Saturday, January 31, 2009

Swallows and Amazons

Oh, how I love you. You really are such jolly good books, with your canvas and wood and potted meat and fresh-from-the-udder milk and hullaballoos and treachery. It's the 1930s, but girls have power right alongside boys and no one thinks at any moment, "We're just pretending; it's not real," because it is real, and they--all of them--know it. There are consequences and near disasters, yet everyone sleeps well at night, knowing that they're not duffers, knowing that they could survive on open seas. And the covers! Look at the undulating waves. Look at the black and white simplicity of the flags. Look at the glorious horizon. (Not to mention the jaunty little penguin, who has gone the way of the dodo.) And then there is Winter Holiday, with the sleek, hand-drawn figures gliding across the ice and the crowd not cheering, but signalling. They know what they mean, all the way down to Roger, the youngest. They signify and it is something.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Peeve of the Day

Silent houses.
Please, pretty please. Just put on the itunes, or a cd, or the radio or
something. Sitting in a room with friends but without music is just so sad, no matter how good the wine or how stimulating the conversation or how crispy the little crackers. I can barely think about anything but our words coming out of our mouths and circling around our heads and ending up in little piles in dusty corners. Music fills out a space. It makes all the difference.