Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Reading Notes: Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm B

Source: The Three Spinsters from Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm translated by Lucy Crane and illustrated by Walter Crane

I wanted to do a reading on Snow White, but I feel like it'd be longer than I wanted to do for just notes. I find that the Grimm Brothers are grim, but I like these types of fairy tales. They're fun to read. There's this feeling of dread looming as I do the readings because I feel like they're all going to turn out poorly, which is... interesting? I don't know.

The Three Spinsters starts out with a lazy girl who would not do her spinning. The mother beats her daughter and the girl loudly cries. She cries so loud that the people outside can hear her and one of those people who can hear her is the Queen. She asks why she is doing that and out of embarrassment, she lies that her daughter won't stop spinning and because she's poor, she can't afford to support her habit. The Queen takes her to her castle or whatever and tells the girl to spin the flax. If she can do that, she can marry the Queen's son. The girl doesn't do that and sits alone for three days.

The girl finds three women after the Queen had told her to get to work. She asks the women for help and they make a deal with her. They want to come to her wedding and be listed as cousins. The girl agrees to this and they spin the flax for her. The Queen is delighted to find that the girl has done the job.

At the wedding, the women sit with her. The Queen and his son had no reason to turn down her request. Her groom is appalled by their appearance though. He asks each of them how they got to be... that way and they answer in ways that lead him to believe spinning is the cause of their appearances. He decides that his bride shall never spin again and she is saved from a life of spinning. What an ideal ending for her! I thought that this one was sort of funny and entertaining to read. With that, I'm finished! :)

An illustration of the three spinsters (Wikimedia Commons)

Reading Notes: Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm A

Source: The Robber Bridegroom from Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm translated by Lucy Crane and illustrated by Walter Crane

I don't know how long it's been since I've done a reading! I'm glad to be able to finish one more before I'm done!

I'm doing notes for "The Robber Bridegroom." It begins with a beautiful girl who has been promised to marry a man she doesn't feel any affection for. She feels a chill about him. He asks her why she hasn't visited him and he says that he will line the path with ashes so she can find his house. She had told him previously that she didn't know where he lived. When she got to the house, she hated it and to make things worse, a voice told her to leave because he did awful things. An old woman that comes out of nowhere tells her that the people living there are robbers. They will eat her unless she hides and the old woman agrees to help her. Wow, that is a predicament.

The robbers come back and kill a girl they have brought home. They begin cutting her up and they see she has a gold ring on her finger. When they cut that off, the finger falls near the coffin where the girl is hiding. They go to look for it, but the old woman tells them to go. She follows a trail of lentils and peas that have sprouted and goes home.

Now, it's her wedding day. Her bridegroom comes and they sit around a table. She tells everyone of the experience she's had, but describes it as a dream. When she gets to the end, she holds up the finger, proving it had really happened. The groom tries to run, but the townspeople grab him and he's brought to justice. It was a lot to process and I was worried she would be harmed, but this was a good ending.

The Robber Bridegroom illustrated by Walter Crane (Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Reading Notes: Lang's Tales of the Round Table B

Source: The End of Arthur from King Arthur: Tales of the Round Table by Andrew Lang

So, we're finally at the end of Arthur's journey! Everything that I read about King Arthur absolutely drives me crazy. I was going to do one of the sections on Galahad because as far as the knights go, he's one of the better ones (at least in my opinion.) I chose to do the ending simply because of its iconic nature. I've spent a lot of time through the years reading about Arthur's life. I've read other versions of it before, but this particular one is new to me.

Basically, it opens with Arthur receiving a fatal wound from Mordred and he knows that it's his time to go. Bedivere, who is a nice and good boy, is crying and weeping. Arthur tells him to knock it off and to take Excalibur and return it to the lake. Bedivere doesn't do this because he feels like it will do not good. The sword is expensive and nice. I wonder if he feels like more people will find it and use it for destruction. He hides it under a tree and returns to Arthur, who knows he didn't do his job. Bedivere does this another time before Arthur gets mad at his disobedience.

When he throws the sword, a hand catches it and it goes back. It was cool. He goes back to Arthur, who is now surrounded by weeping women. He goes to Avalon and, like, presumably that's where he dies. Guinevere hears news of his wounds and becomes a nun in another town and is sad all the time. Lancelot goes to see her, but she turns him away. Guinevere dies six years after and I believe she's buried next to Arthur. Lancelot lives like a hermit and doesn't eat anything until he also dies. Sir Bors goes to see him and so does Sir Ector de Maris. The latter only says nice things about Lancelot and his knightly abilities and his status as a lover, which interesting considering his adultery, but I get it. It was a good ending.

I liked the part with Sir Bedivere and Arthur a lot. I don't believe that Bedivere's disobedience was performed maliciously. I mean, it wasn't portrayed that way in the reading at all, but I would like to see more of the why behind his actions. It's nice to see why his knights care about him so much. I also like the idea of them being fallible. There was a huge culture of knight being goodly and pure, but they were just people. I think a lot of the charm from these stories is that behind the magical setting and crazy situations, they're relatable characters.

The Death of King Arthur by James Archer (Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, April 3, 2020

WEEK 10 Lab: Advice to Writers

Source: Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur

I always like reading Jon's tweets. I feel like they're helpful and constructive. It's nice to have little reminders about different writing styles and pieces of advice throughout the day. I've been to the website for a lab before and I just read interviews, but this time, I'd like to just read a few quotes and come to my own conclusions from the collective advice.

It's been a crazy few weeks and I've wanted to do more writings for class, but it's... there hasn't been any time. It's easier to do a few readings and be done with it, but I feel out of practice with writing now. It's not great, but it's something. I like Mary Karr's advice on characters a lot. Loving them and understanding their past is so important. I don't like having to plot out their past as much as their future plans, but it's necessary to understand how this person came to be. It's difficult, at least for me, to plot super in depth pasts for characters because I never really deal with that, but it's definitely crucial.

