Saturday, June 8, 2013

Butter to the rescue - further Gloria

Cover art from Josephine Tey's The Singing Sands, illustration by Harry Bliss.
Last night while sifting through books, a frequent activity here in the house of teetering piles, I was startled to see The Reading Man with a hat he would never have chosen looking back at me from the cover of a Josephine Tey mystery I read last year.  The lesson:  do not underestimate the power of an image to establish a base in the mind and begin sending out scouting parties to see what may be possible.  And here I thought he was, at least in part, my creation.  I admit the reading and Noel Coward are real.


If only life could be belled like a cat to let you know when it was about to pounce.  None of that soft creeping in kung fu shoes.  Had it not been for the children's nature program and the moments she paused to watch about Galapagos tortoises, Gloria might not have had the words and pictures so near to connect her unusual state of being mysteriously uncomfortable with sensing herself shell-less in an inhospitable clime.  The serenity she found in baking, a task she could begin in moments, felt as though a portion of the balance had been embezzled, leaving her with not quite enough.  Where there should have been the kitchen's morning calm, there seemed to be someone swinging the ferris wheel seat above her, behavior that made her nervous as a child, trouble to come signaled by the dropped flip-flop that usually bounced off her head on its way to the ground.  Gloria's aversion to crowds amid sawdust and forms of forced public hilarity had only grown over time.  What, she wondered, had drawn her to, as it was now called, the hospitality industry?  Oh, that's right, she thought, straightening her hair where the non-existent flip-flop had made its imaginary first landing, the magic born of effort and heat and butter and flour and sugar and eggs and the people who were, however mildly, transformed by eating them.  Of course.  The fragrance of anything being cooked with butter  is one of the greater (as opposed to lesser) spells, her discomfort enigma was, for now, gone.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

So the reading man looks like Alan Grant, but without the hat, or at least that hat. But yes, there he is tramping through the beach grass - good thing there are dry socks in the suitcase.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - Yes, there he was, a version of him not too far from my imagination, on the book's cover, some time-warp trickster having plonked a hat on his head. Thank goodness for the many dry socks. I hope your beach walks are especially pleasant these day. xo

Lisa H said...

This picture could have looked ominous. Weirdly, it does not. I want him to look up so that I can say:
"..... Oh hey, THERE you are....."

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - On the book jacket, I sensed our hero was safe, at least at that moment. I have no idea what awaits him. xo