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The state of me

In lieu of, you know, actual content.

* Almost done convincing my college that, despite all evidence, I am going to graduate one of these years please don't kick me out thanks.
* Work still toeing the line between chaos and utter catastrophe. Go me. Still no idea of where most of my income will be coming from next year. Isn't "Free Agent Nation" swell?
* Among the books I'm reading right now (god forbid I should do one thing at a time): The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The *FLAILING*. The utter flailing. I haven't read but 2.68% of the book (according to my trusty Weasel Reader), yet I'm already utterly fascinated with the guy and his textual voice. People who know more than me (everybody, but perhaps derryderrydown specifically) might inform me otherwise, but right now I have the impression that this is an *honest* book above everything else. I'm hooked.

Fannishly: Between squees? Still love everybody I loved, but it feels like nothing much is happening right now (great job, DC! [/sarcasm]), and while I watch and read in a lot of other fandoms, I don't have much of a writing itch right now.

A challenge or three right now would be just swell. Any ideas? (Alternatively: I'll write whatever anybody tells me to in the comments, I'm in that sort of mood *g*)



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
Hmm. My mom had a large bible-size edition of the Seven Pillars. Never got around to reading it though...:( Maybe you could give us highlights?
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
Selections (from the first 1/50th of the book, mind you; I have no idea of how it'll go on later)

Weird Love Poetry:
To S.A.

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
and wrote my will across the sky in stars
To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house,
that your eyes might be shining for me
When we came.

Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near
and saw you waiting:
When you smiled, and in sorrowful envy he outran me
and took you apart:
Into his quietness.

Love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage
ours for the moment
Before earth's soft hand explored your shape, and the blind
worms grew fat upon
Your substance.

Men prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house,
as a memory of you.
But for fit monument I shattered it, unfinished: and now
The little things creep out to patch themselves hovels
in the marred shadow
Of your gift.

The politics:
It was evident from the beginning that if we won the war these promises would be dead paper, and had I been an honest adviser of the Arabs I would have advised them to go home and not risk their lives fighting for such stuff: but I salved myself with the hope that, by leading these Arabs madly in the final victory I would establish them, with arms in their hands, in a position so assured (if not dominant) that expediency would counsel to the Great Powers a fair settlement of their claims. In other words, I presumed (seeing no other leader with the will and power) that I would survive the campaigns, and be able to defeat not merely the Turks on the battlefield, but my own country and its allies in the council-chamber. It was an immodest presumption: it is not yet: clear if I succeeded: but it is clear that I had no shadow of leave to engage the Arabs, unknowing, in such hazard. I risked the fraud, on my conviction that Arab help was necessary to our cheap and speedy victory in the East, and that better we win and break our word than lose.

The sex:

Such exaltation of thought, while it let adrift the spirit, and gave it licence in strange airs, lost it the old patient rule over the body. The body was too coarse to feel the utmost of our sorrows and of our joys. Therefore, we abandoned it as rubbish: we left it below us to march forward, a breathing simulacrum, on its own unaided level, subject to influences from which in normal times our instincts would have shrunk. The men were young and sturdy; and hot flesh and blood unconsciously claimed a right in them and tormented their bellies with strange longings. Our privations and dangers fanned this virile heat, in a climate as racking as can be conceived. We had no shut places to be alone in, no thick clothes to hide our nature. Man in all things lived candidly with man.

The Arab was by nature continent; and the use of universal marriage had nearly abolished irregular courses in his tribes. The public women of the rare settlements we encountered in our months of wandering would have been nothing to our numbers, even had their raddled meat been palatable to a man of healthy parts. In horror of such sordid commerce our youths began indifferently to slake one another's few needs in their own clean bodies--a cold convenience that, by comparison, seemed sexless and even pure. Later, some began to justify this sterile process, and swore that friends quivering together in the yielding sand with intimate hot limbs in supreme embrace, found there hidden in the darkness a sensual co-efficient of the mental passion which was welding our souls and spirits in one flaming effort. Several, thirsting to punish appetites they could not wholly prevent, took a savage pride in degrading the body, and offered themselves fiercely in any habit which promised physical pain or filth.
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
Wow, sounds like a bit of an uphill read, but rewarding. I shall look for it.
Mar. 15th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
Once you get into the pattern of it, it just flows along. Lawrence also had a very sharp sense of humour, so there are plenty of laughs along the way.
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
That poem blew me away.

