You ever wonder how reading actually works? I don’t mean the most fundamental kind of reading — you know, looking a word and knowing what it means. However, there’s actually not much difference between the two kinds of reading. What I do mean is the kind of reading where you finish a poem and you know what it meant — not what it said, but what it meant. I find my students often don’t know the difference. So I’m pretty good at explaining it. I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. At a simple level, the way you read a poem is the way you read a tarot card or a painting or a situation. It’s all about triangulation.
It’s Bram Stoker’s birthday! He was born in 1847 in Dublin Ireland. Did you know he was Irish? Let’s talk some about Bram Stoker. This Victorian Gothic literature degree should come in handy once in a while, right?
I thought I’d write up something a little more practical. What’s more practical than a tarot spread, right? A lot of things, I suppose, but never mind that now. I was fiddling with my cards a few days ago and decided that the Deathly Hallows, from Harry Potter, would make a good set of interlinked images to build a spread on.
In this second post, I’ll be writing some more about the magic in the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Last time I wrote about Cúchulainn’s evocation of the waters, as well as the other elements, to help defend a ford from invaders. This time I want to write about when Cúchulainn nearly dies and a fairy comes to help him.
I don’t mean an exhaustive list or anything. I just re-read The Táin and was surprised by a few instances of magic I’d totally forgotten. Both of them involve Cúchulainn in some way. One involves battle and the other healing.
It’s not actually a revolutionary idea to suggest Tolkien is a modernist, but it’s still so counter to everything he said and tried to do that it’s worth blogging about. And, anyway, today was the Autumnal Equinox — or the Evenlength, if you like words derived from Middle English (ȝevelengðhe). It’s also Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’s birthday, so I started re-reading The Lord of the Rings. As one does. And I was reminded of the whole modernist thing by his poetry of all things.
I just finished re-reading Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time. I may actually prefer the End of Time to the Elric stories, in that they suit my temperament much more. Elric was instrumental in my formative years, so I’ll never not think of those stories as some of my favorites, but — along with my personal preference — everyone talks about Elric. What about Jherek Carnelian?
Do you know what the Nuzlocke challenge is? If you’re interested, here’s a link (source of the above image, as well). Basically, though, it’s “hard mode” for Pokemon, something players impose on themselves to make the game harder. At its core is a rule simulating the death of Pokemon — if a pokemon faints, you have to release it. Why do we do this?
This is probably my last post of 2015. It seems appropriate. I always meant to get around to writing about my dad dying. 2015 was not a great year. Terry Pratchett died. Christopher Lee died. Satoru Iwata died. My rabbit died. Two of my high school friends died. And my dad died. With the sort of vague, ambient irony the universe is sometimes fond of, it’s also the year I got married. But that’s another post. My dad died two months ago — I’m not here to tell you how I “got over it.” I’m just telling you an idea I encountered in the course of my living with it.