Nora Ephron's Advice is also very good. Making people care about what you're doing feels like an uphill battle sometimes. It feels like its easier to just do something that you know will be successful instead of taking risks, but ultimately, why would anyone care about it if you don't? I've definitely read some things lately that were not as... I don't know, not as unique. Make people care!!!

I feel like there were other pieces I also liked, but those were the ones that stuck out the most to me. I've been spending a lot of time reading and reflecting on old material that I've read/watched and what made it stand out and that advice feels applicable here. Making something long lasting and worthwhile, you have to find a way to connect to the audience and to do that you need to have the characters be well-developed. Putting your heart into something can make people care about it. Passion is important in a project.

A pretty fountain pen (Wikimedia Commons)

Extra Credit Reading Notes: Nursery Rhymes A

Source: Charms & Lullabies from The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang

Quarantine is super fun because I totally forget what day of the week it is and also that I am still in school! There's a lot of sarcasm there. The days blend together as I try to balance moving out and also having enough time to finish everything. I'm definitely behind on readings, but thankful fort he grave period being extended! I thought it would be fun to do an extra reading that was simple and didn't require much from me.

I've always enjoyed nursery rhymes. I had a huge book of them growing up, though not this exact one. We've all heard these classic riddles at some point in time. I'm not sure how to talk about these exactly, but I will say how interesting it was to see them in an original form. As language evolves, so do the stories. That's my main fascination with folktales and whatnot. It's fun to see how they originally were said as opposed to the version I grew up with. For a quick example, Rock-a-bye Baby. They aren't big changes, but different still!

I liked the one about hiccups. I thought that it was fun. There were a few I hadn't heard of before like "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." I didn't completely understand the point of some of them, though maybe they're very clear and I'm just very tired. Who knows!

I like the simplicity of each rhyme. It's easy to see why children like these rhymes and even adults. They're fun! I like how they have a unique background as well. The one about cows was said to be a divination children would say. It's fun to think about! There's a lot of inspiration to pull from these. I feel like I've always seen adaptations of these that used the source as a rough outline and the actual story would go completely elsewhere. You really have the power to write whatever story with these as a source.

An illustration by Beatrix Potter from Apply Dapply's Nursery Rhymes (Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Reading Notes: Lang's Tales of the Round Table A

Source: The Sword Excalibur from King Arthur: Tales of the Round Table by Andrew Lang

The story opens describing Arthur and Merlin's fight with the tallest knight in the kingdom. Though he's a great fighter, he had received major wounds and probably would have died had Merlin not intervened and cast a spell that put the opposing knight to rest. They found a healer to fix Arthur's wounds thankfully.

The two are looking for a sword and Arthur is eager to get there because he has none currently. When they arrived, there was a lady standing over the water. The Lady of the Lake comes up to Arthur with the sword and tells Arthur that he can have it if he does something for her. She wants a gift. She tells him where to find the sword and that she will ask for the gift later. Excalibur is obviously a special sword.

Merlin and Arthur go to retrieve the sword in all of its glory. Merlin asks Arthur if he likes the sword or scabbard best. The sword is coolest... duh. Merlin thinks that isn't wise because the scabbard is worth more, but the sword is most definitely cooler. The scabbard will allow Arthur to lose no blood as long as its attached to him, which is also a pretty neat thing.

I like this story in its simplicity. The sword itself is famous for being, well, itself. Getting to read the legend in this form is nice. Not everything is crazy complicated or dramatic. I feel like most Arthurian legends I read, they are just... horrific or sad. I was glad this one wasn't. I mean I know the fate of everything for Arthur and everyone, but seeing this nice moment was good. I would want to do something equally as simple of a story for this. Maybe write some funny dialogue between Arthur and Merlin. I'm not sure, but I that that would be fun!

The Lady of the Lake gives Excalibur to King Arthur (Wikimedia Commons)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Reading Notes: Native American Marriage Tales B

Source: The Dog-Husband from Tales of the North American Indians by Stith Thompson

This girl has a dog and the dog turns into a human person at night. Eventually she gets pregnant and when her parents find out it was from the "dog" they are deeply embarrassed and kill her dog? and leave her for dead. It's not a great situation, though I can understand their disapproval. It's a secret that he was a man... ???? I think?

Crow felt bad for her and told her that she would be able to find fire if she would go to a certain place when she her crackling. She, Crow, put coals in between two clam shells for her to find. She soon gave birth to five pups and she had to support them herself. She would forage on the beach to find food. She noticed when they left home that she heard singing and soon realized that they were turning into their human form. She scolded them for this. I don't know why this is bad. She brought shame to her people in this way, so they must be doing the same.

As the kids grew up, they stayed in human form. They began to be skilled hunters and became great at whale hunting. When their mother came to visit, they gave her plenty to eat, but none to take with her. They wanted her to come back and stay. She wanted to stay with them. Crow noticed this as well and when she returned home, the girl told Crow to pretend like they had died. Crow did not do that and brought back whale meat for her kids. She told the villagers that they had whale meat. Crow's kid choked on the meat and coughed some up, so the villager's believed her and went to see the whales. They were supposedly impressed by this because the story ends with the kids becoming chief of that village and supplying them with whales, making sure they never ran out of food.

This story is from the Quinault people. This is a picture of a few baskets by Edward S. Curtis 

Reading Notes: Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm B

Source: The Three Spinsters  from  Household Stories of the Brother's Grimm  translated by Lucy Crane and illustrated by Walter Crane ...