Week’s been okay. A bit less frenetic than the last, which is always good. Let’s get to it, shall we?
I’ve not had an enormous amount of reading time this week – at least, freely-chosen reading time. I spent some time with Plutarch and Thucydides while wrapping up the article for my Master’s, then had to get in on readings for my new class, on poetry.
I don’t have a terribly verse-minded brain outside of the epic (which always felt like a rhythmic novel to me anyway). We’re each to write a poem per week for the class workshop, and it feels like trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. Bleh.
Apart from class readings and research, I’ve continued to spend my time with Aristophanes (trans. Paul Roche). The translation I have reads pleasantly, but I know just enough about fifth-century Athens to suspect the accuracy of Roche’s contextual notes. Still, it’s a lot of fun, and the closest thing I’ve had to a break lately. If you’re inclined, I strongly recommend reading Lysistrata (pronounced something like Loo-SIS-tra-ta) to get an idea what his comedies are like. Very funny.
As I mentioned above, much of my writing time has been devoted to classwork, both my article on Alcibiades and now SOME sort of poem for my new course.
I’m pleased with the progress on that article. It’s nowhere near a publishable draft, but it’s improved a lot. I basically rewrote the entire first draft in creating my second, save for five paragraphs. In revising that into my third (and submitted) draft, I finally found what I actually wanted to talk about, and how I was conceiving Alcibiades and his era.
So, that happened.
I imagine that I’ll want to return to this piece and keep fiddling with it – or something else involving Classical Athens and the Peloponnesian War – but right now I just don’t have the time for that level of write, rewrite, and revise.
I’ve also spent some time working on a more formal, thorough review of Sanderson’s Oathbringer. At the moment this is just scribbled thoughts in paragraph form on looseleaf, but ideally I’d like to get it tuned up and submit it to Strange Horizons or another online magazine which accepts unsolicited reviews. I think there’s plenty of merit to talk about regarding the book.
I’m adding a “Watching” segment this week because of the film Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s the best new action movie I’ve seen in a long time.
I love the old, odd James Bond films. The recent ones (starring Daniel Craig) are good, but they feel more like Action or Thriller, and less like Bond. Since my National Novel Writing Month attempt (stillborn though it was) loosely settled on a 007-style story, I’ve been watching some of the old Roger Moore films as “research.” It’s my preferred way to wind down – turn on a movie, paint some Warhammer models or sit with the cat, and relax before bed.
Kingsman feels like a modern rendition of those goofy, odd, wonderful films. It straddles that loving line between homage and parody. Gentlemen secret agents named after the knights of the Round Table (hence Kingsman) run around with gadgets and gizmos trying to save the world from a genocidal maniac who can’t stand the sight of blood (played spectacularly by Samuel L. Jackson). It’s all the better because the main character, “Eggsy,” is the son of a deceased Kingsman, who is talented by stuck in a self-destructive life (playing on the British “chav” stereotype. NSFW link).
The outsider gives us an in to the world of superhuman secret agents, as we watch his training and progress. The narrative arc is basically Star Wars, but done in a pleasantly self-referential and engaging way. It was a movie that kept me grinning for the heroes the entire time.
Plus, bulletproof umbrella gun. How ridiculous is that?
Last Week: Finish a draft of my Alcibiades article for class. Complete! Well, not “ooh, publish me!” complete, but definitely improved, and a good baseline to work from.
This Week: I’m just planning to get acclimated to the new class. It’s looking like the work will require more time and energy from me than nonfiction did. After all, I’m basically learning a new skill from ground zero. Time allowing, I’d like to finish a typed first draft of my Oathbringer review, and possibly start reading The Lays of Beleriand (the poetry volume in Christopher Tolkien’s History of Middle-Earth).