Thursday, September 20, 2018

Image at Trip Advisor:
a corner of Oaks Gallery at the Riverwood Shops in Dillsboro,
owned by Bob Leveille and Susan Morgan Leveille. 
Mea culpa

I have barely returned from three weeks in North Carolina with my mother (yes, the timing seems, given hurricane Florence, just a little odd, though the mountains did not suffer the disastrous havoc of the coast and piedmont) So my blog and my blog readers, I have neglected you. And I am soon to go on another trip. But after that I will be home for a while and send out a Rollipoke and give some attention to my blog and pay a few social calls to other bloggers.

What I did in North Carolina, for the curious:

Ate prodigious quantities of hoppin' John and okra; stayed on the mountaintop and had good views of ranges, clouds, storms, pelting rain (thank you, cruel Lady Florence, for the mercy that we did not need an ark at our end of the state); enjoyed walks in the mountains; was rained on mightily at times but stared at three splendiferous rainbows; went to the Chihuly glass show in the Biltmore Estate gardens and pools and afterward toured the Vanderbilt house once again; hung out with the Cullowhee Baptists on Sunday with my mother; toured the Nature Center and then hiked at the Highlands Biological Station (saw the fabulous mountain bog in lovely fall bloom, all lilies and jewelweed and grass of Parnassus and more); scurried to the Farmers Market for more okra (repeat, repeat); searched for monarchs over about sixty scrumptious miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway with my mother and my eldest son who unexpectedly popped down for a visit (too early for monarchs, as we thought); visited with friends including the wonderful weaver Susan Morgan Leveilledrove the Cherohala Skyway; toured the arts fair at the Jackson County Green Energy Park; watched glass blowers making their glory-hole magic; went to inspect the elk and hike at Oconaluftee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; rambled around the North Carolina Arboretum with my son while my mother did her volunteering (and there we did see one, two, three monarchs and loads of swallowtails and fritillaries and sulphurs at the Patchwork Garden.)

Enough? That's all I conjure at this instant but there was more...

Be sure and hit the link to Susan Morgan Leveille; her family has been crucial to the resurgence of crafts in the western region, and she is a North Carolina Heritage Award winner. That's a very big deal in the state, and if you have a yen for anything woven, I recommend her. She has been weaving since she was six. Or maybe it was five... Her work is very fine, and she does take commissions as well. Susan also teaches (my mother has taken a number of classes from her) at the Penland School of Crafts in Spruce Pine, the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown, various other places, and in her own Dillsboro. If you are in the area, stop by her Oaks Gallery, also in Dillsboro. (The link in the article is no longer correct, but the one I included here will give you a picture of what is on offer.)

Read over a bowl of matcha this morning

"If we knew a little more of Shakespeare's self and circumstance how much more complete the Sonnets would be to us, how their strange, torn edges would be softened and merged into a whole body!" --D. H. Lawrence, preface to the Collected Poems of 1928

17 comments:

  1. You have such a fascinating life .... I don’t think I agree with Lawrence ..... the mystery adds rather than subtracts .....

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    1. My mother keeps me moving when I am in her territory!

      I like mystery, yes...

      The quote is so, so Lawrencian--those "strange, torn edges" and the softening and becoming wholeness and body. I do love his "Studies in Classic American Literature," and the quote reminds me of his style in that interesting, sometimes wacky book of criticism.

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  2. That sounds like a wonderful trip! We stayed close to home this summer after going to the Smokies two Augusts in a row. You have me pining for that area a little bit.

    Life has been keeping us too busy up here for me to have updated my blog, but that's going to change in the next week or so...

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    1. It is a good destination...

      I also visited a painter friend on the way home, so maybe I will do a post about that soon.

      Looking forward to your next post. The recent batch was so interesting.

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  3. When writers write that passes for doing. But you've been doing "doing" for real and obviously finding it seductive. You may of course tell yourself that what you've been doing may be construed as recharging your storage tanks as a writer but you don't need to stuff yourself with hoppin' (No capital letter?) John and okra for that, merely get up out of bed, open your eyes fully, and sniff the air. And weren't you previously struggling with some MS or other and not getting anywhere? Could all that literary stuff have ground to a halt? For good? Couldn't watching others work (especially glass blowers) now be preferable?

    I've been writing Rictangular Lenses for two years (33,000 words done) but "writing" is hardly the truth. The gaps between sentences have been frightening. I've re-read what I've written and some of it is terrific; what's more I know what's to come. But the impulse is getting fainter.

