Summer’s Here–the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Dear Readers,

I don’t know why, but I’m not keen on change.  Any kind of change.  My mother often says I balked about going to kindergarten. And I remember feeling bad when I aged out of single-digits–worse when I left my teens for my 20s!

So it probably won’t surprise you to hear I’m loathe to change seasons, too–even when that means leaving a ‘bad’ season (cold stark winter) for a lovely one, like spring.  So spring into summer?  Forgetaboutit!  

Still, I have to admit, change has it’s virtues. It just takes me a while to appreciate them.  So here’s to summer–and it’s happy upsides . . .

1.  I get to see my kids more.

2.  We go to the beach for a week.

3.  No more getting up for school at 7 AM.

4.  And no homework for kids to stress over.

5.  Even better, no more school lunches for me to make. Yay!

6.  I get to read books for fun–not just ‘good’ books.

7.  Thunderstorms–I love ’em!  They were one of the things I missed most when I lived in CA.

As for summer’s downside–well, you know–it’s hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot hot . . . .

Thanks for stopping by.  Here’s a little poem to help you cool off and enjoy this wacky weather–

A Growing Boy

Onions
olives
pickles
pears—
my stomach
is a fiend,
I swear!

No matter
what is
on my plate,
my tummy
craves
another taste.

I feed it
morning
noon
and night,
but all it
wants is
“one more bite.”

So…
though
my eating
never ends,
it’s not for me—
it’s for
“my friend.”

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, it’s no surprise Anthony Doerr’s latest tome is one of the best books I’ve read in recent years. A masterpiece rich in story, structure and theme, All the Light We Cannot See centers on Marie-Laure, a sightless young French girl, and Werner, a young German orphan whose expertise in radio technology makes him a valuable asset to the Third Reich. Set during WWII in Paris, St. Malo and various points along the German front, we first meet Marie-Laure and Werner as young children in their respective homes of Paris and Zollverein, a small but vital coal-mining town in western Germany. Written in the present tense, unusual for a story set in the distant past, Doerr’s appealingly short chapters alternate between Marie-Laure and Werner’s points of view. Beginning in 1944 Paris, motherless Marie-Laure accompanies her father to work each day, meticulously learning to navigate the streets between their rooftop apartment in the 5th arrondissement and the Jardin des Plantes, where he is a master locksmith.

As readers quickly learn, however, All the Light We Cannot See is more than the interweaving of Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s wartime lives. It is also a novel rich in imagery and musings about light, sight and the irony of the brain existing in absolute darkness while at the same time allowing us to perceive ‘all the light’ of the objective world. Marie’s blindness and reliance upon other senses—smell, touch, hearing, etc.—are deftly rendered as is Werner and Marie-Laure’s inevitable intersection by way of her grandfather’s radio broadcasts–broadcasts remembers listening to as a young boy. Eventually used to help Allied troops, the radio is a good example of how every image, every plot point, every detail in the novel carries weight.

There’s also the story of the Sea of Flame, a rare diamond that bears an onerous warning–that it will protect its owner from misfortune and death, but is a virtual a death- sentence to those surrounding him. Another irony in a story rich in irony, this plot device serves as both a metaphor for much that happens in the novel as well as a further point of intersection between Marie- Lauren Werner. A beautifully-crafted novel with an interesting, important theme, Doerr’s attention to detail—significant, pervasive detail—is one of the things that makes this piece of historical fiction not only a compelling read but also a work of art.

Hide ‘n Seek

I wonder where
the blackbird went—
the one who sang
all night?
I wonder why
this songbird hides
whenever it is light?

Does he fear
the chilly
white—
or does he just
prefer
the night?