Cece Bell’s graphic novel El Deafo is a charming, insightful memoir that I didn’t want to end. El Deafo chronicles Bell’s early life from healthy infant, through her getting meningitis and navigating school and friendship after she became deaf. I learned a lot about the options in terms of hearing devices and how they were worn and how they made Bell feel awkward. I enjoyed all her memories of TV shows like x and y, slumber parties, and riding the school bus.
Friendship is a major theme in El Deafo and I could feel for Bell who had a hard time making friends. When she does find a friend, Laura, she’s put off by how bossy she is. Yet Laura doesn’t make a big deal out of Cece being deaf. Still the bossiness is hard to take. Later Cece meets Ginny, who loves all the same TV shows like Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons,
The title El Deafo comes from a superhero name Cece gives herself once she gets a new hearing device that lets her hear her teacher wherever she is in the building — in class, in the teachers’ lounge, in the restroom and this super power changes Cece’s status forever.
The story captures what it’s like to strive to find a friend in a challenging social landscape and enlightens readers on what it was like to experience hearing loss all of a sudden and how complicated it is to learn to cope with it. I highly recommend El Deafo as a book for all ages.
A Time to Talk
by Robert Frost
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
Much of the episode takes place in London, where Demelza and the two children just arrived. Ned is out of jail! But he needs to clear his name because he wasn’t exonerated, but just released it seems. Ross discovers that Ballentine, Ned’s former secretary just happens to be in London. If Ross can find Balletine, then Ned’s sure to be in the clear.
When Ned is in the mood for fun and he takes his wife Kitty to the Pleasure Garden. Ross and Demelza, Caroline and Dwight join them. As you’d expect the Kitty, who’s African American is insulted and stared at. Kitty defuses a confrontation and Ned & Co. leave.
Back in Cornwall, Tess, a new snakelike servant that Demelza has helped by giving her a job, is plotting to seduce Ross. She dreams of being the lady of the house. Prudie is on to her though.
George is amenable to signing a contract with a devil, i.e. Hanson, who’s made a fortune across the pond trading who-knows-what and who has no problem with the slave trade. The ghost of Elizabeth convinces George not to sign, making Uncle Cary hit the ceiling. This grief-induced madness is not funny.
Geoffrey Charles and Hanson’s daughter Cecily are getting cozy. Both are going back to Cornwall, where they’ll picnic on the beach, but this romance is headed for rocky shores as Cecily’s father wants her to marry the rich George.
Ross finds Ballentine and eventually convinces him to do the right thing. Ballentine writes a letter to state what a noble, just man Ned is. Ross discreetly circulates the letter. He wants to protect Ballentine. However, Demelza figures all and sundry should know how great Ned is. She gets Kitty and Caroline to help her hand out copies of the letter, which given that some very powerful people oppose Ned and make a lot of money off of the slave trade, endangers Ballentine and Ned.
Morwenna shows her maternal side when Valentine, who’s the spitting image of Ross, tells her how he expects his mother Elizabeth to return. She tries to sympathetically break the truth to the boy. Drake dreams of starting a family, but Morwenna recoils much as she’d like to oblige. She’s still traumatized by odious Ossy’s fetishes. One day . . . In fact my guess is that the series may end with Morwenna giving birth or at least getting pregnant.
An incredible futurist, Dwight spoke about mental illness and how criminals should not be held culpable when they’re not of sound mind. Caroline beams with pride at his lecture. A lawyer hears him and gets him to testify at the trial for the man accused of attempting to assassinate the King. This does not go down well with the elite.
The episode had plenty to like and characters who infuriated. George is still dangerous and Tess should be sent packing. Ross better not give in to her “charms.” Ross and Dwight champion justice. Cecily’s complex so I don’t know if she belongs with Geoffrey Charles, but she seems to.
Dwight’s ideas about insanity seem too modern for the era. The ghost of Elizabeth seems rather false, hard to buy, but I suppose the actress also had a five year contract, which doesn’t make much sense since if you read the books, you know she died.
Ballentine’s body washes up on the shore. That’s what you get for pointing a finger at the powerful.
Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I finished revising my play. Now I’ve got to market it more. I did send an email to a theater in Chicago where I have submitted the summary and other requested information last July. They say they need 6 months to consider whether they want to read the whole thing and I just wanted to cordially remind them in a that it’s been over 6 months. I also want to send this revised version to the theater that already asked for the full play. This version has fewer characters which makes a play more cost effective.
I volunteered as an Election Judge for last Tuesday’s Consolidated Election, i.e. the election for local jobs like village trustee. We had to help with the Monday evening set up, finish the set up on Tuesday at 5 a.m., manage the polling place and shut down. I was up at 3:45 a.m. and got home after 9. The team was great, very cooperative and friendly so that during our many lulls we could chat easily. We only had 53 voters all day (from 6 a.to 7 p.m.). There were just 19 early voters in our precinct of 703 registered voters. What a pity.
That long, long Tuesday threw my week off. Wednesday I slept late and had little energy. Still it’s a bit of extra money and it’s rewarding to help. The county has a hard time finding people to work the election.
One of my co-election judges works at a big garden center. I was interested to learn that they sell a special soil for marijuana. In Illinois, they’re considering legalizing pot, but now it’s just legal for medical usage. So it’s funny that this garden store, which caters to consumers sells this special soil.
My aunt had knee replacement surgery on Monday and I did visit her on Wednesday just before she was released. She was heading home, which is tough with the stairs at her house. A lot of people go to a rehab center for a few weeks. She’ll have in home therapy and nursing. I hope the therapy comes daily.
I’ve started watching the film Blow Up, but the main character’s so blasé and jaded that it’s hard to stay interested.
How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.
Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have gotten about 40% of the editing done on my play and I sent an email to the theater that I submitted the summary to in July. You’re supposed to hear if they want to read more within 6 months and there’s been no word. I should also see if there’s a contest for plays coming up.
I had coffee with a friend who just returned from visiting her sister in Arizona for 5 weeks. Her plan was t substitute teach there for a month. It was good to be with her sister, but the subbing was mostly one day gigs and she much prefers longer term assignments. We caught up on family and friends’ activities.
This Jussie Smollett situation really blew me away. I can’t believe the case was dropped and as a long time Chicago area native and Chicago history buff, I’ll say that there’s something fishy afoot and I hope that comes out. Kim Foxx has little courtroom experience and yet is managing those that do. She’s never tried a felony case, but got to be in charge of that system. It’s all connections. Now I regret agreeing to go take care of someone’s dog at noon, because I’d like to have gone down to the protest against these shenanigans. I’m not saying Smollett should go to jail, but he should either plead guilty or have presented his side while the State presents theirs and a judge or jury decides. What we have here is special, secretive treatment.
We’re in a cold snap. A lot of people are tired of winter. I’m not exactly. A couple years ago I realized that contrary to what I was told in kindergarten in these parts the seasons aren’t divided into quarters. Our spring is rather short. It sure doesn’t start in March, and often it doesn’t warm up till mid-April. So I don’t start wearing my spring jacket till the temperature’s get to the 60°s. I know I’ll get sick if I start going out underdressed. I’d rather peel off some layers than be too cold.
I started planning for next month’s book displays. A colleague invited me to help out with them. So I’ve picked a couple themes and am checking on which books fit the theme. My first idea was Microhistories, i.e. the history of just one thing, and I found we own a lot. We’ve got micro histories on salt, the number zero, color, bananas, Genghis Khan and many more. Now I’m searching for titles of books and films about rivalry. I’ve gotten (pairs of) books on Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, Matisse and Picasso, the film Amadeus. I’m looking for more rivals. Can you think of any? Fiction or non-fiction works.
I found Lucky Partners entertaining and fun. I saw Unplanned and that was hard to take. It’s not a pretty subject and it was a true story, but I didn’t need so much blood to get the point. I’m half way through Harold Lloyd’s talkie Cat’s Paw and while parts are outdated, it’s a delight.
How was your week? Can you think of any rivalries?
Though I can’t stand Japanese sweet bean paste, the movie Sweet Bean is another story. Loner Senato runs a snack shop in Tokyo where he makes and sells pancakes stuffed with sweet bean paste when one day Tokue, a cute old lady, comes along and begs for a job. She begs to for a job, but he’s sure at 76 she’s unable to do the lifting and hard work he needs.
When she comes by again bearing a batch of the most incredibly delicious sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted, he relents and hires her. The next morning she’s there at 4 am to make the beans replacing the canned glop used before. Soon there’s a line around the block for the snacks.
Wakana, a student whose single mom wants her to stop studying and get a job, is drawn to this pair of loners. She shows how wonderful friendship is with someone much older. She shares her dreams and memories with Tokue and keeps Sentaro on the right path regarding sticking up for Tokue.
In the midst of the business’ success, the shop’s meddling owner pops in and insists Sentaro fire Tokue because her knobbled hands are due to leporasy. She’s a health risk. She’s got to go.
The film goes into new territory and explores friendship, loyalty and isolation in a beautiful way. I loved this film. My only quibble is that I wanted to know what happens with Wakana. Even though I still can’t choke down a sweet bean pancake and highly recommend this movie.
Love and Friendship
by Emily Bronte
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree —
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most contantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who wil call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.
You smile upon your friend to-day
By A.E. Houseman
You smile upon your friend to-day,
To-day his ills are over;
You hearken to the lover’s say,
And happy is the lover.
’Tis late to hearken, late to smile,
But better late than never:
I shall have lived a little while
Before I die for ever.
Inviting a Friend to Supper
by Ben Jonson
Tonight, grave sir, both my poor house, and I
Do equally desire your company;
Not that we think us worthy such a guest,
But that your worth will dignify our feast
With those that come, whose grace may make that seem
Something, which else could hope for no esteem.
It is the fair acceptance, sir, creates
The entertainment perfect, not the cates.
Yet shall you have, to rectify your palate,
An olive, capers, or some better salad
Ushering the mutton; with a short-legged hen,
If we can get her, full of eggs, and then
Lemons, and wine for sauce; to these a cony
Is not to be despaired of, for our money;
And, though fowl now be scarce, yet there are clerks,
The sky not falling, think we may have larks.
I’ll tell you of more, and lie, so you will come:
Of partridge, pheasant, woodcock, of which some
May yet be there, and godwit, if we can;
Knat, rail, and ruff too. Howsoe’er, my man
Shall read a piece of Virgil, Tacitus,
Livy, or of some better book to us,
Of which we’ll speak our minds, amidst our meat;
And I’ll profess no verses to repeat.
To this, if ought appear which I not know of,
That will the pastry, not my paper, show of.
Digestive cheese and fruit there sure will be;
But that which most doth take my Muse and me,
Is a pure cup of rich Canary wine,
Which is the Mermaid’s now, but shall be mine;
Of which had Horace, or Anacreon tasted,
Their lives, as so their lines, till now had lasted.
Tobacco, nectar, or the Thespian spring,
Are all but Luther’s beer to this I sing.
Of this we will sup free, but moderately,
And we will have no Pooley, or Parrot by,
Nor shall our cups make any guilty men;
But, at our parting we will be as when
We innocently met. No simple word
That shall be uttered at our mirthful board,
Shall make us sad next morning or affright
The liberty that we’ll enjoy tonight.