458 Slices
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Medium 9781771870849

Queen of Clubs

Ratzlaff, Lloyd Thistledown Press ePub

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MAYDAY! Our mother’s neighbour calls to say that Mom looks bad, very bad; she’s been out making a garden, but something has gone awry and an ambulance is coming to take her to the Rosthern Hospital. By the time we drive out from the city, she’s strapped in an emergency room wheelchair, moaning Ohh, ohh, lifting hands alternately to her forehead, or gripping the chair’s edge and straining to get out. Her eyes seem to see, but she doesn’t respond to us, and we can only repeat the things we most want her to know: We love you; please try to rest; everyone is helping; things will be all right — and try to believe this last ourselves.

The doctor on duty arranges a transfer to Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital. I ride back with Mom in the ambulance, and she calms somewhat; but at the new emergency ward she rears and thrashes again, jabs her feet through the bedrails as if determined to get up and leave. Eventually a CT scan shows bacteria from an ear infection eating through the mastoid into the meningi between her skull and brain, and already spreading into the right temporal lobe. Air pockets generate internal pressure and make her head ache ferociously. No one will estimate the brain damage without neurological tests, and she’s not conscious enough to respond.

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Medium 9780892727605

Logging Truck

Down East Books ePub

Carolyn Chute

O l

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Medium 9781743603604

The Paris Tattoo

Berendt, John Lonely Planet Publications ePub

A room with two beds usually meant a room with a bed and a cot. Marti Kavaler and I were very diplomatic about trading off – if I had the bed in Copenhagen, she got the bed in Strasbourg. I remember that she had the bed in Paris, but that was a small victory. It was a terrible bed, a terrible cot, a terrible fourth floor walk-up in the only pension we could afford. The bathroom was not just down the hall, but down the hall and down a flight of stairs. On the bright side, the location was good (the location was Paris), and we were nineteen, so our standards were still breathtakingly low. Marti and I scarcely had known one another before we embarked on our three-month summer adventure in 1983, but by the end of the first week we had become a single unit. We shared our toothpaste, our guidebooks, our croissants. We had one mass-market copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and when I finished a chapter I ripped it out and handed it to Marti, unless she was a chapter ahead and so ripped it out for me.

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Medium 9780253220042

6. Scenes in a Roman Theater

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM TUNISIA

 

With a sigh, Hedi plunked himself down on a stone seat in the Roman theater. As the last of the afternoon’s tourists straggled off and disappeared among the ancient walls, he stared dully at the grand view of the ruins and the green hills of the Tunisian countryside beyond.

He hadn’t done very well today. Only one hat sold. His mother would be disappointed, and he wouldn’t blame her … having to make those hats every night after her day’s labor in the fields, weaving straw till her fingers were sore. Tomorrow he’d try harder. Midwinter break from school gave him a few days to earn money, and he couldn’t waste the chance.

It’d be so much better, Hedi often thought, if he could be a guide, more interesting and more money. Once in a while he did manage to latch on to a friendly couple and show them a few sights … the temple, the theater, the baths and marketplace—and best of all, the communal toilet where twelve people could sit at a time. That always got a laugh, and Hedi would get a few small coins. But that was all. A real guide had to be older and know a lot more.

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Medium 9780253000958

The Common Life

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

One delicious afternoon while my daughter, Eva, was home from college for spring vacation, she invited two neighbor girls to help her make bread. The girls are sisters, five-year-old Alexandra and ten-year-old Rachel, both frolicky, with eager dark eyes and shining faces. They live just down the street from us here in Bloomington, Indiana, and whenever they see me pass by, on bicycle or on foot, they ask about Eva, whom they adore.

I was in the yard that afternoon mulching flower beds with compost, and I could hear the girls chattering as Eva led them up the sidewalk to our door. I had plenty of other chores to do in the yard, where every living thing was urgent with April. But how could I stay outside, when so much beauty and laughter and spunk were gathered in the kitchen?

I kept looking in on the cooks, until Eva finally asked, “Daddy, you wouldn’t like to knead some dough, would you?”

“I’d love to,” I said. “You sure there’s room for me?”

“There’s room,” Eva replied, “but you’ll have to wash in the basement.”

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Medium 9780253356864

18. 4 July 1845

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

When first I took up my abode in the woods, that is began to spend my nights as well as my days there, which, by accident, was on Independence Day, or the fourth of July 1845, my house was not finished for winter. (61)

At least since Stanley Cavell’s influential The Senses of Walden (1972), we have assumed that Thoreau’s choice to move to the woods on the Fourth of July was no “accident.” Calling his venture an “experiment,” Thoreau was, in Cavell’s terms, reenacting the original settlement of America, a continent itself accidently discovered, whose betrayed promise Thoreau now took on himself to redeem. It’s a compelling argument, one that would connect Walden to The Great Gatsby’s rapt conclusion:

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

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Medium 9780253356864

7. Death

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Walden lives up almost entirely to the purpose Thoreau announces in the epigraph: “I do not intend to write an ode to dejection.” (5) However varied his moods may have been during the book’s nine-year gestation, Thoreau produced a consistently optimistic work by sticking to a strict compositional plan: “I put the best face on the matter.” As a result, in the midst of so much high spirits, the famous penultimate paragraph of “Where I Lived and What I lived For” seems not only obscure but unexpected:

If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimiter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. (70)

Thoreau had written like this before. Using the same odd phrase, “to front a fact,” he had previously imagined his enterprise as another kind of life-and-death struggle:

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Medium 9781847778772

from I Revisit the Riviera

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

This essay was written for Harper’s magazine, 166 (December 1932), pp. 65–76. When Ford later reworked it into his book Provence (London, 1938), pp. 271–5, he excluded the account of the Rouen hospital.

