Friday, December 31

new years entry

I finally wrote a Mindsay blog entry that didn't warn people that I would! I am so in a funk about writing. I think most of it has to do with some things that have been going on lately (most of it being these classes that take up so much time and trying to figure out where I am going to apply for postgraduate studies and what for: M.Phil? M.A.? *sigh*) and maybe it will all settle down soon. Especially interpersonal junk that is going on. Holidays are so packed full of people and orthodontist appointments.

I have a new bracket and a new chain and my orthodontist smelled like Ramen noodles, the chicken kind. The hygienist smelled like stale mouthwash and cologne. Weird, the things you notice lying for 45 minutes looking at bright lights with your mouth open while lots of sharp metal instruments poke around at your gums.

A nightmare, really.

So. I am all bummed about a few things; Rochester and Prof. Charlotte (what did I call her again?) are all being difficult. Gah. Harbin, I wish you could tell me what to do in your witty, easy way. I cannot seem to throw sequins in anybody's eyes and have no gold to show underneath for it anyway. Oh, weird. I can't even give a good analogy right now. Darnit. Leibniz, I need a Marchesque! I have been afraid to try and write something for him until now, but maybe I can come up with something soon. I have not had a creative spurt for months now and am feeling so dumb about it! But that is just me. Bweh. Sandy is going to smile at me:)

good new year. lots of books. woot.

Tuesday, December 28

friendships and the search for truth

Lewis (keep the visible cringing to a minimum, please) said that Friendship is seeing and seeking the same truth. Is this true? It cannot be true.

I have a friend who lives with a man not her husband and has no commitment to him. I have a friend who is homosexual. I have friends who refuse to believe in anything but themselves. I have friends who know what is right and do the opposite. I have friends who condemn my way of life but stick with me in hopes that I'll change. I have friends that look at pornography. I have friends who just plain don't THINK.

They are all my friends and we believe different things. But we like the same ideas about society (though not the reasons why) and we share some of the same interests and hobbies; writing or languages or reading or traveling.

If what Lewis says is true, then I am sorely in need of a make-over where it considers my choice of friends. In fact, let's just say that I wouldn't have many friends at all if I went with him. The friends I would have left would be those closest to me, but they were not the only ones I love. Gah, it is hard.

I would like to seek the same truth, but I am content and will settle for having the same interests. Friends who see and quest for the same truth you do are rare and not to be taken lightly or touched gingerly. Perhaps the problem is with me? I don't know.

God, you are out there and you see how my mind is fooling around with ideas. Get me to realise the truth, no matter the cost to me if it fits in with what you want. I want to know the truth and to be able to act on it in a way that reflects who you are. If any of this is what I'm meant to feel and what you want me to learn, let it be clear to me. If you must rip out my heart to make it, do that. Break me. You are the only one who can put me back together, anyway. If it doesn't hurt others, if it is your plan, please let me know and understand and learn so that I can hope.

Because hope in you does not disappoint us.

journaling the new year

I have a moleskine day journal that I'll be using primarily this coming year, which requires that I write a page in it per day. I don't think it will be hard, though I usually write in 2-5 page spurts in my current journal.

I bought another journal while I was in Scotland, a little pocket size one that has days in it, too--I shall write down funny things I see everyday, or else (!). And when I am feeling particularly miserable I will read Robert Browning, make faces at myself in the bathroom mirror, and read this book.

A few more odds and ends to fill up my current journal (I had hoped to do that before the new year hits, but I really doubt it, now).

Got the best compliment from one of my professors, recently. Am still hyped and keep the window open on my compy when am feeling grumpy. Am going to take full advantage of his thinking well of me and ask him to tutor me in my studies. Maybe. If I feel really bold and courageous.

Humm. Everyone is waking up. Am glad Jackob is here too. Even though it is odd to have an octave-lower voice in the house during the daytime. Time to get up and do things, time to read, time to fight, time to fly, time to be totally ridiculous and not regret it for a minute.

Thursday, December 16

breaking my heart, pt. 2

I feel sick. I want to throw up. I want to cry. I wonder whether a thousand times over whether I am committing every sin of pride anybody has ever accused me of. I wonder whether a piece of me has just committed suicide. Regardless of how important I am in the scheme of things, regardless of what other people are thinking of me right now, regardless of how I am supposed to try to feel about this, it hurts.

I know, it isn't as serious as it sounds, and I am making a fool of myself here. But you won't believe me if I don't.

Monday, December 6

breeeeeeaaaaking my heeeaaaaaaart

Ok ok now tell me what to do. I really want to go into Medieval Lit., but it won't do anything for anybody. I want to teach college classes. But in the end, what will it do for people? Nothing. It is what I love. What do I do? It will break my heart to change now! I hate it, but I want to DO something. I'm still ready to change the world. I hate it, but I've already made a decision. If only it didn't make a difference!

st. stephen's green

I have not a clue where this came from. I was writing a study guide for one of my exams and suddenly I couldn't get it out of my head. I don't like the way it is written and I dislike the subject; I find it trivial and rather silly. I realised only after I had finished it that it is set in St. Stephen's Green, in Dublin, Ireland. Also: I don't know whether there is a bridge in the park.

"You are so in love with ideas of people, never what they are."

The day was windy, but warm enough still that they sat on the steps of the bridge in the park. Small flowers grew out of the cracks in the cement. She stared hard at them, trying to let him finish his monologue before asking whether he meant this sudden burst of emotion for her.

"You have your head in the clouds because it protects you from seeing reality and what pain some of us are in! You hold out your hands to some invisible beggar, some invisible lover, and you forget about your friends and the people around you. What about your books? You are in love with that guy, aren't you?"

He nodded towards the thick volume she had in her hand, a finger holding the place she'd been reading from. She looked up at him, puzzled.

"Yeah, him. You talk about him all the time, think about him. You write about him all the time. " She stood up slowly, dusted herself off. Now that he had gone into attacking fantasy, there was really no point in going on listening to him. The ludicrousness would hit him later. Suddenly something he said brought her attention from pity to anger.

"Do you masturbate and think of him?"

She tilted her head to one side, looked at him. His face was defiant, wordlessly saying, "I still mean that". Balling her fist, she sent it flying into his face. She had never actually punched somebody before, but her effort was enough to snap his head sideways. Before he could recover, she walked over the bridge and out of the park.

The streetlights flickered on as she waited for her turn to cross the street. Seeing a familiar profile and hooded sweatshirt emerge from the park, she ducked behind a mother carrying her child. They crossed the street together and parted at a coffee shop, where the mother met someone coming out of a building, and she walked on into a lighted shop front.

"Café breve', please," she said, counting out the suddenly unfamiliar coins. She breathed a shaky sigh and found a chair in a small alcove. She took a deep breath, still angry and upset with him.

He could be absolutely intolerable, but it had been so nice early that afternoon to walk with him.

Someone sat down opposite her, with a large purse and the smell of scented candles and shop smells, and offered her a tissue. She said thank-you, wiped her eyes, blew her nose, and forgot to look at her benefactor, who was still chatting on happily about the time of year.

"Are you in love?" asked the dyed shopper. "No, no, I'm not," she said, breathing out a sigh, more calm now.

Saturday, December 4

a friendship: meeting and memory

This is a passage from a novel we are reading in one of my classes; it is one of my favorites because it is one of those moments of brilliant insight that catches your eye, makes you double-take on such a distracting paragraph in a novel of nearly unbearable characters. But without further ado:

"Brief, broken, often painful as their actual meetings had been what with his absences and interruptions [...] the effect of them on his life was immeasurable. There was a mystery about it. You were given a sharp, acute, uncomfortable grain--the actual meeting; horribly painful as often as not; yet in his absence, in the most unlikely places, it would flower out, open, shed its scent, let you touch, taste, look about you, get the whole feel of it and understanding, after years of lying lost. Thus she had come to him; on board ship; in the Himalayas; suggested by the oddest things..."

--Virginia Woolf, in Mrs. Dalloway

Friday, December 3

think "christmas"

What a very interesting evening. I have learned many things about several friends and have done no class work whatsoever. I am still regretting the Christmas Poems blog but I suppose I will have to finish it tomorrow. Or at least begin it tomorrow.

Why am I putting off so many things? It is so very strange! The house is clean, people are fed, my friends have been written to. Why is it taking me so long to get this stupid thing done!? It shouldn't have taken me this long. Tomorrow. That does it. Tomorrow.

And then: think "Christmas", dahling.

new project. woe is me. it is my own fault.

I am a horrible person. I am stressed out, I think. Why? Because I just started ANOTHER project. Oh my. WHY did I do that? I don't know. But I did want to read through the Christmas Poems book in a study. How silly of me. Oh good grief . . .


Well, I also cannot wait until I get a certain Christmas present of a camera, which will be oodles of fun:) Next term is looking shaky, though, because I am having a weird Friday. It is all weird. Crazy people. Umm. Right. Enough running off at the mouth about nothing, pick a book or something to write about instead of blabbering!

Wednesday, December 1


I'm Figwit!
You're Figwit! Who's Figwit? Figwit stands for
"Frodo Is Great Who Is That?". Who
is that? Who knows? He's an elf at the
Council of Elrond, sitting next to Aragorn.
He's v. silent.

Which little-known character in Middle-earth are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, November 30

on the discovery of a tantrum

Found a rant on somebody's blog that sounds as if they know me, because somebody I know has brought out all the points that this blogger brought out and then stapled them to my forehead. Am having very mixed feelings about this. Want very much to confront the stapler after having read this blog entry.

Am trying not to be mad, but am reminded of the hurt. Am told sometimes that I act like a martyr. Am trying to stop. However, every time I ask for help thinking differently, the people who are supposed to be helping me try to mold me into them . . . a hard fit that will have me broken in about four seconds flat. Am trying very hard not to give up on the relationship.

Have tried to do that before and must insist on my own person. It is difficult.
Yeah. It won't be long, now, though.

