Categories
Uncategorized

Trivia quiz on “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez (with the answers)

Trivia Quiz for Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985)

From the “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club of West Seattle

A. Stability Amidst Instability

1. The lives in this novel are fraught with instability wrought by civil wars, financial fraud, epidemics, environmental degradation, and huge variations in weather. Which of the following is not depicted?

a. Lorenzo Daza explains to his daughter: “’We are ruined,’ ‘Total ruin, so now you know.’”

b. Florentino Ariza realizes: “Human beings are not born once and for all … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

c. One of Florentino’s lovers is robbed but does not report it because she is a princess in exile.

d. Although they initially mourn their husbands, “The world is full of happy widows.”

2. Despite the ambient instability, persistence emerges as a central theme in the story. Which quote does not appear in the book?

 a. “Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness but stability.”

b. “His father had been right when he repeated to his dying day that there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet.”

c. “’We’ll grow old waiting,’ he said.”

d. “If only the picture could change, and I could always be what I am now!”

B. Secret Connections & the Voyeurism Which Allows Us to See.  Match the secret to the character.

The characters: a. Florentino Ariza; b. Fermina Daza; c. Barbara Lynch; d. Juvenal Urbino

The Secrets:                                                                                                

3. “chess became an incurable addiction that tormented him until the day of his death”

4. he was “a solitary man in need of love, a street beggar as humble as a whipped dog”

5. “she cried only in rage … she could never forgive her weakness in crying”                                                           

6. she wore a full skirt and no underwear on the days when she would receive her lover at home.

7. Love in the Time of Cholera takes place in a city with official squares and statues that resemble many a Latin American locale, but the most important actions transpire behind closed doors, out of sight, or in the dark. Which of the following is not a site of significance in this novel?

a. the Music School                                       

b. the brothel near the port     

c. under the almond trees in the Park of the Evangels                      

d. Leona Cassiani’s office in the R.C.C. (River Company of the Caribbean)     

8. Some of the secrets revealed keep their power to surprise readers even today. Which of the following is not a secret from this book?

a. One of Florentino Ariza’s lovers, Andrea Varón, shares enemas with him.

b. Fermina Daza discovers her husband’s infidelity by smelling not perfume, but the human odor of another woman on his clothes

c. Florentino Ariza seduced his ward, then a schoolgirl age 13, in what is called his “secret slaughterhouse.”

d. Fermina Daza harbors a passion for her chambermaid, Flora, and an insatiable desire for eggplant.

C. Maxims and Wisdom

9. As in many old-fashioned novels, maxims or moral lessons run throughout Love in the Time of Cholera. Which of the following maxims is not found here?

a. “Every person has a right to take care of themselves. He always did.”

b. “Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”

c. “Music is important to one’s health.”        

d. “Love becomes greater and nobler in calamity.”

D. Sensual Style

Gabriel García Márquez is known for his “magical realism,” but one may arguably claim he is more of a sensualist, so strong and enduring are his bodily images.

Match the sensual quote to the thing evoked (designated as X). The things include: a. “the fate of unrequited love”; b. “the certainty of death”; and c. “masculine honor”.

Sensual quotes:                                                                                     

10. “At nightfall, at the oppressive moment of transition … a tender breath of human shit, warm and sad, stirred X in the depths of one’s soul.”                                                                                                  

11. “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of X.”

12. It was said that the enormous hernias caused by pollution [on the testicles of local men] “whistled like a lugubrious bird and twisted in unbearable pain, but no one complained because a large, well-carried rupture was a display of X.”

ANSWERS

1. c.

2. d.  (That sentiment is lifted from Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey)

3. Juvenal Urbino

4. Florentino Ariza

5. Fermina Daza

6. Barbara Lynch

7. a.

8. d.

9. a. (That quote is from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol)

10. the certainty of death

11. the fate of unrequited love

12. masculine honor

Categories
Uncategorized

the joy of imagination, shared

Hello!

This morning, my mind and hands take up a new task that feels very familiar: researching and writing a quiz. A literary quiz, to be precise. As I remain wrapped in the warm glow of Gabriel García Márquez’s words, from the last pages of Love in the Time of Cholera, I am suddenly pulled to the computer. Because I suddenly realized these quizzes are a joy–simple and cheap to procure–and you may like them too.

I hereby vow to share the monthly quizzes I’ve been creating for the “West Seattle Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club with you, here on this blog. (I’ll even post the answers too!)

