Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Narrative From Diary Continued to June 12, 1930


Finland, hurray! At last we have reached our destination! Arriving in Åbo (boat and dock) about 8 A.M., we were all on pins and needles for fear that the customs officers would find something in our baggage which we shouldn't have. However, all they did was to open most of the suitcases and just hastily look into them. We had a great deal of waiting to do, because we were not to go to our hotel until about ten o'clock. The reperters were there the first thing when we got off the boat and took a picture of the choir for the papers. While waiting, we sat around on our suitcases on the dock, with the hot sun shining on us, and, as someone remaked, "we looked just like immigrants", which, of course, we were. We were immigrants from America, coming to Finland--some for the first time. I said goodbye to Edith, Taimi and Betty, hoping to see them again. Edith and Taimi were doing direct to Helsingfors and Betty was staying in Åbo.

After a great deal of talking, laughing, shouting, quarreling, etc. we were finally away to our hotel. We rode in a funny little short street car. The fare was about three cents in American money. We had been told that we were going to one of the best hotels in town, but if it was, the town hasn't many good hotels. The beds they had were all right, but they didn't have enough, and I had to sleep on two chairs.

(During the whole trip through Finland, Sweden, and Norway, I didn't once sleep in a real double bed or ever see one. All they have are cots or twin beds. In the hotels --at least most of them--they had two single beds rather than one double bed.)

That afternoon we went on a sight-seeing trip--walking! We walked up to an observatory and from that point you can see all over the town. We were also taken to the university, where we listed to another speech. Then to the glory of the day--the Dom Kyrka! It was wonderful! It is the biggest church I've ever been in, and it makes you feel so small when you are inside. This church is over 600 years old. The guide, who was on the entertainment committee, showed us all over the church and explained everything. We stood over the graves of bishops, pastors, clergymen, etc., saw many old statues, carvings and paintings, and listened to msuci from a beautifulpipe organ. Words can't express the beauty of that church.

After our interesing walk, we had dinner (And what a dinner!) at the Åbo Sang Forbunds Lokal, and then we looked in on the hall where the concert was to be. It was Brandkarshuset, and, in spite of the name, is a beautiful hall. After we got back to our hotel Mr. Carlson ordered us all to bed. We meekly obeyed and didn't wake up until 7 o'clock. The concert was to be at eight, and you can bet we hurried. As it was, we were just about late for our own concert. The concert went off grandly, with quite a few people in the audience, and twenty-nine as usual in the choir. Blanche sang--and the people "went wild" about her. She was obliged to sing three songs. There is something about Blanche's singing that "gets you". After the concert we were all entertained by the Åbo choir at a banquet. Here we were all mixed up--that is, we were all paired off with members of the Åbo choir--the ladies with men and vice versa. I had a good time with my man, and although I had quite a time getting started, I soon found myself talking quite fluently--with Ellis across the table to help me with the hard words. We all sang in chorus--the Finland chorus and the American chorus--and it was thrilling.

They also had the usual speeches and a short program. We had a bunch of the choir to see us back to our hotel, and I am sure we just about woke up the town.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Continued narrative from the Diary of the Concert at Marieham, 1930

Our first concert seemed to be quite a success although we were all very tired and most of us had colds. The hall was filled to over-flowing--many people were turned away, but still many of them stood outside. We had no piano--or I mean they had none--so we just sang our Swedish songs, and Mr. Jofs "speeched".

After the concert, they took us for a nice long walk to a hotel, where we had more smorgasbord and a very nice sociable evening was had by all. There was a German orchestra in one of the rooms so some of our crowd had a few dances. The choir sang for us and there were the usual speeches. The time went by so quickly and we had no idea it was so late until we heard the boat whistle. But the people were so bent on keeping us longer and longer that the boat called us three or four times before we finally got on our way. That evening we had our first experience with the light nights of Finland and Sweden, for it was almost as light as day when we walked from the hotel to the boat, and it was midnight!

We received a very pretty wreath from the Marieham choir which had printed on it's ribbons:-"Till Runebergordens Finland kör, fran Ålands sang och musik förbund."

There was quite as big a crowd down to see us off as there was to see us come. When the last one of us was on board they pulled up the gang plank and we starrted. We sang as we left--our favorite song "Set maskinen i gång". We waved and looked back at the people on the dock until Marieham was just a blur in the distance.

We were quite surprised to find out that the people of Marieham thought that we had our native costume one, inasmuch as all the girls had on some kind of a flowered dress.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Entry from a Diary from June 1930

Linnea Gord, nineteen-year-old piano accompanist, wrote of the arrival in Finland for the first of the eleven Runeberg Choir Concerts in Finland in 1930:

At about noon we went aboard "Bore I" which was to take us to Åbo, Finland. It is a very pretty little boat, and we had a nice ride that afternoon and evening. We arrived at Marieham on the island of Åland at about 7 o'clock and we were met by at least a thousand people. We sang a few songs from the boat and their choir answered us with some beautiful songs. It made us so happy that so many people should be there, and that moment will remain with us forever.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Big Lake at the Foot of 11th at Tacoma Avenue

One maroon vehicle edged through the big lake at the foot of 11th and Tacoma Avenue, then a white truck accelerated through at the start of the truck climb up 11th. The huge wash of waves seemed twice as high as the truck. People who were at the bus shelter at the corner might have been splashed. Another driver thinks the street is for them alone, water and people all have to dodge out of the way.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lyrics to Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

Deck Us All With Boston Charlie

There are at least three versions of this famous Kelly Christmas carol:

The most famous version:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,

Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo!

Nora's freezin' on the trolley,

Swaller dollar cauliflower Alleygaroo!

Don't we know archaic barrel, Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou.

Trolley Molly don't love Harold, Boola Boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!

Then there is Beauregard's version:

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Polly wolly cracker n too-da-loo!

Donkey Bonny brays a carol, Antelope cantaloup, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon, Willy, folly go through!

Chollie's collie barks at Barrow, Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

We also have this third version:

Duck us all in bowls of barley, Ninky dinky dink an' polly voo!

Chilly Filly's name is Chollie, Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly, Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, Woof, Woof!

Tizzy seas on melon collie! Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, Goof, Goof!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Maltese Falcon – How I Spent 2010's Tacoma Reads Together, a Novel by Dashiel Hammett


Browsing, Walking Tours, Grand Theft Books, and another kind of book theft - patriarchal opportunism that silences the voices of women,  Diaries, Conferences, Portents - And Cozy Sessions With One Cozy Mystery Novel Series After Another


Before computers in the library, my finding method, browsing, seemed the only one possible.  And it seems it was not the best.  In computer language, now, I mean my default method.  (Of course I had the Dewey decimal system and the card catalogue,  worked for twenty hours a week two years in high school at the library and had Library of Congress at the University of Washington.)  But I always return to browsing. 


Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon, Tacoma Reads Together choice for 2010, immediately brought me back in time to the movie after a concert at the Eagles Auditorium - more than one approach to the Reads Together, I located the concert in Seatle Times microfilm (early November, a Halloween Be-In, and it was the Youngboods).  And, gazing up at the sculpted eagles on finials, I walked past the Eagles Auditorium.   Later I went on the walking tour of Dashiel Hammett's Tacoma.


Some approaches are great, some not the best.  Maltese Falcon from Novelist pulled up Maltese Manuscript, a mystery by Joanne Dobson.  It was about book theft on the large scale, the plot climaxed with a visit to a house, room after room and floor to ceiling lined with the treasures scored by the book thief, all preserved appreciatively, and all solely possessed by the thief. An illegal way to handle Reads Together.


I needed to reread The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene) - because the diary was in Swedish.  Keeping a diary can be a way to handle Reads Together. 


Joanne Dobson's Maltese Manuscript featured a mystery writers conference.- "Dead Blondes in Red Dresses: Whiteness Studies in American Crime Fiction" was a panel one afternoon at the Conference.


