[Book Nerd Links] Vita Sackville-West, J.J. Phillips, Gerda Taro and Natasja Sadi

Vita Sackville-West (circa 1926)

Daily Diversion #446: Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake

My momma’s birthday is today! We celebrated it last night with a tasty meal at home. I try to make those I love a special dessert for their special day. Our resources and mobility are limited these days, obviously. Because of this, I needed to make something with ingredients I had at home. I decided that it was finally time to make Emily Dickinson’s coconut cake. It’s been on my radar for at least 12 years. No joke. 

Emily’s handwritten recipe

I used this post as my guide. Like that blogger, I mixed the cake by hand. 

Since this was for my mom’s birthday, I embellished the cake a bit by adding a blueberry glaze* before topping it with walnuts and confectioners’ sugar. 

Birthday cake

The cake itself is moist, flavorful, and not overly sweet. Perfect with a cup of tea. 

**

*For the glaze, I added approximately 3/4 cup blueberries and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar to a blender and mixed it until it was smooth. 

**

“Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them.”–Emily Dickinson

Happy birthday, mom! I love you.

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I hope you are all well during these difficult, uncertain times. Have a great weekend.

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Ngaio Marsh

“Elegance is elimination.”–Balenciaga

Ngaio Marsh by Henry Herbert Clifford (1935).

This 85-year-old photograph of New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh proves that elegance, coziness, and individuality can be as stylish as anything out of the pages of a 21st-century fashion magazine.

Embellishments are minimal: an eccentric shoulder, a few buttons, an indifferently tilted hat, a bit of pattern and texture here or there. 

Clean lines. Confidence. 

She is, more than anything, mysterious.

How appropriate.

[Book Nerd Links] Welty, Beckett, Heaney, Wharton, and Lefteri

Eudora Welty

Ajar is a sacred word by Alicia Austen (MY FRONT DOOR Series)

My poem is featured on Silver Birch Press! Check it out.

Silver Birch Press

AustenDoorAjar is a sacred word
by Alicia Austen

Ajar is
a sacred word
now
that it is necessary to be noncommittal

Houses stand
erect and
old
shut like
fists
except
where breezes enter through open orifices
and private sounds
escape
above empty sidewalks

Looking out
from my armored entry,
I close my eyes
in order to picture what I do not see—
people walking past
wheels moving
a mass of
artificial
colors
flickering in sunlight

Is this why we–
periodically–
consecrate the mundane?
Does strife
imbue it
with special powers
until
it shines like
molten wax?

If a neighborhood is an entity—
silence anarchy—
what is humanity,
but a movie projected at the wrong speed
one step ahead
or
behind
reality

AustenNOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write things as I see them, which means avoiding the literal at all costs while embracing oddness, layers, and complexity. My goal is to…

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Bookstagram and Other Things

As some of you know, my mom is opening a business…and it’s a family affair. Austen & Company is many parts that we hope will make a cohesive, if quirky, whole: Tea and tea accessories, coffee, desserts, books, art, events, curiosities, import snacks, and cocktails. Whew, that’s a lot!

We’re not open yet, but, this being 2020, Austen & Company is already on social media. Both our Instagram and Facebook pages are full of sneak peeks. We’re doing an Instagram series highlighting some of the books we’ll be selling in-store. Even if you’re not local, hey, who doesn’t like pretty pics of books? 

Millay

Simone

@austenandcompany

Bowie

Thanks for indulging me!

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

Pride and Prejudice was published on this day in 1813:

Pride and Prejudice

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!–When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”–Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice