Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Shall Take The Hidden Paths that Run, East of the Moon, West of the Sun

I have been distracted by research. I am wasting hours on pinterest, pinning pictures of ships and fishermen, of water creatures and sea-myths. I am browsing through word lists of Celtiberian and Proto-Celtic, and one very odd one comparing the very few surviving words we know of Galatian, with similiar words in Irish and Turkish. (Yes, I know, but there are a surprising number of words with similar meanings and spellings in those two languages. Now I know, and so do you.) I am looking up articles on commercial fishing communities of coastal California... in the 40s. I have a burning need to know how far north the Spanish settlers managed to get up the US west coast, and how far south the Russians came. I am reading Atlantis-type stories... I would not exactly be lying if I said that I have been writing - some writing has indeed been accomplished in the wake of all of this disparate reading - but it is slight. A distillation, labouriously  extracted, and not yet fit for human consumption.

I have also been doing the occasional doodle. There is this:

which has nothing whatsoever to do with the back-history I am giving my story. It is merely because I re-watched Gladiator  recently, and I love the quote. I was pretty satisfied with it when I was done... and then, I accidentally got a fingerprint on it, so this is a slightly cleaned-up version of the one that is hanging about the old hobbit hole. And, since I was busy fiddling with the picture anyway, I tried some of the fun effects picmonkey allows, and got this too:

Which I found oddly pleasing to look at. It is not at all how the original looks... but I like it, so you are getting 2 version of a doodle this time.

This one, however, sort of has a vague tie-in the what I am working on:

 I call it Our Lady of the Heroes, and will hopefully turn into a full picture, not just a study-sketch, to illustrated a poem entitled Homecoming. It exists, at present, only theoretically, a poem-seed in the soil of my mind. I water it and incredibly delicate green tendrils are beginning to curl up from the ground, but I do not dare to rush the process for  fear of killing my wee plant before it has a chance to live.

I have recently had the chance to watch the Irish music  group The Gloaming in concert, and it was a grand experience. Two fiddlers of impeccable skill and delicacy of touch, a guitarist who drives the music but does not overwhelm it, a pianist whose playing is an addition to the music, and not merely a back-up, and the sean-nós singing of Iarla Ó Lionáird. It was not traditional in the sense that is usually used to describe that particular type of Irish music, but one got the feeling, listing to them playing together, that they were somehow more traditional in their experimentation, than most traditionalists.  They clearly delighted in the music. They loved every note and harmony that they were putting out for us. Sometimes, the music was so spare, it was like being in a medieval hall, listening to a wandering songster. Sometimes, there was a sweet wildness to it - the sort of fairy-music that beguiles the unwary away from their own lives. Sometimes it was just a cèilidh, and incredibly fun. They played in long sets, that made you feel, while you were listening, that the music had been going on since the dawn of time, and that it would continue on forever. And when they finished, you felt as if they had only just started.  It had the same sort of effect on me that the World Pipe Band Competitions have - it inspired me, and made me want to be so much more of a musician than I am.

Here is one of the songs:

I remember reading a poem a very long time ago, featuring, in some manner I cannot recall, a salmon, the the refrain for the poem was the same as the refrain for this song: thugamar féin nn samhradh linn, it is the summer we have brought in. I took great delight in recognising the words here. For the last few days, it keeps popping into my head - very unfortunate in mid-November, especially as I am tired of summer, and would prefer some to sing that they are bringing winter  in.

I realised, after seeing The Gloaming, that in all my world-building, I have neglected music. I go to remedy that.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What an Elegant Bit of Spam.

I shall post soon. I promise. I swear up on my sword, and on my pipes, and on my fountain pen... and on anything else of any worth, upon which one could swear. 

In the meanwhile, I present you with a ridiculously poetic bit of spam, that showed up  in my com-box the other day. I can't remember the last time I received such a lovely computer generated comment:

And so i chose to strike them first
 so painfully in the wood
I loving freedom and untried
 i thus could speak of yarrow

And with that sublimity, ringing in your ears, I leave you all, but to return again soon. Wes þu hal