psalm_onethirtyone: (The Perfect Pool)
Got my Yuletide assignment yesterday. It's pretty cool and I think there is a lot of potential in it, and I think I also can do a good job with it -- certain elements of it weird me out, but the prompter gave me a lot to work with so I think I leave some things out while still giving them what they want. So I am excited!

I go home to-day for Thanksgiving, so I'll be scarce for the next week.

Linkspam!:

A presenter in my cog psych class used this page about art by autistic people in his presentation, and I thought that was pretty neat, so here is the link. It is pretty cool from both an art and a mental shenanigans standpoint. (I also ended up talking about the gender issues surrounding autism with the professor after class, which was pretty neat -- she agreed with [livejournal.com profile] mhari and said that autism is generally viewed as a "boy's disorder" and not something girls are supposed to get.)

Octopodes can go on land and that is totally awesome. Plus also super cute.

Although we already knew that, Ann Coulter is a maniac and I don't understaaaand, Jesus. I don't want to live on this planet any more? Liz said I should move to Canada, but I feel it is my duty to model sane Christianity for people in America.

I am currently using this programme to try and manage my issues with computer light = migraines; I've only had it downloaded for a day, so I haven't got a real clear idea of how well it works yet, but it's an interesting idea.

This tumblr exists and it is pretty pro -- Ugly Renaissance Babies.

A really interesting essay/article on why "born this way" is a bad argument for queerness.

This guy is my hero -- a devout Muslim whose faith led him to try to save the man who shot him. I heard an interview with him on NPR on Sunday -- he was really incredible. Warning: Article contains pictures of headshot.

For your webcomic organising needs, piperka is a great site for tracking updates and keeping stuff neat.

Finally, when you have just delivered a good Caruso zinger, the instant CSI. Yeahhhhh!
psalm_onethirtyone: (Cascade Pond)
So. I finally finished the religion/history paper that was bringing about my doom, and now it's time to start the contemporary religion paper that is going to be the doom of the next few weeks. Delightful! I met with the professor about the first paper, and she essentially told me that I was choking on writing it because I was overprepared. And then when I said I was a neurotic overachiever she agreed. XD So there's that.

It's hard to believe that in fewer than six weeks my poetry study will be over. It's basically one of the best things I've ever done, and I'm... I don't want to stop. The professor who's doing that with me loves dogs and poetry, so I'm buying him a copy of Sharon Creech's Love That Dog as a thank-you gift.

Last Sunday I did the hive consolidation for our bees essentially on my own (there was a sophomore assisting me, but she kind of stood thirty feet away the whole time). That was really exciting and it felt really cool to be doing something like that, to be responsible... I got stung nine times, once on the back of the neck, and I'm not dead! That was exciting too. Only I didn't have the guts to pinch the queen, so I put her in a tupperware and when she died I gave her to the entomology professor.

Maria has decided that she wants to be an entomologist. I think it's really cool; I also think it's a job where she can do stuff that's both academic and intellectually stimulating, and lots of fieldwork and stuff that's hands-on. I think she'd be bored and miserable in an office or at a teaching job, but entomology has lots of practical application and also bees. AWESOME. I'm really proud of her.

I applied for the intercollegiate honours society yesterday, which was torture -- with the application in front of me I couldn't think of a single noteworthy thing I'd ever done. >_> Luckily it's sent off and I never have to look at it again, and I don't really care if I get in -- I only applied because Daddy really wanted me to.

My mama called me on Monday night to tell me that my cat, Calico, was hit on the road and killed. She was thirteen, so I am torn between 'well she lived a long full life' and 'but I've had her since I was a wee kid!'. I told Maria that I was sad that she'd never get to bite me again (she was also the meanest, nastiest cat in existence), and Maria said she was probably in purgatory, biting the sinners. It's an amazingly comforting image. Callie would have no place in heaven. Mama said that to replace her I can have one of the kittens in the barn, so I'm looking forward to trying to catch one of them to tame. Actually, I'll be catching all of them if I can, because I think she wants to try and tame one for my cousin Johanna, who's decided she really wants a DLH for Christmas (although Johanna wants her DLH to have a smush-face, which I think is kind of ugly, and these kitties don't have them).

