Saturday, December 29, 2012


I download books like crazy. I'm going to read them all. Somehow. Inhale them maybe.

Can you read too much? Does anyone know? Like, do you ever hear about that happening to someone that someone you know knows?

I don't. But there are so many health studies these days. Surely, there exists at least one on the benefits or cautions of consuming stories.

Some people read a book a day. I need at least a day-and-a-half. Let's do the math. Three-hundred-sixty-five books a year versus two-hundred-forty-three. Two-hundred-forty-three books in 2013 sounds really hopeful. Perhaps, too hopeful.


I call 2012 a good year. And intend on enjoying its last few days.

Monday, December 24, 2012

I am Determined to see The Hobbit

It snowed last night. But today I am determined to see The Hobbit. I am not sure my determination is necessary. It's just another movie, right. And now it's just another movie adaptation of one of those books by Tolkien. Who? Right? But it's smashing box office records. Well, we are going to the first show and that means the snow's not going to melt by itself so we are going to need to do some shoveling.

We get downtown and the streets are clear. The parking is easy. We've beat the rush of last minute shoppers. We know the movie has at least 15 minutes of previews that I could care less about, so we don't bother getting there on time. All we want is to get some popcorn and be in our seats before the movie starts. Check. Check.

OMG! It has me from the first moment. Jackson is doing for The Hobbit what he did for The Lord of the Rings, except for maybe he's doing it even better. He starts with the dwarves and their history. It's awesome. I know that's not a very specific description but the cinematography, sets, and costumes are breathtaking. Get a load of the dwarf king's beard get-up.

Then he shuffles us back and forth in time between Bilbo's parties--the last one he has in The Shire for his birthday and the one that he didn't plan. The dwarfs start piling in and messing up his tidy hobbit hole and it just gets better from there.

English actor, Martin Freeman is hitting all the right notes. He's meek and assertive, outraged and clever, thoughtful and sensitive. He doesn't like the dwarves showing up and eating his food, and they aren't so sure they like him for their burglar, but by the end of The Hobbit's first installment, the group of fourteen is cohesive and almost everyone has had a chance to be a hero.

When The Ring and Gollum appear on screen for the first time, I want to stand up and clap. But no one else is jumping out of their seats so I restrain myself and manage with tapping my finger pads together. I have a big huge grin on my face. Gollum's first appearance in The Hobbit surpasses his debut in The Lord of the Rings and The Ring, well, it's The Ring.

When the credits start rolling I am frozen in my seat. I think it's better than The Lord of the Rings. I am so glad that my determination got me here, to the theater, on Christmas Eve Day. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Just like I'm supposed to. I can't resist chatting up other movie goers in the lobby.

Wasn't it great? Yeah. Everyone agrees, it is awesome.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Eating Magic: Lethe

My Kindle shelves are so loaded with Kindle Swag they sag. Good thing there are no repercussions—the bloat of brownies or cotton-mouth from too much rum. Blessed reading.

Whenever I finish one book, I get to begin the ritual again. Flip through the titles ... which one?

I settle on Lethe by A. Sparrow. Why? The first time I ever heard about Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness, from which the dead drink to forget their earthly lives so that they may reincarnate I was fascinated. The after life intrigues me. What happens?

It feels like there has to be more to this existence than what we see, know in this current one. But who knows. I do love good reads that explore the possibilities.

First few chapters of Lethe have me hooked ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

So I'm a little weird, sue me...

Still reading Become (Desolation #1) by Ali Cross. About three-fourths of the way through. Really interesting. Cross is mixing it up. Some of the things I like a lot. A few of them aren't really my cup of tea. Weaving existing legend, mythology into contemporary stories is tricky. I guess the one thing I really wish is that Desolation's father would be Loki OR Lucifer because using both and throwing in Odin makes me feel pulled in different directions. But I think this might just be a BAH! writers quibble. Writers. We have them.

What I love is the edginess and riskiness of the story. I like the light and dark within one character. I won't dwell on that since it is a theme in my own work.

There are huge seismic shifts in scenes between high school football games and spiritual battles of mythic proportions.

I have fallen in love with Miri of the bright eyes.

