On a cold note

Nonfiction stories dealing with surviving harsh rural winters appeal to me — a peculiar penchant.

I also have an affinity for the music of Russian composers, eg. Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.

A parallel?

Chopin, too, is a favorite, and he’s from Poland — right up there, along with Schumann, a German.

Starlings make an appearance

European starlings have been harvesting the trove of black olives that grow in batches on nearly every branch of the tree out back.

Normally, the olives merely fall to the ground and rot, so it’s nice to see the birds using them for sustenance. They take them and fly to the ground, where they shake them violently in their beaks until they split into bite-sized chunks.

The starlings’ plumage is iridescent and more or less echoes the color of the olives. Their dark feathers are offset by a caramel trim along their outer wings, with their bodies speckled in earth tones as if by an artist’s brush. Continue reading

A Study of Orange

She had a bright yellow pen and a fat hardcover book with a lime green dust jacket.

Her yoga pants were red like pomegranate, and her spa socks were slate. Her black and white cat played with a ribbon that was thick as Asian flat noodle. Her coffee was black and sat just so. It filled an espresso cup the color of steak bone.

Soon she would be eating a banana that matched her pen, but she was unsure she liked the color. The pens also came in a very citrusy orange that made her heart skip. Continue reading

15 things I’d eat right now

Meatballs with marinara sauce and melted provolone; Cannoli; Dried figs; Raw clams; Steak fries; Fried fish with mashed potatoes and green beans with a lemon wedge on the side; Crispy focaccia with thinly sliced tomato, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and basil; Fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce; Lobster mac and cheese; Pork fried rice; Hot apple crumb pie with a scoop of vanilla; Popcorn; Eggplant parm panini; Rice and refried beans; Homemade potato salad.

Man on the phone

A man in a bookstore whose friend was in the research phase of opening his own bookshop was on the phone with said friend, describing shelf layouts.

The man on the call was middleaged with a foreign accent and wore a ball cap and a stylish sweat jacket. He had a goatee and reeked of cologne.

The man finished his conversation and sat at the cafe table studying something on his mobile device. No words came from his mouth, but his cologne continued being obtrusive.

One young woman sitting nearby liked the fragrance, thinking it smelled like success, and she found the man’s side of the conversation exciting. She wished she could be in on the plans.

Weather notes

At dusk, the clouds had the same pinkish hue as when the sun was coming up that day. Thus, the sky, to her, was indistinguishable.

The room was chilly, and her cat made her think of the two pigeons she saw earlier at the park. The pair rested on the ground near the gazebo, their feathers puffed up against the cold and damp. And now, her cat rested with its paws beneath its chest, a classic feline configuration.

Best books and music

These were the top three books and musical discoveries for me this year. They’re alphabetized and not in order of preference.

BOOKS

  1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – Inspiring essays on preserving our ecosystem and restoring nature, written from the perspective of Native American tradition and spirituality.
  2. Essays One by Lydia Davis – A very rewarding and lively 512-page book, generally about the art and craft of writing. Davis discusses her own practices, and she also looks at the techniques of a wonderfully curated group of other writers. In addition, she discusses elements of visual art and photography.
  3. The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward – A memoir dealing with self-discovery, empowerment and family upbringing, conveyed through prose and poetry, written in a unique voice.

Continue reading