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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

M-Type Thing from Oshun

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

M-Type Thing from Oshun

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winter lamppost
heartofoshun gave me the letter S for this here M-type thing. If you would like a letter, please ask!

I started this on the train to Stowe, and it took two full days to finish it. Wow.

Something I hate: Stop sign shenanigans! By which I mean the people who, upon arriving at a four-way stop, dispense with the rules of right-of-way that are designed to keep traffic moving and decide to be all "helpful" and wave other cars through ahead of them. All this does is hold people up! No one wants to plunge to their death into the intersection, so everyone ends up staring at everyone else, trying to figure out who is waving the most sincerely and is therefore least likely to say "fuck it" and just gun it through the stop sign. It drives me crazy. Just follow the right-of-way rules and let everyone be on their way as quickly as possible. That's why someone bothered to come up with the rules in the first place! If they didn't mean for them to be followed, we would just leave four-way stops a matter of etiquette, like holding open doors. The only thing worse is people who do the same thing in traffic circles. Horror.

Something I love: The sea. When I first read Tolkien, I absolutely understood the concepts of the sea-longing and of hearing the Great Music in the sound of water. There is no place where I am happier and more inspired than on the seashore. I haven't seen the ocean for almost three months now, and the sea-longing is upon me. (Bobby knows it: We'll be going to Ocean City the first weekend that Liberty is closed.) The closest I have to the numinous is on the edge of the ocean, hearing and touching the water. (Next is the forest. I feel a part of something larger in those places, both insignificant and timeless.)

Somewhere I've been: Scotland, twice, while visiting my sister and her wife in the north of England. My favorites of the places we've been were Stirling and Edinburgh, in that order. Bobby was researching his thesis (on the Scottish Wars of Independence) when we were in Stirling, and we were on and off the little tourism bus going to different historical sites so much that the driver got to know us and waved us goodbye when he saw us walking to the train station to leave. Edinburgh was beautiful and a very knowledgeable server in a whiskey bar we went to turned me on to Quinta Ruban Scotch, for which I remain extremely grateful!

Somewhere I'd like to go: This was the hardest one to answer. Let's go with Sweden here. I'm interested in medieval Germanic literature and history. It's as good a place as any to geek over that kind of thing.

Someone I know: Sharon/ssotknapsack, my sister and second best friend in the world. I am so happy that she found such a wonderful wife and has such great in-laws but I do miss her every day!

A film I like: I'm going to kind of cheat and say short films. Because I am a short film addict. I use short films a lot of times when teaching literary concepts to my students, and this is a time-consuming undertaking for me because I end up on a short film archive and watching things that I know really won't work for the lesson but that I find interesting. Last weekend, Bobby and I went to the Majestic in Gettysburg to see the nominees for the live action short film category at the Oscars. OMFG. I loved every last one of them and managed to go from feeling like I was being punched repeated in the solar plexus from the inside and maybe even crying JUST A LITTLE don't think I'm going all soft now to laughing so hard it hurt. Okay, since I'm kind of cheating in this category, I'll recommend one for the letter S: I use the darkly humorous Spin to teach theme to my students; it's one of my favorites and they always love it too. I've watched it twenty times now if I've watched it once, and it never gets old.

A book I love: The Silmarillion--a no-brainer here! This has been the book that has had without a doubt the biggest impact on my life. It knocked me out of my narrow little literary world and made me realize I wanted to devote my life's work to literature and writing. Besides, association with the Silm fandom has kept me entertained for over ten years now and made me many wonderful friends.

Other life-changing books: The Scarlet Letter was the book I read in eleventh grade that made me realize I was allowed to like the books we read in school. I think I was the only person in my class who liked it, and I think I had something of a literary crush on the Reverend Dimmesdale in all his angst. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was the first work I read that made think I might want to learn more about and study medieval literature. It is still my favorite work to teach (yes, even more than Beowulf!) and the only work I've taught to my students where we reached the end of an assigned section and they begged to keep reading.

An Author: Stephen King. I haven't read him in forever and am not sure how I would feel about him now, but he was one of the authors that first coaxed me from the YA to the Adult section of the library. (Which probably partly explains my proclivities as an adult reader and writer!) I remember seeing a TV ad for a collection of his books; the ad described his books as terrifying, which was all I needed to hear to know that I wanted to read them. I'd worked my way through the R.L. Stine Fear Street series and everything written by Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan, and I was ready for an upgrade. Some of his books that are considered classics didn't do much for me (Carrie, Pet Sematary, Cujo), but others stuck with my for years, and I probably read them a dozen times (It and The Stand, as well as the novellas The Long Walk, The Body, and The Mist). He wrote interesting characters (including young people) who transcended the popular-nerdy-quirky triumvarate of stock characters familiar from the YA fiction I'd been reading. Go figure, his characters attracted me the most.

I am notably not listing Shakespeare for this one. Kick me out of the profession of teaching English if you must! Shakespeare is enjoyable but hasn't impacted me in the way that many other authors have. At the school where I student-taught, the English faculty fought each year over who would teach "Brit lit" the following year because everyone wanted to teach Shakespeare and Jane Austen. I would have had a dog in that fight but because I would have wanted to teach Beowulf and the Middle English poets!

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Gimme a letter, please! I'm such a meme lemming. ;)

    I totally relate with the sea/forest thing. Also, it's so sweet that you are so fond of your sister. I wish I had one. Both my parents have tons of siblings but, although they like each other and are there (mostly) in times of need, they are not friends and bicker quite a lot. Meh.

    • Let's go with R!

      My sister and I were enemies* until middle school (around 8th grade for me and 6th for her). Then we got into music at the same time and wanted to start a band and so conspired together to convince my parents that we should be allowed to purchase electric guitars. We used to write songs and stories together, rotted our brains on a lot of MTV (with closed captioning on so that we could learn the lyrics to songs), and eventually played our electric guitar and bass together.

      * I say that because I would have said I didn't like her at the time, but we played together a lot and invented/acted out stories from a very young age. We had certain games/activities that probably no one else would have been interested in, like putting all my plastic insects onto a toy school bus and pretending to drop them off at different stops around the room, picking them up again the next "morning," and repeating this about a hundred times. So our eventual friendship really was natural.

      My dad has been estranged from his only sister for almost ten years now, and my mom has gone through periods of estrangement with most of her five siblings. So I am very grateful for my sister, in light of that!
  • I feel the same about the sea and I suffer from Sea Longing if I don't see it.

    Edited at 2015-02-17 02:50 am (UTC)
    • Bobby got me a book for Christmas that explores the science behind sea-longing, or why people feel so content and happy around water. I haven't had a chance to read it yet; I might bring it the first time we go to Ocean City, if I don't have too much school reading to do. :)

      Tolkien seemed to have it too. The passage in "On Fairy-stories" where he talks about the man who builds the stone tower because he can glimpse the sea is one of my favorites of all his writings.
      • That sounds interesting. If it is, hope you will share on your blog. I can only surmise that as we are mostly made of water we are drawn to it.Most British suffer from sea longing if they can't see the sea each year.
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