A New Hero for Me.
“You can’t email me,” she said. “I got rid of my computer. I spent too much time on Facebook and other places, and when the machine didn’t work right, or didn’t work, it was too frustrating. I just got fed up with it all, unplugged it and the printer, and toted both to the curb for the trash. I’m glad to be shed of the thing.”
Listening. Music To Ease Insomnia.
When I suffer from insomnia I get up, yawn, stretch, take a tablet of Melatonin, put on one of these CDs, lie down, and relax. The music of both of these albums serves as lullabies for adults:
Charles Lloyd, The Water Is Wide. EMC Recordings, 1999. Charles Lloyd, tenor saxophone; Brad Mehldau, piano; Larry Grenadier, double-bass; Billy Higgins, drums. There are twelve selections–jazz, mellow in the main. Selections are by Lloyd, Carmichael (“Georgia on My Mind”), Ellington (“Black Butterfly” and “Heaven”), and Strayhorn (“Lotus Blossom”) . Lloyd arranges the folk song “The Water Is Wide” and the spiritual, “There Is a Balm in Gilead.” I’m usually asleep before half the selections have played. I enjoy what I didn’t hear the next day. The final selection, Lloyd’s “Prayer,” is a fitting benediction.
Michael Feinstein, Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb. Concord Records, 2003. There are fourteen selections, arranged in mellow renditions, sung quietly. The hit song, “Up, Up, and Away” is sung seductively with a subdued Latin rhythm accompanying. I would not have thought the song could be so sexy; it’s an irresistible invitation. I did not know most of the songs. My favorite: “She Moves, Eyes Follow” is in the tradition of the celebration of the erotic effects of women in movement: Robert Herrick’s poem “Upon Julia’s Clothes,” the Beatles’ “Something in the Way She Moves,” Sondheim’s “Pretty Women,” and the Celtic song, “She Moved Through the Fair.” Webb’s skillful use of the progression of vowels in the climatic lines makes the song a delight for the singer: “How long can I stand / With heart hollow, / When wherever she moves / My eyes follow?” Like the album by Lloyd, this CD is both a charm for insomnia and an interesting opportunity for attentive listening.
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction.
David O. Stevens, The Plantation Mistress and Her Daughter. David O. Stephens, 2016.
In the preface, Stevens describes the book as a presentation of “drama in the lives chronicled here . . . two ladies, five husbands, a true story of love and war, and of men and money.” The book is an interesting look at the lives of two women, shaped and challenged by historic events, especially that of the Civil War. It’s a book that will be of interest for historians and for those interested in women’s studies. The story of Stephens’s wife’s ancestors is enhanced by art work, photographs, newspaper stories, and selections from journals and letters.
There is an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Through a narration of the lives of two remarkable women, the reader experiences American history and culture from pre-Civil War times into the twentieth century. Stephens has the ability to make history personal, interesting, and entertaining.