Dec. 14th, 2004 10:51 pm
lareinenoire: (Default)
Read a very interesting article today.

"Increasingly, it seems to me, our world is dividing into two kinds of things: those that aid work, or at least represent a path to it, and those that don't Things in the first category are good and noble; things in the second aren't. Thus, for example, education is good (as long as we don't have to listen to any of that "end in itself" nonsense) because it will pre­sumably lead to work. Thus playing the piano or swimming the 100-yard backstroke are good things for a fifteen-year-old to do not because they might give her some pleasure but because rumor has it that Princeton is interested in students who can play Chopin or swim quickly on their backs (and a degree from Princeton, as any fool knows, can be readily converted to work)."

Perhaps the article exaggerates. But, sitting on the far side of the fence as I am, I can't help but wonder.

I started learning the piano because my cousin was learning and I was curious, kept it up while I enjoyed it and stopped when I no longer had time. I started voice lessons because I enjoyed singing. I did theatre because I thought it was fun. I read because it was what I loved to do, and I decided to study literature for the same reason. Not because it looked good, but because I love books and writing. These things--unremarkable and simply motivated as they were--didn't get me into Princeton.

Yet they got me into Cambridge.

I wonder what this says about either school. Perhaps that one lives in the past and the other in the present. But if this is what the present has to offer, I have to admit my instinct is to retreat into the past and stay there. It's cowardly of me. But while I am a workaholic, I'm a different breed. I like my comforts, but if having them meant giving up my books, it wouldn't happen.

I must admit it surprises me in retrospect that my parents didn't have fits about this. Though they're certainly making up for it by terrifying my brother and sister about's sad, really. Very sad.

On a happier note, learning more about Catherine de Courtenay. She's actually showing bits of personality from the book I was reading today, which is fairly impressive considering it's a family genealogy and people don't normally show much personality. Sadly, there are only five pages specifically dealing with her...
lareinenoire: (Default)
I just came back from spending about five and a half hours in the Rare Books Room at the University Library.

What was I doing?

Poking through a nine-volume genealogical history of French nobility.

Why do I do this?

Because, in my strange and twisted mind, it's ever so much fun. Seeing how they fit together. Seeing how truly messed-up everyone was. Finding out that Guilhem IX the Troubadour Prince of Aquitaine was just as much of a lech as I'd read in other sources. That Geoffroy à la Grand Dent did technically exist and did have a reputation for burning down monasteries. Now my question is, did the name stem from the legend, or did he have one giant tooth?

Of course, part of this was viable research on the Courtenays. Must do more over the next few days before heading to Swansea. But quite a bit of it was my own perusal of Aquitaine (Guyenne), Anjou, Lusignan (Lezignem), and de Montfort for random novel backstory. None of it is actually going to show up in the novel, but as far as I'm concerned, it makes things make sense to me, and that's all that matters.

I've reserved one of the books (the one I didn't finish with) to work on tomorrow. And I actually woke up at a decent hour--9:30 AM--today! Go me!


lareinenoire: (Default)

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