On Monday I'll be sitting on a panel to raise awareness for invisible illnesses, discussing bipolar disorder! That's pretty cool.

I also finally got paid by the church, so I'll be able to pay the guy who did the photography and digital editing for my picture book, which is a relief, because I feel like the worst client ever right now. >_> He asked about payment two weeks ago and I had to tell him that I hadn't got the money yet. The editing is almost done; right now I'm working on putting the individual pieces together into pages, which is harder than I thought it would be. I only have three done.

I've been watching a hilarious Let's Play of Silent Hill 4 lately, which is pretty much my only "fun" outlet besides RP. Oh, school.

So that's all the content of the last month, I think. Now I'll go back to posting contextless poetry and stupid Tweets about religion films (another one to-morrow! :D).
psalm_onethirtyone: (This is My Way out of This)
SO to-day I read the apocryphal Biblical text of Joseph and Asenath and you should too because it is awesome and hilarious. And Asenath's cleansing ritual involves being COVERED IN BEEEEEEES, because God is a troll.

It's days like this that I'm really happy to be a religion major.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Annie with Red Hair)
So I finally finished the last book in Gerald Morris' Arthurian series. I had been getting steadily more disappointed, as the last three or four books were kind of awful, but the last one was actually really good. I mean, evil!2-D!Mordred, but I've really given up on that front. And yeah. I cried. At my client's house, stealthily, while she was napping and watching The Waltons. >_> I would say Mr. Morris has seen himself off with a pleasing dignity.

BUT now I am all sad b/c all my dumb Arthurian boys are dead, so obvs. this is your cue to ask for porn of them, as I am doing: THIS MEME (which shall be called This Meme):

01 » Submit a pairing (or threesome, or solo person) and a prompt by replying to this post.

02 » Please use the following format: fandom, pairing, prompt.

03 » I'll then reply with five* sentences of smut.
[The original meme does say that you can request gen/other non-smutty things, but I'll say straight up that I'd prefer to flex my porn muscles (that was a TERRIBLE thing to say) and so would prefer that request. Having said that, y'all can of course request whatever you'd like, and I may even turn some requests into gen depending on how I feel about my ability to write the smut. Also, I guess "solo person" here refers to masturbation in the context of smut? Which I'm fine with too!] <-- so said [livejournal.com profile] blindmadness and [livejournal.com profile] julietveiled, so say I.

04 » If I can't do the prompt then I will beg for your forgiveness, and offer it up to others let you select another if you'd like.

This is not really restricted to Arthuriana. I also write Sherlock, Westmark, certain historical novels, Shakespeare, and can probably be conned into others if you remind me of what they are (when I'm done I will tag this post with the appropriate fandoms).
psalm_onethirtyone: (The Perfect Pool)
I know you guys all want to read my final story for Fiction Writing[1] -- a twelve-page magical-realism epic of a young aquarium guard on a quest to save her sick child. >_> This story exists mainly so I can write scenery porn about the aquarium, and also got I think a B- or a C, so we're not talking quality wordstuff here, but. This class was the bane of my existence, so I'll take what I can get.

Also, I should probably warn that the names of the main characters are stolen from Simmer Dim, even though the characters are not the same; there's kind of a Biblical theme going on. My deepest apologies to David, who I know would never do anything like this in real life[2].

In other news, I have a beekeeping dinner to-night at 6.00 and a poetry reading at 8.00 and I fully expect sweet death to overtake me at some point. Also, it's really dark outside even though it's only 4.00. O_o Thanks, weather, glad to know the apocalypse is still coming.

& without further nonsense, storytime.

[1]Ha, ha.
[2]Irony!

The Estuary )
psalm_onethirtyone: (Only Time Gold Doesn't Sink)
DUDE. So I was checking out books for a lady at the library, and discovered that there is a series of Arthurian romance novels called Knights of the Round Table.

