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Friday, December 30, 2005
last post of the year...

This is the last post of 2005. I don't know what to say. Should I tell you all that I've changed the way I think about this blog? If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed. I don't talk as much, and I try to write more.

This is the last post of 2005. I don't know what to say. Should I tell you all that it's been a weird year at work? If you work with me, or if you are family, you already know this. I'm happy at work, but there are things that I'd like to change.

This is the last post of 2005. I don't know what to say. Should I tell you all that I'm looking forward to 2006? You may not know this, but I am. I'll turn 36 in May of 2006, and almost feel as if I've started into the second half of my life.

This is the last post of 2005. I don't know what to say...do you?

Happy New Year.

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phantastes...

phantastes
Originally uploaded by toadmaster.
This book is the long, wordy, rambling story of Anodos (pathless), who finds his way into the land of Faerie. He has many metaphorical visions there, encounters indescribable beauty, and heart gripping dread.

I'm reading this book again, for the third time. I am struck by the language of nineteenth century writers. In their ability to string together words and phrases so complex that to our modern ears, sounds like gibberish. But it's beautiful. It is art. For some it may seem pretentious, but for me, it is captivating. The storyline, while less than engaging, still keeps me going through its soft, quiet persistence.

If you ever, by chance, find this book on your local bookshop shelf, or in your local library, buy it or check it out. I encourage you to put away your fear of reading Dickens-like descriptions and wording, and dive into it and see what you get out of it...

 

Thursday, December 29, 2005
dreams of england...

I'm not sure what it is...I don't know how or why it happens...but I often dream of England. I often dream of the countryside, the fog, the moors, the rolling hills and the stone walls and gates between wandering fields of sheep.

I dream of the cool moist overcast days, the drizzle. I dream of walking across the cold fields to a warm hearth in a pub for a bowl of hot lamb stew and a pint and the quiet talk and laughter of the locals. I dream of thatched roof cottages, English gardens with stone walls and moss.

I dream of England, though I've never been there. I dream of England as if I were from there.

Saturday, December 24, 2005
King Cole, by George McDonald...

The following is a Christmas Eve tradition at our house. It is by one of my favorite 19th century authors, George McDonald (interweb page) (Wikipedia entry). I've copied it here in it's entirety because I think it is a rare work. I don't know the history of the piece, or where it first appeared. If you like it, you might want to purchase the book that contains it, and other very good Christmas stories by the same author. It's called The Christmas Stories of George McDonald. In addition, besides being able to find the poem below, it can also be found here.

I hope you enjoy it, I always do. The meter is simple, the rhyme and message even simpler, but it always makes me grin. I've added some pictures for emphasis.

 

King Cole he reigned in Aureoland,
But the sceptre was seldom in his hand.

Far oftnener was there his golden cup--
He ate too much, but he drank all up!

To be called a king and to be a king,
That is one thing and another thing!

So his majesty's head began to shake,
And his hands and his feet to swell and ache.

The doctors were called, but they dared not say
"Your majesty drinks too much Tokay;"

So out of the king's hear died all mirth,
And he thought there was nothing good on earth.

Then up rose the fool, whose every word
Was three parts wise and one part absurd--

"Nuncle," he said, "never mind the gout;
I will make you laugh till you laugh it out."

King Cole pushed away his full gold plate;
the jester he opened the palace gate,

Brought in a cold man, with hunger grim,
And on the dais edge seated him;

Then caught up the king's own gold plate;
And set it beside him: oh how he ate!

And the king took note, with a pleased surprise,
That he ate with his mouth and his cheeks and his eyes,

With his arms and his legs and his body whole.
The king laughed aloud from his heart and soul,

Then from his lordly chair got up,
And carried the man his own gold cup:

The goblet was deep and wide and full,
The poor man drank like a cow at a pool.

Said the king to himself, as he took his seat,
"It is quite as good to feed as to eat!

"It is better, I do begin to think,
To give to the thirsty than to drink!

"And now I have thought of it," said the king,
"There might be more of this kind of thing!"

The fool heard. The king had not long to wait:
The fool cried aloud at the palace gate;

The ragged and wretched, the hungry and thin,
Loose in their clothes and tight in their skin,

Gathered in shoals till they filled the hall,
And the king and the fool they fed them all;

And as with good things their plates they piled
The king grew merry as a little child.

On the morrow, early, he went abroad
And sought poor folk in their own abode--

Sought them till evening foggy and dim,
Did not wait till they came to him;

And every day after did what he could,
Gave them work and gave them food.

Thus he made war on the wintry weather,
And his health and the spring came back together.

But, lo, a change had passed on the king,
Like the change in that same spring!

His face had grown noble and good to see,
And the crown sat well on his majesty.

Now he ate enough, and ate no more,
He drank about half what he drank before,

He reigned a real king in Aureoland,
Reigned with his head and his heard and his hand.

All this through the fool did come to pass.
And the poor came in from every side,

And the king rose up and served them duly,
And his people loved him very truly.




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