hey, look, a yuletide letter?

Monday, 23 October 2017 17:59
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I have had this letter at the top of my to-do list for weeks, but when I finally sat down to write it, I couldn't really think of any reason to do it. You have years and years of this tag and so many previous letters if you're the sort of person who wants to dig really deep, and if you're not, you can stop reading now and go back to just my sign-up.

I could go into great detail about where to find the fandoms I requested and so on, but let's be honest, that would be almost entirely for people who might want to write me treats, not for you.

(Although super-quick: all the links you need for Mr. Trash Wheel are in this entry downtag; Njal's Saga is a medieval Icelandic saga which you could probably get a doctorate in but didn't so all I can suggest is gutenberg or a good modern annotated edition of which there are several in many languages, or if you're really ambitious, you can listen to all 12 Njal's Saga episodes of the SagaThing podcast, which is what motivated me to request it. But also I think of stories as old as Njal's saga as living stories rather than a fixed canon so if you want to just find a good summary and work from that, that would be a-ok with me; Murderbot Diaries is so far just one novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells that came out this year and is probably available at your local library; Girl With The Silver Eyes is a kids' novel from the '80s that is probably not still at your local library but is definitely on Amazon for cheap, at least in the US; and the Barbara Hambly are both many-volume historical mystery series that are still being published, although I would be ok with side-character fic based on characters that only appear in the first volume of either.)

I could also go into great detail about why I like these canons, but you don't actually need thousands of words of rambling about the fundamental essence of Baltimore and urban solarpunk; or about the parallel roles of Hannibal and Simon in re: the construction of Whiteness and classical monsters as racial metaphors; or the performance of gender and honor in medieval Scandinavia; or about the portrayal of neurodivergence mediated through otherness in SF/F stories; and anyway if I did all that it would be totally misleading because really my reaction to these stories is more GIANT GOOGLY EYES and CHEESE CSI and TALKING CATS and SANCTUARY MOON and I read all the Hambly in a month straight while ill last year so really mostly I just LOVE IT ALL on a very shallow and inarticulate level.

I could go into more about my DNWs but honestly my DNWs are usually more about the spirit of the story than the details so it would be just as likely to make you worry about things you don't need to worry about.

(but real quick: please no environmentalism doomy doom for Trash Wheel- post-apocalyptic would be fine but make it hopeful and optimistic no matter how unrealistic that seems sometimes these days; please no doomy doom for Njal either, like, we all know how it ends, it's in the damn title, but he lived to old age which is pretty much a happy ending given the odds for a saga hero and a lot of other stuff happened before that; for Murderbot I think I covered it pretty well in the letter; Silver Eyes and Hambly I'm pretty much good with whatever as long as it's in the spirit of canon more or less and you're careful with the more sensitive bits of the history in Hambly.)

I could give you more prompts but you read my sign-up; do you actually need more prompts? I mean, let me know, I have plenty, but I kind of suspect you are begging me for fewer prompts at this point.

(Crossovers always good, setting-swap AUs also good, the weirder the better, outsider POVs and background characters always good, worldbuilding and setting always good, basically anything in these canons is fine?)

Anyway here is a link to my previous post of my sign-up just for convenience, it is slightly cleaned up with a few more prompts at this point: Yuletide signup

Most importantly, have fun! I promise nothing you write can ruin yuletide for me.*

--Me

*That's not a dare. But you would have to try pretty hard to manage it. Truly.

Figure to yourselves my bogglement

Monday, 23 October 2017 18:09
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

A booklist which includes Tropic of Cancer and Little Women:

Goodreads' 200 Most Difficult Novels. "Novels that made you work the hardest. Let's assume that you actually finished the book and felt that it was worth the effort."

And some of those are Very Long Important Novels but some of them are quite short, and not even short in the sense of 'compressed and elliptical and dense'.

And some of them are challenging reads on account of subject matter but others, really, not so much I would have thought.

And, generically, quite a mishmash.

But a list that includes Clarissa and Coraline?

Okay, some of those books look like set texts that people had to struggle through and then found worth the journey, but others, presumably, are not the kind of books that feature in lit courses.

And some are even in the category I would have considered rattling airport reads...

