mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

Updating-- because I can!

Writing is like travelling, really. Some of it's like biking, nice to do even if you don't go that far. Some of it's like a train ride, fun and satisfying and taking you a good distance as well. That's the kind I prefer. Occasionally it's a car trip, not much fun and a bit tiring but at least you get where you're going. But increasingly for me it's walking, and not just walking but walking when your feet hurt. It's tiresome and slow and accomplished a deliberate step at a time and really all you want to do is sit down and play solitaire rest but if you do that you never get anywhere, so you keep on plodding. Which is where I am now. When I'm doing it sometimes I get a little distracted by things seen on the way, but inevitably it comes back to aren't we there yet? And we never are.

Like everyone else this weekend I spent my enforced idleness writing at last. (That's only because I've run out of anime tapes because otherwise believe me I'd have been watching those.) And rather than the two heart-breakers I've been bashing at this last month I started what I thought would be a simple exercise, the 7 Samurai Yuletide thing that mikeneko did because I had an angle on it I wanted to try. It turned out not to be a simple exercise. Once past the story's front door, as it were, rooms and passages opened up and angled off in what should have been a very satisfying way- ah good the right brain finally gets off its fat rump and lends me a hand- but wasn't. I think, you know, that I simply don't want to write. I'm in that unsatisfactory state when what I want is to have written, and I haven't yet. They say time isn't really linear but lemme tell you, that's how it looks from here. The goal is ahead of you and you have to keep putting one foot after the other to get there.

In other news I'm reading Cherryh's The Paladin. On p. 258 and it feels like I've been reading it forever. There's another 100 pages and they feel they'll last until April. Cherryh is the opposite of Hobbs, I suppose. I don't know how her narrative gets so collapsed-star dense, but dense is what it is. Certainly you get a substantial reading meal there, all in a relatively short space. But I'd forgotten one aspect of Cherryh: her people while rounded and real aren't at all rivetting. Certainly I believe someone like Whatsisface exists, just as bowling alleys exist. The question being, why would I want to visit either of them? There's nothing... new and useful there. As with Miles Verkosigan I suppose I could admire the seamless male pov written by a female. Technically brilliant that way- but once again, what I'm left with is the uncongenial and rather dull male pov. This is clearly a matter of taste. There are people who do like the male per se, blandness and all. I prefer my men, well, viewed from a more female angle.

Thus we come to Yumemakura's Seimei. That's Seimei in the novels, not the manga or the film. I... suppose I can see, vaguely, the outlines of manga Seimei or, with more difficulty, Nomura Manzou, between the lines of Yumemakura's prose. For a wonder, it's the prose version I prefer, simply because the stories are better. And stranger. No really- they read like something from the time, not like a 21sth century redaction of same. (Boy were the movies 21st century.) Hiromasa tells Seimei a story he's heard. A nobleman was having a tryst with a woman in an abandoned building. There's a great autumn storm, the two are left alone by their retainers, the rain and wind blow through the bamboo curtains and extinguish the lights. They fall asleep huddled together for warmth. Sometime later the noble wakes up because he hears a voice, a low voice coming from outside. He and the woman widen a chink in the bamboo lattice and look to see what it is. By the light of the clear moon they see a youkai with a horse's head, tall as the eaves of the houses, strolling along the deserted street as it recites a passage from the Nirvana sutra,

All is changeable, nothing is constant.
This is the law of birth and death.
Extinguishing the cycle of birth and death,
one enters the joy of nirvana.

It passes out of sight without seeing them. End Hiromasa's story. "Isn't it amazing?" he says to Seimei. "Even if they're demons and goblins they can still feel this way." But hey, did you ever hear of any modern version of a youkai reciting sutras like that? It is to giggle. A Yuuyuu youkai seeking enlightenment, in between tourney bouts and eating its own...

(Ahh, says Seimei, Sessen Douji's verse of abandonment, and procees to tell Hiromasa this story. The point of which isn't that all demons are disguised heavenly deities, of course. Seimei is all for demons being humans at root- we create them from our feelings. Certainly the one they next encounter is exactly that.)

Tags: onmyouji, reading_05, religion, writing-moan
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