You are viewing lost_spook

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Fandom Snowflake: Day 6

Northanger reading
Still tired, but I have another post-I-made-earlier. (I really should stop making posts and hiding them, but never mind.) Also, I am posting my [community profile] fandom_stocking fics about places finally. If I post any to AO3, then anyone suddenly getting a "gift", it'll probably just be that. Sorry.


In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul.

I saw other people saying that they had no such show/book etc. Perhaps I'm too impressionable, then, but I have several. (Although, maybe it's partly my tendency to rewatch things, and most of them were from when I was a teenager - which is probably true for most of us - and I was ill and stuck home a lot. And to a certain extent, some from when I've been ill again. I suppose if you've got hours and hours to lie there and think about odd bits of the few books and TV episodes you can manage to read or watch, (and re-watch) and so on, it's bound to creep into your thinking in ways things don't when you're running about in your normal life.)

Anyway, some I can't (or won't) explain here, but the main one is Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, which is a very good book, but also very complicated, dark and twisted up, in a way that I didn't really get as a teenager but I do now. However, I read it and read it and I still so often do my thinking through it, and snatches of it still run through my head. It's hard to explain what I mean exactly, but part of it is the idea of how heroism might work in the real world (Now Here) as opposed to the dramatic way it does in stories, fairy tales and so on (Nowhere) - "Being a hero means learning to ignore how embarrassed you feel." And giving a means of expressing the way real life and imagination intersect. (The "Now Here/Nowhere" thing, just one letter, one turn away, the same and opposites). It made me think, and still does. And to try to look properly at things, instead of see what you expect to see.

And other things, in lesser ways, mostly, but yes. I was explaining something in Public Eye to myself the other day by means of Fire & Hemlock.

But Diana Wynne Jones, S25 and S26 of Doctor Who (especially The Happiness Patrol - yes, really!), Press Gang, CS Lewis's NF - these are the things that got into my head and shaped me and challenged me and gave me new ways of thinking. I didn't get out much as a teenager; I was ill for four years, so I needed something and those really weren't bad things all told. The weirdness of my brain, let me show it to you. But I like it this way.

And, yes, again now, things for helping my find my way through being ill, for being sort of channels of thought when I was in an incoherent fog, or for distracting me - Joan Aiken's Midnight Is A Place (by Joan Aiken), Enemy at the Door and Public Eye (all things that in some way involved working through bad times, setting a pattern for me to follow) and Sapphire and Steel, which certainly distracted me beautifully for about a whole two years.

After all, if there weren't some stories, in whatever format they may come in, that impacted us and touched our core, or soul, or whatever you prefer to call it, there wouldn't be all that much point in them, in the end. We use them to make sense of the world, supposedly. And so I just happen to make sense of the world through Fire & Hemlock, which I suppose is a little weird, but then again, I think the world's more than a little weird, too, so I have no regrets.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth -- Comments there: comment count unavailable

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
persiflage_1
Feb. 11th, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
For me it's things like Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Siegfried Sassoon' s poetry and prose of WW1, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Jane Austen have all shaped how I look at the world, and the people in it.
lost_spook
Feb. 11th, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
And very fine things those are for that role. :-)
persiflage_1
Feb. 11th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
I think so.
gillo
Feb. 11th, 2014 11:41 pm (UTC)
I love DWJ and can never make my mind up which I love best of her books. F&H is amazing, though - all about how to grow up through books.

Then there's Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, SF in general. And Buffy.
lost_spook
Feb. 12th, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
I love DWJ and can never make my mind up which I love best of her books. F&H is amazing, though - all about how to grow up through books.

It is hard. But then I read F&H when I was growing up, and stuck home, and growing up through books myself as a result, so I suppose I can't help it being my favourite and the book that's probably influenced me the most.

Then there's Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, SF in general. And Buffy.

So many things! ♥ Good things... I'm grateful for all of them. I did nearly put Henry V on the list, because I did it for A-Level, was disappointed it was some dry old history before we started, and then fell for it hard. It should be on this list. But then, so should Jane Eyre and Villette, and Sense and Sensibility, probably. :-)

Edited at 2014-02-12 09:00 am (UTC)
oonaseckar
Feb. 12th, 2014 09:14 am (UTC)
It's Homeward Bounders for me, re: DWJ, though there are an awful lot of joint second choices. Surely one of the saddest endings in all literature, up there with The Great Gatsby. (Utterly not joking.)