I put the Geraint/Enid one on hold for me. Because LOL. They can't be worse than Rosalind Miles.

p.s. Cheyenne gave me a CATFISH. He is awesome and needs a good whiskery name.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Lance Suuuuuuuucks)
FINALLY finished the aforementioned paper. It is about women's roles in chivalric literature, and specifically examines the Lais of Lanval and Chretien de Troyes' Erec and Enide.

Anybody want to look at it for me? It's due Tuesday, so I'd need it by Monday afternoon. I don't want to bother [livejournal.com profile] watchcry, since he's already looking at my paper on women in Islam and Hindu religions.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Not Me! Erro ero)
Reproduced from my FaceBook, but:

......I am doing research for a paper on chivalric codes and courtly love right now, and I just read this line: "Chapter 1, a prelude of sorts, traces the brief history of Parzifal's penis, from its debut in Wolfram's Parzival, through its return engagement in Albrecht's Jungerer Titurel, to its surprising failure to make an appearance in the Rappoltsteiner Parzifal". WHAT. WHAT. I don't even--WHAT.

I mean, admittedly it is a book about eroticism in chivalric literature, but-- OH MY HEAD.

Source.

Edit: SAME SOURCE contains a reference to Gawain dying of laughter at finding out about Some Guy's castration. Oh, Gawain. <3 Stay classy.

Edit 2: Son of Edit: EVEN BETTER. a different source, on the subject of chivalry towards women: "Examples of knightly police action on behalf of women include killing a serial rapist (Book VI, chapter 5. Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur(London: Penguin, 1969))". YESSS. Knightly police action.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Found Myself!)
My second day doing capoeira. I'm learning in a group, which as it turns out is a really good way for me to learn. There's also a degree of humility involved--besides the fact that you get knocked over a lot, I was doing jenga with Gabby and I kept hitting her because she wouldn't hit me, and I stopped and told her just to go ahead, I wouldn't mind if she hit me, just do it, and Charlie leaned over from where he was doing it with Liz and slapped me in the face. Which I deserved, because I left myself open, and I was getting over-confident because Gabby wouldn't hit me.

After that we did a lot better. She kicked me and I kicked her and we both got really good at dodging each other and at falling back into the jenga after we'd kicked. I felt like we were really finding a rhythm in it. Which felt wonderful.

Also, I'm learning to stand on my head! Maybe someday I will even get to be any good at it.

The copy of Port Eternity I bought as a gift to myself came to-day! I will get to it as soon as I finish the reading for my historiographic report. Or maybe I will give up on having time for it until I'm home. Still, I'm going to read it within the next month. That is my vow.

For my report, I am reading Helen Waddel's translations of Beasts and Saints and her teeny little book Poetry in the Dark Ages. I've only started the former so far, but it's awfully fun. Basically they are tiny, tiny little fables of saints doing stuff with animals, often with a little moral, but sometimes not, sometimes just kind of "oh look how awesome these saints were, look what they could do!"

My favourite so far is The Unsociable Lion, which I will reproduce for you here in full.

There was a certain old man, a solitary, who lived near the river Jordan: and going into a cave because of the heat he found there a lion: and the lion began to gnash his teeth and to roar. To whom the old man said, "What is annoying thee? There is room enough here to hold both me and thee. And if thou likest it not, arise and go hence." But the lion, not taking it well, left and went outside.

Most of them are in this vein. Best. Project. Evar.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Body Dysmorphia is a Cliche)
I got into the Vagina Monologues! I auditioned last Thursday, and I got in! I read "Because He Liked to Look at it"! So that's pretty cool.

On the other hand, I think I'm sick--I called Red Cross and let them know that my blood is probably useless. Still debating whether or not I will cop out of class to-morrow--have noticed that every semester I have one early morning class that gives me the mother of all headaches, and I'm not sure I have the stamina for that right now. Sorry, Anthropology. Depends on whether I still feel like death when I wake up.

Also, I called my mother. I love how one perceived insult is all it takes to send me hurtling back down into the pits of misery. Dear brain: I know she said you were a terrible daughter who didn't love her. I'm pretty sure she was joking. That's usually what laughing indicates. Diaf.

ughhhh. Thank God Lent starts Wednesday. I need to cleanse myself.
psalm_onethirtyone: (N./A. Divan!)
Title: Deep Things
Fandom: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (movie canon)/Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Characters/Pairings: Nemo, Mina, Arronax by proxy, male OC.
For: [livejournal.com profile] gileonnen, for the Fic Drive. We reached three-hundred and forty dollars altogether, you guys! Amazing job.
Note: Gil asked for girl!Nemo. I am not sure this one-hundred percent counts, but I am surprisingly happy with it.

Deep Things )
psalm_onethirtyone: (Stella Potens et Mira)
A sentence I love, and which I am about to chop out of my essay because it doesn't fit in:

"And is that salvation, or its allegorical rendering, really a kind of cosmic security blanket to reassure us that we won’t just vanish like spent stars when we die?"
psalm_onethirtyone: (Slightly Confuzzled - Holly Brook)
Maria: So it's kind of a weird episode, right, there are all these planetary ambassadors and some of them are really disturbing.
Soujin: Oh?
Maria: Yeah, this one looks like a pig but with soulless pits where its eyes should be. I think I'll have nightmares about it.
Soujin: Oh, come on, you love pigs. How bad can it OH HOLY JESUS IT'S LIKE LOOKING INTO A BLACK HOLE OF PUPPY MURDERS
Maria: (with her hands over her eyes) I told you so, didn't I.

~

[Spock is basically totally unconcerned that Hyde!Kirk has attempted to rape Yeoman Rand]
Soujin: Spock, you suck.
Maria: He can't help it. Vulcans are desensitised. It happens to them every time they get a firm handshake.

~

LOL FOR-EVER, flist. I cannot stop giggling every time I see this article or references thereto. Unfortunately, I can't make the poll results load on this computer, so someone please tell me whether Sherlock Holmes is gay or not.

~

Meme I stole off [livejournal.com profile] saucynuisance:
♀ comment with a character of mine. (Any game)
♂ receive three bits of trivia about their sexuality:
practices, preferences, experiences, fantasies, kinks, etc


~

Meme I stole off [livejournal.com profile] gileonnen:

I want you to ask me something you think you should know about me. Something that you think should be obvious, but you have no idea about. I promise true answers.

~

If I shipped Spock/McCoy, which I do, I would have to say that Mirror, Mirror is one of the best episodes ever to use in a ship manifesto. "No! We can't leave evil, beardy Spock here to die! I'll save him, even if that means I get stuck in a parallel universe for-ever in which everybody wears sparkly uniforms!" "McCoy, no! We've got to go!" "Not until I save Spock!" [Spock is saved] "Dr., I'm going to mind-meld with you. It will be disturbingly sexy."

~

Also they're making a Gunsmoke movie. Hold me.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Mine has SPACE PRIESTS)
Okay, everybody! It's time for your lesson about psalms.

Here is the deal. There are basically two types of psalms: the Psalm That is Actually a Beautiful Piece of Religiously Significant Poetry, hereafter referred to as the Good Psalm, and The Psalm That is Actually an Excuse For David To Be a Whiny Bitch About Things, hereafter the Whiny Bitch Psalm. Oh, I grant you that occasionally a psalm may start out in Good territory and then veer into Whiny Bitch, but the point is that they stick to these two genres. You are not going to find the Action-Comedy Psalm or the Romantic And Erotic Psalm (that would be Song of Solomon, go read it, it's hot).

Here is an example of a Good Psalm: psalm one-thirty-one. It is also a short psalm, which does tend to help--as a general rule of thumb, the longer a psalm is the whinier and bitchier it is.

Psalm 131 (Domine, non est)
O Lord, I am not proud;
I have no haughty looks.

I do not occupy myself with great matters,
or with things that are too hard for me.

But I still my soul and make it quiet,
like a child upon its mothers breast;
my soul is quieted within me.

