It’s time for another of those posts that I sometimes call “Patchwork Blogs” or “opportunities to empty my brain.” That is, I’ve got lots of little things on my mind, but none of them substantial enough to be worth a complete blog post. Time to blog about a whole bunch of them and clear the mental decks.
In honour of the HarryPottermania that’s sweeping, well, the world this week, I have decided to refer to this post as my virtual Pensieve. Those who are not up on Harry Potter may need to be informed that a Pensieve is a device — a stone basin, actually — used for storing excess memories so you can go back and look at them later. When Harry first sees one in Professor Dumbledore’s office, Dumbledore explains that he often has the feeling that his head is simply too full of thoughts and memories, and he relieves the pressure by removing some and storing them in the Pensieve. Harry nods, while reflecting that he himself has never felt any such thing. The implication is clearly that at fifteen, you don’t have this problem of excess information in need of storage. But as I get closer to Dumbledore’s age than to Harry’s, my brain often feels overloaded and I like to relieve the pressure by pouring a few thoughts into my blog — the Virtual Pensieve.
So let’s see … what’s on my mind this week?
1. Up in the country. We went up in the country last weekend, and we’re going up again this week. Now that I’ve blogged for over a year, I sometimes think the routine of my life is so predictable I’m going to have to give up blogging, because I’ve already told you about all the typical things I do — going camping and up to the cabin in summer; taking the kids swimming at Manuels River; the fall routine of getting back to school; Advent and Christmas and complaining about the winter weather, etc etc etc … almost anything I want to write about has a “been there, done that” kind of feel. So I try to look for fresh new things to say. And when it comes to “we went to the cabin this weekend,” there’s not much to add — sunshine, swimming, boating, more sunshine … we had a rare perfect weekend, two hot sunny days, and we enjoyed them thoroughly. This weekend’s forecast is not so good but I’ll sure we’ll knock a decent time out of it anyway, and there’ll be lots of family around as all the Tennessee cousins are visiting.
The only tiny fly in our ointment last week was that on Sabbath afternoon when we were having a wonderful relaxing swim in the lake, basking in the beauties of nature, a bunch of teenagers on the other side of the cove were either practicing or performing with their garage band. We were treated to several hours of rock classics being cranked out with more enthusiasm and volume than skill. Sound travels so well over water. A high point was when they actually did “The Immigrant Song” … HAMMER of the GODS!!!!!! It was a wildly incongruous and quite hilarious accompaniment to our peaceful swim in the lake amid the stillness of nature.
Also, speaking of things that are LOUD, over the weekend we found an old box of “Pit” cards my parents had up at the cabin — and I do mean ancient — and I taught everyone to play Pit. What a perfect game for our children — a game in which you are not only allowed but encouraged to yell as loudly as you can, all at the same time. I used to play Pit growing up and as a young person, but haven’t played for about twenty years. Don’t know why I ever stopped, because Pit is The.Awesome. Now we are looking for a Pit game of our own to play at home, but they are hard to come by these days.
2. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Christopher is writing a book. This in itself is not unusual since Christopher is almost always writing a book. He is the only child I’ve ever known or heard of who learned to write before he could read, just because he was so anxious to start telling stories. In fact, he would still rather write than read. His current novel is loosely based on the Harry Potter books, which is a challenge in itself because he hasn’t actually read the Harry Potter books (I told him he had to wait till he was 10). So he uses what scraps of information he can glean to create his own series of books about a group of young magicians at school, and though I say so myself it’s extremely well-written for a nine-year-old.
Remember the productivity problem I was having with writing? I have gotten past that and gotten all my freelance jobbies done, and a wonderful new toy (more on that later) is going to help me get back into the swing of things with my novel. But I wish I could approach my writing with half Christopher’s energy and dedication — whenever we’re out doing something he’s always saying, “I have to get back and work on my novel.” I showed him the “word count” function the other day and now it’s like a drug — he keeps checking his word count and popping in to tell me he’s written another 150 words. This kid is so ready for NaNoWriMo, I can’t tell you.
3. Girls and Their Toys. Remember how I fell in love with Tina’s Neo? I am so in love with the Neo, and now I have one of my own!! Tina found it for me on eBay (I love having friends even geekier than I am). It is just so portable and easy-to-use, and so wonderful for a distractible writer like me because you can’t do anything on it BUT write.
I think the tools you use to write really affect how you write … writing by hand in a notebook (I know, hilarious!) is a different experience from writing on a computer. I think writing on the Neo is going to put me in a different headspace altogether, but I’ll wait till I’ve used it a bit more to analyze that and post about it.
4. Exam results are out! This is always a big deal to me as a teacher, especially a teacher of young people who dropped out of high schol and are returning to complete their credits. It means a lot to me to know that I have helped them get through and get their credits, so when the results for the English and History public exams come out in July I’m very excited. I’m happy to say that with two perfectly predictable exceptions, all my students earned passing grades in English and World History. I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished!!
5. Yeah, so about the Harry Potter thing…. I generated absolutely no controversy over at Compulsive Overreader by posting about my Harry Potterlove, so I’m just going to take it as read that this is not really all that controversial (although I know I probably do have a few conservative Christian readers who aren’t Wild About Harry) and just say that right now I am waiting with BATED BREATH for the release of Deathly Hallows and the moment when we’ll finally find out the answers to all the questions that have plagued us for six books. The question currently plaguing me — more pressing even than Is Snape Evil or Will Harry Survive — is, “How do I balance my obsessive need to find out what happens in this book with my absolute refusal to lay down $40+ for a hardcover book?” Also, “How can I keep myself spoiler-free until I figure out the answer to the previous question?”
I think I’ll be going into a little bit of internet and media silence for a few days so I don’t accidentally read a headline that says, “POTTER FANS FURIOUS OVER YOUNG HERO’S DEATH” or anything like that. Be kind to me … please don’t post spoilers in my comments, because you know I can’t keep away from my comments!!
Jason and I saw Order of the Phoenix the other night and I thought it was great … probably the tightest and most coherent of the Harry Potter movies. Of course, to achieve that tightness and coherence, they had to cut out A LOT of cool stuff from the books, but some of my favourite moments stayed, and the scenes and characters they did include were absolutely on-key perfect. Dolores Umbridge was, of course, the best thing in the movie, with Fred and George’s departure from school a close second!
And if I’ve still failed to stir up the waters of controversy by posting about Harry Potter (seriously, if you have issues about Harry, go read some of the links I posted on my book review and then let’s talk…) maybe I’ll have to wait for Gay Pride Week to post something sufficiently controversial to get my stats soaring through the roof. Wait, isn’t that next week? Hmmm….
6. Bloggin’ the 28. As you may recall from my last entry, I got myself roped into this project featuring a bunch of bloggers who are all much smarter and more serious than I am. Today’s entry is on The Lord’s Supper by Bill Cork.