Minimally Interesting Quotidian Post from Hell

Because it’s their room, I let Dusty and (mostly) Bear decorate the back yard which functions as the dog run. It’s covered with many charming and engaging holes and shredded cardboard boxes. My efforts to keep it clean are minimal, limited to the necessary. During winter, when most of it is frozen, (it’s on the north side of the house) I can forget about it, but spring arrived and today I must go out and rearrange their furniture.

Snow (yay!) is in the forecast for day after tomorrow and that makes me very happy. It’s an Equinox Storm. What’s so great about winter?

  1. No ticks
  2. No rattlesnakes
  3. No gardening
  4. No need to mow the lawn
  5. Walking and hiking more likely not to involve other people so Dusty’s barking doesn’t scare anyone
  6. Cool animal tracks in the snow
  7. Gorgeous light
  8. Cold air
  9. I look horrible in shorts
  10. Bear loves snow
  11. I love snow and in March it doesn’t last long
  12. We need the moisture

I have informed Bear but she doesn’t have any sense of time so it doesn’t matter.

I did my first public reading from my work on Sunday at my friend’s church in their study group. It went well, easier than I expected. It was nice to have the chance to read to a small group of interested people. I do not know when or if I’ll ever do it again, but I look forward to next time. I also talked for 30 minutes about the Reformation and its beginnings and the horror that was set up because Luther and Zwingli could not agree on communion. No one was bored and no one seemed to be depressed before, during or after. I tried to keep it light, you know, another light chat about death and torture.

In the current installment of the Schneebelungenlied, I’m learning about things I never cared about and still don’t care about. I was much happier being a medievalist than I am now being a scholar of American colonial history. I am still not sure I want to persevere. It’s a good story, but it might not be mine to tell.

It’s very strange to realize that back then, I would not have come here. Nothing would have enticed or driven me to get on one of those ships. I’ve learned now a lot about things they did not teach me even in college classes on American history. And, I was an American literature major and there are innumerable things I never saw during even those comparatively intense classes. Even in grad school these things never came up in seminars or the three-quarters long intensive seminar on American literature taught by my thesis adviser who is really and truly a god among American literature scholars.

It’s made me think (again) that literature should not be limited to fancy stuff like Emily Dickinson or Emerson or other high-falutin’ scholar beloved work, but the NEWSPAPER. Stephen Crane called the newspaper, “The wisdom of the age,” and I think he was right. Back when I was in grad school, this was called “popular culture” and I already leaned toward it; my thesis was about a women’s magazine and that LONG before women’s lit was invented. It was a place where I could see into the minds of the people walking around on the earth much more than I could through the lens of what has survived centuries of criticism to earn a place in the pantheon and or just didn’t disappear so we know about it.

BUT…if anyone ever wants to know about 18th century misogyny in the Irish slave trade (did you get all that? Freckle-Faced Lives Matter!), I have a newspaper advertisement and a letter both of which advise someone in Ireland who’s hoping to make a quick quid by sending “servants” to America from the streets of Dublin, “Don’t send women slaves. Women are more trouble than they are worth.”

Yeah, let’s just sweep that under the rug of time.

13 thoughts on “Minimally Interesting Quotidian Post from Hell

  1. I really thoroughly AGREE with you, but we aren’t high or even medium falutin’ people. I think for me it’s that the Victorian period is SO not me on every level, I can’t deal with it except as humor.

    As for whether this story is yours to write, maybe you need to write it different. Like … a newspaper.

    • There will be a newspaper in the story. I just haven’t found the hero — I might have, but I’m still not sure. If I can justify ending the story where I want to (and right now that’s problematic) then I do have a protagonist. My problem is that on some instinctive level I don’t like the part of the US where they settled — and neither did they, apparently, or I wouldn’t be here. I think happiness was a problem for them all along. There’s old Rudolf going on Crusade to chase Satan out of his heart, there’s Andreas throwing himself in the Limmat and then there are actual members of my family, myself included. Anyway, the problem is the dynamic between the characters that I haven’t worked out. Maybe I should join a workshop… 😉

  2. That was interesting, first about the dogs (cats are tidier, they just leave hairballs and mounds of earth where something digestable is probably buried) and the arrival of the first settlers. I have seen many films about it. The first films were the romantic of the wild west and wagon trains arriving and everyone running to stake their claim. Later we got the more realistic stories about the different religions and people and their problems to settle and today we hear about how someone (not mentioning a name) wants to send them all back again, although his ancestors also arrived. The whole reformation thing is interesting, and you are probably almost unique in the States with your lectures. Wish I had been there as well. And you have arised my interest in the whole thing, and I am sitting at the source. I should really catch up on it all in the history books.

  3. Brilliant post, Martha! Good luck finding your story line and writing it to your satisfaction.
    History is an interesting subject. I, too, discovered much more after leaving university!
    By the way, I have dreamt of arriving in America as a Quaker by sailing ship, which always made me wonder, did I?

  4. You have nailed my ongoing beef about ‘literature’ – and particularly the literati, for whom anything that even vaguely smacks of ‘popular’ is by definition beneath them.
    It’s the same with history. The dates, the outcomes, the icons are all important, but what really fascinates me is knowing what daily life meant to ordinary people. Like (as a recent example) standing on the platform in the Piccadilly Circus tube station and realising that Londoners slept there in their hundreds, night after night, during the blitz. Unimaginable but true.

    • What I find ironic about those guys (the literati) is the Homer told nothing but blood and guts adventure to entertain people, but to hear a professor talk about it, you’d think it was some kind of rarified elixer available only to the very elite. And Beowulf? My favorite story and it’s the same deal. Then we get fucking J. Alfred Prufrock.

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