Monday, December 13, 2010
The other side now.
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?