Archive for March, 2010
Posted in culture the_end_of_civilization_as_we_know_it, history, Jane Austen, Musing outloud again, tagged alison weir, cracker jack, Deirdre LeFaye, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth Kostova, Jane Austen, Katherine Swunford, lady of shallot, Paraphernalia, The Man Who Loved Books too Much, The Swan Thieves on March 27, 2010 | 6 Comments »
n paraphernalia [pӕrəfəˈneiliə]
a (large) collection of (small) objects, often the tools etc for a job or hobby
v paraphernalia [pӕrəfəˈneiliə]
a (large) emotional collection of (small) objectives, often the tools etc to live life as a continual hobby
ex After work each day, Dody likes to paraphernalia.
I named this blog Paraphernalia for a reason. I knew I could not focus on one particular topic and stay engaged. Long ago, I used to make bridal head wreaths and French ribbon rose brooches. I called my little ‘business” Paraphernalia – in keeping with one of the official definitions of the word “A married woman’s personal property exclusive of her dowry, according to common law.” I love the word… I hate that it is associated with drugs … but I choose to ignore that definition…
Lately, it seems I am surrounded by Paraphernalia – the lovely, comforting flotsam and jetsam of my intellectual and creative life. It reminds me of that old, old Cracker Jack commercial; the one where the little boy empties his pockets and reveals a treasure trove of marbles and string and maybe a jack or two… I loved playing jacks… writing about playing jacks could be an entire blog post. The paraphernalia of that little boy’s pockets was very satisfying.
If paraphernalia was a verb, you could say that I paraphernalia throughout each day: I read a little, I craft a little, I write a little – in other words I function within my large collection of small objectives, collections of words, collections of images, collections of thoughts manifested as art and beauty. So, what are these collections? What does it mean? What is paraphernalia-ing?
For one thing, it means I read little bits of many books. I have found that I need to get hopping if I am going to read everything on every topic that interests me. So, I read many at once. I am currently reading five books. The first is The Man Who loved Books Too Much – which is a quirky, true life crime story of a rare book thief. I plan to write a whole post on the book as soon as I am done, which is in fifty five pages.
Since I am a Janeite – I am reading Jane Austen, The World of her Novels by Deirdre LeFaye. This book is delightful. It is a wealth of information about what it was like to live in Jane’s age. I pick it up and learn something everyday…about travel arrangements, currency, the countryside. It is a wonderful book, with beautiful illustrations.
If you read five books at once, at least one has to be a novel. Right now that novel is The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. I will review it as well. So far, it is…fine. However, it doesn’t make me want to live in it for days on end, so it must not be amazing. I have 250 more pages. It is getting better. I will let you know.
Finally, I am finishing two biographies – The Mistress of the Monarchy, by Alison Weir which is loosely about Katherine Swynford, mistress and the eventual third wife of John of Gaunt. I say loosely because it mostly reads like the Franklin daily planner of John of Gaunt with shout outs about Katherine. It consists of many, many passages which begin, “we can assume” or “most likely”Katherine was…” and nothing really definitive. Read the novel Katherine by Anya Seton. Except for the fact that Ms.Weir sorts out some misconceptions about who died of what or when, the novel is the way to go. However, I have really enjoyed learning about this period, which includes information about Chaucer. So, read it for the history.
The second biography is also by Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was one scrappy lady. I would like to say I am like her, but I am not, I am a wimp. I would have stayed with Louis and sunk like goo into the quick sand of history. She kind of proves (fortunately or unfortunately – I make no judgements) that in some cases, taking that risk, divorcing, can move you up in the world. Carpe Diem.
I am feeling very medieval these days. I bought Loreena McKennitt’s The Visit from iTunes to accompany this mood. Listen to The Lady of Shallot to completely immerse yourself in this medieval mood. Every now and then, it is good to just go all out and be medieval.
This covers the reading part of my paraphernalia-ing. I am also working on a project. It feels very fun and very consuming. I will tell all about it soon, maybe even tomorrow…
By the way – if you feel so inclined, comment. A paraphernalia of commentary would be fun.
Here is that Cracker Jack commercial…