At long last, we move into our new house and out of this miserable apartment tomorrow. We still have a very, very long way to go, but I think (hope?) that things will go easier after this. I won’t even go into all the work we’ve been doing, it’s boring and tiresome. Suffice to say we’re still working like dogs!

I take it back, I will tell the more interesting parts. One day I went up on the roof and swept it off and pulled down a nasty tv antenna and we all ripped off nasty gutters, which was kind of fun. I love being on the roof. When I have a place of my own sometime, I will go up on the roof and look at the stars as often as I please, and no one will be able to stop me. We took down a tree or two as well, which I find fun because I like a. chainsaws and b. axes. Axes especially. I feel very medieval swinging one, and it’s a very satisfying activity. You throw your whole body into it and the blade bites into the wood and throws woodchips all around, and you feel as if you’re really *doing* something.

Super glue is, I find, a most satisfactory shoe repair tool. I have now patched together two pairs using that remarkable adhesive. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Once in a while when I don’t have to go to the house in the evening to work, I go running here at the apartment at night. The other night I went in the rain, only it started lightning and I thought perhaps a golf course was not the best place to be during a thunder storm, so I skedaddled home double-quick. There are tons of mimosa trees down here, and when I’m running their smell fills the air, like honeysuckle only dustier, somehow, if that makes sense. Such odd-looking flowers.

I like to always have a scrap of paper going with quotes, words in other languages, phrases, story ideas, etc. from things I read or hear or think up. I returned some books at the library and was getting more when I saw a piece of paper just like mine sitting over on the librarian’s desk. I thought, oh look, someone else does that too! My, they’ve packed a lot onto that little piece of paper. Then the librarian brought it over to me and said she found it in a book. It was mine! I hastily took it and stuffed it in my pocket, and then tried to remember what exactly I had written on that particular scrap, because sometimes it gets pretty weird. I looked at it when I got home, and there were words in Old English and Welsh, a couple phrases in Latin, a few Bible verses, some very cryptic ideas for stories, and a list of books to read. Nothing *too* incriminating…

Speaking of books…I finished the Heaven Tree trilogy by Edith Pargeter. For some reason, I didn’t really like it all that much until about 300 pages in. Around 600 pages, I started really enjoying it, and by the 800th page I was in love. I can’t put my finger on why I don’t love it as a whole, though. There’s something, some flaw or inconsistency that puts my teeth on edge and keeps me from loving it the way I love that type of book. The only thing I can come up with is that Pargeter reminds me of my own writing (though hers is obviously better). She used the same plot twists I would’ve, the same style of dialogue, and I could predict exactly what was going to happen down to the words that the character was going to say, sometimes. Not because the book was exceptionally predictable, but just because it’s what I would’ve had happen next in the plot or what I would’ve made the character say as well. Her flaws remind me of my flaws. She has characters touch each other too often. Not in a weird way or anything, but people are forever putting a bracing hand on someone’s shoulder or hugging someone or nudging someone, things like that. For me, I do the same thing with facial expressions, particularly smiles. No one in real life smiles as much as I write that they do. It’s not that my people are particularly happy characters: sometimes they smile grimly, or grimace, or grin viciously, but they’re always smiling, and I have to go through a story once I’ve written it and pull out fully half of the smiles before the blasted thing is anywhere near realistic. Pargeter’s physical contact is my smiling. But aside from that, I really did ultimately love the book, and I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t read the book, just read her introduction. It’s only 2 pages long, and it’s beautiful in itself, the way she talks about her story.

I also read the rest of the Dark Is Rising series (Over Sea Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree). I read The Grey King once a long time ago and was entranced in spite of not having a clue what was going on, it being fourth in the series. The Dark Is Rising is one of the richest books I’ve ever read when it comes to history, mythology, and cosmological good vs. evil concepts. So I was a bit irked when Over Sea Under Stone turned out to be merely a children’s story. The other two I had read went so, so much farther and deeper than that, it seemed almost blasphemous to put it in the same series, and what’s worse, to start the series with it. Greenwitch is the bridge book between the child story and the full breadth of the other books, and I found myself resenting even that as they tried to juxtapose the two. Silver on the Tree was better. It incorporated both without trivializing the seriousness of the ideas of the more mature books or ignoring the children’s story. But I still felt as if Cooper was told to write a children’s series and didn’t want to, or was told to dumb it down. Watered down good vs. evil just comes across as paltry, and a weakened evil makes the good that struggles against it seem equally silly. Her ideas were so good, they deserved much better than that. I still adore the series, but I wish it had been done differently.

One more confession: I got my hands on the BBC’s newish series (well, I guess not anymore, I’m kind of late coming to it), Robin Hood, and I fell madly in love with it. It’s so horribly flawed, occasionally cheesy, and constantly anachronistic, and the historian and Robin Hood aficionado in me should be revolting in disgust, but alas, I merely sit and watch in utter fascination. The physically impossible archery tricks! The horseback chases through the forest! (It’s filmed in Hungary with some of the most beautiful trees…) Robin Hood, far from being the macho fellow who somehow manages to pull off green tights, is a rather slight fellow with floppy hair (which could go horribly Myspace emo, but somehow doesn’t) and a hoodie (??), who smiles roguishly and is quite twinkly and Irish, twirling a bow around. Marian looks like a real live girl instead of a supermodel, and she’s witty and funny and manages to keep devil-may-care Robin out of trouble, even when he drives her to exasperation. The other characters are all very enjoyable, and I especially like Will Scarlett, who is a very quiet carpenter and doesn’t look like much at all, but who suddenly pulls out a practical, clever solution to every predicament. In the old stories, Will is supposed to be the best swordsman of the bunch (just as Robin is best with the bow and Little John with the quarterstaff), but in this series he wields axes like a fiend, which is still pretty darn cool. Honestly, if I accumulate any more guilty pleasures, I’m not going to have any more non-guilty ones.

In other book news, I’ve been doing more research for my thesis (more Frye, more Jung, more Campbell, Frazer’s The Golden Bough, and I don’t even remember what all else). Also, one of the ladies who works in accounting has taken to leaving me surprise books in my office now and then, which is quite possibly the best way to begin the day ever. I highly recommend Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, and I found The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter quite sweet as well. I’m currently reading more Mary Stewart (yeah, I’m hooked), and I’m plotting another library trip in the near future.

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