Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bowie, Hadfield, and The Lady of Shalott

A train ride, though not long, led to a place that took my thoughts far away. This is the back view of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. The old home now houses a members' lounge and serves delicious lunches. I like the juxtaposition of the stately, straight-lined, brick building and the modern, curving stairway which led from the first to the second level of the special exhibit.

I find it intriguing when evidence of synchronicity appears. Currently, I'm reading Chris Hadfield's recently published book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth". You may have heard him singing "Space Oddity"  last May while he was the Canadian commander of the International Space Station. It's his version of  David Bowie's song and, as it happened, I visited the Bowie exhibit on Friday.

I can't claim that I have closely followed Bowie's career, but it was fascinating to see his costumes, snippets of work in film, hand-written lyrics, sketches and such. I think I now have a greater appreciation for his incredible creativity and wide ranging influences. (Photographs, alas, were not permitted in this section of the gallery.)

From one of the songs that was played:

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today . . ."
     ("Space Oddity" by David Bowie)

From Hadfield:

"Now Scott can detach inside and come join me. Waiting for him I check behind me, to be sure I haven't accidentally activated my backup tank of oxygen, and that's when I notice the universe. The scale is graphically shocking. The colours, too. The incongruity is stupefying: there I was, inside a small box, but now - how is this possible? . . . It's overpowering, visually, and no other senses warn you that you're about to be attacked by raw beauty." 
     (pp. 89-90, "An Astronaut's Guide to Living on Earth")


Moving on to something quite different . . .

The Lady of Shallot, not completely unlike Bowie's solitary Major Tom, had her own set of troubles. She was shut up, alone, in her tower, permitted to see the outside world only as it was reflected in a mirror, weaving what she saw there. (The painting is by John William Waterhouse.)

"To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
    And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said
    The Lady of Shalott."

              ("The Lady of Shallot" by Lord Alfred Tennyson) 

Suffice to say, as they had for Major Tom, things turned rather grim for The Lady of Shallot. What lay beyond her restricted home led to her demise. Hadfield's story is a much happier one.

There will be no weaving or space travel here today, just an easy Sunday of knitting thoughts together

Any ideas to share? I'd enjoy reading them.

I`m linking with Mosaic Monday at Little Red House. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day

I shared this song with you last Remembrance Day and would like to do so again.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Turning Pages: "Still Life" by Louise Penny

It has been a lovely, quiet day, just perfect for curling up with my current knitting project. The back of this sweater is plain knitting, the front is an all-over cable design and I'm about 75% finished this section.

There was just one problem with the notion of sitting peacefully and carrying on knitting, purling, and fiddling with the cable needle.

A distraction. 

In the form of a novel.

As of a couple of days ago, after weeks of being on the library waiting list, the volume I had been waiting for became mine.

If you enjoy a good mystery and have yet to read Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, this is the first book. The protagonist is intelligent, observant, patient, compassionate, imperfect, and insightful: "Crime was deeply human, Gamache knew. The cause and the effect. And the only way he knew to catch a criminal was to connect with the human beings involved." (pg. 87)

I had already read A Beautiful Mystery, Penny's second-last book, and was completely captivated by her writing style, plot development, and the well drawn characters. Clearly, I had to go back to the first novel and start making my way through all of them.

I didn't knit a stitch today. I was in Québec, in the village of Three Pines.
Staying there until I knew, along with the villagers, who had committed murder.

I can always knit tomorrow. In a few days, I'll head to the library for Dead Cold
This sweater could take awhile.


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