In a little while after it’s written, I’ll start with today’s, and then work my way backwards, on a daily basis, through all the books listed below, which we read during the months of covid-19 plague fears and lockdowns, back to March 2020 when we first met.

Because if there is one thing the reader realizes in finishing Love in the Time of Cholera, it is that lockdowns, however tedious and frightening, may give rise to new pleasures …

and all pleasures, like love, are meant to be shared.

(Like the dandelion-blowing woman from the Larousse publishing company, above, je sème à tout vent – I’ll sow [or throw] wisdom to the wind.)

The sooner, the better. You never know who might be waiting. And it’s never too late to start anew!

West Seattle Classic Novels (and Movies) book club reading list, March 2020-July 2021, titles read:

Jane Austen, Emma [March 2020]

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Daphne Dumaurier, Jamaica Inn.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Washington Irving, “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Nella Larsen, Passing

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, film, dir. George C. Wolfe, adapted from play by August Wilson

Clarice Lispector, Family Ties

and Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez, for July 25, 2021.

Categories
Uncategorized

Dreaming in Quilts, the exhibit

Photographs by Megan Swann, Seattle, June 2021

Photographed at West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, the new hot spot (air conditioned) in the North Admiral neighborhood!

Quilts available exclusively from Honey Girl Books and Gifts LLC.

Categories
Uncategorized

RESPECT Juneteenth

This year and from here on out, I believe it is appropriate to recognize Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas, and is celebrated on June 18-19 this year. (Hope our government does the right thing and makes this a national holiday; yesterday’s announcement was a great step in that direction.)

To celebrate Juneteenth, I’m offering a discount of 50% off all custom-made “Respect” quilts and wall-hangings! Decorate your house with a soulful message. Two days only, June 18-19, 2021.  Check it out on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/HoneyGirlBooksGifts

The quilts are made primarily of fabrics designed by and/or purchased from Black businesswomen in the USA, and $100 from every sale is donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the USA. Every Respect quilt includes the square seen above (though the “respect” is implied rather than shouted: it comes out indirectly, in the symbols, textures, and images on the quilt… “)

“Respect” quilt no. 9, top, bottom, and back, custom-made for Janice, May 2021
Categories
Uncategorized

created at ArtWalk!

At the June 10 ArtWalk event announced earlier this week, visitors enjoyed playing “Make a Quilt” and entering in the drawing to WIN YOUR QUILT! It was a hit. So much so, that we are now planning to do it again later this summer on the front sidewalk outside West Seattle Grounds coffee shop. In the meantime, thought you’d enjoy some glimpses of the creativity from Thursday night!

Some lovely non-winners below

This is how the “Make a Quilt” game works:

Public:  Who can play? Everyone!

Instructions

1. Ensure hands are clean, with wipes provided.

2. Browse through the quilt squares, choose 15 that you like.  Put the other ones into a neat pile to the side.

3. Choose your layout: horizontal or vertical.

(“Frankenstein” is vertical; “Respect wall-hanging” is horizontal)

4. Lay out your quilt squares in lines according to the blue taped areas on the table. It will create a design that is 3 squares x 5 squares (vertical), or 5 squares x 3 squares (horizontal).

5. Straighten it all up.

6. Take a photo with your cell phone.

Congratulations! You are now a quilt designer and that is your first e-quilt!

To win a real quilt made out of your design, join the WIN YOUR QUILT drawing!

Categories
Uncategorized

Today’s the day! (signs popped up around the neighborhood… :)

These signs are visible now in WSEA! Come to West Seattle Grounds coffee shop tonight, 5-8pm, and find out what all the excitement is about!

Here is the destination, West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, situated at 2141 CALIFORNIA AVE SW SEATTLE, WA 98116.

P.S. How fun to become a guerilla artist, posting signs around the neighborhood. Without hurting any trees. In fact the trees were my helpers, holding the yarn in their bark while I stretched my arms around their trunks. Art is life!

