Sunday, May 17, 2015

One Doodle and Two

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Brendan the Navigator. St. Brendan was an Irish explorer monk, the patron saint of sailors, who is credited with the discovery of America in the 6th century. (I've written about it before.) Tolkien wrote a poem called The Death of St. Brendan - or, alternately, Imram, about St. Brendan's adventures. You can read the whole thing here and you really should do so. It is lovely. Many years back, I started a project involving writing the whole thing out on pale blue paper, in Tengwar, with watercolour illustrations and silver gilding all over the place. I didn't get so far, though I still have the pages I wrote out, and would like to start fresh, as I never did entirely abandon the idea. However, I have been thinking about it a good deal more than usual the last few months, because St. Brendan figures into the myth-building part of the story I am working on, and that line of Tolkien's "a cloud, a tree, a star..." has been going about my head while I struggle to write what I want to write. I ended up doing a small illustration for the poem yesterday. It started on a cheap bit of scrap paper while I was at work, and though it was meant for a draft, the sketch was better than anything I was likely to follow it up with, so it turned into the illustration. Cheap scrap paper does not lie flat once you splash watercolour on it, even if you are restrained in the splashing, so it did not photograph as well as it ought. But I was rather pleased with it. So here you are, a day late: St. Brendan the Navigator:

This other picture takes a bit of explaining. Several of my co-workers were discussing small children the other day and how small children generally want to grow up to be famous. They both agreed that they had wanted to be famous when they were little, and that seemed to clinch the matter. That is, until one of them looked at me sitting there, and amended it to, "Except Mahri. Mahri never wanted to be famous." Which was true. I wanted to be good at thing, I just didn't care who knew about it, and I said as much, aloud, to the amusement of the audience. "You just wanted to be Daredevil." one of them remarked, and I, after a stunned moment, agreed whole-heartily. The timing of this conversation was rather uncanny. My sisters and I were in the middle of watching Daredevil at the time, though I hadn't mentioned it to anyone at work, and the idea of being a sweet anonymous person during the day, and a skilled avenger at night (thus maintaining my anonymity) appealed to me strongly. So I came home a doodled a Daredevil librarian, which was gradually embellished (ha, what a word for so slight a work) with a tiny bit if watercolour and some green and brown ink. The result isn't nearly so impressive as the image in my mind, but I rather liked it when it was finished. 

And that is that. Doodles, as usual. I think I must make an effort to work at this art stuff a little more seriously than I have been. I enjoy it. It's just not my strongest suit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hi There!

Well, golly. It has been nearly two weeks since my last post. How time flies. Not that you are missing much by my silence. There is no news. Life is life. I am taking a bit of a break from poetry after that furious spate of it last month - though I do intend to go back and read it over and clean up the best ones to keep.... or maybe even do something with them. Don't ask me what yet. Meanwhile, I am doing a bit of regular writing, and some doodling, and some reading, and watching telly... You know. Ordinary life things. 

But since I really don't want to let things languish around here, and since I have a line of tags waiting to be done, I thought I would drop in and be hilarious.

There are two Leibster Blog tags - one from Amy and one from Bella. We shall dispense with the requisite 11 random facts about myself. Either you know me well enough not to be surprised by my randomness, or you are really much happier remaining in ignorance of my eccentricity. So, straight on to the questions:

Amy has earnestly inquired:

1.) How do you feel about pool noodles?
    I don't know. I don't use pools. I swim - when I swim at all - in a lake, and use fallen trees as floatation devices.

2.) Forest or Ocean?

3.) On a scale of 1-10, how adorable do you think Camels are?
     Zero. A big egg. They are hideous and smelly and rude.

4.) Would you ride a camel? Keeping in mind that they spit.
      Does this camel come equipped with a zamburak? If a zamurak is involved, I might overcome my loathing of the beast for a chance at the thing. Otherwise, the only thing that would induce me to mount up would be if the fate of the world depended upon it. 

5.) Batman or Captain America?(Don't worry, I don't judge... Okay, I do, but I'll be kind.)
     Captain America. He is a good, old-fashioned gentleman. I find him refreshing.

6.) Bananas or Pineapples?
     I love pineapples excessively. Do you know if you eat too much pineapple, you can give yourself raw sores around your mouth? I know this from bitter experience. Therefore, I am going to stick with bananas. Bananas are good. All that potassium. 

7.) How well can you chop an onion?
     *sniff*. *sniff*...  My eyes..... my eyeeeeeees!

8.) Given a choice between jogging 5 miles or doing boxing for 20 minutes, what would you do?
     I frequently feel like punching people in the face, so boxing, hands down. Furthermore, I  question why anyone would run unless they were being chased... or expecting to be chased, in which case, I would suggest that they question their life choices.

9.) What was your favorite picture book as a very young child. 
      I truly do not recall. My earliest book memories are of my mother, reading aloud from  Laura Ingalls and The Outlaws of Ravenhurst.

10.) On a scale of 1-10, just how good are your reflexes?
       Um... throw something at me and we'll find out. 
11.) Are you a morning person or should others be afraid for their lives if they bother you before you've had your coffee?

So there's Amy's questions out of the way. Bella, on the other hand, has demanded answers to the following:

1.) Do you like Mint?
     Are you referring to money?

2.) Have you ever been on a motor boat?
     Once. There was a depth finder on it, and you could tell when we hit the drop-off, because it maxed out at 1,000 ft. and stopped working. I found it hugely unnerving.

3.) Do you like Cinnamon in your Cocoa?

4.) Have you seen The Court Jester?
     The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon. The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.