At lunch, Miri pulled me and Michael toward the back of school, and through the cemetery with its ancient stones and memories. "I like to eat here--more privacy."
"Yeah, cuz who doesn't like to eat with the dead, right?
Miri just shrugged. "So I'm a little weird, sue me."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Black Angel

I feed my free kindle addiction, making quite a haul in the past few days. I settle on reading Become (Desolation, #1) by Ali Cross. Because I like the idea of the devil's daughters and used to clump around in a pair of Doc Martens myself. That was the crazy year I shaved my head.

Desolation--what a name--is fighting a war inside herself. And something bad just happened to Lucy, one of her few friends. There's a lot of wealth, big houses, fancy cars, and shopping. But you expect the devil's daughter to have such perks.

The cover is really cool. Like a black angel surrendering to a lightening storm.

I think it's going to be a dark one.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Red Dress

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale) by Chanda Hahn, what a fun, clever read. When I become a fan of a story there is always that moment when the writer hooks me. In UnEnchanted it is at the red dress. Everything about that scene is the perfect melding of fairytale and real world. And right before we get there, I love this line:

To Sara, vintage meant cheaper than the mall and one step up from a thrift store.

Not that there aren’t some other great moments and lines before then. Two:

Thankfully, he didn’t try to start any more conversations with her. Maybe it was because Mina kept glaring at him and holding up her textbook like it was the Great Wall of China.


“I’m so sorry!” Ming began pulling out of the dented holder and flung them at Brody. She was so distressed that she accidentally pulled the casing off of the napkin holder, which flew across the floor and spun to a stop by a wide-eyed Mrs. Wong.

Perfect for readers who love fairytales carried forward into the present day with a little bit of humor, an endearing main character, and a clever plot.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fairy Tales Crossing Over...

I said I was going to read something extra-super-duper-extremely lite and fluffy next. I pick up UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale) by Chanda Hahn. It has a really cool cover--a cropped shot of a girl in a hooded red cape--and it's FREE on my kindle. I am immediately taken with Mina. She is clumsy, avoids the spotlight, and doesn't have a cell phone.

I am about half-way through the book. Hahn's writing style is easy to read. She tells the story with fun details. Charlie's cereal mash-up ritual being one of them. He's Mina's little brother. And when Mina confides in her best friend, tech-savvy Nan, she has to make sure she covers all the bases--texting, twitter, websites, etc. Mina's secret is not to show up on any of these media.

The premise is a good one. Fairy tales crossing over into the real one is a favorite of mine. I am enjoying this book. It's not busting my brain, and it's making me smile.

Monday, December 3, 2012

And FINALLY, a period.

I finally finish reading The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I feel like I have run a marathon up the highest mountain; endured sleeting rain in freezing cold temperatures wrapped in nothing but a measly scarf;  lived on twigs, gruel, and piss for nine months and survived it all. I want some medal.

The Autumn of the Patriarch is Gabo's third masterpiece...if you are counting Leaf Storm as one, which I am, and One Hundred Years of Solitude as two, which everyone else is (I have't read it yet).

It is an awesome and prodigious work. I see four layers in the story.

1. At its most basic, the story is a psychedelic oozing of mixed consciousness', a seething mass of point of view violations.

2. Next, it is like the most brain-bursting collection of metaphors, images, phrasing, words, and writing that I have ever attempted to digest. Often it left me staring at the ceiling, or out the window, or just plain dazed.

3. Then, there is the detailed riveting stomach-churning rubber-necking timeless classic essential portrait of the dictator. When I finish reading, I think...Gabo has captured the inner workings of every single dictator who as ever lived, still lives, is in diapers, and is yet to be born.

4. And the hard reading of the sentences that go on forever, and there is no respite, and you think just the onslaught of all the words is going to make you go crazy which makes the structure of the novel as inaccessible and inscrutable as the psyche of the subject itself.


