Sunday, 17 January 2016
Again, I reluctantly broke the seclusion of reading time. Earlier in the week I had thoroughly enjoyed the memoir Get it While You Can by Nick Jaina. We’ve seen him perform twice before at the Sou’wester so I knew the show would be worthwhile. I took an old copy of Hardware Wars as a gift to the Sou’wester video library. (They still have an old VHS machine in play.)
Allan took most of the photos this evening.
To my delight, Nick not only sang but read from his book.
After alternating singing and reading, Nick closed with my favourite song of his. You can listen to it here.
Stelth then took the lead singer role with Nick playing guitar along with the rest of the band.
During the intermission, I’d asked Nick if he minded if I used excerpts from his book in a blog post and he assured me it would be fine. I said on Goodreads that I’d rate Get it While You Can 25 on their scale of 1 to 5. He asked me to describe to him what the book is about. I said the life of a traveling musician, science, philosophy, writing, being lovelorn.
Here are some of my favourite bits:
I’d like to be able to tell you who Nick is quoting, above, but I’ve lent my copy of the book to J9 so I cannot (yet).
from a chapter about different kinds of sadness—Melancholy:
One of my favourites, from a chapter about looking for words for certain things:
Because I had a dream like that:
Allan and I had just moved into a grey house on a small knoll to the west of an industrial neighborhood in north Seattle. A two lane road in front seemed like it should be busy but was not. The simple old house was one story with a front porch and an attic window. Inside one entered the living room, with the kitchen in back and bathroom and bedroom off to the side. We had just moved in so the living room had just a couch and chair, and the kitchen a table and two chairs.
My parents came to the front door with my old labrador dog (Bertie Woofter). Unlike in his real life, he was well behaved, and unlike in my real life, my parents and I were close. I was in my early 40s in the dream, maybe younger, so my parents were still healthy and vigorous.
We walked around to look at the back yard, a large rough lawn inside a rickety old fence. It verged onto a meadow which I hoped was also part of the property. It was a completely blank slate to start a garden.
The view to the south from the front porch was over a couple of blocks of old houses on streets that sloped down to a slow-flowing slough. I could see a café with a brick exterior on the next block downhill so we all walked there to have a meal. The charming interior with lots of art and big windows welcomed us and I knew we would go there often. It was a little bit upscale with nice tablecloths and white dishes.
Someone had told us that the neighbourhood was pretty quiet except when once every two weeks trains arrived at a nearby train yard and made lots of noise coupling and uncoupling cars. I knew I would not mind.
I LOVE that dream from over a year ago and I think about it often when I need something to soothe my insomnia. So what IS the word for that?
What Nick wrote about New York sort of reminded me of how I try to describe daily life in this blog:Below, Nick captures the Columbian Café in Astoria.
Sorry the end trails off there…and my friend J9 has the book!I used to keep a list of weird coincidences in my life, often things from books. Here are some I listed in a notebook:
8-28-97 In the morning I read about adders in The Ghost Road by Pat Barker. In the evening, I read about adders in a reference to Precious Bane by Mary Webb.
1-17-98 reference to a poet named Herrick in both a novel and a gardening book (I Capture the Castle and Remembered Gardens) on the same day.
earlier: The poem Troubling a Star is part of a book title. In the next book I read, by Beverly Nichols, has the poem on its preface page.
2008: Two books in a row mention Paul Auster (someone previously unknown to me).
2003: Watching the art documentary series by Sister Wendy. She shows a painting of Marat killed by Corday. Had never heard of this before. Next day “Corday’s victim” is a crossword clue. Same thing happened when she mentioned Caves of Lescaux. Next day it was a clue. We were watching her series on video, not on live tv.
And this very month: Two novels set in the Isthmus neighborhood of Madison, Wisconsin and a third, a memoir, by someone who taught college there. (The memoir doesn’t feature Madison itself.) I’ve never given a thought to that city before. Now it seems so appealing.
I have a feeling Nick is talking about coincidences more real life than literary; maybe I spend too much time at home to have real life ones.
I hope you are inspired to read his book. What attracted me to it was the promised chapter in which he asked women he’d written love songs to just how those songs had affected them. I was curious to know how they answered. The whole book was entrancing beyond my expectations.
Next post: we get back to a gardening theme.