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  • elizabethvstarkey

Snapshot of my nightstand

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

This is not staged. Ok, I did take away my earplugs. The rest is real. Including the dusty silk flowers my mother sent me years and years ago, but I can't seem to chuck out, and the charming little bowl for my earrings and the ever growing pile of books. Yes, let's discuss the books on my nightstand...

Kathering Rundell's Wolf Wilder is beautiful. Feodora is my kind of girl. The snowy scenes and wolf wilderness make my fingers tingle. I love the scene when the kid rebels hide in the burnt-out castle and learn to fight. The villain, General Rakov is eerily unhinged. However, his uncanny habit of meeting Feo while she is alone, smacks of author puppetry. I also wonder why only the kids have the courage to rebel. Cruel, mad leaders with no political agenda wouldn't last long; there's always someone hungry enough to take their place.

Sally Mann's Hold Still is more than a photographic memoir. Her journey as photographer is intriguing, her family's history is bizarre, often terrible, her life in the public eye controversial, and her writing gripping. But it was her own insights into how she was shaped as an artist that really caught me. I've long suspected that parental neglect in childhood breeds creativity. Mann wishes her parents had given her more creative support, yet she didn't do so badly. I too had feral childhood, and similar to Mann haven't yet found the courage to consciously impose this on my own children. Perhaps I should listen to all those NYTimes pieces on the merits of relentless boredom, and let our kids fight their way through the holidays.

My father sent me Andrew Gimson's Kings & Queens, Brief LIves of the Monarchs since 1066 for my birthday. I'm waiting for the right moment to open it. I'm worried it's going to feel like homework as I'm shaky on my Kings and Queens. I wouldn't want to insult anyone and risk being beheaded. That said, I loved Mike Bartlett's recent play, King Charles III. The play pivots around the question of British Sovereignty. What if today's Monarchy became political? Is Britain ready for another civil war? Or do we prefer to restore the status quo, not with a sword, but with a pen?

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