Charlotte Rampling, Sous la Sable the latest of my gravatars
I thought I'd nake a blog as it just took me a great deal of trouble to renew this account for the pictures. Thus I put my latest photo of my two cats on this site. They are now my companions:
And here is a blog I wrote about them and Olivia Manning's Extraordinary Cats.
I am going to stop going to the grief support person I've been going to because I suspect she wants to get rid of me. We are not compatible for real and so she told me this crazy story about how when a butterfly lands near her it is a sign from a dead person of her friend. She was challenging me to say she is deluded. It is false to think these psychologists/psychiatrists operate from more benign controlled motives. Many are socially coercive strongly, most. To be fair, I did talk with her telling of what last August was like, how it was a hell for me and my beloved. And now I'm here without him.
I am wondering if the piano teacher I hired wants me as a student. She took 2 weeks to start the lessons and now she's cancelled again. She says it's summer and she has a vacation to go on. I had practices this week but there's so little to go on for 2 more weeks I feel silly. If she cancels again, I'll try the JCCNV as I'm told they offer these and they are much less expensive. I am enjoying Dance Fusion Workshop: imagine a group of 50 to 60+ year old women dancing in exercise sort of mode before a mirror, following a lithe 30+ year old teacher in ways that are reminiscent of a Michael Jackson video. I didn't say very like ...
I am working on the projects I told you about (edition of Ethelinde for Valancourt; my book on Austen films, and now a review of a book called Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, the Hays Code films and the Benefits of Censorship by Nora Gilbert, finished a couple; I sent off a review of Kenneth Johnston's Unusual Suspects, my review of Simon Heffer's High Minds is on the Victorian Web,and I sent off an introduction to Valancourt's edition of Eleanor Sleath's Orphan of the Rhine. I will start teaching at two OLLIs, one at AU (Anthony Trollope: Beyond Barsetshire) and one at GMU (The Gothic: ghost stories & films, Jackson's Haunting of Hill House, Martin's Mary Reilly, Charnas's Vampire Tapestry), Reading with friends on the Net and keeping up my other blogs on wordpress once a week.
Life is desolate for me because without him I live an impoverished life -- I cannot do what I could with his aid and presence. Desperately lonely for his talk and attitudes. The epitaph I chose for this blog seems prophetic now. I did fear he might die much younger than the average, but did not foresee how he would be taken from me, so cruelly to him and so swiftly to me.
In trying to evolve a schedule for the summer I make this list:
Book projects: A place of refuge: Jane Austen film canon
Ethelinde, or The Recluse of the Lake, by Charlotte Smith an edition for Valancourt
Introductory essay on Eleanor Sleath's Orphan of the Rhine for Valancourt
Reviews for journals:
Unusual Suspects: Pitt's Reign of Alarm and the Lost Generation of the 1790s by Kenneth Johnston
Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, Hays Code Films, and the Benefits of Censorship by Nora Gilbert
The Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes by Lisa L. Moore
The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen, 2nd edition, ed. Edward Copeland and Juliet McMaster
Reviews for online
Austen Reveries: Harvard NA by Austen edited Susan Wolfson
Victorian Web: Fictions of Affliction: Physical Diability in Victorian Culture by Martha Stoddard Holmes
EC/ASECS: a panel
The Anomaly: the single unmarried adult woman living alone, spinsters, divorced and widowed women
Proposed paper for JASNA/Burney at Montreal:
Frances's Franny: A Proposed Solution
EC/ASECS, Delaware: November 2014
Widows in Austen
September 2015: In Belgium:
On Living in a New Country: Trollope's North America (this may be impossible for me)
For next fall:
The Gothic at OLLI at GMU
Anthony Trollope, Traveler, Political Writer, Sociologist
They don't seem all that overwhelming.
There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –
None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –
When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –
--Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
See Ellen and Jim have a blog two
Michael Gorra on Henry James
Reveries under the Sign of Austen, Two
Tom Branson (Allen Leech, while he's lost his socialism alas he picks a schoolteacher) and Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis) in the image I recall from the end of Little Women: Jo March and Mr Bhauer kissing under his umbrella -- from the coming fifth season
Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarch
Tony Tanner's Jane Austen
Pierre Goubert's Jane Austen
Under the Sign of Sylvia, Two
A year has passed -- what it's like
Sunday Poetry: With a Cat on my shoulder -- though the dark trees/down to the lake
Previously Married Women
Whatever became of Borders and other tales
Some verses by me:
He was thrown away.
What am I to do?
I carry on,
I exist as best I can without him.
I've been studying Howtidi's Death Comes to Pemberley and love Anna Maxwell Martin's performance as Elizabeth: I've bonded -- here she is at a temple on the Pemberley gronds disquieted over where she finds herself in her life, how others behave ...
Here is yesterday's exhausting day set of distress upon distress. Today walking to and from an HD-opera I felt my heart beating super-quickly and when I went to cross the street someone almost ran me over. People in cars in Virginia don't believe there are creatures called pedestrians and when these creatures get in the way the drivers get indignant. I hope if someone reads this blog after I have died of this you will tell someone with power to make some splash that the DMV was responsible for my death.
