stories, some that are still being formed, some that went over the transom in the last century
The "Brit a Day" series
What does a months-long parade of attractive British men have to do with fiction, you might well ask? These gentlemen have inspired some lovely scenes, part of the life I live in my head. Over time, some of these scenes reach out to one another and begin to form a story. For the present, each one of these pictures provides a writing prompt for me, a way to keep me writing with a sense of passion and narrative, even when the stories are not yet fully formed.
Here's a slight amendment to Friday's post: this photo of Art Brut is more recent--it was taken in Brighton in December 2011. [Thank you Lady is a Tramp on Flickr.] But technically, it's not a picture of the band. Freddy, the petite bassist, is missing.
Today's guest brit is author Sara Wheeler. After I read Apsley Cherry-Garrard's stunning account of the South Polar treks of 1912 in 'The Worst Journey in the World,' I wanted to 'meet' him you might say. The only effective way to do that outside of his own words is in Sara Wheeler's biography of him.
Wheeler recognizes that the quintessential element of British wit and prose is irony, and she uses it liberally. Her Wikipedia entry sums it up pretty well--
She appreciates Cherry's sophistication and notes how difficult it must have been for him to communicate with those whose sense of irony was not as developed as his own. Reading 'Cherry ' rounds out the obsession that started when I picked up Beryl Bainbridge's 'The Birthday Boys.' The one book I've had a hard time coming to: Captain Scott's own journal. The centennial of his death is this week, March 29. We know that date because Scott wrote in his log until he could no longer hold the pen. I've feared reading its last words and knowing what they mean--the tragic nothingness that follows. But through Wheeler's book, you see that the real pain is for the survivor.
I love that song, but the first person in the narrative has always baffled me. James Blunt wasn't born in 1973. Thursday Man HIC would have been about 6, so his clubbing would have been with the Trini version of the Cub Scouts. I was 13, and as such, no club would have had me unless there was a Follows-The-Boys-Basketball-Team-Around-With-Her-35mm-Camera Club. In retrospect, that worked rather well for me.
Today's Brit is another hero from the centenary of South Pole exploration. Another member of the team that died with Scott in late March 1912, Edward Adrian Wilson was a self-taught artist, a physician, and head scientist and zoologist of the expedition. Wilson led the infamous 130-mile Winter Journey from the base camp to the breeding grounds of the Emperor penguin in the complete dark and terrifying cold of the Antarctic winter. The Holy Grail he sought was a freshly laid egg of an Emperor penguin, hypothesized to hold evidence of the missing evolutionary link between reptiles and birds. As seen above, Wilson would sketch in sub-zero temperatures by day and transform his notes and sketches into full watercolor paintings in the warmth of the group hut by evening.
Why is Henry Ian Cusick's fansite adding moderators?--they even asked the likes of me! Because, in addition to Ian's upcoming guest shot on 'Fringe', we think 'Scandal' is going to be a big hit--aw, face it, we think Ian is going to be a huge hit. So to welcome all those new Sistahs to the fold, we'll be doing a little housekeeping. The fun kind.
I've recently become a moderator on a fansite I frequent, and because I am known as one of the artsy sistahs, I've been tasked with updating the look of the site. In that capacity, I went trolling around the web universe this weekend looking for ideas--or at least to know what other fans are doing with their actor-appreciation. I was mightily impressed with the look and feel of this page [pictured above], and you can check it out at http://www.david-tennant.org/.
Rickman has made way for Kenneth Branagh today much as Prof. Snape made way for every Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor including Gilderoy Lockhart. Branagh is from Northern Ireland--that makes him a Brit, right?
Today's Brit is a true hero, a newly discovered hero to me, who furthered science, literature, and the human spirit considerably. He is Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a member of Robert Falcon Scott's expedition to Antarctica from 1910 to 1913. The end of this month marks the 100th anniversary of the tragic end to Scott's quest for the South Pole--all 5 of the party who trekked to the pole died on the return journey from cold, starvation and exhaustion. Cherry-Garrard was not among them and, hence, lived to tell the tale in the form of his wonderful book, 'The Worst Journey in the World.' Twenty-something Cherry survived Antarctica, but he was haunted by the loss of his close friends for the rest of his life. In a world that had not yet recognized nor labelled conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Survivor's Guilt, Cherry suffered tremendously from depression. One can only hope that he found catharsis in writing--his book is so thorough, so thoughtful and descriptive, it is known as the definitive account of that expedition, and as such makes a perfectly annotated companion to Scott's own words, his journal, published as 'Scott's Last Expedition' which Cherry quotes at length.
One hundred years ago today, Scott's party returning from the Pole were already pretty certain that they would not survive--we know this from their diaries. But the men who waited for them at the main camp did not know this with any certainty at all. They undertook a search for what they then knew would be their remains 10 months later when the winter weather broke. Reading Cherry's description of that sad mission is evocative enough to make you feel like you are there--and possesses the spirituality to make you feel like Cherry is there holding your hand.
Next up on my reading list: Sarah Wheeler's biography of Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
I'd heard that Henry Ian Cusick was going to guest star in an episode of 'Fringe' but I wasn't sure I believed it until photos started coming down from Vancouver. Here's proof that HIC was filming 'Fringe' recently as well as proof that he has fans in Canada.
This week, I've been listening to Etta James, and to songs I've loved my whole life: Don't know why There's no sun up in the sky Stormy weather Me and my man ain't together...
Me and my man ain't together because he's still slaving at work...
Guess I'll have to settle for dinner with He Who Is Pictured Above [Matt Smith].
I can foresee a day when Alan Rickman might do a panel at Comic Con, the biggest cultural event my city of San Diego has to offer the rest of world. Perhaps a sequel to Galaxy Quest? Or a reprise of its popularity with cult status? Better yet, maybe it's time to do a Harry Potter retrospective.
Internet sales for the 2012 Comic Con began at 8 a.m. yesterday. The good news is that I got any tickets to Comic Con at all--2 single day badges for myself, my daughter, and her friend....the bad news is that the online sales of Comic Con badges sold out in 90 minutes, leaving a lot of people really bummed.
How appropriate that one of the Henry Ian Cusick Sistahood found this darling tidbit on the internet a few days ago.
A propos of the fact that LOST's finest hour, 'The Constant,' was originally aired on February 28, 2008 [four years ago Wednesday; and to hell with Sadie Hawkins day, right?], we see a tiny one named Desmond Fox being introduced to his namesake via the widescreen.