13 February 2006

Literary Thyme

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat.
~Fran Lebowitz

A good portion of my time last week was given to preparing for the Annual WCF Winter Ball ~ which almost wasn’t due to, well, winter weather! In the end, the Nor’easter only dusted the ground, making driving relatively painless ~ at least until midnight. Then Sunday morning we woke up to about 5-8 inches ~ finally! I was getting the winter blues - 50 degree weather in February is just wrong!

Amidst all the preparation, Sullivan and I did manage to meet for lunch to discuss our latest brainstorm (outside of MacBeth) ~ an American Inklings group. It had occurred to me that in essence, he and I were already doing what the original Inklings did: meet and critique each other’s writings. All that was missing was meeting over a superb European dinner (i.e. late and infinite) and a single malt Scotch ~ or a Brandy Alexander, girlie girl that I am! ;-)

Perhaps such a group already exists, but if it does, we have yet to find it. We’re not sure how we want the group to look, though we do know we want to keep it intimate enough to allow bonds of friendship to form and trust to develop in each other’s opinions. So last week, we met for lunch at one of several places I had researched to be our American “Bird and Baby.”

As Sullivan observed about Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro: “adding "bistro" to your name automatically entitles you to charge $15 for lunch!" We both had the Adana Kabob ~ a mixture of lamb and beef over jasmine rice, served with roasted vegetables and tzatziki sauce. It was delightfully spicy ~ just enough for the tzatziki sauce to refresh the palette between bites. For dessert, I ordered crème brulee (big shocker there!) while Sullivan decided to try the cappuccino flan. The crème brulee wasn’t bad ~ but I think they must have been talking while holding the torch over the sugar ~ it tasted a tad sooty. The cappuccino flan however was decadent and well worth the wait.
All told, we spent about $50 on lunch for two. Given the high price tag (call me thrifty), and the lack of a private space in which to read aloud and pontificate on all things literary, the American Inklings will continue searching for our version of a dark English pub for after dinner Scotch that would make Tolkien, Lewis, Williams and the other Inklings proud.

By the way, if you are a writer living in the general area of Northern Virginia and have at least some knowledge of Lewis and Tolkien and would love to have other amateur writers rip your masterpieces to shreds, drop Sullivan or I a line. ;-)
Oremus pro invicem,

09 February 2006


Not only have I been tagged, I have also been badgered for my answers! :P So here you go, your majesty. ;o)

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1) Jeni
2) Anastasia
3) Haligweorc
4) King Alfred
5) Mikaela D’Eigh

Next select five people to tag
1) Real Physics
2) Life is Romantic
3) Nobody Here
4) Veritas et Venustas
5) Laodicea

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Like King Alfred, I too remember the biggest ice storm in my memory in Virginia. It devastated acres and acres of trees, some very ancient ~ but it was also one of the most beautiful acts of nature I have seen in awhile. I hadn’t left yet for the spring semester and was still at home in the country. We went without power for a week, and one of my memories is of being bundled up by the kitchen fireplace, eating mac and cheese that tasted like soot. So much for the romance of cooking over a fire!

What were you doing 1 year ago?
January 2005: Shrine Crypt Keeper. ;o)

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Sweets and Beets (organic chips made out of sweet taters and beets)
2. Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates stuffed with Manchego or Parmesan Cheese – albeit a time consuming snack to make, but well worth the effort!
3. Pizza Rolls
4. Homemade bread right out of the oven
5. Crème brulee ~ not a snack, but truly a gift from God!

Five songs you know all the words to:
1. Latin Mass Propers
2. Almost anything written by Palestrina and Victoria
3. Almost anything written during WWII
4. Skellig - Loreena McKennitt
5. Too many to list

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off debts
2. Pay for several seminarians’ formation and education
3. Save beautiful historic churches and homes slated for either the auction block, the wrecking ball or “wreckovation.”
4. Buy a Steinway concert grand
5. I’m with King Alfred on this one: Buy a heck of a lot of books, and house them in a cherry/mahogany library in the historic house that I bought at #3.

Five bad habits:
1. Not writing every day
2. Hitting the snooze button
3-5. What, you thought this was Oprah? With King A on this one too.

Five things you enjoy doing:
1. Holy Hours
2. Spending time with family and friends
3. Writing, composing and playing the piano
4. Hosting parties; cooking and decorating for said parties.
5. Anything cultural – esp if it has to do with anything ancient and beautiful.

Five things you would never wear again:
1. My favorite red shirt I had as a kid that I loved so much my mother made it into a pillow – complete with arms still attached.
2. The clunky shoes I wore in college.
3. Anything with Winnie the Pooh printed on it.
4. Can’t think of anything else.

Five favorite toys:
1. My baby grands – yep, 2 of them (and no Steinway yet!)
2. Pen and ink collection ~ more like an obsession
3. Book library
4. Music (vinyl and CD) collection
5. My rockin’, fire engine-red Kitchen Aid mixer. :o)

06 February 2006

Poetry & MacBeth II

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters.
~ Shakespeare, MacBeth, (1.5.63)

Work on the MacBeth collaboration has begun with a bang ~ I already have one song composed ~ both music and lyrics. I already see a pattern developing in my composition style: this is actually Song 3 or 4 (we have not yet decided how many we would like to write) in the series.

It had been my intention to attend a discussion group Saturday evening, but I decided that one trip into DC (to become certified as a Theology of the Body Study Group facilitator) was travel enough for one day. Now I am doubly glad I stayed in that night! I must have called Sullivan at least five times ~ every two verses that were written. By the fifth time, he answered the phone with “What’ve ya got?” Our plan is to get together this week and brainstorm. After our experience with LOLAL*, I am sure that this first poor little song will go through numerous re-writes.

Oremus pro invicem,

*© 2005 Silver Scroll Productions

03 February 2006

Femininity & Mantillas

"...on earth, the veil is a symbol of the metaphysical. It is likewise the symbol of womanhood, and all great forms of woman's life show her as a figure veiled. This makes it clear why the greatest mysteries of Christianity entered the world of creation not through the man, but by way of the woman. . . .In keeping with the veil motif, the unpretentious is pre-eminently proper to woman, which means all that belongs to the domain of love, of goodness, of compassion, everything that to do with care and protection, the hidden, the betrayed things of the earth. . . .The withdrawal of the veil, like the veil itself, is deeply symbolic. . . .To unveil her means to destroy her mystery."
~ Gertrude von le Fort, The Eternal Woman

At the end of noon Mass today, before the traditional blessing of the throats in honor of St. Blasé, the priest thanked all the ladies who were wearing mantillas, a beautiful outward sign of the gift of their femininity and hoped that many more would follow their example.

It was an awesome (and rare) thing for a priest to say ~ even in this diocese. Although yours truly was a tad embarrassed as I could not see if any other ladies were wearing mantillas, I was happy and grateful that it was said.

And no, Fathers S and W ~ I was not wearing the big acre mantilla that only comes out on Good Friday. ;o)

Have a blessed weekend!

Oremus pro invicem,

02 February 2006

Poetry, MacBeth & Late Night Coffee

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.
~ Shakespeare, MacBeth (1.3.58)

Last night, wrapping up a little earlier than we usually do (only because Starbucks was closing), Sullivan lent his fine editorial and language skills to two poems I am submitting to Dappled Things for the Lent/Easter issue. Both of them are related to A Lay of Life and Loss* that Sullivan and I collaborated on in the fall. Battle Cry** was one of the many discarded re-writes of Song One*. Weihnailiuþis or Song of Weihnai**, was written due to time constraints.
Sullivan had suggested I write an actual short story giving the background of ALOLAL. I began to write it and the opening paragraphs were promising. However, the deadline for submission ~ originally February 10 ~ seemed a little too close to do the story justice. So I decided to write a poem instead. The end result is fourteen verses long. God willing they publish it, I will be eager for feedback. Check back here at a later date.
After we finished working on my poems and talking about our social calendars, Sullivan asked me if I had any ideas for future collaborations. My brain and the Muse felt a little tired after concentrating on writing the last two poems, and I did not have anything at the top of my list.
Then I remembered that we had talked about MacBeth. At the time, I composed something very quickly and neither the words, nor the melody was flowing the way I wanted. So I walked away from it. Now, however, it was the only thing that came to mind. Once Sullivan and I began discussing ideas, we both became excited about the project again. So far, it is going to be longer than ALOLAL. Stay tuned! :o)

Oremus pro invicem,

*© 2005 Silver Scroll Productions
**© 2006 Mikaela D'Eigh