the interpretation of the religious holy land of the world – not that its much holy as it is a giant sandbox! It is a place full of war lords and tyrants. The east versus west conflict is also something of hot debate there. Any novel that came out of the Middle Eastern area, or the North African area, or any area over there, would be considered political. “The Thief and The Dogs,” is also a considerably political novel, on its study and dissection of idealism. Its abstract study of justice, and its warped nature. But also a interesting look into the psychological destruction of a man, betrayed and hating the putrid world, that longs to hate him just as much back. A frightening portrait of a bitter thief, who is more interested in being a concept or avatar of justice rather than, picking up his life. Placing the pieces of it all back together and moving on. Instead Said Mahran went down in the darkness with guns blazing.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
*And Remember: Downloading Books Illegally is Thievery and Wrong.*

P.S. Dear Gentle Reader, one (one being me in this case) has a new job. Hopefully this will provide some funds in order to get some more books, in order to read, and review. This job however is at night, and does make it a little bit tricky on the scale of how I am going to balance reading and all that. I know one of the more larger concerns at the moment is “The Short Story Review,” which is posted monthly. But I will find a way in to balance work with some reading.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Four Seconds Shorter Then Yesterday Four Seconds Longer Then Tomorrow

Hello Gentle Reader

The Canadian summer already feels like it has already come and gone. Well it does when one thinks of, the fact that the days are now growing shorter and shorter, with the subtraction of four seconds every day. The days grow short. The nights grow long. June was a wet and rather soggy month. Cold and damp. Overcast and grey where the skies of the filtered grey light, which can only be equated to the light of winter. The same filtered cold light of winter. That sterile Siberian feeling to it. But now with July heading in, the sun has come out. The flowers have a chance to bloom. How lovely the site is indeed. My peony has open its blooms. Those lovely nice bright lemon yellow bloomed flowers. Are quite something. The grass of course still desires to be cut once every week or every two weeks weather depending. Not that I have been paying much attention to the lawn, because of my cold that I am suffering from at the moment. That being said Canada Day was still a lovely day. I did not go and see any fireworks. Though instead, I was able to enjoy a bonfire instead. To the American’s I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July, had a bonfire, saw some fireworks, and ate a hot dog or two.

Last week or the last week or half week of June; or the few days that were left in June I was able to post “The Short Story Review (No. III),” though my dear gentle reader you will notice that there is no introduction to the short story review like there was for the past two. Now this is partly done because of the time crunch that the review had to be done right then and there. My procrastination had made that, the problem. Though of course, sometimes in life, other chores or other aspects of life need to be dealt with first, rather than doing something for fun. June was also a poor month reading wise. With “The Black Book,” by Nobel Laureate in Literature of two thousand and six, there was an empty gap or hole in the bookshelf – or it certainly felt that way. There are still books to read, but it certainly felt like there was nothing to read. I know on a few occasions during the past week, and partly the week before that or so – the past little bit has all but been a bit of a blur. Time had appeared to have no meaning whatsoever. The attempts at reading Iris Murdoch’s “The Black Prince,” and Marcel Proust’s intimidating voluminous novel “In Search of Lost Time Volume 1: Swann’s Way,” also left me feeling both uninterested, bored, and wondering why I was wasting my time.

With the prospect of what I have for books to tread, being nothing more than boring, and a waste of time, and not something that I wish to read, I did some looking for some new authors, and some new books to read. I’ve even included poets in the list. It has been many years since I have had even the slightest inkling of interest in reading some poetry. Personally the uninteresting and frustrating aspects of poetry can be blamed on the way that poetry is taught in schools. The entire anatomy and structure, style, diction, symbolism (which is rather literary risqué) rhyme scheme, metaphors, similes, meter, stanza, and the iambic pentameter. When students are given these odd looking bits of literature. These lines that barely coherent together, and are told dissect the diction. Amputate the rhyme scheme. Place the iambic pentameter under the microscope. So on and so forth, can leave some of the most rotten tastes in people’s mouths about poetry. It wasn’t until the other day that, by chance a poem by titled “The Silence of Plants,” crossed my path on the internet. The Nobel Laureate in Literature of Nineteen-Ninety Six Wisława Szymborska wrote the poem titled “The Silence of Plants.” Listening to the poem on the internet (though the sound effects where not at all particularly enjoyable and often interfered with the words of the poem) there was an epiphany when listening to the words of the poem. This in some way or another interested me into the world of poetry once again. This of course does not mean that by any means necessary that I will run out, and grab some poetry collections, and start reading the poems of Walt Whitman or any other poet that cares to cross your mind my dear gentle reader. That being said thanks to the surface simplicity of Wisława Szymborska, there is a rekindled joy into the world of poetry. There are a few poets on my book list, and seeing as we have come to the conclusion of the poetry part of this blog, then it is time to include those poets’ names. Some of them Dear Gentle Reader, you may have heard of, while others you may not have heard of:

Adam O’ Riordan
Mathew Hittinger
Wisława Szymborska (Nobel Laureate in Literature of Nineteen-Ninety Six)
Adonis (or Adunis)
Tomas Tranströmer (A favourite for the Nobel Prize for Literature)
Ko Un (A favourite for the Nobel Prize for literature)
Philip Larkin (one of the most famous post war poets in England)
Bella Akhmadulina (recently deceased)
Sylvia Plath
Robert Lowell

Of course there are also some other authors, on my book to read list. The more traditional authors are also included in this list. The authors of short stories, and novels. These are the authors that are more preferred to read and review, which is why the reading list was first composed. With the completion of “The Black Book,” by the Nobel Laureate in Literature, there was and still is a period of a gap in the bookshelf. Right now in the current registry of reading is “The Thief and The Dogs,” by Naguib Mahfouz the Nobel Laureate in Literature of nineteen-eighty eight. This is being done reluctantly, for the reason because there was nothing more interesting to read, in the bookshelf. I did not necessarily want to read another Naguib Mahfouz novel for a while yet, because when and if a person reads too much of one author it becomes quite a pain and annoyance to read. The books and the authors loose the lustre. Which can be quite upsetting at times, because the knowledge that the author is a great author, but the contradiction that the words cease to encase and be magical, then it becomes difficult to read. However “The Thief and The Dogs,” is doing alright so far.