Commentary for Riddle 68 and 69

Monday, 23 October 2017 17:20
[syndicated profile] the_riddle_ages_feed

Posted by mccavell

From previous blog posts, you may now be getting the sense that the final run of riddles in the Exeter Book is where everything has gone to pot. You’re not wrong. As I explained in my commentary for Riddle 63, there’s a rather large and irritating hole that has damaged multiple works toward the end of the manuscript.

That’s not, however, the problem we have here. The problem with Riddles 68 and 69 and deciding whether they’re one poem or two is totally the scribe’s fault! Because, you see, there’s punctuation in the manuscript that suggests Riddle 68 ends at gegierwed, and an enlarged initial W on Wundor that implies Riddle 69 is the start of a new poem. I don’t have a copyright-free photo to share with you, so here’s my finest attempt at an artistic rendering:

Riddle 68 and 69 transcription.jpg
#notapalaeographer #noracalligrapher #sozlol

What, what, WHAT do we do with this information? Well, let’s remember that this isn’t the first time we’ve been in this sort of situation. Riddles 47 and 48 present us with the complete opposite problem. In that part of the manuscript, we have no punctuation to separate out what – from their content – seem to be two different poems. But they’re run together on the manuscript page, and, where we’d expect a punctuation mark like the one at the end of Riddle 68 (and most riddles), we have nothing.

There’s also the matter of Riddles 1-3, which are set out on the page like separate poems, but all deal with similar subjects. Some editors think they’re one big riddle in three movements. Some think they’re three separate poems that have been placed near each other on purpose.

And the list of problem riddles goes on.

The long and the short of it is…the layout of the riddles (and other poems in the Exeter Book) can be a bit messy! In fact, Mercedes Salvador-Bello argues that the assembling of these particular riddles and the ones around them “was done in a rather careless way” and “the compilers increasingly resorted to opportunistic improvisation in place of planned arrangement” (page 398). Whether there’s any sort of method to this mess is a matter for the manuscript specialists, and not little ol’ me.

But I’ll allow myself to have opinions about the poetic content…because the only thing I love more than poetry is having opinions.

When it comes to Riddles 68 and 69, I’m going to side with the editors who read the poems as one. The sense of wonder and the travelling on ways/waves go quite nicely together – so nicely, that Craig Williamson suggests this variation of on weg (line 1b: on the way) and on wege (line 3a: on the wave) is the “trick” of the riddle (page 335). And that beautiful final half-line, wæter wearð to bane (water turned to bone), explains the whole wondrous situation very tidily. Ice! (Old English Is!)

Riddle 68 and 69 Iceberg.jpg
Photo (by yours truly) of an iceberg at Jökulsárlón in Iceland

The specific form of ice is up for grabs. The riddle is often solved as Iceberg, hence the dramatic shot above. There is, after all, another iceberg riddle in the Exeter Book: do you remember the monstrous creature of Riddle 33? They’re quite different poems on the whole, but there is some verbal overlap, as we can see in Riddle 33’s first line:

Wiht cwom æfter wege      wrætlicu liþan
(Something wondrous came moving over wave)

Interesting.

Leaving Iceberg to one side, John D. Niles has also suggested Frozen Pond (Old English Is-mere) (page 143), and Patrick J. Murphy recently made quite a good case for Icicle (Old English Gicel) (page 8). Murphy pointed out the riddle tradition’s “penchant for defamiliarizing common objects,” and noted that icicles and bones are associated in folk riddles (page 8). This makes sense, of course, since they have a similar shape! Or as Murphy puts it (rather nicely, I think): “the elongated, rodlike forms of ice […] would most readily activate the image of ossification” (page 8). If we’re worried about the travelling of those elongated ossificatory icicles (say that three times fast!), we needn’t be. Icicles are still made of water, after all, and the travelling could refer to the way they extend and grow longer over time.

Icicles
Photo (by Barfooz) from Wikimedia Commons (license: CC BY-SA 3.0

Anywho, back to the issue of one vs two riddles: it’s also worth pointing out that – if we don’t solve Riddles 68 and 69 together – the solution to Riddle 68 is a lot harder to come by. A creature travelling on a path who’s miraculously adorned could be…a lot of things. We definitely need more to go on than that! Not to mention the fact that nearly the exact same lines that make up the whole of Riddle 68 are found earlier in the Exeter Book as the start of Riddle 36:

Ic wiht geseah     on wege feran,
seo was wrætlice     wundrum gegierwed.
(I saw a creature travel on the way/wave,
she/it was miraculously adorned with wonders.)

