Monthly Archives: March 2014

Excerpt from “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain ~~Raft~~

picture-AdventuresHuckFinn-TwainSoon as it was night out we shoved; when we got her out to about the middle we let her alone, and let her float wherever the current wanted her to; then we lit the pipes, and dangled our legs in the water, and talked about all kinds of things—we was always naked, day and night, whenever the mosquitoes would let us—the new clothes Buck’s folks made for me was too good to be comfortable, and besides I didn’t go much on clothes, nohow.
Sometimes we’d have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water; and maybe a spark—which was a candle in a cabin window; and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two—on a raft or a scow, you know; and maybe you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of them crafts. It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn’t say nothing against it, because I’ve seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they’d got spoiled and was hove out of the nest.
Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat slipping along in the dark, and now and then she would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her chimbleys, and they would rain down in the river and look awful pretty; then she would turn a corner and her lights would wink out and her powwow shut off and leave the river still again; and by and by her waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn’t hear nothing for you couldn’t tell how long, except maybe frogs or something.
After midnight the people on shore went to bed, and then for two or three hours the shores was black—no more sparks in the cabin windows. These sparks was our clock—the first one that showed again meant morning was coming, so we hunted a place to hide and tie up right away.

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Excerpt from “A Soldier of the Great War” by Mark Helprin ~~La Tempesta~~

“They always say about the soldier that he’s detached. That’s true, for he’s been in the eye of the storm, his heart has been broken, and he doesn’t even know it.”

 

picture-SoldieroftheGreatWar-Helprin“And wrong about the painting. Like everyone else, I backed off. I said, ‘We’ll never know about La Tempesta, it’s a mystery.’ I retreated to the visual elements, the technique, its strange contra-historical power. I thought it was a dream, because it has the lucidity and freedom of a dream, a dream’s unburdening, and a dream-like truth.”
The scholar agreed. “I think it’s a dream, a great dream, with – as you put it – the lucidity, freedom, unburdening, and truth of a dream.”
“No.” Alessandro said. “Though it could be a dream, it isn’t. I know now exactly what it is, and I know the source of its power.”
“Dare you tell?” the scholar asked, only half sarcastically, hoping that a stricken soldier might have taken from the fire of his affliction something of value that someone else might use in his essay on Giorgione.
“I know exactly what you’re thinking,” Alessandro said, “but I’ll tell you, and you can do as you wish. For all I care, you can be the chief of the Academy. I’ll go back to the front. My blood will wash into the Adriatic before the ink on the pages of your fucking article is dry. It doesn’t matter. You’ll join me sooner than you know in a place with no academies and no illusions, where the truth is the only architecture, the only color, the only sound – where that which we sense merely on occasion, and which takes us up and gives us the rare and beautiful glimpses of the things we truly love, flows in deep rivers and tumbles about like clouds in the sky.”
He stepped closer to the painting. Just to be near it seemed to give him satisfaction.
“I believe that Giorgione was painting for a patron, and that he started out according to a pattern customary for his time. Look, you still have the remnants of it – the raised platform with a long view of a river and a town. The bridge reiterates the platform. The river disappears leftward. It’s a windowed view: the buildings in the town are framed by nearer masses, to block them, for, at the time, perspective was not entirely out of the woods. On the platform, a woman feeding a baby – all Flemish in inspiration, quite standard.
“But what of the soldier, so tremendously out of place, so distant, so jarring, and yet the master figure of the painting? And what of the approaching storm?”
“He’s not a soldier,” the scholar said, “He’s a shepherd.”
“Like hell he’s a shepherd. Shepherds have never been as clean-cut and well dressed. If he were a shepherd he’d have a crook, not a staff. Shepherds don’t stand like that. And look in his eyes. Have you not seen the eyes of a soldier? Have you not seen a shepherd?
“I’ll tell you how this strange coalition came about,” Alessandro almost whispered. “Giorgione was going to paint a conventional scene. I’d wager my life that other pastoral figures were intended for the foreground, another nude, perhaps, or a satyr, or who knows? To me, the soldier looks as if he were painted-in late.
“While Giorgione was working on this scene, with the Academy and patrons in mind, a storm arose. It was a great and unusual storm, as he has depicted it. Lucky for him, because you can’t know history unless you can see it as if it were a stupendous thunderstorm that has just cleared. Light and sound speak clearly then, as if to sweep away illusions and lay down the law. The clouds went straight up in mountainous walls of gray and green, the trees bent in apprehension, the lightning was so thick, supple, and young that before it attacked the town it played in the clouds and lit up the world, just as young horses gallop in a field just to feel the wind.
“As the world darkened before him and the wind rose, Giorgione felt his own death and the death of everyone and everything he loved. He understood dissolution. He saw ruin and night. He saw the future of prosperous and proud cities, of the arches, bridges, and upright walls. These broken columns are his vision of the Academy, of rules, and rivalries, and opinion.
“Only in the lightning and in the foreground is the light active. The woman and the soldier steal the light and color from everything that is in ruin. Unclothed and unprotected, with her baby in her arms, she defies the storm unwittingly. Entirely at risk, she shines out. Don’t you understand? She’s his only hope. After what he’s seen, only she and the child can put the world in balance. And yet the soldier is distant, protected, detached. They always say about the soldier that he’s detached. That’s true, for he’s been in the eye of the storm, his heart has been broken, and he doesn’t even know it.”

