Dec. 10th, 2013
So as I continued flipping through the January 1989 issue of The Nickell, a tiny ad, no more than 1/16 of a page in size, caught my eye. It was mixed in with other similarly small ads for things such as skate sharpeners and cancer cures, only this one, instead of being quaint, was puzzling.
It offered to sell readers a “bold, brave book” about the “ethics of marriage,” but as I looked more closely, I wondered whether the fine print was a coded message for information about contraception.
When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For [love] and for valour he rode through the land.
No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride,
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.
Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
'Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.
When a Knight Won His Spurs is a children's hymn written by Jan Struther and set to a folk melody (Stowey) and harmonised by Ralph Vaughan Williams.The hymn first appeared in Songs of Praise in 1931.
Hear it beautifully done by my new favorite British folk duo, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker.
Sleepy Hollow is back, which means my weekly quota of good-looking people bickering marvelously with each other and running away from stuff in blue-tint day-for-night is back to normal levels! It feels good.
This week was a heaping helping of daddy issues, though; while the themes were certainly cohesively presented, and while Tom Mison has sold every possible hairpin turn in all of this without losing either Ichabod's humor or his humanity, this arc hasn't worked quite as well as Abbie's early stuff. Part of this is that Ichabod's backstory requires a lot of retconning at a time when we didn't particularly need all that stuff retconned (the Horseman could just have been a Hessian dude, we'd have been fine, he's already a nemesis without dragging Katrina into the middle of a prizefight). And part of it is honestly that Abbie's story is one you don't see on TV that often, and was a more interesting and internal arc; you can Grace Dixon me all you want, but Abbie's been sidelined for a few episodes now to the detriment of the show, and the only place this has gotten us is knowing that Ichabod's firebug son burned Grace Dixon to death, which is not super helpful.
However, as always, everyone had amazing faces. Tom Mison, always a contender, made a strong showing with his Mirkwood Lumberjack Elf audition tape:
Unfortunately, he forgot he was in an episode with Amandla Stenberg, who not only has an amazing face but who got this fantastic shot in which she looks more Revolutionary-era-appropriately dressed than almost anything they've managed for Katrina:
This honestly intrigues me; coupled with the new threats about her that Irving was dealing with in the park, it sounds like Macey is going to find herself battling the forces of evil. (I need her to not be connected to Ichabod, though, because seriously, somebody has to sit that one out.)
But nobody's face this week could top the baby who was handed the doll Katrina made on purpose to comfort a child, even though it was a living nightmare, and you can gloss over it all you want, show, but that baby's face says it all:
So, full marks for knowing in episode 5 that you were going to be bringing this golem back in conjunction with the witches in Katrina's dream house, that is A+ continuity. However, that baby's face. Thank you, that is all.
As always, the full recap is up at io9!
04:37 pm - Winter's not even officially here
And I'm already sick of ice and snow. And we escaped the worst of Storm Dion this time, though snow continues to fall, beyond what was predicted this morning. Enough already.
01:06 pm - Tuesday quick notes
My LitReactor writing class, Start to Finish, begins January 9th. This is an online, asynchronous workshop-style class with "lectures." Four weeks, easy to squeeze in! Good if you're working on something specific. Do sign up.
My contributor copy of Caledonia Dreamin' came in today. See?
It's a nice-looking volume. My story is "Drive the Warlike Angles Into the Sea!!!" and I hope people read it. It was a labor-of-love type story, in that I was eager to be in this book for, among other reasons, the chance to write some Yes propaganda (the book itself is neither for nor against). I also only got £20 for it. But these days, I feel that a lot of anthologies are fairly cynical, with themes designed either for Kickstart friendliness (e.g., Twenty Authors With Blogs!), or being created via mix'n'match—Steampunk Zombies! I liked that this one is focused closely on language and place, and was wide open as far as storytelling goes. Check it out.
Colin Wilson died last week—we wondered if it wasn't a hoax when only the Times (of London) had an obit. It took all weekend for the other papers to get their file obits together. The UK press is playing one last round of "Bash Colin" as well, as in this sort of concern trolling into the afterlife.
Haven't seen any US newspaper obits for Wilson yet at all. The New York Times wrote about him... back in 2005. Don't wear yourselves out, Gray Ladies!
03:13 pm - In Poetryland
Prompt from cynthia1960: What is your favorite poet or songwriter?
First off, I like the question because the hallmark of many of my favorite songwriters is writing lyrics that could stand alone as poetry, whether Dorothy-Parkerish clever and satirical, such as Jonathan Coulton; involved imagery and wit like Elvis Costello; or ballad-like emotions and use of repetition, such as Bonnie Raitt or Bonnie Koloc.
However, with poet as well as songwriter, it's really hard to settle on one.
For a while beginning in late high school, my favorite poet was T. S. Eliot. Now some of his poetry seems--I'm sorry--not only bleak but a little whiny, and too self-consciously profound, although I still admire his bold eclectic mythologizing and enjoy his ability to portray altered states of mind in poems like *The Four Quartets*. Then and in college I became enthralled by the poetry and plays of Federico Garcia Lorca; I stopped reading him after a few years & don't really know what my reaction would be now.
Then in graduate school my passion became more or less split among William Blake, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and 17th-century Christian/metaphysical poets such as John Donne and Thomas Traherne. All of these are quirky, with a contemplative but energetic voice, all of them both personal and transcendent in subject matter and its treatment. All of them pull meaning out of everyday experience and use metaphors no one else would ever think of or at least dare to use; all are entranced by and almost dizzying in their use of the playfulness of language.
I may be undergoing a new change, as rereading Shakespeare and Milton to teach them has impressed me in a new way. There is a solidity to them that Blake, Hopkins, and my beloved metaphysical poets probably don't have, without sacrificing inventive wordplay. Specific lines of my previously favorite poets have helped me codify, understand, and appreciate my own experience, while specific lines from Shakespeare and Milton seem to lead me into understanding other aspects of the universe and other human beings in a new way.
However--to connect this to a discussion of age in the lj of wild_irises and elsewhere--adding new favorites doesn't really displace old favorites, any more than new understanding of the world as we grow older completely erases our past selves and their understanding.
Mood: happy, chatty, lazy but that must change
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