Stories as therapy

Stories as therapy

The story as a means to bear sorrow is an idea I’d like to believe, but can’t quite relate to personally.  Karen Blixen was likely speaking from her own experience, and I can only admire the implicit resilience.  ‘All sorrows can be borne if you put...
Stories as generosity

Stories as generosity

An expansive view of stories from Turkestan, as if they embody the sweeping spaces of the steppe, and the freedom of those who tell them. Take me to some tales from Turkestan… ‘The essence of the stories from Turkestan is generosity, a virtue of the plains...
Can’t bear the noise

Can’t bear the noise

I don’t blame them either. A delightful recollection of a sensible ursine response to the outrage of war in their habitat. See another lovely account from the same book, of monster lobsters. “Last year, when the hard fighting was going on up there”...
The lobsters of Skopelos

The lobsters of Skopelos

Hyperbole, nothing like it when suitably blatant, creative and outrageous.  You couldn’t possibly eat one of these, only engage them in a civilized conversation about world affairs, or in a game of chess. See, from the same book, a similarly improbable yet...
Of art and Ithaca

Of art and Ithaca

This poetic summary resonates deeply – the search for green eternity as opposed to ‘mere astonishments’.  I’ve always been baffled by sensationalism or the desire to shock as a motivation in itself, rather than as a possible by-product of...
Two types of aesthetic

Two types of aesthetic

A pithy way to categorize an aesthetic response – the straightforward reflection of a mirror or the more complex refraction of a prism.  I will test this out next time I look at a building, sculpture, painting or poem.  ‘Two aesthetics exist: the passive...
In praise of the unknown and unseen – I

In praise of the unknown and unseen – I

The great humanist George Eliot sings the praises of those who act well or kindly in countless unmarked ways, without any song or dance about it.  See a similar example in her superb Adam Bede, and Vasily Grossman’s plea for the value of untraceable kindnesses....
In praise of the unknown and unseen – II

In praise of the unknown and unseen – II

Highlighting the significance of the insignificant people who constitute most of humanity and its history. See a similar praise of unsung heroes in Eliot’s Middlemarch, and an echoing cry by Vasily Grossman.  I sense that George Eliot and Vasily Grossman would...
Bad but not dull

Bad but not dull

How about that for a jowl-shaking quaff? Proof that bad wine can be ‘interesting’ even if dentally dangerous. See another of Hemingway’s graphic descriptions, this time in a vast soup tureen. And for a different but equally florid wine review, see...

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