I am left with memories of that patriarch wearing the denim uniform without insignia and the gold spur on the left heel, who is always dragging his feet through the government house full of chickens and cows to the latrines where he and no one else writes on the the toilets long live the general, long live the stud who after selling a sea, sought in native science the only thing that really interested him which was to discover some masterful hair-restorer for his incipient baldness whose life had been seen in the  premonitory waters of basins by his mother of mine Bendicion Alvarado of my hearthe was as deaf as a post not only because I would ask him about one thing and he would answer about another but also that it grieved him that the birds were not singing when in fact it was difficult to breathe with that uproar of birds which was like walking through the jungle at dawn and they created newspapers and tv shows for him just the way that he liked them and every night he slept in his office behind three bolts, three locks, and three bars which is where they finally found him stretched out on the floor, face down, his right arm bent under his head as a pillow where he had realized at the moment of his death his incapacity for love in the enigma of the palm of his mute hands and in the invisible code of the cards and he had tried to compensate for that infamous fate with the burning cultivation of the solitary vice of power.

And FINALLY, a period. That is kind of how you start to feel, and by the end of the book, you are gasping, yearning, craving, needing, dying for that little dot.

Brilliant. But not light. Very heavy.

I am going to indulge in something  extra-super-duper-extremely lite and fluffy for my next read.

Thank you Gabo, wherever you are, for giving up the law. You and Gaugin.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited...

I am determined to finish The Autumn of the Patriarch and Gerald Martin's biography of Gabo, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Life. But The Autumn of the Patriarch is not an easy read and the biography is thick.

Right now Marquez is in Mexico. He's been working in the news, advertising and movie industries. But it seems his soul yearns for its primary language...literature...

I always thought that the cinema, through its tremendous visual power, was the perfect means of expression. All my books before One Hundred Years of Solitude are hampered by that uncertainty. There is an immoderate desire for the visualization of character and scene, a millimetric account of the time of dialogue and action and an obsession with indicating point of view and frame. While actually working in cinema, however, I came to realize not only what could be done but also what couldn't be done; I saw that the predominance of the image over the other narrative elements was certainly an advantage but also a limitation and this was for me a startling discovery because only then did I become aware of the fact that the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited.

I just about salivate over these words, because I understand, and I agree that "the possibilities of the novel itself are unlimited."

That is why we keep reading, that is why we keep searching. That is why the shelves of ereaders all over the world are bursting with books.

The human mind thrives on novelty...we will always crave new stories...and the possibilities are unlimited.

Ah. The master has spoken.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dreaming About Our Mothers

Still reading The Death Fairy by Laird Stevens. With the holiday weekend and all, I'm pecking through it. Last night I get to the conversations where Asia and Jessica discuss their dreams about their mothers. I put the book down because it makes me think about the dreams I've had about my mother.

One of my favorites. We're swimming in a lake outside Paris. (In the real word, she had a scholarship to the Sorbonne. She married my father instead.) It's one of those days; the rays of light coming through the trees are incandescent and the grass is technicolor green. A Monet painting without the sailboats.

My mother is my mother, but she's also about sixteen. In the dream I'm younger than she is, but not much. I'm in the water. Other swimmers laugh and splash around me. People of all ages lounge on the shore and beneath the trees, my mother among them.

When the sun shimmers with the last light of day, I swim to shore. My mother throws me a towel. I squeeze the water from my hair. She's hurrying me along.

"What's the rush?"

"We've got to get to the city," she says. "We're going dancing."

I wake up, filled with life and wonder. What magic, this enchanted interlude transcending the boundaries of time and space.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Death Fairy

Now, I'm reading The Death Fairy by Laird Stevens. Another random pick up for Free on my kindle. I chose it, I think, because Asia's mother committed suicide.

It is ... different. The writing leaves me critical. Too much telling, I say, then have to smile. Writers, bah! But the story is ... interesting. I'm not sure what to think about it. Is it leading me down a primrose path to a groaning cliche. Possibly something sordid? I can't tell, because they're the good bits.

Like the photo albums filled with pictures of her dead mother, and the stories Asia makes up about them, and how she believes that makes her different than her friend Beverly, who has only the one story to tell about her dead mother.

Kind of a dead end, that one crippling story.

And then there's the fun bit about how egocentric the idea of karma is because the idea that  ...  Everything that happens to you in life happens because of something you did ... does kind of make it all about you.