O Israel, wait upon the Lord,
from this time forth for evermore.

See? Nice. Brief, to the point, well-worded for maximum impact. Child imagery for David, which is a surprisingly effective device with him (see psalm 139 for another example, although be aware that halfway through (verse 18) it changes into a whiny bitch psalm. In fact, I generally like to pretend that psalm 139 does not go past the seventeenth verse, because it is gorgeous up until there).

You want a whiny bitch psalm? I'm putting it under a cut, because it's hella long and also just deeply annoying--yes, David, we know you suck, why do you have to do it so loudly? No wonder Saul was always throwing things at you, we're surprised Jonathan could stand sleeping with you--don't look so surprised, it's completely obvious--&c.

Psalm 109 (Deus, laudem) )

Ohh, there's so much not to like here. There is some beautiful poetry here; a couple of these lines are really stellar. But it's kind of outweighed by the hypocritical stuff (oh those horrible people who curse people! I hope they burn in hell!) and the whiny WHINY JESUS DAVID JUST SUCK IT UP bitchiness (wah wah I'm hungry and no one likes me) and the sanctimonious beginning (they are so mean to me but I PRAY FOR THEM ANYWAY). I mean, really, David, some of this stuff is correctable, you know. The less you suck the more likely people are to be nice and feed you. Honestly, he reminds me of Ed here. Maybe David would have been more tolerable if someone had put a dead possum in his mailbox.

But you see here the two types of psalm. They're pretty much all like that, with an occasional--and I should have mentioned this before, I'm sure, I'll fix it when I do my senior thesis--deviation into TOTALLY BORING psalmistry. However, boring is boring and provides no entertainment, as least as far as I'm concerned.

To end on a good note, I will leave you with one last example of the type of psalm that must have won Jonathan's heart and somehow balanced for him the fact that otherwise his boyfriend was kind of a loser.

Psalm 42 (Quemadmodum)

also kind of long )

...I should compile a book. "Psalms That Are Actually Worth Reading". It could be one of those coffee-table books, and have misty Meaningful Illustrations. Would you buy it?
psalm_onethirtyone: (How I Heal)
I. love the Gospel of Judas okay.

Now I know you are all dying to know What Is Up with the Gospel of Judas so I will tell you. The Gospel of Judas, if you read it, appears to be about what the hell I don't even know this is ridiculous. It is also fragmented, due to having been discovered in the seventies and then shipped around the continental U.S. until 2001 (it spent some time in deep freeze! That is not a stupid thing to do at all! We swear!). But it is actually really really superultramega awesome and sekritly related to the Acts of John, the Gospel of Truth, the First Apocalypse of James, and other non-canonical gospels and letters that are pretty badass in their own obscure ways (more on Acts of John later because it has the Round Dance of the Cross in it and I LOVE the Round Dance of the Cross).

So here is the SEKRIT TRUE MEANING of the Gospel of Judas.

Part I.
Judas' Author: WTF is up with all these martyrdoms. :( I KNOW I WILL WRITE A GOSPEL.

Part II.
Jesus: What up housies.
Disciples: We're having eucharist!
Jesus: Lol fail.
Disciples: :(
Judas: :)?
Jesus: <3!

Part III.
Disciples: We had a bad dream. :(
Jesus: That's because you suck.
Disciples: :( :( :(

Part IV.
Judas: I had a bad dream. :(
Jesus: <3 It's okay, I asplain. See everybody else is having martyrdoms and sacrifices because they think that's what God wants, but actually God says :( to sacrifices because he does not suck. These people think God wants their bodies to suffer and afterward he will make their bodies happeh, but that's not actually how it works. So you get to betray me! :) :) And then my body will DIE and my SOUL will live for-evah which is the whole point.
Judas: :( :( :(

Part V.
Jesus: Now I will be esoteric and talk about the order of the universe.
Judas: OKAY!
Soujin's Brain: *glazes over*

Part VI.
Jesus: So in conclusion people all have potentially holy souls, it's just that some of them learn to realise that potential and some of them CONTINUE TO SUCK I SEE YOU OVER THERE PETER.
Judas: So if I betray you and you die your body will be defunct and your soul will live for-evah because of its Holy Nature and if other people die and they have learned to realise their inner holiness their souls also will live for-evah, but if they die because they want the martyrdom first class ticket to heaven with a shiny body it actually won't work?
Jesus: Correct!
Judas: Yay! *betrays*
Jesus: Yay!
Disciples: *STONE THE HELL OUT OF JUDAS*

The End.