Red Cross Hospital No. II at Rouen during the winter of ’16–’17 was in the old priests’ seminary that the Prussians had used as a hospital in 1870. We occupied small white priests’ cells, two to a cell, a camp bed in each corner. Diagonally opposite me was a Black Watch second lieutenant – about twenty, wild-eyed, black-haired. A shell-shock case. He talked with the vainglory and madness of the Highland chieftain that he was, continuously all day. Towards ten at night he would pretend to sleep.

As soon as the last visit of the VAD’s was over he would jump out of bed and rush to a wall-press with sliding doors. He took out a kilt and a single shoe. His face assumed a look of infinite cunning. He would fix his black, shining, maniacal eyes on me and, stealthily stretching out an arm, would extract from the press a skene dhu. A skene dhu is the long, double-edged dagger that Highlanders carry in their socks. From the creasing of his lips you could tell when he had put a sufficient edge on that instrument. He would be sharpening it on the sole of his single shoe. He never removed his eyes from mine. He would run his thumb along the edge of the blade and with a leering, gloating look he would whisper:

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Medium 9781771870825

How Do We Know Beauty When We See It: Twenty Meditations On Stones

Virgo, Seán Thistledown Press ePub

HOW DO WE KNOW BEAUTY WHEN WE SEE IT:
TWENTY MEDITATIONS ON STONES

Susan Musgrave

1. Touchstones

I have never worn precious stones — diamonds in my earlobes, square-cut emeralds on my fingers or sapphires blue as the unappeasable sky. For me, jewels, in their flashiness, are places lonelier than darkness. A beach pebble unadorned, a river rock licked into an egg — the wild, tumbling-free stones — are the ones most precious to me. Stones pulled by tides, polished by the moon; stones like thoughts dealt from the dark, wise stones etched with the faces of burrowing owls; all-seeing stones, alone-stones, holy stones.

There are stones that are markers in my life: touchstones that link me to a place and a time. The green cameo stone from Point-No-Point my lover made into a brooch; the sea-witch’s stone, my amulet, from Long Beach on Vancouver Island that I have carried with me since 1969, when it washed up at my feet. The first flowerstone I found on the beach at Metchosin. The chunk of green Connemara marble with a snake slithering through its centre, the agate from Rose Spit with a map of Haida Gwaii indented in it, the river-polished stones from Lawn Creek, copper and bronzed by water falling on cedar, stones that bear the fossilized imprints: a drowned woman’s hair, a Mayan warrior’s profile. Stones I keep in my pockets for the noise they make rubbing against each other when I have travelled too far away from the sea and can no longer hear its sound. The susurrus of the waves pulling the small stones back into the deep.

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Medium 9780253356864

10. Experiment

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me. (9)

But to make haste to my own experiment. (31)

The present was my next experiment of this kind, which I purpose to describe more at length; for convenience, putting the experience of two years into one. (60)

We are the subjects of an experiment which is not a little interesting to me. (94)

Thoreau’s preferred term for his twenty-six months at the pond is experiment, a word that appears throughout Walden. How would Walden’s meaning change if he had described his activities differently?

1. Adventure is a word Thoreau does, in fact, use early in “Economy,” insisting that with basic needs satisfied, a man should “adventure on life” (14). Thoreau may have sensed, however, that to the extent that the word evokes Robinson Crusoe and boys’ books, it would trivialize his own story. And there was another problem. Since his first audience of Concord neighbors knew that, in words cited by William E. Cain, “Thoreau ‘really lived at home, where he went every day’, while he ‘bivoucked’ at his cabin,” they might have laughed at any attempt to describe his puzzling activities with so heroic a word as adventure.

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Medium 9780253000958

At Play in the Paradise of Bombs

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Twice a man’s height and topped by strands of barbed wire, a chain-link fence stretched for miles along the highway leading up to the main gate of the Arsenal. Beside the gate were tanks, hulking dinosaurs of steel, one on each side, their long muzzles slanting down to catch trespassers in a cross-fire. A soldier emerged from the gatehouse, gun on hip, silvered sunglasses blanking his eyes.

My father stopped our car. He leaned out the window and handed the guard some papers which my mother had been nervously clutching.

“With that license plate, I had you pegged for visitors,” said the guard. “But I see you’ve come to stay.”

