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Lazing on a summer afternoon - Off the Cliff

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Fri Oct 7th, 2016


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01:30 pm - Lazing on a summer afternoon
Even if it's October. Wash hangs out on the line, which didn't get done on the rainy weekend last week and can't be done on the rainy weekend this week. The reckless extravagance of (gasp) doing laundry in the middle of the day stuns me- though it's about time the high rate period stopped being mid-day and started to be the cold morning and evening hours.

In the wine store the other day, music is black female singer doing something gospelly. I know nothing of spirituals aside from the ones 60s folk singers preempted (Kumbaya, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Michael Row the Boat Ashore): this was achingly familiar but certainly not from the folk era. 'What *is* that?' I asked the clerk. 'Um- Elton John.' Lord, lord, the Border Song. How long ago that was.

I should have started The Classic of Mountains and Oceans long ago. The preface alone is enchanting, not least because it exhibits a lovely range of old-fashioned obscure academic vocabulary, so different from modern-day obscure academic jargon:

"It is a marked feature of of classical Chinese mythology that myths are narrated in a lapidary, exiguous style."

"Several reasons may be conjectured for the distrait condition in which these myth are to be found."

"Numerous etiological culture myths are related: the origin of archery, musical instruments, of agriculture and agricultural instruments..."

"Many major myths feature male deities:... the cosmic fault caused by the marplot Common Work... the world conflagration myth of Yi the Archer, and the myth of the apex mundi of Longlife Hemp."

"Or, it could be argued, myths were once the sole preserve of elite classes in society, the kings, shamans, and court archivists, who guarded this cultural heritage jealously from traducers and iconoclasts, as the divinely inspired beliefs of their people."

What a good thing I have a cell phone that lets me google this stuff.

Speaking of spirituals, a multi-part a capella There is a Balm in Gilead.

(5 comments | post comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:October 8th, 2016 12:33 am (UTC)
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"Lapidary, exiguous style." I do like that.

And that's a lovely rendition of that spiritual.
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:October 8th, 2016 01:05 am (UTC)
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I was rather taken with 'distrait condition'. It's not a word I'd apply to an oral tradition myself, and leaves me with the image of the Yellow Emperor emperor wringing his hands.

Indeed. None of the other youtube versions I listened to even came close. Partly that the singers seem so sincere and happy. (Though seriously, that one red-haired woman stood out like the proverbial sore thumb.)
[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:October 8th, 2016 11:25 pm (UTC)
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That is a lovely image.

And yes, that red-haired woman was rather prominent. You couldn't miss her.
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:October 9th, 2016 01:48 am (UTC)
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Though Birrell translates it always as 'the great Yellow.' Strips the name of orientalist tinges but makes it feel much more primordial.
[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:October 9th, 2016 03:34 pm (UTC)
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My childish impulse is now to look for a Great Red and a Great Blue.

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