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READIN started out as a place for me
to keep track of what I am reading, and to learn (slowly, slowly)
how to design a web site.
There has been some mission drift
here and there, but in general that's still what it is. Some of
the main things I write about here are
listening to (and playing) music, and
watching the movies. Also I write about the
work I do with my hands and with my head; and of course about bringing up Sylvia.
The site is a bit of a work in progress. New features will come on-line now and then; and you will occasionally get error messages in place of the blog, for the forseeable future. Cut me some slack, I'm just doing it for fun! And if you see an error message you think I should know about, please drop me a line. READIN source code is PHP and CSS, and available on request, in case you want to see how it works.
I got word yesterday that Metamorphoses, the journal of literary translation at Smith College, accepted my translation of Slavko Zupcic's story, "Tescucho, Italia" -- nice! This is the first piece that I have had accepted after submitting it to a couple of magazines and being rejected. Glad I kept sending it out. It will appear in the fall 2013 issue of Metamorphoses.
Here, in no particular order, are the songs I know well enough to think of them as my repertory (excluding numerous songs like "Crawdad Hole" and "Uncle Joe, Uncle Joe" which, while I can play a pretty nice instrumental version, I think of as songs to sing. These are just the songs that I identify primarily as fiddle tunes.) Criteria for this list is, I have to know the melody by heart (after maybe a glance at the music) and be able to play it easily with improvisation over the melody and be able to cover up for myself ifwhen I make a mistake.
The Red-Haired Boy
The Sailor's Hornipe
The Devil's Dream
The Halting March
The Boys of Bluehill
The Growling Old Man and the Carping Old Woman
The Road to Lisdoonvarna
The Irish Washerwoman
The Swallowtail Jig
East Tennessee Blues
Billy in the Lowground
Whiskey Before Breakfast
The Modesto Kid
Bonaparte's Retreate/ Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine/ Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains
Two new songs to learn, that I printed out music for today: "St. Anne's Reel" and "Ragtime Annie".
The Cat's Table is an odd book. I liked it a lot, but without ever being sure just what I was reading. Most of the book, you do not get the impression that you are reading a story -- just some lovely and fairly disconnected childhood reminiscences. (Ondaatje has a note at the end, which I found gracious and helpful, saying that "although the novel uses the colouring and locations of memoir and autobiography, The Cat's Table is fictional.") As you come to the end, it turns out you have been meeting the characters and learning the setting for a swashbuckling adventure story -- and then in the final pages it is suddenly not that either, it is something altogether different and touching.
I was at the song swap this afternoon -- for the first time -- I am certainly going to be going back there, and to hope that Deena and Rebecca ask us to perform there sometime. What a great pool of talent! I played "Devil's Dream", and I still can't quite believe how fast I played it -- for weeks now I have been thinking, "well, I'm playing it much slower than the standard tempo; but on the other hand I'm getting a really sweet, romantic sound in that slow pace"; but it turns out one can also get a really sweet, romantic sound in a fast tempo, too! I think I was still not playing just as fast as the bluegrass fiddlers I've heard playing this song... But just being in front of the audience really pushed me, drove me into the song. I also played (a bit slower, but again faster than I have been practicing the song) a new composition called (bet you never did) "The Modesto Kid". -- I also recorded that tune and am loving listening to it. Probably will upload to Soundcloud soon.
Edward O. Wilson's article for Harvard Magazine on the biological origins of the arts includes the startling insight that metaphor can be seen as a way of compensating for the limited range of human senses. (Thanks for the link, Joe!)