So lately I’ve made a few subtle mysterious noises about having a project to tell you about that I couldn’t quite say much about yet. I try to keep that coyness to a minimum but was just really excited. Now I can share a bit more! Continue reading “Cover Reveal for THE SHARP EDGES OF WATER”
Month: September 2018
Monday Earworm: Ted Yoder
This little video contains something really amazing and lovely, the Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” being played on hammered dulcimer. The best part is, you think it’s going to be one thing you think you know, because hammered dulcimer is nice and all, but you’ve heard this instrument often at Renaissance Festivals and such, and it’s okay, but…
Then this starts playing, and, well. I was taken aback.
My Grendel Essay — Now Published
I’ve had an essay published in the third issue of New Reader Magazine. On their site, you can download the entire (gorgeous) magazine for free. My essay appears starting on page 54.
The oldest surviving poem in English highlights much of what we still struggle with, centuries later. It involves a monster who destroys the mead hall, the most communal of settings.
Grendel lives. Sadly, he thrives.
The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is a part of our language’s literary canon and cultural heritage, and the poem’s first and most infamous villain remains a threat to us. In the story, Grendel, the monster who attacks the inhabitants of modern-day Denmark, is a vaguely humanoid beast with impenetrable skin who kills and eats the Danes, gobbles them up like jelly beans right in their own mead hall, every night for twelve winters. His monstrosity, however, comes from more reasons than just wrecking shop in the Danes’ mead hall, and he’s still vitally important for what he represents within our society, far removed from Dark Ages Denmark and those who fought against him, or chose not to.
The epic contains surprisingly little physical description of the monster. When I used to teach Beowulf to ninth graders, I would talk to them about what I called The Grendel Situation and then ask them to draw pictures of him. Mostly they came up with fangy, clawed, hairy, green creatures dripping with the blood of half-Dane corpses. What they could not yet internalize was the abstract evil Grendel presents and the practical, tangible dangers that make him relevant now. They could not yet see that we, too, are living in the mead hall.
(Read the rest of this essay at New Reader Magazine.)
Monday Earworm: David Bowie (Who Makes Everything Better)
I first became aware of this song in the movie A Knight’s Tale (which is great fun and uses this song marvelously), and even though I love this song so much I’d never sought out the video for it.
This music video is a touch surreal.
It’s also flavored with some 1930s-era gangster silliness, and I just finished reading the extremely not silly but very, very funny and entertaining Hallow Point by Ari Marmell, and so this is tonight’s earworm.
Hallow Point is A Mick Oberon Job, which means it’s part of a series of books set in Gangsterland Chicago, but the catch is that it’s also urban fantasy, see? Imagine Mick Oberon, this private detective, is also…well…an aes sidhe, an exile from the Seelie court. In the Mick Oberon world, there’s both the Chicago we know and the Otherworld, fae version. If you like your humor sharp and salty, your gangsters authentic, and your protagonists convincingly masquerading as humans much of the time, then you will probably enjoy Mick Oberon.
Just go get the book. In fact, start with the first one, Hot Lead, Cold Iron. I’ll wait.
And while you’re waiting on it to arrive, please enjoy this delightful song.
Spontaneous Poetry: A Festival and a Challenge
Finding the August Postcard Poetry Fest was an accident. It was just one of those dozens of submission calls that overwhelm my inbox every week, but this one, I happened to read. Click here to learn more about how it works, but the concept is simple: you sign up the week of July 4th, you get put into a group with thirty-one other people who have signed up, and then you commit to Continue reading “Spontaneous Poetry: A Festival and a Challenge”
Monday Earworm: Steve Perry
So, last Monday night I went to the Journey and Def Leppard concert, and ZOMG IT WAS AWESOME! SO, SO, SO GOOD! I WANT TO GO BACK RIGHT NOW!!
I am still zinging from it. 🙂 And I wanted to do an earworm this week of one of my Def Leppard favorites, but honestly, their videos are just too creepy or too unintentionally funny, from this distance of about thirty-five years, to post them. Then I found one of Journey doing “Don’t Stop Believin'” IN HOUSTON from the 80s some time when Steve Perry was still with them. And not that I don’t think Arnel Pineda is fantastic — because I do — but Perry really is just such an incredible singer, and it was a decent video but couldn’t really capture the experience of a 21st century rock concert, which is such a multimedia extravaganza.
Ultimately I decided to go with this one, which honestly WAS stuck in my head for much of last week, can’t imagine why. Enjoy, while I continue trying desperately to gain something like traction in this new school year that is kicking me up one side and down the other already good grief I mean srsly enough is enough already oh look more papers to grade and lessons to plan and yet more meetings and administrative stuff to deal with holy cats okay bye.