Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The other side now.

I've looked at life from both sides now,

From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all. ~ Joni Mitchell

Star is not my only child ~ though she is, perhaps, my most demanding one.  Thus I once again found myself on the mainland on Sunday heading off to church with Liddy.  And after church, because this is a youth service, all the young ones head to the local Maccas for hot chocolates & cheeseburgers.  Willy~nilly I must tag along.  I expect to sit quietly on the periphery because this is a bright young crowd of uni students & graduates doing things like engineering & medical research.  Ahem. I could be forgiven for feeling a little out of of my depth.  I am in my 5th decade as opposed to their 2nd & my degree, for what it's worth, is in literature.

Now God has a sense of humour & he loves doing this to me.  There I was quietly minding my own business & struggling with those odd caps they put on the take~a~way cups that are like a child's drinking cup & absolutely confuddle me ~ but I digress ~ when some misguided young man [apropos of who has seen the new Narnia movie, which I haven't yet because I promised I'd go with Star & Star has been otherwise occupied recently] mentioned Tolkien & Lord of the Rings.  Mentioning Tolkien round me is like waving a red flag at a bull.  Now don't get me wrong.  I think Tolkien was a great visionary & it says a great deal about his genius that every fantasy book since has been derivative of his work but let's face it; the man needed a brave editor with a good red pencil & a sharp pair of scissors because Tolkien waffles terribly losing the whole impetus of his plot & bogging things down for chapters at a time. The movies have been wonderful for tightening & streamlining the whole unwieldy mess.  Mention Tolkien & I am pretty much guaranteed to start muttering something of the sort under my breath ~ or quite loudly, as the case may be.  Mention Tolkien & everybody in a uni crowd will have an opinion.  He is revered in ways Lewis is not & yet in many ways Lewis is a much better writer.  For one thing Lewis doesn't waffle half so much!

Comparisons are odious ~ or so Disraeli says ~ but everyone will compare Tolkien & Lewis.

"Lewis", snorted one young man dismissively, "Mixes his mythologies."  Oh boy.

"But so does Tolkien, " I said sweetly. "He mixes Scandinavian & Celtic mythologies "~ as perhaps only a Celticist would know but still....  There was a shattered little silence in which Liddy could be clearly seen tugging at said young man's arm & hissing frantically, "Don't go there!"  Liddy, who has read nothing of Tolkien's & can't stand the books, though I did read all the children The Hobbit at one point, has heard me argue this point before & was wise enough to realise the young man was extremely unlikely to win any argument because I like Scandinavian mythology nearly as much as I do Celtic mythology & I never engage in debate unless I am absolutely certain of my ground.  He'd have been better with Greek/Roman mythology where I am exceptionally vague...

These things are fairly predictable.  The crowd was off & running & it was only a matter of time before someone mentioned Harry Potter  ~ wherein I also have rather unorthodox views for the sort of Christian I am.  I refuse to be upset by Harry Potter, which is clearly pretend, when there are practising Wiccans out there writing books with the deliberate intent of drawing young adults into Wicca & teaching them real spells. If I am forced to engage in battle I will choose the real battlefield that has oh so conveniently slipped under the radar while everyone fusses about Harry Potter.

At which point Liddy decided we really needed to make the next boat!  Pity.  I need someone who's actually read Kafka [I haven't] because I am reading a book called Why you should read Kafka & have come to the conclusion I really don't need to read this deranged man at all ~ but a 2nd opinion would be good.  Anyone?


Julie said...

I enjoyed this, Ganeida, and could picture Liddy and her "don't go there!" I don't know anything about mythology. My son-in-law Chris (age 49) has read The Lord of the Rings twelve times, and while I had read The Hobbit, I hadn't finished the Tolkien trilogy. I decided I'd better read it since it means so much to Chris, and made it my summer read a few years ago, expecting to like it, but that's about it. I remember that summer well, because there were times when I had to put the book down on my chest and stifle a wail, I was moved so deeply. I was shocked that I loved it as much as I did. I don't remember the waffling you mention, but I'm sure it must be there. I also remember reading Les Miserables as a teen and thinking it was the slowest, most tedious thing. Then I read it again in the 1980s when I was in my late twenties and I liked it. Then again about five years ago and wept and wailed through that one too, thinking it was the profoundest genius. Maybe it's the time of our lives that affect how we enjoy or don't enjoy books too. Anyway, I think I would enjoy a book you write. God bless your day J.H. :)

Ganeida said...

Julie: Thank you, m'dear. I am sure you are right. I usually write for young adults & my last nano ~ which is still in all sorts of dire straights because I got irate & found plot holes all over the place [which is disheartening & depressing when you don't like to rewrite] is still up attached to the last blog I crashed. I will send you the link if you are interested.

seekingmyLord said...

The few times I have seen you in a good debate, I was glad I was not on the other side! Did you have fun?

Ganeida said...

Seeking: lol I did have fun! ☺ Still I am scratching my head wondering where you have seen me engage in debate. I thought I usually rather successfully slid away like water & disappeared.

Linda said...

Thanks for your opinion on Harry Potter. My daughter likes fantasy to read.

Gerry Snape said...

You tell them Ganeida! oh and thankyou for the great Joni quote at the beginning. I try to tell my oldest grand daughter that she must read Lewis...he wrote so much more than Narnia anyway ...but Narnia is wonderful. Have you read the latest findings on why he put certain things in the books? If not I'll try and dig them up for you. Stunning that the man wanted the Cosmos to be there at the centre to speak of the creator of all!

Ganeida said...

Linda: one of the things about history [especially if, like me, you engage in archaeology as well] is you end up knowing far too much about certain things by default ~ like druidism & Wicca. HP has about as much similarity to the real deal as a matchbox car does to a Porsche. On the other hand, there are practising moden Wiccans out there who are writing books with the declared intent of making Wicca appealing to teens. I know 'cause Liddy inadvertantly brought one home from the library & it was rather nasty. When she showed me I had to give her a quick education in why it was making her feel funny. That said some people are particularly sensitive in areas & it always pays to be cautious.

Gerry: I would love a link. I've heard snippets but have had no chance to chase it up recently. I did Screwtape with Star this year. She hated it. I think it might have been a bit deep for her. She does rather like to skim the surface.

seekingmyLord said...

As I recall, in years past, we used to engage in some pretty interesting debates on a message board when we would have an occasional homeschool harasser pop in, but those posts have since been deleted so I have no proof.