#1: Eclipse as Disaster

I read an article in TIME magazine that talked about how the “Great American Eclipse” could be a sign that “has the potential to elevate us — if only briefly — above those troubles” (Kruger 21). Additionally, the article affirmed that: “There is nothing wrong with seeing the 2017 eclipse as a gift to a riven nation — provided we resolve to be worthy of it” (Kruger 21).

But eclipses were once omens of danger and upheaval. Or so the book I just finished — Women of Early Imperial China — said. Though in the book eclipses are set up as bad due to their correlation to femininity and therefore to women.  As Hinsch says: “Records of Ritual claimed that if women disobey men, they impede the correct progress of yin. This might cause a lunar eclipse. Periodic eclipses were thus regular and convenient occasions for criticizing female power” (165).

If we take this view into account, is the eclipse a sign of a bad, immoral, corrupt leader (messing with the order of the universe) OR a portent of disaster roused from the feminine, i.e. the disenfranchised, toward the troubles of the USA? That is, could it be a positive sign, as the article says, could it be a sign of social disaster, or could it be a sign of the disenfranchised taking up power against social disaster (despite critiques against them)?


Disclaimer: these are my uneducated opinions. I am not an expert. I only have strong, persistent opinions, acquired from listening to others, living life, and reading. If anyone notices any errors or misuse of words and meaning, let me know and I will correct any post or information.

Written 8/17/17 + 8/18/17


Cited

Hinsch, Bret. Women in Early Imperial China. 2nd Edition, New York Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011. Book

Kruger, Jeffery. “The View The Deeper Meaning of the Great American Eclipse.” TIME, 21 August 2017, pp. 19-21

Upcoming Changes: Opinion Pieces on current social situations 

(with probable emphasis on the USA situation)

I wanted to post this at noon, but I was distracted.

Since 2017 started, I’ve wanted to do what I could for all the upheavals and dangers that been piling up. So far, this has prominently amounted to dontations and taking part in the Every Single Day Challenge (once with others and another time on my own.) I’ll still make dontations, but as I gnawed my brain for what I could do, seeing others set up finraising and offer services, I suddenly wondered: what would I do in the current social climate if I wasn’t trying to follow what I felt like everyone else was doing?

The answer, it turned out, was to speak up and share my thoughts. 

I’m not expecting to make an impact and will continue to see donations as the main way to make a difference in my current life situation. But saying something, even if small and opinionated, is saying something. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

(In the coming weeks, I will be renaming, relinking, reconstructing, and reorganizing this blog. So if things are messy for awhile, that’s why. Thank you for your patience. Also, I won’t stop posting about writing or books, but these opinion pieces will probably be more prominent for now.)

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“When she was at her saddest, she would take one of her baby teeth from the carved box…and hold it until it revealed its memories” (Joyce, 96).

Chapter Thirteen

After losing her parents, Toothiana is subjected to more sadness: “she belonged nowhere – not among the creatures of the jungle and certainly not among the humans of the village” (96). The animals in the jungle being her food, but she is still sad and alone. Her only comfort is her gift from her parents: her baby teeth.

As the years pass, she sees how “the village children lost much of their innocence and some of their goodness as they grew up” (96). That’s sad . I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, but I suppose, in the context of the Toothiana’s story, it’s a lost that might have them turn into their parents. Growing up is one thing. But growing up to be crueler is dishearteng. 

Seeing this, Toothiana took to collecting their teeth to “give them back their childhood memories and remind them of their kindness” (96).  And that, right there — that gives a reason for her progression to Tooth Fairy. She collects baby teeth to remind people of who they are and who they’ve been. Of a time when goodness really did seem, well, real. And that idea — memories, especially — just really gets me me emotional. Just, yes, you do your thing, Toothiana. I’m for it. It’s beautiful.

Unfortunately, Toothiana begins to leave treasure from the jungle for the children, who begin hiding their teeth from their parents (as they don’t want them to know). Of course, their parents notice the treasure, and [o]nce again the hearts of the grown-ups filled with greed” (97). Oh, come on! Really? Can’t Toothiana have a few moments that don’t result in people (grown-ups) being greedy jerks?

A trap is lain for Toothiana and she is caught in a cage by the Mysterious Hunter. (Have I mentioned him yet?)

He and his minions take her to Punjam Hy Loo where he reveals that he was the Maharajah who Toothiana’s father had been friends with, and has now turned into a giant monkey: the Monkey King. He wants revenge for what happened to him. But before he can shoot Toothiana through the heart, “[s]he was no longer a single entity, but several smaller versions of herself” 103). 

What caused this change? I’d guess when she, clutching her ruby box, “pictured [her parents] clearly in her mind, letting herself feel the bond they had shared so deeply, letting herself remember how much they had sacrificed for her”, she was filled and filed by the memory of love (103). It made her stronger. It made her more of herself. 

