Yes, I Have No Bananas

 Yes, I have no bananas, I have no bananas today, neither on my word-writin’ desk:


(Everybody say Oooooooooooooo)…and neither on my picture-making desk:


(Everybody say Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh). As clear as my desks are is as clear as my mind is. Nary a banana in sight. I am still getting used to the feeling of having no bananas, but all I can say is, I’ve never liked bananas and I can’t even stand the smell of bananas and I will gladly spend the rest of my life never eating bananas, so I am indescribably happy that I have not one, none, zip, zilch, no bananas today. Or ever!!

OK, enough with the banana metaphor. But everything I said holds true for real bananas. Simply can’t stand them.

I think I might have shown my Dear Readers the cover of the Chinese language version of my last book, Le Road Trip, when it came out in 2014:


WELL. Yesterday I got a surprise packet in the mail, from my publishers at Bloomsbury, that contained a dozen copies of ANOTHER Chinese language version of Le Road Trip:


I think this cover is very jaunty, in that I love the design but I am puzzled by the images that were selected to go on the cover. I mean, except for the wine glass, and the rather fetching self-portrait of me and Top Cat, do any of these images scream “FRANCE” to you? Yeah, me neither.

I am also curious as to why there is a new Chinese language version, because there was no note or letter enclosed with these copies. But that’s just par for the course.

Here is where I tell you all another insider anecdote about publishing: in finalizing the business stuff of the Damn Garden Book last month — LAST MONTH — I happened to notice a quirk in the paperwork that led me to ask of my publisher, “Where’s the copyright to Le Road Trip?”  Ha ha ha hahahahaha. Turns out that Bloomsbury, who published Le Road Trip on 2012, had never secured the copyright!!! OH, my, how I laughed and laughed at this delightful breech breach of contract! Yes indeed, I am exactly the kind of easy going, week-end, hobbyist for fun, trust-fund writer who would find this terribly, terribly amusing.

Actually, I was pissed. Capital P PISSED. But my agent explained to me that publishers were stretched very thin these days, being as print is a dying business, and it’s perfectly understandable that they would overlook such a minor detail as securing a copyright, which is just one of those pesky little things for which I give them 88% of every dollar earned from sales of Le Road Trip. What merriment, to know that I am part of an industry where such minor things as copyrights are, you know, just one of those things that people are too busy to deal with.

Oh well. The copyright to Le Road Trip is now done and got. And the Damn Garden Book is copyrighted as well, by the same people who send me Chinese language books with no update on what the hell is going on in China vis-a-vis a traveler’s journal of love and France.

Inhale, exhale. Peace unto me, Ommmmm, Om mani padme hum, as they say. As a matter of fact, when I want to get Zen here on the north shore of Long Island Sound I have just the place to go to and it’s not more than 4 miles from my house:


This, my darlings, is the labyrinth on the campus of C.W.Post college, made by students of the ceramics studio and installed sometime this century. I’m fuzzy on the details. Top Cat and I went there last night at the golden hour of 6:30 PM.


As you can see, walking the labyrinth at C.W.Post of a Summer evening is just about the most soothing venture there is, of a Summer evening. Ahhhhhhhh….the grounds are ever so serene:


And if you stroll down towards the horizon, lo and behold you come across a sunken garden…


…the likes of which are rarely seen outside of an Elizabethan courtyard:


Actually, many of the administration buildings of C.W.Post were built at the last turn of the century in painstaking imitation of Elizabethan structures (I hope I took pix of those structures that surround this adorable sunken knot garden):


In case you do not know, you can click on any image on this post and you will get a full-scale version (instead of these annoying tiny snaps)…


…and if you don’t get it at one click, just click again for the enlargement (this is for my Ma, who needs instructions in blog technology).


The finest thing about this sunken know garden is that, when you exit, you cross a brook with a small half-half-half moon bridge…


…which you might not notice has a weird box-like thing on raised feet (see foreground, left, above) which, I am happy to report, is a Winter shelter for the wandering campus CATS. I know!! How much do you love a college that cares for its feral felines in such a loving manner??? A lot a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot….

Further along the path, we cross the half-half-half moon bridge and espy yet more feline lodgings:


I zoomed to make sure yo wouldn’t miss it:


By the way, on your exit you must take a moment to behold the century-old Elm Tree that still thrives on the campus of C.W.Post:


That is one majestic, nobel, historic, monumental tree. This is the kind of Elm we lost to the Dutch Elm Disease blight of the last century, when America lost 75% of our 77 million Elm Trees from New England to Minnesota.

But I did not bring you to this garden just to show you how the evening light gilds every leaf it touches yadda yadda yadda. As much as I love the effect of evening gamma rays alighting upon topiary, this is not a garden that I can paint…as is, that is. This is the June Eve shot:


And this is the June Rainy Afternoon shot:


Same place, different atmospheric conditions. I don’t think I have to explain how the cloudy, dim light illuminates shapes and structures so much better than the clear romantic light of vespers. Here are more rainy day shots of the same sunken know garden:






If i were to paint this lovely sunken knot garden for your viewing pleasure, I would take the rainy day pix and, with my artistic license, add just a touch of June Vesper to make it glow just a tad. I mean, my desks look awfully lonely, and I don’t want to get out of practice, and I haven’t had a Work of Art Give Away for my darling readers this whole year…

…this won’t be a Triscuit. This will be more like a piece of Arnold Whole Grain slice of bread toast. If anybody is interested in watching me paint this C.W.Post sunken knot garden, please meet me back here next Friday.

No bananas will be eligible to win next week’s Toast Give Away.

Have a great weekend, Dear Readers.


17 Comments, RSS

  1. Casey

    Ooooooooooooo… I want to crawl into my computer and walk through that fabulous garden. And I want to watch you paint it even more!

  2. I love labyrinths and gardens and I especially love your painting lessons, so I’ll look forward to that! And three cheers on nailing out the copyright issues (a tad creepy), China’s oddly covered version and most of all, a clean desk! Time to really enjoy and play for a bit — long anticipated I’m sure — and well deserved! Happy week!

  3. Carol McClure

    would you be mad at me for pointing out that it’s breach rather than breech? Especially in the midst of all this lovely photography on offer? Yes, I am one of those annoying people- a sad affliction….UNLESS what you meant was that discovering that the copyright had not been obtained was akin to the pain of a breech birth…now that I get.

    • Vivian

      Carol, you are not at all annoying. In fact, you are my people — don’t get me started on the proper use of “prior”. It IS NOT a synonym for “previous”! It’s NOT it’s NOT it’s NOT!!!

      In our lovely nuance-based English language, word choice is IMPORTANT. Mark Twain said : The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

      “Breech” is the lightning bug version of “breach”. Thank you for alerting me!

  4. Alicia

    I and all Minions gladly go “Oooooooooooooooooooo.”

    For some reason I almost like the clean desk shots more than the gardens pictures, probably because I lust after a desk top so organized and shiny it seems to have a mirror surface. You should see the mess I work in every day, just can’t get on top of the paperwork!!!

    If you could put your painting on video, I would watch it every day after work. It would be my new, non-alcoholic mood enhancing cocktail.

  5. Joan

    Yes, you have no bananas today is perfectly OK with this loyal reader of your blog. You deserve a vacay from the cray-cray ( I just learned yesterday this is short for crazy! Huh? It’s longer) book deadline issues and have offered us a lovely garden tour on the Island of Long. It’s so calm and peaceful.

    What? No copyright on the France book? It seems like a very flimsy excuse for not obtaining it. They’re publishers for Cripe’s (or is it Cripe?) sake. I’m glad they finally got around to getting copyrights for both books. Sheesh.

    I can hardly wait to see what you come up with next week. It will be as big as a piece of toast? Is this to buck the Triscuit issue or a new size for La Vivian?

    Wishing you many Zen moments until next week.

  6. Of course we want you to paint the sunken garden and show us how you work your magic!

    Love the garden pictures – what a great place for an evening walk. Loved enlarging and seeing all the detail in the brickwork (love the bench) and the filigree on the house. Even spotted a little birdie on the wall!

    Happy Friday!

  7. Barbara L

    I’m so glad that clean desk begs for a new painting. I do enjoy watching your paintings develop. Meanwhile, breathe and enjoy the freedom from deadlines.

  8. Maryanne in SC

    Dear Vivian, I was hoping there would be a post from you today, even though you would be justified in skippnig, exhausted from finalizing DGB and recovering from ortho surgery. So THANKS for being here.

    It’s been hot and not just a bit horrible here in the Palmetto State lately (though the beauty of the human heart has shone through again and again), so I’m especially grateful to escape for a moment in your rainy day and vesper light pix.

    Let it rain. XOXO

  9. bunny

    Pick me, Pick me!!! Your blog today, reminds me very much of your first beautiful memoir “when Wanderers Cease to Roam”, in that you have found a little shangri-La in your own back yard…And, it doesn’t look like there are many people there now, although I’m sure, a college like that, has many people on the campus at various times. Its nice to see such beauty, and desolation.
    Hope June is busting out for all your readers!

  10. Megan

    Those clean and tidy desks look great and a bit unsettling. Occasionally my desk looks like that but it never lasts. Congratulations on getting everything finalised. Love the photos of the greenery and the cat habitats, how fabulous. Hello Taffy!!

  11. Mary

    Arnold Bread ! Now,THAT’S a picture!

    Please put me on the list of loyal readers who pines for your gems,( besides the great
    ChrisHanuKwanSolstice season card I got in 2014.)

    I had to go get the card to remind me the name.
    Love your work .

  12. Deborah S. Farrell

    I thought I was the only person in the world who didn’t like bananas! (Except I like banana bread, for some reason.)

    I found myself imagining painting that sunken garden. I almost never imagine painting a scene since my dogs could paint better than I can. I think my imagining painting it is a ringing endorsement for the need to see it painted.

    I know the gray days make colors & shapes pop, but enough is too much. I am sick of rain. I long for light-flattened landscapes for several days in a row.

  13. No to bananas (they hurt my stomach). Yes to banana bread (it’s bread, right?) Yes to clean desks! Huzzah! And yes oh yes to painting the delightful garden on the campus of cat-compassionate collegians. What a peaceful journey you provided in such a crazy-busy week. Cannot wait to see what you do next!

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