So the whole message of Gospel of Judas is QUIT BEING MARTYRS YOU GIEZ. I am not even making this up. And this is really cool because basically the author was seeing people all around him go YAY IF WE DIE AS MARTYRS WE GET TO GO TO HEAVEN GOD WILL LOVE US and he was going WTF WTF WTF why would God want you to DIE? A loving God couldn't possibly want that!

He also, hilariously, rejected the eucharist because he was all OMG WTF CANNIBALISM WTF WTF. He ALSO rejected the idea that Jesus came back to life in his body for the idea that Jesus' soul was made eternal, which amuses me because it's essentially going NO ZOMBIES FOR U. So all these people who are always getting [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes'd for being all "LOL WE R CLEVER MAKIN ZOMBIE JESUS/EUCHARIST CANNIBALISM JOKES LOL" would get on well with Gospel of Judas writer, I guess.

Which brings us to Acts of John, because the author of that was all EW CANNIBALISM so instead of having a eucharist the disciples and Jesus actually dance together while doing a call-and-response deal that is similar in style to Prayers of the People and it is really beautiful, as it happens. & my favourite line is when Jesus says, "Whoever dances belongs to the universe; whoever does not dance does not know what happens". So how's that for subtly badass?

Aaaand I'm done now: but I'm really enjoying religion class.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Grow a Little Good)
I am:

*about to go back on medication. :D
*about to switch therapists
*getting my bloodwork results back to-morrow
*conferencing with my professors to fix the damage I managed to do over the last week
*caught up on and possibly even prepared for my bio and religion midterms
*amazingly enough, possessed of a support group I didn't even know I had
*healed in my body mostly
*a girl who finally called her mother after two weeks of ignoring calls and e-mails
*getting this life back on track, dammit.

Also, Confederates in the Attic amazes me. I have never been sat down and told my own heritage so explicitly before. It is--just utterly amazing.
psalm_onethirtyone: (End of the World)
About to leave for class, but I survived my first weekend at college! By which I mean I think I had fun and did some stuff, but I still got all my homework done, which is gratifying. There were some points when that seemed a little overwhelming. But, as I say, completion.

College is definitely messing with my ability to articulate online. I am not sure how to explain this, except I know that I am using words differently and setting up sentences differently, not in ways that are wrong, actually in ways that I think are more formal, but it really annoys me that it's getting harder to speak colloquially. Speaking colloquially is a part of me. I usually turn it off, yes, but then I can usually turn it back on when I want to. This appears to be happening online and IRL, actually. I just know it's going to drive me crazy every time I make an LJ post, which is why I haven't been making many.

On a semi-related note, I still don't like Stephen King's fiction. But having read his memoir, I think it would be really cool to meet him.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Lock the Doors and Call me Yours)
So, it's International Blog Against Racism Week! Please note my Really Awesome Person of Colour icon.

It was [livejournal.com profile] kateorman's suggestion that for IBARW I would read the Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, and amazingly enough I actually did this in time, which considering my brain lately was something I did not expect I would actually get done. But! I saw that the time had come, and I applied myself, despite the fact that I was dying of a fever at the time.

The Interesting Narrative is--really interesting. Except for the naval battles, but it is my firm belief that naval battles are very rarely of any interest whatsoever to people who are not actually involved in them.