Of course, this is just from my point of view and sometimes I haven't a clue what is really going on when I experience a feeling. I try to know and learn . . . Dash it all. Today was so sweet.

Monday, November 29

educational planning

Witness me being excited:


I am so close to graduating I can almost taste it. I am SO happy. And depressed. I have to find a Uni with post grad studies somewhere or I will be Very Unhappy and probably die. Or at least end up working at McDonald's, which would happen AFTER I died. In hell.


But what am I to do? I feel like I just got out of high school.

poetry and sweat

Am tired, happy, and dusty-sweaty (& prolly smelly too). For some reason I don't really like spending relaxing-time or leisure trips with people as much as I enjoy getting something done, like stacking wood or writing a masterpiece or taking care of a kid or cooking (never washing dishes). I am not very good as a conversationalist, just never got the hang of it for some reason though I am trying to practice this dash'dly awkward art.

Floor is clean, dishes washed, classes nearly up-to-date, hands not pruny any more but self is satisfied. Can breathe more easily and intent on having my cup of tea after dinner tonight with a nice poem or two.

I'm learning to like poetry, but I don't think I shall learn to like red wine. It will take me a while to learn to like that stuff, and I can't read it. You can get drunk on poetry, though. Trust me, I have. Get all tipsy dizzy feeling and can't seem to talk right but mind is happily not-quite-present. Feet stumble slightly because perspective on world is not quite as it was an hour ago. That isn't all poetry, though. For instance, it would be hard to do that with Shel Silverstein:) Yeats, Lewis, Tolkien, Beowulf, Gawain are some. Shelley and Byron are worse at it. Skip the drunk feeling, go straight on to the hangover part.

oh I am an idiot.

Deadline for paper is next Sunday. Am going to go do dishes. Laughing may commence once I am out of earshot.


cereal for lunch. and a paper.

"Shredding and slicing, dividing and subdividing, the clocks of Harley Street nibbled at the June day, counselled submission, upheld authority, and pointed out in chorus the supreme advantages of a sense of proportion, until the mound of time was so far diminished that a commercial clock, suspended above a shop in Oxford Street, announced, genially and fraternally, as if it were a pleasure to Messrs. Rigby and Lowndes to give the information gratis, that it was half-past one.

Looking up, it appeared that each letter of their names stood for one of the hours; subconsciously one was grateful to Rigby and Lowndes for giving one time ratified by Greenwich; and this gratitude (so Hugh Whitbread ruminated, dallying there in front of the shop window), naturally took the form of later buying off Rigby and Lowndes socks or shoes. So he ruminated. It was his habit. He did not go deeply. Be brushed surfaces; the dead languages, the living, life in Constantinople, Paris, Rome; riding, shooting, tennis, it had been once."

Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

Thank goodness this is a reaction paper and not a research one. Woot. More tea.

Sunday, November 28

certain copies of books

It is funny how one gets attached to certain copies of books. Tan leather-bound, thin, with gold edges for the Christmas after my decision to become a Christian. A black leather-bound, silver-edged wide-margin version that I bought later to satisfy my scribbling studies. A small pink pocket-sized New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs that my grandmother gave me (I wrote my name in it when I was four, and wrote my name in everything because I finally could, but could never bring myself to carry around a pink book).

I recently lost my study version and was feeling a little bit traitorous and not at all comfortable reading out of The Message (contemporary translation, not bad but definitely lacking) at night. Thankfully my more familiar copy was found in the trunk of the car (where I had left it once upon a Sunday).

Same goes for other books, though. I am very picky about copies of Tolkien and Lewis. Don't tell, though.

Oh, sleepy girl, go to bed!

Saturday, November 27

roomus coldus est.

Bwah. Am tired. Have long day tomorrow. Am going to sleep. Will dress warmly tomorrow and eat Chinese food for lunch. To self: bring at least one textbook and stint not on the bringing of fun books, such as fiction or novels or or or or something a lot more fun than Mrs. Dalloway, of whom I still must endure fifty more pages and write a paper on before Monday midnight.

Stupid of me, I know, but one day we will get the hang of it, won't we, Benson?


A post on Marlowe and Ralegh's poems about that silly shepherd and nymph are finito. Wootwoot. I am on a roll.


a toast

I am kind and wonderful, and have just finished a belated but excellent entry on Lyly's Euphues passage in our NAEL. Ha! So there! On all of you! I hope Humphrey likes it or I shall be absolutely ticked off at him. Even if it is late.

Everyone lift your glasses: To me!

good grief!!!

I spent all that time going over alliterate and antithetical qualities for so many of those stupid (well, now they are stupid. In a few minutes they won't be as much so.) medieval pieces and the one that was easiest was the one that I could have done with a snap and a whirl.

And I can snap and whirl pretty fast.

Why does Prof. Humphrey want this particular piece analysed when it is so easy and why did he not recognize the hard work of my other analyses when they were a good deal harder to come around? I don't understand. The ways of professors are infinitely beyond me.

how funny

The only thing to do was to pelt him with sugared almonds.


meaningless entry

Just said goodbye to a bunch of guests and am now thinking seriously about some Renaissance poetry. Sonnets, in particular. Am also highly considering leaving dishes until this afternoon. Dash it all, it is afternoon already. What a funny way to live the day.

Somebody is filling up the fireplace, somebody else is talking about moving the furniture about, and others are getting their bearings sleeping on the couch and trying to figure out the meaning behind the damask pattern of material on said couch. Yet another is downstairs on a chronic videogame split.

I would like a cup of tea, please, and a veto option on classes. Oh, Christmas break cannot come soon enough. I love them dearly, you know, but they tire me out. Like some people I know, heh. Let's not get too deep, shall we?

Right I am going away. Will blog on Mindsay, which means must think nice things. Ha ha. Wish new Harry Potter book would come out.

Friday, November 26

life's little joys

Thanks be to God for the ability to stand up straight and the gift of really nice people and the skill with which I have learned to wash dishes and therefore not have to socialize with aforementioned really nice people too much. I am very thankful for not having as bad a cold today as I did yesterday or for the past week.

I am tiring now, in the evening, and my hands are getting weaker even though my appetite is fully present and happy to oblige a plate of leftovers and several cups of tea.

Good evening. Back to Septimus Warren-Smith and his dashed apathetic nonsense.

bestest friends and warm socks

Now I am wrapped in an old cardigan of my dad's, wearing socks that he bought me from a business trip to Germany and pajama pants from Victoria Secret back when she had secrets that reached down to her ankles.

Am tired but clean and am feeling happy that I might see J.K. Rowling creeping around in cafes in the very near future. Oh, am so sleepy and tired and just talked for long time with bestest friend in the world, who is angel and one of the best people in the world. Ever.

Sweet dreams, and may the dream fish bless thy rest.

Tried to post this last night but it wouldn't go through for some reason. Odd. Anyway. There you have it.

Wednesday, November 24

back with a vengeance

Not well yet, but am getting self excited about Christmas by listening to ohletmeguess whatamIlisteningto Trans-Siberian Orchestra!! Vacation is going to be fun. I am going to get some schoolwork done tonight! Seriously!

I am naughty. I made myself a pot of espresso and I intend to procure not only one shot but the whole pot and bring it to the clandestine meeting place of My Room.

My sister just brought me tea. I love her.

People on Mindsay are so nice. If I hadn't established a reputation there I would rave on and on every few minutes there but I like the change, too, so this is ok. There is just no community over here. People over there are cool. Blogger people are just individuals. I'm sure some of them are perfectly alright. Just not as good as Mindsayers.

Now, to take a the shower and to do some of a the schoolwork with the the compy.

Tuesday, November 23

rerun of yesterday, I'm afraid

Nose still raw and throat still sore (though now coughing up great gobs of phlegm; makes cat think I am throwing up balls of hair like she does, and is most disturbed), TSO on again, morning light indiscreetly intrudes through slats of window. Cat most annoyed at room's lack of warmth. Classes loom above my head. Want to take Nyquil and go back to bed. Should prolly turn on Norah Jones instead.

I know, my entries are short and miserable. I have another blog for the nice/creative stuff. There are nice people there too. I am just perpetually tired.

Monday, November 22

beginning to feel like winter

Am still cold and sleepy but happily mumbling along to Trans-Siberian Orchestra in most fascinated way. Nose is not so bad now, but throat is killing me. Posted things and am still upset with Prof. Humphrey. His name is now Humphrey, doesn't mean it is on legal documents, of course. Prof. Deidre (not her real name either) has been very nice to me recently, so she gets points.

Time to go to sleep, but I'm afraid I will be cold. Wrote a blog entry for Mindsay today and got a quick rush of replies and well-wishings. I'm feeling very warm-fuzzied and glad to have friends online like them. I am beaming at my bulletin board.

Oh, and I added another group of paper-scraps to my room on the back of my door--my new year's resolutions. I never think of them on new year's eve so I'm thinking of them now and putting them up now. I take them a little seriously and do try to complete and conquer them. I completed one of last year's--"write more". Heh. Good night.

Sunday, November 21

oh the cleverness of me

Cat is on lap, roommate of laptop compy. Feel like am going to throw up or lose some important mental function through my nasal passages when a sudden bout of sneezing takes my olfactory sense to an astral plain of chaos. Ha ha.

Mrs. Dalloway is very sniffly and interesting in the same way that Joyce is interesting. I don't take kindly to people who portray homosexuality and/or suicidal tendencies in a way that is meant to be entertaining in a gentle sense. (Irony is different.) Perhaps I am taking life too seriously. I tend to do that, I know.

Lips are still chapped beyond ability to whistle and nose stuffiness has increased by 50%. Am now a mouth-breather, but resolve not to tuck sweaters into pants or hike pants up to bra line. Mouth-breathing, would like to emphasize, only temporary.

Want to write in paper and leather journal but cannot because hands are weakish and will not stay still or move the directions I want them to. Is stupid to be sick.

i like dayquil.

Nose = raw. Throat = sore. Eyes = puffy. Wish self was at church.

