I am not sure what this online culture consists of, or which of you fellow journal keepers are my friends I have not yet met. I don't suppose everyone just throws their Nobel Prize ideas up here for grabs, or do they?
I am merely hoping, being somewhat isolated from folks of "like mind"--wherever they may be-- that this could be a valuable way to reach out and share ideas. Not being currently affiliated with a university somewhat limits my chances for scholarly conversation. I have a master's degree in Comparative Literature from IU, with a Medieval Studies focus. Not that I am an actual scholar-- more a pseudo-scholar. In fact, a librarian, who would rather be a writer, but shamelessly has never developed the discipline to try to make a living at it. I am a shepard of books instead. I read as many as I can, but alas I spend most of my time wondering where they have all gotten to, and other deep questions such as why religions are all lumped together in the non-fiction section, and yet seldom agree.
My interests have always been so far-ranging that it seems almost formulaic that I will never be any good at any of them. Not that I suffer too badly because I find the world to be such an interesting place. I don't have to do much to stay entertained. I mean, I truly do think that watching paint dry is pretty fascinating. If you really watch.
Since I am pushing 60 now, I have become concerned that my Renaissance Man goals of writing a good novel, writing a good piece of music (no I will not even say symphony now, flute solo maybe) directing a good motion picture (hmm, a slight anachronism), and drawing like Rembrandt ( I will forgo painting also unless a miracle happens), are all beginning to slip out of the reach of my charter of days. Of course, there are the performing arts also: piano, harp, guitar, lute, viol, voice, drama. They all beckon to me like Ahab. What's a boomer to do?
When my thesis advisor died, I changed from a Middle High German translation project to writing a screenplay that was the imagined life of the great writer/poet Hartmann von Aue. It's a story that explains why he might have written the tales he wrote in his life, while tagging along behind Barbarossa to the 3rd Crusade, and then undertaking a grail search at Mont Segur in Languedoc. It is told, or revealed, through the trance state of the Abbess Bona, a spiritual god-child of Hildegard Von Bingen.
But back to topic (what IS my subject?). Another reason for me to set up housekeeping in this neighborhood is because John Crowley is nearby, and I am reading through the Aegypt Cycle after reading Little, Big, and I think I can learn much from the way he writes, and his "table talk" with friends. It has put me into a "fictional mode" (his actually) that I must emulate if I want to be able to sustain a long work. So I want to explore some things about Crowley's writing here, without worrying that I will "clog his blog."
One of my problems that I hope reading him will help me solve, is that I tend to collapse directly into aphorism, and therefore do not know how to unwind the ideas in the magisterial format that he makes so effortless-looking. I know it's not. But that's the craft-- to stay in HIS story and not wander into others.
When I read a good writer like Crowley for a few hours, it makes me feel like I could put the book down and go on for a chapter on my own. That WOULD be a great excercise perhaps, but the illusion fades rapidly. It's his world, and while we like to visit, we must live in our own.
Crowley writes with largesse, and his characters are worthy of our esteem. It is often said that characters are the stuff that Stephen King is all about. That's true, but I don't often like them particularly. Crowley's characters are gentle fables in their own right.
The above reminds me of the late Mark Saxton who did write three books of fiction about Islandia, Austin Tappan Wright's world. I checked on him today to see if there were new books, and found instead his obituary, dated today. He died last Thursday.
I would welcome any posts about sci-fi, and utopian fiction here. I am a fan of, currently, in addition to Crowley, Robert Musil, and Robert Acikman. I would love to see stuff on A Man Without Qualities, or any of Aickman's stories. I just finished The Model.
Would anyone like to start a reading group to discuss our way through In Search of Lost Time? I have read the first chapters many times, but my petite madelaine gets soggy and breaks off before I begin to taste its miracle. Fortunately they have those at Starbucks now, so if I stock up, I may make it to book two.
Please post your literary allusions, illusions, delusions, conclusions, and confusions here. The salon is open!