So young Olaudah got kidnapped from Ethiopia when he was about eleven, and shipped around from place to place to place--once he was reunited with his sister, who was kidnapped (Mr. Equiano calls it 'trepanning') at the same time, but they got split up again a day later--and gets some okay masters and some scary ones, and once runs away but comes back of his own accord because he's terrified of being et by snakes. At some point here he gets put on a slave ship. Mr. Equiano describes any number of atrocities; the one that I guess struck me the most was that he says a tonne of infants drowned in the never-emptied toilets. They never had any fresh air and those who got sick and were let up on deck frequently attempted to drown themselves, only to be thwarted.

And this is the scary thing: Mr. Equiano says time and again that he was one of the lucky ones. Heck!, he says, I had it pretty good! I only got horrible mauled once! I got cheated at every turn and people looked down on me and said horrible things to me and tried to get me put in jail for offences I didn't commit, and robbed me and slandered me to my various owners and tried to drown me and sold me where-ever they wanted, but I could have had it bad!

What happened was, he got sold to a man who took him to sea, where a fellow shipmate taught him to read and write and speak English pretty well, and gave him a couple of books, and Mr. Equiano distinguished himself and decided he wanted to be baptised (as Gustavus Vassa, which is what his owner, Capt. Pascal, named him. "My last owner called me Jacob," Mr. Equiano says. "Too bad," Capt. Pascal says. "I'm calling you Gustavus, and if you don't answer to it I'll beat you up."), and had a great time a sea--he decided he loved the sea. Then one day for no reason Capt. Pascal decided he didn't like him any more and sold him off to some ship heading down to Monteserrat. He was bought by a Quaker, Mr. King, who wanted him to do accounts. Mr. King, he says, was a pretty great master, because he had this amazing theory that if you fed slaves properly and didn't beat them to hell, they worked a lot better and died a lot less quickly. Mr. King would reluctantly rent him out to a ship's captain there, and Capt. Doran and Mr. Equiano fell in love became bffs, and Capt. Doran would threaten people on Mr. Equiano's behalf, and in return Mr. Equiano would be generally awesome.

So while they were on these voyages, which they were a lot, Mr. Equiano decided to start earning some money--he started out with a half-bit and worked himself up to thirty-six bits, and thence to pounds and dollars and what-have-you, and at some point he was offered a chance to escape and he said no, even though he really wanted to. When Mr. King found out about this, and with Capt. Doran standing up for him, things worked out so that Mr. King promised Mr. Equiano that he would sell him his freedom is he ever came up with forty pounds, his original price. So he did this.

And this is interesting, because Mr. Equiano rarely has anything but nice things to say about Mr. King--he makes it sound like working for him was a true pleasure and that he was an all-around decent guy, but the day he buys his freedom back he just goes around in paroxysm of joy, just totally ecstasy, and you, the reader, sit there for a moment and then it penetrates your poor overprivileged brain that omg. It doesn't matter how nice they treat you, you are still a slave. And it makes a huge difference being free. At least that was how it struck me.

That was a pretty--waking kind of moment.

So, more stuff happens, Mr. Equiano really wants to be a Christian but he is having problems because he works on a ship, and every time he says something about Jesus the sailors go "NERD" <--except in eighteenth-century English. And he goes to a lot of churches and buys a new Bible and he is struck by the fact that nobody really seems to adhere to it at all. In fact, he says, the people who follow the Bible the best are the Turks, who are all Mohammedan. WHAT THE HECK, says Mr. Equiano. WHAT am I missing here?

And then he meets this great guy who takes him to a church where everybody hangs out and there is spiritualism and they pass around a basket of sweet rolls for Communion, and it's very powerful and spiritually moving and Mr. Equiano is getting into it, when these people explain to him that you don't really need to follow the Ten Commandments. They were for pre-Jesus people, it is explained. Now that Jesus has died for you, you're, you know, basically saved.

WHAT THE HECK, says Mr. Equiano.

Follows about twenty or thirty pages of existential crisis, before he finally decides (I think) that he is okay with that. He teaches an Indian prince all about Christianity, and the Indian prince is getting really into it, and then all the other Indians start going "NERD" and Mr. Equiano tries to explain that people will always do that! and you just have to stand by what you think is right! But the prince is not convinced.

