Friday, July 25, 2008

The Scent of Good Books

I was wondering what I should wear to the Especial-Tea, so I browsed through my cyber closet and found just the thing! Since I can be a size 8 for the party, if I'd like to, this will be just perfect. I'll be looking for shoes and a hat as well. I can wear any size shoes for the occasion, so sky's the limit! So far, we are three for tea. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Several weeks ago I ordered The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham. It is a boxed set of 2 books printed in 1953. A day or two after I placed my order, Lavinia Ladyslipper ( I love that name!) posted a picture of the same set of books as she wandered about trying to decide what to do on a rainy evening!

It is such fun to see how many of our blogger friends have similar interests. The (correct) order finally arrived yesterday from an independent dealer. They are in wonderful condition. Just a little wear on the box, as the seller advised. Although I've read many of Maugham's short stories, there are several in this set of books that I have not, and many that I have read - and will read again - several times. These are wonderful quiet evening, or rainy day books. They have that wonderful old book smell. A musty mixture of oak bookcase and city library with a hint of Earl Grey. I love the way he writes. He is often very droll. And always very English. A very traveled and observant English. You are reading along with no hint of humor and then there it is. Here is an example from a story in Volume 2 called "A Woman of Fifty":

"Laura has money, Wyman went on. "when they married she furnished the house from cellar to attic in Chicago. It's quite a show place; it's a little masterpiece of hideousness and vulgarity. I never go into the living-room without marvelling at the unerring taste with which she picked out exactly what you'd expect to find in the bridal suite of a second-class hotel in Atlantic City."

Love it.

Although my horoscope said I would run into several unusual people today, I did not. I was really counting on that so I could tell you all about them. Instead, I will leave you with my poem about weekends:

Conflict of Interests

It is difficult to write poetry
On weekends on Florida
House guests sleep soundly
In rooms scattered with sun-block and swimsuits

Their children issue forth, clear-eyed at dawn
Not for the words I attempt to write on tranquil mornings,
But for ALPA-BITS poured into a bowl
In no particular order

My dog, until now
A puddle at my feet rises
Ready to lap up fallen vowels and consonants

Soon children are perched all about me
Eating upper case letters punctuated with sliced bananas
And sipping milk from bright plastic mugs
While unwritten verses slip away
Like hummingbirds from my garden

The fleeting dawn turns into day
Illuminating the lanai in prosaic disarray
Chairs strewn about to catch yesterday’s rays
Tabletops brimming
Pool in need of skimming
Damp towels smother the last of my musings
And turn my thoughts to the practical

Cynthia Ann Conciatu 1996

1997 Welaka Humorous Verse Award,
Florida State Poets Association


Poetikat said...

First, the poem. It is wonderful! I love the image of the dog snatching at alpha-bits. I began to ponder if there was a companion-piece from the winter-time with alphabet soup?

I shall have to find something suitable to wear to the party. Have you ever seen The House of Elliot? I fancy anything that Evie or Beatrice created would be ideal. I especially love fancy hats!


MuseSwings said...

Thank you! I'm pleased that you enjoyed the poem. I'll have to work on the soup idea. It sound's interesting.

I stopped at several sites last night. I may have seen the House of Elliot - but I'll check it out. I wouldn't want to miss it. I still have to accessorize.

willow said...

Hello! Thanks for stopping by Willow Manor today! Yes, I can imagine Nancy Reagan in tap shoes, too...teehee! Your blog is lovely and I was pleasantly surprised to see my little manor listed on your blogroll.

Have a wonderful weekend ~ Willow

Poetikat said...

Oh, Cynthia, I should have been clearer. The House of Eliot was a BBC series about two Edwardian fashion designer-sisters. The clothes were to die for!


Stanley said...

Cool! I feel so left behind in the technological age.....I have yet to try online shopping =)

Btw, thanks alot for dropping by my site. I'm always grateful to get new and meet new reader! And I see that you've linked me up. I'll reciprocate that =)

MuseSwings said...

Willow, Thank you for coming by to visit with me as well! I'll be coming over to Willow Manor again. I enjoyed my stay there!

MuseSwings said...

Stanley, good to see you over here at Muse Swings. It's probably best if you are not shopping on line. It can get a bit dangerous. It's so easy to just click a few times and then watch your bank acount sink into the sunset.

MuseSwings said...

Poeticat: Doh! I watch the BBC channel now and again, but have missed that program. I'm usually watching something highly educational - like Monty Python, ABFAB or Father Ted. :)

Poetikat said...

We love Father Ted, in this house! We've got the complete collection on dvd and throw it in every once in a while when we need a good laugh.
Oh great! Now I'm going to have "My Lovely Horse" in my head again.

My favourite episode is the Nazi one.


Sweet Repose said...

Thanks for stopping by, this poetic thing is new to me, although always in my over-active imagination, I was prompted to write it down by Gemma, Greyscale Territory. She has awakened in me a new voice, but as an artist, that is usually not a problem. I moved back to Iowa from Lake Placid 2 years ago, so your poem makes me homesick for the smell of the salt air. I am learning and loving my words newly set in motion and being single, I can say them anytime I want, unabashed.

I'll be back,

MuseSwings said...

PoetiKat, The Nazi Episode - that one was a scream! My son has the entire collection, so we get to watch them any time we feel the need for something intellectual. My favorite is the one where they convince the Cardinal that his likeness is on the floor molding.
I see you have excellent taste as well.

MuseSwings said...

Sweet Repose,

Thank you for visiting! Learning and loving your own words is a wonderful thing. I'll stop by again, soon!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Okay, officially I am excited about the tea party. I can wear a size 8 dress. Fabulous darling. I can't wait. I have so many things to get ready. You know I will be going on a little vacation to Indiana on that day so I must get all my tea party items together. I think I will be looking for a beautiful big hat. One with a floppy rim. I'm, of course, going to lose about 100 lbs. by then. I enjoyed your poem. I hadn't thought about Alpha-bits in ages. Very good writing. love ya, Trish

LL said...

You've hit upon one of my favourite scents...old books. As long as they are not musty! But eau de Earl Grey is quite acceptable...

I like your tea gown. I never knew you and Zsa Zsa Gabor shopped at the same store!

As for Somerset Maugham, yippee, now we have the same bookset!!! It's fantastic! You must read the Three Fat Ladies of Antibes...its so funny.

Now finally, your poem. I really like this because I can recall eating alphabits and part of the fun was floating letters in a row to form a word, like "dummy" and then show the bowl to my brother while saying "hey look, I found your name here!"