Saturday, November 20

postscriptum on last entry

No I was not drunk at time of scribble (DATOS). Am in physical discomfort and have major problem deciding what I think about Peter Walsh, because I am not sure if I do not like him. Have resolved that no matter the attachment to Peter Walsh or degree of affection, am still very much taken by Peter Wimsey.

How's that for double negatives! Ha! Let me continue on in that vein. While I sleep. We'll see if I get around to typing in my sleep. Maybe I should have taken limoncello (or however one spells that very sticky yellow sweet liquid alcohol) instead of a generic brand of stuff like Nyquil.

Good night, dusty, windy world. May your white sands be smooth and your forests be deep, your mountains be unconquerable and your seas inscrutable.

Yours truly,

miss rika

first impressions of peter walsh

He has been looking for reality, really, but finds no comfort in trying to help people who are not ready to be helped--a lose/lose situation anyway but in his enthusiasm he does not accept this fact--perhaps he is escaping from an emotion? Not love for Clarissa.

I wonder if that kind of love really ever eats you alive like it does in stories? Never having been in love with anything less than a dream, I wonder. Sometimes one comes across this idea of love, eros, that is so full of boundaries to be crossed that it seems an effort to ever find peace and they never do seem to find it, grow bitter, have lots of affairs with other people they don't love, end up artists who smoke cigarettes and have friends they don't relate to except in pain.

Or they throw themselves in front of trains or maybe out of windows. Either way, it is a pretty stupid way to go. People say love makes you do stupid things but sheesh if nothing makes you do anything. Choices. That is what I have to say about that.

loading from page "" . . .

Still am in possession of inordinately sniffly nose, now raw and slightly red from frequent contact with handkerchief and tissues (respectively, not simultaneously). Am frustrated with both online teachers now and find school site to be inexplicably slow. High traffic on a Saturday night? Maybe are having problems with site and will wake up tomorrow and find all grades switched automatically to shining "A". Very unlikely but a nice thought all the same.

Forty pages of Mrs. Dalloway to read, and figuring out what there is important about Peter. Can't believe I have written this far only loading pages. Wow. Now must concentrate fully. Quick! To the bat-compy!

Teatro San Sniffle

Professor for whom have lost so much sleep replied to posts with short answer. Am going to cheerfully ignore him. Am tired of being nice to him right now, esp. as have cold and accompanying peeves.

Annoyances and peevish glances only relieved by excessive reading and mulling over The Nine Tailors. When I move out, I hope to have three cats. One of them at least will be named "Batty Thomas". Must get up motivation to do to other than sit in room and drink tea all day.

Must also write about last night's expedition to Teatro San Carlo, where we had our own box and where I tried not to sniff but failed miserably. Also wore make-up for first time since . . . a long time ago. Felt very nice to get home to fuzzy slippers and sweatshirts but was an irreplaceable memory. Wore high heels. Note to self: wear high heels only in great emergencies. Also go to Teatro San Carlo again and sit way way way up in the top balcony with a notebook for writing.

And find out which seats are the veriest cheapest. During matinees. Am in love with a theatre.

Doubly fascinating because have recently finished The Scarlet Pimpernel for the millionth time and T. San C. was around during the French Revolution.

Friday, November 19

colds and social schedules.

Am not feeling good. Have cold. Colds are from the devil. Esp. after I went through all that trouble to write such a good set of analyses! Well, maybe they weren't that good, but still. I am in no mood to hush my ego when my chest feels so tight that I might burst a lung if I had a fancy to yawn.

Heh. Yes. Well, I am going to go take myself a shower and clean the kitchen and take cold medicine. And make tea. I really really need tea. I NEED tea. Tea is good for you, and also caffeinated. I want to go back to sleep. It is useless.

Somebody had better post on my little typing binge in the classroom or I . . . will . . . uhh . . . POST some MORE. So there. I'll do that Monday, or something. Concert tonight, party tomorrow, church the next, and then antitheses in Medieval and Renaissance literature. Shockingly busy social schedule.

Thursday, November 18

john foxe

John Foxe is more of a narrative and like Utopia, I could find more alliteration in the beginning than throughout the passage. The following also includes one of those ubiquitous antitheses:

"Hitherto we have entreated of this good woman, now it remaineth that we touch somewhat as touching her end and martyrdom. She being born of such stock and kindred that she might have lived in great wealth and prosperity [...]"

The account of Lady Grey's death is more detailed with dialogue and elicits pity for innocence and the last "What shall I do? Where is it? Where is it?" had my eleven year old self crying softly looking at a painting of it in an art gallery in London.

it wasn't her wit that was askew, or was it?

I can't find as much alliteration in this except for a repeat of vowel sounds. There were a few lines; "Saint Stephen was stoned", "body and blood", and one longer passage I will recount in the following:

"Eighthly, he asked me if I did not think that private masses did help souls departed. And [I] said it was great idolatry to believe more in them than in the death which Christ died for us."

There were plenty of antitheses, though; I found three in one paragraph.

" . . . He asked me wherefore I said that I had rather read five lines in the Bible than to hear five masses in the temple. [...] Not for the dispraise of either the Epistle or Gospel, but because the one did greatly edify me and the other nothing at all."

The narrative style is more like Margery Kempe in tone, but clever and slightly saucy--it definitely comes straight off of spoken English. She seems to give more straight facts in an almost concise detailed account of who came and went and exactly what the process was like except that she does not show fear in her narrative and therefore evoke pity for the poor woman in jail.

very engaging

"[...] It rejoiceth not in iniquity , but rejoiceth in the truth [see the antithesis]: It suffereth all things: it believeth all things: it hopeth all things: it endureth [fill in the blank]."

I'm using the Geneva Bible example for ease of analysis. There are a lot of repeating phrases: "have not love", "all things", and "in part" are the ones that appear the most.

English translations of the Bible--obviously trying to get them out to the general public.

creator of tonypandy III

"The island of Utopia is two hundred miles across the middle part where it is widest, and nowhere much narrower than this except towards the two ends, where it gradually tapers. These ends, curved round as if completing a circle five hundred miles in circumference, make the island crescent-shaped, like a new moon."

The bold indicates alliterative words and the italics are an example of repeating sounds. Some antitheses:

"not rough, but placid"
"shallows on one side, [...] rocks on the other"
"uncouth inhabitants to such a high level of culture"
"first had laughed [...] were struck with wonder and terror"

And my personal favorite, "Men, not hens". As far as I recollect (maybe this is my youthful naivete in the Ways of the World as we know it) men do not lay eggs.

This is written in a very simple narrative style and yet "More wrote Utopia in Latin for an international audience of humanist intellectuals" (intro to More) so it wasn't exactly trying to get a manifesto out to the peasantry. Class notes (Ren. Poetry, Pt. 2) specify that More didn't believe that even the Bible should be open season reading for the general public.

All references shamelessly ripped from p. 511-512 of the NAEL vol. 1 except where noted.

Amazing. Completely amazing.

My favorite professor asked me to post something and I had a deadline for another class. It was not twenty minutes and several tracks from The Lord of the Rings soundtracks before I was finished with an analysis that was really not bad, if I do say so myself.

Suddenly the fourteenth century heckfire and tarnation sermons look like the pieces of gothic art that they probably are if I would take a fifty-third look at them from the right angle.

Sometimes I light candles and send up prayers for people I know, and let them be lit while I study. It isn't a Catholic thing or a Pagan one, just a remembrance and a reminder. Plus, somehow flames are calming. Don't ask me why and no, I am not a pyromaniac. But two of the three I lit tonight just went out:(

leftover pork

What to do with leftover pork is generally up to the person who finds it lying, forlorn, in a tupperware container in a refrigerator. A resourceful person, however, might learn the ways of refrigerator wisdom, remove the pork from the refrigerator and chaperone it with BBQ sauce. They might then cut up the pork into small pieces and put it into a saucepan with a few squirts of BBQ sauce to keep the poor things company.

Unobtrusively lighting the burner underneath the saucepan is vital to the operation. Soon, the small pieces of pork are warm and getting along well with the BBQ sauce and it is no time at all before the resourceful person whom I mentioned in the beginning of this entry has scooped them into the empty space between two pieces of bread and began to munch happily on their barbecue sandwich.

links. possibly turnips too.

I have just added some links to my page in celebration of having written and posted something about The Awakening, possibly my last, on That Class. And now it is lunch time, if you will excuse me.

calm. quiet. fools. I'll kill them all.

Somewhat more calm, Our Hero sits down with her paginated companions to a sup of milk and espresso and, in reserve, a large bottle of water that is in no way intimidating to the espresso. I am still frustrated with Edna Pontellier's suicide and my inability to produce coherent thought in an internet-based academic setting. I hope Mrs. Dalloway is more promising.

She had BETTER not commit suicide or I am going to have to speak to someone about counseling for all women above the age of 25 who are married to husband who can't read their minds.

modern morals: a novelty?

Excuse me if I make a sarcastic pun, but I'm rather upset with myself. Online communication is shaky if you use writing (a blog or regular article), writing (AIM or similar instant messaging), and writing (old-fashioned emailed letters) and sometimes even writing (forums and/or message boards) but to use only one of these options makes it very difficult to get a full picture of motives, personality, and skill.

On my online class having to do with the Modern Novel, we have conferences somewhat like a message board only with the instructor being a moderator and the students having obligatory replies. However, it is difficult not to repeat things as the system of organization for these forums is worse than a bravenet sci-fi fan forum and there are a good 100 posts per day to wade through as well as posting about five or six posts per week yourself.

I feel very much like slouching back to Medieval and Renaissance Lit. to comfort myself with a bunch of "therewiths" and "herebys" and maybe a "thither ye go". That atmosphere, though I have recently heard other students say very differently, is much more relaxing and easier to deal with. The teacher is stricter, but kinder, and the subject less ardently relative to the reader's interpretation.

I cannot wait to finish what I have for the day and read The Lord of the Rings until
I puke.

