Wednesday, January 30, 2013


To collage the classics. To repurpose. Two weeks ago, I concluded my Fortnightly blog post with a promise (to Eileen) to look further into these concepts. Here, for example, is the visual collage that I created in my undergraduate Women's Studies Class, a successful completion of the assignment, I'm sure:

However, it became a problem when I took a similar approach to my written work as well. I was warned against the pastiche: "literary patchworks formed by piecing together extracts from various works by one or several authors" (A Handbook to Literature, Holman & Harmon). But I liked the pastiche! And I like that if comes from the French pastiche = "a medley made up of fragments from different works" . . . and from the Italian pasticcio = "medley, pastry, cake, pasta, paste." Which brings us to collage = "a pasting." Perfect!

Last time, it was a bouquet of flowers; this time it's a tea tray of pastries. Sweet! Who could object? The pastiche may be derivative but Wikipedia assures us that the pastiche celebrates! And so does my friend Paula!

Check out my new post for more on the Pastiche!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wine the Magi Brought

A range of reds from Ben McCartney's Wine Tasting Album

As the Season of Epiphany comes to a close, what a comfort to think that the magi brought not just gold, frankincense and myrrh but also wine.

And how fitting to encounter ~ courtesty of my friend Eileen ~ these words from Rumi: "in that moment, you will know."

Birdcatcher, the birds you want are thirsty,
so you open the wine vat and let the fragrance draw us.
This is the wine the magi brought as a gift,
and the wine musk that led them.

There are certain night-wanderers
that you especially want. Not the drunkards,
and not the ones who just carry cups to others.

This is how it is to come near you.
A wave of light builds in the black pupil
of the eye. The old become young.

The opening lines of the Qur'an open still more.
Inside every human chest is a hand, but it has nothing
to write with. Love moves further in where
language turns to fresh cream on the tongue.

Every accident, and the essence of every being,
is a bud, a blanket
tucked into a cradle, a closed mouth.

All these buds will blossom.
In that moment you will know what your grief was,
and how the seed you planted has been miraculously growing.

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow
and called out,
It tastes sweet, does it not?

You have caught me, grief answered,
and you have ruined my business.

How can I sell sorrow,
when you know it's a blessing?

~ Rumi ~

"An unoaked French Chardonnay
from the Louis Jadot Macon Villages.
It smelled grassy and citrusy
and tasted the same.
I have problems describing the
gentler wines, but this one
finished warm and wine-y."
~ Ben McCartney ~

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tea for One, Two, Three

Lovely Past Times Holiday Teapots (above & below),
presents over the years from my British Sister - in - law, Tina McFadyen

Strange how a teapot
Can represent at the same time
The comforts of solitude
And the pleasures of company

Zen Haiku Quotes

"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude,
two for friendship, three for society."

Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
American author and naturalist
(from Walden)

Close - Up with David Winter Houses, on Platter by Gien

“Outside of the chair,
the teapot is the most ubiquitous and important
design element in the domestic environment
and almost everyone who has tackled the world of design
has ended up designing one.”

David McFadden, b. 1949
Canadian poet and novelist

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea."
~ Author Unknown ~

And this bit of fun from my talented friend Tony:

I think there’s nothing that can be
As lovely as a cup of tea

That to my smiling lips is pressed
Then rested warm against my breast

Around the house I’d like to lay
And let the kettle sing all day

White or green, black or oolong
Brew it weak or brew it strong …

Though wine may lead to heightened senses
Make mine Camellia sinensis

Then, Kilmer-like, beneath a tree
I'll sip my perfect spot of tea.

© 2011, Tony Brown

[Click here for more Tea Quotes]

Monday, January 21, 2013

Teach Your Children Well

A Chilly, Snowy January ~ Here's to 2013!

Trying to think of one song that works for Inauguration Day, Martin Luther King Day, and my mom's 82nd birthday.
How about:

Teach Your Children Well
~ Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young ~

Inauguration: You who are on the road
Must have a code
that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past
is just a good-bye

Martin Luther King: Teach your children well
Their father's hell
Will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

Mom's Birthday: And you, of tender years
Can't know the fears
That your elders grew by
And so please help them with your youth
They seek the truth
Before they can die.

(Can you hear and do you care
And can't you see we must be free
To teach your children what you believe in
Make a world that we can believe in.)

Teach your parents well
Their children's hell
Will slowly go by
and feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
And know they love you.

Fencepost of Homestead Past

Friday, January 18, 2013

With A Little Help From My Friends

Custom Guitar Pick

To celebrate the New Year -- and because this is the beginning of Year Four for my Fortnightly blog of Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony, and because January is a time to look backward as well as forward -- I am posting this song of thanks to the hundreds of friends, family, and followers who goad me on my way . . . I get by . . . gonna try . . .

~ with a little help from my friends ~

To read some of the encouraging words
and unique perspectives
for which I owe my kind readers many thanks
see my new post

"The Second Page"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
Literary Blog of Connection & Coincidence;
Custom & Ceremony

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Be Clairvoyant!

January Sunrise

Advice for the New Year:
"Arm yourself with clairvoyance!"

from French Composer and Pianist,
Erik Satie, 1866 - 1925

"The Three Gnossiennes are the first compositions
in modern musical history written in bar-less notation;
and they are the first of Satie’s works to contain his famous witty
instructions and indications ('ask insistently within yourself,'
'arm yourself with clairvoyance,' 'with great kindness' etc).
~ See for more ~

This and more on
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
Literary Blog of Connection & Coincidence;
Custom & Ceremony

New Post:
"The Second Page"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Better Watch Out

Anne Lamott Favorites

Taylor Swift expresses a similar sentiment
in her interview with Newsweek (October 29, 2012).
Treat me bad and it'll come out in the autobio!
So you better watch out!

