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September 2017

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Apr. 5th, 2017

I'm over at LB's place working while she creates DIY airlocks for her fermentation experiments. I meant to mark a paper, but I left it at home, and while that's exactly five minutes' walk from here, tonight that is too much.

A propos of nothing, one fine thing about teaching composition is that I can now outline a damn good summary. Had you said to me ten years ago, “state the author's thesis and key points using new language and sentence structures while excluding specific examples or I will press this button and destroy every copy of The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson existing in the world," we would all be living without one of the key sources texts for retellings of Norse mythology, is all I'm saying.

Concise it has not made me. Which is to say, I've been reading things I will now not even attempt to summarize properly.

I've just finished Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer, recommended by [personal profile] kenjari. I hadn't read it before, but, like many people, I found that Swordspoint made me feel all funny inside. I've retained a sense of goodwill towards Kushner ever since, though I've not read the other Riverside works.

It was a pleasure to recall the particular flavour of high fantasy I associate with the late 80s/early 90s, some of which quietly naturalized queerness in a way very helpful to a queer-trans-weirdo teenager in a northern BC city.

Reading Norse Mythology made me want to re-read D'aulaires' Book of Norse Myths (it was the one I had as a kid.) Those illustrations! I've never forgotten Odin with his bangs in his eyes.

Reading D'aulaires', I noticed, with gratitude to Neil Gaiman, where he had restored some of the coarseness and ribaldry of the original stories. D'aulaires' is for children, and while it happily recounts the putting out of eyes and the crushing of giants, the authors choose to tell us that Loki tied "himself" to a goat to make Skadi laugh, which is merely perplexing, rather than that he tied his genitals to the goat, which is comedy gold.

Anyway, it's a lovely telling, though I fear I may have been almost equally influenced in my youth by the Dungeons & Dragons versions of the immortals.

From D'aulaires', naturally, to The Prose Edda, which I had never read, and which the library miraculously happened to possess in a tiny scholarly edition circa 1964 (hadn't been culled yet, I expect). I am plodding through the prologue right now, which is a strange melange of Biblical-crypto-historical justification for telling the stories at all. The scholarly introduction has interesting context for why Sturluson would do this, describing the Edda as part poetic manual, part veiled hoard of old faith. I'd like him to get on to the bit with the hammer, though.


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