This particular riddle is pretty messy too, and may represent the smooshing together (that’s the technical term, I believe) of two separate riddles. The best solution seems to be Ship – so there’s definitely a thematic connection between water, ice and sea travel.

Riddle 68 seems to be drawing on formulaic language about this sort of thing. It’s possible, of course, that the scribe copying out the riddle simply didn’t finish it, and went straight on to the next one. When I’m tired, my eyes skip across the page all the time. These things happen.

Either way, though, Riddle 69 can certainly function on its own:

Wundor wearð on wege;       wæter wearð to bane.
(There was a wonder on the wave; water turned to bone.)

In fact, it’s a very nice example of the riddle form in brief. This riddle describes something that should be recognizable, but from a strange perspective. Like metaphors, which represent one thing in terms of another, riddles ask us to think outside the box. Here, the riddle asks how water can become bone. It doesn’t say ‘ice is bony’ (not the most eloquent of metaphors!), but instead demands that we make the logical leap from water-turned-bone to ice. What a nice little example of riddling.

And look at all that alliteration! We have no fewer than FIVE ‘w’ words in one line! In fact, apart from the prepositions, bane (bone) is the only word in the line to start with a different letter. The sounds of these letters almost resemble the wobbly flowy-ness of water solidifying into a sharp bursting ‘b’. That’s not the most articulate sentence I’ve ever written, but hopefully you get a sense of what I mean. If not, try reading the line out loud to yourself!

Please do this in public. Or in your workplace. Or maybe in a silent reading room in a library. Are people looking at you funny yet? Then my work here is done.

 

References and Suggested Reading

Murphy, Patrick J. Unriddling the Exeter Riddles. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011, esp. pages 8-9.

Niles, John D. Old English Enigmatic Poems and the Play of the Texts. Turnhout: Brepols, 2006.

Salvador-Bello, Mercedes. Isidorean Perceptions of Order: the Exeter Book Riddles and Medieval Latin Enigmata. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2015, esp. pages 398-9.

Williamson, Craig, ed. The Old English Riddles of the Exeter Book. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977.


Last chance to get your bids in

Monday, 23 October 2017 14:23
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Bidding at [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico closes today (thanks to [personal profile] sholio for the heads-up).

(no subject)

Monday, 23 October 2017 09:48
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] chalcedony_cat, [personal profile] diony, and [personal profile] em_h!

inktober: week 3

Sunday, 22 October 2017 11:58
syntheid: [Steven Universe] Pearl (lineface)
[personal profile] syntheid
This is a weird mix of really having no inspiration and really wanting to do something more elaborate without as much directly copying refs. Day 15 got expanded at least in sketch to this (which is in non-photo blue so it's kinda difficult to see but I basically made it a full page illustration) that I'd like to actually finish sometime, Day 19 was actually revisiting an old pencil sketch from last year and inking it (with the wrong pen, so now I can't watercolor it like I intended to originally, but the lines came out nice).

And then the piece in blue was not part of Inktober, it's just a gouache painting of those thumbnails I did week 1. You can't really see in the photo, but the shadows on the ... robot thing are iridescent also.

more thoughts )

this seemed... too big, so I'm going to cut some of this )
six-eyed android-ish entity with smoke hair turning into a butterfly landing on its hand
other

» icons / lenny (all forms), david

Sunday, 22 October 2017 14:13
the: (cindy lou whom)
[personal profile] the posting in [community profile] icons

147 LEGION (FX) HERE.

Not much cooking

Sunday, 22 October 2017 20:18
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
[personal profile] oursin

I made a Psomi loaf during the week, and brown grated apple rolls with molasses and mixed spice for Saturday breakfast.

And then last night my innards were in upheaval, a situation that continued for a substantial part of today, and I was not feeling like food or cooking it.

Crime & Detectives Comm

Sunday, 22 October 2017 20:07
lost_spook: (writing)
[personal profile] lost_spook posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo


[community profile] mystery_mansion: a comm for all fictional mystery, crime and detective-related fandoms (in whatever medium). News, reviews, discussion, links, promotions, fests, fanworks of all kinds etc. etc.

Murdered Gods

Sunday, 22 October 2017 13:50
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson

Book #2. Spoilers ahead for Stolen Magic

Read more... )

(no subject)

Sunday, 22 October 2017 13:25
dolewhip: (Steven Universe: Peridot and Garnet)
[personal profile] dolewhip posting in [community profile] icons
64 Steven Universe Icons

Spoilers for 'Wanted'

30 Peridot
22 Lars
12 Blue Pearl



The rest are here at [personal profile] dolewhip.

Sunday uncluttering

Sunday, 22 October 2017 21:21
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How does today's uncluttering go?

It will probably surprise absolutely no-one that I have been sorting paper again. This time, I think that I have found all of the banking statements, and so Friday I took the relevant paperwork to the accountant. Yesterday I tidied up some of the piles that I had left lying around. Today, I didn't touch anything, but I have identified two files that can be pruned of items >10 years old.

I have also been sorting electronic clutter - I added all my ebooks to iBooks, and have now read two of them!

Phoning it in

Sunday, 22 October 2017 12:27
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Oh dear, another blooper from David Mitchell in this week's Observer New Review.

Or, at least, a classic case of writing about something before reading it properly.

The first was that Cambridge University lecture timetables are being labelled with “trigger warnings” about the plots of various literary works, including The Bacchae and Titus Andronicus. So English literature undergraduates are being protected from the knowledge of, among other things, what one of Shakespeare’s plays is about, in case it upsets them.
That is so not what the furore about this that I saw across my bits of social media was: what I saw was the push-back against the elitist assumption that eny fule already no that Titus Andronicus contains murder, rape, mutilation, and involuntary cannibalism (not to mention massive amount of racism).

And trigger-warnings aren't about protecting people from the knowledge that works of art contain disturbing material: they're precisely about letting people who haven't yet encountered them know that they contain material some people may find upsetting. Like the warnings you see at the beginning of a movie, just so you know what you're letting yourself in for.

And I'm really not sure that one can assume general cultural familiarity with one of the less-produced of Shakespeare's plays (the one that suggests that, had he been writing in the 1960s, he'd have been working for Hammer Horror - while some of the early comedies suggest also possibly moonlighting for the Carry On films, but I digress). Okay, there has been a movie version of the play itself, and Theatre of Blood alludes to it in one of the vengeances taken against the critics of the protag. But I doubt it's all that well-known to the individual on the Clapham omnibus.

(no subject)

Sunday, 22 October 2017 12:02
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gryphynshadow!
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Politico: Young subscribers flock to old media

What's particularly fascinating is the way in which it's directly correlated with people wanting to support news organizations as a way to resist Trump:

“The big boost we saw in subscriptions in the U.S.,” Newman said, “is driven by people on the left and younger people are more likely to be on the left. That is really a lot of what’s driving it: young people who don’t like Trump who subscribe to news organizations that they see as being a bulwark against him.”

Keep up the good work!

More booky thoughts

Saturday, 21 October 2017 21:42
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Moomin ranting tonight a bit (charmingly) about wishing his class was broader than just European fairy tales but he also appreciates that it is focused and grounded in particular history.

I was thinking how I came up against that wall around the same age, a bit earlier, and went looking for "world" stuff or just anything not English, US based, "western culture" wanting to see anything possible. Anthologies were good or looking by specific country or ethnicity. I would root through any library or bookstore. Encyclopedias too. The indexes of books were super instructive. It took just years for me to have any real handle on the depth of the problems of histories but it was clear from the beginning that A LOT WAS WRONG. I didn't go into that (right now it is better if I listen to him than talk about my own thoughts)

Anyway! I'm so, so proud of Moomin and his excitement about scholarly things. I feel like no matter what he does in life he will have that kind of love of books and knowledge and stories.

He also really loved Gilgamesh so I am going to show him those awesome debates online between Hoe and Plough, Fish and Bird, etc.

A Dragon of a Different Color

Saturday, 21 October 2017 21:04
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Book 4, picking up speed so that the volumes are more like divisions in a single story. Serious spoilers ahead.
Read more... )

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