Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Sunny and cool
Check out the interview with Wanda Campbell on Circadian Poems. She was our very first Circadian Poet when we started over a year ago.
September 11 is always tough to get through, and, literally, my heart is sore for several days after.
It doesn’t help either that last night, The Pretender was on television, insulting the intelligence of the American public. He couldn’t even keep a straight face through his lies – smirked his way through the whole speech. Truly a disgusting display.
His own Republican Intelligence Investigators confirmed that what he said to the American public to get us involved in the Iraq War was not true. And he just keeps spewing his lies. He’s like a wind-up toy on acid – he can’t stop.
I wish they’d keep the Towers of Light up all the time, though. They are beautiful, and, to me, the best way to honor the lost.
The out of town plans changed at the last minute when my fellow traveler cancelled. I was in “road trip head” so I collected someone else and we headed to Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside, in Tarrytown. I posted some pictures last evening, below. It was a beautiful day to walk around, sit on his porch and watch the river. The trains went by every 3 ½ minutes, making it perhaps a tad less serene than when Irving wrote there in the mid-1800s. But still beautiful. The Coast Guard was busy patrolling, especially around the Tappan Zee Bridge, but other than that, the Hudson River was pretty quiet.
Again, I was a bit disturbed that there was no biography of him in the museum shop. There were plenty of books BY him and all kinds of clever stuff. But nothing ABOUT him.
So I ordered three volumes of his journals when I got home.
We meandered up through Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (yes, it truly does exist). The town officially changed its name back to Sleepy Hollow in 1996. It USED to be Sleepy Hollow (in Irving’s time and before), at some point became North Tarrytown, then voted itself back as Sleepy Hollow in the mid-90s. There was a lot of hollering during the voting process, I remember.
One of the reasons I always loved the Trixie Belden series is that it’s set in a Hudson River valley town, Sleepyside-on-Hudson, which could be any one of a handful of towns along there. Julie Campbell Tatham, who originated the series, was born in Flushing, NY and lived near Ossining (one of those towns on the Hudson) when she wrote the first six books. She captured the character of the place so well -- I bought the books as a kid originally because I gorged myself on the juvenile mystery fiction. I kept reading them because of the location.
We cut over towards Pleasantville. I was in search of the Dragonfly Café – without the address – and never found it – but we found a road that, literally, leads right back home. Grabbed a late lunch from a great local restaurant called The Town Dock, and it was a quiet day, much needed amid the stress and grief.
Finished reading Betsy Blair’s memoir The Memory of All That. She was Gene Kelly’s first wife, but was blacklisted because of her left-wing activism during the McCarthy era. After she divorced Kelly, she lived and worked in Europe. I hadn’t realized how many of the Hollywood Ten had gone to live and work in Paris. She paints a fascinating word portrait of what life was like at that time under that cloud. While some of the Hollywood stuff is so light and pratty I don’t buy it, when she discusses the effects of the blacklist, she does it in such a simple and straight forward way that it’s much more powerful than many of the other tomes that have come out touting McCarthy’s evil. For he truly was evil – again, in the name of “patriotism”.
Also started reading a truly delightful book called The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee, which is both history of bookselling and memoir.
And, information in his book proves that evil fundamentalism never changes. In 642 CE, the contents of the magnificent library at Alexandria were ordered to be burned as fuel for the bathhouses by fundamentalist caliph Omar, who believed that the Koran was the only book necessary.
So, once again, great treasures of the world are destroyed by a religious fanatic.
That anecdote infuriated me, but the rest of the book (so far) is quite charming.
Off to the theatre. No hot water AGAIN this morning – starting the day cold and then having to take a cold shower is NOT my idea of a good way to start the day.