The deep freeze and Holy The Firm

We have been in a deep freeze,

here in Montreal,


all over the province,

deep, polar air,

positively Siberian.

As I was walking home,

from work,

last night,

early evening,

wearing my down jacket,


that included,

long johns,

flannel and lambswool,

thermal socks,

the warmest tuque I have,

I thought to myself,


if you weren’t dressed so well,

if you didn’t have enough to eat,

or a warm and comfortable apartment,

to shelter you from the cold.


I think the upcoming months,

of loss,

of transformation,

will be a test of what I am,

made of,

must reach down,


into the strong part,

listen to the steady beat,

of the butch core.


being a particularly cold day,

it goes without saying,

the bookstore was deserted.

I got some time to read,

I read Annie Dillard’s,

Holy The Firm.

Annie Dillard,

is unquestionably,

a great writer,

a master of the distilled,


an observer of nature,

of creatures,

human and other.

She is also a deeply religious, spiritual person.

I didn’t like this book,

I read it,

finished it,

very short.

It is not a novel,

it is a memoir of her time ,

on Puget Sound,


a plane crash,

that leaves everyone safe,

except for a little girl,

who is badly burned.

Ms. Dillard,

remembers observing this little girl,

at a day long cider making,

communal happening.

It is admirable in many ways,

this book,

it’s sparseness,

it’s deepness,

it’s faith,

while questioning.

I can see that some people,

would love it,

find comfort and solace and poetry,

in it’s pages.

Not my thing,

too lyrical,

too religious,


not for me.

I’ve read books,

that ‘talk’ of faith and religion,

that I loved,

all of Anne Lammott’s musings and meanderings,

through faith and being saved,


I laughed and shook my head,

with approval and understanding.

But, Annie Dillard,

was more Broccoli,

for me.

I’m glad I read it,


I’m sure it has imparted some,

knowledge and experience to me,


I didn’t like it.

Maybe I read the wrong one,

I’ll try another,

some time,


any suggestions?

Have a great day girls,

keep warm.

Later girls,


Bottom Of The Box, revived:-)

I’m sitting,

at the keyboard,

window wide open,


all I’ve got on,

is boxers and a t-shirt:-)

I write this not,

for the titillation factor,

as if??


to illustrate,

just how warm it is.

It’s warm,

very warm.

This weather and sunshine,

are uncharacteristic,

of March,



was the St-Patrick’s day parade,

Montreal has the third biggest on the continent, only Boston and New York’s are bigger


even a year with drizzle,

or a snowstorm.

(which, btw, is more the norm for St-Paddy’s in Montreal)

a crowd turns up,


this year,

the crowd estimate?

Four hundred thousand!!!

That is,

a helluva lot,

of people,

so glad I didn’t go,

I hate crowds,


slightly intoxicated,


even more.

I went to breakfast,

with a friend,

ran some errands,

did some chores,


then I sat on the balcony,

read the paper,


soaked in some rays:-)

I’m no,

sun worshipper,


my vitamin D,

had been running on,

near empty,

for a while.

It felt good,

to have the sun,

warm my skin,

I felt,


amazing how a little,

warmth and light,

will nullify,

within hours,

a hard week.

Hurray for the sun,

Maybe, I’ll turn into a sun worshipper after all??

Today is much the same,

and I intend to do my chores,

and not much else.


one thing,

last week,

I acquired a bunch of books,

some good solid fiction,

to replenish the shelves,




literary fiction,

from this regular customer,

she brings them in for credit.

Laying at the bottom of her box,

was a lovely copy,


Canterburry Tales,

in a Modern Library edition,

Instant part of my collection:-)


a copy of Virginia Woolf’s,


in such sorry assed shape,

I couldn’t sell it,

for more than,

a quarter.


it occured to me,

I’ve never read Orlando,

haven’t read much  Woolf,


and that seems,

to me,

to be a gap in my reading life.


Orlando it is,


it gives me a chance,

to revive,

The Bottom of The Box,


How can I resist a book,

dedicated to Vita Sackville-West,

if any of you have ever seen,

or read,

A Portrait Of A Marriage,

you’ll know what I mean.


is something of,

a gay classic,

I’ll tell you what I think,



have a great day,

I will.

Later girls,



In which I have a bit of a meltdown

The weather is still amazing.

The Habs are in the playoffs,

I had a decent night’s sleep,

all in all,

not too bad,

here at,

bookish butch central.

Yesterday, I acquired,

a whole bunch of books,

at the bookstore,

some weird and interesting,


a few books,

that I thought,

“I’ve always wanted to read that”

One of them is,

Soul On Ice,

Eldridge Cleaver.

Cleaver was a big man,

in the Black Panthers,

he called himself,

the Minister of Information.

I’m interested,

in clandestine,

political movements,

of the past,

The I.R.A,

the F.L.Q.

and the Black Panthers.

Revolutionary movements,

that start,

with lofty ideas,

and often degenerate,

into violent,

narrow focused,

power trips.

I am interested in the history,

of oppression,

and the attempts to rise,


that oppression.

Soul On Ice,

is a book of essays,

and looks,

like it might be,

a disturbing read,

for instance,

one of the essays,

is about raping,

white women,

in order to stick it to,

The Man.

Ok, this is an old book,


why is it,

that women,

are always the victims,

of choice,

for men who,

feel weak and disenfranchised,

this goes on,

still today,

in troubled,

parts of the world,

in our parts of the world.

If the world emasculates you,

beat up your wife,

your girlfriend,

kick your dog,

sick stuff.

I don’t mean,

to be reductive,

I, in no way,

say men are like that,

or that the ideas,

of revolution,

are beset with this kind,

of attitude.

It is however, undeniable,

that women and girls,

bear the brunt,

of war, revolution, and poverty.

Sorry, girls,

didn’t mean to get all soapboxish,

talking about this book sent,

me on a bit of a tiraid,

maybe, I should just,

read it and tell you,

what I think,

it qualifies for,

The Bottom Of The Box,


it’s hard to find,

and is in sorry ass,


I’ll let you know.

Another book which was,

part of the acquisitions was,


I’ve read a lot,

about this book,


and brilliant,


I think I’ll read that next.

I gave up on Forster’s Maurice,

I hated it.

Well, I’m going downtown,

shop and walk,

I wish you all,

an excellent Sunday.

Later girls,


Bottom of the Box- The Tenants

This is Bernard Malamud.

Doesn’t he look like a writer?

The glasses, the typewriter…

I love typewriters, must be the Luddite** in me:-)

Bernard Malamud’s,

The Tenants,                                                     book cover of   The Tenants   by  Bernard Malamud

is the first review for my new,

 bottom of the box feature.

In which I rescue books from oblivion,

well actually,

 from my snowy quarter (25¢) rack,

the one that sits in the entrance to my bookstore.

My copy of this novel,

doesn’t look nearly as nice as the one pictured above,

it is quite decrepit.

It’s merits are:

it is missing no pages and

 it is small and light,

making it easy to carry in my book bag,

without wrenching my shoulder.

Bernard Malamud won The Pulitzer and,

 The National Book Award,


  In an empty and crumbling tenement of the inner city, two men meet, and their confrontation as rivals- sexually, intellectually, physically-becomes a powerful and lyrical metaphor of human relations in our time- This from the back cover of the Pocket Books edition.

This novel was published in 1971 in the USA,

a time of racial strife and inner city decay and violence.

Harry Lesser is a writer,

his first novel was a critical success,

his second suffered from the sophomore jinx.

He has been working on his third for the past ten years.

Luckily he sold the first to the movies,

and has been living on the deferred payments ever since.

Harry’s landlord, Levenspiel,

wants him to vacate his apartment,

 so he can tear it down and have a newer,

 more lucrative building erected in it’s place.

Harry is the last hold out,

and since the tenement is rent controlled,

he has the law on his side.

Harry is close to finishing his book,

 and feels that if he moves,

he will loose his momentum.

Harry has no life,

 he writes.

                         What have I done to myself? So much I no longuer see or feel except in language.  Life once removed- page 98


                        I write it right but say it wrong , lesser thought.

                        I write it right because I revise so often.

                        What I say is unrevised and often wrong.- page 114

Into Harry’s,

 all but abandoned building and life,

 erupts Willie Spearmint,

an aspiring black writer.

These are the late sixties, early seventies, black was beautiful and no one had heard of African Americans, yet…

Willie is a force of nature all about writing but, also about passion.

Willie knows nothing of form or structure,

he just pounds away at the typewriter and, life.

Harry and Willie are a study in contrasts,

one Jewish,

one Black,

one slender and tall,

one stocky and powerfully built,

one a ladykiller,

one inept with women.

These two men come to mean much to each other,

both positive and ultimately,


OK, I have to tell you,

 I really liked this novel.

Once I started I had to finish.

It is short, 211 pages.

I expected a Phillip Roth like experience,

and we all know how much I like Roth!!

I misjudged,

 I had heard Malamud compared to Roth and Bellow.

I have no comment on Bellow, I read one novel years ago, and have no real memory of it.

I found Malamud to be much more satisfying than Roth.

This novel deals with difficult issues.

Race, the objectification of women, the personal cost of creation.

It is a one gripping read.

I also appreciated that there are no real villains or heroes.

No white hat, black hat, bull.

Nothing politically correct about it,

a sensitive and accomplished work of art.

About flesh and blood people,

 full of promise and prejudices,

people, warts and all.

I am so glad I rescued it from the bottom of the box,

a 25¢ well spent, my friends !!

I enjoyed this feature,

 I think I’ll do it again,


What do you think?

 Should I?

Later girls,


** A Luddite is one who is opposed to technological change. I am not opposed, I just like the aesthetics of typewriters and card catalogues etc. But, I won’t give up my laptop, how else could I communicate with you all:-)***