One could sense a portent in what one read - a mystery novel used Josephine Tey, maybe the only adult mystery series writer I had read, as a character and portrayed the theater of a drama of a mystery play - it set up a place in England, a train station - In C.S. Lewis, the Arthur Ransome books, Enid Blyton, new Harry Potter, all use train stations - but a particular element, a architectural feature - a clock...


I remember this clock feature - perhaps I should have been warned that I did not have time to read detective novels.


Instead, I realized this was just one novel.  One needed to Find Mystery Novels in a Series - and so on to the Simon Shaw books, the Sara Hoskinson books (one of which was set in an historic Swedish community in the Midwest),  The Millenium series. (And the Millenium series reintroduces Sodermalm, in Stockholm, for myself and for many tourists. The Millenium series worked well with Methland, by Nick Reding, a non-fiction discussion of America's heartland and the meth epidemic)


In October Books at Twelve-Ten read The Thirteenth Tale - a mystery.


I had thought mystery novels were as they appear to be - gruesome thrillers that appeal to people as a diversion, laughing at the terrible darkness.

As one reads a mystery novel series information develops - the setting or the characterization of the protagonist or others introduces the reader to new information - in the series of mysteries the category of the information develops the characters as well.  I am twenty-fourth in line at Tacoma Public Library and at Peninsula Library (24th!) to read the current Agatha Raisin mystery, a series by M.C. Beaton.  Both Agatha and her significant other are incompatible, the variations and facets of this truth have progressed through the yearly volumes since 1994. 


Dickinson and the Strategies of Reticence:  the woman writer in nineteenth-century America  Joanne Dobson's volume of criticism presented Dobson with the idea of developing her own series of mystery novels about the way Patriarchal oppression silenced the voices of women.  Joanne Dobson writes her own series of mystery novels.


Then, back to browsing.  As I passed through the 747's I found a book of Cotswold cottage decorations.  Later I located a Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds near the 914's that that describe this area.  Already I had xeroxed a map section near this area.  For I had wanted to know more about the part of England where my father was stationed for a year and a half before VE Day in 1945 when he returned from England and was married.


There are sections in these books that share with the reader an every-day United Kingdom knowledge of Norfolk and Norwich, Brighton, Blockley.  But because of my father Cirncester had been a known word for me.  And I had known how to pronounce it. 




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

As The Maltese Falcon Reads Together Selection Ends

At a branch library the Maltese Falcon display has been replaced by large work search books. During the year I spent some spare time reading mystery novels. One book I read again was The Clue in the Diary, a Nancy Drew Mystery. It featured a diary written in Swedish.

The mystery books have been interesting.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arts at Work Month - Wednesdays at Plumfield with Victorian Authors

The past two Wednesdays I attended a class listed in the Tacoma Arts At Work Month. The visit brought me along a path beside a row of tall poplar trees to our meeting room, which was a large parlor, lamplit from corners and tables. For the second class a cheery fire in the fireplace made this a setting even more appropriate to the reading we did. One Alcott book refers to Mrs. Gaskell - Little Men - and this happy setting surely must remind us of Alcott's Plumfield, and intense rain reaffirmed ideas from Alcott's story. The class was a chance to take my reading of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South farther along. At a certain point in the novel the mill owner brings in Irish Workers to take the jobs of the workers, who are striking. A clear case of human trafficking, by current naming.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Elizabeth Gaskell and the Conference on Human Trafficking

During lunch at the Conference on Human Trafficking I was reading in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South and came to the part where Margaret stops the labor riot. The rioters are on strike, and the management has brought Irish laborers to take their place. When she stands up to the rioters and speaks and his struck on the cheek by a rock someone throws, the rioters disperse before the soldiers reach the mill to arrest them.