Categories
Uncategorized

join us June 10, creative fun guaranteed! (trust me)

(In memory of a dear friend’s passing and time’s fleeting path. Sorry to see you leave so soon, Matt VE…)

Hello fine people,

Since we’ve all survived thus far, I’d like to invite you to join me in person on June 10, from 5-8 pm, at the “Dreaming in Quilts” show currently on display at West Seattle Grounds coffee shop, in Seattle. It is the June ArtWalk evening; you could make this one stop on a lovely evening promenade around scenic West Seattle. If you come, I promise to welcome you with a smile, answer any questions that may arise about my creations, and enjoy watching people play “Make a Quilt.” At 8pm, Joanie (the wonderful manager of this event) will draw someone’s paper out of the box, and announce who won the “WIN YOUR QUILT!” drawing, for a free quilt of their own design!

There are eight quilts on display: three “Respect” quilts in honor of #BLM and inspired by fascinating Black people I know; one each of the Frankenstein and Alice in Wonderland quilts, two one-of-a-kind Japanese Kimono Silk quilts*, and a subdued, blue/grey/green watery-looking quilt inspired by Seattle called “Western Pacific.”

They are perfectly imperfect, each in its own way (being a firm believer in Haruki Murakami’s adage, “a certain type of perfection can only be realized through the limitless accumulation of the imperfect”).

*The Japanese Kimono Silk quilts were made with tiny bits of silk from a long-lost catalogue for kimono makers, placed in a pretty rice cake tin that was found at Hosekibako, a Japanese resale shop. I miss browsing around that elegant store and finding such treasures, but I am happy to see they now sell online!

The Make a Quilt game is free, simple, and accessible to all, the youngest and oldest among us too (no pins, needles, or scissors involved). Participants will find a long table marked with blue tape outlining a 5×3 grid and a pile of 10” sewn quilt squares in various textures and colors and patterns. People will choose 15 squares, lay them out in their own designs, straighten ’em up, take a photo; voilà an e-quilt! With that, they can now join the drawing for a real quilt on the same design: “WIN YOUR QUILT!” (The winner will receive the very quilt they’ve designed, in 6-8 weeks.)

A creative, fun time guaranteed. Particularly recommended for people re-entering the world after a long moment of isolation and possible sadness, whose eyes look downwards and moments of joy seem few. In other words, all of us. Kids too.

If coming to West Seattle is too much of a challenge, not to worry. HGBG quilts are currently on sale via the Honey Girl Books & Gifts etsy site at a fabulous 50% discount (use code LUVWSEA) until June 30, 2021. And if you’d like to host a future “Dreaming in Quilts” show in your neighborhood, why not write to me? (use the contact page on this blog). Who knows what we might do, to spread loving kindness around this sad old world.

Thank you, for all that you do to support the Black Lives Matter movement, appreciation of Asian-Americans, and the rich contributions all make to American culture. Let us usher in trust as the post-pandemic concept of choice, right now, right where we live.

Categories
Uncategorized

we do not achieve things …

by way of proclamations and slogans

but through

persistence,

effort,

and

enthusiasm.

“May 15” in Path to Peace by Shi Wuling.

***

The venerable Shi Wuling once came to South Bend, IN, and it is from her that I first learned about Buddhism. Lately I’ve delved into Tibetan Buddhism with Lama Surya Das’s audiobooks, Buddha Standard Time and Buddha Is as Buddha Does. Perhaps it’s working, because I finally feel more at home at home. It’s almost three years since we moved. Since I left my identity at the curb and took on a new everything. (Well not quite everything. The husband and dog are the same.)

And I swear we’ve both lost 10 years in attitude-drag. To see him on his e-bike & going to the gym, and me with my regular T’ai chi and Aikido sessions, we are both way more disciplined and physically fit than we were in our 50s. We’re also cheerful now. I think we are actually happy, most of the time. Pretty amazing in comparison with the stressed-out wrecks we used to be!

Funny, what you realize when you have the time to realize stuff.

Creating intricate quilts with symbolic meanings and diverse textures continues to be my passion and way of communicating with the world. Above and below you’ll see some pics of my latest work, the “Respect” and “RARE” quilt projects, which have drawn me to connect with people of color from all around the USA and increasingly, here in my hometown. That development–and the chats, smiles, and thank you letters I’ve received–give me great pleasure and life satisfaction.

Thinking it over as I work in silence, I realize that these projects are a continuation of friend-making I learned to do in France. After years of feeling estranged in my beloved adoptive country, and never really connecting in a long-term way with a French person, I moved to France again in 2001. We would be there for two years, so I needed a friend. One day, I put up a card in the library, asking basically if anybody felt like being friends. Or at least talk once a week. Then 9/11 happened the very next day. And on 9/12, two French women called. It worked. Life-long friendships were born there in the Bibliothèque anglophone on rue Boisnet in Angers, France.