So what else do I have to tell of my year thus far: I am going to start volunteer teaching of Jane Austen to older retired people. I'm feeling the important voices I've lost forever. My father's. What would he have said about this license loss? I suspect he would have raged on my behalf. I remember how he raged at the way I was treated at Metropolitan Hospital up in Spanish Harlem after a car accident (I was not a driver but a pedestrian). Jim would be started. Utterly unexpected after 34 years of driving with hardly a ticket.
It's now been 25 years since I've talked with my father and had the comfort and intelligence of his conversation. We would phone once a week in the 1980s.
Sometimes I can imagine what Jim would say about something that just happened. About the cell phone he'd have told me again and again I'm a fool to have bought one. He never wanted one. We had old flip phones as phones. But many things I cannot guess and it hurts not to know because so often his jokes made things unimportant; he gave me good advice: he might have known my license was still suspended and I must not buy car for $17,000 for which I must pay insurance. He would have enjoyed Prince Igor with us today.
These things make a big difference in our lives.
I don't see how I can survive if this goes on and on and on this way. I am powerless but before I had the shelter of his presence, his understanding, his strength, his help. I am naked to the winds. I am a person one wall of whose house has blown away.
'“Middlemarch” suggests that it is always too late to be what you might have been—but it also shows that, virtually without exception, the unrealized life is worth living.'
This reminded me of the axiom or saying I put at the top of this blog: I must not reproach myself for my unlived life. It's not my fault he's dead. I did all I could to keep him alive. Had the cancer epidemic not reached the Admiral I would have carried on going to conferences, giving papers, traveling, making acquaintances and friends. None or (to use the term as Mary Crawford says she uses "never") very little, hardly anything at all of that will happen now. I will spend the next 20 years alone.
Will my unrealized life be worth living? well I don't want to go into cold obstruction (mud, earth) and rot. If I can manage to cope with the new PC I'm having installed I can pretend to be writing a book, maybe write one and even send it to someone -- with the full expectation it will be rejected as I have learned the way to get an essay published in a collection is to know someone putting it together in the first place. There are no blind submissions.
So why carry on? for the sake of remaining sane while alive?
He did say I should not try but live quietly and not pay attention to what others thought at all. That was among his last words to me.
I have been paying attention and not living quietly but going out a lot.
From Mary Wortley Montagu's poems:
What Lesson is it must restore my Rest?
The firmness of my Soul gives way,
Some pitying Power behold what I endure ...
The admiral really thought I'd be okay. It seems to me now here at least he was wrong.
I'm not okay without him.
Bu whatever happens, life as I knew it is over for me forever; I cannot maintain that way of life. Instead I rush about trying to please and be with people, flailing crazily. The bad judgement was this trying, especially trying to deliver that black American girl doll. I'll never ever go again to that place or to any place where I don't know where it is and no one appreciates my efforts. How could I have been knocking my head against a brick wall that way.
Izzy half-sleeps in her room and does not want me to help her stay up. Across the street in the darkness I see a house lit. I know that woman (a widow like me who lost a husband in his mid-60s to a terrible cancer and who has let me know she does not want more than a passing acquaintance -- why should she?) has her trees outside lit, in the house a son, a daughter and boyfriend. I saw a car drop someone off. I'll never know this sort of thing ever. Now he's gone never be with others in that way. I could be with him that way and once in a while Yvette would join in.
It is so hard to die, to lie in the ground and rot, lose consciousness. The admiral thought I should try to be happy based on my books writing reading movies and that he left me enough money to do it. But computers break down and what I am to do to fix it? Today I had a harrowing incident where I could have locked myself out of my MacBook Pro by trying to buy music on itunes in my iphone. I have got to put all gadgets far from me..
I am alone with my cat tonight in the silence. I watch Love Actually -- this warm comforting film with its hopeful children. Bill Nighy keeps saying it's all crap and yet we see him kind to a male friend. Like Downton Abbey everyone kind to one another.
See last year's http://misssylviadrake.livejournal.com/1
My Sylvia II blogs are far too upbeat. I don't dare say quite what my reality is. Maybe all meaning for life was simply an invention, an illusion, before but with his affection, companionship, shared outlook I could fool myself.The best I can say and it is true is I prefer not to kill myself. Annihilation is worse as long as I have enough money to live -- here and there I enjoy this or that. I've again been snubbed by the woman across the way; what is so unacceptable about me I've never known but it's so -- and he was no more acceptable. She now is unwilling to answer brief questions: like is hers a good cleaning service, would she recommend them, what is their name? No she is ever expecting guests and must run away. If I don't get that volunteer job I fear I face isolation.
In a way it would be better if I could die naturally and easily -- but life is too tough for that. I don't want to kill myself because most methods are awful and I don't want to desert or be hated. It really is hopeless for me, a 20 year life sentence. It wasn't his fault -- he didn't want cancer nor to die but he felt maybe rightly he was not going to get any better treatment no matter what we paid or where we ran or to whom. He was dispensable. White males' widows are not burnt in suttees but pensioned maybe as a final payment to the male and his family of their life given up to the present rotten order.
Then left to be alone.
What fools we were. We did not know he was a dead man once he was deemed to have esophageal cancer. I remember us walking to try to regain his strength.