Monday, February 24, 2020

Reading Notes: Wilhelm's Chinese Fairy Book A

Source: Sun Wu Kung Gets His Name from The Chinese Fairy Book, ed. by R. Wilhelm, translated by Frederick H. Martens

The Ape King meets a wood chopper, who he drops down and worships immediately. The wood chopper questions this action, saying he is only a workman. The Ape King mentions the song that the man was singing was one of the gods. The wood chopper mentions that he was taught it by a saint. He wants to meet this so-called saint. The wood chopper says he's on the Mountain of Heart.

'The Discerner' as the saint is called, lives in a cave with many other disciples. If one keeps following the path south, they'll find him easily. The Ape King did this, having no issue. This is when he starts to have issues. He gets to the gate and jumps over it, not wanting to knock. He lands in a tree and starts devouring pine cones, causing quite the stir amongst the disciples who take notice of his noisiness. The disciple says that their master is ready for him. His not wanting to knock wasn't such a bad thing after all.

The Ape King is very excited to meet the saint and flings himself to the ground once they arrive. He offers thanks and is full of joy. He asks his name and he obviously has none. He is given the name 'Sun Wu Kung.' He's very happy about this. They dance and have a great time. They have him do chores for a few years, but he's still pretty wild in nature, which is where the chapter ends.

I chose this one because I liked how happy he was to get his name. I can imagine that it would be pretty meaningful to get named by someone so important as his master was. There's a lot of joy and humor in his heart. I enjoy it a lot. I think that it gets him into trouble, as evidenced by the ending, but he does his best. I think it would be interesting to rewrite something with a bit more of a grand journey. This was kind of simple, but then again, it was nice to read.

Sun Wu Kung and Jade Rabbit (Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, February 21, 2020

WEEK 6 Lab: Storybook Research!

The Shield of Sir Gawain

I've been meaning to talk about this more, but the shield is a huge piece of "The Green Knight." Gawain looks at it constantly where there is a pentacle that represents Christ's five wounds. It also symbolizes the star of Bethlehem and the key attribute for being a knight: generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry, piety. They also refer to the virtues of Mary, whom Gawain has a picture of inside his shield. I've been reading on which meaning probably makes the most sense, but they probably all have equal meaning. I'd say that the last one has additional meaning because of the picture of Mary that he carries around. An article I read on Shmoop said this, "His five senses are very keen. His five fingers are dexterous. He devotes himself to the five wounds of Christ. He always thinks on the five joys Mary had in Jesus. Finally, he possesses five virtues: fellowship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and charity. Basically, Gawain is the perfect knight."

I'm focusing so much on his shield because it really embodies his pursuit of perfection. It's why it makes his failure with the Green Knight so much more difficult. Arthur is able to forgive him. He sees Gawain as all of these characteristics. He values honesty in times of adversity. Gawain doesn't understand how, when he fell short of the characteristics that he actively practices, how his king could forgive and even celebrate him at the end.

Sword Terminology by Albion Swords

So, there's a few sword fighting scenes. I might need to know the words so I don't look like a huge fool. The link includes useful resources to the histories of different styles of sword fighting, and most importantly, the anatomy. I expect I'll refer to this a bit. I believe knights usually used longswords, so I'll need to find more information on those specifically.

I don't usually write action sequences, but I'm thinking it would be fun to do so with the perspective that I'm using. It could be fun and act as a way to see Gawain's dexterity in action. There's a lot of information to remember here. I'm realizing this is a huge poem to adapt, but I'm having fun. :)

A cool longsword (Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Reading Notes: Wardrop's Georgian Folktales B

Source: Teeth and No-Teeth from Georgian Folktales by Marjory Wardrop

I chose this section not because it was the most interesting, but because it felt incredibly peculiar. I didn't expect the ending at all. It was quite jarring and kind of strange, which I liked? I think that memorable is the best word to describe this story.

The shah wanted to see who the hungriest man in his kingdom was and set out to find him. He also wanted to see how much of the "daintiest" food he could eat for some reason. I guess I don't really understand that part. He lets his people know that he wants to do this and its a big deal.

