The READIN Family Album
Me and Sylvia, walkin' down the line (May 2005)


Jeremy's journal

The very idea of the (definitive) translation is misguided, Borges tells us; there are only drafts, approximations.

Andrew Hurley

(This is a page from my archives)
Front page

Archives index
Subscribe to RSS

This page renders best in Firefox (or Safari, or Chrome)

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Lots of good V. stuff from last February at Josh Blog.

posted morning of February 27th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about V.

🦋 Mondaugen's Story

A question: are the dreams of 1904 which Mondaugen undergoes at Foppl's Siege Party, based on experiences that Foppl had in 1904? Or is that even what's going on? The story switches out from what's happening to Mondaugen, into the dreams -- there's no direct statement that Mondaugen is the dreamer, and there are constructions like "Firelily's rider" to keep him masked -- but I'm pretty sure it is Mondaugen. Ad first I thought the experiences were Godolphin's, but now I don't think that would make as much sense as if they were Foppl's.

Update: Yes, the dreamer is definitely Mondaugen -- I found this passage at HyperArts:

"His horse drowsed and collected dew while Mondaugen squirmed on the seat, trying to control anger, confusion, petulance; and below the farthest verge of the Kalahari, that vast death, the tardy sun mocked him."

posted morning of February 27th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Thomas Pynchon

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

🦋 Rereading

I left this comment to Roy's fine post on reading Swann's Way:

Here's a thought: many of the very best books I have read, I have come to in the same way that you came to Swann's Way (which I have not read or even made any serious attemt to) -- as Everests to be clumb, as adversaries to be bested. With all of them that I consider "very best books", there was a metamorphosis at some point, where the reading project turned into something my heart was really in, that I was really enjoying. Frequently I have given up on a book halfway through because this metamorphosis has not yet occurred; and frequently I have gone back to the book in question years later, and found that I enjoyed reading it -- sometimes this has taken multiple cycles of putting it down and coming back to it. Books that I finish without ever feeling like I was digging it, I'm pretty unlikely to go back to.

And even as I typed it I knew I was proving myself wrong -- I am now rereading Pynchon's V., a book which I slogged through to the end of despite losing the thread of, and -- well:

I started the reread last week, and early in the book I remembered how my reaction when I was first reading it was, the storyline set in the present tense, featuring Benny Profane, is a lot of fun though not particularly substantial; and the storyline set in the past, featuring the elder Stencil and any number of other oddball characters, is totally mystifying. And I felt all set to recapitulate that experience of the book when I read the chapter set in Egypt and could not understand what was going on. But as of this evening's reading (the chapter set in Florence) I have gotten in the groove and am loving the book. (It was kind of cool to be reading the scenes in and around Florentine landmarks, after a few nights ago Sylvia and I were reading her children's tour of Florence book, which we bought while we were there this summer. Also: Florence is where I started playing with yo-yos!)

posted evening of February 21st, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

🦋 Keep your lamps trimmed and burning

Some friends were over this afternoon, among them Eileen Eliot, who recently learned "Keep your lamps trimmed and burning" (the Hot Tuna version) from tablature. I was interested because I learned the song a few years ago in the only Woody Mann workshop I ever took, and promptly forgot it. So Eileen showed me the fingerings a couple of times through, and handed me my guitar. I surprised myself by playing a pretty recognizable version straight off the bat, but in first position rather than the fingerings Eileen had been showing me. I was pretty happy about being able to shift it into first position so easily -- it made me feel like I understood the music pretty well -- I have always preferred to play in first position rather than learning new finger positions and playing up the neck.

And, "Keep your lamps" turns out to be a totally addictive tune to play on fiddle. I was whistling it all evening after Eileen showed it to me, and I finally picked up my fiddle to try it out, and the notes just rolled off my bow.

posted evening of February 18th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Fiddling

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

🦋 My Brother's Blog

My brother just started a new blog! It is, Better than the Rest(aurant).

posted evening of February 12th, 2006: Respond

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

🦋 John Hardy was a Desperate Man

This evening I played the version of "John Hardy was a Desperate Man" I'd been thinking about all day, and it was really nice, for a first attempt. I wasn't able to do some of the fast, trilling variations I had been thinking about, and didn't have the vocals integrated into the song very well; but I did have a nice degree of variety between each repetition of the verse. And I actually played a couple of verses in second position, without it sounding awful!

posted evening of February 7th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Music

🦋 Finally, an ear-worm I can get behind

I woke up this morning singing "John Hardy was a Desperate Little Man" and it's been with me all morning. I was singing it on the street as I walked to work. And wow! I think I have come up with a harmony to it, which I will be able to play on my fiddle, simple with interesting variations. If this works out (I will try it when I get home, hope it stays in my head that long), it will be the first song that I know an actual fiddle part to rather than just playing the melody with ornamentation.

posted morning of February 7th, 2006: Respond

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

🦋 The Carter Family

On Friday I was in Borders bookstore on 2nd Ave. and thought I would take a look at their music section, where I have found several interesting records in the past. And boy did I come up lucky this time! My eye was caught by "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- I've been working on learning that song lately, and I've always heard good things about that band, so I bought it. Turns out to be one of the greatest things ever. In 1972 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hooked up with a lot of older, more established country musicians including Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson and Jimmy Martin. They recorded an album together that just soars -- it has all of the songs I want to hear together, absolutely ideal performances.

Well I was listening to that all weekend, and especially liking the songs that featured Mother Maybelle -- "Sunny Side" and "Wildwood Flower" come to mind -- and that made me think I ought to listen to the Carter Family some. I was listening to a record of theirs this afternoon, and thinking this could be the music that I wrap my own musical ideas around -- the sound of it really gets to me, and I think I could play and sing a lot of it in a good and interesting way. "John Hardy Was a Desperate Man" is maybe the first thing I want to learn.

posted evening of February 5th, 2006: Respond

Thursday, February second, 2006

🦋 How did you get here

Fantastic -- I just got a referral from (which I am thinking is Hungary), for the query "get on board" ride the blind conductor prodigal son blues.

posted morning of February second, 2006: Respond

🦋 Another Lesson

Last night I had a second fiddle lesson, this one was with Lisa Gutkin. Good time -- Lisa is very free and easy with the positive reinforcement which I sse as a critical element of lessons that I am taking. We worked on "May the Circle be Unbroken" primarily, and she showed me how I can work on my hand and wrist position holding the bow in order to sweeten my tone. I will be back for more.

posted morning of February second, 2006: Respond

Previous posts

Drop me a line! or, sign my Guestbook.
Check out Ellen's writing at

What do you think?

The Modesto Kid on Old Notebook, New Notebook (2 responses)

Where to go from here...

South Orange
Friends and Family