Mary Beth Writes

4/20/2024

Three Things except it’s really more than that.

1. Earlier this year I read these two books by Palestinian writers and I recommend both. If you’ve read good books by Palestinian writers, maybe tell us about them in the comments?

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli is a short novel. It’s about a modern Palestinian woman who becomes obsessed by a murder she reads about from the 1948 Israeli military takeover of Palestinian land. The story is powerful because it doesn’t take on the enormous tragedy endured by Palestinian people. Minor Detail is one story about one story.

Raja Shehadeh published his Palestinian Walks in 2007. He’s a Palestinian Christian lawyer who walks around his hometown of Ramallah. Adults who work, write, walk? We are this guy. Shehadeh started rambling, often with friends, some Jewish, in early adulthood. Over the years Israeli encroachment curtailed almost all the places he used to walk.

I looked online this morning to see where Shehadeh is now. He’s still in Ramallah and he published this article recently. Shehadeh’s article in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/apr/09/50-years-mourned-palestine-parents-israel-gaza-hope

This quote: “From Lyndsey Stonebridge’s book We Are Free to Change the World – “It is when the experience of powerlessness is at its most acute, when history seems at its most bleak, that the determination to think like a human being, creatively, courageously, and complicatedly matters the most.”

2. A few days ago I was frustrated at writing so I went for a walk. To be clear I am often frustrated at writing, but on the day I’m talking about I went for a walk. Then another walk. Seven miles of walking. Good grief.

I logged in and LISTENED to my ordinary world around me. There are lots of cars in my busy neighborhood. Some go the speed limit and thus don’t make loud screeches and thrums. I enjoy the lack of violence of moderately paced cars.

There are cars with the windows down and super loud music. I like the Mexican music most and I don’t know why. Is it cultural appropriation on my part or is it simply because Mexican car music is the best?

A train was pounding down the tracks so I stopped to admire the enormous engines. I usually wave to the engineers (the 6-year-old is strong in me) and wonder what it feels like to be the only human driving all that. (Is it easier or harder than writing a short story? At least when I don't do my job, nothing falls off a track.)  That afternoon dozens upon dozens of empty Herzog cars rattled along like loose thunder. It’s rare to see a long train where all the cars have one logo so I googled Herzog. It’s a big company that, among many ventures, builds and leases railroad cars. Were the cars I saw related to government infrastructure projects?

Birds were singing like crazy. I read recently that some birds are learning to mimic police car sirens.That's going to be fun. 

A mile away from this neighborhood is the cop shooting range. Gunfire is a jarring accompaniment to a walk in the neighborhood.

3. The eclipse was awesome though we stayed overnight to avoid the national post-eclipse traffic jam. The next morning I saw a cat walking through the Airbnb backyard. Except, no, it wasn’t a cat. It wasn’t a fox. It was a bobcat! So now I am a person who has, in her life, seen two full eclipses and one full bobcat.

4. Sunday evening we were sitting quietly in our chairs doing our crossword puzzles. Suddenly there was the jolting bang of collision. We ran outside as did most everyone on our street. A shiny black truck was careening past. The woman across the street was already on the phone to 911 as her husband and adult son called out details. I like a neighborhood that responds.

The black truck had crashed against a white truck parked two houses from us. That collision broke the front axle and the front tire FELL OFF the black truck, but the guy kept his foot to the pedal and hurtled forward. You can see a black metallic scrape down the middle of our street.

Cops came. The broke truck was stuck across the intersection at the end of the block because, without an axle, it couldn’t turn. The dad and son heard the guy getting arrested. He was drunk, he’d been on his phone, the truck belonged to his employer. Wow, there’s a pile of bad juju.

So we walked across the street to chat with the neighbors we recognize but don’t know. Soon the conversation came around to his classic car in his garage. He took us to see it and it’s the most gorgeous car I’ve ever seen; a 1955 Chevy two-toned burgundy something or other. I think the chrome said Bel Air but Len says no.