La Tempesta by Giorgione

La Tempesta by Giorgione

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Dialogue from Film – The Rocky Horror Picture Show ~~Into my life~~

RiffRaff:
The darkness must go down the river of night’s dreaming.
Flow morphia slow, let the sun and light come streaming
Into my life. Into my life…
 

Richard O’Brien as the character “Riff Raff”

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Excerpt from “The Hunger Games – Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins ~~Quarter Quell~~

picture-CatchingFire-CollinsPresident Snow goes on to tell us what happened in the previous Quarter Quells. “On the twenty-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, every district was made to hold an election and vote on the tributes who would represent it.”
I wonder how that would have felt. Picking the kids who had to go. It is worse, I think, to be turned over by your own neighbours than have your name drawn from the reaping ball.
“On the fiftieth anniversary,” the president continues, “as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes.”
I imagine facing a field of forty-seven instead of twenty-three. Worse odds, less hope, and ultimately more dead kids. That was the year Haymitch won . . .
“I had a friend who went that year,” says my mother quietly. “Maysilee Donner. Her parents owned the sweetshop. They gave me her songbird afterwards. A canary.”
“And now we honour our third Quarter Quell,” says the president. The little boy in white steps forward, holding out the box as he opens the lid. We can see the tidy, upright rows of yellowed envelopes. Whoever devised the Quarter Quell system had prepared for centuries of Hunger Games. The president removes an envelope clearly marked with a 75. He runs his finger under the flap and pulls out a small square of paper. Without hesitation, he reads, “On the seventy-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors.”
My mother gives a faint shriek and Prim buries her face in her hands, but I feel more like the people I see in the crowd on television. Slightly baffled. What does it mean? Existing pool of victors?
Then I get it, what it means. At least, for me. District 12 only has three existing victors to choose from. Two male. One female . . .
I am going back into the arena.

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Excerpt from “My Wicked Wicked Ways” by Errol Flynn ~~Murder~~

picture-MyWickedWickedWays-FlynnOnce I was with a party of seven boys about three days’ march inland. My carriers, going down those precipitous gorges moved in a narrow, snaky file. There were two boys in the lead with machetes. My other Kanakas, armed with guns, brought up the rear.
————————————
I was tiring. I felt malarial: knees weak, head dizzy.
Without a word of warning, spears streamed our way. Ambush! Ateliwa got one right through his belly and it came out low down his back. He writhed to the ground. I jumped behind a tree, with my revolver in my hand. All my other boys, instead of staying there and firing, threw their packs away and ran down the red clay mountainside.
I fired as soon as I could and hit one of the raiders right in the neck. He dropped, squealing like a pig. I fired twice more, and that was the end of that.
I didn’t even feel the poisoned arrow in my foot, the mark of which I still carry.
As soon as I got over the shock I grabbed my knapsack from the dead Ateliwa and hobbled after my boys as fast as I could. They were sitting down in the next clearing, having gone as far as they could run after they had thrown their packs away. Then I learned that one of the other boys had got a spear in the neck and he was gone. That left six of us.
It was dusk and I could hear the garramuts. You could hear voices on all sides talking, and they sounded ominous.
It started to rain – with an equatorial madness. We had nothing to eat, not a thing. We were high up and cold. My foot hurt, and I feared infection. My malaria was working in me hard. I was freezing and sweating at the same time.
Throughout the night the garramuts dinned in our ears. The crocodile-skin tom-toms kept going, sometimes loud, sometimes seeming to beat softer, as if the tribesmen were trying to make up their minds whether to come and get us. They were letting all New Guinea know that the white invader had shot and killed again.
I stayed awake. I had time to think and listen and to feel fear. Mostly it was the anticipation of what might happen. I could picture myself with spears through me, impaled, de-gutted, as I had seen others in New Guinea.
I decided that the raiders had looted the abandoned packs and maybe that satisfied them. Maybe the firearms scared them. Whatever, their garramuts died down and they didn’t return.
Shivering and shaking, I passed my most terrifying night in New Guinea.
In the morning, the drum sounds ceased.
We struggled down, falling, sliding, cursing, sweating, to the New Guinea coast.
At Salamaua I was arrested and charged with murder.

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Black Bat – Number 1

picture-Batman-ToppsCard-01apicture-Batman-ToppsCard-01b

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Excerpt from “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding ~~Piggy~~

picture-LordoftheFlies-Golding“Ralph —-”
The fat boy lowered himself over the terrace and sat down carefully, using the edge as a seat.
“I’m sorry I been such a time. Them fruit —-”
He wiped his glasses and adjusted them on his button nose. The frame had made a deep, pink “V” on the bridge. He looked critically at Ralph’s golden body and then down at his own clothes. He laid a hand on the end of a zipper that extended down his chest.
“My auntie —-“
Then he opened the zipper with decision and pulled the whole wind-breaker over his head.
“There!”
Ralph looked at him side-long and said nothing.
“I expect we will want to know all their names,” said the fat boy, “and make a list. We ought to have a meeting.”
Ralph did not take the hint so the fat boy was forced to continue.
“I don’t care what they call me,” he said confidentially, “so long as they don’t call me what they used to call me at school.”
Ralph was fairly interested.
“What was that?”
The fat boy glanced over his shoulder, then leaned towards Ralph.
He whispered.
“They used to call me ‘Piggy’.”
Ralph shrieked with laughter. He jumped up.
“Piggy! Piggy!”
“Ralph – please!”
Piggy clasped his hands in apprehension.
“I said I didn’t want —-“
“Piggy! Piggy!”
Ralph danced out into the hot air of the beach and then returned as a fighter-plane, with wings swept back, and machine-gunned Piggy.
“Sche-aa-ow!”
He dived in the sand at Piggy’s feet and lay there laughing.
“Piggy!”
Piggy grinned reluctantly, pleased despite himself at even this much recognition.
“So long as you don’t tell the others —-“
Ralph giggled into the sand. The expression of pain and concentration returned to Piggy’s face.

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