She is thought of as being very forward. And she despairs of how low she has sunk.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weavers' Guild Display at Library

While the books group discussed What Is Left The Daughter, by Howard Horman, an occasional mild bump or pounding kept us aware of the setting-up of the "75th Anniversary of the Weavers' Guild" display in the gallery outside the meeting room door. This looks like another wonderful Weavers' Guild display, also portraying Weavers' Guild materials is the display case outside the Pacific Northwest Room.

Books At 12:10 - November

Howard Norman's What Is Left The Daughter, Books at 12:10's November selection, was set in Nova Scotia during World War Two. World War Two history focuses greatly on the Holocaust; an earlier Books at 12:10 selection, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, told in letters the story of Nazi invasion of the Channel Islands. What Is Left The Daughter is told as a long letter written by Wyatt to his daughter in the 1960's. Although not among the primary events of World War Two, the U-Boat activity in the Atlantic was significant, an important story. The novel brings the story into focus through people in a village in Nova Scotia during attacks of U-Boats on the Canada East Coast.

The novel's main characters live in Economy, a bus can take them to Halifax. There is a financial constriction that makes their lives limited. The traditions of Nova Scotia are told by an author who has lived and traveled in Nova Scotia. The Books at 12:10's group today discussed the many aspects of the story of Wyatt, the young man taken in by an uncle and aunt after the suicides of his parents, and his continued life in Halifax.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 6th is Sweden Day in Finland.

1930, June, about the Runeberg Choir visit to Finland Linnea Gord, who was the nineteen-year-old piano accompanist wrote: At ten o'clock we boarded the boat "Borgå" and were off for "Borgå" the city. We had a very nice boat ride, and we had breakfast and dinner combined...A crowd met us at the dock, and their choir sang for us. We sang at their statue of Runeberg and then we went direct to the Hög Skola at which our concert was to be held...

One photograph was probably taken on the steps of the Hög Skola, of the Choir from Borgå. In the other photographs the Choir from Borgå was at the dock to meet the visiting choir and they sang.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

At the Film Series (Before the Race and Pedagogy Conference)



After the third movie, on Sunday afternoon, the audience moved to a different room in the Cinema Grand for a conversation.


I had a feeling about the third movie that race was emphasized in the narrative when it discusses students - a transition to adult life is difficult for so many students. Featuring these three movies together (I saw them on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) allowed the movies to give one another balance. For example, every perfect girl graduating from high school faces the transition to adult life. When this was emphasized in the context of undocumented immigration, I reflected on the idea that teen pregnancy is a transition girls face too often.


I commented that I noticed one student finishing college, undocumented, plans to work in the field of Measures of Happiness - often as humans we take it for granted that happiness is not measurable. Psychology has taken up this topic. It applies to the discussion about Race and Pedagogy.


"The world seems to children like "a heartless cold-blooded place because they've been given the short end of the stick and they don't know why," one teachers says in the first movie, "WAITING FOR SUPERMAN".


The second movie "RACE TO NOWHERE" asks if the system is not wrong, if the displaced, marginalized are trying to achieve an unhealthy ethic - this "quantity-driven model" needs reform, says the filmmaker. (She was present when I attended the film and spoke to the audience.)


The topic of the third movie, "PAPERS", that 12 million undocumented lived in United States, and 2 million are children, featured interviews with undocumented children graduating from high school. Undocumented people enter the United States through family members, through asylum if they are not safe where they live, or with a visa through an employer, but most undocumented children have no path to citizenship.


The movie series features a number of other films.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Title for Blog Entry: About a Song Translation

One: About A Song Translation Included on a Panel During The First Tacoma Reads Together, 2002

2010: The Second Conference on Race and Pedagogy at UPS.

2006: The First Conference on Race and Pedagogy at UPS.

2002: The First Tacoma Reads Together, To Kill a Mockingbird

There was a panel discussion at UPS and I was invited by Hans Ostrom to be on the panel. I performed a folk song there - I read my song translation and performed the tune on a recorder.

The theme of "Names" in To Kill A Mockingbird had reminded me of one of the folk songs I had worked on translating from 1987 to 1992.