Pop. Burst another bubble.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Last Story in Leaf Storm...

Nabo, the Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait is a love story between silence and song. A mute girl who drools and a black boy who sings.

When the horse kicks Nabo in the head and that angel calls him to join the choir, he can't leave until that girl cranks the gramophone one more time, shouts his name--the only words she can say--and sets him free.

At least...that's how I read it.

It's the last story about Macondo, so I'm left a little droopy. Endings are always bittersweet and this one's no different.

But...was the saxophone player an angel before or after he died?

Gabo sang.
Maybe he still does.
Maybe Gabo goes to the square every Saturday night to sing in that choir and hear that black angel play the sax.
That would be an ending more sweet than bitter.

Did you hear that?
It's so quiet.
The Leaf Storm has passed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Who Would Sell a Sea?

There are things that I have learned along the way. One is: No one else can tell the truth of your life. It's because we all have filters, and see things in our own way. So, whenever someone says she did this because of that or when that happened, it may or may not be true. Because they don't really know, do they?

Given that truth, a biography, read with an appropriate sense of caution, can be a fascinating thing.

From Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Life by Gerald Martin ...

... he began to collect the details which would eventually make a dictator of his own come to life, fleshing out the obsessions with power and authority, impotence and solitude ... Mendoza recalls that his tireless friend spent a lot of time in those days reading about Latin America's seemingly interminable list of tyrants ... gradually developing a profile of boys without fathers, men with an unhealthy dependence on their mothers and an immense lust for taking possession of the earth ...

and then we get this ... in The Autumn of the Patriarch ...

... it was thought that he was a man of the upland plains because of his immense appetite for power, the nature of his government, his mournful bearing, the inconceivable evil of a heart which had sold the sea to a foreign power and condemned us to live facing this limitless plain of harsh lunar dust where the bottomless sunsets pain us in our souls.

I mean ... WTF.
Who would sell a sea?

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's just me and the words Gabo wrote...

Then I get to Monolgue of Isabel Watching it Rain in Macondo.

It's a steady drip-drip, just like the rain. I want to take a nap. Like when it's raining.

I worry about that poor cow ... that could not fall down because the habit of being alive prevented her ... And really, like Isabel, I never thought the woman ... asking, every Tuesday, for the eternal branch of lemon balm ... would make it through the deluge. But she did. And then there was the sick woman who'd ... disappeared from her bed and had been found floating that afternoon in the courtyard.

So who fell in the well?

I don't know. But I feel like I finally get IT.

The Leaf Storm. The leaf trash. Macondo.
The awareness glows inside me like a smile.
I don't have a degree in English.
I am not sitting in some classroom.
There is not a blackboard within reach, sight, or walking distance.
The professor is at the university. Not here, in my room.
No, it's just me and the words Gabo wrote.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Six Pages, One Long Line...

I am reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Life by Gerald Martin. It's a slow road. There's not a lot of poetry. There are lots of facts, and names, and places. But it's a biography, and it's thorough.

I love the passages that speak directly to Gabo's writing, even better when he's quoted:

There's not a line in any of my books which I can't connect to a real experience. There is always a reference to concrete reality.

This is an important insight to another writer. Maybe to a reader, too. But the first time I read it, it flies right over my head like a startled bird. I drop the book in my lap and laugh.

Because I have just finished reading The Last Voyage of The Ghost Ship... six pages, one long line.

That Gabo, he's got a wicked sense of humor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Zany Action, Crazy Contraption of Life...

I am still savoring Leaf Storm, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I don't read in it every day. It's a very rich dessert. So, I taste a few bites and savor.

I finish Blacaman The Good, Vendor of Miracles and think about the Mouse Trap game we had when I was a kid. A Game of Zany Action on a Crazy Contraption. You drop the marble, and it rolls down a standing labyrinth to trip the trap.

That's how the story is written. The zany action, crazy contraption of life leads to the mausoleum for Blacaman the Bad. He's trapped.
That's a story.
I read it again, because I've just got to watch that marble roll one more time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Atheist ...

