Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Six Quirks Adventure [UPDATED]


Maclin Horton of Light on Dark Water has tagged me for a meme. Like Maclin, the term (which I first heard in a seminar, taught by an intimidatingly brilliant professor, on Beethoven's composition sketchbooks) makes me uncomfortable. But I'm game. The rules require that I post them, so here they are.

1. Link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

As I told Maclin, I have a hard time differentiating my unspectacular quirks from my grievous faults, but I'll try.

1. When reading a novel, I always want to eat what the characters are eating. This started in childhood: I remember, when I was reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri, balling up small pieces of bread and cheese between my fingers, putting them in my pocketbook, and going to sit at the end of the walk to eat them, gaze out at the imaginary mountains, and pretend I was the title character. I still remember the food in certain scenes from my girlhood reading: the community clambake in Misty of Chincoteague, for instance, and the steak and kidney pudding served to Velvet Brown by her butcher father in National Velvet (a wonderful book, by the way). In my early twenties, I read through most of the Maigret novels by Georges Simenon, and once again the eating scenes from those remarkably laconic books stand out in my memory: I even started rubbing the inside of my teak salad bowl with a clove of cut garlic after reading a scene in which the proprietress of a hotel on the Riviera did the same in Maigret on the Riviera.

2. I love anchovies. My favorite snack is an English muffin toasted hard with butter and anchovy paste, preferably washed down with a glass of pineapple juice.

3. I get a physical and emotional rush when I enter a library of any kind, particularly a university library. There is nothing to compare with this feeling, and it makes me a) want to stay in that library forever, and b) wish that I'd skipped all those years I spent singing and gone straight for my M.S. in library science instead.

4. In spite of my erstwhile small professional career as an opera singer, I intensely dislike listening to opera. It's rarely enjoyable for me; I find it exhaustingly hard work. In fact, I listen to music far less frequently than anyone I know.

5. I love grocery shopping.

6. I've always had an intense interest in Kaspar Hauser. My favorite movie is Werner Herzog's The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser, which affected me profoundly the first time I saw it at the age of twenty. One scene in particluar still haunts me: Kaspar, in the home of his protector, is overwhelmed by the new world of lights, shapes, and colors into which he has in effect just been born, and he lets a glass drop out of his hand, telling the housekeeper in his stilted way, "Ich bin von alles abgetrennt" (I am separated from everything).

One of the reasons for my interest in Hauser is the fact that one of his protectors was the German poet Georg Daumer, whose verses Brahms set in some of the latter's most beautiful art songs. In looking for a link to insert for Daumer, moreover, I have just found out something I never knew: that he was a convert to Catholicism. I'm sensing another meme here, at least in terms of this blog. . .

Now, for the last step, I am tagging Brenda at the Crazy Stable, Fallen Sparrow at his eponymous blog, Tertium Quid at From Burke to Kirk, Kyle R. Cupp at Postmodern Papist, Joshua Snyder at The Western Confucian, and my dear friend (and sometime nemesis) Robot Boy at Robert Anasi's Journal. I hope this doesn't create any unwanted extra work for my blogging comrades.

UPDATE: I wanted to post a link to one of Brahms's Daumer songs. I was looking for my favorite, "Unbewegte laue Luft," but couldn't find it, so I've settled for this video of the lovely "Wie bist du, meine Königin." I'm a bit unconvinced by the baritone, but I'm posting it anyway because the pianist is so, so good. Here is a translation of Daumer's poem by Emily Ezust:

How blissful you are, my queen,
When you are gentle and good!
Merely smile, and spring fragrance wafts
Through my spirit blissfully!

The brightness of freshly blooming roses,
Shall I compare it to yours?
Ah, soaring over all that blooms
Is your bloom, blissful!

Wander through dead wastelands,
And green shadows will be spreading,
Even if fearful sultriness
Broods there without end... blissfully!

Let me die in your arms!
It is in them that Death itself,
Even if the sharpest pain
Rages in my breast... is blissful!

34 comments:

Robot Boy said...

Sounds like a chain letter for nerds.

Pentimento said...

This is why I tagged you.

Tertium Quid said...

I'll do my best to entertain, though I might not finish until the weekend.

Pentimento said...

That's okay; I just used it as an excuse to waste an hour I had set aside for revising my last dissertation chapter. What did people do to impede their own progress before blogging?

Tertium Quid said...

I need some help with a commentator on abortion. Take a look at the comments below this post, if you will. The writer is intelligent and deserves a respectful response. I've done my best.

I'd ask Jennifer F. to chime in, but she is writing and speaking ably about the faith right now.

http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2008/07/george-will-and-stephen-colbert.html

Pentimento said...

Oh dear. Let me think about this. S/he sounds like the kind of person whose mind you can never hope to change through rational argument. I'm actually revising right now so I'll get to your blog as soon as I can, possibly tonight. Pray for me!

Fallen Sparrow said...

Prayers going up for both T.Q. and Pentimento - remember that the Spirit speaks through you in time of trouble!

Thanks for the challenge, Pentimento. I'd always kind of hoped to be tagged, and now my wish has come true.

Pentimento said...

Thank you for your prayers, Fallen Sparrow. Have fun with the game!

Maclin Horton said...

Anchovies, yes, most definitely. Now that you mention it, I think I considered anchovies as one of my quirks. But anchovies and butter?!

Fallen Sparrow said...

I've responded: here.

Thanks again, it was fun!

Pentimento said...

Anchovies need butter, and together they need pineapple juice - really, it's delicious!

Kyle R. Cupp said...

This nerd will play, but he'll need a few days.

Pentimento said...

Looking forward, Kyle.

Robot Boy said...

I'm a nerd at the beach leading the life semi-aquatic. I'd have to be really stoned to play this game. Which could happen.

Pentimento said...

Here's hoping, Robot Boy.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

Done. And complete with music!

dreshny said...

Re food porn in classic children's literature: the molasses that the kids in Margaret Sidney's Five Little Peppers and How They Grew keep pouring on everything. The bag of warm raisin buns that Sara gives to a beggar child in A Little Princess. Pork crackings and roasted pig tail after Ma and Pa slaughter a pig in Little House on the Prairie. Bits of salty lox sucked off fatty salmon skins from the deli man and orange and lemon-flavored broken crackers and chocolate babies that Charlotte and Gertie eat stealthily in bed in Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family.

Pentimento said...

There's some great food imagery in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too.

Robot Boy said...

You are all a bunch of girls, 'Little House on the Prairie' indeed. How about Turkish Delight in 'The Lion the Witch' or say, the great feast with the Dwarves that opens 'The Hobbit' and the Hobbits' love of mushrooms? I'm just sayin'.

Pentimento said...

Ya know, that Turkish delight scene in TLTWATW did not in any way make me crave Turkish delight, though I really did wonder what that magic cordial in the cut-glass bottle tasted like.

dreshny said...

I was actually going to mention the Turkish Delight, but I thought it was overkill! Besides, doesn't it turn Edmund evil?

Robot Boy said...

Gluttony is one of the seven deadlies you know (sounds like a rock band) and yet the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. A conundrum.

Pentimento said...

Is that Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell"?

I also was emotionally upset when I saw the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. The idea of a lifetime supply of chocolate was downright disturbing to my childhood austerity.

Robot Boy said...

To be honest, I don't think I even saw Turkish Delight until I was about thirty. But the Hobbit did get me eating mushrooms.

Why do so many women like food more than sex? And baths?

dreshny said...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Is that "boy" enough for you, RB? I know I wanted Violet's gum that tasted like tomato soup, roast beef, and blueberry pie.

Robot Boy said...

It is the Marriage indeed. Blake is my hero, the great poet of human freedom.

Pentimento said...

Because food tastes good.

RB, I remember going to the Blake exhibit at the Met with you at the end of 1999. Do you remember? Or am I making that up?

Pentimento said...

Okay, just realized that I am making that up. The Blake exhibit was in 2000 or 2001, and I went with the vegan stoner bicycle messenger I was dating (remember him?). You and I went to see the Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit in 1999.

As Baudelaire said, "I have more memories than if I had lived for a thousand years."

Pentimento said...

Take a look at Kyle R. Cupp's self-confession of his quirks. Dreshny, you are going to love the very last musical example!

Fallen Sparrow said...

The Blake exhibit was in 2000 or 2001

I remember calling in sick to work in a fit of depression and going to look at that.

Art saves my life, quite often.

dreshny said...

Unfortunately I missed the Blake exhibit at the Met, though I would have liked to have seen it.

To Kyle's last quirk, I say, so much Joni Mitchell to discover...and I am looking forward to all of it!

Pentimento said...

Fallen Sparrow wrote: "Art saves my life, quite often."

I think that's what art is for.

Robot Boy said...

Art may not have saved my life but it has stopped me from taking other peoples.

Pentimento said...

I wish I remember who wrote this - it was an early twentieth-century Indian scholar of English literature who I came upon in my first week as an undergraduate. He said something like: "The purpose of literature is the total eradication of sorrows and miseries." Would that it worked.