Friday, September 21, 2018

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry gave a concert this evening at Swarthmore. It was free but "sold out" so quickly that the concert got doubled to meet demand in the Swarthmore audience.

It was delightful.

She sang a varied selection of songs --- yes, including getting the audience to sing along with songs from Hamilton --- and interspersed them with snippets of talking about the songs, their genesis, and why she picked them.

One of her stories was about going to see Maya Angelou and remembering no particular specifics of what she said, but only the feelings generated by seeing Maya Angelou speak. In that spirit, I say: this performance was a lovely, carefree step away from the usual cares and niggling worries of life to simply enjoy live music, words and notes flowing together and performed with beautiful skill.

I have a lot of live music coming up in the next week, I am looking forward to all of it.

This post's theme word epanalepsis, "a figure of speech defined by the repetition of the initial word(s) of a clause or sentence at the end of that same clause or sentence." The best music is played by musicians who are best.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

License to Quill

The premise of Jacopo Della Quercia's License to Quill is that Shakespeare is actually James Bond. The book attempts to fuse these two genres; it reads a lot like a writing exercise where the assignment was "a story clearly identifiably by tone and plot but with all the verbiage and styling of a different genre."

On the face of it, this is a premise I find appealing; however, it palls after awhile and did not really develop its own voice. There was nothing drawing me in, particularly, so I declare reading bankruptcy on this book at page 137 of 367. Oh well.

This post's theme word is anadiplosis, "the repetition of a word or words in successive clauses in such a way that the second clause starts with the same word which marks the end of the previous clause." The premise was interesting; interesting is not how the book turned out, for it leaned heavily on tired tropes and failed to use anadiplosis.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

First-week-of-class nightmares

I dreamt I was walking along the street, and police officers drove by and shot the person I was walking with. I didn't know what to do to help. Thanks, brain, for this channelling of being mystified by the systems I must work inside. Plus reading the news. This dream was disturbing.

I dreamt I was visiting a friend in Toronto, and Canada got nuked. We became pedestrian refugees of a senseless attack. All the other pedestrian refugees were very nice, of course, but it wasn't clear where we should walk or who would help us when we got there. Or if the border was even open?
Thanks, brain, for this channelling of a feeling of powerlessness and despair, with generous helpings of the news, plus some flavor added from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. This dream in no way constitutes spoilers for the book, or indicates any hostility towards Canada.

I dreamt I was called up for jury duty, and when I went, it was held on the top of a cliff. As I climbed the tenuous, slippery staircase, the final section of railing pulled out of the wall in my hands, and I slipped... and caught myself! On the cliffside. Which was not very grippy, so I briefly hung there, thinking "well, let's see if all that climbing helps me now...", then fell to the bottom of the stairwell, which started inside a building (unroofed, evidently). I managed only to sprain my ankles, but the person (also a professor!) behind me on the stairs dislocated one hip, broke the other leg, and had various spinal injuries.

While we were in the hospital, still in the dream, we were anxious that we would be penalized for missing jury duty. Then also the other professor was considering: if you sue the courthouse for injuries you incurred while attending jury duty, how will that be adjudicated? Thanks, brain, for this channelling of anxiety about fulfilling my adult responsibilities, with a little added bonus of "your hobbies are idle and won't help you in an emergency". (Double-added bonus for "and now I can't get back to sleep", which I will combat by "fine, then, let's start the day right now".)

Professors get anxious, too.

This post's theme word is tenesmus (n), "a distressing but ineffectual urge to defecate or urinate." Having a nightmare? Throw in some tenesmus for fun!