To Be or Not

One of the blogs that I started my blogging life with, Giornale Nuovo, has ended after a wonderful five-year run (though the archives are still up). The shock that one gets when something familiar disappears has made me wonder about this blog. I have not been paying it attention, it is overgrown with weeds. And yet, once in awhile, I still see something and think, I must post this.

While I decide, here are a couple of things that I've read / seen / heard recently:

This, from Randall Jarrell's Pictures From an Institution, in which every sentence is so clever that you just have to shake your head in amazement:

Gertrude thought children and dogs overrated, and used to say that you loved them so much only when you didn't love people as much as you should. As much as you should had a haunting overtone of as much as I do - an overtone, alas! too high for human ears. But bats heard it and knew, alone among living beings, that Gertrude loved.

And a very different sentence, from the beginning of Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire, by Jason Goodwin. I just read a review of a mystery novel he has written, set in the Ottoman Empire, with a eunuch detective, and it sent me back to this earlier work:

Between age-old fortresses with wells and marketes, domes and minarets, and lemon groves where learned men rehearse theological points worn smooth like pebbles in the handling, the turkmen come riding upon embroidered saddles, with stirrups like metal galoshes.

And a link to amazing paintings, by Gerard Charruau. These cityscapes, which must be very large, because they appear to be painted on sheets of paper glued to canvas, remind me of the crowded scenes in Mughal miniatures.

I imagined a painting of Chennai -- though it has such a low skyline in most places, that if you look at it from a rooftop, many of the buildings are obscured by trees. And the buildings are mostly not pretty... I think a montage of the good ones, placed together...

And finally, a link to a YouTube video from a singing contest which is similar to American Idol. The song, Tujhse Naraaz, from the film Masoom, is in Hindi, but it need not matter, I think. It's very touching (Rough partial translation: "I'm not angry with you, life, I'm surprised / disturbed. Your innocent questions unsettle me. I never thought that in order to live I would have to manage pain; that if one smiles one has to pay a price for it...") -- it makes me cry. The singer is Amanat Ali, a contestant from Pakistan. You have to overlook the horrible costumes and gaudy sets.

I guess I've answered the title question, for the moment at least.


Anonymous said...

you have.
expansively :)

Anna said...

Occasional treats are better than silence, please stay, I have been with you so long I couldn't do without.

Amanat Ali has a very engaging voice, I hope he gets the almost inevitable recording contract. Your translation of the lyrics gave the song so much more value.

LaVieQ said...

Nancy, I visited Giornale today - after a long while - and seeing misteraitch's announcement, scurried over to other blogs (including yours) that I read.

GN's ending made me wonder what sort of fatigue overtakes bloggers despite the partcipation of like minded folks. To the extent that they decide to close shop altogether. Then again, it is all a lot of work, and as with other things in life, perhaps one wants to move on to other things.

I'm glad and delighted to see you're still scribbling away.

Joel said...

You were gone for the longest time....

Check the fire pictures on my blog, btw....

Lucy said...

I'd have been back soon even if you hadn't come over!
The Jason Goodwin quote was like a divine mouthful of sherbert lemon, and set me wishing for more, and your translation of the Amanat Ali made me sob and the eyes sting unexpectedly too.
I'm interested to know what happens to blogs and bloggers after a while, being as I am still relatively new at it, and it still seeming very important in my life. In some ways I like the idea that it becomes less important and less frequented, then you can pick it up and dust it off and see the point again. Or not.