"If it doesn't make you sparkle, don't waste your time." Words to live by there.
With books I tend to be pretty escapist. If it's not a book I'm reading directly to study something I tend to prefer fantasy by authors who are adept world-builders with just enough connection to real-world problems to make them feel "real". As an adult I sometimes think I should move away from this... but in the end time is short and why shouldn't I read the things that make me happy? Ironically, my favorite book I've ever laid hands on so far in my life is Watership Down. Most people I tell this to who know the book always ask me why? They says it's so depressing. But I've never thought of it that way, I adore it. I read it against our high school librarian's advice, she implied it was "too far below my reading level." I always thought that was a horrible way of describing books to young potential readers
Yes, there are so many "children's books" that are really profound and well worth your adult time and attention!
I've never read Watership Down
, but there is an excerpt of it in a book I got when we were quarantining the horses in England en route to Australia, after I did my introductory year of school English in central Europe. ("The cat sat on the mat. The frog sat on the log. In, into, on, onto, under, over, beside. Hello, how are you, goodbye, which way to the train station? I like, I don't like. How much is that? Mind the gap."
) So, it turns out I bought my first ever proper English-language storybook at a little bookshop in Hastings. I have it in my hands now, a lovely hardback, with only the spine faded: Richard Adams's Favourite Animal Stories
. Inside the cover, my schoolkid running writing: England, November 1982, £1.99.
The very first story I turned to in that book was by Rudyard Kipling. I am the cat who walks by himself, and all the places are alike to me.
I loved that, the sense of it, the sound of it, the rhythm of it, the freedom of it, and I started saying that to myself in my own mind, when I was walking places. The Cat That Walked By Himself
is of course wonderful and poetic and intricate and naughty and metaphorical, and I smile 37 years later to think of the luck of having that be the first story I came across in the English language, when I had learnt the basics.
And now I'm going to have to go back and read the excerpt from Watership Down
. I think Brett has the actual book in his collection too, for adding to my reading pile...
Music must tell a story for me (even if the music isn't directly telling a story in itself.) I tend to connect music directly to people, stories, events, even if that isn't what the music is actually about. For example there is a song I think of as "Dreama's Song." I'm sure lots of people do this. Lyrics mean a lot to me, which I thought was the case for all people but my partner is the exact opposite. He could listen to the same song for years and not be able to tell you any of the lyrics. The difference? I sing. He plays strings - guitar, bass, dabbles of other things. Even though I played music in highschool, I tend to be more consumed by the words and the overall "feel" of a song, while he is paying much more attention to the actual composition of a piece. I hadn't thought of it before, but I would imagine a dancer takes in the music differently as well.
I like that way you're thinking about the dancer versus the string player versus the singer, and the way that influences how they hear music, and what they look for in it. And then it becomes so interesting to listen to all these different perspectives on a particular track, and put it all together. Sort of like extra-dimension glasses!
Storytelling is also important to me in music, and I tend to like the "storytellers" like Neil Young, Lou Reed, etc. Of course, you can also tell a story with instrumental music - this time, in a universal language...
I'm sure too that many people appropriate songs for their own personal situations, people and places they know, etc. Just like poetry and stories.
I think it's not only the quality of the music itself, and the intended meaning of a song, that can draw us to it - it's also often the associations that pop up in your mind - it can be a soundtrack to a particular significant experience for you, or a link with good memories that were being made when you first heard it, for instance.
Some songs will forever recall for me particular scenery I was in at the time of first hearing them, or particular times in my life, for example. I've got U2's Where The Streets Have No Name
forever associated with a 6-hour solo walk I did along the Harvey River and Peel-Harvey Estuary, complete with swimming across the river, when I was 16; and with the smell of crushed mint when I was resting in the grass, and flocks of sea birds rising en masse off the estuary, and the way the light played on the water. I wasn't carrying a walkman, I was carrying the song in my head, from my first couple of listens of the album it was on, and it popped up because it fitted the scenery, and became forever married to that particular experience for me. More recently, that happened for me when we played a newly acquired Sharon Shannon album going around the peninsula from Huonville through Cygnet and Flowerpot and Kettering and Snug on a trip around Tasmania - now I always see that scenery when I listen to that album - in part because it was such a good fit for it!
David Bowie's Changes
was playing on the radio when I was 13 and coming to grips with leaving childhood. That fitted the situation as well, and various others on the journey since then. Mike Scott did a sung version of Greensleeves
which goes, "I'll build you a home in the meadow" - and I discovered that one just as we were starting the task of building our own home in the meadow, literally so, back in 2011. It became like a theme song for that long process, of Brett and me fronting up for years to put it all together until it was done, and here we are. And Jenny Thomas, an Australian violinist probably best known internationally for playing her fiddle on the Lord Of The Rings
soundtrack, has done a track called Sweet Tooth
which to me embodies so much about living where we do, and with each other. It's a lilting tune with little catches in it that make my heart flip over. You won't find it anywhere on the Internet; it's off her album Into The Ether
Isn't it amazing what having a cerebrum has done for us? Of course, it's also resulted in a lot of awful things - but when we're at our best, the things that come from our brains can be extraordinary...
You might enjoy this podcast about exactly that: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/program...ssion/10922574
, are you familiar with the Warrior series books by Erin Hunter? They are everything you said you liked. They are amazing. They are about clans of wild cats and encompass every human situation, for example the heartbreak of infidelity and the egos of leaders.
I also adored Watership Down, and what a pleasure to read it to my daughter and discover that she loved it just as much. I am a huge rabbit fan anyway. My childhood nickname was "Bunny" because I was always pretending to be a rabbit. Ironically, it was horses that I was simply crazy about, but my parents forbid me to talk or pretend about horses, so I decided to play it safe and be crazy about bunnies.
And now, I'm even more motivated to read Watership Down
Almost every person I've ever spoken to who had a difficult family growing up says they relate more to animals than the average person seems to. Isn't that interesting. Having said that, I may only be talking to that subset - since I generally avoid mixing with bullies socially.
, I did win two books, among some other cool prizes. The first book was a coloring book of furniture and furnishings that you can color, cut out, and arrange in rooms. I gave that one to my daughter as she has a real flair for decorating. I do not. The second one was a Downton Abbey cookbook. The library folks must have known how much my daughter and I adore that series, as we have checked it out several times. We have made two of the recipes in the book--very fun!
I once binge-watched two seasons of Downton Abbey
in the one weekend, where I barely moved from the sofa. This was mid-build, and a weekend away in my head from it!
Very effective. Have you ever done anything like that - aggressively vacationing on your sofa?
Extremely interesting to see the teeth. I find it quite amazing you were able to keep weight on Romeo after seeing how his mouth was. That was serious love and dedication.
When I had my first look at the skull, I knew we had made the right call, and I too was amazed he was in such comparatively good condition considering... The one thing that really kept the weight on him was the canola meal, which he had 2L of every day (in two doses), mixed in with buckets of other stuff including copra, soaked cubes, bran, vitamin / mineral mix at maximum recommended dose, and chaff... Definitely not how I would ordinarily feed a horse, but it really worked for him.
It was nice to be able to keep him around for those extra years.