His flat voice ricocheted against the rolled-up windows of the back seat where I huddled beside my sister. I hid my face in the upholstery, to erase the barbed wire and tanks and mirror-eyed soldier, and tried to wind myself into a ball as tight as the fist of fear in my stomach. By and by, our car eased forward into the Arsenal, the paradise of bombs.

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Medium 9780253000958

The Uses of Muscle

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

When I was a boy growing up on the country roads of Tennessee and Ohio, the men I knew all earned a hardscrabble living with the strength of their hands and arms and backs. They raised corn and cows, felled trees, split wood, butchered hogs, mortared bricks and blocks, built and wired and plumbed houses, dug ditches, hauled gravel, overhauled cars, drove bulldozers and backhoes, welded broken parts. They hunted game for the table in season, and sometimes out of season. Some of them had once mined coal in Appalachia or trawled for fish in the Great Lakes. Many had fought in Europe or Korea. They arm-wrestled at the volunteer fire department, smacked baseballs over fences at the schoolyard, and at the county fair they swung sledgehammers or hefted barrels to see who was the mightiest of the lot.

A brawny, joking, red-haired southern charmer who often won those contests was my father. He had grown up on a farm in Mississippi, had gone to college for a year on a boxing scholarship, had lost the cartilage in his nose during a brief Golden Gloves career. After moving north to Chicago, where he met the woman who would become my mother, he worked by turns as a carpenter, a tire builder, and a foreman in a munitions plant, until he eventually graduated to wearing a white shirt and sitting all day at a desk. He never liked the fit of a desk or a starched shirt, however, so as soon as he came home from the office he would put on overalls and go to work in the shop, garden, or barn. He could fix every machine we owned, from the car to the camera, and he needed to fix them, for we rarely had enough money to buy new ones. Although he grumbled when the tractor threw a belt or the furnace quit, as soon as he grabbed his tools he began to hum. He took pleasure in using his strength and skill, and I took pleasure in watching him. Around our house, whenever anything heavy needed lifting or anything stubborn needed loosening he was the one to do it. He could tame a maverick horse, hoist an oil-slick motor out of a car, balance a sack of oats on his shoulder, plow a straight furrow in stony ground, transplant a tree with its root-ball bundled in burlap, carry my sister and me both at once in his great freckled arms.

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Medium 9781847778772

Western Front

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

Letter to his mother, Catherine Hueffer [n. d. but c. late August 1916]: House of Lords Record Office.

attd 9/Welch

19th Div.

B.E.F.

Dear Mrs H:

Yes: I have been very remiss in not writing to you & I am very sorry: I will try to do better in future. But somehow I do not find very much to write about except matters of shot & shell wh. I thought might worry you.

I got pretty well after my shaking up & got back to the Bn. on this front in about a week. Here, tho’ of course the war goes on it is rather like the peace of Heaven after the Somme; the Boche seems to be wanting in ammn.; we hardly ever see one of their planes &, although there is a good deal of rain & much mud, when we are out of the trenches, there is very little to trouble one except an occasional shell overhead. I am pretty well – indeed quite well & view life with considerable composure; I don’t know how I am going to stand being continuously wet – but hitherto it seems to have done me little harm. I am sorry you are still queer, I had hoped the fine weather would have done you good. Thank Juliet6 for her letter, will you. I will write to her almost immediately.

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Medium 9780253018571

Dire Straights in Nigeria

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Come to Soul Lounge this Thursday night—the night before Valentine’s Day. Bring your wife! Bring your deputy wife! Your assistant wife! Your sins will be forgiven!

NIGERIAS HETEROSEXUALS HAVE it rough. This may sound facetious in light of the ways homosexuals have been targeted since the Nigerian government passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act earlier this year. But the challenges facing straight Nigerians are key to making sense of the physical and symbolic violence currently being done to people accused of being queer. The Anti-Gay Law, as it is called, criminalizes membership in gay organizations as well as same-sex marriage. Though condemned by human rights advocates, it enjoys massive popular support. Politicians, clerics, and ordinary citizens defend it as consistent with the nation’s cultural and religious values, and several observers have noted with satisfaction that opposition to homosexuality is one of the few issues that Nigeria’s Muslims and Christians can agree on.

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Medium 9780253018595

Happiness · Fiction

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

SHYLOCK WAS A man of few words, and then only when a nod or a shaking of the head would not suffice. Prosperous did not know anyone else less inclined to use their tongue. She told Agu this the first time Shylock came to their house, the friend of a friend, and so recently arrived from Nigeria that Prosperous swore that as soon as he walked in, her homesickness lifted because he smelt of home. She did not tell Agu that she thought Shylock looked like him: same high forehead, same roast coffee complexion, they could have been brothers.

“He has a lazy tongue,” Agu said. Prosperous said she did not trust a man who would not talk in the company of other men.

“Maybe he’s shy.”

She said she had thought that too at first when he answered her “would you like a beer?” with a nod. But the longer he sat there, in their sitting room, nodding and shaking his head to questions, listening to the other men argue and talk but contributing nothing, as if he were a sponge absorbing their voices, she began to feel that her initial assessment of him was wrong.

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