Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, March 10, 2007

At the Palace of Pest

Bloggerdom will have to toddle on mostly without moi for a while longer, because children want stories and special treatment when they are sick. And children don't need a blogger (or a writer, though one hopes the stories are first-rate.) In some bookish ways it has been a sickly-yet-good week: requests for poems and a story (I love requests, because I hate the bother of sending out), mail with money for a poem (yes, money for poems is always surprising news) and an issue of Books & Culture with one of my poems, "The Sea of Traherne" (also reprinted online with permission from the editor here), and an acceptance to Yaddo--my first time applying, so I'm pleased.

Also, somebody pointed me to a new review of Catherwood (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)--a longish review of a book published twelve years prior. The net is a friend to writers when it allows once-impossible things like this to happen. (Of course, the web also allows the throwing of fermenting veggies and bizarre anonymous notes.) The end made me feel cheerful, it's so heartfelt and strong: "Catherwood has changed my life completely. This book has easily become my all-time favorite. It has all the action, romance, suspense and gruff reality that will keep the reader turning pages until the bittersweet ending. I urge everyone to find this book, buy it, read it. Mothers take my warning, you will need a whole box of kleenex for this one. I have read it several times. I know it by heart almost, and it still makes me sob uncontrollably."

Thank you, Dawn Nave! I'm glad somebody somewhere is using kleenex for something better than the common cold.

The book had great reviews in the NYTBR and Washington Post and elsewhere and was a Literary Guild Alternate, so I've always felt sad that megacorporations ate its paperback line (Bard) and thus took Catherwood out of print. But you can buy a used copy in softcover or hardcover for one little brown penny at Amazon (here) and such places.

I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
--from Yeats, "Brown Penny"

And trala, despite coughs and fevers and winter blues! Good health to you, and good cheer. The sun is blinding-bright on the snow today, so I'm dreaming of melt and the lovely sound of ice water (trickling into the basement, no doubt.) And now I climb upstairs to tell a story to a little boy who needs one desperately.

Don't we all, don't we all?

***
Public domain picture: Image is taken from an old postcard of Yaddo that appears in various spots on the web--and seems to be sold as a larger print as well.

22 comments:

  1. It sounds like family hey day up there with everybody in and together. I cant believe you all have blinding snow! We have wild flowers up here. I wish it were snowy. I do my best work with a fire on.

    Many thanks for stopping in with good cheer. I was actually just sitting here staring at my screen wishing I would get an email!

    Now I think I will start in on my paper having felt like I have done a bit of morning correspondence.

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  2. Glad you are feeling some better Marly, but sad to hear about the young ones. You are a great mom, and yes we all need stories, so don't stop writing.

    I bet your bedtime stories for your kids are wonderful.

    Love,
    The recovering artist.

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  3. Susanna,

    Oh, I wish we had wildflowers! But at least today the temperature is up and we have some melting underway. Every now and then a massive icicle detonates and shatters onto the yard.

    b-queen,

    Glad I know that you're not recovering from being an artist! We ended up listening to a CD of L. M. Boston's The Children of Green Knowe. Wondrous tale, beginning with the arrival of Tolly by train in the midst of the great flood. I've used floods in stories and a novel, and am glad to have found this one.

    http://www.sfsite.com/07b/gk132.htm

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  4. He's a lucky boy,
    Bon courage, Marly!

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  5. ah yes
    good stories keep me going.
    and so does poetry like yours...which i have just read for the first time and will go drink from again and again once i secure my own copy of Claire.

    Thank you for these!

    Congratulations on your acceptance to Yaddo!! It looks like a very nurturing place.

    and i hope you and the offspring are feeling much better...and that you have sunshine and warmth melting the snow and ice...it has come to us, just south of where you are, i believe...i found another crocus ready to open after the earliest ever ones of January.

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  6. Hello Lucy & zephyr--

    Thanks for the good wishes. Zephyr, thanks for reading those poems--despite the bug, I've been on a poetry jag. So pleasing!

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  7. What a bore bugs can be.

    Is Catherwood a book for everyone? I must read something of yours soon. Awful thing to have to admit.

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  8. Sometime you'll remember those warm cosy comfy days when you were closeted together with "children-off-school"....THe time seems endless, doesn't it, but appreciate it Marly because the endlessness eventually coils itself up and those times have gone. ( lots of stuff, equally lovely, takes their place, but nevertheless..)
    I remember spending a day with a poorly 2ryr old " under my wing"...this 2yr old ( now 30) has just spent a night with HIS 2yr old " under HIS wing"...all this stuff, all these times, pass on from one generation to the next, so enjoy it all..!

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  9. Robert,

    Well, even the bestselling book in history gets rejected by some! There's no book that gets a good review from everyone.

    But I still hear from people about that one, so I imagine it would be a good book to choose. And the used copies are ridiculously cheap.

    You can flip through my web site and look at the books or read Catherwood review clips.

    Jan,

    Yes, that's excellent advice. Time is so very remarkable in its transformations and repetitions. If only we could weave it more, and enjoy those exhausted hours on later days when the little faces are grown and we're left with less to do.

    Traded one sickie for another, and just carried up a tray for Belgian waffles in bed--with blackberries.

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  10. Thank you for the excellent suggestion you left over in the garden, Marly...i really appreciate your taking the time and the good ideas.

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  11. There may be more and better ones, but I do think it's a time when thinking "outside the box" can work. I'll be interested to see what you do!

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  12. Marley I hesitate to mention it as you seem to do so much but I have been directed to an interesting blog you would I think enjoy.


    http://www.languagehat.com/

    Yesterday's post is quite fun. So is the one about the scorpion's private parts!

    Thank you also for suggesting Chris' meaning of Wholesome.

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  13. Sorry to spell your name wrong again it misses the spellchecker every time.

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  14. No worry! "Marly" is actually a nickname, and are there really ironclad rules for how to spell a nickame?

    And I have been to Language Hat: good of you to remind me, though. I haven't been for a long time.

    Suppose I shall be busy until my children are all well, but I'm still on doing a little work. It seems to be naptime upstairs.

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  15. So much good news in this it's hard to believe it's a post from the palace of pest. Congratulations on the good bits and may the buggy bits fly away soon!

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  16. Yaddo!!! Yay for you, Ms Marly!! When?

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  17. Thanks, MB and Laura--

    25 days in spring! Want to come house-sit three children? That's what I'm working on now...

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  18. Maybe I'm coming down with sumthin' -- I can't believe I missed your being accepted to Yaddo, despite having read your post over about three times! Yippee for you!

    Yes, we all need stories. More stories (please!). Poor Joe Campbell got so overexposed, but his view that myths are stories to live by still seems fresh to me.

    Massive happy-dance congrats on joy despite viruses.

    Hope you're off to a lovely week (me, thank goodness for Heaven Tree and Gawain, the working world is full of spreadsheets and data-shuffling right now so his blog-salon is a needed respite and oasis.)

    And that Chris...what a hoot!

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  19. Next up will be my interview with James Simpson, aspiring novelist!

    ***

    Lori,

    Yes, I like to e-frolic with the Mount Shang sages, Chris and Sir Gawain. They are both pronounced characters and independent thinkers, and I have a weakness for such people!

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  20. THanks M,

    Just wanted to say I got your note, MAny thanks. I am so glad that God brought you into my life.

    Anyway, cant wait to read James interview. I think people really like the interview segments.

    Do you remember manprano from my interview?

    I posted a link on my LJ to a very short recording of him that he has uploaded. He says its "not perfect" just a practice. Well it sounds pretty fabulous to me and I too have a trained ear.

    S

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  21. Oh, I'll have to try it! And James is up...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.