Wednesday, November 17

how to make really good ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles are tasty. Obviously this particular piece of wisdom has already absorbed into the consciousness of the fine fellowship of those gathered here. I would like to introduce a condiment that, when a teaspoon is added, creates a bright, almost broth-like toasty flavor to a cup of ramen. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you VEGEMITE!

willful caffeination

Yay! Only on second pot of espresso and have already finished a rather dashing post about Joyous Garde and Lancelot and the use of the word "lay" in Malory's piece about it. On to An Homily Against Disobedience and Willful Rebellion. Tally-ho. I say.

I keep a daily organizer. I do. So sue me.

Oh, the joy of feeling clean and warm and thoroughly caffeinated. Fireplaces in the fall, leaves blustering about merrily, and the cats wanting to run in and out, very annoyed when the tips of their tails get a little too chilly for respectable feline taste.

Today we will be focusing on the beginning of Mrs. Dalloway, the very end of The Awakening, and an overview of medieval English prose. Hands and knees will smell like woodsmoke and the dirt from outside by the woodpile from trying desperately to keep fire in fireplace going at a rate that will keep the house warm. Bobby pins in hair will slowly and irresponsibly tumble down into absolute uselessness as day progresses.

Fingertips will remain cold until the afternoon when tea is taken very hot in large mug which fingertips will cling to. Well, it is either that or the fingertips get held to the fire while laughing maliciously at the thought of a post on the genealogy of Arthur and whether or not he had any sons.

new theme change

And I said that it was good.

Tuesday, November 16


Very hard class, ENGL 310--Medieval and Renaissance Lit. under a strict teacher. Been hearing other students talk about him and it hasn't been good, but that is weird. I have gotten steady good grades from him the whole time through two classes. I have to admit Arthurian Lit. was easier than this one but anyway, the point of this post--got my midterm grade back! IT IS AN A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want you to know I mean each and every one of those exclamation marks. Oh yes I do. Time for a celebration. Um. Right. *grin*

a note of subjectivity crept into her tone. note. whatever.

Am trying to wade through a bunch of discussion questions in this online class and find a few to respond to, but we are so morally different that the things I would like to contest have to do with our own subjective responses:) How utterly annoying, since I know I am particularly unable to keep my big mouth shut.

late breakfast and dear chores.

I'm quite surprised at the number of people who visited my blog yesterday, but that was prolly because I updated three times. Ha ha. What they don't know is that this is my overflow blog, talking to myself. I wonder what kind of people read it? I sort of know, on Mindsay, but of course one can never REALLY know.

Is that what makes blogging interesting? I dunno.

Anyway, time for a very late breakfast and starting in on those mundane chores that I hold so dear to my heart when writing stupid and LONG papers. Well, they are long when they take me that LONG to write them. I wonder if there is espresso left . . . ?

Four times. I updated four times.

Monday, November 15


Paper is done, sent in, gone to join choir of no-see-ums. Time for me to be going to the sleep. Thank you all for joining us here on "Anstruther" but I digress . . .


slowly chugging ahead.

Five pages. Still much to explain. Thankfully will be done in 2.5 pages. Lessee, that done by 11, then time for references and a cover pages to put in. Oh, yeah.


I am a little over a fourth done writing this silly thing. I've decided to give it 8 pages instead of 10. *sigh* Wait, wait! make that THREE WHOLE PAGES!!!

I also cannot wait until the next Harry Potter book comes out.

things to do when am done with strangling yeats:

  • sweep and mop

  • clean off desk

  • move class info for Arthurian Legend to desktop compy

  • put box of clothes into top room

  • get trip photos from Ireland developed

  • prepare playlists for forthcoming iPod

  • put down big ugly green carpet

  • revamp .mac homepage

  • find out what that annoying dripping sound is that echoes ONLY on THIS FLOOR
  • first real paragraph

    Yeats' connection with Greek mythology was extensive and existed on several levels. Ward notes (p. 12) that Yeats identifies himself with a burdened Pegasus in his poem "The Fascination of What's Difficult" when he speaks of his work at the Abbey Theatre trying to please audiences and still stay true to himself as an artist. As time progressed, Yeats came to portray himself as Proteus in the poem "At the Abbey Theatre", asking the audience whether they could restrain him to writing crowd-pleasing works.

    Yeats also took subjects from Greek mythology and used them as a means to describe how he felt about issues in his life. His infatuation with Maud Gonne inspired him to write many poems, one of which stands out for our purpose because in it he compares Maud with Helen; "No Second Troy". As Yeats grew more and more involved with the occult, he mused on the symbolism of the historical gyre in relation to the omniscience a Greek god in "Leda and the Swan".

    In all of these lyrical pieces Yeats is able to describe aspects of himself and the world as he perceived it, Yeats concentrates on himself as identfied with an immortal figure. One cannot help but wonder if it never crossed his mind how very close the story of his life is to that of the Flight of Icarus.

    I've made it easier to read online and skipped running at the mouth about the bibliography but here is the final draft of the first paragraph. Am going to get more coffee and work on next bit about Yeats' da.

    spiffy jackets and sad-looking ponies.

    Today we will be focusing on thrashing to life a somewhat sad-looking pony named Yeats. Well, I didn't have a Pegasus but I still insist he pull a burden. That is an inside joke between Yeats scholars and me because who would have read such a poem and remembered it?

    Suddenly I have a strong urge to watch the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring for the 45th time. Hah. Wonder if it has been 45 times? No clue. I'm bringing it along this winter to watch while traveling. Can't wait to travel.

    I like this jacket, speaking of LOTR. Back to work. Tally-ho!

    Sunday, November 14

    cannot speak french but can wash dishes.

    Have washed dishes and made self cup of strong sweet tea. Suddenly wonder whyever one is writing a la Bridget Jones but am too busy to pay very much attention to such trivial details. Besides, is fun. Except Bridget never says "heh" and I say it all the time.

    Still feeling crummy and stupid and very boring as I cannot seem to get Icarus and Yeats quite reconciled in my head. They were fine this morning! Why on earth cannot I get them right now? Is it not yet late enough in the evening?

    Have resolved to use Blogger for quick, boring updates like so. Mindsay is reserved for better and more optimistic works of ramble. *sigh*

    Time to sing along with French pop songs. Did I mention I can't speak French?

    smooth skin.

    Am utter failure. Cannot finish stupid paper. I really hate myself in moments like these. Gah. Will go cheer self up by washing dishes.

    Saturday, November 6

    drunken shepherds

    I found a medieval play in my NAEL that gives me pause; I'd fain learn more of this. Any second thoughts about majoring in Medieval and Renaissance Lit.? Yeah, yes, yea. This stuff is hilarious. "Christ's cross me speed!" says the shepherd who is about to see Christ in his cradle.

    It puts me in mind, really, of an old play I saw back when my best friend and I used to be able to see plays together--it was called Mysterie and it was, suitably, a Mystery Play, like the ones of old--and the recurring theme was the trinity of a man, a woman, and a tree. It was complete with drunken shepherds stealing sheep from each other and though rather "sely" made their witnessing of Christ's infancy very funny. No, it isn't heretical; Christ had a sense of humor too, trust me.

    Ok, anyway, back to work.

    Wednesday, November 3

    edna pontellier

    All the trains of thought that Edna Pontellier goes through in her mind over the course of the book so far I have already had and had done with. She reminds me enough of myself to hate her. I'm having a bit of a hard time trying to keep my temper with her. Why is it I am having trouble disconnecting myself from the things I read lately? The merest wisp of emotion in a bit of writing is enough to bowl me over and leave me a bit out of breath. Bweh! Away with it all!

    Even my daydreams are no consolation at all; they are somehow stale. My night dreams are unhappy and strange. I do not feel like writing letters to my friends though I have a good many to reply to at the moment. I keep picking at the skin around my thumbnail; it is bleeding now . . . I feel as if all of my distractions are to naught, but then what am I supposed to be thinking about if it is forever evasive of my conscious searching?

    Perhaps I need to be cheered up or maybe have a glass of wine or a pot of coffee or a nap . . . I don't know . . .

    Thursday, October 28


    The midterm is thankfully over and my poor heart can rest after the adrenaline of beating wildly over the worried indecision of how Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich used prose and why litotes influenced or did not influence the telling of Beowulf. I would mention more but I'm afraid it would surpass my opinion and give anybody else clues as to what horrors were encompassed within that small innocent-looking manilla envelope.

    It is very very strange to be back on here again. The BLT--the Great Vespa--is . . . as he ever was, only he said things had been "swell" while I was gone. I hope it was only correlative and not causal. I would hate to think the world doesn't revolve around me. Enzo is as Enzo ever was but I wasn't here early enough to see the cornetti dragon and so my heart is broken as well as recovering from the adrenaline rush of an exam. Poor Enzo probably does not realise how precious he is to international bloggers. He must be the one constant in the world . . . Nobody has commented on my new sweatshirt yet and my conversation, my inner dialogue is becoming increasingly boring. I dislike it. I think I will check out a book from the Library.

    Wednesday, October 27


    I have midterm notes to write about Old English Poetry, Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Norman England, and Chaucer. Chaucer and I don't get along very well at all. Truth be told, I don't like him. I'm all huddled at the kitchen table with a curtain of wet hair and one of my dad's old cardigans and an empty coffee cup. The pair of socks I'm wearing is beginning to have serious holes in them; I grieve. I would much rather be rereading good books and writing the paper I'm supposed to be researching for my class that just took place in Dublin . . .

    I'm cooking tonight. And I have a stupid midterm tomorrow. I am feeling utterly pessimistic. Whine whine whine. Why do I write about whining? It is absolutely pointless except to mock myself. There are flies all around this room and they are bugging me to death. Oh, the pun. Can't wait till the first frost, really. Nasty little buggers all dead on the ground and then I will be free of the pestilence.

