Oct 31, 2010

Book Swap - October

After the crepes, first up was the artist Dawn Csutorus from Melbourne, Australia.

Dawn loves color and space (hence her choice of The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelord) citing Monet and Van Gogh as influences earlier on, and now Rothko, as well as Taoism, saying her paintings are "meditations."

Dawn also donated Bill Bryson's Down Under to represent where she's from.

Next up was the writer and TV producer Barrie Brett from New York.

Barrie brought her inspirational book Moments of Being, which is about finding your own moment, "a pivotal moment that transformed a life."

With the same idea in mind Barrie also brought along Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, a book she has loved since she was a child,  about five people on a bridge at the same moment.

Barrie also donated Rupert Wright's Notes from the Languedoc.

The Australian artist, also from Melbourne, Mia Rappel, was next.

Goatperson and other Tales by Michael Leunig was Mia's first book. She calls Leunig an "Australian treasure, a cartoonist who's really a poet, gentle and tender."

The book about where she's from is Mirka Mora's My life: Wicked But Virtuous. Mia's family came from Europe to Australia, as did Mora's, a Romanian Jew from France, or as Mia puts it "she brought Europe to Australia, the old country to a young land."

Then came Irish writer and calligrapher Karen Powell.

Karen gave us the book about where she's from first, Arthur's Round, by Patrick Guinness, a descendant of Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness breweries. Guinness "was first brewed in my village in 1755 and we're still hoping for a tap!"

The book that inspires Karen is Brendan Behan's The Complete Plays, "The Hostage" being her favorite. Karen loves Behan not only because he "made human choices" but because "he gets people."

The American poet Nancy Collins-Warner donated her books next.

Finding Chief Kamiaki: The Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot  is "about the place I was raised in the Palouse, an Indian word for 'the place', a very feminine, fertile land."

The book Nancy donated  that inspires her was W.S. Merwin's The Shadow of Sirius. She calls Merwin "a master of the essential."

Next up was the English writer Maxine Backus from Zurich.

Maxine donated The Metaphysical Poets edited by Helen Gardner as she loves the "switch of register of the poems." Maxine also donated two of her own collections of poems "Zurich Observed" and "To Learn to Pleasure Yourself."

Last up was the New York writer Sarah Deming.

The "transgressive" book about where she's from is by New York writer Jonathan Ames: What's Not to Love: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer.

The book that inspires Sarah is Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel in 100,000 Words by the Serbian writer Milorad Pavić who just died last year. Sarah says the book is "magical" and probably "the favorite book I've ever read."

Thanks again to everyone for all the great books!

Oct 25, 2010

National Association of Writers in Education link...

Thanks to the National Association of Writers in Education in England for putting a nice write up about La Muse and a link to our site on the Retreat's section of their website!

The NAWE also has its own retreat in 2011 at Ty Newydd, once the home of Lloyd George.

Located in North Wales, about twenty-five miles from Bangor, it lives in landscaped gardens with fine views over Cardigan Bay (you've got to love that name - see map, right) and the mountains of Meirionydd.

Also, Ty Newydd is the National Writers' Centre for Wales, which is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and run by the Taliesin Trust Ltd, a registered charity. It operates in close collaboration with Arvon

You can check out more about their retreat here.

Oct 23, 2010

Irish Independent Article

So, for whatever reason, it has taken The Irish Independent a long time to send this article to us, as you can't access their content online? Also, it was sent to us as a pdf so I'm uploading it as a jpeg.

We are very grateful to Jo for writing the article and for the paper for running it. Just double click on the image below twice and you'll be able to read it:

French Retirement

Oct 21, 2010

Homemade Spacecraft by Father and Son

So, this is what they say on the About part of their site:

The Brooklyn Space Program is a organization formed by a group of friends in New York City interested in scientific experiments, engineering, design and education.

The cool part of the project though is that 7 year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad had the idea of seeing space and then made it happen with a video camera, a weather balloon and an iPhone...

And here's the video from the Homemade Spacecraft - it got nearly 19 miles up!:

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Oct 15, 2010

Motherhood and Women's Status in France.

Here's a good New York Times article: Where Having It All Doesn’t Mean Having Equality on motherhood and women's status in France.

Here's how it starts:

Weeks after giving birth, French women are offered a state-paid, extended course of vaginal gymnastics, complete with personal trainer, electric stimulation devices and computer games that reward particularly nimble squeezing. The aim, said Agnes de Marsac, a physiotherapist who runs such sessions: “Making love again soon and making more babies.”

Oct 11, 2010

Mike Sacks - Photos of the TV

Been meaning to tell you all about this link for a long time, but only remembered to post it when we were showing some friends the photos on the weekend.

An example of one of Mike's many magnificent mug shots:

Grotte de Limousis

The Grotte de Limousis is only 20 minutes from the house, right beside the village of Limousis.

Dug out over the years by an underground river, known as the Green Lake, the cave was first electrified in 1935.

 The last room of the cave has a really unique mineralogical piece, a chandelier of aragonite, 4 meters high and 10 meters in circumference.

Here's the driving directions from google:

View Larger Map

Oct 9, 2010

200th post - Gouffre de Cabrespine

This is our 200th post!

The Gouffre de Cabrespine is one of the largest caves in the world that is open to tourists and is only a quarter of an hour from here. It was discovered not so long ago by one of our next door neighbor's uncles. Here's a map of where it is in relation to us from google:

View Larger Map

The gorge inside the mountain is deep enough to hold the Eiffel tower.

Here's a more general map of where it is: