?

Log in

Pirate Gospel, Endymion Leer, March Ho!

« previous entry | next entry »
Mar. 1st, 2011 | 02:06 am

Using a giftcard -- sparkling, untouched, full of power to buy self something fun without guilt -- I bought Alela Diane's album, The Pirate's Gospel. No, I did not make this decision based on the name alone, although I fully admit it's just the sort of title to go through me like a hook and tug.* I admit, I was a little worried. Was I allowing the awesome title to cloud my judgment, in spite of my firm belief to the contrary? Was I about to be inundated by a song or two to really enjoy while the rest blended into okay folksy harmony I'd probably really enjoy live but recorded just shrugged at - when I remembered there was music playing? Would I be disappointed, even I already knew I liked at least two songs she sung and one she sang part of?

But no! All is to the good.

Which is to say, The Pirate's Gospel is being, has been, very much enjoyed. I want to use the word 'thirsty' to describe it because I feel like The Pirate's Gospel is full of thirsty songs: songs that want things, that are distant and pulse-close at the same time. It's a calling-something-up album. Unsurprisingly, a lot of her songs make me think of the animal bride tales (specifically seal-wife, fish-wife, swan-wife - but others might suit as well). Foreign Tongue is yearning, wistful but not depressed. I imagine a moon-green sea all gloom with shadow and a cloudy sky all tarnished silver and a seal-wife, who isn't quite sure how to get along yet and still has another six years to go before she accidentally stumbles across her sela-skin, walking down a grubby jogger-friendly sidewalk, hands in her pockets, squinting out at the waves. Can You Blame the Sky? which comes right after Foreign Tongue is like the album agreeing with my 'hey, this is a selchie/swanwife album!', all about what to blame when a mother goes away, the sky, the sea, the birds. I enjoyed the title song best of all. It's got such a body-rocking, finger-snapping bewitchery to it. None of Alela Diane's songs are loud, and all of them seem to be buoyed along by very gentle guitar or banjo, but they've got catch to them. Sometimes her voice just sashays along the melody, hitches itself onto a wave and rides. This is good background music, but it's good to really listen to, peeling away layers, story-making -- or not.





I believe Lud-on-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees and The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge are book sisters, and not just because Lud-on-the-Mist has the Chanticleers and The Little White Horse has Monsieur le Coq.** I'm feeling a little sleepy and a lot rambly, and my brain is rambling around Lud-on-the-Mist, and if you haven't read the book and believe you'll be spoiled for it if you read on you might want to stop reading now.



I'm considering all the deliberate as well as casual cruelty, the curses/oaths which become quest-oaths and pass-words, the Note, the Crabapple Blossoms running off to Fairyland, Law as a Delusion/magic, the sheer coolness of Portunus, the Silent People, the way the superstitions of Lud are brought to life in the course of the novel, and Endymion Leer. I love his name: Endymion Leer, Endymion Leer, Doctor Endymion Leer. Ostensibly, he is the villain of the piece -- isn't he? I don't know. (And I like that the characters don't all seem to know, either, by the end of it.) I'm seriously considering him for anti-hero status.

Nathaniel (and Ambrose, and other 'good' characters) reacts with violent disgust against Fairy Fruit for so much of the book, and Endymion Leer is the purveyor of Fairy Fruit, the clever, tricksy, untrustworthy-from-the-start-and-yet-so-helpful guy who is clearly elbow deep in Fairy Fruit. And, boy, that ain't all. He's a poisoner. From the beginning, it seems clear that Leer is calling for a revolution -- he's gaining the love of the 'low' people the merchant-Senate of Lud pay no attention to, and he's gaining influence with the merchant-Senate by dragging Nathaniel's name through the mud and by being very helpful when they're struck by disaster. He's done bad things, is so unrepentent, although he's tempered them with mercy and his motives aren't always clear.

What remains after all that when you step back from Endymion Leer?