And then the quoted text dismantled what was left to shivering atoms in a hot spangled wind.

Mar. 15th, 2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow.
Exactly my reaction *g*.

We could draw a lot of parallels with comics characters (*Cable*, *Bruce*), but this feels somehow even more "bigger than life" than them.

I don't know what to do with a person who could write that poem and *mean* it.
Mar. 15th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow.
Neither do I.

I think what got me was, even more than the subject matter (and the subject matter definetely got me) was the prose. I just... I think about how I'd relate the story of how some of the soldiers I marched with started sleeping together, and I look at his prose, and "Such exaltation of thought, while it let adrift the spirit, and gave it licence in strange airs, lost it the old patient rule over the body." is not a beginning I would ever accomplish.

[I can't even address the political excerpt. I just have to read it and accept it while I think about it. I can't begin to imagine a position like that.]

All this is putting aside the poem, which part of me wants to write a 50K word story about, because... it's creepily beautiful, and is going to shimmer in the lower levels of my consciousness for awhile to come.

I may have to attempt this book. I doubt I'll succeed, but it'll be worth it.
Mar. 15th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow.
I think I know what you mean about the poem. It's both beautiful and terrible. "I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars" are insane words, as are "Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near and saw you waiting". It's like he *knows* (and acknowledges, I think, in the text) that he wasn't quite sane, that it was a deliberate madness of desert and war what overtook him.

It's almost meaningless to say that this is exactly the sort of thing Bruce would write. If he wrote poetry. Or knew himself that well. Or, you know. And this man existed. I'm still dealing with that (it's one thing to know that such people exists, it's quite another when one of them has enough talent and soul to tell you how it was; the only other examples I can think up right now are Marcus Aurelius and, to lesser degrees, Napoleon or some of the American Founding Fathers - all wildly different in their virtues, vices and hearts, of course, but sharing first rate minds, literary skills and positions of greater or lesser power in the arena of peoples and wars).

If you write that story, I'd love to read it. Needlessly to say :).
Mar. 15th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'll give you three challenges, you can pick whichever one you want.

Tim/Kon, slashy fluff, NO ANGST.

Dick/Roy, slashy fluff, NO ANGST.

(Angst is too easy for those pairings)

Bruce and Dick, the early (read: Robin) years, with the JLA just finding out about Batman's kid sidekick. They are not best pleased.

And, uh, if you wanted something different, tell me and I'll do my best to oblige.
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
Hmm, sounds interesting. I'm a fan of everything slashy, but I don't remember having written slash yet... Lots of thanks for the prompts, I'll see what I can do. *g*
Mar. 15th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Uh, didn't you write that Bruce/Dick AU thing off that comment I made about Bruce killing? But other than that, I think you might be right.
Mar. 15th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
Right! Silly me, I wrote naked!assassin Bruce licking naked!assassin Dick's neck and forgot it.

That's a serious symptom, there. *g*
Mar. 16th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
Take two hot guys woobies and tell me all about it in the morning. :)
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
I'd go for something in the Value of Restraintverse meself :)
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, *shiny* idea. Will do. Thanks!
Mar. 15th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Hm, story challenge ideas. I have a terror that poor Huntress is going to get some sort of reboot, poor thing, so, if you could do something with Huntress possibly and Catholicism? Hm. Uh.

The story where Babs tells Gordon what she told Dick! That would be fun, too.
Mar. 15th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
Huntress and Catholicism. Intringuing! Thanks, I'll let it bounce in my head to see what comes up (I'm kind of worried that I've gotten a lot of great leads, and I won't have enough time soon to follow them all).
Mar. 15th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Just sprinkling alfalfa pellets to see if the bunnies will gather.
Mar. 15th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)
Yay, TEL-geekage!

Seven Pillars is selective in its honesty. There are a lot of things that he leaves out but those he includes are generally honest as he sees them.

Emotionally, yes, very honest. I can only imagine what kind of courage it would have taken to write about being a victim of rape in that era.

If you're looking for a good biography, the best is probably A Prince Of Our Disorder by John E. Mack.
Mar. 15th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the rec! I'm very ignorant about that place and time, so without extra info, I won't be able to tell what's not there *g*.

I'm half-dreading the rape scene (not that it'll be badly written, of course, but gut-kicking in his flowing and matter of fact style).
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


cass, can you not

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