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I’ve been able to concentrate for the first time in months – years maybe – so I thought I’d swing by with these offerings.

On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwen

Typically bizarre McEwan novel but remarkably easy to read and posing some interesting moral/emotional dilemmas.

Life Class – Pat Barker

If you can handle the unswervingly savage detail, London’s Slade Art School in the build up to WW1 and how art and life mix and merge with destruction and beauty I’d give this a go because it’s brilliant. Ultimately what is ‘reality’ and what ‘matters’ when the world is at war – do we have to change (and should we?) how we look at art, society, civilisation etc.

Somme Mud – The Experiences of an Infantryman in France, 1916 – 1919 – E.P.F. Lynch: Edited by Will Davis

Edward Lynch was an Australian soldier who enlisted in 1916 and filled 20 school exercise books with his experiences – it’s quite remarkable.

The Secret Life of  Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

I’ve only just got round to this and I was so moved by it, wonderful characters and a terrible indictment of the treatment of negroes in the United States at the time of Martin Luther King. I don’t know how ‘academics’ viewed this novel  – I don’t much care, there’s so much to applaud and it’s deliciously heart warming.

Lucky Kuntz – The Rise and Fall of Young British Art – Gregor Muir

I imagine this speaks for itself but if you’ve ever wondered about the whole ‘dead cow’,  ‘soiled beds’  and installations = modern art controversy it’s interesting and informative.

The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry

The central character is almost 100 years old and she’s reflecting on her life in an Irish mental hospital where she was committed as a young woman. I’d recommend this for the prose style alone which is exquisite but the story so far is engrossing.

The last two actually count as one because I’m dipping in and out of the Art book  when I take a break from devouring ‘The Secret Scripture’ and besides some of you will surely remember my philosophy on life -: “What is the good of a rule, thought Jan, without those who break them!”  Whooooooo hooooo!


 - work in progress

- work in progress

Taking up the brush this new year.

for all the kiddies everywhere

Happy  Birthday, dear fellow crone.  Fran

Here’s the starter for a round robin story. Just jump right in and add a bit, or more than a bit, and we’ll see what sort of fun story we come up with! – She Wolf

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “And pigs might fly”, which people say when they mean, “Well, that’s impossible!” Well, this pig did fly, so it clearly wasn’t as impossible as those pessimists thought…

Once upon a time, there was a flying pig. He lived on a small farm with a farmer, his wife and their young and growing family. The pig liked being able to fly; it meant that he could get the juicy apples still growing on the trees instead of the old rotten ones on the ground underneath the tree, and the sweet corn growing on the other side of the fence, which was no barrier for him. As a result, he was a fine, fat pig instead of rather scrawny like the other pigs from his litter.

The farmer liked the fact that he was a fine, fat pig, but was rather disgruntled by the fact that the pig was always getting into the best apples and corn and so forth when his young and growing family wanted to eat the same apples and corn. And he had no idea what a novelty the flying pig was, or he might not have decided, one fine autumn day well into butchering season, that it was time to have the pig feed his family instead of his family feeding the pig.

The farmer looked at the pig, who was currently circling a tree in the orchard, hunting for an overlooked apple, and had a vision of bacon, and ham, and spare ribs. Keeping an eye on the pig, he went to the shed for something to catch him with and then he slowly walked towards the pig, hiding a rope behind his back.

But the pig, with the sixth sense that hunted creatures sometimes have, saw the farmer coming toward him with the visions of sausage and pigs’ trotters in his eyes and the pig was uneasy, although the pig really didn’t know what the man intended to do.

The man got close enough to the pig to try and throw the rope around his neck, but the rope tangled in the branches of the tree and he missed. The startled pig squealed and flew wildly into the tree, knocking down the last few apples on the farmer’s head, and then flapped away, landing on the far side of the orchard fence.

The farmer grumbled a few things he wouldn’t want his children to hear, and came after the pig again. The pig could clearly see that the farmer was angry, and decided to stay away from him.

After an hour of playing chase around the farmyard, the farmer was furious. He grabbed a board and started swinging wildly at the pig. One swing connected with the pig’s well-padded posterior, and the pig, offended, decided he had had enough.

He squealed and flew away, across the farmyard, over the orchard, beyond the cornfield and into the forest…



The Practice of Poetry(Robin Skelton, once my teacher, a guru, wizard, and  poet-this book is always in use for the classes I still teach)

Possession (the novel of research and librarians, greed and determination)

Benang (  Perhaps the  most imaginative historical novel I have ever read, the story of the aboriginal people in Australia)

Chaos (James Gleick makes the history, science and art of chaos theory understandable for those of us who, perhaps we were girls missed out on  physics courses in our education)

Narrow Road to the Interior (Hamil translation of Basho reminding me of a world that once was so very gentle)

And and extra for an old woman’s vanity:  Flight Patterns, my own book of poems by me!

