Monday, December 26, 2016

A new beginning: "The Short Story Reader's Digest"

In “Most Die Young,” your story in this week’s issue, Julie, a young writer for a cultural magazine, stumbles across a topic that intersects with her life. The Pawong, a Malaysian tribe, instead of valuing bravery, celebrate fear and caution

The Borgias, led by patriarch Rodrigo, are a family of outsiders from Spain who try to take over control of Renaissance-era Italy. Through the  the use of bribery, extortion and torture, Rodrigo rises up the ranks to become pope. Two of Rodrigo's children are used as pawns by being married off to members of rival families at a young age. Vanozza, Rodrigo's long-time mistress and mother of his children, and Giulia Farnese battle for the elder Borgia's affections. The story of the Borgias has inspired such works as Machiavelli's political treatise "The Prince" and Mario Puzo's "The Godfather." House of Borgia

As for how Jordan envisioned The Borgias to end, “I wanted a totally biblical ending, for the pope to burn in hell,” he said. That is how he wrote the proposed two-hour finale, with the pope dying and no one willing to hear his confession. When they finally find a confessor and the pope starts to repent his sins, the confessor interrupts him, saying, “I’m sorry, it’s too late, you’re already dead and burning in hell.” “This satisfies all moral feelings about the pope,” Jordan said. He is now returning to movies, keeping up hope he could still make the proposed Borgias two-hour finale, maybe as a feature.

Filmed entirely on location in Budapest, The Borgias‘ final episode finds Alexander (Irons) and Cesare (François Arnaud) reconciled at last, and now ready to take their first step toward their ultimate goal: to create a hereditary kingdom across the heart of Italy. Co-starring in the series, a Canadian-Irish-Hungarian Treaty co-production, are Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, Sean Harris, Thure Lindhart, Gina McKee, Peter Sullivan, Julian Bleach and Colm Feore. Jordan serves as executive producer, writer and director of select episodes. The third season is also executive produced by Jack Rapke, Darryl Frank, John Weber, Sheila Hockin and James Flynn. The Borgias so far has earned Irons a Golden Globe nomination and a series total of 10 Emmy nominations, earning two awards in its second season for Outstanding Costumes and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.


A new beginning: "The Short Story Reader's Digest"

I have been blogging about literature for several years, and -- much to the 
consternation of a few people -- I have deleted some of my blogs in recent months, but now against all odds, though with the encouragement of friends and family, and in response to a gift from my wife, I am turning the page on the past and attempting another new blog with a different focus and a special commitment.

This new blog is where I hope to read, review, and discuss short stories written by masters: Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Turgenev, Chekhov, Maupassant, James, Hemingway, Welty, Joyce, Anderson, Fitzgerald, O'Connor, Chesterton, Doyle, and many others. 

Because of the many limitations upon my time, abilities, attentions, and energies, the scope of the blog must be limited, so I will restrict my weekly schedule to reading one or two stories (announced to you in advance) and writing one or two new postings.

My "reading syllabus" begins with some selections recommended by Harold Bloom in his book, which I recommend, How to Read and Why (Scribner, 2000):

The first selections -- which I will read in order -- are as follows:

Turgenev's "Bezhin Lea" and "Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands"
Chekhov's "The Kiss," "The Student," and "The Lady with the Dog"
Maupassant's "Madame Tellier's Establishment" and "The Horla"

I cordially invite you to read along and join the discussions.

Perhaps you will help me begin this new blogging experience; please tell me a little bit about your favorite short stories

I was walking along the street in downtown Portland, when I was startled to see a piano placed in a park. There it was, a piano in a park. How strange, I thought.

Then a couple of days later my wife and I drove out to a park at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. And once again, there was a piano sitting all by itself in the park.

On further investigation I discovered a program, “Piano! Push. Play”. that rescues old pianos and puts them on the street or park for everyone to enjoy. They’ve been doing this for the past four summers.