Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Communal Musings

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

Community by Jeff Kubina, Creative Commons License

So what is a community? Why do we seek it out? Why do we spend all this energy cultivating it? Why do we need it?

Well, I believe a community is a collection of people or things with a relationship to one another; usually with the aspiration of being greater than the sum of its parts. Two people can form a community, a very intimate one, albeit. And one person alone can have a community of the mind or of passion or of achievement – by collecting and experiencing art, literature, and sport.

When we are born we rely on our family, our first community to provide for us, to keep us alive. We are dependent.

As we grow, our independence grows, too, and I think as adults we have a hard time balancing that desire and pride in providing for oneself, in achieving goals without the assistance of others and yet allowing ourselves to find those on whom we can depend. Why should we? Especially in this day and age of technology and superstores we ought to be self-sufficient, yes?

No.

That need of others is still there, sometimes deep within. And the fact is, we are stronger in numbers. Emotionally, physically, and mentally we grow more in relation to our experiences, and the more people, activities, and geography we include in our communities, the more experience we cultivate, the stronger we become.

I say “more” but I mean it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. A man might visit all seven continents in a year while another has spent a lifetime studying in minute detail the 10 square miles surrounding his home – who has seen more of the world? I leave it to you to decide for yourself.

This begins to explain why we seek out and cultivate communities, and I’ve begun to speak of several definitions of what a community might include.

But what about you? Why do you seek out a community? Do you seek one out at all? How do you define it? What do you include in it? Please, let me know, I’m curious to hear what others think on this.

Reader Appreciation Award Meme: Cool

Thank you, Hayleigh, for adding me to this. It’s quite an honour.   really didn’t expect to be tagged thus for awhile yet. 🙂

According to Hayleigh, the rules are: 1. Link back to the person who nominated you. Check. 2. Attach the icon to your site. See above. 3. Answer the questions. See below. 4. Nominate people whose blogs you love. And I might add they probably should be personal blogs, written by someone about whom you are curious??

At any rate, I have Hayleigh’s questions to answer first:

  1. Who is your favourite actor/actress?
    Hmm… Growing up that would have been Judy Garland. Today, I have to go with Charlize Theron for her chameleon-like ability to change her appearance with nearly every role she takes on. Or Bernadette Peters – woman keeps getting more and more brilliant. It’s unreal.
  2. Your all time favourite book?
    Really? Only one? Hmmm…. I’ve talked about some of my favourites here, and I’m currently reading (re-reading) the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini… hmm. My most read book is probably The Perilous Guard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, my most comforting is the Anne Series culminating with Rilla of Ingleside as (in my humble opinion) the most provoking of the lot. My most challenging is either Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones – as they are epics, complex and full of unspoken histories and barely whispered connections until the plot twists and lays bare one tiny aspect for viewing. I continue to think though, of books I read as a child, those which left an impression, but which I do not have the luxury of perusing over and over again –  Good Bye Pink Pig by Carole S. Adler, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy, and Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars. My favourite book is undoubtedly the last one I have read, or the one I seek out next.
  3. If you could have one superpower for the day, what would it be and why? Hmmm, well, my current superpowers aside… I think I would like the ability to hear and understand thoughts. I’d like to know what others think of me, sure, but also how they form thoughts, how they perceive the things and events around them… It would be difficult to bear, no doubt, but ultimately I could gain much wisdom.
  4. Is there anything you’d change about the country you live in? The apathy of our citizens, the assumptions of power of our politicians, the petty discord of neighbours, and yet, I would not, because it is only by those things changing organically that we as a society would grow. It’s all about growing pains, right?
  5. Favourite restaurant/food? My food. I’m a good cook, and I know how I like it. See my feast of inspiration. I’d rather cook than eat out.
  6. Most inspirational person?
    Dashing. My mother. My father. My stepmom. My sister. All those whom I do not understand, and yet wish I did. Those whom in growing to know them, I learn of myself.
  7. why do you like to blog? Who said I like it? I do, I just want to know who is spilling my secrets that isn’t me… It’s one part therapy, one part accountability, and one part social entertainment.
  8. Your earliest memory? I remember hanging out with my father and his friends as they relaxed with a couple of beers after having set up a swingset at the house of a family friend. They were hot and sweaty, and they removed their shirts and lounged in the shade. I was about three at the time, and I wanted to take off my shirt, too.  My father laughed and told me I couldn’t because I was a girl. I was angry, and frustrated, because I did not understand his reasoning.
  9. Do you like cookies?
    Umm, yes. Yes, I do. Quite a bit, actually.
  10. Best holiday you’ve ever been on?
    Hmm… that depends on how you define ‘holiday.’ I would say the time I took a week, and told no one where I was going, drove to Dashing’s apartment and stayed there. I cooked, wandered the town while he worked, watched movies, napped, enjoyed solitude and then he would come home and we would pass the evening together. I had all I wanted for one week.

