Wednesday, August 31, 2011

From the Annals of Rentals Past

From an email written to a past landlord:



The past couple of days, I've been noticing an unpleasant smell in the living room area. I couldn't figure out what it was, since there's nothing in there but the usual things, but I think I may have figured it out. It seems like there might have been an animal underneath the house that died and that's what the smell must be--it's a familiar one, and only really strong in one part of the room. Anyway, I don't know if there's anything that can really be done except wait for it to go away, but I wanted to let you know that I do think there have been some kind of animals beneath the house. Occasionally, I've heard loud scratching/hissing coming from underneath the bathroom tub. Did previous residents ever mention this? Well, I know that's a bit unsavory, but thought you might like to be aware.

Thanks a lot and hope you are having a nice weekend.

Kirsten Rue

Friday, August 26, 2011


So...I have decided to publish some of the self-important ramblings I've found while careening through my hard drive, mainly because I still like them, and also because if not here, where?!


Where are the love songs for our living? Why do I need to find a partner when I have been so well-fostered as a child, set on my tender feet with careful palms.

Mother, this is for you. That I know the proper way to make the bed, and that even though I am lazy and don’t pull all the fabric properly on the last corner, I know how it should look – as fine as oblivion. You’ve taught me that.

Father, this is yours. That your coats always carried the cold in them when you came home from working, and when I hugged you, I’d feel it in surprising little pockets. I’d come away pricked with sawdust, which smells like work itself.

Sister, remember when we fed the horses, and I was too skittish, afraid of those great muzzles, but you were not and held up your hay with bold arms, tiny as they were.

Brother, that once you fell in a stream and I jumped in after you and I held you and the current went around me, and it was not a deep stream at all, and still, I thought only of your preciousness.

You are the ones who matter.

I love you beyond reckoning, beyond reasoning. If there is a mineral at the base of this flesh, it is sedimentary of your making, and I am pressed of your strata.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Weeping of the Violins

I save things. I save playbills, airline tickets, museum plans, subway tokens, every letter I've ever received, childhood journals... I save things. Usually these saved items end up as a scurf patterning the floor of my room. However, this can sometimes be a good thing. A couple of days ago, I reclaimed a program from the general melee that I had saved from my trip to Europe in the spring. I remembered exactly why I had saved it: for one thing, it had been a glorious evening of music by a chamber quartet that we had watched in the Sala Terrena, a room in a house where Mozart had once played. Mozart, the darling of Austria, was of course the main composer presented, but the second piece, the Lento portion of Dvorak's "American Quartet" had stunned me into one of those rare moments of true sublimity. I remember being so struck--and so moved--by the experience of being transfixed in that tiny room, hearing the breaths of the performers, and seeing their faces as they leaned into this music, this feeling stretched out to us from more than a hundred years ago. Once, all culture had been like this--something experienced living, and not to be reproduced or lived in the same way again. So, now I own a copy of this beautiful music, and I hope you will enjoy it, too (Click Here!). I'm also including a little scrap I wrote in the past year about classical music. It's more of a tiny sketch, but just rediscovered it and it reminded me of this experience.

Piano Music for the Stormy-Hearted

The grand, and the crescendoed. The fingers, bone-white and ivory. The hearts of deep metal and the eyes of flashing summer and the faces of gods. Oh, the chest cavity and orchestra; the deep tuba of the last act, the violin on the night path. The cymbal crash when love is sighted. The weeping of the clarinets.

Live with no note too somber, no trill frivolous. And my God, play the keys off it. Wear the pedals thin.

(photo of the ceiling inside the Sala Terrena in Vienna)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Shelved

A Time of GiftsA Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If Patrick Leigh Fermor were to hold up a sign while hitching on the highway, it might say: "Lovable scamp. Gives good prose. Charming conversationalist. Will cheerfully eat or drink anything you offer. Will feature you in book."

I would totally give him a ride.

View all my reviews