A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Downtown Book Ladies

Labor Day is over, everybody's back from the Cape and the Continent, and the fall club-and-social season has resumed. Tonight was the monthly meeting of the Springfield, Massachusetts Downtown Book Ladies Club, on hiatus since last spring.

To be in this club, you have to be female, live downtown or be the sister of someone living downtown, and like to read. Currently, there are seven of us. We meet monthly, and take turns hosting in our homes. In this photo, Anna, Kathy and Maggie are holding up their books to prove that this meeting was not just about white wine, cheese, caperberries, grapes, chocolate decadence, and neighborhood gossip.

We don't have a facilitator, but take some individual responsibility for leading the discussion if it's the book we've chosen. This season, our theme is art and architecture. Everyone has proferred suggestions so far except me. Choosing a book on that theme, under 250 pages and gettable in sufficient quantity through local libraries or bookstores, has so far proved beyond me.

Tonight we discussed Witold Rybczynski's The Most Beautiful House in the World, the charming account by a noted architect of his construction of a boatbuilding shed. Talk about process! He takes years to sketch and dream about it, eventually laying a foundation and finally, finally, actually putting up a building. By the time he's got it up, he's realized that he wants to live in it, and so it becomes a home instead. He never does build the boat.

If that's not a metaphor for my own life, I don't know what is.

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My Last Tooth

It has been suggested by some gentle readers that I make "very bad poetry" a regular feature of this blog.

When my youngest child was about twelve, one of our favorite things to do together was to read really bad poetry out loud to each other. Waiting rooms were a favorite venue for this activity. We would always begin to giggle, and the pressure to maintain some degree of decorum in public, coupled with the hilarity of the subject matter, would inevitably result in our breaking down completely.

This was our favorite poem, written in the 1890s by an unknown poet:

My Last Tooth

You have gone, old tooth,
Though hard to yield,
You have long stood alone,
Like a stub in the field.

Farewell, old tooth...
That tainted my breath,
And tasted as smells
a woodpecker's nest.

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