On the decided day, a bunch of people gather. The king has laid out a lot of really nice food and asks for the hungriest men to come forward. Two men who have not eaten in a long time, one who is twenty seven, and one who is very old, come forward. The younger one says that he cant find work and is ashamed to beg. The old man says that his children have died and he's exhausted. Both haven't eaten in three days.

The shah begins to bring out food on one plate and in small portions. I still don't understand why, but okay. They look at each other and start crying. The shah is confused and asks them what's wrong. The old man is having a hard time eating and the young man is eating everything up. The young man says the old man is lying and that he while he is chewing his meat, the old man is swallowing everything whole. I do not understand at all.

In terms of story potential, I would want to make it very clear what the point was or maybe even do something a little bit different. I would want to tweak it in some way that maybe strayed a bit from the original source material in some capacity.

Small Plates (Wikimedia Commons)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Reading Notes: Wardrop's Georgian Folktales A

Source: The Serpent and the Peasant from Georgian Folktales by Mary Wardrop

There once was a king from a nice kingdom with nice subjects. One night he had an odd dream in which a fox was suspended from the ceiling by his tail and no one knew what to make of this. Then he tried to find someone to figure out this strange dream's meaning and on the third day, common people showed up, including a poor peasant. While the peasant was trying to get there, they found a snake lying in their way. The snake and the peasant have a nice little chat and the peasant promises the snake some presents if it will help them out. The snake agrees. 

The snakes says that the fox is supposed to represent cunning, treachery, and hypocrisy in the kingdom. The peasant was given many gifts in exchange for this info and then the peasant left the palace or whatever a different way to avoid sharing with the snake... The king had another vision of a sword and asked the peasant to interpret. The peasant sought out the snake, who was mad and demanded payment. Oh, the snake said the sword meant war. The peasant chased the snake and cut off its tail, which is super rude, like it did this person a huge favor. 

The king has anoooother vision. The peasant finds the snake and begs forgiveness. The peasant brings it the treasures they owe the snake and the snake is cool. The peasant was sneaky in times of deceit. The peasant was ready to fight in times of war. Now, the peasant is peaceful in times of peace. It has a happy ending. 

I have to say that I kind of wanted the snake to get revenge a little bit. This person so took advantage of it, but I'm glad it ended things on its own terms. I think that this was fun and a nice change of pace. The Georgian folktales remind me a lot of the Jataka tales, which is nice! I really enjoy these kinds of stories. 

A very lovely Plains Hognose (Flickr)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Famous Last Words: Week 5!

It has been such a busy week for me! I've been sick and trying to deal with a few family matters, which is always such fun, but I'm making it through. I really enjoyed the readings for this week especially. I chose to read the section on Egypt and it was probably my favorite thing that I've read this semester so far. I've always enjoyed the legends and myths surrounding Egypt, so I loved getting to read it more in depth. I chose to do my story about Isis and Osiris, which I think turned out okay.

I haven't been doing as many stories lately because I've been feeling creatively drained, but I'm really going to try pushing myself to get more of them done! We really do get such a unique opportunity to rewrite these stories in whatever way we want, so I should take advantage of that more often. I do tend to favor reading though. That will always be my one true love.

Speaking of writing, project intros were due this week, which was fun. I had a good time with my storybook last semester, so I'd like to keep that energy strong! I ended up deviating from my original plan. Originally, I had wanted it to be more dark and sad, but I don't think that about the story at all. There's many opportunities for humor and growth. Putting Gawain as a narrator was my best chance to give the reader a way to relate to his struggles of crippling perfectionism and having being your own worst critic. I wasn't a huge fan of how it turned out, but I'll fix it. It's fine for now.

In other Gawain related news, there's a new A24 film coming out "The Green Knight." A Dev Patel Gawain is exactly what I want in life. I would watch him do anything. I'm not playing, I love him endlessly. I'm interested to see how they make this story scary because it really isn't, but I'm very excited!

I want to be this cozy

Friday, February 14, 2020

Extra Credit Reading Notes: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland B

Source: The Queen's Croquet Ground (End) from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

I wasn't going to do the other half of this at all, but I had nothing to do today and thought it would be fun to finish this up! I feel like the notable part of this reading selection is the tea party, but for the purpose of my own sanity and thinking about potential stories that I could do with it, I'm opting to do notes on a different section. I've always really enjoyed the croquet game. It's just the right amount of whimsical silliness and I feel like it's fun while still being able to be kind of understood. I also like the hedgehogs. Poor guys.

