Words and images that cause me to say, “huh?, Say what?, Wow

January 22, 2014

I’m in the middle of a large experiment. So far, it’s not really turning out the way I wanted. In my mind when I created a new page about reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, I thought that I could add new posts to that page, but that’s not how it works. I guess in the future I’ll have to create a new Blog that is solely dedicated to a book or an author, but I’m learning how to “do” WordPress as I go along.

I hope it’s okay that I create posts that I can go back and add onto. I’ve already created a post with characters. I love words. I love the way an author can spin them and make my head cock, kind of like the way a dog does when they are trying to figure out what I’m trying to say. I want to be able to pull out those images in the book and turn them over in my brain.

For example, in the very beginning of the book, People of the Book, the main character Hanna is waiting for the fifteenth-century manuscript to be delivered from the National Museum. Oh, I forgot to mention that she’s in Bosnia at a bank. She’s staring out the window of the top floor and describes the bank as “an Austro-Hungarian wedding cake of a building whose stuccoed facade was speckled with mortar pockmarks just like every other structure in the city.” Why an Austro-Hungarian Cake? Is there some political reference that I’m clueless about?

I am about to find out if going from one post to another will cause any problems. I have noticed that the order of posts isn’t chronological as I would expect, so I must be doing something wrong. Anyone with more experience than I, which is almost everyone, can put their two cents in at any time.

I have noticed that I have two posts saying basically the same thing; i thought I had lost the post, forgot to save it, and so I created another. Yes, this is turning out to be an interesting literary experiment.

As Hanna is looking out the window of the bank, she notices her hands on the cold glass and it causes her to think about her mother and an argument they had. She doesn’t say if the argument was about Hanna’s hands, but her mother referred to her hands as those of being of a charwoman and that they were wattled. From then on, Hanna wore gloves from the Salvos. The relationship between her mom is described “the pair of us brittle as icicles.” I suppose it could have been cold when they met, but she also refers to “when I had to meet her at the Cosmopolitan for coffee.” Had to doesn’t describe a want to. I’m assuming that the Cosmopolitan is a fancy hotel or such, but I’m lost in the wear the location would be. Probably not Las Vegas. The only Cosmopolitan that I’m familiar with is the drink. I am well-familiar with that. I should have kept reading before I started to meander in thought as it refers to it being in Sydney. She got the gloves at the Salvos, but I have no clue what a Salvos is except perhaps a high-end store perhaps. She wore the gloves to make a statement, a rather offensive statement, “I wore a pair of gloves from the Salvos as a sort of piss-take. Of course, the Cosmopolitan is probably the only place in Sydney where someone might miss the irony in that gesture. My mother did.” Now help me out. Is the insult in wearing gloves, regardless of where they came from, or was the insult that they came from the Salvos. I love irony, but not if I don’t understand it. Perhaps  it has to do with classism.

This next paragraph is so full of things that make me say huh that it probably deserves it’s own post, but I don’t want to confuse myself anymore than I already have. In her discussion of scouring the fat off cow gut with a pumice stone, which is what is ruining her hands, she goes on to say, “When you live in Sydney, it’s not the simplest thing in the world to get a meter of calf’s intestine. Ever since they moved the abattoir out of Homebush and started to spruce the place up for the 2000 Olympic, you have to drive, basically, to woop woop…I like the fact that I have a reference of time, the year 2000, but other than that, I’m a litle lost. I don’t know if it is easy to get calf intestine around here. I imagine not. I used to know the term that’s used in reference to eating it, perhaps it’s an Italian word. A neighbor tricked me into eating this cheesy casserole of…because I would not have eaten it otherwise. come on WordPress people, you gotta help me out. I’m hoping that as I write, the word will come to me…And no, I am not thinking of foie gras… I still haven’t come up with the term, but I have come up with a few more things to say that really have nothing to do with the book, but they are interesting tangents and that’s what I love about writing. The mention of the slaughterhouse, which is what an abattoir is, caused me to think about the slaughterhouse that was near the Willamette Leadership Academy, the school I taught at when it was on Central Road in Veneta.  At least I don’t have a reputation of being a brilliant intellectual, as this story will destroy any chance of that. The first time I passed by Bartlet’s Packing company, it was right after Christmas, and I remember thinking to myself that next year I would have to go there to send packages. Well, there was one day I was following a truck that was well vented. I could see breaths of air coming out of the truck, suggesting that the cargo was alive. When that truck turned into the packing company parking lot, I had a “Ah ha” moment. It’s that kind of packing place. From then on, I found an alternative route to drive because this carnivore couldn’t handle the feelings of guilt I experienced driving by the business. In this passage I learned that woop woop is like Timbuktu, our equivalent to out in the boonies.

I better publish this so I can get the answer to what the name of a cow intestine dish would be called.

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