OG; In advance I wish you a very happy birthday, if I can do so without breaking conventions and superstitions involving invoking bad luck or misfortune.
Clearly we miss our old pal Roger to check in and tell us about the latest events concerning the cat, the grandchildren and offer his general musings.
The years whizz by but somehow events from many years ago often seem to be more present to me than the present moment.
I remember from a very young age that when we turned on that rather new appliance called a television set, a certain old and haggard, gaunt lady appeared or was discussed, in many broadcasts but at the time I didn't realize that she had died the same year I was born. A fact I only looked it up very recently and was somewhat surprised by. This tells me something about the cultural impact on society of that person. These days I think that that person is slowly fading into history's haze of obscurity, perhaps already reassessed in some part due to her biography, written by Judith Thurman.
The title of the book reveals the subject of the biography and the gaunt old lady I mentioned: Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller.
Now, I've never, ever been interested in the literary body of work of Dinesen who may be best known for her novel Out of Africa and a short story tuned into an Oscar nominated -and winning move; Bebette's Feast
and I must admit to not having read the story nor watched the movies. I must also confess that I am not inclined to start reading her now. As an autoher she's simply not that interesting to me.
Knowing for at least six months prior that I would be attending a birthday party in the family and staying over in a hotel right next to the old residence of Dinesen, I read the biography, - including a biography on her younger brother Tommy who incidentally won the VC in WW1. I watched a few documentaries and visited the residence; Rungstedlund, early June. The outside walls were sadly covered due to renovation. Since Dinesen's death the building has been left unchanged as a museum
to it's last resident and the garden and woods were open also to non-paying visitors.
Personally, I think her father who was a captain in the Danish army during the greatest crisis to the country in the 19th century - the disastrous war in 1864 - and the aforementioned brother are far more interesting than Blixen.Sadly, to my knowledge the books by Tom Buk-Swienty
covering these subjects are not available in english, except "1864"
The Captain lived in Vermont I think it was, for some years living a very basic life as hunter among the natives.
Well, the birthday party was certainly very good and it was comforting to know that I can still hold my cocktails like a champion, and talk with the younger people. The only set with which I was conversationally challenged, was with the birthday boys cousins, over from the mainland and stout and quiet of character and disposition. Ask them a fairly open question and they would politely answer it with an admirable economy of words, and they would very rarely initiate a conversation themselves, except when asking;
"So tell me, just WHO are you?"
And That's What Happened.