When I was a little girl one in my family’s extensive collection of 45 rpm singles — remember those? turntables? vinyl? — was a record of Grieg’s Peer Gynt suite.
I’ve always loved that entire set of music – The Hall of the Mountain King, Anitra’s Dance, the Morning Mood air – but my particular favorite has always been Solveig’s Song. It touched some part of me that I could not, when that young, properly articulate, and did not even know why back then – understanding came well after I first heard the piece of music, and actually read the Ibsen play.
The epiphany explaining that bittersweet, noble, pure, high-minded *joy* of Grieg’s music came when I read the exchange between a remorseful, grieving, bereft Peer Gynt to Solveig, his lady, his love, and he cries out to her, in his anguish, “when have I ever been all I can be, when have I ever been entitled to call myself honest, true, a *man*?”
She answers, “In my faith. In my hope. In my understanding.”
That piece of absolution rang for me like a bell.
What it means is simply this: it is human to blunder, it is human to make mistakes, it is human to be afraid. But if you are brave enough and honest enough to admit to these human flaws, then there is faith, and hope, and understanding.
In the aftermath of the Hugo drama unfolding this year, writer Vonda McIntyre just wrote a short note which put Solveig’s words into a certain context.
It may not be pure understanding – it is certainly not implied that there is, or will be, complete acceptance – but she is offering herself as a buffer between anyone who is afraid, and all the shadows which are starting to look as though they might haunt the halls of this year’s Worldcon.
Here’s what Vonda McIntyre said:
“I will walk with you at Worldcon.
I’m not very fond of confrontation. I’m a courtesy 5’1? and my 67th birthday (how did that happen?!) is just after the convention and I’m walking with a hiking pole while recovering from a hiking fall, an injury that’s taking way longer to heal than when I was a pup.
On the other hand I’m a shodan in Aikido.
On the third hand, which I can have because I’m an SF writer, shodan — first degree black belt — is when you realize how much you still have to learn.
But I’m thinking that maybe it would make folks who feel threatened feel a little safer to have someone at their side, maybe even someone with a bunch o’ fancy ribbons fluttering from her name badge, even if that person is shorter, smaller, and older than they are, white-haired and not physically prepossessing. It’s another person’s presence.
It might cause some abuse not to happen.”
I am no less scared by some of those shadows than the next vulnerable con-goer – but if my presence will help someone else walk a little taller past a threatening shadow in some dark corner, I am stepping up with the same words.
I will walk with you at Worldcon.
“Books are great, no question,” my favorite local bookstore, Village Books, says. “But books signed by the author? Now that’s some exceptional reading material right there.”
My Random, Book 1 of The Were Chronicles, is featured here. If you haven’t read it, hurry up. Book 2, Wolf, is coming out next month.
Or go to MY BOOKS in the masthead menu above for more options, including the chance to pre-order Wolf.
Or don’t forget your library. And if they don’t have a copy of Random, ask why not?
The Best Books about Libraries and Librarians
At Off the Self, Caitlin Kleinschmidt offers some intriguing books in time for National Library Week.
One you might not put in this category until you think about it…
This untraditional love story is the tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.
Their passionate affair tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.
25 Beverly Cleary Book Covers on her 99th Birthday
Beverly Cleary book covers are classics, Alison Nastasi writes at Flavorwire.
Often, there was nothing more exciting than getting a new Cleary book and seeing what kind of young adult dramas were playing out on the page, lovingly illustrated by artists like Louis Darling and Alan Tiegreen. The Newbery Medal-winning author celebrates her 99th birthday today. We’re honoring Cleary’s memorable characters — Ramona Quimby, Beezus, Ralph S. Mouse, and friends — with a look back at some of the best vintage book covers.
Read the whole story HERE
Writing a great female character
Justine Graykin blogged some sterling writing adice:
In a recent discussion, a fellow writer said, “This is how to create a good female character: Write a good character. Add female pronouns.”
THIS ‘n THAT
I can finally go into space.
The International Space Station Finally Gets an Espresso Machine, and It’s Called ‘ISSPresso’
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