Neo Illion

I hope that winning “Neo Illion” from Kelly doesn’t mean that I have to write the next Tom Lord novel, because I don’t think I can do it. It does mean, however, that I have temporarily broken my losing streak since March when I won “New Zealand”.

At present, I am reading Melusine, a 371-page Middle English prose romance/history, and I am baffled as to why it has not been given greater importance. When I finish reading it, I expect to find myself going to conferences and being the only person to have read it in its entirety, if at all. It may or may not be giving me ideas for a future NaNoWriMo novel, but that is the most I shall say on the subject.

The story I want to be writing isn’t finished percolating, and the one I wasn’t expecting to write for while is sending the occasional scene. I am collecting both stories bit by bit, scene by scene, shuffled and out of order. It is not a process I particularly enjoy, but I guess as long as the stories get written somehow…

Sushi vengeance

The Lammas Fair has come and gone. Yesterday evening, Felicity and I walked around and amongst it, fingers sticky with candy floss and gawking at the swinging rides that brought passengers precariously close to the buildings on South Street. I went out to buy lunch today and Market Street had returned to normal (though, before I could go through the passageway of 66, I first had to gain admission from two water-pistol-wielding guerilla fighters. I was clearly a neutral party, and twice their size, and thus was unharmed).

Last night Felicity and walked down onto the beach in the dark to watch the Perseid meteor shower. The tide was out and we spread out towels, squinting upward through the haze that was drifting in from the sea. We saw a two UFOs, which turned out to be RAF jets coming into the nearby base. We also saw a total of three meteors: two small ones and a spectacular, firey golden-silver streak of light. “Falling stars—that means they’re dying!” Felicity exclaimed with some horror. “Not dying! Coming down to earth, turning into something else,” I answered. Then I realized that falling stars could be falling angels (my dissertation is 80% about Satan after all) and immediately quoted—because that book has ruined me, thanks Kelly1—“Crowley, an angel that did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards.”

It has been a while (“Arkadia”, in April), so I feel justified in announcing that I beat Kelly at chess. 12 August 2009, “The Aedificium”.

Now, to possibly finish my word count for today.

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1 It really has. My notes on the Antichrist plays are peppered with Good Omens references, including “sushi vengeance”. And yesterday I saw the potted plants outside College Gate and burst out laughing. Thankfully I was alone in 666. …Oh dear, I’m doomed.

Poor Cave Troll

Well, my prediction was wrong. It did not take me another 4 or 5 games, just the next one, to beat Kelly. But, she’s been sick so she wasn’t at the top of her game. Still, I have to brag: 27 January 2009, “Damar.” The next game is in Persephone, and looks to be a mighty fine shindig.

I woke up feeling under the weather today, so I ditched my to-do list and have been watching Star Wars with Felicity. Hopefully my sinuses will feel less explosive tomorrow.

Over the course of the last two days, while watching Fellowship of the Ring and Star Wars, I have felt sorry for the cave troll (he was kept captive! he probably didn’t really want to attack those mean old men in the room), wondered about the goblin economy and culture (what do they do all day when they’re not chasing trespassers?), and thought about droid rights (blown up or deactivated without a second thought!). I think I’m close to being able to anthropomorphize just about anything…

Orsinian Tales

I… actually beat Kelly at chess? I’m not expecting to win again any time soon, but I’m still marking the calendar: 30 August 2008, “Earthsea.”

Speaking of Le Guin, I recently finished Orsinian Tales. I wouldn’t call it her best by any means, though part of my judgement may be obscured because I went into it thinking they were interlinking stories about a medieval village, when instead they were all tales about a made-up Central European country called Orsinia. I appreciated the collection more once I caught on, and my favorites were “The Barrow,” “Conversations at Night,” “A Week in the Country,” “The Lady of Moge,” and “Imaginary Countries”–though the last could have stood without the last line. Personal preference.

These were my favorites not necessarily because of the language, which was below her usual brilliance, but because of the stories. The medieval village chief balancing belief in the old ways and the new Christianity. A quarry town and life under a communist government. Her ability to present imagination as fact, and only later do you see with the jaded eyes of adulthood. Despite being tales about a country, the stories were microscopic, focusing on specific, ordinary individuals at turning points in their lives. The astuteness with which she explores human character is noteworthy and largely makes up for the lack of poetry. Though, this lack might be because they were stories about Orsinia, a bare place that itself does not evoke poetry but hearts bent toward survival—a thought to keep in mind during a future reread. To some degree I was reminded of “The Day Before the Revolution” (found in Le Guin’s Wind’s Twelve Quarters, my favorite collection of hers yet), and, as a result, The Dispossessed—they also employ the use of subtle observation. I did, however, come across a few gems of perfect sentences that remind me why Le Guin is a master of language:

Like Stefan, she wondered at [Kostant], at his beauty and his strength, but she did not think of him as wasted. The Lord keeps the house and knows his servants. If he had sent this innocent and splendid man to live obscure on the plain of stone, it was part of his housekeeping, of the strange economy of the stone and rose, the rivers that run and do not run dry, the tiger, the ocean, the maggot, and the not eternal stars.
— “Brothers and Sisters”

What good is music? None, Gaye thought, and that is the point. To the world and its states and armies and factories and Leaders, music says, ‘You are irrelevant’; and arrogant and gentle as a god, to the suffering man it says only, ‘Listen.’ For being saved is not the point. Music saves nothing. Merciful, uncaring, it denies and breaks down all the shelters, the houses men build for themselves, that they may see the sky.
— “An Die Musik”

Speed Chess

Since Kelly seems unlikely to post any pictures or about her wedding, and since I said I would, and since she is back, and therefore able to exert her wrath upon me for doing so, I am. 😉

I know it’s blurry, but it’s one of my favorites, because everyone was laughing. One of the things that characterized the wedding in my mind was just how much laughter there was. It was wonderful.

There were also tense moments as well, such as just before it was time for Kelly to go in. We had an unheard-of hour of downtime before the ceremony during which we had to wait. One of the topics of conversation was Candide and cannibalism. Of course, Kelly was impatient. To distract her from pacing, she and I played a few games of speed chess. (She won the first game, and we didn’t get to finish the second.)

What’s really amusing to me is that when I was going through Ian the Photographer’s photos, I came across a picture of Philip and Eric playing checkers on the same board.

Chess, however, is far superior.

Anyways, the ceremony itself was lovely, as was the actual wedding. I’m glad my services as back-up bride were not needed, and as a witness were put to good use. I managed to work in The Importance of Being Earnest and The Sparrow into my toast, references which were lost on most of the audience, but Kelly got them, and that’s what mattered. (An earlier draft also included Lord of the Rings and Dune, but that ran a little long. Alas.) Afterward, we dodged Ian best we could, until Kelly and Philip could make their grand getaway.

Kali and I were left behind watching them drive off. This is another favorite picture. It, ahem, does remind me a little bit of our running joke about Scandalous Headnotes… but also of cousins, and how much I love Kali, when sometimes it seems a miracle we’re friends at all. ❤

We went to the Brubakers’ after-party at Kelly’s grandmother’s house, and then I drove away, leaving Oklahoma behind me.

Kali likes to make me squirm… Anyroad, there ’tis. A rather short and sweet summary. (Mainly an excuse to post some pictures.)