Posts Tagged ‘Louise Penny’

Letter From New York 04 25 2016 From beheadings to Deflategate…

April 25, 2016

I’m not sure where the term “dog tired” came from but that’s what I am today, “dog tired.”  When I woke it was a grey, chill day, unremittingly grey.  At class I was struggling to get my rambunctious students to pay attention while I was helping them fill in the background of what they needed to know about media history.   

Most of them are graduating in three weeks and there are only four more classes for them and you can sense them stampeding toward the doors. 

Leaving them, I went down to Relish, the little cafe by the train station and had an egg white omelet, reading a mystery by Louise Penny while eating.  Coming home, I did a conference call and then prepped for some interviews I am doing for our community radio station tomorrow.

The American Dance Institute has purchased a rundown lumberyard in Catskill and is converting it to performance spaces and living quarters for artists while they’re in residence.  It’s an exciting project…

I am talking to Chris Bolan, their Community Relations Manager, tomorrow about the project.

So right now, I am listening to jazz, sipping a much needed martini and working on  figuring out kitchen organization.  I have more stuff than space.  What goes?  What stays and where does what stays, go?

One of the reasons I felt tired or maybe a bit depressed was that as I was walking toward my class, the phone pinged and the BBC reported a leading gay activist in Bangladesh had been hacked to death, not too long after a liberal blogger had been similarly dispensed.  I felt sad, angry, helpless, wanting to do something to change the tide of hate sweeping the world and not knowing at all what to do about it.

The afternoon brought news that a Canadian in the Philippines has been killed by an Islamist militant group.  His name was John Ridsdel, described as brilliant and compassionate; he was a 68 year old tourist from Calgary, Canada.  Beheaded, of course, in keeping with tradition.

On the American political scene, Cruz and Kasich made a pact to stop Trump by Kasich withdrawing from Indiana in favor of Cruz and Cruz withdrawing from Oregon in favor of Kasich.  After great fanfare this morning, it seems to have fallen apart by the afternoon.

It was not a good day for the New England Patriot’s Tom Brady as the courts upheld his suspension from the first four games of the season.  Deflategate has not gone away; its repercussions are still being felt and Brady’s legacy is at stake.  He could still appeal but his chances aren’t good.  The NFL may well have won.

Hard for me to figure this out as I am not a football fan; never a big fan, I was totally lost to the sport when the concussion revelations began to happen.

It is a mellow night at the cottage.  It is 7:30 and the sun has not yet gone away.  There are buds on the trees and the rhododendron are starting their bloom.  The jazz has energized me and I am happy now.  Somehow, in writing this, I have shed this day.  And I am grateful.

Thank you.

Letter From New York 11 20 15 Another day, another atrocity…

November 20, 2015

Claverack. “A Trick of the Light” Louise Penny. Three Pines. Linda Epperson. Mali. Radisson Blu in Mali. Agatha Christie.  “Murder at Hazelmoor” Paris.  Ca’Mea. Hudson, New York.

Today was a startlingly beautiful day; a perfect early fall day, the sun shining brightly with the temperature scraping near 60 degrees.  The best part is that it is now late November! 

I woke early and watched the sun glitter on the creek while sipping my morning coffee and reading the NY Times on my iPhone.

It has been a good day.  I finished reading “A Trick of the Light,” a Louise Penny murder mystery set in the fictional town of Three Pines in southern Quebec.  There are twelve or thirteen of them.  My friend, Linda Epperson, told me about them some years ago and I have been working my way through them.

When I was in, I think, 3rd grade and was home sick, restless of course, my mother tossed an Agatha Christie at me.  It was “Murder at Hazelmoor.”  It converted me to being a mystery fan and a bit of an Anglophile.  Thanks to my friend Dalton Delan, I am the proud owner of an original edition of the book.

Three Pines is a little village filled with eccentric characters and a disproportionate amount of murders per capita.  What it does remind me of, a bit, is my little town of Claverack without the disproportionate number of murders.

A few years ago the son of the man who owns the house two doors down from me did, apparently, an amazing number of drugs and shot his father and then killed himself.  I was out of town.  The father lived and is still in the house.

But that moment haunts our street, just as all the murders in Three Pines haunt that village.

I am writing on about mysteries because I don’t want to think of the mystery which is the world.

Today’s tragedy was in Mali.  Al Qaeda terrorists burst into the Radisson Blu hotel there and killed, at last count, at least 21, screaming “Allahu akbar” [God is Great, I think] while slitting one man’s throat and rampaging with automatic weapons.

It is over now.  They are counting the dead.  At least one American is gone.  Another day, another tragedy played out.  In Africa, where there have also been all the atrocities from Boko Haram.

Tuesday night, the night before my birthday, my friend Larry took me to dinner at one of our favorite spots, Ca’Mea, great northern Italian cooking.  We talked about Paris; he and his wife, Alicia, had been there not long ago.

He was torn, thinking on one hand he wants to know what is really happening in the world and, on the other hand, not wanting to be overwhelmed by it.

I totally understand.  Sometimes I just want to retreat to my two little acres of land and listen to jazz and watch movies and not think about what is happening out there in the world.

But I can’t.

I care too much.