DeMille was among the earliest filmmakers who discovered some of the biggest stars in film, including Gloria Swanson, Claudette Colbert, and later, Charlton Heston. When he finally won an Academy Award for best picture with The Greatest Show on Earth , he had been making films for forty years. Eyman instead presents a balanced account of a remarkably rich life. Eyman settles for nothing less than the real man, as he did in his biographies of John Ford and Louis B.
Tell us what you like, so we can send you books you'll love. Sign up and get a free eBook! DeMille By Scott Eyman. Trade Paperback. Price may vary by retailer. She woke to the voices of children from the nursery school next door, and to music from the radio, a Japanese pop song. Cathy was softly singing along. Liz understood a few words: Yesterday, I cut off my hair.
Why would that be, though? From today I will forget everything.
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Sun came in the window, and on the sill was a small brown pottery vase with a spray of pink chrysanthemum buds in it. Cathy pushed aside the door and brought in a lacquer tray with coffee and toast. No biting into a roll and finding red bean paste. Did you sleep okay? She hoped that Cathy would say, Oh, earthquakes, they're not so bad. She put the tray down on the tatami beside Liz, went to the closet and dragged out a backpack.
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A can of these crackers, they're supposed to last forever. Flashlight, matches, radio, tissues, underwear, a space blanket--you know, it folds up tiny like this, but it keeps you warm at night, even on the moon or somewhere--toothbrush, Swiss army knife--you can get most of this stuff in the disaster corner in a big store--I'll take you sometime.
I mean often? But-- disaster corner? You'll see. You won't like it when it goes too long without one--it makes you nervous. They say the little ones let off the pressure. Last month we had a four. It was all right. The epicentre was up north. That's different from the Japanese scale.
With the Japanese scale, they tell what it is by whether the tombstones rock, or whatever.
I think the tombstones rocking makes it a five. Cathy sat back on her heels and made a humming sound. It's not just one, two, three.
That means a seven is many times worse than a four. A lot worse. Many, many times Let's not go into it. What you do is, you get this kit together, and then you don't think about it anymore. That's what you do. For her first visit anywhere, Cathy took her to a shrine dedicated to the patron god of learning. Tenjin-sama is the real thing. Hung on frames around the courtyard of the shrine were thousands upon thousands of little wooden boards, about the size of envelopes, on the back of which students had written prayers. Please let me pass. Please let me get in.
Cathy wrote something on one, though Liz didn't like to ask what. She'd shared a seminar in Canberra with Cathy, not a friendship. It was out of the neutral comradeship of the seminar that Cathy had invited her to stay. They, alone of that old group, would both be studying here. That was the idea. Later, she would find that Cathy didn't study at all, at least not what she was supposed to be studying.
Her scholarship had run out and she taught English. Also, she studied ink painting. She took workshops in traditional papermaking. She went on long trips to places where people did a special sort of weaving, or pottery, or made baskets out of bamboo, cherry bark or the vine of the wild mountain grape, or sometimes all three together. She spent all her spare money on this kind of lovely thing, and didn't seem to feel the least bit guilty about her thesis.
Liz held her pen over her sliver of wood, hesitating. What should she write? She had never prayed for anything before. Study itself had always been her protection, her salvation. The one thing that had always come easily to her, the one thing that had not ended badly, the one thing always rewarded.
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Report cards, scholarships, prizes, these had been her comfort. Her first real grant money, for the northern summer just over, profitably spent in a German library. And this, the big one, given only to a few: a year in Japan, renewable. And yet--last night she had forgotten in a moment of panic all the Japanese she had ever learned, except that ridiculous sentence. Perhaps it would be better to write something, just to make sure. She wrote her name carefully in katakana. The god of learning, in his picture, did look rather beautiful and benign in Heian-period dress, black kimono and tall black hat, his eyes narrow and thoughtful.
So then she wrote: Let me understand. Cathy, who had no scruples about reading other people's prayers, even those of people she didn't know very well and to whom she had not shown her own, laughed over her shoulder. That evening, Cathy and her American friend Elaine took Liz to a local restaurant, a noisy cement-floored place where the chefs bawled out orders and cries of welcome and farewell, as the mood took them, making her jump and turn her head towards the hubbub.
Cathy and Elaine ordered for the three of them. The first thing that came, on a thick blue-and-white dish smacked down brusquely on the table, was a whole fish, its flesh sliced into sashimi.