Now I’m trying to reach out, or deepen friendships, with people from a different population–namely my fellow citizens. Through the “Respect” quilts, I seek to support and celebrate people of color in the USA. And make friends, if possible. As a very white person living in a very white city, it is not that easy. But little by little, what do you know? The same technique seems to work. People like people who like them. A smile begets another. Hope begets hope. One person’s search meets another’s.

These latest quilts are for inspiring Black women who live in the Seattle area, a top-echelon hospital administrator (and a friend, whose name starts with “J”) and an award-winning high school student.

Drop by West Seattle Grounds coffee shop during the month of June and you will be surrounded by my handiwork. I’ll be there in person smiling at everybody, and hosting the “Make a quilt” game, during the West Seattle ArtWalk on June 10 from 5-8pm.

On another note, it would be amiss of me to neglect mention of Taiyaki, a Japanese delicacy that I discovered today after T’ai chi class. (Which was fantastic as always.) The taiyaki truck Bean Fish parked right behind me. When I smelled that good smell and saw the truck sitting there, I thought: “If this is not synchronicity then I don’t know what is!”

Wow! Good call. I highly recommend the Food Truck, Bean Fish, for these deliciously comforting treats. I had an “original” with red bean paste and loved the warm, crunchy, gushy sweet combo of flaky crust, soft inner layer and perfectly textured bean paste (very important). Plus the adorable fish’s face and cute scales! It made me quite content, all the way home.

(Or for the rant version: all the way through the convoluted Pioneer Square detours, past the rude/terrifying speeders who zoom by and/or cut in on the highways, and behind the long lines of patient neighbors working our way back to “Vashon East”, otherwise known as West Seattle, cut off from the mainland since 2020 when our bridge broke.)

Either way, it was an excellent Saturday morning.

FYI: The Bean Fish truck is parked across the street from the busy and amazing Asian grocery store, Uwajimaya, for your shopping convenience.

Long live Seattle’s International District and Chinatown, for bringing the tastes, sounds, smells, and arts of Asia to the West!!

Categories
Uncategorized

this art speaks. are you listening?

“Respect” wall-hanging no. 1, pictured above, is an example of art that speaks. It is one of the ways I’m trying to emulate the wisdom espoused in Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I found that book–a slim paperback–on a chance visit to a used bookstore in New Orleans. It was during a time when I was still working as a professor but sensed I wanted a different life, more open to creative possibilities. I found Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit, at that same store, so I owe a huge debt of thanks to whoever gave those books up for adoption.

In Art and Fear: Observations about the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making, the authors offer sober, sensible yet not heartless advice for would-be artists. My favorite is what they call a “useful working approach to making art: notice the objects you notice. (e.g. Read that sentence again.) Or put another way: make objects that talk–and then listen to them.” (p. 101)

The “Respect” wall-hangings and quilts speak of a hopeful attitude toward living together, and that is the one I wish for us. They say: “Dream Big”; “Believe Racial Equity is Possible”; “Celebrate Beauty of All Kinds” and “Our Time is Now.” The back of this wall-hanging, which juxtaposes a vibrant African cotton in blue/green/and brown (an image that resembles a palm tree or a long-necked woman’s head) alongside strips of a lily-bedecked Japanese block print in blue, shows what can happen when strangers unite.

The three little birds from Bob Marley’s song are there too, in the white and black trim of the front; see them peeking through? The front also conveys a more explicitly political message, of course, thanks to the patches commemorating civil rights leader Malcolm X, reggae legend Bob Marley, and the BLM activists, whose rallying cry, “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance” forms the heart of the matter.

***

P.S. Caveat: This is not to say that I am sort of saintly warrior for racial equity, sitting around singing “Kumbaya.” I will admit that I did give a fellow driver the finger yesterday. He was the aggressive driver of a grey truck who cut me off while we were both jockeying for a place in the incredibly congested traffic of West Seattle’s detour route (which has forced us all into massive traffic jams for over a year now. Tempers are flaring.). And when he reached out to indicate his indifference to my honk, I noted he was Black. I acknowledge that exchange was not very nice. But he cut me off! Sigh. May we live another day and try again tomorrow…

P.S.S. Like “Respect” quilts, these wall-hangings are available to you now, via the Honey Girl Etsy store! As a fund-raiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, it’s a fairly painless way to give… and to be part of the change.

Categories
Uncategorized

a gorgeous new book, with Respect (no. 7!)

After a sad spell, I return with good news, energy, and curiosity alight, thanks to the fabulous new book by art historian Samantha Noël which just arrived today. I made Respect quilt no. 7 for her, in fact, in memory of our time together during the years at Notre Dame and in admiration for her work. She works on Black artists and culture-creators of the Caribbean and the USA, and shows how their creations are interwoven with real aesthetic merit and political intention, despite being misunderstood or written off by the authorities. I’ve been waiting for my copy of the book so that I could pose the quilt with it, and the combination is even better than I imagined. I love the way the quilt’s vibe matches the message of the book! dancing people, tropical landscapes, a jaunty air of subversion–they are soulmates. Knowing it was destined to Samantha, I made this quilt particularly bright and cheerful. Do you see the visual reminder of the year it was made?*

A couple passages will show you why I’m such a fan of the book. It’s Samantha Noël’s ability to bring you right into the scene, to take the reader on a sensory journey to Trinidad or Cuba, to jangling cities and noisy jungles, where a luscious tropical heat shields a whole different world of smells, sights, and sounds and people with deep customs and histories linking them to Africa and the islands. Or to the glamorous world of Josephine Baker in the 1920s, when she took Paris by storm. (It is still sickening to remember that despite amazing talent, Baker was rebuffed at home in the USA, and that some part of her success was due to her concession to perform in the nude, with a male partner, a titillating danse des sauvages for white audiences). Noël’s focus on Black culture, island diasporas, and Southern histories is also a breath of new air into my Northwestern life, and one I’m eager to take in. Plus there’s a very intriguing photo of Maya Angelou on an album cover, as “Miss Calypso,” that I’m dying to explore!

Samantha Noël paints a complicated picture of the jamettes, or women who belonged to the poor of urban Trinidad, whose male counterparts were called badjohns. Instead of consigning them to the toxic influences that dominated their daily lives (abuse, sex work, poverty), she also notes the feisty, flamboyant style they embraced and the important role they played in the neighborhood. Famous jamettes–Yvonne “Bubulups” Smith and Gateway Elaine, for example–could be seen during street happenings of all kinds, from political protests to Carnival carousing. The consequences were sometimes dire, as the author notes:

“When Bubulups initiated a battle with her opponents, policemen arrested a naked and wounded Bubulups. … The difficulty of a jamette’s life is best summed up in Jean’s words: ‘Listen to me Dinah. … The road I walk had nothing. It didn’t have no money, no food. I didn’t have no mother. I didn’t have no father. All I ever wanted in my life was money and that is the only way I know how to do it. And that is how I am going down.’ … society branded them vulgar. As uncouth spectacles, their physiques gestured indiscretion against the repressive colonial order. Vulgar now became the pejorative agent in the sociocultural framing of these Black working-class women.

… she captures the attention of onlookers. Her monumental presence captured in the photograph also highlights her explicit control of the domain around her as she literally makes space, transforming the tropical, colonial territory as she traverses it.

Their movements were akin to the steel bands, whose rhythmic and melodic sound also emitted an unruly flair as the steel pan voiced the Black masses’ desire for acknowledgment of their political, social, and creative presence. The jamettes thus reveled in the music in their costumes, oscillating their hips with their arms akimbo, some waving the flags of their affiliated steel bands and others simply moving to the music while singing refrains from popular calypsos. If the jamettes were indeed primitive, it is because they were appropriating primitivity in their performance as a means of challenging the colonial order.” (pp. 133-135 in Tropical Aesthetics of Black Modernism, Duke University Press, 2021).

****

BIRTHDAY SALE!

Select Honey Girl quilts will be on sale for one day only, March 10, 2021. Check it out!

*****

photo of Maya Angelou album cover courtesy of: By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36595496

*the ox on the green & yellow square is a symbol of 2021: Year of the Ox according to the Chinese zodiac.

Plate 1 of “Tropical Aesthetics of Black Modernism”, by Samantha A. Noël is juxtaposed here to a “Dancing Feet” star in Respect quilt no. 7, by yours truly, Honey Girl Books and Gifts, 2021.

On left above, an oil painting by Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery to Reconstruction, 1934, courtesy of the Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.