Songs of Praise and other stories

Both the brothers Pazdziora linked this beautiful paean to Lewis, Tolkien and Chesterton yesterday, and I looked at the title and thought: wait, those are Neil Gaiman's favorite childhood authors? I am so reading this.

I read it breathless, sometimes on the verge of the best sort of tears. True, Gaiman seems to subscribe to the standard misinterpretation of Susan's fall from grace, and the various parallels between Narnia and Christianity have always seemed more to me like a love for the Biblical story of redemption rather than cold proselytic agenda, but otherwise, nearly everything he says about the authors and their works will delight anyone else who loved them. For instance, this:
I would read other books, of course, but in my heart I knew that I read them only because there wasn’t an infinite number of Narnia books to read.
And this:
I wanted to write The Lord of the Rings. The problem was that it had already been written.
And this:
Behind every Chesterton sentence there was someone painting with words, and it seemed to me that at the end of any particularly good sentence or any perfectly-put paradox, you could hear the author, somewhere behind the scenes, giggling with delight.
And there are others, but I'll leave some of the great lines for your discovery.

Read it, if you will. This is the sort of thing that reminds me why I want to be an author. Also, it made me want to read more Gaiman.

* * *

Further, it makes me want to write my own paean, which might or might not include Tolkien (whom I took awhile to discover and longer to love), but would definitely include Lewis and Chesterton (mostly for Orthodoxy) as well as L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, and despite my discovering them much later, Rowling and Card and Hale. It would be far too long for just one piece, I suppose. But when Gaiman talks about what each of the three authors meant to him, what they did for him, I know exactly what he means.

* * *

This week in the life of Maia:
Maia: I want to play in the toy room.

Me: That’s the laundry room, and like I’ve told you a thousand times, kitties aren’t allowed.

Maia: But there are toys in there.

Me: Those are potatoes.

Maia: They roll around when I bat at them.

Me: I don’t like finding them half-chewed and moldy under the couch.

Maia: OOH. And there’s water in there.

Me: Yes, in the watering can. Which I’ve seen you dump over by trying to climb on it. You’re not helping your case.

Maia: You’ll have to open the door sometime, and I’ll get in then.

Me: How many times do I have to trip over you before you realize that bolting in front of my moving feet is a bad idea?

Maia: I’m going to dig up your aloe plant while you sleep tonight.

* * *

Runner-up writers' link of the week: Nick Mamatas shares ten bits of advice writers should stop giving aspiring writers. Includes some bad language. Also, much brilliance. Via Mike Duran.

* * *

Music of the week: Eric suggested Morten Lauridsen the other week when I'd gone off on a rant against much of Christian music, so here's the O Nata Lux from Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna. It is quite beautiful.

* * *

Random amusement of the week: Condescending Literary Pun Dog.

* * *

Now, I'm off to work on rewrites of my novella, clean the house, finish reading Card's Xenocide because it's absorbing my mind and I need my concentration back, continue plotting a couple of important fixes to my second novel, and try to make some progress on dealing with my first novel. And get ready for tonight, because my beloved gentleman of a husband is taking me on a nice little date, because... because... because I'm thirty-four now.

Happy weekend!


  1. Happy, happy birthday!!

    Kitties--toddlers in cat suits...


  2. Happy Birthday!

    Enjoy the Kitty-free date! Hopefully she won't punish you by destroying the house while your gone (or is that just what angsty-teenage-dogs do?)!!

  3. Jenna,

    I hope you had a wonderful and happy birthday. I miss you. I am sorry that I havn't been good at keeping in touch, it's been rough around here and I find myself just being anti-social more and more. I am sorry. I want to keep in touch. I will email you soon. Happy birthday again.

  4. Thanks, all of you! Arabella, YES. Two-year-olds. Bratty ones. Masha, I remember that about dogs. :D Maia will destroy the house with me sitting there watching, if she thinks she can get away with it.

    Sarah, I miss you, too! We should definitely talk soon. I left a comment over at your blog.

  5. Happy belated birthday, Jenna! You're still so young, but I'm sure that even when you are 94 you'll be as youthful as ever--and that's what's important. That, and having your wonderful husband treat you to something special in celebration of your existence. :o)

    Hope you enjoyed finishing Xenocide. The Ender's series is excellent and incredibly thought-provoking, so I'm eager to see your write-up of it.

    1. Thanks, Carrie-Ann! :) Ooh, and I finished Xenocide and then powered through Children of the Mind... can't re-read the end of the latter without crying... should be fun to review. :D


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