Alright, now for my questions and the list of those to whom I will pass this meme – I must admit it’s been a nice amount if introspection.

To Mr. Lady, Tanis, metamorphocity, Vanessa, and Smitten Immigrant – your mission, should you choose to accept it – and no one will be hurt if you don’t – is to answer the following, and ask your own questions in turn:

1. If you yourself could do anything right now, tonight, what would it be?

2. What was the last big ‘Aha!’ moment for you, what shaped it, and where did it go from there?

3. Do you have a favourite pair of socks?

4. What is your favourite smell?

5. What would you like to get for your next birthday/Christmas/gift giving event?

Thank you, all, good luck, and good night!

A Community of the Mind: Literature

Growing my mental community

Idea From X Ray courtesy arztsamui/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve talked a little bit about how music and literature and art reflect and define and cultivate us as much as we do them.

So in following my urge to grow and change, I contrarily took to reading some childhood favourites. When you feel the need for change, possibly drastic change, it can be helpful to find comfort in the familiar.

But now I’m done. My mind is adjusting to the changes, slowly, and right now it is screamingly bored.

I need something new to read.

Now I have a lot on my fiction to read list: Frankenstein, The Book Thief, and some new-to-me Sharon Creech – and those are just some of the ones I own… My shopping list is much longer.

But I’m craving some Non-Fiction. I could re-read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, but again, I want something new…. Something.

You know that feeling when you can almost taste it, you just can’t name it? Yeah, that. Totally THAT.

The problem being not many people in my communities read non-fiction. Oh, sure, if I want to discuss the Hunger Games, or hear (again) why I should invest in 50 Shades of Grey, or even to discuss Tolkien or A Song of Ice and Fire, I can find someone in a heartbeat, but non-fiction…? I’m hearing crickets.

Unless it’s a to-do (cooking, knitting, quilting) book, or a bio on someone you absolutely idolize, most people around me simply believe they will be bored without a plot filled with familiar character archetypes and either action or romance (or a little of both)…?

This is not true. A well reasoned argument, or well documented research and interesting conclusion, can be both stimulating and inspiring. Simply put, learning makes me want to learn.

And right now I don’t want to learn how to do something new, I want to learn how to think something new.

I want to bring new argument, new perspective, new challenges and debate into my mental community. I need some new fodder to chew on, I want to disagree and be inspired to do research and come to conclusions. I want to be made to think about whether or not I agree with someone’s logic.

So all you non fiction fans out there – help – any juicy non-fiction books you’d recommend?

The Soundtrack of My Life…

I think acoustic guitar features in my soundtrack

Acoustic Guitar courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So when Dashing and I were just barely thinking about courting, I made him a mixed CD. Full of songs that I liked and was listening to at that point in time.

We’d been friends for awhile, and were both getting out of long-term relationships in pretty messy ways. Mine I spoke of here, and his, well, his marriage was ending.

So I’d been listening to a lot of Matchbox 20 and Dusty Springfield. And I thought some of the songs might speak to him too, so I made him a mixed CD, and instead of labeling the song and artist, I wrote down who or what the song made me think of most.

I think I labelled Matchbox 20’s “Bed of Lies” as You and I labelled Dusty’s “I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten” as either Me or Us, I can’t remember how bold I was feeling at the time.

