Tag Archives: dissertation

LoQ: Epics & Poets

Here is Dreamland, coming at you with this week’s Letters of Questioning!

Dear mad maven Ravyn,

Writing IS the pits! The dissertation comes slowly. It’s like watching an iceberg move, it’s glacial – and what’s more, the climate has been hostile to its very existence. It melts while it moves! Two jobs did not for a good time make. But the worst is over now, I hope. Today I got a few scant words on the page. Not bad. Either like seeds, they’ll grow, or at least for now take root.

Your musings over meandering mumblers reminds me of two things. First, the classic greek oral epics and their blind poet. I refer to the Iliad and the Odyssey, of course! Can you imagine having to board blind Homer for a few evenings? Those are ~~long~~ stories, and almost as bad as the bible in some spots, what with the genealogy and other boring details. Well at least they don’t ~translate~ in a pleasing way, either in language or time. And yet, at ~the same~ time, there are some good scenes. It adapts well to our other modern modes. We may not let Homer in through our front door, but we let him in through TV, movies, new books. He costs less to feed and clothe that way, too, I imagine, and we don’t have to listen to him snore by the fireside when he’s done improvising his recitation for the night.

But I think too of a very old story, older than Homer even. The story of the invention of writing. It’s from Egypt, which was already old when Greece was young. One of their animal-headed gods got annoyed with the invention of writing. “How will people remember anything,” lamented the hoary old bird, “if they grow weak by referring to what is written!” Poor bastard. His complaint endures but I seem to have forgotten his name.

We seem to think we know why the seasons change now because of science, but I might argue (who am I kidding, “might”? all i ~do~ is argue) I might argue that in a bigger, metaphorical sense, the season changes and no one knows why. The empire crumbles, the culture is stale, the platitudes about truth and freedom feel weary. You’re right; we need the oral tradition again. I’m afraid when the books have screens that even my routes of escape and education are really just spying on me. I’d rather have someone to talk to.

A hearty congratulations on the publications. It’s so pleasing to see hard work pay off! I know the cookbook will bear fruit ~ha~ before too long as well. Does the madness reign or does a productive rain quench its thirst? Whatever the case may be, I hope you manage to take the work by reigns and lead us further into the unknown, uncovering the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything.

Speaking of mysteries, one more old story – from Babylon, which was old when Egypt was young. In the fertile crescent, god-king Gilgamesh was promised the secret of everlasting life. All he had to do? Not fall asleep. No sooner were the instructions given than Gilgamesh fell instantly asleep. I’ve always enjoyed our penchant for doing the exact opposite of what we want. On second thought, the mysteries look pretty fetching with a sheet on top. Underneath might be horror, hell – I think while you’ve got the wheel, I’ll just have a nap.

By the fireside,

~dreamland’s insurgents~



LoQ: Food of the Apocalypse

Welcome to this weeks guest installment of Letters of Questioning:

Dear castaway Ravyn,

Well, the prospectus defense is behind me, on to writing “the real deal,” the actual dissertation. “Defense” is really a poor word for the process. My advisers – like any good advisers, I imagine – were less like barbarians at the gates and more like security experts in their own right. I think “inspection” would be a good term. Is this dam going to hold water when the creative juices are turned on?

What is with all the water metaphors, in writing? Is it maybe that whole “water is life” slogan? I love the nautical themes you’ve come up with lately.

Like when you say, “nail down” a mission statement, I think of that scene in Moby Dick where Captain Ahab nails a Spanish doubloon to the ship’s mast, a reward for whoever first spots the elusive white whale…. A mission statement is a valuable thing. A piece of gold to keep the attention focused on the task at hand! Of course, it’s Ahab who spots the whale … and we all know what happens to that poor Luciferian bastard of a hero. Belay that allusion, boatswain~

Your ideas for the cookbook lately have been delightful! I love the idea of gluten-free as post-apocalyptic. And an epic quest to recover lost recipes. There have been many years now of apocalyptic stories, but they rarely, rarely discuss food. Never positively. Never a focal point in the plot. And the connection between food and language! The opportunity for fresh and interesting ideas abound. The connection between the past and the future. A future more alien than many of us (dirty gluten eaters) can imagine. A way for us to wrap our brains around it. So often the gluten-free get dismissed out of hand, but for folks really suffering from an affliction, it is (looks like, at least, from my observations) hellish.

I’m dwelling on the infernal today, it seems…. Must not have enough hell in my life, now that the defense is over.

How progresses the cookbook? The preparations for Camp Nano? I finally was assigned to the cabin, and I’m looking forward to starting writing – officially, I mean. I started drafting the dissertation some time ago. Speaking of the devil, I ought to go freshen up that draft with some of my most recent research, and the opinions my “consultants” gave me.

From Davy Jones’ Locker,

~dreamland’s insurgents~

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