I do a random search on my Kindle for magical realism. All sorts of books come up. One of them is The Atheist by Gabriel Ruiz, translated by Monica Lanshorn.

The book's cover depicts a white stick cross centered in a child-shaped heart superimposed upon a pond of sitting ducks haunted by the ghost of a church. The predominant colors are golds and browns. I download the sample.

The book starts with questions. Few are direct. They are interesting enough to keep me reading. The narrative style is pleasant, matter-of-fact. The narrator himself is thoughtful and introspective. But not too much.

An englishman in a small spanish town with a dead friend, the Atheist. And now two graves are being dug. One just inside the cemetery wall, and one just outside.  His friend will have to decide which grave will be the Atheist's.

Then comes Maria who believes in God.

The story follows a path that reminds me of the streets I walked in Granada. Not straight, but paved with stones that are not flat.

And then there is the boy, so much like the Atheist himself. I know what you're thinking. I was too.
When I finish reading I smile.


Friday, October 26, 2012

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

I love the story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. So far, it is my favorite in Leaf Storm. It is the reason I bought the book, years ago, in the first place. Its seven pages drench us with:

Lyrcial prose-

...a poor woman who since childhood had been counting her heartbeats and had run out of numbers; a Portugese man who couldn't sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him; a sleepwalker who got up at night to undo the things he had done while wide awake...

Clever humor-

He seemed to be so many places at the same time that they grew to think he'd been duplicated, that he was reproducing himself all through the house, and the exasperated and unhinged Elisenda shouted that it was awful living in that hell full of angels.

And blistering indictment-

The only time they succeeded in arousing him was when they burned his side with an iron for branding steers, for he had been motionless for so many hours that they thought he was dead.

We pray, ask, beg, and plead for the divine to reveal itself in our lives.

We bemoan, fret, and sigh that the divine eludes us. Yet if a very old man with enormous wings made a clumsy landing in our yard on a wet afternoon, what would we see?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not even with an axe...

I finish the story Leaf Storm and think:

These are the memories of how we treat one another. 

Death, the final arbiter arrives for us all.
And then we smell...

Immediately, I begin reading the Gabriel Garcia Marquez biography by Gerald Martin.

I am shocked--why?--to learn just how autobiographical the story Leaf Storm is. I feel disappointed and satisfied. Disappointed because it wasn't imagined from ground zero. Satisfied because perhaps I did get the story, more than I thought.

Then something the biographer observes about Gabo's voice gives me pause.

Many years later, when Garcia Marquez managed to reconstruct those two ways of interpreting and narrating reality, both of them involving a tone of absolute certainty--the worldly, rationalizing sententiousness of his grandfather and the other-worldy oracular declamations of his grandmother--leavened by his own inimitable sense of humor, he would be able to develop a world-view and a corresponding narrative technique which would be instantly recognizable to the readers of each new book.

And I begin absorbing in a new way how there is no becoming who we are. It is always an undoing. An unveiling. A stripping away of flawed pretense. Useless affectation, that fools no one but ourselves, must go. Because we cannot cut ourselves off from our roots.

Not even with an axe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good and Bad Have Long Tails...

Of the three books I'm reading, Oscar Wilde's The Complete Fairy Tales feels the most prosaic. Qualification: I am not done yet. The allusion to christ in The Selfish Giant feels maudlin, while the inviolate boundaries drawn between good and bad in The Devoted Friend feel tedious.

Good and Bad have long tails. Tales that grab the middle, and attest only to the pendulum's extreme swings deny deeper truths. It's not so much that everything is relative....

It's much more that this leads to that and that leads to this, and addressing a partial continuum in moral absolutes feels hollow.

But Wilde wrote his fairy tales ages ago. Perhaps, I can forgive him for being a man, somewhat of his times.

When I was a child...

We had a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale collection (printed) and an LP of The Brothers Grimm. I wore that LP out. The book of fairy tales was more dangerous, and lingering. Things we were not allowed to discuss in my home--anger, envy, betrayal--laced those stories.

I kept quiet about those things. And held my breath.

Because those enchanted tales held out hope for a future where the truth might be set free, and I might be able to breathe.

