Beginning of the semester is always busy and this one is no exception. Things coming up where you might run into me — apart from as always the productive Write 4 a Day sessions — include the 2nd Sunday @ 2 reading in Troy, as well as two new events.
Divine Write is a new series of readings + workshops featuring local writers at the Beer Diviner Tap Room. I’m planning to hit the first one tomorrow to get a feel for things because I’ll be on stage with Jim LaBate in February. Come along, try the beer and bring your pen. Yes, books will be on offer.
I’ve also thrown my hat in the ring to be a host for @WeTheHumanities the week of February 6th. I’ll be curating the discussions that week which means throwing out topics, responding to commentary and trying to keep a world wide conversation going on between all my usual activities. Madness, I know. I got a taste of how fun/nerve-wracking it can be guesting a couple times for @FolkloreThursday — including the day the Beeb decided to cover them, eek!
If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow along, ask questions and get involved in the discussion. The aim of the activity is to reach beyond the communities of academics and show how the humanities enrich our lives. In a time when rhetoric, history and literature provide some of the best material for speaking truth to power, that may seem easy, but conversation only works when a variety of voices join in.
So start thinking of the topics and questions you have. Me? I’m trying to stick to staying on top of work, but then my mind wanders to things like:
I dropped by the McManus to check out what was on and caught the Reflections on Celts exhibit which combined a few of their own treasures with borrowed items from the British Museum and the National Museums of Scotland. You can see my pictures here (along with the other two exhibits on) and read more about it here. I was unable to resist buying things in the shop but mostly kept myself to buying cards to send off to other people and a book on medieval Scotland because that is a woeful lack in my knowledge (and a potential site of new research). As you can see, Duncan’s Riders of the Sidhe has come down from the upstairs gallery to gallop through this exhibit.
While in Venice I went to an exhibit at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the isla San Giorgio Maggiore called ‘Mindful Hands’ which offered up a real feast of medieval manuscripts. If that’s not your thing you may yawn, but those who enjoy these beauties may swoon over the album here. A beautiful day, a beautiful location and such beautiful pages. It’s sad to see pages ripped from their original bindings but it was how they happened to be collected, so what can you do? At least no more violence should be done to them. There was also an excellent film showing how medieval manuscripts were made from goat to binding (:-o) which I thought would be great to show students — well, with some warning about the poor goat. I didn’t even realise how some of the colours were made. Things like lapus lazuli making blue I knew, but burning bones for black was news (oak gall is also used for black ink). So glad I got to see the exhibit: it was much more extensive than I expected.
The days are just packed! So forgive me if I offer a little repeat: my first two posts for Witches & Pagans as ‘History Witch’ dealt with Anglo-Saxon traditions of magic and healing. Just the thing for the #FolkloreThursday madness.
Check out all my posts at W&P to find out about magical history. Or you could just buy Rook Chant (click image):
From Leechdom, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England, a compendium of wonderful folk knowledge of early Anglo-Saxon England, a charm using bread [hláf] hallowed on August 1st [hláfmæsse-dæg] the traditional grain harvest day:
Summer’s last hurrah this month: in sunny Dundee the flowers still bloom:
But the rowan berries have come too, and they spell my doom:
The viking saint, as liable to kill you as bless you; he wrought the miracle of the dice. One of my dissertation chapters (the longest one) was about him. Oh, those wacky medieval saints!
[from The Broken Dice, and Other Tales of Mathematical Chance by Ivar Ekeland]
I am back and will be catching up with more London posts, but in the meantime you can see a bunch of photos from Leeds here. Thanks to Another Damned Medievalist for making me be more social than I was inclined to be without prodding; great to finally meet Dorothy Kim (yes, living an hour or so apart in New York, we finally meet up in Leeds). Met lots of folks, some I’ve been following online some completely new to me, but all terrific encounters.