Atticus (the lawyer definding Tom Robinson) has a Greco-Roman name. The MayElla (the prosecution's witness and and the claimed victim) has a Christian name, Mary Elizabeth. Atticus spares his own motherless daughter and himself by calling her Scout (a nickname). She will not hear her mother call her by her name again. Atticus repeatedly calls the witness by her first name only.

At one point it is said, "The defense is badgering the winess." An important point in the novel is that the dizzying presence of a vigilante group leaves people without recourse to the law.

I believed the song translation might help develop the theme of names.

Two: About the Song and my Translation

In 1987 to 1992 I worked on about six dozen song translations during part of my writing time. My mother had been a talented piano player, accompanied the heritage group choir and in their family dance band. She saved a lot of things. There were song books, a collection of preserved folk music, from Foreningen Brage. Although Säg min vallmoblomma was not a song frequently performed by the heritage group choir, other songs in the book were.

The song Säg min vallmoblomma is reproduced in the next Blog Entry with the permission of Föreningen Brage, Helsinki. The work was arranged by Otto Anderson, the founder of Föreningen Brage and a professor of music and ethnology. A book about the work of Otto Anderson is on the internet, with a summary to the back of the work in English.

My playing songs on a recorder was for me in a way a hobby - I think a hobby is carried along without a highly-powered ambition. From the first I did not consider it an ambitious kind of aspiration, but a deeply felt activity.

One heritage group member once described songs I played on a recorder as being "between her mother and herself". She was comparing me to heritage music performance from a first-hand experience in the old country, or to the music performance from the very active and present Swedish and Swedish-Finnish community in the Pacific Northwest in the earlier half of the twentieth century. The choir in Tacoma began in 1913 at the house of my great-grandfather. By this I explain an idea of caring that existed for me about these songs.

Page Five of Song

Page Four of Song

Page Three of Song

Page Two of Song

The song Säg min vallmoblomma is reproduced with the permission of Föreningen Brage, Helsinki. The work was arranged by Otto Anderson, the founder of Föreningen Brage and a professor of music and ethnology. A book about the work of Otto Anderson is on the internet, with a summary to the back of the work in English.

Säg min vallmoblomma ////Tell me, dear Wallflower
medan skyming ////While the shadows
faller over vägen.//// Fall upon the roadway.

Hör mig, liljefagra,//// Hear me, pretty flower
medan vinden tystnar//// while the wind sighs
i bland träden://// up among the treetops.
Vill du bliva? Säg mig kära/// Is life lovely, tell me dear one
min egen? ////My own one?

Faller svala daggen,//// Swallow falls in dewdrops,

svala daggen. ////Swallows dewdrops.

Säg ej till mig "Kära!"//// Don't say to me, "Dear one"
Sa min namner//// As my father
fader och min moder. ////And my mother called me.
Säg ej till mig "Kära!" ////Don't say to me, "Dear one"

Sa min namner//// As my sister

syster och min broder. ////and my brother called me.

Säg ej "Kära!" ////Don't say, "Dear one"

sa han säger,//// So he called me,

min egen. ////My own one,

Faller svala daggen, ////Swallow falls in dewdrops,

svala daggen. ////Swallows dewdrops.


Säg mig, du, som aldrig//// Tell me, you, who never

ur mitt hjärta ////From my heart

viker uppa jorden://// Gave up the ghost of life here.
Varför blev det ////Why does it become
plotsligt ///So dark and lonely
nu sa morkt och ödsligt ////in the woods
uti skogen?//// so quickly?

Var är vagen,//// Where the road leads,
Led mig kära! ////Lead me, dear one,
Säg vägen! ////The right way!