Saturday, October 20, 2012 lists, doodles, short story, novel.....

i will read anything marquez list, doodles, short story, novel..... A review of Leaf Storm by Kerilynn Pederson on Goodreads.

Half-way through Leaf Story, I'm nodding my head.

I'm lying if I say I "get" every word, line, sentence. I don't.

At least not on the rational level. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's story slips and slides through every "how it should be/written" censor within me.

When I read Adelaide's point of view, being raised in a bilingual household, I know her. This outrage of things she has never been told by the inhabitants of her own home. Marquez captures the affront to her dignity better than any reel of film.

Then there is the rhythm--that bassline--steady in the background. Syncopation is as much an art in writing as it is in music. 

And the light plummets through the trees like a bird. And the maliciously premeditated gossip.

He rolls the leaves tights then ignites them. The haze from the smoke alters our sense of perception.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who is that crazy man just eating grass?

I read several books, because one is not enough. Take a bite from each, and savor.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman is creamy, bitter, and crunchy. It is not too sweet, but it is very intense. The world Elv, Meg, and Claire share unites goblins, demons and faerie queens; Paris, hawthorn trees and carriage horses; with wild girls who wear pointy boots and get black wings tatooed on their back. There is a secret language. Ca brava me seen arra? Who among us has the courage to do the right thing?

It tastes just as good the second time.

The Complete Fairy Tales by Oscar Wilde are bursts. Stabs. They hit my tongue like the darkest of chocolates. Less than a single square is plenty. A nightingale presses a thorn to its breast for the blood red rose discarded in a gutter. SIGH. Don't we all know.

Leaf Storm is altogether different. Perhaps the best salad made from the fresh greens and herbs they grow down the road at Tolstoy's Farm. Why not?

The boy, Isabel, the colonel, and Meme provide slivers of Macondo. Slices of tomato.

So who is that crazy man just eating grass?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The world is atwitter with magical realism...

I am going to eat more, I decide. I am going to let myself sit at the table where "the mysterious quality of reality" (Bowers, 2004) is acknowledged. It's often the things that I live, breathe, smell, know, yet cannot touch or see, that sustain me. They fill me up. They make whatever fights within me know peace.

I discover I am not alone.

Film critics are musing about Beasts of The Southern Wild, and whether the decline of a superpower has forced a retreat to our imaginations.

The patron saint of subjective experience has returned, and the imagination is ready to run riot.
As if this might be a bad thing. Perhaps even a failure. Or comeuppance. But I know better. It is a greeting. It as an embrace. It is a coming home.

Like me, the world is starving, and it is what we imagine that will feed us.

Because imagination is the seed, the font, the alpha, the thing that regenerates, renews, and births hope. The mechanism of change. The vital essence of humanity.

And if there has been a failure, then it has been that we have not imagined enough...

Illialei, Tyrannis, the Great White Sea, these are some of the places where imagination dwells in my world. And the war fought there, will determine whether imagination survives in ours.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I am starving ...

I open Leaf Storm, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my heart kind of flutters.

I am starving.

After decades of denying myself the power of story, I am reading more and more these days. The stories are waking up something essential. But this essential thing has been asleep for a very long time--maybe since the day I was born—so its sound is faint, easier to feel than hear. I vow not to read anything that can’t spark the “I have to read that” sensation within. There are too many books, and not enough time. Leaf Storm has been sitting on my coffee table, forever. Patient.

When I write, what I read influences me tremendously. I am aware of this, so I try to be careful about what I read when I am writing. It will inevitably seep through, the good and the bad.

But as I said, I am starving, so I open Leaf Storm and read:

Suddenly, as if a whirlwind had set down roots in the center of town, the banana company arrived, pursued by the leaf storm. A whirling leaf storm had been stirred up, formed out of the human and material dregs of other towns …

In the midst of that blizzard, the tempest of unknown faces ... we were the outsiders, the newcomers … we knew that the leaf storm was sure to come someday, but we did not count on its drive. So when we felt the avalanche arrive, the only thing we could do was set a plate with a knife and fork behind the door and sit patiently waiting for the newcomers to get to know us …