Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


I think your job sounds like a fantasy to anyone who loves books and likes to read. Is it as fun as it sounds?


By Blogger Mary, at 8:07 PM  

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006  

Yes, Catherine - The New World is the perfect thing to watch on wide screen TV. Hmm. It’s enough to make me consider one myself; of course, only briefly. That’s really only a consideration for some magical future time when we build The Studio.

One other thought about that movie and the puzzle of why film makers always succumb to the banal when trying to depict history. Somewhere I read a comment, paraphrased here, that Terrence Malick, when asked why not tell the real story, answered to the effect that the public wants this kind of story. (a smarmy romance?) Why not tell the robust story of that adrenaline junky, John Smith? Aside from the fact that, (sigh, alas, sigh again) men like that are not in fashion any more? Why not what really happened, condensed for dramatic effect, but accurate? Why always the silly dreamy Daphnus and Chloe pastorale, only perhaps with Chloe being a kick-box instructor and Daphnus ... well ... he could keep on being a wispy shepherd?

Granted, the guys who spend 10 bazillion dollars on a movie expect to get a 900% return on their investment. Granted, from baby boomers on down, the literary database of each generation has shrunk to the point that most references to history, culture, mythology, even simple nursery rhymes, will have no target to even miss. Granted, to tell any story about Elizabethan Man in Post-Modern Culture times would take the courage of ... of a John Smith.

Still. It is unwise, always, to underestimate your audience.

In illustration of that I offer up a little bit of my own experience with being too arrogant, or too chicken hearted, when assessing The Public.

Some 25 years ago, when I was a young thing with only a few years of experience buying books for the library, with Tax Payer’s Money, I read a review of Anne Rice’s book Cry To Heaven. It is about a castrati singer in 18th century Italy. The review was riveting and at the time I thought wistfully that I should love to read such a book. But a book about a castrated male singer? In lil’ ole Tappahannock, with 50 churches listed in the weekly paper’s Come Pray With Us page? Can you imagine the uproar about such dirty books in the library?

So, I didn’t buy that book. And 6 months later, a woman, my mother’s age, exemplary representative of the typical reading woman in the community; women’s club, church vestry, PTA, actually grandmother of one of my son’s classmates - walked into the library holding a book and exclaiming that it was one of the best books she ever read. Her daughter had sent it to her and she thought it ought to be shared. Would the library like it?

You guessed it.

I was so ashamed of myself. I vowed that I would never ever ever again assume that the people around me didn’t have curiosity, understanding, and even wisdom, even if they did live in a little crossroads country town and hadn’t ever been further than Richmond. Not only that, but if I thought folk ought to strive for greater understanding and wisdom, it was my job as the library director to see to it that they had elevating things to read. That has been a guiding light throughout my years here and I hope it never dims.

Sometimes, like when women actually really do wear cropped pants, I really disdain The Public; The Great Unwashed. But most of the time I think they are pretty fine.

But does she still knit?

Yes. I’m at the underarm bind-offs on the front of the BSHP sweater. I’ll set it aside now to spin up my Handspun Yarnswap 2 skein, the completion of which is my Monday Morning Goal.


posted by Bess | 7:11 AM