January 18 , 2013

Well this week is an eclectic mix…Rilke and octopi, Lewis Carroll and Thoreau? Thank goodness we’ve got Tom Jones to anchor us..

Solitude excerpt from Waldenby Henry David Thoreau

Read by Diane Havens

Diane writes…

The transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau’s lovely little meditation on his solitude at Walden Pond, living simply on his own as a sort of voyage of self discovery and self sufficiency.
This excerpt is taken from the chapter entitled “Solitude” and showcases the wit, introspection and spirituality for which Thoreau is noted.

Luffy’s Girlfriend – Story No. 13 from Little (flash) Fiction, by Jen Neale & Little Fiction

Read by Xe Sands

Xe  writes…

Second-to-last piece from the eclectic Little (flash) Fiction collection, from writer Jen Neale.

Just a little slice of life this time around…well, actually, a little slice of flavorless octopus. But a peek through another window, into another small snippet of life. No, it’s not The Dysfunctional Family Show! with buns in ovens and cigarette ash tapped into the urn. This is a quieter moment.

In the “feel-good movie of the year,” she would toss that ridiculous dinner into the garden, open that red envelope, swallow her suddenly overwhelming urge to cry…and they would polish off the wine they started on when she was struggling with the octopus, and then they would have the best sex of their lives. Screw the belugas and the seals – they could wait another year. They laugh on the plane to Quito as they think about the octopus that was impossible to prepare and then tasted like nothing, and he lets go of the fear that the octopus was some kind of metaphor for their relationship or harbinger of doom. It was just a failed dinner, but this – this trip – THIS is real, this is “it.”

But life isn’t like those movies, or the romance novels (isn’t that why we go to see them / read them? Because they are *not* like life?). And she doesn’t go to Quito, doesn’t even hesitate, and doesn’t even feel all that badly about it. Well, maybe she feels a bit badly about the octopus – and maybe she feels a bit sorry for Luffy, but really, Vancouver just isn’t Canadian enough and belugas trump a guy as flavorless as that octopus was, and a relationship that left as little mark on her as her thumb did in that rubbery flesh. Closed right up, as if she had never been there. “Besides,” she thinks, “Quito will be so warm.”

In tiefen Nächten grab ich dich, by R.M. Rilke – German 
In the Deep Nights, I Dig for You, by R.M. Rilke – English 

Read by Sonia Vilim

Sonia writes…

An excerpt from the poem The Book of Pilgrimage, with sketch contributed by Peter Davey.

In tiefen Nächten grab ich dich, du Schatz.
Denn alle Überflüsse, die ich sah,
sind Armut und armsäliger Ersatz
für deine Schönheit, die noch nie geschah.

Aber der Weg zu dir ist furchtbar weit
und, weil ihn lange keiner ging, verweht.
O du bist einsam. Du bist Einsamkeit,
du Herz, das zu entfernten Talen geht.

Und meine Hände, welche blutig sind
vom Graben, heb ich offen in den Wind,
so daß sie sich verzweigen wie ein Baum.
Ich sauge dich mit ihnen aus dem Raum

als hättest du dich einmal dort zerschellt
in einer ungeduldigen Gebärde,
und fielest jetzt, eine zerstäubte Welt,
aus fernen Sternen wieder auf die Erde
sanft wie ein Frühlingsregen fällt.

English translation:

In the deep nights I dig for you, O Treasure!
To seek you over the wide world I roam,
For all abundance is but meager measure
Of your bright beauty which is yet to come.

Over the road to you the leaves are blowing,
Few follow it, the way is long and steep.
You dwell in solitude—Oh, does your glowing
Heart in some far off valley lie asleep?

My bloody hands, with digging bruised, I’ve lifted,
Spread like a tree I stretch them in the air
To find you before day to night has drifted;
I reach out into space to seek you there …

Then, as though with a swift impatient gesture,
Flashing from distant stars on sweeping wing,
You come, and over earth a magic vesture
Steals gently as the rain falls in the spring.


Advice from a Caterpillar (excerpt from Alice in Wonderland), by Lewis Carroll

Arika Escalona as an altered Alice, and Scott O’Neill getting haughty with a hookah from Alice in Wonderland: Chapter 5 ‘Advice From A Caterpillar‘.

Tom Jones – Book 3, Chapter 4, by Henry Fielding

Read by Mark Turetsky

Mark  writes…

Book 3 Chapter 4 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.

Here we get our first introduction of Young Master Blifil, or, as Fielding writes it: “Upon which the latter [Tom], who was somewhat passionate in his disposition, immediately caused that phenomenon in the face of the former [Blifil], which we have above remembered.” Was this 18th Century legalese? Could be.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all we learn about Blifil. The rest of the chapter is devoted to discussing Square and Thwackum, and to point out that in no way does Fielding disparage religion or philosophy per se, but only when either is used without one informing the other.

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