Category Archives: Uncategorized

Emily Wilson’s Translation of the Odyssey

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Cover of The Odyssey by Homer Translated by Emily WilsonI’ve been hearing about this book for a while now, and planning to read it. I last read the Odyssey decades ago, mainly because I regarded it as part of my education. Whichever translation it was, it was okay but not inspiring.

Finally, I got around to the Wilson translation. After reading the introduction of on my Kindle app, I switched to audio. This is actually the first audio book I’ve listened to, and it made a huge difference. Claire Danes did a great job of narrating it. It really felt like something I needed to hear rather than see, and some of the repetitiveness that might have been irksome in print was perfectly acceptable in audio.

I was also struck by the social and moral code underlying the story, some of which was discussed in the introduction. King of Liars is an honorific. So is Sacker of Cities. Everything depends on the favor of the gods, but while their favor can be courted – mainly by animal sacrifices – it is not reliably given. The King is very much the boss, until he’s dethroned and someone else takes over.

Reminds me a bit of the corporate sector…

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The 5th Annual Clarion Write-a-thon

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Clarion Blog

Writers, it’s time to sharpen your pencils, refill your fountain pens, or warm up those keyboards. Join with fellow writers around the world for our fifth annual write-a-thon, now open for registration.

What is a write-a-thon?

It’s like a walk-a-thon, except for writing! Participants can be pledged by the word, chapter, or story. Finish that novel you’ve been working on. Write and submit new short stories. Try your hand at writing speculative poetry. The goal is up to you.

The six-week event mirrors the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, running from June 22nd to August 2nd. Write and/or pledge to show your support for the latest batch of students, chosen from among hundreds of applicants, as they learn from some of the best writers and editors in our field.

Who can join?

The write-a-thon is open to everyone, whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned…

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Owl Mask

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The doorbell rang this morning, with the distinctive “Package drop-off” sound that delivery-men use. I went to the door and brought in the box.  It was medium-size, and quite light, and it came from my friend Kater Cheek: author, artist, and Clarion-mate.

Inside was this gorgeous thing.

Kater Cheek  - Owl Mask

With it was a note, folded into a little Japanese-paper envelope. It said in part, “I wasn’t sure why I was making this until it was done, and then I realized I must be making it for you.”

Kater knows I have a weakness for owls. This mask is utterly awesome.

Thank you, Kater. It’s beautiful!

Fantasy Art, Serendipity, and Daniel Merriam

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Today was a bright day by the Bay, after a series of rainstorms, and we decided to celebrate by driving over to Sausalito. We thought we might see Bill Dan, the rock-balancing performance artist, who’s often there on weekends. (He was, but more of that another time.)

We had the perfect Sausalito afternoon – we stopped to watch the rock-balancing, strolled over to Spinnaker for coffee and a snack, we wandered back looking at the bay. A sea-lion arfed on a jetty, and a harbor seal and a few Western Grebes swam near the shore. A flock of pelicans landed in perfect formation.

We were heading back toward the car when I saw a large sign that hadn’t been there the last time I visited Sausalito. Daniel Merriam, it said. Bubble Street.

“Daniel Merriam!” I said, and went in. It was like magic.

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Last September, someone had posted this picture on a Facebook page, with no background or explanation. It grabbed me so much that I downloaded it onto my hard drive. Who, I wondered, was the artist? For some reason, I expected it to be someone in Russia or Eastern Europe.

Daniel Merriam painting

But it wasn’t. With some help from Google, I discovered Daniel Merriam and his website. (I also discovered that searching Google Images for “Daniel Merriam” yielded a page of gorgeous thumbnails. A few were available for sale, but they weren’t cheap.  I spent an hour or two or three browsing through them.)

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Bubble Street is his new gallery. As I wandered around, admiring the art,  the manager told us that the artist was there, right outside.

“Does he live around here?” I asked.

“Upstairs,” she said with a smile.

They had a calendar and a couple of books for sale, together with the prints. We bought the calendar and a book, and she asked if we’d like him to sign them. Of course we would, but should we disturb him? She gave him a call, and he came right down I was impressed, especially considering he’s a new dad. His twins came home from hospital – yesterday.

He wrote a couple of thoughtful personalized inscriptions. I was delighted.

Serendipity.

Time to Activate this Thing!

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I’ve been toying with this WordPress site for a while, planning to consolidate my website (which is hosted by Goddaddy) and my blog (on LiveJournal) into this place. There’s an installed base issue. I’ve been blogging on LiveJournal since 2007, and generated about one novel’s worth of words. Ideally, I’d like to copy them over here.

Instead of procrastinating further, I’m going to activate this site. Gradually, I plan to make this my primary site and blog, though I’ll copy new posts over to LiveJournal as long as people are hanging out there.