    Things to do today:

    1. Laundry

    2. Midterm Notes (must be done by 1830)

    3. Dishes

    4. Dinner (start at 1830)

    5. Reply to an Email (now you know . . . )

    6. Order Textbooks

    When put in a list, it doesn't look so bad, really. Some people don't think of it that way, but it works for a few of us. The dishes are easiest, then the laundry started. I can work on my midterm exam notes until it is time to make dinner, and then afterwards reward myself with the writing of an email to one of my friends. I think maybe some more coffee or some nice tea would totally get my head out of the plaster from the wall I've been banging it against and then I could turn on Dave Brubeck's Take Five and seriously get to work.

    Weird, really--I do not have that hard a day at all, and it is nothing out of the norm. I just have to get up the motivation to do something about it, and that is what interrupts my actual work. I feel so childish when I get like this. How embarrassing.

    It also might help if I stopped running at the fingertips here. Right. Off . . . of . . . blog . . . sign . . . off of . . . internet!

    Tuesday, October 26

    drunk on words, maybe; or just tired

    I ask a general pardon of the amusing things I say when I am physically exhausted. They surprise me, too. I should probably put in effect a plan to be off of the internet and write only in my journal when I am ill or tired out or mentally drunk on words.

    "Do you ever get drunk on words?" asked Harriet.

    "I am seldom sober," said Peter, and then I can't remember how the scene went except that they hashed out the idea of Wilfred, a character in Harriet's novel who they decided would be a paranoid religious fanatic. That is why he hid the handkerchief. See Dorothy Sayers' novel Gaudy Night for more info and a marvelous read of introspection of characters I am very fond of.

    That's not what I meant to write, though. I meant to say something about Joy, who was my roommate for the past week in Dublin. I can say nothing bad about her, except that sometimes she is inexplicably kind and it is embarrassing to the rest of us because we are not.

    We were talking about a song that we were listening to from the speakers of this very laptop from which I presently peck, and we were putting things up and making last cups of tea before we turned out the lights. She said it sounded like water--rivers and waterfalls and the ocean all running underneath in a field of blue. Those weren't her exact words; I only remember the image they put into my head when I heard them.

    "I can see where it sounds like water; it reminds me more of the ocean than a river, maybe because I've lived by the ocean most of my life. What it really reminds me of most often is driving."

    I put a band on the end of my hair, which I'd just finished braiding.

    "You know, when you just come up to see the horizon and you know it has been there, forever." I stopped for a moment, wrinkling my nose at the prospect of an eternal horizon and musing upon the fact that I was confiding rather private images of a song to someone I didn't really know at all. Ignoring my momentary reservations:

    " . . . like seeing the horizon, only for a split second feeling that you will always be able to see the horizon."

    I ended lamely and looked my reflection in the window with an expression of confusion and disgust. Joy turned out the lights on her side of the room and was crawling into her bed. I couldn't see her face; it was covered in a white duvet cover over the bed when she said, "I think you'll make a great writer, someday."

    "Thanks," I said, surprised, "I want to be a writer. I'd love to be a writer someday. Ha--if only one could make a living off of it," I said in jest. The song ended, and I turned out the overhead light feeling not a little unsatisfied with myself.

    Back to Chaucer, I suppose. I thought maybe if I wrote it out I would understand, but I don't. Crumple and aim with stunning accuracy at the wastebasket.

    Sunday, October 24

    check-in queues

    The airport was humming softly and busily, and the check-in desks were queued from two miles away, and the Stansted Radisson Hotel was standing calmly and cooly smelling of lemongrass. I was in a check-in line, one of the first people, and the only one humming.

    A lady with a kerchief on her head was in front of me, then a young man with red hair and yellow and black paraphernalia of Machine Head scatted about his luggage and clothes (costume? uniform?), and then a foreign couple with dark olive skin and short hair. Caught in a daydream about carpeted floors and acrobats catching wine bottles, I didn't realise how fast the line was moving until I had automatically stepped up to the desk.

    "I'm traveling alone, this is my only piece of baggage, I haven't got anything sharp and I haven't left my luggage anywhere and nobody has asked me to carry anything," said I, all in a rush. I relinquished my passport and a crumpled piece of paper with flight reservation numbers and pass-codes on it, lifted my luggage onto the belt, and looked up.

    "Ah! Zank you. I feel like a par-rot by thees time mos' days," said the woman in the blue suit behind the desk with a decided accent.

    Wednesday, October 13

    a mock trial

    And so I walked back to my room on the second landing, trying to figure out how and why what I had assumed would be a mild victory over a common opponent turned out to be a total failure, at least on my part. My ability to cope with my own feelings is a weakness that must be mastered. After a skirmish like so, I have learned that it is best to not try and nourish a wounded pride or resentful vanity or even give ear to what my other emotions are telling me.

    First, calm down. Do not start a long term project or try to write something to cheer myself up or beat myself to a pulp. Sit silently and think, or do something productive. Do not use fiction as an escape. Think, recall, and replay. Where do I need to apologize? What should I have done? By the time the sitting and thinking part is over, I am usually ready to go and talk about it or somebody has come to my door wondering if I still exist.

    I don't understand why I do the things I do or think the things I think sometimes, when others are very different from me. Especially the thinking. My assessments of people can be totally wrong or "very insightful" and there are times when I never know the difference. Unfortunately, there is something fascinating in the human method of going about the thinking process that involves a subjective and biased perspective as well as a good bit of guesswork. A lot off people don't like to admit that; doing so admits in turn that they might be wrong sometimes. How damaging to the human sense of pride above all . . .

    I felt first very angry, then resentful, and now I only feel foolish.

    Monday, October 11

    on sir gawain

    This poem emulates the style of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and was written as a partial piece about one of my exams that I took--the class was on Arthurian Legend and I very much enjoyed it.

    As a child, I read this story, on a day quite sniffly
    When at home, was safe from the stares of librarians,
    And was poured tea, by my pillow a pile of books
    Laid down while my Mother did sweep and mop
    So besieged on the sofa I silently pored
    Over hours and ages of honorable knightly deeds.
    The strength of this story and its strong hero
    As fine as had those faithful fives—how fair
    That he could cleave to such a creed
    And yet fall because he was fain to bid farewell
    To the fervor of life, and so that fateful fabric
    The now-garish green was girded about him forever
    That in remembrance when asked he could rede
    Other knights who in ignorance acted arrogantly
    And better the knights so bold and yet brash.
    The valour of this knight, and virtue--
    Humble yet with honor held--
    Appealed to my idealism true
    Gawain the title "hero" truly held.

    copyright rika m. 2004

    Thursday, October 7

    listening to evanescence, oddly enough.

    My cat is making me tired; she is sleepy and purring on my lap and very soft indeed, inducing me to smooth her fur (already smooth) and talk to her as she drifts off. Unfortunately there is an element of osmosis to this, and I am becoming sleepy too. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I was very bugbitten last night and kept waking up in the middle of the night, early in the morning, blah . . . I didn't sleep well. I have bug bites all over my arms and head. Due to the itchiness of them I am wearing a t-shirt instead of my traditional practise of Finals Sweatshirt Week.

    I have my final exam for my Arthurian Legend class and though it shouldn't be too hard, I still have a paper to write and a lot of stuff to do on top of it. I'm not feeling as overwhelmed as I am finding it just plain hard to wade through all of this stuff. My life over the next month is going to be full of people, and I keep butting heads with a couple people that don't want to understand that the ends are never justification for the means. Thank goodness some of them are online and not all face to face.

    I need to find a way past this so I can concentrate on my classes and my work. I must find a way past it. This is so stupid.

    Sunday, October 3

    the smiling yet sleepy one is me.

    I just got one of the best compliments I've ever had from a professor! Yay!

    Unfortunately, I also happened to poke a friend at the wrong time and I got snapped at in a most disagreeable way. Stupid online communication messes up facial expressions. We are still friends and there will be better days.

    Meanwhile, any messages may be forwarded to:

    the smiling yet sleepy one
    cloud 9, 7th heaven

    Saturday, October 2

    in rucksack

    • textbooks
    • laptop compy (headphones, adapter, screen-cleaner)
    • favourite writing utensils (fountain pen, mechanical pencils, extra ink, .5 and .7 lead, nice fat eraser)
    • personal journal
    • travel/class notebook (moleskine)
    • Bible (NIV)
    • personal documents (tickets, I.D., etc.)
    • disposable camera
    • bottle of water
    • lotion, chapstick, chewing gum
    • fold-up-able umbrella
    • towel.

    And the weather looks cold and rainy! Woohoo!

    Thursday, September 30

    one manuscript too many

    Am completely bored, and have nothing at all whatsoever to say about the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, not even of any kind. I am slurping tea that was once hot, and eating the tails off of gingerbread cats. And, I am waiting for laundry to get done.

    Wednesday, September 29

    I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle.

    Or at least I seem to be having a war between my hair and hairpins. This is nothing really new, of course. Bobby pins find my hair repulsive, but especially when it has been under the influence of "fortifying" shampoo or somesuch whatsit that makes my hair smooth. I've taken the pins out and set my hair loose upon the world and am wearing a gigantic sweatshirt over my pajamas. That means I look like a great hairy beast from an old science fiction B movie. Rock on, B-movies.

    I sat in a little restaurant drinking coffee tonight after walking down there all cold and shivery. Have I said yet that I like to be a bit cold? To feel the autumn! Yes . . . Anyhow, I was thinking how nice it would be to have walked down there all tired and foozly only to be met with warm food and a sweet aunt-like figure who always tells you how skinny you are and how you should eat more and an uncle-like person who always tells jokes and remembers things in a most eccentric fashion. Also, the sherry. I have found that on freezycold winter nights I like a small glass of sherry. It tastes warm and cozy.

    Yes, I am weird. I like mead and sherry but not red wine and not beer (bar a little guinness). Weirdo. Why am I blogging about alcohol? I rarely ever drink the stuff, and I certainly didn't tonight unless they put something weird into my coffee that I didn't taste.

    Oh, and I've gotten a few remarks saying that I seemed to be out of temper and I also said something about "giving up men" in my last blog entry, which led people to believe that I was lonely. Or something. They usually trail off before the conclusion. I am fine. The quote was from Bridget Jones, for pete's sake. I'm out of temper today because of some gross incompetence on my class boards. The two are very different.

