Tuesday, June 25, 2013


A rose I found recently growing wild beside a long-forgotten pond. 

“A rose is a rose is a rose,” wrote Gertrude Stein in her 1913 poem Sacred Emily

Following World War I, Stein’s apartment home on the Left Bank of Paris was the central meeting-place for an astonishing assembly of writers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Paul Bowles, and Henri Matisse. The imperious Stein, a self-described “genius,” considered herself both mentor and critic to this talented flock—many of whom are now considered part of the early-Twentieth Century’s so-called “Lost Generation.”  

However, while so many of her gifted “protégés” went on to make their lasting artistic marks, Stein’s own work did not. Her “rhythmical essays” and ventures into stream-of-consciousness experimental writings are—for me, anyway, and I daresay most modern readers—onerous, exasperating, oft nonsensical, and largely unreadable. 

The rose quote is probably the only line from her literary output now remembered. And it is, quite obviously, a reworking of Shakespeare’s dialogue from Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Nevertheless, the thought is perfectly correct—named or nameless, when all is said and done, things are what they are, nothing more or less. Whether we call it a redbird or cardinal, that jaunty feathered dandy in the bright scarlet cloak is still a delightful and pretty bird. And a rose—whether of aristocratic pedigree and blooming in a manor’s formal gardens, or found growing wild beside a meadow pond where cattails fringe and dragonflies dart in the sunlight—is still a rose…deliciously scented and more lovely than words can tell.

•   •   •

NOTE: This is a sort of field test posting of an updated design for Riverdaze. You'll find a similar but different header photo, new page colors and font, and pretty much the same layout. But, I hope, far larger and more readable text! Some of the old elements are still missing to be redone in the next day or two; others won't return. Previous posts and pix now don't fit correctly and may, or may not, prove impossible to fix. We'll see. However, I really do want to know your opinion, particularly whether or not there are problems. Please tell me what you think.    


The Weaver of Grass said...

The wild rose and above all other flowers my favourite. They are just coming into bloom here and I am waiting for a particular patch in our paddock so that I can photograph it and put it on my header Grizz.

Agree about Gertrude Stein - the quote you make is the only thing I know about her!

As far as your new look is concerned - I like the large font because my eyesight is not brilliant so I find it easier to read. But I shall read it whatever you choose because I just love your posts.

Grizz………… said...


I, too, love roses, wild or tame. For whatever reason—rains, temperatures, filtered sunlight—this has been the best year ever for roses around the cottage—scads of huge blooms.

Thank you, too, for answering about the new blog design. Your issues were ones I particularly wanted to address. I think I like the new colors, fonts, and header photo, but I'm rather concerned I've made things too large. I may try a 20 percent overall reduction and see how that does for readability.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that almost every time I read you, I learn something.

I, too, have poor eyesight but I agree... making it a bit smaller might be better.


Grizz………… said...

Anonymous (Robin)…

Being Irish, and thus full of the gift o' gab, I tend to loathe slap-dash straight-to-the-point brevity when telling a story. The plain facts and nothing but is too boring. No richness and lacking entertainment! Not what I want to read, for sure. Therefore, I often blather and wander in a roundabout way to reach my goal. The tale gets told…but eventually.

Thank you for casting a vote for slightly smaller overall formatting. I'm going to give it a day or two and see what others have to say—but I'm thinking a slight reduction is in order. What worries is that the posts and blog appear so differently on various screens. I don't want to make it difficult for anyone by going too big or too small—and I hope that's possible.

KGMom said...

Typeface feedback--it's too big. At first, I thought my screen had magnified.
Since we can all increase or decrease our screen resolution (simply hit ctrl with + or - and you instantly change), I find it best to adjust the screen for my viewing.
Of course, it's your blog--and you an set it any way you want it.
I maintain a website, and I always test out the look on various screen resolution settings.

Grizz………… said...


I appreciate the feedback. I'm trying to work my way through the variables to end up with the best possible result for everyone—which I know I can't do, ultimately, simply because of those variables.

Before, when I went to Riverdaze as a visitor (not via the administer's Dashboard) if I loaded the site with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, had the display set at 100% (not the same thing as resolution) all three would display the header photo at exactly the same size. BUT, and here's where the problem for many readers arose, the font's typeface size came up differently—from a readable size and number of words per column width, to twice as many words per line at half the pica size.

I think I eventually figured out what caused that and have it corrected in this new version.

As to allowing for various screen resolutions, I don't think that's something I can give too much consideration—it is what it is according to personal choice. I always have my monitor's resolution set high, currently 1920 x 1080, because I want everything as sharp as possible. Besides, as you mention, you can always use the ctrl with + or - to change screen magnification (though this doesn't change the monitor's resolution, at least not on my Mac.)

Still, all things considered, I do think the typefont's sizing is a bit too large for my taste…but it was made this size because the overall blog width and thus post column width is too large. I could keep the same overall blog and column-width size, and simply reduce my font size, but that would up the word count per line. From a readability factor, too many words per line is not a good thing. Somewhere on the average of 12 or fewer words per line is usually the most comfortable. So to reduce the blog's post font size, I need to reduce the column width's size.

When I do, which I might actually do today, even though I said I was going to wait a few days, I'd appreciate hearing back again on the redo.

George said...

A beautiful and thoughtful post, Grizz. I like the new format, which is welcome to those of us whose eyes have grown tired with the years.

Grizz………… said...


Thank you—and I couldn't agree more on the legibility factor which comes as we age.

I wear contact lenses—have since my teens. Some years back I noticed I struggled a bit trying to read small print in dim light (or when trying to thread a 7X tippet through the hook eye of a size 24 Blue-Winged Olive imitation!) and remembered that old exchange: When should I get reading glasses? Answer: When your curiosity overcomes your vanity.

Alas, personal truth had intersected this bit of folksy wisdom. So I bought about a dozen pairs of readers, scattered them about—desk, briefcase, camera pack, pickup glove box, fishing vest, etc., wherever I thought I might need them, and for a time wore these reading glasses over my contacts.

Oddly, that's no longer exactly the case. I now, for reasons that truly puzzle my opthamologist, find I seldom need the assist of readers, though I still wear only "straight" distance-corrected contacts, not bifocals or progressive-focus models. For photography, computer work, reading nutrition labels in the grocery, books, magazines, newspapers, I'm good without; I have the most trouble in dim restaurants with menus.

Anyway…I'm probably going to reduce the overall blog layout size, and with it the post font's size, but PLEASE! let me know if it's uncomfortable. I will have no problem changing back and simply want to get it right.

The Solitary Walker said...

Grizz – on my screen that magnification is uncomfortably large. I have to use 'cmd' plus '-' many times in order to make it easy on the eye. I do appreciate that the final result may be a compromise, but I'm sure you'll get there eventually!

Grizz………… said...


In about five minutes I'm gong to put up a new post in a downsized layout. See how that works for you and let me know.

FYI, I am doing all this with my screen magnification (on a Mac) set at 100% which ought to mean it would appear pretty much the same size for everyone on their screen it it, too, were set at 100%—except for various monitor resolution settings. Mine is: 1920 x 1080 p.

Of course I'm basically a computer/web design Neanderthal, so there's every possibility I have no idea what I'm saying or doing.