Aug. 13, 2008

The Origin of Myth

by Ed Ochester

That summer I was drinking
apple cider vinegar because I read
in an obscure book it was good
for my health. A tablespoon or two
in a glass of spring water, with a bit
of honey or raw sugar. Controls weight,
the book said, flushes harmful toxins
from joints, tissues and organs.
"Doctor George Blodgett drank it
every day, and remained vigorous
until his death at age 94"
One reads
and perhaps believes almost anything
when one has lived alone for a while.
I felt good, doing it, though perhaps
that was because I walked on the beach
every day, swam, then walked again,
collected beach glass smoothed by the waves.
Pale blue and green, like solidified air,
dark green like emeralds, very rarely
sapphire blue and once a tiny piece
of red round as the pupil of an eye.
No one was on the beach because it was
September, and I had a white cabin
to myself. I swam and walked and read
and ate sparingly. I had come there
to be alone, and to think things through.
Every morning I drank my vinegar.
I read that the soldier who gave Jesus
vinegar on a sponge did so not in mockery
but in pity, to offer a restorative.
After a week I set the "red eye" on my desk
so we could watch one another. At dusk
the mist far out over the water looked like
distant hills, and I understood how
an earlier inhabitant might have thought
these were mountains that rose at nightfall
and disappeared with the dawn.

"The Origin of Myth" by Ed Ochester from Unreconstructed: Poems Selected and New. © Autumn House Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, born in London (1899), the "Master of Suspense." He directed many films, including Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), and Psycho (1960).

He was shy, quiet, and he spent a lot of his childhood alone, making up games. He tried to ride every bus line in the city at least once, and he often watched trials at the local courthouse.

He was close to his mother. Every night, he had an evening confession. Before he went to sleep, he stood at the foot of his mother's bed and told her everything he had done that day. He did it every night, even when he was an adult and had his first job.

His first big success was The Lodger (1926), a movie about Jack the Ripper.

Hitchcock believed that filmmaking is primarily a visual art, and he tried to tell stories through images instead of dialogue. He said that drawing the storyboard was the real work of making a film.

He said, "Some films are slices of life. Mine are slices of cake."

It's the birthday of Mexican-American writer Anita Brenner, (books by this author) born in Aguascalientes, Mexico (1905), the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant and a Chicago woman. The Mexican Revolution began in 1910, when she was five, and afterward her parents left Mexico. Her first book, Idols behind Altars, was about Mexican art. In 1943, she published a photo-illustrated history of the Mexican Revolution, The Wind That Swept Mexico.

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