Sunday, April 22, 2007

Eat me! Drink me!

The baby turns one on Friday--the reason that, once again, I won’t be attending the dazzling-sounding PEN World Writers Festival. Can it be two years since I heard Tsitsi Dangarembga speak? Sigh. Now, Tsitsi has a second novel out, The Book of Not only in England. I’ll try to get my hands on it in August when I’m in London. And Richard Nash kindly sent me the relaunched Transition which includes a story of hers and an interview, too. I read the interview--wonderful and moving about the struggles of writing in Zimbabwe, film school in Germany, and how the success of her first novel came when she’d already moved to film. This explains, in part, the years its taken for her to write the second, but, more generally, it’s a reminder of how contingent and random literary success can be. For Dangarembga, her success took just that much too long that she had embarked on a wholly new project before the waves of success washed back to her.

This year’s PEN festival looks as wonderful as ever. And Bud Parr has gathered a storied group of correspondents to party and cover events over at Metaxu Café. I’ll be watching from the sidelines in between slices of cake. Next year, when the baby is two, I anticipate a less action-packed celebration and may be able to fit in some PEN events alongside the familial festivities.

But turning one is a big. And, so, too, will be our celebrations. Grammy and Papa will be flying in from Seattle for a weekend full of fun. (Quiet and very local, but involving lots of very good food and bubbly, no doubt.) But, what to get the little girl who has everything?

I found her the best present ever!

Don’t tell the baby, but she’s got some very, very nice Alice in Wonderland dishes awaiting her on Friday. They’re from the British Library but I picked mine up in the New York Public Library gift shop, a great place for literary gifts. They have the original manuscript drawings and handwriting. The cup says “DRINK ME”; the plate says “The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts…” and the bowl says “The Marchioness! The Marchioness!...” They’ll go nicely with big sister’s Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit china.

(My sister points out the Virginia Woolf tea towel and asks if purchasing it might not mark a setback for global feminism. Hmm. Still, I'll probably pick one up when I'm in London. I'm a sucker for Woolf kitsch.)


brd said...

Feminists do dry dishes. They also use tea towels to check the oil. But not these particular tea towels.

Kagemusha said...

Funny, I found "The Book of Not" at a second hand bookstore here in the Cleveland area... just to let you know.

olufunke grace bankole: said...
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