I wonder how it affects her consciousness or sense of self?

Either way, the Monkey King is thrown by Toothiana’s new abilities. With help from the Sisters of Flight and the elephants and the wild animals, Toothiana, merging back into a single body, seizes the Monkey King. He is unable to escape, for Toothiana seemed to have “the strength of a dozen (105). A likely result of multiplication of selves; there’s more of her, so there’s more strength.

The memory of her parents halts Toothiana’s rage and she lets the Monkey King go.

And that, as Mr. Qwerty closes, his pages, is the end of Toothiana’s story.

After listening to it, Katherine feel “a twinge of envy” because “Toothiana had memories of her parents” (106). That which Katherine lacks. It’s what Katherine desires. I have in my notes that it’s more tragic to lose and never know. I suppose this means Katherine’s parents. Her lost is that she’s never known them. (But does she need to?)

This ties Toothiana’s story to Katherine’s. The latter is growing up, which ties to Toothiana’s motivation in becoming the Tooth Fairy. But even more so, Toothiana’s ability to remember is linked to parents. And that has been gnawing on Katherine — her own parents, Pitch as a father — since she’s begun to feel betwitx. Katherine is not only growing up, but she wants to know about where she came from, who had her. 

This nexus of parents, memories, children, growing up, and how they intersect, is what makes Book 3 so tightly tied together. Not only with how it’s used to introduce Toothiana or pull on threads of Katherine’s character arc, but how both tie in with Pitch.

Words:

source

no words

Book Quote:

“A boy named Akela had lost his two front teeth, and Toothiana had a special treasure saved for him: two beautiful uncut diamonds” (97).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“If you have them under your pillow as you sleep, or hold it tightly, you will remember that which you need — a memory of happy days, or of deepest hopes, or even of us in better times” (Joyce, 93).

Chapter Twelve

Last week Mr. Qwerty told Katherine and the other Guardians about how Toothiana’s parents, Haroom and Rashmi, met. Because there are no children in Pujam Hy Loo, the family moves to live among mortals. Their lives are peaceful for a while, until Toothiana turns twelve and loses her last baby tooth.

Then she sprouts wings, much to the delight of the other children.  But their parents, the grown-ups “were bewildered… [and] [s]ome thought she was an evil spirit and should be killed; others saw ways to use her, as either a freak to be caged and paraded about, or to force her to fly to the palace of the new maharaja and steal his jewels” (86).

I don’t have the words to express how angry this makes me. She’s a child and all the adults can think of is how to use to her to increase their fortune or to kill she defies what is normal. It just…it makes me furious. As the text sums up concisely: “The grown-ups of the village had gone mad with fear and greed” (87). Basically, they’re jerks. And it won’t get any better.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“Selfless like her father. Pure of heart like her mother. She was named Toothiana” (Joyce, 84).

Chapter Eleven

A big hullabo is made by the Lunar Lamas over Katherine’s lost tooth. Bunnymund is baffled by their reaction. As long as she’s all right, that’s what matters. Besides,

“‘[i]t isn’t actually lost. She holds it in her hand, and now she’ll grow another one. It’s all very natural and, frankly, rather ordinary. It’s not like she lost chocolate truffled egg or anything'” (68).

♥ for Bunnymund and his logic. I can relate to the way he thinks.

But the Lamas reiterate that the value of Katherine’s tooth is that it’s a “child’s tooth” (69). As a result “Her Most Royal Highness” will visit them, which has never happened and they are tremendously thrilled. Hearing this North, bless him, wonders “if this personage on this continent, [for] he’d likely stolen something from her in his crime-filled younger years” (69).

It turns out, no, he never stole from her for she is not simply royalty but is, in fact, ” ‘Queen Toothiana, gatherer and protector of children’s teeth!'” (69). Everyone seems skeptical or surprised except Bunnymund:

“‘Oh, her,’ he said dismissively. ‘She dislikes chocolate. She claims it’s bad for children’s teeth'” (70).

I love this dynamic. One, it shows he’s aware of her. Two, it shows how feels about her principles (and furthermore, what those might be — the value of teeth outweighs chocolate. The reason for this will be explained later). Third, it shows how he thinks of her. (We’ll learn what the Toothiana thinks later). And fourth, it hints at, when they do officially meet, how they might interact: diagonal interests but not necessarily in opposition. (I seriously love all the Guardians’ interactions.)

Katherine, North, and Ombric (who feels that he remembers hearing about her) are curious. Mr. Qwerty, the bookworm-turned-library offers to tell them about her. But the story actually starts with her parents.

Whoo. Okay. Feels time.

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Toohiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“He was so confused by all that was happening and how close he’d come to losing Katherine” (Joyce, 66).

Chapter Nine – Chapter Ten

There’s not a lot to be said for these chapters. (Also, if this post and the last few of Book 3 seem tonally dissonance with the others, it’s because there’s a gap of a couple years between writing them.)

