Dear friends and readers,
Once again I’m beginning a new blog, and as in the case of my other two, Ellen and Jim have a blog, Two, and Reveries under the Sign of Austen, this is a continuation of a blog started elsewhere: Under the Sign of Sylvia. It’s a kind of Sylvia Part 2 or Sylvia (Cont’d).
Sylvia (for short) is my pseudonym from Miss Sylvia Drake, a minor character in Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night, which I explained in a posting I wrote August 7, 2011 Why Sylvia: at that time I decided to blog on Austen, 18th century matters (a long 18th century) and women’s art and lives under a new blog: Reveries under the Sign of Austen. You might say I bonded with the marginalized comical character and under her name told myself I’d do life-writing (seasonal blogs, writing diaries, reading diaries, anything that pops into my head or is going on around me in immediate time and place) and politics. And that’s what I mean to do there. And I mean to keep up the pseudonyms I’ve been using.
How does life-writing connect to politics. I’m with George Sand who wrote somewhere in her Indiana that politics is a function of our characters. Our political views directly reflect our personalities, moral outlook, which come out of a lifetime of experiences.
I’m migrating and making this continuation because I’ve become dissatisfied with Live-Journal. The site has gone haywire once too often, I get cut off from my blog because my password or username gets screwed up, new changes are foisted on us, the pictures don’t work, I can’t allow comments since to do that allows spam, trolls, and anonymous pestering by people writing in Russian. Anyway to make a comment you have to join Live-Journal. When I opened Reveries under the Sign of Austen in August 2007, I moved the whole of Sylvia that existed then there and just began to add on: this way I saved all the blogs on Austen, Austen films, sequels and 18th century and women’s films I had written over there. I decided not to move the stuff I’ve written since then because I can’t separate everything from 2007 to now (mostly autobiographical and politics) and just move that. I’d be overdoing to replicate the whole blog twice elsewhere, plus word-press seemed to stall at such a large number of postings. Instead I’ll just link in the previous blogs and save my memories that way.
Memories and self: we feel we are a single continuous self because of our memories, physical and “really experienced in the world and imaginative, experienced in our minds. At AU I gave a course I called Memory and Self for two springs in a row. We read autobiography, biography, letters, diaries, travel books.
One good memory I thought I’d begin again with is one longish day where a friend, Jill and I, spent a long day at the National Gallery in DC together, wandering in and out of, standing and staring and taking in rooms and rooms of the art of Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), from his early to latest years painting. Since he was so long-lived he went through many phases, and one, in the 1930s included the painting of huge beautiful (pro-civic) murals. One I remembered ever after were a series (more than one set of panels) of the Place Vintimille, a Paris bourgeois square he could see out his window. He loved the view and painted it again and again, and wrote it was:
so green with spring and full of life! I love this view from my apartment window. Do you see the narrow brown buildings across the park and the double-decker cart in the street below? Look, there is a boy checking his bicycle tire, and nearby, a man sleeping against the fence. Of course, you can always find all sorts of vendors and nannies walking with their little ones. For me, the sidewalk winds around the park like a creamy ribbon, wrapping everything in a package of sparkling color (Englished from the French).
It makes me remember a favorite book from my childhood: Mary Poppins in the Park by P. L. Travers: I grew up in the southeast Bronx and what more natural than I should dream of vast green parks, with appealing characters and things happening in them. So although I could only show a slice, and that a horizontal one out of 3 wall length vertical murals, I went for it as my landscape.
Each of these word-press blogs can have its own icon photo — apart from the general gravatar for the central site, mine Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood standing on a cobb looking out into English channel at the bottom right of each and every one of my WordPress blogs. I don’t want to just repeat Harriet Walter looking meditative as Harriet Vane. Instead I’ll add a new one to my repertoire of images: this time I’ve found such a richly-colored quietude image of a woman by Tammy Cantrell, called “Just Fine Alone:”
You will instantly see she’s not alone, or she’s just fine alone because there’s her sillily ecstatic crinkly-faced cat with her. He or she is straight out of Maurice Sendak. She and her cat will preside over Under the Sign of Sylvia Part 2.