Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love Songs

A few months back, I posted here about the one item on my own personal Christmas wish list; a copy of Webster's Pictorial Dictionary done by John Carrera at Quercus Press, going for somewhere around $4600 with finger tabs.

Today I'm happy to report that, thanks to brother Joel and sister-in-law-to-be, Cary, pictured here in all their adorable goodness, and thanks to Chronicle Books for putting out an affordable trade edition, my Christmas wish came true. Now, said dictionary resides on the coffee table in our front room, where I can pick it up whenever I please and receive immediate inspiration, or simply another way to visualize a common word or idea. Some favorites of late: dead bird, cusp, Leviathan, and the Four Nelsons.

Since that post worked so nicely in my favor, I thought I'd throw out another gift wish, conveniently appropriate for all the sentiments and feelings wrapped up in the tradition of our up and coming Valentine's Day. Here it is:

The Trumpet Child Deluxe Songbook from Over the Rhine.
In addition to the songs from their Trumpet Child album, this songbook includes photos from photographer Michael Wilson, and an essay or two written by Linford Detweiler.

I've wanted a collection of OTR's sheet music for years, and up to this point I've made do with what they've made available, which until now, consisted of sheet music for two songs they had up on their website once upon a time. My family has been very patient listening to me play Run Dark Olive and Little Genius over and over again for the past six years, and I'm sure Olivia knows Little Genuis to include my regular mistakes, as I need a hand span just maybe a fourth of an inch wider to really nail some of Linford's chords of choice. But it's time for more. A few Christmases ago, I attempted to pick out their version of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear by ear, and I got pretty far, but I didn't write any of it down. I'd forgotten most of it by the time the next Christmas rolled around. But now, if I get this book, I'll just need a few evenings with my piano and I'll be able to add new music like this to the sounds of our home.... Now, if I could just get Karen's voice for my birthday...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Want to Write Something So Simply

I want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and as you read
you keep feeling it
and though it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think-
no, you will realize-
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself,
out of your own heart
had been saying.

-Mary Oliver, Evidence

(Can you tell I received some Mary Oliver books for Christmas?)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Divine Genuis

I'm always hesitant when a book becomes a bestseller, and I'll admit I have yet to read a line of anything written by Elizabeth Gilbert other than articles and interviews, but as her new book Committed is making its debut, this talk of hers from Ted.com (which came out in February of last year) has come up in multiple conversations over the past few days. It has encouraged me enough to share. Hope you enjoy:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An aid in understanding my little girls...

...and everyone else's for that matter:

"Signs are small measurable things, but interpretations are illimitable, and in girls of sweet, ardent nature, every sign is apt to conjure up wonder, hope, belief, vast as a sky, and coloured by a diffused thimbleful of matter in the shape of knowledge."

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Today, some Mary Oliver

Mysteries, Yes
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.
How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
~ Mary Oliver ~