Saturday, July 30, 2016

BW31: August Peregrinations

Muir Woods Beach (Guidoo.com)



If you are still searching for Moby Dick or pursuing other nautical adventures, feel free to continue. For those who are feeling a bit waterlogged, join me for some August Peregrinations. Grab your backpacks and put on your walking shoes as we follow in the footsteps of our author flavors of the month - John Steinbeck and Willa Cather.  


In 1960, Steinbeck and his faithful travel companion, a poodle called Charley, took a car trip across the United States.  They started off in New York and traveled almost 10,000 miles around and through the states until he arrived in his home town of Salinas, California.  He wrote about and published his journey in Travels with Charley.   Steinbeck wrote 27 books during his lifetime, including Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men and Cannery Row as well as short stories and non fiction books. 


“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” ~ Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Willa Cather, best known for Death comes for the ArchbishopMy Antonia, and Oh Pioneers, lived the majority of her life in Nebraska, but traveled quite a bit through the United States as well as Europe.  

“I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.” ~ My √Āntonia

Cather leads the list of 20 Iconic American authors and Steinbeck is one of five authors to  Inspire the Ultimate American Road Trip.



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Saturday, July 23, 2016

BW30: Come sail away!





"Come Sail Away"


By Styx


I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board, I'm the captain, so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try to carry on


I look to the sea, reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had
We live happily forever, so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope, and this is what they said
They said come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me


I thought that they were angels, but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away
Come sail away with me


I'm in the mood for a seafaring mini challenge.  Pick a word related to water.  It can be nautical or ship related as well as ocean related. You can even use a fantasy ocean generator to help you fire your imagination.  I'm going to go with something mundane and boring - SEA.  Find a book on your shelves, the library or even pick up a new book at your local bookstore.  My finds of the day:

John Banville's The Sea


Deborah Lawrensen's Sea Garden

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

BW29: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

I have Ernest Hemingway on my mind this week, especially since Old Man and the Sea is one of the American literature books James will be reading for 11th grade.  I read the book for the first time myself a few years back.  Don't know how I managed to skip it during my high school years.  Making up for lost time now and finding I appreciate the books more now than I would have then.  And coincidentally, July 21st is the anniversary of Hemingway's birthday.

I was pleased to find a free audio version, narrated by Charlton Heston. I just love his voice, don't you!




Versions of the movie with Anthony Quinn  or Spencer Tracy are available on Amazon instant video.

If you are a major Hemingway fan, get the Ernest Hemingway Audiobook library, compiled by publisher Simon and Schuster, narrated by a variety of actors including Donald Sutherland and Stacy Keach.

His books and short stories are also available in ebook online.

Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway!




Sunday, July 10, 2016

BW28: Ode to the Artichoke

Flowering artichoke

July 12th is the anniversary of Pablo Neruda's birthday and since I've over inundated you with links the last few weeks,  figured I'd keep it simple this week.



Ode to the Artichoke

by

Pablo Neruda



The artichoke 
With a tender heart 
Dressed up like a warrior, 
Standing at attention, it built 
A small helmet 
Under its scales 
It remained 
Unshakeable, 
By its side 
The crazy vegetables 
Uncurled 
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns, 
Throbbing bulbs, 
In the sub-soil 
The carrot 
With its red mustaches 
Was sleeping, 
The grapevine 
Hung out to dry its branches 
Through which the wine will rise, 
The cabbage 
Dedicated itself 
To trying on skirts, 
The oregano 
To perfuming the world, 
And the sweet 
Artichoke 
There in the garden, 
Dressed like a warrior, 
Burnished 
Like a proud 
Pomegrante.

And one day 
Side by side 
In big wicker baskets 
Walking through the market 
To realize their dream 
The artichoke army 
In formation.

Never was it so military 
Like on parade.

The men 
In their white shirts 
Among the vegetables 
Were 
The Marshals 
Of the artichokes 
Lines in close order 
Command voices, 
And the bang 
Of a falling box.


But 
Then 
Maria 
Comes 
With her basket 
She chooses 
An artichoke, 
She's not afraid of it.

She examines it, she observes it 
Up against the light like it was an egg, 
She buys it, 
She mixes it up 
In her handbag 
With a pair of shoes 
With a cabbage head and a 
Bottle 
Of vinegar 
Until 
She enters the kitchen 
And submerges it in a pot.


Thus ends 
In peace 
This career 
Of the armed vegetable 
Which is called an artichoke, 
Then 
Scale by scale, 
We strip off 
The delicacy 
And eat 
The peaceful mush 
Of its green heart.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

BW27: Sailiing West of the Prime Meridian



Ahoy my dear seafarers and welcome to Maritime July.   It's time to weight anchor and head west of the Prime Meridian. We'll head out across the Pacific Ocean and let the trade winds determine our direction. You can go in search of Moby Dick, join the Napoleonic Wars, experience mutinies and ship wrecks or simply explore. 

Let's climb on board Herman Melville's fictitious Pequod with Captain Ahab as he searches for Moby DickFor those who have already read Moby Dick, explore nautical adaptions, alternatives or non fiction. Join the Essex (inspired Moby Dick) in Nathaniel Philbrick's historical tale In the Heart of the Sea.  Fight the seas as well as the whales in Mel Odom's Hunter's of the Dark Sea.  You could also chose to stay on land with Sena Jeter Naslund's historical fiction saga Ahab's wife or China Mieville's dystopian parody Railsea. Follow Ishmael into outer space with Ray Bradbury's Leviathan 99 or Philip Jose Farmer's Wind Whales of Ishmael.  

Immerse yourself in sea life during the Napoleonic wars and climb on board with Captain Aubrey in Patrick O'Brien's Master and Commander series or Horatio Hornblower in C.S. Forester's Hornblower Saga.  

Live vicariously through Thor Heyerdahl as he replicates the mythical voyage of Kon Tiki across the Pacific in a raft or with Joshua Slocum in Sailing Alone around the World.

Our nautical explorations wouldn't be complete without Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny or Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea or Jules Vernes' 20,000 leagues under the sea.

Need more ideas?  Check out the Mother of all Maritime Links or the ever helpful Goodreads Book of the High Seas and Books about Seafaring Cats.

Happy Sailing! 


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