    And, the end of Bridget Jones was funny, but I think less of Mark Darcy for having sex with Bridget on their first date, which is rather a frightening concept after the whole point of the book comes out . . . but then Bridget isn't exactly the epitome of anything pure or . . . of average intelligence, even . . .

    alas. I will stick to reading Lord Peter Wimsey novels from here on out. At least until I get a hold of the next Bridget Jones book.

    Tuesday, September 28


    I got a lot of reading done, so I was something close to livable tonight. At least, I think so. I'm pretty sure I bugged one of my sisters with my renditions of a a variety of genres of music, but then it wasn't intentional because I sincerely believed that she had fallen asleep. My apologies, but I kind of made up for it by making something weird with peaches and butter and eggs and flour with a french name. It said "Clafoutis" on the recipe but I've translated it to be "Klafooty".

    I've also decided that I don't like making desserts.

    Time to go sit in bed and read Bridget Jones' Diary and giggle helplessly into sleep.

    "I've decided: I'm giving up men. And carbohydrates."

    Monday, September 27

    red light (nobody's there?)

    Yep, it's me again. I'm feeling a bit dead at the moment. Thank goodness the night only lasts so long. Even through being a complete idiot I cannot figure out why I'm feeling so weary. I feel like there is no energy left in me. It has been an emotional day, believe it or not.

    I previewed a movie for our local youth group, on homosexuality. It isn't blatantly, bible-thumpingly Christian, which is a real plus. I hate it when they do that. I almost wish I had been part of a healthy youth group when it was my turn to be in a youth group because then I might be able to figure out how other people think about it. I have a gay friend and I've had a friend who decided she was a lesbian, therefore I want to think hard because I care for these people. But then, to the liberal eye, everything I say here will be taken out of context and twisted into meaning that I am homophobic. Weirdos.

    Bweh. I got absolutely nothing done today. Not a bit. Not a sniffle. But! I am wearing a fiendish t-shirt. I am now listening to "Goodnight, My Love (Pleasant Dreams)" by Harry Connick Jr. and humming along. I'm going to be a sap and burn rose oil tonight. I'm out of bergamot, now, which will shortly make me depressed, until I forget about it.

    I want to wake up tomorrow and be able to see what I am. This is a problem right now. At least, for somebody like me, who wants to know myself, it is a big problem when I do things and can't figure out why I do them. Not a comfortable mystery, like those of the universe. Entirely practical and affecting my everyday activities, this mystery is unpleasant and distasteful.

    And I probably shouldn't be blogging it because one day when I am rich and famous and entirely self-absorbed, somebody will remind me of it and I will fall, like Citizen Kane's second wife, and I will end up drunk, talking to reporters. At a night club. Oh, the adventurous life of a blogger. Thrilling. Really.

    Sunday, September 26

    free until tomorrow

    My paper is done, now, and I am free to rest until tomorrow morning. Hopefully I will be able to get a good night's sleep. I keep having nightmares, which are really no fun. My mouth has been off of its hinges today, not being able to say very much in a straight sentence. I'm sure people wonder if I'm dyslexic or just plain off my rocker . . . I certainly do.

    Thank goodness the paper is in. The first one of the term, too! I'm surprised it took this much out of me, but I suppose I should have known the way I have been reading and humming along this summer. We'll see how it goes.

    The wind is threshing dust and leaves outside my window, and my cat thinks I am an idiot for being up at midnight. She is right, as usual. Listening to Jars of Clay's "Worlds Apart", thinking about odd things people have said to me this past week, wishing for stupid, useless things, and remembering--oddly enough--an old Sunday school lesson taught to me by a hero of mine who doesn't know he's a hero.

    And now, time to braid the hair and crawl into bed. If you ever get the chance and want to see a bit of how I wish my mind would work, please read Gaudy Night. It sounds weird but it really is very good, and very revealing of humanity, even if I don't really like Harriet all that much. Oh dash it all.

    Saturday, September 25

    my research companion

    Through my searches, I've found plenty of articles and histories, lots of pictures and images of Beowulf, but I've found one I'm taking with me through this journey of scribbling. To tell the truth, I've grown rather fond of the little chap.

    right-ho, peeves.

    Here I am at a little past noon drinking my latte and trying to get rid of some spearmint oil by burning it, and it smells nice, but seriously I am ready for that little bottle to be empty. I rarely ever burn the stuff and I've had it for much longer than the recommended 6 months.

    Today is the "continuing writing the paper" day and I really can't figure out why it isn't just flying off my fingers and finished last night. Honestly, I expected it to be. I guess I haven't written an academic paper in a couple of months and so now it feels weird to be doing so. This paper isn't exactly intellectually stimulating, either. Stuffed full of generalizations and vague references. The few specific references are to bits of incoherent manuscript full of symbolism we hardly recognize.

    Ok, enough griping, dear. Time to get to work seriously this time instead of writing a blog entry which won't really inspire you any more than the spearmint oil or the coffee, which, by the way, are tasting and smelling oddly because of each other.

    Two bottles of water, a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, my trusty mechanical pencil, and Take Five. There are plenty of bits of paper lying around and I can also use my white board. Right-ho, Jeeves.

    Friday, September 24

    would YOU read five pages of this stuff?

    Old English poetry is difficult to describe as we have only the skeletal remains of what used to be a breathing compendium of combat histories, laments for the lost, and stories full of inexplicable but tangible symbolism. In fact, much of our knowledge consists of having a good idea of what it changed to, and then hazarding a guess as to what it had changed from. The principle characteristics of Old English poetry are therefore derived from a very few manuscripts that, despite revision and biased elaboration, remain powerless to deny their birthright.

    This is the introductory paragraph to a paper I am writing on the principle characteristics of Old English Poetry--one of those papers that the professor requires so he doesn't freak out the first time he gets a real paper from you.

    Thursday, September 23

    hey, not bad.

    Well, I didn't get a whole lot of stuff done, so drat. However, I do feel better and my schedule is not a little more organized. The other productive things I did today included but were not limited to writing the author of an article that somebody sent to me, talking to a friend via AIM, and washing the dishes.

    Also, one of my classmates made a hilarious bunch of "Freudian" slips (Freudian because we were talking about gender symbolism) and I couldn't stop laughing for Quite Some Time. I hope she meant it to be a play on words because if she didn't I am SO in trouble. Even now, I can't help from giggling.

    Right, so I'm sleepy. Or maybe just tired. In any case, I'm going to put on comfy pjs and sleep, and try not to kick the cat off the end of my bed. Stupid thing thinks it OWNS the spot. Maybe it does.


    a real doozy.

    What a fabulous way to start a day. I think I'm getting sick. I'm not feeling good, that's certain. I wonder, though, is it my mood that is just affecting my body? 'Cause sometimes it does that. I consider it very impractical to overreact by making my body recognize and adopt the topographical features of my mood. Most upsetting.

    Anyway, it was a bad day yesterday, and a bad morning this morning, and I have some things to think through before letting my mind wander while my mouth is open. Write that down.

    I did book-cross something yesterday evening at the library with a post-it note on it that proclaimed its interest in social reform and liberation. However, I did not get that outline written. Drat it all. It is due next week. Or the end of this week. That means I have only a bit of time left. At the time, though, it seemed much more important for me to be running errands with a sister.

    Glumly gloomy obfuscations. Anyway. I have a bit of Anglo-Norman literature to hum about and a poem to vivisect before lighting votive candles to the patron saint of outlines.

    I did find an interesting article that might be interesting to Certain Persons who may or may not be reading this blog.

    Tuesday, September 21

    definitely a full day. afternoon. whatever.

    I seem to wake up last night and realize that I have been postponing some things that certainly Ought Not to be Postponed, like a midterm and two papers and the reading of a good 500 pages. Not that it will be absolutely difficult; they are all for the same professor and I am well into the rhythm of these classes. I still look a little bit like this, though.

    I am finishing up Peredur today, rereading a lot of Old English poetry in a hideous modern translation (excepting Pound, of course), and parading Sherlock Holmes' deductive reasoning around shamelessly with a lot of obvious conclusions about origin, feeling, theme, and other poetic devices. Also to do on the list is an outline for that paper--tomorrow I will sit at the library and type it up (I can also be sneaky and take something to book-cross).

    I have a cafe latte on one side of my desk, a bottle of water on the other, and a packet of peanut M&Ms. I've shoved everything from my desk (well almost everything) into someplace where it won't bother me, and now I should be ready to yell a battle cry and plunge into the studying binge I've been hoping to accomplish since the last time it happened . . . Somehow, I feel strangely reluctant. Oh, well. Tally-ho.

    Monday, September 20

    yummy banana bread. with chocolate.

    I made banana bread today. Yay, me! It tastes yummy:) Maybe that is because I put chocolate in it. Behold, the magic spell, for beginners:

    --1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    --1/2 cup milk
    --1 cup butter, softened but not melted
    --2 and 1/2 cups sugar
    --2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    --4 eggs
    --3 and 1/2 cups flour
    --2 teaspoons baking soda
    --1/4 teaspoon salt
    --2 and 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (brown and spotty and a little soft)
    --2 cups chopped walnuts (not too small, but not half-walnuts)
    --2 cups chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 350 and butter two loaf pans. If you don't do this, there are dire circumstances, like bread that won't come out of the pans.

    Pour the lemon juice into the milk and stir until the milk is curdled. This smells bad, gets thicker, and clumps just a little. Set it aside, but not in an inaccessible place.

    Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until it is creamy. Add the eggs and make sure it is all mixed thoroughly. I use a Kitchen Aide thingy of my mum's instead of the traditional pewter cauldron, so it isn't much of a chore to mix stuff. The more you mix the eggs, the tougher they get, so go easy on them.

    Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and then add the butter-sugar-vanilla to it as well as the curdled milk. Then stir in the bananas and the walnuts. And the chocolate.

    Pour the batter into the buttered pans and then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick or a knife in and it comes out clean.