He steers the course of the novel, and much of the novel is spent trying to pin his crimes down - right? And yet, in the end, the very end, the crime that he was originally being hunted for, the very bad thing that has been so reviled, has been so deep underground in Lud, turns out to be a practice... the hero of the story and friends bring back to Lud, everybody celebrate? Somehow, the novel twists it all around, and I like this so much:

Nobody winds up doing what it is they thought they were going to do with their lives.
Life surprises everybody.

It's somehow so - joyful? Like, yearning is good, so do it, and be prepared for truths glimpsed by dreamers and I don't know. I'm very rambly. I like this book.

"But I have not lived in vain. You will send me to ride on Duke Aubrey's wooden horse, and, in time, the double-faced Doctor will be forgotten; and so will you, my Lords Judges. But Lud-in-the-Mist will stand, and the country of Dorimare, and the dreaded country beyond the hills. And the trees will continue to suck life from the earth and the clouds, and the winds will howl o' nights, and men will dream dreams. And who knows? Some day, perhaps, my fickle bitter-sweet master, the lord of life and death, of laughter and tears, will come dancing at the head of his silent battalions to make wild music in Dorimare. This then, my Lords Judges, is my defence."
--Endymian Leer

Also, today: I found myself in the position of explaining to somebody why I reread books. My physical therapist was genially baffled by the idea of rereading 'the same book? every year? why?' For some reason, I didn't think to say, Well, it's like rewatching a movie, which I think would have gone over better. Instead, 'Because I like to. I'm a reader.'

February is over. I wrote more Valentine Day Poem Invocations than I care to think. Sold a poem to Apex. (Yay, sneaky announcement.) Actually managed to send out some snailmail letters, which will hopefully find their way home. Surprised my Mom with pancakes shaped like letters of her name. Healed some. Read a number of really good books. Have a couple of short stories to edit and trim and snip into shape. Acquired external harddrive and have backed-up slowly coughing-spluttering/dying computer. Huzzah! I feel like February wasn't too bad, all told.

C'mon, March. What's next?



*Better name for hooking me: The Saltmaiden's Gospel. The Seamaid's Gospel. The Sealmaid's Gospel. The Sealwoman's Gospel. The Sealwife's Gospel. The Incredibly Badass Swordswoman's Gospel. Gospel of the Thorn. Bah; that sounds like an actual gospel.

**I want to throw Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend into the kin-knot, but I've yet to reread it, so I'm not certain yet. Maaaaaybe The King of Elfland's Daughter.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {5}

(Deleted comment)

mer-moon

(no subject)

from: mer_moon
date: Mar. 1st, 2011 09:34 am (UTC)
Link

Oo. Your icon is REALLY pretty. What from?

Reply | Parent | Thread

The Morrigan

(no subject)

from: winters_queen
date: Mar. 1st, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
Link

Gratz on the selling of a poem.

Reply | Thread

C.S.E. Cooney

(no subject)

from: csecooney
date: Mar. 1st, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
Link

SOLD A POEM TO APEX, DID YOU??? Which one! Ga-DOING!

Also, I've recently come to this conclusion about re-reading books: If you meet a PERSON you like, you generally try to see them as much as possible. You know your real friends by the way that, no matter how long you've been separated from them, you can pick a conversation right up again and shwoosh, the years are as nothing.

Imagine if we treated people we liked the way non-re-readers treated books!

On the other hand, I understand the argument that there are so many books in the world, why waste time re-reading?

On the other hand, there are a lot of PEOPLE in the world, and I certainly don't want to know all of them. Or even most of them. Because, generally, I'd rather read a book than talk to someone. Or at least, a part of me does.

:)

CONGRATULATIONS ON POEM SELLING, JESS!!!

Reply | Thread

::

(no subject)

from: rivertumbled
date: Mar. 1st, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
Link

that was supposed to be to the post, not your comment, so i deleted it...but hi!

:)

Reply | Parent | Thread

::

(no subject)

from: rivertumbled
date: Mar. 1st, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
Link

i LOVE alela. beautiful beautiful.
& congratulations on poem selling! yay!

Reply | Thread