Every so often I accumulate a backlog inspiring things, and the best thing to do to is skim them out of my mind and swirl them around in my pensieve, so to speak. Sometimes these are videos, ideas, articles, posts, events, or even organizations. Here’s what’s been floating around my thoughts lately:
1) What do you get when you compare and contrast The Hobbit to the Ring of Gyges myth from Plato’s Republic? Ioan Marc Jones explores this nicely for us over on his blog. Both stories involve a magical ring that grants the wearer invisibility, the moral implications are somewhat different regarding goodness and temptation:
The One Ring, like the Ring of Gyges, had the ability to corrupt immoral beings, and only those with ‘purity of heart’ were able to overcome the allure of Sauron’s creation. To resist temptation and to flout the impunity of social condemnation is to be a just and moral man – or in this case hobbit.
2) Some exciting new lectures from the Mythgard Institute are detailed over at The Oddest Inkling. You can bet I’ll be signing up for all that I’m free to attend, but especially Malcolm Guite’s lecture on “The Truth of Imagination in the Writings of Lewis and Tolkien.” Mythgard offers online courses in medieval, mythical, and fantasy literature.
3) A beautiful post from the blog Corasteel on Neil Gaiman saying goodbye to Terry Prachett has brought up a lot of thoughts about writing, memory, time, mortality, and of course, the incomparable Prachett himself.
4) Forget “fact vs opinion” – Over at Blog, Blogger, Bloggest Steve Morris tells us all about the rich and nuanced world of truth claims.
5) I have some mixed feelings about filling out March Madness brackets along-side student athlete progress reports this semester, especially after reading articles like this one. But then I read this, and I felt a bit better. I also now have a favorite football player, which is new for me.
6) Hanna from Book Geeks Anonymous says it all in her post on “the ridiculousness of modern poetry”, where she gives a great overview of one of the best literary pranks ever:
In mid-1940’s, when the modernist movement in poetry was at its height, McAuley and Stewart hatched a plan to expose modernist poetry for the tripe it is. Using random lines copied from whatever books happened to be within reach, they penned sixteen poems, all of which were purposely devoid of meaning and cohesion. They then mailed the poems to Max Harris, editor of the literary magazine Angry Penguins, using the joint pseudonym Ern Malley. Accompanying the submission was a letter, supposedly written by Malley’s sister Ethel, saying that she discovered the poems shortly after her brother’s death and would like Harris to tell her if there is any literary merit in them.
The result will leave you with your face in your palms.
7) I really enjoyed an article on Buzz Feed where adults reread their favorite children’s books and documented their thoughts. While I was thrilled to see so much Roald Dahl on the list, my favorite observation comes from Arianna Rebolini‘s rereading of A Bridge to Terabithia:
So I guess what I’m saying is that when I reread my favorite childhood book as an adult and felt basically the same way, I realized either that a) children have a remarkable capacity for processing loss, or b) none of us do.
8) In addition to this, I’ve been sketching and painting pretty non-stop in my spare time, rather than writing. I’ve been working on faces and feet/shoes, mostly, and just trying to develop a consistent, repeatable style. Next up: hands. I’ve also been updating a few pieces from my 30 Days of Painting series. There are several paintings that were almost good, but were rushed and needed some attention. I’ve fixed up my acrylic barn panting, among others.
That’s all I’ve got for now! Until next time.