I came home. Len stayed and talked with that guy about what this neighborhood was like before we moved in. He said they are happy we’re here; we are a lot calmer than previous residents. As it were.

With support like that we returned to our crossword puzzles.

5. My son-in-law says sure, I can share this. If you have Spotify or some other music streaming service, Pete has created an album of electronic music and you are invited to listen to it. It’s interesting and calm. I do not know how he creates his music but he has loved this genre for years. Now that they are through their High Baby Years he’s back to creating music. CentiPete  SlowGoing (don’t get fooled by Centipede. It’s CentiPete) And that photo he uses is, yes, the Chicago skyline.

6. Wow! I watched the 1996 Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was a stunner! I ‘got it’ more than most Shakespearean movies I’ve watched.

The movie/play is set in more-or-less modern Mexico. The ‘dance moves’ violence of opposing Montagues and Capulets makes sense via our (stereotypical) understanding of cartel gangs. The gang guys’ moves and spoken lines and over-the-top choreographed bravado pop as much as the romance of the teenagers. Actually, the gang’s gorgeous aggression becomes a sort of wild frame inside of which Danes and DiCaprio move and touch. Much as, I bet, Shakespeare intended.

I watched with subtitles which allowed both reading and hearing Shakespeare’s language. I watched in on Hulu though it streams on several venues. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117509/

7. My story is up at Substack and today it’s very short. I wrote it after our trip to New Mexico in 2021 Read here: https://marybethdanielsonstories.substack.com/p/wisterian-fable

 

 

Comments

Your city life sure is more interesting than my country life. You know, the city mouse and the country mouse. Pretty sure, I need CentiPete’s calming music in my life. Enjoyed your blog.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

About My Memorial Day Story

5/25/2024

Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

Courage, Big & Little

5/22/2024

Courage.

I’m writing fiction this week. I started a story in December that, along the way, turned into a Memorial Day story. It will be my Substack story this Saturday.

This morning I looked for an old newspaper column to rerun and found this one about a time when one of our kids needed to have four teeth pulled.

Cholesterol Numbers & Squirrels

 5/15/2024

Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

Hum & Read

5/3/2024

First of all, the Cute and Curious. Apparently we humans can’t worry while we hum - because humming requires too much bandwidth. When we hum, we don’t have enough power left in our head engines to think about other stuff. I don’t know if I believe this is always true but I’m sharing it in case it is.

I read a lot this week. It’s what I do when there is way to much to think about and I don’t know where to start. Read or eat. I haven’t gained any weight so you know it was a heavy reading week.

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Mahsood 

The Confluence

4/17/2024 

(I’ve written about this trip before but it’s been a long time.)

In 2000 we did a wilderness canoe/kayak trip on Utah’s Green River. We did this with our three kids plus friends and their two sons. Our youngest was nine, the oldest was 16, and our combined three boys were slapdash goofballs.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent afterlife aging Alaska animals anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine aunts baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM Blue BookReport books Boxing Day boy scout Bread breakfast BreakfastClub BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China cholesterol Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus climate change clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community confluence consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote crime CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering deer democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep distraction dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Echoes Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana ferns firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Food Pantry Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fungi fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls GNTL gorgons goulash GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola Grief groceries Guadalupe Guatemala gum guns Hair happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart heaven HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HowCrowGotOutofJail humor hurricane Ice Cream idiosyncrasy igloos impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus jewelry JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich Jump justice Karen kites ladder Lady Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len lies Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens MineralPoint Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mounds mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha NAMI Nancy Drew Newfoundland New Mexico New York City Nomadland nope observation OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples pizza poetry Preaching privacy procrastination Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism reading recipe recipes recommendations religion Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage romance Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez satellites sci-fi ScottSimon sculpture scuppernong Seasons Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet St. Louis staining stars stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stream monitoring stress SUBSTACK Survival swim Talent taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou therapy ThreeBillBoards Three Thing Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant Umbrella UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning Vocabulary vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria Won! Wonder words Xeriscape Yellowstone Zebra
Ad Promotion