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Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Horrified Leaf

Curio Bay Petrified Stump
Originally uploaded by missy_elle.
Petrified Forest in the Ocean

Wendy at Quiet About A Lot of Things left a comment on my last post saying that she would love to see the petrified forest at Curio Bay, so I have gone to flickr to see if there are some pictures to show others who may be interested as well. And here we are.

'The Liar's Diary'
Another blogger, Patry Francis at Simply Wait, has just had her book 'The Liar's Diary' published. Once I started reading 'The Liar's Diary', I couldn't put it down. To just call it a story does the book an injustice; it seems more than that - it is a mystery, a psychological thriller, a study of dysfunction, of flawed friendships and misplaced devotion.
Patry has masterfully spun a seamless tale that had me hooked. The trouble is, it's such a finely balanced, finely tuned plot, I feel that I can't really say much more about it for fear of saying too much - and even that may be saying too much.
I only know that from now on, every time I look at it sitting on the bookshelf, I will remember the two summer days I spent reading it, engrossed, reading it out on our deck until the sun slipped down behind the trees.

Horrified Leaf

I was walking back from shopping the other day and spied this leaf (as is - I haven't doctored it or changed it at all) lying on the footpath. Maybe its horrified expression is due to the fact that autumn is due here in a week's time.
I'd walked quite a way past this horrified leaf before I realised what it was I'd just seen. I was tempted just to keep walking on, but either the child in me, or my very strong gatherer instincts (I can't come away from a beach or river without a stone, a shell, beach glass, some grasses or a piece of driftwood ...) won out and I turned back to go look for it.

Punch Mark
The exclamation mark has got to be my favourite punctuation mark. Those of you who have known me the longest will know this is so! I don't know why - I think maybe it has such an appropriate shape. You can't help but be startled by it's sudden appearance!

Music That's Out Of This World
I'm reading the first book in a trilogy called 'Durdane' by the science fiction writer Jack Vance. He's a gifted, poetic writer who knows his physics inside out, but doesn't dazzle me with it, rather he simply, with fine writing and an almost laconic voice, effortlessly persuades me to believe in an otherworld that seems perfectly reasonable, perfectly imagined, perfectly appealing. The stories have solid, sound plots about good versus evil and quests to avenge or put to rights a wrong. Vance has a secretive sense of humour - the funny bits almost, but not quite, sneak by me. And I like that. This is the third Vance book I've read. The protagonists seem to be in the main quiet, determined, brave types, usually cynical. or at least suspicious, and usually reluctantly caught up in something that's beyond them. They seek a quiet life, but find that before they can get on with it, there's something they have to do. They are usually young males - with a sensitive, artistic side to them and who love and protect their mothers. (Well, the one I am reading about at the moment does anyway, which of course endears him to me.) Apart from saving his mother, he is also a musician. Here is a passage I was taken with: "Become a musician and make a living complaining of your woe; but remember: complain of your own woe! Don't complain of the faceless man! ... What's that you're playing now?"
Ertzwane, having strung the khitane, had touched forth a few chords. He said, "Nothing in particular. I don't know too many tunes. Only what I learned from the musicians who came along the road."
"Halt, halt, halt!" cried Frolitz covering his ears. "What are these strange noises, these original discords?"
Etzwane licked his lips. "Sir it is a melody of my own contriving."
"But this is impertinence! You consider the standard works beneath your dignity? ... You tell me now that I have wasted my time, that henceforth I must attend only to the outpourings of your natural genius?"
Etzwane at last was able to insert a disclaimer. "No, no, sir, by no means! I have never been able to hear the famous works; I was forced to play tunes I thought up myself."
"Well, so long as it doesn't become an obsession ..."
It reminds me of the friend from whom I've borrowed the book and his inclination to start up a music group.

The Smell Of Fermented Plums
As I sit out in the sun, I see dark-red plums scurry across in front of me like dark mice. The birds are picking at our neighbour's plum tree. The defaced, picked-at plums bump and roll across our driveway, to line up like wounded soldiers along the gutter among the golden drifts of silver-birch casts. In the air there's a strong smell of the plums fermenting in the sun. It is a smell straight from my childhood in Orepuki - from Harry Finn's orchard and huge, Black Doris plums you could lose yourself in.
Wax-eyes and starlings are the keenest for the plums in our neighbour's tree. Occasionally a kereru joins them. The sound of the birds is secretive. Furtive, complicit rummages behind closed doors. There's some conspiracy afoot. Political goings-on - a closeted meeting just before a leak to the press.


dinzie said...

Everything is on flicker !!!!

I've shots of the fossilised forrest ... must post them sometime ......

perhaps I should post on flicker as well !! :O)

dinzie said...

Ah well .... kiwis talk in exlamation marks !!!

Deb R said...

That leaf is hilarious!! (Exclamations marks are my fave too.)

I really want to read Patry's book, but haven't bought it yet. It sounds good!

Kake said...

That's a wunderful, eclectic posting!! (two for good measure). And I'm glad you went back to get the leaf -- spooky!
Good passage from Vance, too. You're right about his sense of humour.

Tammy said...

Curio Bay is gorgeous! That leaf was too cute and I must get these books! I use the punch mark way too much but it fits the way I talk. LOL XXOO

Cailleach said...

Jack Vance! There's a blast from the past. I'm off to have a look see...!

Love your horrified leaf!!!

And exclamation marks are always cool!!!

Cailleach said...

Lyonesse - I knew I'd find it... off to find out more!

chiefbiscuit said...

dinzie - I must remember to use you as a resource for photos - and yes you should go on to flickr - definitely - more of the world needs to know what fantastic photos you take!

deb r - I know!
Yes, Patry's book is a winner in my book!

kake - Thanks for the punch marks!

tammy - Me too!

cailleach - Glad you found the Vance book!!! This feast of punch marks is making me delirious with joy!!!! I'm getting high on punch marks!

kj said...

hi chief, what an interesting post. here we are blogging away among writers and artists and all kinds of creative talented people.
i just love it!

it was hard to take my eyes off that leaf. oooooh. kind of spooky...


chiefbiscuit said...

kj - Thanks. That leaf is very strange. One of those random acts of nature.

wendy said...

Thanks for the link...I would love to see it in person..perhaps some day..I've looked at your sisters blog, at her lovely pictures...Seems there is sooomuch to see in NZ. It's going on my list of places.

Your posts always give me an impression of a glimpse into your head, pushing the curtain of seperation aside...and seeing through your eyes.

64 Baker Street said...

The leaf not only looks a little worried; it also appears to be nearsighted. I can almost see a little pair of glasses on it - the little crack between the eyes as the nose piece and the little cracks on either side as the earpieces... 8-)

chiefbiscuit said...

wendy - Thanks - I hope you get to see it in person one day too!
It's my sisters' partner's photos you're looking at - he'd be upset to see you thought it was my sisters photos!!!! as they have this rivalry thing going on ... friendly you understand. I'll have to get my sister to get her photos up and running too so it's an equal playing field! hee hee.

baker street - You're right!!! So it does. How funny.

Patry Francis said...

Great photos. So happy to find my book among them! Thank you, thank you for describing the novel better than I ever do. I'm so very happy you enjoyed it!


'how this all harbours light'