Monday, January 03, 2005

Jan. 3 Part V

I fled to the library this afternoon, since it was obvious my frustration and lack of writing would only grow if I stayed home.

Every window display down the main street of town had a pirate exhibit in it – urging me back towards the work on Charlotte, no doubt! :)

At first, I was thrilled that so many kids and teenagers were using the library to read or do homework. Then I wondered, how many of them are there because their parents work and they have no place to go after school? A sobering thought, but at least they’re around books.

By accident – yeah, right, Cosmic Accident – I came across Richard Barber’s book King Arthur: Hero and Legend, which I will have to track down and own. He traces Arthurian literature and gives both a wide and detailed overview of possible sources. It makes me realize how far I’ve gone from Malory, and before Malory, the French and Welsh legends. I should be able to (slowly) read the French legends, but my Welsh is not up to par (to say the least), so I’ll have to read translations of that.

I want to find out more about Guinevere’s sister Gwenhyfach – who struck her at the Battle of Camlann. Lancelot and Guinevere have always annoyed me. The depictions of Perceval that most stuck in my mind also did so for negative reasons – in the versions I’ve read, his celibacy comes across as repression rather than an embraced, fully realized choice, and I quickly lost patience with him. I’d forgotten about all his more interesting adventures – where, although he makes some less-than-wise, shall we say, choices, he still matures quite beautifully. And I’d forgotten that he’s the one who is the cousin to the Fisher King and sets that whole arc into motion.

Tim Powers does a wonderful modern version of the Fisher King with his brilliant trilogy beginning with Last Call, which I think is one of the most wonderful books I’ve ever read, and continues with Earthquake Weather and Expiration Date. Someone I met online recommended Last Call to me when I’d first turn pro as a tarot reader, and when I pick up a Tim Powers book, I read it in one sitting.

I need to revisit Perceval with a bit more tolerance. It may be Lytton’s version of Perceval that so annoyed me. I need to re-read Tennyson and I need to revisit Rossetti.

There’s talk about some of the legends tracing back to the Tale of Patient Griselda. That’s a tale I abhor. It promotes spousal abuse, in my mind. It has nothing to do with proving true love and loyalty. Someday I’ll rewrite the tale and Griselda’s husband will get his due – slice and dice all the way. The story makes me spit nails every time it’s mentioned.

But what do I want to do with this? Interpret the Otterburn dreams? Write about Mordred? Write about Alymere (my Alymer) post-Arthur?

I have no idea what drives me back to these legends except the need to know more.

I also had an idea for a piece dealing with the Riders of the Apocalypse. I’ve traveled this territory before, in the playlet “Horsewomen of the Apocalypse” co-written with Avonne Thomson. It was part of Moon Tribe Tales: The International Women’s Day Project 1999 and Wild Child published it a couple of months ago. In the piece, Peace, Responsibility, Freedom and Humanity defeat the Four Horsemen (with help from the Karma Fairy and her bat). It was a humorous rendition of the possibilities. In light of recent events, I think the topic can use some deeper delving.

The hours at the library refreshed me, and I will tackle the dialogue sections of the outlines now. Once the rain started, the headache cleared up.

From the notebook:

Poetry = inner rhythm of the soul = heartbeat.

Not sure what that means yet. But I’ll figure it out.

Tomorrow I won’t be able to write at all, and losing two days this week has repercussions.



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