Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Neil Gaiman announces his new project in which he will write twelve stories, "A Calender of Tales," as he calls it, in which he takes inspiration from his readers lives and stories to share with the world. All stories will be written by Gaiman, but he will change nothing, he will tell the story exactly as it is in reality, as shared by the participant. Possibly, the most exciting part of it all, is that we are all eligible to be one of those twelve.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Can One Simply Walk to Mordor?

I came across this five-part mini documentary last night called A Simple Walk Into Mordor. The mini series follows Lord of the Rings super fans who fly from America to New Zealand to walk the over 120 mile journey, that takes Frodo and Sam three books, in just seven days. As a Tolkien fan myself, I really enjoyed this documentary, and I loved seeing how beautiful New Zealand is. I was shocked how difficult this walk really was, and it was a friendly reminder how unfit I am. I could never do this! (Warning: Mild profanity.)

"First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light.
       - Edna St. Vincent Millay

I was surprised to hear this poem recited in an episode of The Waltons yesterday, taking place in John Boy's , an aspiring writer, writing class. "Remain curious," the speaker says, "imagination dies when one is no longer curious". She then recites "First Fig", saying that this poem describes what being a writer should be, and the essence of what curiosity means to writing. The class ends on that note, and it has had me wondering since: How does this poem speak to the curiosity of a writer?

The imagery of a candle burning at both ends is a pace twice as fast as usual and, as a result, it is unsustainable. But even so, the beauty of such a candle, burning at both ends, gives a light twice as bright, something ignite a foe's jealousy, and something to share with friends. It speaks to gratification, indulgence, and passion, a worthy poem that speaks to the wildness of Millay, herself.

The curiosity of a writer means exploring everything, even something as simplistic, yet complex, as light. Light is something already explored by countless others but seeing it differently is the key. A candle burning at both ends, a short lived wonder that elicits awe. To me, it means take everything given to you, and explore it, love it, and be passionate about it. A recurring trouble of John Boy in The Waltons is that although he is desperate to be a writer, he has only ever lived in the mountains of Virginia, and he has never explored the world, and therefore cannot write about it. But what this poem says to me, is that you do not have to go to extraordinary measures to write great poetry, the story a poet is looking for is surrounding them, they just have to be curious enough to find it, and imaginative enough to dream it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"You know what's in that tablet, Mama? All my secret thoughts. What I feel and what I think about. What it's like late at night to hear a whipoorwill call and hear it's mate call back. The rumbling of the midnight train crossing the tressel at Rockfish, or just watching the water go by the creek and knowing some day it will reach the ocean, wondering if I'll ever seen an ocean and what a wonder that would be. You know, Mama, sometimes I hike on over to the highway and I sit and watch the buses go by and the people in them and I'm wondering what they're like and what they say to each other and where they're bound for. Things stay in my mind, I can't forget anything and it all get's bottled up in here and sometimes I feel like a crazy man. I can't rest or sleep or anything until I rush up here and write it down in that tablet. Sometimes I think I really am crazy."

- John Boy Walton, The Waltons

"Thursday" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

And if I loved you Wednesday,
  Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday–
  So much is true.
And why you come complaining
  Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday,–yes–but what
  Is that to me?
                                   Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay is nothing if not a feminist, and "Thursday" is a remarkable production of that mindset. Millay is known today for her numerous love affairs, with both men and women, and her activism for gender equality, which she had the credentials to support being the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923.

"Thursday" is very much Millay's voice which is acting as our narrator. She loves a man, or that is what she told him, Wednesday, but by Thursday she does not. It does not matter that she loved him the day before, because in twenty four hours time, she has changed her mind. She ends with "-yes-but what/Is that to me?". Even in today's day and age, women would probably be high-fiving each other over that last line. However, it means even more when you think about the time period this was written in.

"Thursday" was published in the year 1921, the very beginning of the Women's Rights Movement. However, it really is something to think that from the time Millay was writing "Thursday", it would take over forty years to pass the Equal Pay Act, over fifty years to make it illegal for men to rape their wives, and the still going debate today over the legality of abortion.

Millay was a woman ahead of her time. She used her inner thoughts, projected them through her love affairs and her writings, and that is what allows her to become the poet she was: she wrote about what she knew and what she believed in.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A reading of "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed" by Edna St. Vincent Millay.