Cheshire makes its grand return to have a little chat with Alice about her current situation. Alice makes note that she's not going to begin the conversation until its ears have appeared because it won't hear her anyway. The head of the cat appeared and Alice, feeling grateful to finally have someone to talk to, tells the cat all that's been going on with her.

Alice sort of just complains about the game and the queen, neither of which she likes that much. I mean, who can blame her? There's a lot happening to her at the current moment. She doesn't even feel like it's worth playing because it's so rigged in her favor.

Then the king asks who she's talking to. He says that it's allowed to kiss its hand and the cat is like no thanks. The king is sort of timid and nervous around the cat, again, who can blame him? He wants the cat beheaded, so he gets that done. Not really though? Alice goes back to the game and she's confused and has no idea if it's her turn or not and she does not want to ask. Her flamingo tries to fly away but she catches it.

She goes back to find that there's a problem with the execution. There's always problems. Because the cat didn't have a body, it couldn't be beheaded. This angered the king. The queen wanted the problem dealt with or everyone would be beheaded... no one liked that part. There's a lot of chaos at this moment and they go get the Duchess because of Alice and it ends with the cat fading away again.

Cheshire Cat makes an appearance (Wikimedia Commons)

WEEK 5 Story: Other Half

Isis stood alone, head towards the heavens, arms outstretched. Tears fell from her eyes freely. The darkness she was faced with and the stillness of the night sky only seemed to mock her cries. She was normally one to wear a brave face in the midst of disorder, but this feeling transcended anything she had felt in her life. Though she was no stranger to despair or grief, she had never expected to lose her beloved, her Osiris, to an usurper no less. There were many emotions and thoughts spiraling around in her mind, but most of all, she wanted to see him again. That was all. Pain can be that simple. She wept for him, but she also wept for her own heart as well.
            The details surrounding her husband’s death were burned into her memory. Though she hadn’t been there, she may as well have been. She almost wished that she hadn't been told everything. Being nailed into a coffin and left to rot in the sea was a particularly gruesome way to pass. He needed her now more than ever. Isis knew that she needed to reach in and bring out some of the strength that was left in the reserves of her soul.
            She wiped away her tears with the backs of her palms and exhaled deeply through her nose, hoping to regain some composure. She had other worries stirring within as well. What was going to happen to her now that Set had taken the throne? She wasn’t safe here and needed to leave. It was time to do something.
            Isis, despite all of the uncertainty surrounding her at the moment, was consumed with the desire to do one thing. She walked back inside to her empty chamber. It was normally filled with doting and adoring servants. She had sent them away, refusing the joy of company. Isis took a strand of hair into her hand and cut a chunk of it out with the nearest sharp object that she could find. She whispered secret words, a vow to Osiris, that only she knew. Isis held the piece of hair close to her chest, tightly. It was time to start looking for the other half of her heart.

Source:  The Death of Osiris from Egyptian Myth & Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie

Author's Note: This week, I chose to read the section of Egypt. I was particularly taken with Osiris and Isis and found their journey to be sad/interesting. In the source, it details Osiris returning home from his journey to a celebration. The evil bad Set shows up with a coffin the size of Osiris and basically throws a contest to see who can fit the ""box"" and they'll get to keep it. Obviously it's a huge trap and when Osiris gets into it, the lid is shut and nailed and he's sent to the sea to die. Isis, his wife, takes this horribly. That's the section I chose to rewrite. There's a line in there that's like "she refused to be comforted" or something and I loved that. I felt very bad for her and wanted to expand on her grief and mourning. Isis then sets out on her own journey to look for Osiris, which is where mine ends. I just think she's neat and wanted to give her some love.

Osiris, Horus, and Isis (Wikimedia Commons)

Reading Notes: Wilhelm's Chinese Fairy Book A

Source:  Sun Wu Kung Gets His Name  from  The Chinese Fairy Book , ed. by R. Wilhelm, translated by Frederick H. Martens The Ape King meet...