altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Since I "helped" with editing for Civilized Beasts (poetry anthology due out next year,) I was asked to provide a brief biographical note in the form of a poem. Tempted by the suggestion of a limerick, but I settled on the quatrain in the style of Omar Khayyam/Edward FitzGerald.

Alas! Poor Altivo's lived long in the past.
Some people will tell you he's only half-assed.
    Dream-ridden, Shakespearean, equine is he:
Neither grey mule nor donkey but horse scholiast.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Once again I've taken too long a break from posting here. The winter has been made busy by several events, not the least of which is my planned retirement from full time library work. After June, I will be a greymuzzle pensioner, with more time for writing, music, gardening, and my pets. Of course that means helping to find and train my replacement. After twelve years in one job, there is a lot of stuff to organize and document and I've been kept very busy getting that done while keeping up with my regular responsibilities.

Meanwhile, my husband is getting near the end of his five year quest for the Ph.D. degree, which has also kept us pretty busy. Next week he will be presenting a paper at a conference, while I cover the animal care tasks he normally handles here at home.

Also some announcements on the writing front. First, I have two poems recently published. One gives a tortoise's view of history, and can be found at QuarterReads. The title is "Thoughts Chelonian." The second appears in a curated selection of furry poems at Adjective Species. The title is "Procyon Prowling" and the subject is a raccoon. I recommend the poems in that collection. They represent a wide variety of styles and formats, and an equally diverse viewpoints on furry subjects. Lunostophiles did a fine job of selecting them from the submitted works.

My story "Coyote's Voice" will appear in ROAR volume 6, to be released in July at Anthrocon if all goes according to plan. The publisher is Bad Dog Books, and the very competent editor for this issue is Mary E. Lowd, also known as Ryffnah.

I'm also currently engaged in writing the completing chapters of Oh, Ricky, the parody on Richard the Lion(heart) that some of you may remember from NanoWrimo 2011. I'm doing that in connection with this month's Camp NanoWrimo where I'm one of a dozen folks working together to prompt and encourage each other.

More as events develop. Thanks for reading.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Nanowrimo word count: 15935 (1678 today)
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Story draft available here.

I've mentioned plot bunnies before, I think, but this week I've encountered something else: the branching stream. While writing, and especially writing to quotas or deadlines as we do in the NaNo, can often seem like we are paddling upstream with too small a paddle and too heavy a load, once in a while it seems more as if we are drifting downstream and our rudder isn't responding.

From somewhere in my subconscious, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám as translated by Edward FitzGerald managed to creep into my Richard the Lionhearted story. First I caught Blondel singing one of the quatrains, and now I am trying to decide whether to let it shape the direction of the story and the attitudes of the characters. I'm sorely tempted to do it. I went and researched the timelines and it isn't really even anachronistic quite. Omar lived and wrote in the 11th and early 12th centuries. He died in 1131. That's well before the Second Crusade. Blondel's father was on the Second Crusade, and could well have been exposed to at least an Arabic translation of Omar, no? Blondel being a poet and minstrel by trade can take it from there, I think. Since my story begins in 1189, there has been enough time for Crusaders and their hangers on to have brought back bits of Middle Eastern culture to Europe.

I love Omar's attitude toward life, which carries both the fatalistic and the hedonistic views simultaneously. Of course the English language version to which most of us are accustomed is FitzGerald's 19th century translation (or some say, paraphrase.) But I have no problem with quoting from that. After all, my characters would really be speaking archaic French too, and I present the dialog almost entirely in English...

The Oxen

Dec. 24th, 2005 10:31 pm
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
CHRISTMAS EVE, and twelve of the clock.
  'Now they are all on their knees,'
An elder said as we sat in a flock
  By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
  They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
  To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
  In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
  'Come; see the oxen kneel

'In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
  Our childhood used to know,'
I should go with him in the gloom,
  Hoping it might be so.

--Thomas Hardy, 1915

Pretty legends associated with Christmas tell us that the cattle all kneel at midnight in honor of the birth of Christ, or that the farm animals can speak between midnight and dawn of Christmas morning. English poet and author Thomas Hardy was often pessimistic and skeptical, yet his verse frequently displays this yearning for the old stories to actually be true.

August 2017



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