I made him cry. And then I made him blush.

Music has always been a huge part of our relationship, and a huge part of our individual lives.

For me, I grew up singing motown and rock and roll with my Daddy, and gradually included the Cranberries and Great Big Sea and other assorted artists from the contemporary era.

But I was never the kid who knew what music was in at the time. I didn’t listen to top 40 radio stations, and the songs were usually new-to-me at school dances. It actually took me until university to learn the difference between Prince and Michael Jackson… And they say people don’t learn anything useful at university any longer…

Now, I feel like the media surrounding a person really speaks to and about that person. When I read Lucy Maud Montgomery, I speak and think like Anne Shirley. When I read non-fiction I get introspective and then turn those reflections out onto the world. When I read Sharon Creech, I long for travel, and stories from grandparents. When I read A Practical Wedding, I’m inspired to journal my thoughts and feeling and channel them into cohesive, creative viewpoints for discussion.

When I listen to the ’50s and ’60s, I’m at home. I’m comfortable, and I want to party and reminisce. When I listen to classical, I usually have something on my mind. When I listen to jazz or musicals, I want to perform and invite drama in. And when I listen to modern music that is new to me… well, it does depend on the song, but usually it’s pretty love it or hate it, and mostly, I just want to skip it.

But I’ve been expanding my reading base, going back over classics I’ve wanted to read or to be able to say that I’ve read. So I felt I should expand my music base…

So I bought the Burlesque Soundtrack CD, and two Grey’s Anatomy (Season 1 and 3). Burlesque has Cher, and Grey’s I already enjoy the snippets of music in the episodes, so I figured, baby steps, right?

So while I don’t enjoy every song, I have found Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Falling or Flying to be interesting. I’m looking forward to cultivating more music around me by artists who are still producing, because as much as I love that which is familiar, I, like all people I know, am constantly changing. And the people and things and art we gather to us should reflect that.

So to one who is fighting the stagnation of her radio, what modern or contemporary artists would you recommend?

Let’s Take A Break

Old Book Open by nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image “Old Book Open” courtesy nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alright. Let’s lighten it up around here.

I’m re-reading Cornelia Funke‘s Inkworld series. Because it’s fun. And well written, and full of vibrant and sympathetic characters.

I just finished reading a bunch of books off my “should” read list – Dracula, Children of Men… I started Gulliver’s Travels and frankly could not stand the thinly veiled preaching and lack of plot. So I’ve returned to a familiar and fun fantasy.

What I like about Funke’s work is that while you can get lost and enjoy the reading, it is thought provoking at the same time. For instance, this particular series of hers is about the idea that reading the written word aloud can bring characters into and out of stories.

I love that idea.

As an actress, and story junkie, the idea that your favourite characters could step into your world, or that you could walk into theirs, is thrilling. It’s terrifying, and beautiful; it’s like forbidden fruit, you shouldn’t have it, but if you could… oh, if you could what depths of pain, and heights of ecstasy would you experience then?

If I could meet characters from my favourite books, I would want to meet:

  1. Charlotte Doyle and Zachariah.
  1. Katherine Sutton and Christopher Heron, and oh, heck Geoffrey Heron, too; he’s a man with whom one could ride a horse, not speaking, and yet share volumes. And the Lady… ooh, she’s thrilling all on her own.
  2. Meriadoc Brandybuck, Radagast the Brown, and Glorfindel. And Aragorn, and Arwen Evenstar, alright, let’s be honest. Oh, and Beorn from The Hobbit, Or There And Back Again.
  3. Peter Pevensie, at any point in his story, and Susan while she was Queen Susan the Gentle.
  4. And last but certainly not least, I would love to visit Anne Blythe at Ingleside, to meet all her children, especially Walter and Rilla and Jem… In fact, if I could be a seasonal tenant of the Ford’s at the House of Dreams, that would be lovely.

I love houses with names.

Who’s on your list??

Student living and me.

Just life. But through the eyes of a Blue-eyed History student.

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