Faller heta tåren.. ////Falls the name in teardrops.
Heta tåren.//// Name in teardrops

Heta tåren. . ////Name in teardrops.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

75th Anniversary of the Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Arts Museum was stacking mini-cupcakes on tiered cake servers in the foyer and I felt it would be polite to redirect my attention. This was a free party, as I write my blog entry it is still going on. At one side near the store was a table with cards, one could answer the question on the card, so I chose a gray one that read: What makes Tacoma Art Museum Mighty?

faucett faucett
hitching posts
mounting blocks
fire stations

My card was about my earlier visits to the Art Museum at the old Weyerhauser building near the Fireman's Park, near the faucett contributed by Fawcett. The testimony to the horse-drawn vehicles along the streets, in places, reached out.

Several folks from poetry readings were in attendance. I had not planned to stay a long time. One point - the dog sculpture, Leroy, was on an upper floor, one could glimpse his face from the topmost balcony, nice to have Leroy in such a central part of the party.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Books at Twelve-Ten: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Five met to discuss The Thirteenth Tale Tuesday, by Diane Setterfield, October 12, 2010 at Tacoma's Main Library. We started with introductions, then started off with a discussion of our experience of reading the book.

One steadily attending member came slightly tardy. She read the book but found the descriptions of degradation to be very disturbing. Others agreed, there were descriptions of sadistic behavior and self-mutilation, illness and suicide, of a dwelling place left to decline and to moulder.

I had made notes of starting to look at the book on September 19th. In a

chapter called "Rain and Cake" that caught my attention was this passage: "Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes, - characters, even - caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book they are still with you." It was true, I decided to wait. Later I noticed there was no table of contents for the chapters with titles. Sometimes I outline a little, so I outlined. I read the book on the weekend and on Monday.

Another topic in our group was reading aloud. There is, one person pointed out, a book on tape of The Thirteenth Tale. Before I went into the discussion at the library, I had listened to an interview on You Tube with Diane Setterfield. She had discussed a youthful belief that, because books were wonderful, writers had to be special people. It had taken her some time to get over that and follow her wish to write. She considers herself to be a quite ordinary person.

One person noticed a theme of discoveries and new beginings, a great interpretation. A theme of truth also emerged in our discussion. Another topic we discussed were moments remembered from the narrative after the book ended; no one had guessed what truths would be revealed as the book told the story of the real biography of Vida Winter, author of the most frequently borrowed books from England's public libraries. The ending had been a surprise to everyone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Event on Sunday with Arnold Alanen, Porfessor

I saw ALASKA FAR AWAY: THE NEW DEAL PIONEERS OF THE MATANUSKA COLONY at the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle on Sunday afternoon. For a time in 1940 and 1941 my father was with the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska. He visited Palmer, Alaska, for the Matanuska Valley Fair. The autumn of 1941 he returned to Seattle. When the Pearl Harbor attack occurred, he was working as a pharmacist at a drugstore. Before the discussion, during the social hour, I was able to share photographs my father took at Palmer, Alaska, in 1941 with Dr. Alanen and others at the Swedish Cultural Center.

The film followed a short discussion by Arnold Alanen, professor emeritus of University of Wisconsin, about a book he did about Swedish-Finnish structures and architectural preservation. Professor Alanen was featured in the film in an interview.

The trailer for ALASKA FAR AWAY: "The Matanuska Colonization Project of 1935 was among the most unusual and controversial of the many New Deal programs designed to help ordinary citizens crushed by the Great Depression. ALASKA FAR AWAY: THE NEW DEAL PIONEERS OF THE MATANUSKA COLONY tells the story of this bold government experiment, and the families who found themselves thrust into the national spotlight along the way."

After the movie we learned that one family member featured in the film was with us in the audience. A person said to me, ten percent of the colonists to Alaska were Finns. They were recruited from the Northern Border with Canada, in Michigan and Wisconsin, areas with Finnish immigrant centers and hard -hit during the depression.

The movie tells of government recruitment, the journey to Alaska, tent cities in the Matanuska Valley in midnight sun, the first snowfall, and the retreat of some colonists and a search for new recruits, among other historic points. I was left with the impression that the movie was paced well to carry the attention of the audience.

The film shows soldiers working at Alaska farms while stationed nearby during World War Two.