I never managed to get along with Fire And Hemlock myself, although I know people adore it. I read it around 19/20, maybe the wrong age in either direction. I prefer her out and out children's books or the adult short stories to the YA-style things of hers. (The wolfy short with the silent Fool is awesome, you read it?) I may give F&H another try, see if I can pick up on what other people see in it now.

My main 'filter the world' book is Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado. Lemme give you a taste: 'I'm a real phony, one of those half-baked hot-house plants we're growing nowadays, instead of the honest-to-God two-fisted women we should be, and, neurotic that I am, I shrink like mad from the criminal type. If anyone comes at me with a club, I duck, brother, I duck. And then I run.' That's Sally Jay and she is similarly wonderful and uncomfortably frank throughout.

I re-watch and re-read a lot too. It's hard to understand people with a use-once-and-destroy approach to art. Have they never discovered its analgesic properties?

"Being a hero means learning to ignore how embarrassed you feel."
Well. It does make you terribly conspicuous. She has a point. Perhaps people are braver than they appear, because they're just too embarrassed to push themselves forward and drag the person teetering at the edge of the cliff, back? It seems a little bit true.

And to try to look properly at things, instead of see what you expect to see.
This is maybe why I like Sally Jay: she applies it to herself and the world equally.
lost_spook
Feb. 12th, 2014 01:08 pm (UTC)
No, you're right, that ending of The Homeward Bounders really packs a punch. And lots of people don't like Fire & Hemlock so much - I can see why. I think it is better to read it as a teenager first, because the twisted up aspect is just so much more obvious as an adult. I think, as well, most people seem to find at least one book of hers that they really react against, so fair enough. (On the other hand, she's good enough and so is it, that a re-read just to make sure is always worth trying.)

I've never even heard of The Dud Avocado - I'll have to look it up and see if I can find it sometime. :-)

Perhaps people are braver than they appear, because they're just too embarrassed to push themselves forward and drag the person teetering at the edge of the cliff, back? It seems a little bit true.

It's, I think, more about, how storybook-heroism might translate into the real world - Polly's holding onto Tom isn't like with Janet and Tam where it's a short time and he shape-changes, instead she has to hold on against social conventions, and distance, and him going out with someone else - and the whole book is about that kind of thing generally. In rl, there will be the odd opportunity for conventional bravery, but a lot of it is going to be things that mean stepping out of social conventions, or go unnoticed - keeping away at doing whatever you need to do, when people tell you it's not sensible/safe/going to make you rich, or not joining in choruses of criticism, that sort of thing. It really struck me at the time, and has stayed with me. I suppose because I was a child with a head full of fairy tales and fantasy and this means of actually translating that back into reality fascinated me and seemed very true. I'm not explaining it well, but it's one of those things where the book is my only explanation. If that makes sense... :-)

I re-watch and re-read a lot too. It's hard to understand people with a use-once-and-destroy approach to art. Have they never discovered its analgesic properties?

Oh, yes. I don't get it. If something's really good, or just really feel-good, you're going to need it again, either to explore more layers, or for soul-comfort. ♥
dimity_blue
Feb. 13th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on being affected by so many things. Yes, there's a lot of shallow media out there, but so much of it is full of hopes and dreams and messages that reach out and show people there's more than just life as they've experienced it so far.

I haven't read Fire and Hemlock but I like DWJ, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy that one too.
lost_spook
Feb. 14th, 2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
so much of it is full of hopes and dreams and messages that reach out and show people there's more than just life as they've experienced it so far.

Yes, and even the shallow things are still a glimpse into life from somebody else's point of view some times - as you say, it really does open up the world from our own little closed starting places.

I love Fire & Hemlock, but it is a divisive book, and I can understand why people who read it first as adults are often much more uncomfortable with it. But it is good! :-)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

s&s - silver
lost_spook
lost_spook

Latest Month

November 2014
S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com