Okay… here are 5 books off my shelves…

1) The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

2)  Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

3) The Blithedale Romance

4) Desert Solitaire

5) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Let wayward fingers
prize words out of the ether
minus thought
drift on the edge
across the final bar
that fences the horizon
only the white flag
signals trust
I hoist the blank page
and hope
there are words, and wordlings
far beyond my minding

I’ve posted a dance in the Atelier, painting for blog day

Here the dancers

I thought Tavern patrons might be interested to know how women’s liberation affected astrological readings.
Before the 70s, astrology was mainly concerned with a male view of the world – the Moon and Venus were the feminine, all the other bodies were male. So in a woman’s chart, and astrologer would look only at two planets and the ascendant to determine the qualities of a female client. Everything else in her chart was male influenced. Mars was the kind of men she attracted, the Sun and Saturn were powerful males, Jupiter male mentors and teachers and so on.
Of course, many women in fact did express their own male planets quite successfully, but they were considered an abberation. Now we look to see if a woman expresses these male qualities herself, or whether, through conditioning or lack of self esteem, she simply projects them onto the men in her life.
Let’s have an example, from, of all places, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Eowyn, the shield maiden of the Rohirrim, obviously has a very strong Mars and Sun. She longs to perform deeds of valor, and show off her prowess with a sword. But the dominant male in her life, King Theoden, wants to keep her away from battle. She meets Aragorn, a powerful warrior, and falls in love with him. Once more consigned to the sidelines, Eowyn takes destiny into her own hands, dresses as a man, and goes into battle against the forces of Mordor. As it turns out, she is just what is needed to turn the battle, but she is wounded and is taken to Minas Tirith to recover. There she meets the young captain of Gondor, Faramir. Having proved herself in battle, and rid herself of the need to project her desire for glory in battle onto someone else, she is free to find real love with a man more suited to her emotional needs. (One wonders how a quiet Oxford don had such insight into a woman’s heart – his wife must have been quite a woman!)
The astrologer would say that, until she was able to express Mars herself, she had no choice but to project Mars onto the men in her life and fancy herself in love, when all Aragorn represented was what she wanted to be.
So today we take it for granted that many women – high profile sportswomen, even those sent to war as soldiers – will express their own Mars.
As well, there is now a discipline of astrology called Goddess Astrology, which is a purely feminine centered form of reading. Here we draw on the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Pallas and Vesta to flesh out the feminine side of a chart.

I let my inner critic have free reign this morning, and then punished her thoroughly for having the audacity to be so demanding. I had a day off from work, and I awoke with plans, but one look at my basement craft area turned that into Plans, and the critic took over as I stood meekly back  in the corner and let her go. I did slyly suggest that she recruit some help, though.

We called upon the lone child home, the 16 year old off school for Good Friday, and grumpy because his track meet was cancelled, to be the helper. A verbal tussel later, he was fervently wishing for his coach to call and tell him his track meet was on again (no such luck for him) and was helping us- me and the inner critic, who was very grumpy with all comers.

Well, this is where the critic got her comeuppance.  She wore herself out playing not just inner critic, but outer critic as well. While the boy-child did indeed help, he did so like a 16 year old boy. The critic was fuming, but I reminded her that this was a big job and we needed help. So, while picking up other people’s belongings and putting these in the correct room, sorting out books to give away, cleaning out a closet, and sweeping, my inner critic dealt with the fact that getting a 16 year old boy to do something he doesn’t like, and do it your way, is very like herding cats. She told him so, while I stood in the background and snickered.  He beamed up at us innocently.

By the end of the morning, the job was done, and so was my inner critic. She was so exhausted from trying to get him to actually cooperate and stay on task for two minutes running that she packed it in for the day. She did not come up with 75 other tasks to do (which she normally does). She did not tell me that the job wasn’t perfect (which she always does). She simply left, and I washed up and headed for my writing. By the way, I should also be able to reach my papers and stamps and fabrics again, so she did accomplish something!

I will have to remember this technique the next time I feel that “get your work done, and all of it” version of the critic lurking around, waiting for a chance to pounce. Too many people to work on, and she folds up and goes away!

It seems to me that the last time I came into the Taverna, it was a quiet little haunt. But now? The establishment has turned on the music, and the song is an excellent choice I might add. Let’s all take to the dance floor, and won’t we have fun!


Do you know Little Run-Along?

Little Run-Along slips around the corner

And leans against the door frame-

“Oh, there you are,” says Mama,

“Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along brushes her brown curls

Out of her eyes

And sighs

“Yes, Mama,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along wanders up to the fence

And drapes her arms over it.

Papa looks over and says,

“Oh, there you are.

Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along wipes her hands on her dress

And sighs,

“Yes, Papa,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along drifts into the kitchen

and slides into a chair.

Grandma looks up and says,

“Oh there you are.

 Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along scratches her leg

 and sighs,

“Yes Grandma,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along climbs the stairs

 and sits on the top one.

Grandpa looks out a door and says,

“Oh, there you are.

 Run along now and play.”

Little Run-Along shakes her head

and sighs,

“Yes, Grandpa,” and runs along.

Little Run-Along plods over to the front steps

and sit on the bottom one.

Her puppy comes over and barks.

“Oh, there you are,” says Little Run-Along,

“Run along now and play.”

Her puppy whines and tucks his tail

And walks slowly away.

Little Run-Along watches him go

And then something catches in her heart

“Wait!” she says, “I’ll come too!”

Official Lemurian Tavern

Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

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On the Road with Enchanteur
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Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
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Isle of Ancestors
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Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
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