The reading list itself includes novelists and short story writers, from all around the world. At least those that have translations and publications in the English language. But there is a series of books called the “Canongate Myth Series,” where authors from all over and all around publish short novels – novellas; where they have re-written ancient myths from myriad cultures. Some of the authors are quite big names authors. Margaret Atwood, wrote the second novella in the series titled “The Penelopiad.” Others writes in the series include the Russian author Victor Pelevin (“The Helmet of Horror,”) the Israeli writer David Grossman (“The Lions Honey,”) the controversial Chinese novelist Su Tong (“Binu and the Great Wall,”) then there is the Croatian born author who has residency in the Netherlands Dubravka Ugrešić (“Baba Yaga Laid an Egg,”) or the controversial novel in the series by the controversial novelist and the pseudo (which by no means is an insult to the author) children’s author Phillip Pullman (“The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.”) Personally I would love to read most of all the novels in this series. However this does prove to be difficult because some of the author’s works have not be translated into English or are no longer, available. Novels like Su Tong’s novel “Binu and the Great Wall,” or the Japanese crime novelist (a comparison could be made – Agatha Christie or Patricia Highsmith?) Natsuo Kirino’s novel “The Myth of Izanagi and Izanami,” both of these novelists novels are out of print or sold out by the main chain book sellers, or are forthcoming. Other novels though have not been translated Milton Hatoum’s novel “Orphans of Eldorado,” also the Polish novelist Olga Tokarckzuk novel “Anna In w grobowcach świata,” or translated as: “Anna In and the Tombs of the World,” both of these novels have yet to be published in the series. The next up and coming book in the series is by a Booker Prize Winning author and a novelist who is usually betted on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. She first gained public attention or nationwide attention with her win of the Nineteen-Ninety winning of The Booker Prize for her novel “Possession: A Romance.” In two thousand and nine, she was long listed and shortlisted once again for the booker prize for her novel “The Children’s Book.” If your guess my Dear Gentle Reader is A.S. Byatt, then you are correct. She is a prolific writer; and also a postmodernist author also. She has won the booker and is often speculated to be one of top contestants to be a Nobel Laureate in Literature. To add to her repertoire of writings, A.S. Byatt, will soon be publishing a novel in the series of the “Canongate Myth Series.” The novel that will be published in September of two thousand and eleven is titled “The End of the Gods.” Which is said to be about the Norse myth of Ragnarök; which looks to be about the Norse’s take of the end of the world. I think the entire series itself is delightful.

One does certainly need to realize that everything today that is written is most certainly going to be a variation of the myths that have been passed around the world. All the ancient myths of sun gods dying at sunset, or the moon being personified as a gentle and loving tender woman; or the fact that cupid still is running around in a heavily Christianised Western Culture – whose roots come all the way back from Aphrodite (Roman Equivalent Venus) Son Eros. Even the planets and the constellations have stories behind them, or where their names come from. Myths are as much, as part of the culture – be it a new culture mixing in with the older culture’s spiritual beliefs and then called something new (New Age Western idea’s where they think they are original but are just stealing old philosophies and thoughts, and myths and rituals from other cultures such as the East Indians, Native American’s, Buddhism et cetera) the myths of the world, can and still are seen all around us. It would be no surprise if the literature of today is inspired by the myths of the past. Grandiose loves; jealous wives; secret children; devastating wars; and beautiful maidens.

The rest of the reading list consists of these following authors. Some may be duplicated with authors from the “Canongate Myth Series.”

Antonio Tabucchi (A favourite for the Nobel Prize for Literature)
Alberto Moravia
John Le Carre (Finalist for The Man Booker International Prize of 2011)
Andrey Kurkov
Luigi Pirandello (The Nobel Prize for Literature 1933)
James Ellroy (The Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction)
Hans Fallada
David Grossman
Cesare Pavese
Lee Rourke

The days grow shorter by four seconds. Today is four seconds shorter then yesterday. Tomorrow will be four seconds shorter then today. This is the cycle of time itself. It is the cycle of seasons. For now as summer runs its course, the sound of children will no longer be heard playing outside freely. They will be back in school. Autumn will come back. Then so will winter. Just today while I was looking outside, the windshield of the vehicle I was riding in, it certainly felt so odd to see the sun out, the green in the air, the flowers in bloom, the sky blue, the clouds white and puffy but scattered. Winter felt like a long forgotten dream. Snow was all but nothing but melted puddles in my memory. Yet they are still frozen below the surface. Assuring me that even though the time now is great and warm – even brutally hot; winter is approaching, just as fast as it had left. Though still it is hard to imagine this country covered in snow, when there is so much green life all around. The bugs buzzing in the air. The flowers bloomed and opened up wide. It is sometimes amazing to think that, during most of the year, there is a cold chill creeping around the corners. Slowly slithering up the spine. But for now. In these moments, it is nice to enjoy the sunshine.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
*And Remember: Downloading Books Illegally is Thievery and Wrong.*

M. Mary