    Let it sit until it cools or you will get a crumbly mess of falling-apart-banana-mush. Put the loaves on a rack to cool them, and then when they are relatively cool, slice and snaffle.

    Recipe helped along by a Green Thumb cookbook but certainly adapted from it.

    Ha. I have vanquished the kitchen. Mwahahahaha.

    Sunday, September 19

    more on symbolism

    When St. Paul went to Greece (Acts 17), he stood up in the Areopagus of Athens next to the altar they had placed there, which said “To an Unknown God,” and he tried to explain Christianity to a crowd of Greeks by saying that he knew their “Unknown God.” Even though this was only technically true, like Iseult’s half-truth about having been in the arms of no man but her husband’s and the beggar’s (ahem-cough-Tristan-cough), it got Paul far enough into the trust of the crowd that some of them wanted to hear him again on the subject (not that they blindly believed, which says nothing for their intelligence).

    I have a sneaky suspicion that the people who “cleverly” inserted the Christian traditions and symbolism into the story of the Grail were taking a leaf out of Paul’s book (pun intended). By using the symbolism that was already established, the missionaries would be able to explain Christianity in terms that the people understood. After all, the symbols that were in use already did have some connection to Christianity.

    update: I deleted the rest of the post. It is just too long. If you want to know more, I can send it to you, but . . . right. That was a lot of stuff to read through, and not the best written, either. Tada.

    Saturday, September 18

    drawing religion

    I was tired tonight, and so I flumped onto my ugly red armchair and pulled out a tasty book. Somehow it seems I like to save authors like Chesterton and Robert Browning for special occasions, whereas I can read things like . . . well other things every day. So I picked out a nonfiction volume of Chesterton and opened the page. This is what I read first.

    "Another distinguished writer, again, in commenting on the cave drawings attributed to the neolithic men of the reindeer period, said that none of their pictures appeared to have any religious purpose; and he seemed almost to infer that they had no religion. I can hardly imagine a thinner thread of argument than this which reconstructs the very inmost moods of the pre-historic mind from the fact that somebody who has scrawled a few sketches on a rock, from what motive we do not know, for what purpose we do not know, acting under what customs or conventions we do not know, may possibly have found it easier to draw reindeer than to draw religion."

    --G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

    Thursday, September 16

    an actual POST from my CLASS by ME

    Ok, I got fed-up saying that I was confused by Pagan symbolism.

    "No one who is conversant with the way in which men's minds operated in the Middle Ages ought to find any difficulty in thinking of the Grail as a Christianization of a heathen vessel of plenty." (Brown)

    This fits in with the place where the grail first appeared (in Chretien's version, p. 420) because it was in a feast hall, carried by a young woman who was accompanied by two young men. Youth and plentiful food might suggest abundance and fertility. Also interesting is that Pagan religions, such as Wicca, often think of their deity, or the Earth, as a Goddess. Maybe it is and maybe it is not a coincidence that it was a girl who carried the grail?

    Also, according to the websites listed below which are about modern Pagan religions, water is also a symbol of fertility. Perceval's path changed when he came to the river and met the Fisher King (418). A symbols of the element of water (also according to the aforementioned websites) are chalices, goblets, cauldrons, cups, pitchers, and very likely these include something that could be a grail.

    Brown also makes a case that the mentioning of fish in relation to the grail (Chretien 460, also thematically) might actually suggest an accident in the translation due to the fact that the Irish/Gaelic word for "fish" is spelled very like the word for "host" in French. He says that instead of the Fisher King living off of a single host served from the grail perhaps he lives off of some kind of fish (footnote 1, p. 402).

    works cited:

    Brown, Arthur C. L. "From Cauldron of Plenty to Grail" Modern Philology, Vol. 14, No. 7. (Nov., 1916), pp. from JSTOR if you are at an on-site location.

    This is a JSTOR article that I'm having trouble getting a link from. If I take the link they ask me to then when I click on it they tell me I have to be on campus! The other one should work, but I'm not sure if you have to be logged in or not. Use the keywords of the title and author to find it if you can't get to it from a link. Brown is a bit opinionated and the article does assume that you have a working knowledge of French and Latin, which I don't. It is neat to see how Chretien rhymes, though.

    Spring Wolf. "The Alchemy of Life" Spring Wolf's Spiritual Education Network: The Pagan's Path" 1997-2004. last visited: 09-16-04. link

    "Element Water" Pagan at Osn. last visited: 09-16-04. link

    "Correspondences: Element of Water" last visited: 09-16.04. link

    Devorah. "Magickal Symbolism: Elements and Directions" Music for the Goddess last visited: 09-16-04. link

    n.b. regarding the websites: These were not hard to find through but I should have taken a lengthier search on one of our college's databases to come up with possibly more reliable information.

    Tuesday, September 14

    romancing the grail

    We are beginning to study the Grail stories, now, and I imagine a good number of Monty Python references should come in handy. The problem is finding a very tactful way of inserting them into links without making it perfectly obvious what you are trying to do (make faces behind the professor's back).

    The down side of this study is that I have over two hundred pages to read and I'm supposed to have finished them already this week. In that light, I am rather disappointed with myself, but reading it all last week would not have made it any easier for the information to sink in. Last week wasn't the best time to be doing serious stuff like that, anyway.

    Thank heavens we are nearly done with Tristan. A new conference has been posted and suddenly a light beamed down from heaven and somewhere a harp struck a fabulous chord of C. Now we are going back to the Cretin, who is surprisingly better than Gottfried von Whatsisname, not for obvious reasons (unless you've read my last post). I had been about to go to desperate measures with the Cretin but with an air of counter-irritant-cy in waltzes von Whozawhat and then suddenly the Cretin became a nice guy.

    Looking through the information that the internet has to offer at first pair of keywords, there are plenty of interesting things to see. One site has a complete libretto and a horrible midi file that plays Wagner's Parsifal, and another one has Grail earrings. Who would've known? The Pagan and Christian symbolism should be fun to nitpick out of this study. Through the Camelot Project, I found some easy-read pieces about the Cretin as well, which I'll definitely look over after I finish reading the assigned stuff.

    Of all the stuff we've plowed through or happened upon this semester, only the story with Owein and the gwyddbwyll game compares with this in humor potential.

    Saturday, September 11

    the moronic religion of eros

    My title refers to the alternate name of the story of Tristan and Iseult. I made it up because I find them stupid. Iseult's mother was the stupidest woman on earth. She made a potion that would render the two that partook of it endlessly subjected to a bond of human love between them. It would be their idol, their god of everlasting importance that overmasters them effortlessly. (Don't you just love alliteration?) Well, what happens when the wrong people drink of it? What then?

    Even by accident, it causes the downfall of two people who do not deserve to fall by such witchcraft. They must be absolved of their guilt, of course, because the potion must dissolve the bonds of free will and therefore make them inhuman, demons. Can you imagine being the figure behind the mask in your own nightmare?

    Their worship of Truth and Beauty and every good thing becomes a twisted freakish obeisance to every whim of lust.

    The potion they drink tastes like wine, and it is something like the fruit of the vine used for holy communion with the Holy Spirit. Instead of bringing them closer to reality in truth and purity, which in their drugged stupor they mistake, it brings them closer to each other in physical embrace.

    They made a pilgrimage to The Cave of Lovers after they were banished from her husband's kingdom. That cave is their temple, a Mecca for their love. The great marble bed stands like an altar in the center of the cave, where nothing is sacrificed to any higher cause than a couple's sex drive.

    The real problem I have with this is not that they were actually given over to it, but that the author goes through the motion of writing about them as if they were in the right! It is enough to bring tears to the eyes that there was somebody with such stupidity given the gift of literacy.

    "My liking for you deepens with time, dear Beowulf . . ."

    Especially in comparison with that git, Tristan. We are keeping on Tristan, beating his dead carcass as one would a dead HORSE. Insufferable man.

    I have decided to keep this blog for school purposes if nothing else. I am tending towards posting notes here, even if Mindsay is back and running . . . I've got to keep studying now and will probably update soon. Got a LOAD of work to do . . . *sigh*

    Life is so awesome.

    Friday, September 10

    excellent fight scenes, no special effects

    One mark of a good story that would probably make or break a storyteller in the telling are fight scenes. You can't very well act it out, but it must be real enough and suspenseful enough that your listeners want to hear what happened and not just who won. Well, I typically don't like that kind of thing but there are a few places I don't mind reading fight scenes. One of them, predictably, is Lord of the Rings. The other one is Beowulf. Weird? yeah, no kidding.

    The fight scenes are riveting. Very cool. People try and make it sound boring by saying it is old, saying it is poetry, saying only dusty professors read it, but seriously this stuff is pretty cool:) I found a really neat site to go along with this too that I think I shall have to post on my class. Not only is it annoyingly formatted by it has good information.

    The bit I especially like is the full translation with sound bites mixed in between. The sound clips are important because of meter and translation, which is difficult. The cool thing about the sound clips is that they are in a woman's voice! Ha!

    Anyway, I can't find a good clip of my favorite part, talking about the sword that Beowulf used to kill Grendel's mother. It had been woven and carved with drawings of giants and how God drove them out with the flood. What it references is the Nephilim, who were supposedly Sons of God. This is a much-disputed bit of the Bible that is really fascinating. I intend to ask God about it one day when we are face to face. Or maybe there will be a book of Frequently Asked Questions.

    The sword melts like an "icicle of gore" or something, and only the hilt is left because her blood boiled so hot that it melted his weapon . . . very cool stuff. I can't do justice to it here.

    Right, time to sleep. Maybe Grendel's Mum was just PMS-y?

    the wanderer

    This is from a very beautiful old manuscript that probably smells like dust and antiquity. It is a tale of homelessness and friendlessness. You guys need to read it; it is very evocative of loneliness . . . Here is a link to a full text of the writing; it is halfway down the page.

