Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things I Learned This Week

netsuke, LACMA

  • about netsuke: I'm reading a riveting memoir called The Hare with Amber Eyes, written by Edmund De Waal. Mr. De Waal is a ceramicist and writes beautifully about how the inheritance of a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, led him to discover the history of his family, the Ephrussis, a 19th century banking dynasty. When my bookstore friend Liz recommended this book, I confess that I had no inclination to read it. Netsuke? The Japanese? Proust? Vienna during the Second World War? These are not things I'm even remotely interested in. Well, I'm glad that I did because I can hardly put it down.

  • about how amazing this blog community is: The people who read my blog and leave comments are astounding. The whole conflagration that was my and others' exchange with The Girl Who Espouses To Be a Bioethics Expert burned all the brighter as the comments poured in. I'd urge you to read those comments -- I'm certain you'll learn as much as I did. Thank you. This photo reminds me a bit of what it feels like to be part of such a vocal, strong and confident community:

  • that my son Oliver responds really well to lists, even those whose number one item is Say Good Morning. He not only did that every day this past week, but he made his bed, fed the dog on his designated day, picked up his mess in the bathroom after his shower each night and did his homework with a minimum of complaint. Who knew that a black Sharpie and a piece of computer paper would trump yelling?

  • the inventions of the Chinese (paper, gunpowder, and I can't remember what else) as described in my son Henry's seventh grade paper. Amazing what one forgets over the years --

  • that Anne Carson the poet is very weird and very wonderful. I heard her last night at the Masonic Lodge in the Hollywood Forever cemetery. In lieu of describing the whole scene, I'll just say that we parked our car in the graveyard, noted the graves of Issac and Anna, both born in the late 1800s and both dead within a year of each other in the 1950s, and walked down a long, very dark road to the Lodge that was filled with very young and glamorous literary types, an odd sight in Los Angeles and somehow heartening. As for the cemetery, Johnny Ramone is buried there, along with Jayne Mansfield and Bugsy Siegel. The list is long and again, it's a strange and wonderful place.


  1. The Planet of Hollywood. Not to be confused with Planet Hollywood.
    Okay. That book. I think I better read it.

    On Oliver's next list, write, "Say 'I love you, Mama'."
    Sorry about the punctuation. I am NOT going to get out Strunk and White. Not now.

    Love...The Oldest, Witchiest Crone of all

  2. The girl who professes to be a bioethics expert sounds a lot like Adolph Hitler, who also believed some individuals to be more important than others. "Mendelian genetics" was based on the principle that there were those among us who were considered to be "nonpersons". Very scary her thinking....

    On a brighter note, thank you Elizabeth for your support and comments this week, your words were very comforting to me during a very difficult time for our family.

    I so enjoy reading your blog as you have the heart of a poet, the mind of a scientist, the creativity of an artist and the spirit of a sage. To me you are a true renaissance woman.

    Thank you again.

  3. So, you really think that if you got all the commentators in Ms Bioethics debacle together, we would look like that and embody those qualities? Yeah, I guess so, at least moi....

  4. Hey, this week has been hell ... that's me on the far right in the photo,I have aged a ton, wouldn't you say? But then again, my email address does begin with witchypoo ...So I think it may be spot one.

    Love you my friend.

  5. A book review, a coven of witches, a boy who loves lists, weird and wonderful poets, and an eclectic graveyard - who could ask for more??

  6. I love all of these things you learned! And I'm trying the list - maybe it won't come off as nagging if I write it all down. Or maybe it will, but my vocal cords are tired.



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