Thanks to Robert forwarding me an email, I ran off to catch this performance at Bard yesterday. I always wish that Bard were better about letting folks know about things happening on campus. I hate hearing about them afterward!
A small but appreciative audience shared the experience and stayed to talk with Suzanne Savoy (who has an impressive list of accomplishments beyond television work!). She had been intrigued long ago by that wonderful image of Christine writing away in her chamber and while working on a very ‘painful’ television series (hmmm, wonder if it’s this one) decided to create a one-woman show in order to enjoy having complete control.
Savoy worked on the translation of Christine’s writings herself; having grown up in Montreal, she was inspired by the older nuns she knew there and their particular cadences of French. The play begins with the very medieval notion of Dame Fortune’s changeability and traces the ups and downs of her life and times from favoured child of her philosopher father to desperate woman in exile. Savoy has skilfully knitted together Christine’s texts with a few augments for context to bring to vivid life this extraordinary woman with passion, humour and grace. Moving around the compact yet evocative set, she gave a moving performance that made Christine’s skill and conversational style so clear, engaging the audience directly at times. The power of her delivery–even under thundering rain that started falling during the performance–made Christine’s timeless words reverberate. And we all agreed afterward that when she declared the storm would be over in war-torn France the rain actually seemed to slow at that moment.
And she’ll be at Kalamazoo, talking about her translation with the Christine de Pizan Society.
[Yes, I know I need to write up my two conference trips for your vicarious pleasure — soon!]
A whirlwind weekend which included the QoE, Marko, Elena & Rod, the Gorey Exhibit at the Athenaeum, as well as recording with Julie & Eric (and the cats!) at the fabulous Cool Ranch Studio. Yes, exciting things to come, but secret for now…
Over on the Fox Spirit Books blog I get to kick off Women of Horror month with a piece on The Haunting of Hill House, one of the finest novels ever written. Go read it (my piece and the novel).
I have a piece ‘The Three Rs’ over at 3AM Magazine. I had written for another thing that fell apart but it suited as a kind of encomium for Mark E. Smith. More to come doubtless as there are many things floating around in my head.
Chapter 4 of Madonna of the Wasps is out: chapter 5 at the end of the month. If you want to have a print copy, I have good news coming soon.
UPDATE: I am always forgetting to share my History Witch posts: most recently Sounding Out the Water Elf (another bit in my thinking about the sound of charms which I’ll be talking about at the Harvard conference in April).
NEXT WEEK: The SpeakEasy dames and I will be guest hosts at Ione’s Annual Dream Festival next week. If you’re on Facebook, join us talking and thinking about dreams and how they affect our waking lives. Some of the posts will be here as well. Starts on Monday!
‘Twice Reviled: Medieval Fact & Fantasy.’ Out of the Cloister: Lone Medievalists Making the Middle Ages Matter: forthcoming piece on what it’s like to be the lone medievalist in a department as well as a fiction writing-lit prof (hint: even people in academia like you to stick to one category or the other).
“The Unlikely Milliner & The Magician of Threadneedle-Street.” Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: forthcoming essay on the use of tarot in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell — yes, yet another piece on that book so I suspect I may well end up writing a book about it.
Travel: after a break of [cough] years, I’ll be heading to Kalamazoo for the annual Medieval Congress. Looking forward to my first paper on Rauf Coilyear, one of my new obsessions. I feel a little sad because I think the last time I was at the ‘Zoo was when I got to hang out with Kathryn Fernquist Hinds, who died suddenly this week. Her husband Arthur has asked those honouring her memory to make donations in her name to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. You might also want to read her books.
I hope to go to MAMO as well: this year it will be in Rome. We shall see. Finances always questionable — and of course, I need to get accepted! But a scheme afoot to catch up with Alexandra Bava naturally and Dan Curley who I think might be there as well in November.
[Fill in the elventy thousand things I have forgotten to mention or haven’t finished]
Oh, and I have more Edinburgh pictures to share: must remember to do so!
Over at Empty Mirror magazine I’m featured with my essay on Chaucer’s Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale and David Maurer’s The Big Con, which (among other things) inspired The Sting. Check it out and take a look around: they feature a lot of smart, offbeat and interesting pieces that include fiction, non-fiction and art.
I shared my Inspirations Song List today as I’d updated it (Songs that Inspired Stories), then joked that I should make a list of stories that started from collisions. Not literally — although I do have one or two of those — but collisions of ideas.
Example: later this month Empty Mirror will publish my essay ‘Chaucer and the Art of the Grift’ which came from a collision in my head between The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale and David Maurer’s The Big Con. It makes perfect sense to me but maybe this is why I have a hard time getting people to follow my thoughts. Possibly they seem random and incoherent!
But they seem reasonable to me. Here’s a random selection of things what I have written and the collisions from which they sprang:
The Mangrove Legacy: Peter Cook & Jane Austen
White Rabbit: Blue Sunshine & Seance on a Wet Afternoon & certain London pubs
How to Be Dull: academia & Jerome K. Jerome
Airships & Alchemy: <— exactly that
Owl Stretching: The Descent of Inanna & Spike Milligan
‘Elf Prefix’: The Maltese Falcon & The Fairy Melusine
‘Headless in Bury’: The Big Sleep & vikings
‘Wordgeryne’: Lovecraft and medieval charms
‘Losing My Religion’: REM, Tony Hancock & social media debates
“Domus inferna Sancti Guthlaci: A Rediscovery of the Twelfth-Century Narrative of The Saint and the Money Pit”: my Pseudo-Society talk that sprang from rearranging the Harley Roll illustrations of the life of the saint so they became a sort of DIY disaster
…and of course there’s a whole random Fall song + whatever random obsession has fired in my brain this week which covers most of my crime writing that isn’t currently inspired by Robyn Hitchcock.
It’s not just me, right?
[Image from the Cosmagraphia Scoti MS. Canon. Misc. 378 via Bodleian Library]
I headed down to the city on a day that started out dark but became rather lovely. I saw the lovely Katja and her kitties: she’s the hostess with the mostest. We had a lovely dinner at Veselka, too. I saw a couple of the Ai Weiwei installations too. There are always sights to see in NYC including the 777 exhibit by Jen DeNike & Damien Echols and of course there was the third Occult Humanities Conference, which proved most inspirational in all kinds of ways. More photos on the ‘book — I’m thinking of trying Instagram: pros or cons you care to offer?
Make note: next April the 100th anniversary celebration of Leonora Carrington in Mexico City. I may need to get to that. Road trip, anyone? I’ve not been there before. Only along the border.
Tomorrow I’m talking on medieval charms at ISATMA. Free and open, including the concerts honouring the late Pauline Oliveros.