5.) Do you write?
      I wouldn't say so myself, but my friends all tell me I can.

6.) Firefox, Chrome, or the Big e?
     I used to prefer Internet Explorer. My old computer ran it faster than Firefox, and it did not insist on being part of every facet of my life, the way Chrome does. However, the new computer does not like Internet explorer. Firefox is constantly suspicious of very activity I use it for, so I am putting up with Chrome. And telling it no very firmly when it gets too invasive.

7.) Do you read comic books?
    If, by this, you mean have I gone through the entire Calvin and Hobbes collection, or if I have been known to read the occasional Tintin book, then yes. If you mean things like Marvel and DC, then no. The fact that I am something of a Marvel movie fan right now, comes a surprise to me. I think it is the casting and the dialogue. I have absolutely no desire to go back to the source.  

8.) Do you like Ice skating?
     I did, Once...... I don't want to talk about it.

9.) Do you like strawberries and scones?
     Och, aye. Its braw, halesome food, scones.

10.) Fantasy or Action Adventure?
      I watch what I want, and I don't care about genre. I prefer things without obligatory love interests. I find love tedious.

11.) Movies or TV shows?
       See above. 

There, don't you feel like you know me so much better now? 

And lastly....... Melody's Lord of the Rings tag. We haven't talked about Lord of the Rings in a while, have we? Ehehehe. My favourite topic :-)

1.) How were you first introduced to LotR/TH? Was it love at first sight/read?
     I don't actually remember a time when I did not know about Tolkien. My parents owned paperback copies of The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. I remember staring at the trees on the cover of The Hobbit, trying to decide if I liked them - I was used to pine trees and not sure what to make of the things Tolkien had placed on either side of river. I did like the little Barrel-Rider, though. The Hobbit was one of the first books I read on my own, and I loved it from the very first chapter.

2.) If you could meet the actors who portray the characters in the movies, would you?
     Probably not. I sort of have them all fixed in my mind as the characters they play, and I'm content to leave it at that. However, I will say that Billy Boyd is good fun to watch in interviews. He tends to be rather thoughtful on subjects like poetry, Tolkien's world-building, and music. 

3.) What is your favourite credit song from LotR/TH?
     Credit song only? Drat. My favourite thing to come out of all the films is probably the dwarves singing about the Misty Mountains. I have a very soft spot for Into the West, especially the bit when the French horns come in an play that little fall that also plays behind the scene where Gandalf is telling Pippin about a far green country under a swift sunrise. 

4.) The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit?
     Well, I am going to take this as a question about the books rather than they movies. I have a small, leather-bound copy of The Hobbit in my purse - a gift from a sister, and my emergency reading for whenever I need such a thing. The Hobbit has the delightful quality that allows you to open it at random, and start reading with complete enjoyment from wherever your eye happens to light. It is a comforting sort of book - the chocolate brownie of Tolkien's Middle Earth. For all that, The Lord of the Rings is a better book, and I always come away from it feeling deeply moved, and determined to be a better person. 

5.) Who is your all around favourite character?
     It is always a toss-up between Pippin and Boromir for me. I identify with both of them to a certain degree, I like the way Pippin starts out as a foolish and rather soft character, who has trouble seeing the big picture, and turns into a great hero in his own right. On the other hand, I like the way Boromir starts out heroically, but falls, and so completely redeems to become more heroic than before, Both characters give me hope for my own self. And there are times when I understand Eowyn better than I ought.

6.) What is your opinion of Boromir?
     I was very young when I read The Lord of the Rings the first time - 11 or 12, I think. That first time through, I tended to agree with Sam's opinion of everyone and everything, and since Sam mistrusted Boromir, I did too. However, his death caught me hard, and I surprised myself by crying over him. I didn't read it again for a couple years, by which time, I had grown up enough to appreciate Boromir on his own terms. He wasn't my favourite character - that was Pippin at the time - but I thought that he had too much responsibility on him and pitied him. By that time, The Lord of the Rings had entered a special category of book - the book you always feel like reading, and which you have to consciously resist reading, so that you do not make yourself sick of it. I tried to wait a couple years between each reading, and the result was that as I grew and matured, the book seemed to grow and mature with me - every time I read it, there was something fresh and astonishing about it. By the time I was a young adult, I found myself liking characters I hadn't paid attention to before... and meeting all my old favourites again for the first time. And Boromir went from being the guy I was sorry for, to something astonishing - a man who was tested beyond his limits, who fell, and whose repentance was so complete that he transcended mere goodness and achieved greatness - heroic sanctity, if you will. As a result, although I am well aware that there are better characters - Faramir, for example - Boromir is the character that never fails to inspire me.

7.) How many times have you watched the movies/read the books?
     A huge number of times. Honestly, I can't even give you an estimate. (except the Hobbit movies. I've seen the first two once, and not gotten around to the last one. I love the hobbit parts. I just don't like everything else.)

8.) What book is your favourite?
     *Smirk*. Maria the smarty replies: The Lord of Rings because it is technically one book.

9.) Who is your favourite female character?
      I think I actually like Galadriel better, but the older I get, the more I tend to identify with Eowyn.

10.) Favourite male character (not mentioned in #5)?
    Beregond. He's the Tower Guard in the book, who fought off Denathor's guard's and saved Faramir's life.

11.) Which if the movies, in your opinion, has the best ending?
      The Return of the King, obviously :-)

Ta Da! Never let it be said that I scorn a tag. Or two. Or three. And now, the hour is late and the road is long. I bid you all a very fond farewell.