Mr. Equiano decides he has had just about enough of being cheated and chased and given the run-around at sea, and having people trying to kidnap him and sell him despite all his freeman papers and letters of recommendation. By this time his friend Capt. Doran has died, and he is working for a Dr. Irving, who distills sea-water. He has met Governer Macnamara in Africa and asks him to help him get ordained as a missionary. A lot of people help him by writing letters of recommendation, but he is refused (he doesn't really say why; I assume it is because of race, but I don't know).

So instead he starts doing Africans' Rights things, including--and this is awesome--a petition to the Queen. Also a lot of petitions regarding the situation of impoverished Africans being shipped to Sierra Leone, which as far as I can tell nobody actually listens to. The point is, he is very much an activist by the time he ends the book, telling us that he is doing as much as he can. He ends by saying, in essence, HELLO, if we let Africa become an actual nation with actual free working people in it, they will need stuff from England! They will buy stuff! English people will make money!

At other points in the book he also says, HELLO. Of course Africans don't know anything. You don't LET them know anything!

Everytime he inserts an opinion like this he does it in a very off-hand nature, like he is saying, oh, by the way, I do think that HELLO INFORMED OPINION. He is also very subtle about Christianity. Any number of atrocities are narrated with Mr. Equiano saying "And then the Christian took the black slave and staked him to the earth by his hands and let ants eat him". "And then the Christian man refused to pay me for the goods I had sold him, and I could do nothing about it." He always says this like it is any other modifier, but his point is definitely made.

I have not included a lot of incidents due to the fact that my brain is dead, but I did really think it was an interesting book, and I'm glad Kate had me read it.

Also! At one point, Mr. Equiano's best friend, Capt. Doran, is all, Look, if you do this work for me I'll let you have two bullocks. Okay, says Mr. Equiano, and does all the work. Actually, no bullocks, says Capt. Doran. WHAT, says Mr. Equiano. Nope. But you should buy turkeys instead, says Capt. Doran.

Mr. Equiano resits, but eventually buys three dozen turkeys. And darned, he says, if every single bullock didn't sicken and die on the sea voyage, and every single darned turkey survived! I sold them at three hundred per cent. profit. :D

I love that. The turkeys just would. On a different note, it is hard to tell from the narrative whether Capt. Doran had this in mind, or whether he was just being a jerk.

Also, things that Mr. Equiano enjoyed: playing French horn and dressing hair. He also appears to have enjoyed writing poetry, although I am afraid it was really bad poetry.

Also, if you check, as I am afraid I did, you will see that in the front of the book it tells that his boyfriend good friend Rev. Thomas Clarkson bought two copies of this book. That pleases me a lot more than probably it should.

So, yes! Put this under Books It Would Not Hurt You to Read. I feel educated.
psalm_onethirtyone: (Kerchief)
Book related items!

1. I kind of badly want to start a children's book reviews/recommendations blog a la Smart Bitches Trashy Books but with children's books instead of romance novels. Please tell me I should not do this, especially since I am a) neither witty nor consistently funny enough to pull it off, and b) would be doing it partly so that I can rant about what a terrible book Ann Rinaldi's The Staircase is (note to Ms. Rinaldi: it is hard to turn someone into a sympathetic character for no apparent reason when you have spent the first half of the book trying to prove how horrible she is by having her stab a kitten's eyes out with an embroidery needle.)

2. I need recommendations for children's books, as happens. Specifically, for children's books with strong male characters. I realise this sounds counter-intuitive, but, trust me, I have a good reason. By no means books where the female characters are wimps or despicable! But I need ones where the guys are brave and smart and otherwise admirable. I have already given her the Arthurian/Aksumite series, but she's a pretty voracious reader and I need more.

3. I am reading a very awful YA book right now. XD It has every single cliche imaginable, and I am enjoying it immensely.

4. This actually has nothing to do with books, but my headaches will not go away and ibuprofen tastes icky, so I wanted to complain. Also we are probably going to have to amputate Maria's foot if it doesn't get better.

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Soujin

January 2012

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