Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine recounts his own adventure at their new home...
We got our piano moved in the day before we left for the West Coast. I played it in the old room at the end of the house and listened to the sound of the wide-plank hardwood floors and plaster walls and divided light windows built before the civil war. The piano sounded good, full of history. We can make music here. And then I walked out on the porch, and there, listening less than a foot away from the back door was a motionless, sprawled, five-and-a half-foot black snake with bands of brown diamonds. I cannot tell you the primal chord that this struck. I say five-and-a-half-feet, because he wasn't quite as tall as me.(Incidentally, he's the reason I found Annie Dillard. You just can't beat book recommendations by your favorite band.)
Luckily Karin was away and it took me three garden tools to dispose of the old fellow, and there I was apologizing while I killed him, and I had to write about the experience for most of the rest of the afternoon. I wrote the black snake the best poem I could write for ending his life. I hope it's a good poem.
My friend Brandon said that coexistence is an ideal that cannot always be realized. "If it hadn't been day three, and if he hadn't been a foot from the back door..."
"But the fact that he was listening to me play the piano, a sound he may not have heard all his life, a curious serenade coming from what would soon kill him..."
"I have to make this farm safe for my family, for the ones I love..."
Snakes get a bad rap. I'm really glad I didn't meet him while I was lying under the house in the crawl space, barely able to roll over on my own stomach. (Every plumber and electrician out here seems to have his own story about the snake in the crawl space. Our own electrician would sometimes send in his teenage daughter. She was fearless when it came to dark, unknown spaces and would run wire anywhere.)
There are powerful metaphors at work that make me secretly mourn his blood on my hands.
In other news...
Cowboy Junkies have announced the completion of a new album, Early 21st Century Blues. Margo writes,
After coming off the road in October we took a few months off to get reacquainted with our spouses, pets and children (not necessarily in that order). But once the snow began to pile-up we decided to get together in The Clubhouse for a few days of R&R and to play a little music. Lo and behold, by the time we emerged, a few days later, we had a brand new album. It is a document that we are all very proud of, even more so because it just snuck up on us. Initially we were just going to release it through our website, but theThere is also some additional information about the book that helped inspire "December Skies": The Wars by Timothy Findley. (Another song was inspired by Tennyson's poem, "The Passing of Arthur.")
reaction to it has been so strong that, in the next couple of months, it will find its way in to your favourite record shop ....But why wait! Starting today you can purchase it exclusively through our website (which is the best way to support the band).
Amardeep Singh shares some lovely anecdotes and photos of his recent trip to France. (With all the gorgeous snapshots, it was this one that totally made my day.)
David Fincher is slated to direct Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt in the other Fitzgerald adaptation. (Via Jeffrey Overstreet)
Another great interview with Chuck Palahniuk:
He seems like such a nice, well-balanced chap, I tell him, to have such peculiarly graphic fantasies, not at all the gleeful anarchist-come-nihilist described in book reviews. 'Well, Charlotte Brontë was probably called a nihilist and an anarchist,' he replies, sounding slightly pissed off that I have used the two words often thrown at him by reviewers who find his books adolescent and misanthropic. 'That is just lazy journalism. My books are always about somebody who is taken from aloneness and isolation - often elevated loneliness - to community. It may be a denigrated community that is filthy and poor, but they are not alone, they are with people. Typically, too, my characters make that Kierkegaardian leap of faith to commit themselves to one person. I write nothing,' he says without a trace of irony, 'but contemporary romances.'(Via Conversational Reading)