If there were someone who was a good person, I'm not going to write something bad about them. But if they handled a situation in a way that really messed up my life for a while, that's what I'm going to write about."
~~ Taylor Swift ~~

P.S. Let's just agree to overlook pronoun agreement error this time.
No need to be Mean. Thanks for the link Mike Zoltowski!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let's Hope It's a Good One

"Please Play on the Grass"
Thank You Dallas, Texas, for being so User Friendly!
31 December 2012

None of us are as young
as we were. So what?
Friendship never ages.

~ W. H. Auden ~

Another year older . . . another year over. John and Yoko's Christmas song is also one of the most hopeful New Year song's that I know . . .

Happy Xmas (War is Over)
by John Lennon & Yoko Ono, 1971

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
[emphasis added]

And so this is Christmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong* (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let's stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas (war is over)
And what have we done (if you want it)
Another year over (war is over)
A new one just begun (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
We hope you have fun (if you want it)
The near and the dear one (war is over)
The old and the young (now)

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over

*or "the road is so long"
or "the war is so wrong"
or "the war is so long"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

We Love All Commemorations

Public Festival ~ Philadelphia Mummers Parade ~ New Year's Day 2013
photo by Anthony West

"The natural tendency of time to obliterate ancient customs and silence ancient sports, is too much promoted by the utilitarian spirit of the day; and they who would have no man enjoy without being able to give a reason for the enjoyment which is in him, are robbing life of half its beauty and some of its virtues. If the old festivals and hearty commemorations . . . had no other recommendation than their convivial character, the community of enjoyment which they imply, they would on that account alone be worthy of all promotion . . . We love all commemorations. We love these anniversaries, for their own sakes, and for their uses. . . . We love all which tends to call us from the solitary and chilling pursuit of our own separate and selfish views into the warmth of a common sympathy" (emphasis added).

Thomas K. Hervey, 1799 – 1859

introductory comments from his Book of Christmas
initially published 1836
then by George P. Putnam, & Co New York, Circa 1848
and Roberts Brothers in Boston, 1888

[Click to read more about Hervey's historical view of Christmas]

One hundred and fifty years later, Barbara Ehrenreich observes similarly that "human festivities -- probably going back to the Paleolithic era -- featured the universal ingredients of feasting, dancing, costuming, masking and / or face painting, for days at a time . . . around bonfires, in the streets . . . Holidays bonded whole communities . . . assembling costumes, cooking up treats, crafting musical instruments and rehearsing dance steps, not to mention the festivity itself."
Ehrenreich's advice:
"Fight for your right to party!
Our ancestors lived for holidays.
Keep that in mind this season."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Twelfth Day ~ Twelfth Night

"Lucinda had the gift for festival.
She spread out Christmas to last from Saint Nicholas Eve
until Twelfth Night; and burned the greens on the hearth
with a choked feeling of utter desolation"

from Roller Skates (1936)
by Ruth Sawyer
[more on my book blog]

Can it really be time to take down the greens?
Seems so short a time ago that we were bringing them home.
In fact, this picture of Ben and our neighbor Tammy,
carrying home her greens from the Farmers' Market,
was taken a long time ago --
just before Christmas 1995, on Beaumont Avenue, Philadelphia


If you start counting with Christmas Day as the First Day, then January 5th is the Twelfth Day of Christmas (as in the song), tonight is Twelfth Night (as in the Shakespeare play), and tomorrow is the Epiphany -- the day the Wise Men arrived with the gifts.

For the last hundred years or so, in England and the U.S. anyway, the Christmas Season pretty much comes to a close with a New Year's Eve Party & New Year's Day Parades; but pre - Dickens, it was more the custom to celebrate the full Twelve Days (as suggested by the elaborate gifts in the song; or in the church with a saint for each day). Twelfth Night was the time for a big party with a huge frosted King's Cake, containing hidden surprises (nowadays the British Christmas Cake or the American Mardi Gras Cake).

In either tradition -- whether you conclude the season on New Year's Eve or Twelfth Night -- January 5th was considered a good time to put away all the decorations, though earlier medieval custom allowed the greens to hang until February 2nd, the cross - quarter day that brings the Winter Solstice half-way to the Vernal Equinox (which explains why we celebrate with the Ground Hog on that day).

PS. My personal tradition allows me to keep the trees up WAY past any of the above designated dates . . . but that's another story! It always seems to me that you can leave the tree up beyond Twelfth Night if you want; however, any leftover Christmas Cake or Pudding must be polished off before midnight!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Celebrate With Verve

It's only the 10th Day of Christmas -- don't stop celebrating yet!
I just couldn't resist matching up these fabulous holiday paintings
by Carl Larsson
with some of my favorite celebratory passages from AVA.

Name Day at the Storage Shed"Each holiday celebrated with real extravagance.
Birthdays. Independence days. Saints' days.
Even when we were poor. With verve."

(from Ava, by Carole Maso, 3)

Christmas Eve"It was Christmas Eve Day. I wore bells."
(from Ava, by Carole Maso, 53)

For Karin's Name Day"How we celebrated each holiday, each saint's day. With verve.
Touch then this moment. Caress it with your mind. . . .
How we celebrated each Epiphany, each Bastille Day."

(from Ava, by Carole Maso, 84, 108)

P.S. For more Carl Larsson on my blog, see St. Lucy & Kitchen Windows