    I was accidentally unpleasant to someone and I wrote a sonnet as apology. A variant of the passion returned and I was all done in 90 minutes. Fantastic. Except that verse for me is a diversion. Was my 84th birthday, recently passed, the end of the milestones? Am I an ex-novelist?

    But you, you're nobbut a lass.

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    1. More later than a brief phone message, but I don't think either of us is done. I am the only surviving child of my mother, who is still a very lively woman. When I am in North Carolina with her, she gets my attention!

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  4. And here's the most ironical of ironies. I've just noticed, I've made your pantheon - in blue while all the others are red. A subtle political judgement? Perhaps this is the kick-up-the-ass I've been needing.

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    1. We are wrters. Let's fly above the red and the blue!

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    2. That is, I do not care to make my characters into politically correct stick figures. That way lies lifelessness. And I like variety. Life is so very full of it.

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  5. Oh it sounds like such a perfect trip -- time in the mountains, time with family, and time eating. Very restorative I am sure. And thank you so much for the link to Susan Morgan Leveille work. My own weaving is still so tentative, though becoming more familiar -- I will probably weave a trunk-full of dishcloths before I tackle an overshot project (the queen of cloths!) I am headed up this week to the mountains -- Mudlake at about 7.5k where the aspens will be all turning gold together. I am not a huge fan of okra -- but I have made pies, crisps, and butters of all the apples at the farm stands. I suppose in another week, it will be all pumpkins.

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    1. Sounds lovely and lively... You would love to meet Susan, I feel sure! I have lots of deep South foods that I love like lady peas, okra, field peas, crowders, etc. Enjoy those apples and pumpkins!

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  6. And how do you cook okra? I once spent a week upgrading a system at the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, and managed to have fried okra during three or four lunches at their cafeteria. Their cooks knew how to fry okra. On the other hand, I once made the mistake of ordering fried okra in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and got something that had been frozen, then deep fried in not fresh oil.

    Pound, as I recall, thought that Shakespeare was writing the sonnets for somebody else. At the moment, I am reading (among other books) Samuel Schoenbaum's Shakespeare's Lives. I have only made it to the Irelands, so the more curious speculations about the sonnets are ahead of me.

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    1. I like okra all sorts of ways--I do like fried okra (the way my mother makes it!), okra in Cajun dishes, okra in soups, and okra in Indian dishes. I just like okra. I'm afraid that most Yankees don't know how to make Southern food. (Of course, plenty of Southerners don't either!) I once had to go to a certain chain for breakfast with my in-laws; I had no idea what it was, as I think it's a Yankee chain or maybe just a chain I had not met yet. I ordered grits (crazy me) because it was on the dratted menu. They brought me a little bowl of inedible pink-brown sand!

      Shakespeare is full of mysteries! Yes, the relation of the persona and narrating voice to the poet is in question. Because it's not necessarily what we assume. And Shakespeare was perfectly capable of "entering in" another role. I have not read the Schoenbaum. Good?

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    2. The Schoenbaum is good. At not quite page 200, the younger Boswell has seen Malone's unfinished biography into print, Schlegel has claimed Shakespeare for the Romantics, and the Stratford antiquary Wheeler has added to the knowledge of documents relating to Shakespeare's local activities. That leaves about three hundred pages for the bulk of the 19th and 20th centuries.

      It is occasionally remarkable what incompetent cooks (or even good cooks on a bad) day can do with almost any ingredients.

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    3. I'll keep that book in mind, though my heap to-be-read is astounding at the moment.

      Yes, I recall a disaster with bulgur long ago... Cooking is so fascinating. Recipes with a zillion complicated flavors can be so good, and yet something with very few--like an ancient Medieval pother--can be surprisingly complex and even suggest the presence of herbs when none are present.

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  7. My dear Mary B B who has unsuccessfully tried to get me to settle down and paint was the little birdie in ROA who offered to introduce me to yourselfship last week. I was unable and regret the missed opportunity. Yet I ‘spect I’d have been all tongue-tied and such. She and I are yogaing weekly finding the magic impulse of the breath. Your NC visit sounds fabulous! Lucky Mom (and you) to have that relationship. Best to you, Marly.

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    1. Ah, yes, she talked about you and yoga! Perhaps next time I whiz through Roanoke... I have a tradition of spending the night with MBB and taking her out to dinner each time I go South. This time she was agonizing over taxes but we did manage to talk a lot and go out to the Thai restaurant in Vinton. I'm glad you are teaching her yoga!

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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.