The Swedish-Finnish Historical Society presented crackers, cookies, coffee bread and coffee to the audience. Dr. Alanen was celebrating his book about Midwest structures, but beginning research on Pacific Northwest Swedish-Finnish structures. The Swedish Finnish Historical Society had sent out a call to people who knew of historic structures.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

At U of Washington Tacoma Branch and King's Books

I went to the Senator Murray Vice President Biden Get Out the Vote Rally yesterday at University of Washington Tacoma Branch.

There were one or two snapshots on the roll of film. Earlier on the roll of film was the University of Washington Tacoma Branch during the event to turn parking spaces into park-like activity areas.

The guided tour of all the parking spaces at the Spaces event ended at King's Books.

My day yesterday also ended at King's Books for the Distinguished Writer reading - during the Open Mike I read a translation I had done of a folk song from Swedish-speaking Finland. This weekend Scandinavian Heritage Festival at the fairgrounds, but I am not going there this year.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Issue of Salt River Review Contains Poems and Prose by Laura Jensen

Salt River Review is at a final issue at this point. It celebrates many years of publication by James Cervantes and Greg Simon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts About Sunday's Column by Leonard Pitts

"I'd have to be crazy to think of walking 60 miles."

It is National Mental Health Awareness Week. Leonard Pitts' column on Sunday, October 3rd, is about participation in a Walk for the Cure for Breast Cancer. The columnist will be in this walk in the Washington D.C. area from Friday until next Monday. His use of the word crazy is partly colloquial, and

expressions like this in daily life and daily reading cast stigma on people who suffer or who have suffered over psychiatric problems.

His use of the word crazy is partly in reference to his state of mind. By crazy he may mean that he searches his thoughts and wonders if he is using Magical Thinking - Believing that one is able to transcend the laws of cause and effect in order to influence a specific outcome by one;s thoughts, words, or actions. By crazy he may mean that he feels he is in a stage of relapse - Over-extension - in which one feels overwhelmed by daily stress and has difficulty concentrating or attending to the external world -

An event can create challenging stress that becomes an element of mental illness. I wonder if there are columns by Leonard Pitts about psychiatry and psychology. I am reminded of a song by Billy Joel - "You may be right, I may be crazy."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book About Swedish-Finnish Folk Music

A book about Swedish-Finnish folk music by Niklas Niqvist came to my attention when I looked up a folk music song title on the internet. The focus of the book is on the collectors who brought together the folk songs for publication and preservation in the early twentieth century. This book was published in 2008. Close to the end of the book is a summary in English. Songs from this books were a part of the performances of the Runeberg Choir.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Books at 12:10 Discusses Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

At Books at 12:10 four people discussed Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. We used some discussion to place the story in 2001. I had sought reference in Dictionary of the Future, by Faith Popcorn, from 2001. We discussed her term, presenteeism: the novel's characters were influenced, by many firings in the company, not to stress-induced illness and absenteeism, but to a sometimes inappropriate presence at the work place. The book is told mostly in first person plural, with episodes of third person. An opinion about this point was that one character's extreme experience separated her, referred to as she, from the others in the story, the others referred to as we. A question came forward about whether we had favorites among the characters. One liked Carl Garbedian, married to Marilyn, who was an oncologist. Two episodes which portray Marilyn dropping Carl outside the building are retold at different points in the story. I liked children who appeared briefly in the story: when Benny Shassburger inherits a totem pole and visits the totem pole's neighborhood, a child is jumping on a trampoline in the next yard. Benny imagines more neighborhood children walking past the totem pole admiringly. In a bio about Joshua Ferris we learn his childhood home until the age of ten was the Chicago area, and in ways I think his Chicago is a reference to those years. The leader, who works at the library, admitted that she chose to have no favorites among the characters, but thought of them, like people she works with, as all contributing what they brought. We shared a story of a gradual entry into the novel, with an earned appreciation of the story as we continued with it. I felt the title invited a study attitude, a look at the ending first and a skim. We discussed the ending, in which only two are left, you and me, which is mysterious.