Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

Keyboard

For the last few months I have been going through boxes I had in storage, some for almost two decades. One of the boxes I found had some music in it and I have started playing the piano again, a little. 

Rodgers and Hart. Jerome Kern. Sigmund Romberg. I am not that old (quite),  but it is my period, musically. At heart I am a balladeer.

I was never a very good musician and I am much worse now. The piano belonged to my grandmother Daisy. She was amazing, could play anything by ear alone, an early compensation for her blindness in later life.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Piano.jpg

I did not inherit my grandmother's talent. Nor my grandfather's talent with the violin. Nor my father's ability to harmonize. I did inherit my mother's talent for listening, and enjoying.

Playing again, whatever the quality, has brought some of the joy back. For one, it's a good break from that other imperious keyboard. And it's nice to know we can rediscover at any age.

Now I wonder what is in the next box.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
The joy of that era is wonderfully infectious. I love it. And, as vintage years approach, find I prefer those shows, musicals and ... Read More
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:12
Stephen Evans
Or to put it another way: the music in the head is better than the music from the hands. ... Read More
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 15:34
Sue Martin Glasco
Stephen, I understood this completely. That is how I feel about art. I so wanted to have artistic talent, but didn't. Finally, ... Read More
Thursday, 02 October 2014 02:33
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6 Comments

Faulkner's Birthday

In honor of William Faulkner's birthday, here is the first line of Absalom Absalom:

 

From a little after two o'clock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that – a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that sight and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

 

and a link to his Nobel prize speech:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

 

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
The Sound and the Fury has been on my shelf for three decades or more, but I've never got round to reading it, or any of Faulkner'... Read More
Friday, 26 September 2014 15:41
Stephen Evans
Faulkner is a taste not easily acquired; the prose is only difficult at first, though some of his shorter novels such as The Old M... Read More
Friday, 26 September 2014 19:06
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My Mother's Angels

My mother collected angels. She found and brought them home from all over. Now that she has passed, I have been trying to decide what to do with them.

 

Some at least I will keep: the brass candle holders she bought in Mexico, and definitely the musical one that chimes Hark the Herald Angels Sing when you wind it. 

I was not healthy as a child, asthma that kept me indoors for weeks, whole months of school missed, severe bouts of pneumonia. During these, according to my father, there were times when he did not think I would make it. I don’t remember that.

But I do remember my mother sitting with me through the night, night after night, as I struggled  to breathe, vaporizer on full blast, cooling my fever and reading to me to keep me calm and entertained. Most clearly I remember her reading Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, doing all the voices perfectly: sincere Pooh, gloomy Eeyore, frantic Piglet, confident Owl, and a Christopher Robin that sounded a bit like me. I still hear her voice when I read them. And I still read them to hear her voice.

So some of the angels I think I will let go, in the hope that they may carry into the world the gifts that she gave me. The gift of presence. The gift of care. The gift of example. The gift of knowing every day that you are loved. If anyone can carry these gifts, it will be my mother’s angels.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Heartwarming post, Steve. Angels that are touchstones and angels that are emissaries... I have always believed that, irrespective... Read More
Thursday, 18 September 2014 18:40
Stephen Evans
Set out as they are, they almost seem a choir.
Thursday, 18 September 2014 22:33
Former Member
I really love this, Stephen. Very strangely coincidentally, I had chosen an excerpt from my short story Mater Amabilis (which all ... Read More
Thursday, 18 September 2014 18:52
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Ten Greatest Science Fiction Novels

By greatest, I suppose I mean the highest achievement in both imaginative scope and literary execution. If you prefer, you could replace the word greatest with favorite and you would still be accurate. 

Here are my choices: 

Childhood’s End – Arthur Clarke

Dune – Frank Herbert

Stranger in a Strange Land  - Robert Heinlein

A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller Jr.

20,000 Leagues under the Sea – Jules Verne

City - Clifford D. Simak

Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delaney

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula LeGuin

The End of Eternity  – Isaac Azimov

 To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Phillip Jose Farmer

 

Note: I have included only books I have read (usually many times). I have arbitrarily excluded such excellent series as the Lensman series by E.E. Doc Smith, the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and the Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis, though I have included the first book of the Riverworld series because I feel it can stand alone. I have also excluded excellent novels that I consider primarily social critiques such as Slaughterhouse-5, 1984,  Fahrenheit 451, A Clockwork Orange, and books I considered primarily fantasy. I have also generally excluded linked stories – though you could argue both City and Childhood’s End would qualify (I don’t). 

 

So that's my list. What's yours? If you don't have one, this may be a good place to start exploring.

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Latest Comments

Ken Hartke Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
Thanks, Rosy, -- glad you liked it.
Ken Hartke I Promise
20 May 2018
I am so looking forward to your return -- I love your writing and wish you well. From my youth I've...
Stephen Evans I Promise
20 May 2018
Sometimes when I am dealing with deep anxiety I find that work (by which I mean writing), and the f...
Rosy Cole Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
I just love this, Ken. As appealing to the senses as a painting. Thanks :-)

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