Of Thing I See

1. In this week’s Blog Gate episode I commit career suicide. Don’t miss!

2. A bunch of plaster images of theatrical masks have been unearthed from Pompeii. I particularly like this one, which looks a lot like Hirschfeld’s caricatures of Chico Marx. Hadn’t realized the Brothers’ vaudeville career stretched back that far…

3. The validity of the Vinland Map is not finally settled. Again.

4. Apparently, mindless collectives are very effective at making rational decisions. So there’s still hope for Congress, I guess.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Of Thing I See

  1. Yeah, well, if you’ve committed career suicide, you can always hope for a posthumous Margery-Kempe-style rediscovery. You’ll be able to gaze over from the Elysian Fields and enjoy your vindication five centuries hence. It only takes one surviving copy, when all your contemporaries’ books have been reduced to kindling, or Kindling.

    • JE says:

      Right! Me, Catullus, and Margery Kempe. Maybe I’ll stuff my collected works into a time-capsule and try to tip the scales that way.

      Is Kempe fun to read? I was way into late-medieval mystical lit for a while (“The Cloud of Unknowing” and “Piers Plowman” and stuff like that) but I never got around to Kempe.

      • Margery’s entertaining, but she makes some choices that are really jarring for a modern reader. The way she treats her husband once she starts trying to live a godly life is kind of painful to read, especially because, even by her own account, he tries so hard to accommodate her.

        She can be unintentionally comical, because every time she describes being touched by the spirit, she describes being moved to tears. And not delicate, ladylike tears, either, if the responses of the people around her in those anecdotes are anything to go by. I recommend picturing Margery and Julian of Norwich as a sort of Beavis and Butthead duo, with Julian having lots of occasion to say, “Settle down, Margery.” (I don’t recall Julian actually appearing in Margery’s book, but they did know each other before Margery went on pilgrimage.)

        Overall, I far prefer Julian’s Shewings. There’s less slapstick, but Julian’s somebody I could have enjoyed a regular cup of tea with, and Margery’s someone I’m glad to have met only in a book.

        • JE says:

          Thanks–I’ll have to look them both up. I had a Penguin “translation” of Julian’s “Revelations of Divine Love” in my hands once, but somehow I couldn’t get into it. I may try it in the original next time–modernizing these texts seems to rob them of a lot of flavor.

          • I especially like the bit where Julian describes the part of her visionary journey that showed her Hell. She does this very delicate rhetorical tap dance, saying something on the order of, “I know the Pope insists that all Jews go to Hell, but when God showed me Hell with my own eyes, funny thing, there weren’t any Jews there. I wonder why that is?” The lyricism is lovely, too, of course, but lyricism and a feisty authorial persona will win me over every time.

  2. feicht says:

    More of the same on the Vinland Map front, I see. It’s almost comforting, in a way 😉

    • JE says:

      Yes, that’s one of those questions that never gets settled. I read one of those papers about the chemistry of the ink once, but the crucial passage was basically “and the physical evidence supports our claim, so there!” I’m inclined to be skeptical for a couple reasons, but the Vinland section could have been added later without being a forgery–an addendum, not a dolus.

      • feicht says:

        Yeah that’s always been my stance. It doesn’t have to have been this crazy conspiracy either way; innocent doodling on a scrap piece of paper even. Who knows?

  3. peadarog says:

    As usual, there is too much to respond to. Loved the mask. Like Gradisil, but now think Yellow Blue Tibia is Mr. Roberts’ very best work.

    • JE says:

      He doesn’t get published much over here, but I like what I’ve heard about his work. On the other hand, he might be one of those guys who’s not his own best advocate.

      • peadarog says:

        No, he’s far more than a self-publicist. His books vary a lot in tone, but some of them, such as Land of the Headless and Yellow Blue Tibia, exhibit a wry sense of humour such as you might have employed yourself from time to time…

  4. Great post at Black Gate. Thanks in particular for standing up for those of us geeks who happen to be a bit tweedier than others.

    • JE says:

      Thanks! And no problem about defending tweedy geeks. It’s all according to my longstanding policy of making everything about me.

  5. madwriter says:

    >>Hadn’t realized the Brothers’ vaudeville career stretched back that far…< <

    It’s probably either Gallagher or Sheen.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I commit career suicide

    Which career? If your writerly one, I figure you did that the moment you published your first story. Doom! Doom on all writers who do that! (Almost. A few sneak by the whirling blades and stick around, but having to change your name to have another go seems more common these days.)

    If your readerly one, healthcare and a steady paycheck weigh you down anyway. Stay hungry!

    –Jeff Stehman

    • JE says:

      I’ll have to get back to you on which career. I’ve also been working on a career as the World’s Greatest Juggler, but that one’s not doing so well, as I can’t juggle.

  7. scbutler says:

    ” It’s a childishly ad hominem insult, and only dickheads use them.”

    And you didn’t call him a shithead, either!

Comments are closed.