Last we learned, North shared his new dream, fostered from Katherine’s dream (yay!). This sets the stage: everyone is talking about it. Katherine, while pleased by their enthusiasm, wonders where Nightlight is. She hasn’t been able to feel him or his friendship as easily recently. She follows him up to “the highest tower of the Lamadary” (59).

When she finds him, she’s surprised that he looks sad. Of more interest to me is this: “In his hand he held something. She leaned forward even closer. It was a tear. A single tear” (60). He still has it. Her Dream Tear.

Unfortunately, Nightlight is startled by Katherine, who crept up beside him on the ledge as quietly as she could. Startled herself, Katherine “teetered for a moment, windmilling her arms for balance” and then “fell from the ledge” (60).

Yikes! She falls and as she does her mind whirls through a flurry of thoughts.

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Writerly Notions: changing & categorizing

Writing, as a category in my head and my life (because who doesn’t do that, right?) encompasses currently at minimum eight aspects. Aside from writing, revising, worldbuilding, and submissions, of the four still unresolved aspects of being a writer, the two most complex and snarled are:

(1) what and how do I want to —– internet?

The best way I can explain this dilemma is to say me and the figuring out what and how I want to — whatever — with my writing (?) on the internet is like having a recipe that includes peppers. I have the recipe. I know what to do. But I have green and red peppers. But which color do I use?

Additionally, how do I cut them, since the recipe doesn’t specify? How do I want the recipient of my recipe to experience the peppers? As tiny minced pieces? As large pieces? As cubes? It’s like that, but applied to writing and my overall creative life.

Also, as I change, this answer will change. I will need to assess and process this, and someday this will change and I will have to assess and analyze regularly.

(2) how I want to be a writer and what responsibilities should I do and can I do?

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Writerly Notions: blogs and purpose

tl;dr: I’ve tried various times to create and categorize writing (and related) blogs. But I can never maintain interest (except in ones I delete or revise the intention of). Until I know what I’m doing with my writing and my various categories of purpose (for me, for fairy tales, for sharing stories, for sharing experience), I won’t be updating this blog on a regular basis, if at all. Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my weird little posts. 🙂

At the beginning of the year (February, to be precise), I typed up an initial post, which has been on my to-do list for…maybe a year?, about this blog. And it’s various incarnations.

The central question was why? Why do I even have this blog?

It started as a place to post detailed responses to books I’m reading or have read. But my motivation and interest in that only lasted so long.

Then it was supposed to be a writing blog, with posts of my writing, especially my daily writing exercises. The trouble with that was two-fold: making sure I didn’t publish anything online I wanted to publish in some other way (and the added analytical sieving to make sure the stories or vignettes I post/posted were not something I wanted to publish in some other way) and a lot of what I would post/posted weren’t really that important. About the most important bits I’ve posted about my writing is my Writing Demons posts.

Then it was supposed to be a place to post my experiences, struggles, and thoughts as a writer. But doing that felt too messy for a blog, so I made a writing journal. But that has since ground to a halt. Likewise, this blog’s venue as a writing blog has ground to a halt. And my question is why?

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“this was the dream she had given him when all seemed lost during one of their first great battles with Pitch!” (Joyce, 55).

Chapter Five – Chapter Eight

In the morning, the entire village of Santoff Claussen boards Bunnymund’s egg-train and journeys to the Lunar Lamadary. There’s another hint at the time frame of the story as “[t]rains were still not invented yet (Bunnymund would secretly help the credited inventors some decades later)” (31). This indicates that the story occurs prior to major, widespread modern industrialization, and additionally that it takes place a couple decades prior it. To me that would be three to four decades, so still probably in the 1700s.

This chapter prominently serves to re-introduce the Lamas, the yetis, and what exactly the Lunar Lamadary is. This is conveyed through Katherine answering the other children’s questions. But near the end, Katherine is suddenly uneasy. She no longer feels quite right with her old friends. Specifically, “[s]he didn’t really know where she wanted to be — with the children or with North and the other grown-ups. Even Kailash didn’t comfort her. She was betwixt and between” (37). It has become about Katherine’s change and growth.

Katherine eventually joins the other Guardians, ruminating on why Nightlight seems distant. She speculates it’s because he misses the battles. She also wonders the same about North, but in contrast to Nightlight the former bandit has changed a lot. And while it isn’t what Katherine notices about North’s change, I loved how he

“still loved conjuring up new toys for the children. (Just that morning he’d brought the youngest William a funny sort of toy–a round biscuit-shaped piece of wood with a string attached to it’s middle. When jerked, it would go up and down almost magically. North call it “yo-yo-ho”) (43-4).

And that’s just adorable! I love it. North created a yo-yo, and I just–I really like Santa Claus, okay?

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