    "So the wise man spoke in his heart, sat apart in private meditation. He is good who keeps his word; a man must never utter too quickly his breast's passion, unless he knows first how to achieve remedy, as a leader with his courage. It will be well with him who seeks favor, comfort from the Father in heaven, where for us all stability resides."

    --unnamed poet

    postmodern Gawain and his ability to reply to comments

    My paper topic, tentatively, is where on the continuum Gawain lies on being an elect or a representative hero and how that affects the meaning of the story. A lot of the riddles and forms in the poem seem to point at irony, so we'll see where this one goes. For a little while I entertained a day dream brought on by toasted almonds that figured individualist societies always seeing elect heroes and collectivist societies always choosing representative heroes. It would probably make a good short story but for the fact that I'm terrible at writing them.

    I also cannot figure out how to reply to comments here like I used to on Mindsay. So boo on Blogger. If you see your name in bold somewhere down the line it will be me responding to your comment.

    Mindsay is coming along a little bit at a time, but I am having troubles with layout. I may decide simply update my blog once a week over there and keep this one. I don't know. I kind of like the change. *sigh* We shall see how things go.

    Thursday, September 9

    portents of autumn

    I have tickets for my autumn trip now, and I received a letter from my host welcoming me to join the party. I have been excited before, but the fact that I am really going is accented by the small details that I must remember. Prosaic things like having to remember to buy travel-size toiletries and to bring walking shoes become sparkling hints and clues like a legend on a map. Some things only do I know: there will be unfamiliar names on the maps, and maybe there will be cobblestones on the streets.

    Tonight, at this house, there have been very strong winds that do not whip around or buffet stones but instead whistle through the cracks in the windows and doors. It sometimes feels as if there was an ocean lapping at the doorstep, making our haven treacherous to find and dangerous to navigate to. The winds come in September, a shadow of what they will be at full height and frenzy in November. Right now they are just crazymaking.

    I'm sitting at the kitchen table this late at night with a cup of Earl Grey tea and knowing beyond doubt that the soles of my feet are clean and pink. This thought is comforting.

    Wind whines and whines the shingle,
    The crazy pierstakes groan;
    A senile sea numbers each single
    Slimesilvered stone.

    james joyce, On the Beach at Fontana

    Wednesday, September 8

    just about to go to sleepy

    It is the end of the day, most everyone is upstairs sleeping, and I am left to shut things down, including my computer, before heading up that direction myself.

    I did finally get a tentative topic for my paper. I'm still unsure about it, though, so I emailed my professor and in his nearly infinite wisdom concerning these matters, I should expect a good response. I already expected one tonight, but I suppose he didn't check his email . . . drat!

    Having decided that I would hide on my chat program to see who else was on while I listened to my newest favorite song (Other Hours by Harry Connick Jr.), a friend from thousands of miles away popped up and said hi. So five more minutes, I think, and then I shall act Endymion for at least seven hours.

    CSI full text

    What a frustrating research log. Most of it involves blank spaces and the other of it is where I have slammed my pen into the paper, abusing it horribly and wrinkling my nose in a most unhappy fashion. The nose-wrinkling does not show on the paper. *sigh* I have posted the farewell message on my antipodal blog. I hope I don't lose all my friends from there:( I really liked the people I've met! Well, most of them:)

    Anyway . . . back to research . . . and doodling . . .

    post-breakfast sortie

    The kitchen is clean and now I am not, but I haven't the time to get my paper started after everybody leaves the house and before the particularly distracting people get back, so you see the full extent of my plight. Well almost the full extent. I haven't a clue of what I want to write about for my paper yet, and it is supposed to be something like 10-15 pages long! Not that that is abnormal, I've done many of them before, but each one seems to come as a shock to me:

    "You actually want to see THAT MUCH of MY writing??" and then the instructor nods woodenly and looks down in horrified realization at their Term Papers of Doom.

    Whoop! Espresso is ready and I must away.

    Tuesday, September 7

    irresponsible plums

    You might think it would be utterly picturesque and delightfully romantic to be picking plums in an orchard across from our house in the twilight of an Italian countryside, laughing with my mother. You might, but you wouldn't have taken into account the slipperiness of ripe and overripe plums underneath the soles of birkenstocks or the fact that Italian orchards are inevitably dusty, not to mention the nostalgic smell of pesticide.

    Oddly enough it occurred to me that all of the plums scattered across the orchard under the plum trees, a squashy path of them marking our footsteps thither, were irresponsibly creating a myriad of diarrhea cases merely by default.

    Plum jam shall haunt me, plum pies, plum cakes, plum everything! Woe! Woe is me!


    I have just registered four more books at and ordered a set of those plastic bag thingies. They should be fun to leave around the area here. I like supporting things like this:) Besides, it gets me a neat little pair of wings on my name in my profile.

    Ahem. I have done no "preliminary research" that I was going to do for my term paper. Drat.


    Originally uploaded by anstruther.

    I just posted huge entries into my Medieval and Renaissance Lit. class and I'm feeling very good about myself. Yay, me! I also posted a highly intelligent remark about Tristan and the little psychedelic lapdog that ran around the story. He was psychedelic, trust me. I'm not quoting it here, though, so you can forget about it. My penchant for research does not extend as far as Tristan's dog.

    I am going to try posting a picture of my glorious self so that you can ogle at my gorgeous beauty. If all goes well it should be a picture of me in black and white at a German coffee shop with my arm hiding my face . . . not the best picture, but it is a good one. Thanks to my older sister for taking it:)

    I still must do some preliminary research for my term paper. That shouldn't be too hard, though, with University subscriptions and beautiful things like that . . .

    breakfast table

    I was up until about 3 a.m. this morning trying to complete my last post, and therefore groggily at 9 I am up after breakfast rather disappointed that nobody has posted back. Isn't that always the way it goes, though? Bweh on them.

    That post was for my Medieval and Renaissance Lit. class; we are studying the first hundred pages of the Norton Anthology of English Lit. (vol. 1) and most of it is Beowulf. Seamus Heaney does a very nice modern translation, a little akin to Fagle's translation of The Odyssey that I studied a bit last term. The modernity bothers me a little, though. I still need to post a substantial main topic on this class.

    My other class, on Arthurian Legend, is due for a post on Tristan, which I find truly abhorrent. One cannot say this easily in class because of the ban on subjectivity which is enforced by a well-written, grumpy, concise comment by our Professor who in all other respects is an excellent instructor; possibly one of my favorites. (I can say that here because I posted the address to my Mindsay blog in our introductory discussion of "who's who" in the online classroom, where several other people posted theirs.) In any case, Tristan needs some attention. If all goes well I can lambast him and Gottfried von Strassburg properly if my wit is in top form. ha ha. ha.

    I'm having trouble writing here. Usually I can come up with something creative for my blog entries, but this just seems to be all administration information that sounds like it should have "--MGMT" at the end of it. I've put on a good CD of Beethoven's sonatas and there is fresh espresso in front of me. Perhaps what is daunting me is the term paper due for the Arthurian class; 10-15 pages which have no business being difficult as I enjoy most of the subject very much.

    *sigh* Maybe later I can get in a bit of reading for my field studies class--presently for that class I've got a good bit of James Joyce to mull over.

    Monday, September 6

    modern poets, and old english poetry

    This post began as a warm-up exercise for studying, a reflection log of thoughts as I went over for a second read, but then as I got more interested in it I went ahead and added the format to it. The finished product is rather interesting, if you like modern epics or have read Tolkien.

    Synecdoche and metonymy are common figures of speech as when keel is used for "ship" or iron, for "sword." A particularly striking effect is achieved by the kenning, a compound of two words in place of another as when sea becomes "whale-road" or body is called "life-house."

    In the second sentence of Caedmon's Hymn, for example, God is referred to five times appositively as "he," "holy Creator," "mankind's guardian," "eternal Lord," and "Master Almighty." This use of parallel and appositive expressions, known as
    variation, gives the verse a highly structured and musical quality. (Norton)

    There is a contemporary writer, Calvin Miller, whose poetry reflects these literary figures in extreme. In his epic poem "The Singer", he retells Christian history with allegory. Snippet alert:

    The River Singer finished and
    they walked into the trees.

    "Are you the Troubador, who
    knows the Ancient Star-Song?"
    the tradesman softly asked.

    In the Bible, this passage is originally the beginning of the book of Mark. The River Singer is John the Baptist, the Troubador is the Christ, and the Ancient Star-Song is the Truth.

    The overall effect of the language is to formalize and elevate speech. Instead of being straightforward, it moves at a slow and stately pace with steady indirection. A favorite mode of this indirection is irony. A grim irony pervades heroic poetry even at the level of diction where fighting is called "battle-play." A favorite device, known by the rhetorical term litotes, is ironic understatement. (Norton)

    I'm having a bit more trouble discerning ironic understatement from the technique of foreshadowing; I'm supposing it comes from looking through too many books whose plot-twists I am familiar with . . . Actually quite funny:)

    More than a figure of speech, irony is also a mode of perception in Old English poetry. In a famous passage, the Wanderer articulates the theme of Ubi sunt (where are they now): "Where had the horse gone? Where the young warrior? Where the giver of treasure? . . . " (Norton)

    This one is interesting in relation to modern poets because nearly everybody has recently seen an example of this in a movie, which based on a book that was written by a man who also translated Beowulf. Allow me to present Tolkien with his absurd triad of initials and his remarkable story about a Ring. In one scene in the movie--more people will remember this than the book, I think--King Theoden of Rohan is being armed for battle and he recites an old poem exactly in this style and very similar to the one quoted:

    "Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
    Where is the helm and hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
    Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
    [full text located at the end of this page]

    So alike, in fact, that somebody else noticed it too, which happily validates the point a little more.

    ?. "Old English Poetry." Norton Anthology of English Literature. Eds. M.H. Abrams et al. 4th ed. vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1999. p 5-6.

    Miller, Calvin. "The Singer". Inter Varsity Press: 1975. p 17.

    Tolkien, J.R.R. "The Two Towers". Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992. p 530. Published online by at an unknown date; last visited 09.07.04.