It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, although living in Australia’s Northern Territory means that we are just a well-fueled fishing dinghy’s daytrip from the islands of Indonesia, and it isn’t very “wintry” at all. Tonight’s forecast is for 22°C, and that suits me—born 13° north of the equator—just fine!
Darwin’s version of winter is The Dry, a 3- to 4-month-spell of cool, dry weather that is a godsend after half a year of the most stifling 100% humidity. Clear blue skies, a brisk breeze over the harbour, dragonflies by the thousands, outdoor cinemas on the grass, glittering craft markets on the beach, and your sweat glands suddenly, strangely, quiescent.
To me this means spending more time at home, on our fishing-trawler-turned-houseboat, because it’s finally pleasant to do so. Mostly I just get lots of reading done. I’m in that mood, impatient with most crafts and projects, but just voracious with words and stories. I’m glad about this because, for about half a year, I couldn’t bring myself to even look at a work of fiction. I was worried my love for fiction had gone away somewhere, and wouldn’t come back.
What have I read this month? Must’ve been my lucky day at the library, because I borrowed a bunch of books that I really enjoyed! (from the most recent, backwards to the earliest)
Ransom by David Malouf
The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Ludmila’s Broken English by DBC Pierre
What Makes Women Happy by Fay Weldon
The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
How to Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen
“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” — Logan Pearsall Smith
I can’t have my nose in a book ALL the time, much as I’d LOVE to! Life, I guess, is still The Thing.
So I also squeezed in a bit of embroidery…I’m doing an embroidered version of the Spool bird softie that I mentioned in my last post, with a leafy, brocade-y pattern filled in red satin and long-and-short stitches. The going is slow (I started this in late May) but I’m in no hurry…she’ll be done when she’s done. And I made a second version of the Victorian spoon, in black embroidery cotton, using back stitch, that I made and sold at my exhibit a year ago.
I also painted this freak, Little Red Kitsune, in a page of my journal, using disposable picnic napkins for a background, cut-out scraps of printed paper, and colored markers. I don’t like the colors at all, and the poor photograph has made it worse. But I love kitsune (the fox).
In Chinese mythology, fox spirits are known for their deception and cunning. They often take on the form of female humans to seduce men. In Japanese folklore, the fox-like kitsune is a powerful animal spirit known for its highly mischievous and cunning nature. Kitsune sometimes undertakes to help people, at the request of the gods. I have also heard elderly Japanese wives call their roguish old husbands “old fox” as a form of endearment that is also a playful reproval. Did you know that “zorro” means “fox” in Spanish?