It’s the ethereal, the poignant, the amusing that we turn to this week, with Poe, some Flash Fiction and the ongoing presentation of Tom Jones.
Cold, Sweet Grapes, No. 4 from Little (Flash) Fiction, by Leesa Cross-Smith
Read by Xe Sands
Recorded with permission from author and publisher
Continuing this week with the fourth story from the excellent, Little (flash) Fiction collection – this time, some sweetness and innocence (’bout time, right?).
I’m the parent of a teen girl…
[digression: I suddenly feel l like I’m in a 12-step support group…”Hi, I’m Xe, and I’m the parent of a teen girl.” The other exhausted, disheveled people in the room nod their heads sagely, some smile with a tinge of sadness…one dad in the group crosses his arms across his chest and looks away angrily – and that woman in the corner starts to weep quietly]
All therapeutic joking aside, there are many amazing things about parenting teens…and one of them, for me as the mother of a girl, is this: as she crosses these various thresholds, it’s as if I am crossing them for the first time as well. Sure, they are sometimes agonizing and angst-filled in the way that only teens can experience, but they are still vivid and visceral, still so filled with wonder and LIFE.
Reading “Cold, Sweet Grapes” feels like stepping into the mind and heart of the more precious of the teen years – when it’s all new, when hope is mingled with anxiety and nervousness and it’s really all just so delicious, even though you won’t know that until you’re past 40 and experiencing it again, as if anew, with your own child.
Come on…step back into a slip of innocence and anticipation, just for a moment or so.
Dream within a Dream, by Edgar Allan Poe
Read by Diane Havens
In many communities as in mine, October is a month that celebrates the work of Edgar Allen Poe, one of my favorite American authors. But he’s more than just a master of the macabre. His poetry, with throbbing patterns of rhythm and rhyme, are infectious. This poem “A Dream Within a Dream” mourns the transiency and illusions of life, and asks the age old question — just what is reality? Kiss the day and our lives and loves goodbye. And Shakespeare agrees, after all, “we are such stuff as dreams are made on…”
Tom Jones – Book 1, Chapter 13, by Henry Fielding
Read by Mark Turetsky
Chapter 13 of Tom Jones.
This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones over the course of four years.
And so ends book one of Tom Jones. But wait, I hear you say, isn’t this book called Tom Jones?! How have we not even met the main character yet? All we’ve got so far is a foundling child who may or may not be him, and he hasn’t even got a name!
Well, don’t worry! There are 18 books in total, and yes, the main character, Tom, will be coming along soon enough.
Let’s examine this chapter a bit, shall we? It’s the end of the story of the two brothers Blifil, the Doctor and the Captain. The Doctor has worked his magic: he’s met Bridget, introduced her to his brother, gotten them hitched and smoothed things over with the in-laws. Now that he’s served his purpose, Captain Blifil can discard him. Once again, Fielding shows us an evil character who is motivated largely, if not entirely, by a jealousy regarding education and intelligence. We might be tapping into one of Fielding’s bugbears here.