Monday, April 1, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Currently Reading: The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

Bits and pieces of the last two weeks:

Spring break came and went, which allowed me to find time to read and finish my third Classics Club book, Early Irish Myths and Sagas by Jeffrey Gantz and my fourth Alice Hoffman, The Third Angel. Myths and Sagas took me almost two months, despite its small size. I have read much of the early Irish literature before, and each time it is hard to get through. Not because it's boring or uninteresting, but because each story is thick with detail and description. It is tempting to skim these tales, letting my eyes flick over the lines of names and places that are mostly unpronounceable. But when I take time to notice and study them, the words and names become so beautiful. I practice sounding them out, checking with the Irish pronunciation guide at the front of the book and smiling with pride when I remember some of the more difficult ones from previous readings. The tales also expand and broaden under my eyes when I savor them slowly. Descriptions of Cu Chulaind's shield or the house Bricriu builds can be tedious, but I try to read them for the history they portray, as much as for the storylines. "The Exile of the Sons of Uisliu" is still my favorite, closely followed by "The Dream of Oengus." (Both tales were the basis of some great Irish Literary Revival works too; long ago, the discovery of Yeats' poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus" began my fascination with all things Irish.) Ever since we returned from Ireland last year, I find that in each Irish book I read, I can picture what I read so much clearer. I know what the Hill of Tara looks like; I can see the deep woods and the crashing ocean foam in my mind as the words take me back to a place I fell in love with, that lives in me still.

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As for The Third Angel? Alice Hoffman continues to amaze me. I don't know how much more needs to be said.
Easter weekend, filled with family and prayers and gratitude to God. Good Friday was everything it should be: solemn, tear-filled, hushed, holy. With each light that is extinguished in the sanctuary, I am shocked anew by the raw and the sacred of the night. I left exhausted, utterly spent by the sheer emotion of marking a sacrifice.
But this is what our church looked like Sunday morning. (Courtesy of Pastor Robert). I would say that a balloon-filled sanctuary is the epitome of Easter celebration and joy.

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I swept through Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves in only a few days, satisfying the traveling itch that has engulfed me with the first whispers of spring. At first I worried that, far from putting calamine lotion on the itch, it would only irritate it, making me long to leave and fly to new adventures. But the memoir was brutally honest, portraying the good and the bad of ceaseless travel in equal measures. Through the book, I relived the feelings I experienced in Ireland last May: the exhilarating, terrifying feeling of being a stranger among strangers; the awe of gazing upon beauty I could only have dreamed of; the self-consciousness that accompanies being dropped into a new culture; and the fulfillment of desires for adventure, culture, and knowledge. But Wanderlust did not shy away from the reality that constant movement is not always the answer; downfalls exist for those who can never find happiness in settling, who must always be moving in order to feel alive. And I was truly grateful, after reading it, that I am satisfied with the realities of schedules and routine, and that I don't have to be somewhere else to be fulfilled personally and creatively. The travel itch is still there but that calamine lotion felt good.
Seed planting. With great trepidation, I might add. Spinach and two types of tomatoes. Since I've never started plants from seeds before, I'm nervous that I will inadvertently do something wrong; seeds and seedlings seem so fragile and every gardening website tells you something different to do. I feel so confident in the kitchen (most of the time) but I have no confidence in my gardening ability yet. But I'm glad I've tried- we'll see what becomes of it. Hobbes enjoyed himself that morning, watching over the plants and basking in the sunshine with them.

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Wait until his cat grass starts to grow. He'll be ecstatic.
Finally, some exciting news (for me) that I'm hesitant to share yet but will anyway because when something keeps you up all night with excitement, it's good to share it. I will be contributing a post from this blog on The Ladies' Literary Guide website; they contacted me yesterday about printing it on their site. (By the way, this website, which I was already familiar with, is truly fascinating for anyone interested in classic female writers. Definitely check it out.) Only in the past several months have I thought about spreading my writing beyond the borders of this blog, but it has still only been a thought in the back of my head until now. (Louisa May Alcott may have been an inspiration). I don't know what will come of it, but the excitement is there nevertheless, as well as further inspiration and desire to focus on my writing.

Happy Monday!


  1. Hobbes is adorable! Also, your post really transported me to Ireland. Your descriptions are fabulous. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! How kind of you. Hobbes is definitely adorable... and he knows it. As for describing Ireland, I always feel like I can never do it justice! :)


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