June's Literary Blog

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Watch the Birdies

I'm a grandma!

Let me explain...

About three weeks ago, two robins, whom I named Mabel and Matthew, took up residence in the middle of a hanging pot of geraniums on my terrace and began building a nest in the middle of the plants. I noticed them when Sebastian was balancing precariously on the railing, sticking his nose into where it shouldn't belong. I chased him off, reached into the pot to check the moisture level of the soil, and felt stiffly woven twigs. Sure enough, a nest was being built. For the next few days, I watched two robins flying back and forth from the trees to the pot carefully constructing their new home. A week later, there were two fairly large blue robin eggs in the new nest.

How brave of Mabel to lay them so close to the French doors through which I can easily see her, right in the middle of my cat's domain. To allay any fears she and Matthew might have, I've been keeping Sebastian, much to his annoyance and chagrin, indoors and stuffing pieces of apple into the pot chain. They've been eating the wedges and, much to my amused amazement, have come to expect them, patiently waiting and watching each evening on the railing as I restock their supply.

On Monday afternoon, as I was adding more pieces, Mabel and Matthew were no where to be found. Yet, I noticed a stirring in the nest. A small, fuzzy, orange beaked head peeked over the edge of the nest and winked at me. And then another small head appeared alongside, chirping loudly. The eggs had probably hatched sometime Sunday night. Thus, I became the surrogate grandmother of two bouncing baby birds, now safely nestled in the middle of the nest, swinging away in the gentle, almost unbearably hot breezes. I've named the fledglings Christopher and Round, the latter being a chubby, chunkier version of his sibling.

Needless to say, it's been an interesting, albeit somewhat quiet past two weeks. With the intense heat, I've been staying indoors, doing "nothing" more than watching the birdies as well as the day-long telecasts of The Championships at Wimbledon. We are now into the final rounds with the men's semi-finals to be played tomorrow morning and the women's and men's finals scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Along with the intense tennis, the avian antics of Mabel, Matthew, Christopher, and Round are mesmerizing lessons both in zoology and human interaction with wildlife. A goodly part of my days, during commercials between games, have been spent watching the birdies. And, in the cooler part of the evening, after the day's tennis matches have ended, I feed the robins—keeping Sebastian off the deck as best I can, although he has learned not to bother the birds—eat a little dinner, and then take FrankieB for his long stroll around the neighborhood. Needless to say, I've also really not done a whole lot of reading. Although, I did finished the eleventh in the Elm Creek Quilts series of novels by Jennifer Chiaverini. But these are relatively simple plots and characters just complex enough to keep me sanguinely satiated at night before I drift off to sleep.

Yes, I admit, I've been much lazier lately than I usually have been, but it's just too darn hot to do much of anything else, except crank up the air and try to stay cool. After all, isn't that what summer (and retirement) is really all about?

However, now that Wimbledon will all too soon be quickly over—and the fledglings will soon be adults, flying off to start their own lives and eventual families (will that make me an "empty-nester"?)—I've decided to revert back to my much more ambitions self. For one, I am now planning my reading and blogging list for this month. Here are a few of my anticipated picks:

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March, ©2012. This was just published on June 19th by Gallery Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, New York, NY. It's in paperback, but I downloaded the e-book version this morning and read the first few pages over breakfast. It looks like a light summer delight; triply so since Meryl Streep is my most favorite actor—she is so incredibly talented—we both share the same birthday, and I have seen—at least twice—just about all of her sixty-nine or so movies, narrations, and filmed plays beginning with her very first professional play and film debut in the 1978 PBS special presentation of Wendy Wasserman's Uncommon Woman and Others. Marchseems to be just as enamored of Streep as I am and this is, according to her dedication, her tribute to one of, if not the greatest actress of our time. I eagerly intend on reading this one in the next few days and blog about it soon. If you happen to read it before I do, please send me your comments and I'll include them in my posting.

The Tommyknockers  by Stephen King, ©1987. Last month, I found a really old, well-worn original paperback published by Signet Classics, New York, NY stashed behind my collection of later King novels. I remember reading the first few chapters, but nothing much else. I started it again last night, but was distracted by an incredible hour-long display of fireworks viewed through the trees. I'll probably get back to it later this afternoon, as I am once again hooked by yet another horrific thriller from the King(dom). Watch for a posting about this one in the near future.

Since I have "only" seven more Elm Creek Quilts novels to go, I intend on finishing them by the end of September, when number nineteen, The Giving Quilt, is released. I've pre-ordered it, plus three others to fill in the gaps of my neighbor Kathy's collection and have already received and read two of them and am waiting for the third, The Winding Ways Quilt to arrive. I doubt I'll blog about Chiaverini again this month, but will probably write another posting in the fall, if not before.

Nightwoods: A Novel  by Charles Frazier, ©2011. Published by Random House, New York, NY. Frazier wrote what was and still is in my mind the great American literary opera classic: Cold Mountain . His writing is so exceptionally lyrical and thought-provoking that I literally melt into his words and world. This is his third literary effort—his second was Thirteen Moons: A Novel , which I still have yet to read. While I have absolutely no idea what this third one is about, I anticipate enjoying the novel simply because Frazier wrote it. Maybe I'll read his last two books and, because he is an accomplished and important writer of literature in the truest sense of the word, will do an entry about Frazier and all of his works, not just one of his books.

While this list looks relatively short, it does pose auspiciously long, daunting tasks, especially since we are almost into the second week of July. I may get to all of the books; I may not. I may read and post about only a few while working on my other creative writing ventures—but I will certainly try. Not that any of this really seems like "work" to me. It's fun to write about the books and films that I have read and watched and how they affect my life.

It's even more fun reading all the comments and emails that you've been writing and sending. So, please keep them coming. They are evidence that we are all, literally, literary birds of a feather.

12:48 pm edt          Comments

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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Miss Elmira's Secret Treasure: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
Colonial Theatre: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Roarin' 20s 
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Columbia Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast


Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood



Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her sixth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,