Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ten Authors Walk Into a Bar - Top Ten Tuesday (March, 28, 2017)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

March 28: Top Ten Authors I'm Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can't Believe I've Met  (some other "meeting authors" type spin you want to do)

I had a rather wild idea with this one. I’m taking a small liberty, but it’s about authors meeting authors: Top Ten Authors who might accidentally bump into each other in a bar, and cause an uncomfortable, awkward, humorous, and tempestuous scene. I’m just going to start writing and see where this goes.

We start at the Eagle and Child Pub, where Professors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are want to discuss, linguistics, etymology, mythology, theology and the like. They are enjoying a nice warm English Beer, and their pipes, when Ernest Hemingway makes a grand entrance. He saunters up to the impeccably dressed British Gentlemen, in his wrinkled linen shirt and Bermuda shorts to ask,

What’s the best drink in this bar boys?

Lewis: it’s a pub my good man.

Hemingway: They serve booze?

Lewis: Of course.

Hemingway: Then it’s a bar. Hey, ain’t you the brains that write about leprechauns n monsters?

Lewis: Satyrs

Tolkien: Hobbits

Hemingway: Whatever, let me try the brew, eh Mate? He grabs Prof. Tolkien’s glass, takes a long draught, and spits it out cursing profusely.

Hemingway: Barkeep, double martini, extra dry, EXTRA cold, or I’ll cut your throat.

Tolkien and Lewis begin speaking Latin to one another, hoping Hemingway will leave them, but it is unnecessary as at this time, Evelyn Waugh and George Eliot walk into the pub. They are hailed by the shouts of regular patrons:

Allo Evelyn; evenin George.

Hearing the name Evelyn, Hemingway thinks it sounds hopeful and he strolls up to the two newcomers.

Hemingway (to Eliot): Allow me to introduce myself Evelyn – Ernest Hemingway, world famous adventurer.

Waugh: Yes, I recognize you old man. Allow me to introduce you to my friend, (Waugh winks), George Eliot.

Hemingway: She’s George? Who are you?

Waugh: Evelyn Waugh ole bean, I thought you recognized me.

Hemingway, visibly baffled: Brits are nuts. Barkeep, where’s that martini?

Next Jack London staggers in, sees Hemingway at the bar and shouts:


Hemingway, turns angrily and growls, Jack I told you never to call me that.

London: Take it easy Papa, I’ll buy you a drink and we’ll get this place going.

This quiets Hemingway for a bit until Virginia Woolf enters. London whistles a long cat call on spying her, immediately piquing Hemingway’s interest. He saunters toward her and says

Evening ma’am, Ernest Hemingway, world famous adventurer.

Before she can respond, a tall and sinister figure emerges from a dark corner, pulling gently on a glowing cigarette. He takes Woolf’s arm, gently, and says to Hemingway,

I beg your pardon, Mr….what was it? Adventurer? Just because the lady’s name is Woolf does not mean she keeps their company.  Then he turns to Woolf and begins: Allow me to introduce myself Ms. Woolf, I am…

Woolf: Yes Mr. Fleming, you are known to me.

Ian Fleming: Not half as well as I will be. Virginia – be a lamb and ask the barman for a dry vodka martini, Russian vodka if they have it, very dry, shaken not stirred. And get yourself something too – something strong.

Woolf: Can’t you walk to the bar Mr. Fleming?

Fleming: I’d rather watch you make the trip.

Meanwhile, Hemingway knowing he was outdone, had rejoined London at the bar. Malcolm Lowry crawls into the pub, literally crawls, and calls out:

Hem! Jack! Help!

They rush to his side, and ask,

What is it Malcolm, what’s the matter?

Lowry: I needa gedoo the bar.

When they get him to the bar, they meet a jovial young dandy, bit of an idler, telling jokes and buying rounds. They are entertained, and Hemingway asks,

So, what’s your name then mate?

The idler: Jerome

Hemingway: Last name?

The idler: Jerome

Hemingway a bit annoyed: First name?

The idler: Jerome

Hemingway, squints, wrinkles his nose, and then punches Jerome K. Jerome in the mouth.

A glorious row ensues, with Hemingway and London fighting all comers. Malcolm Lowry helps himself to some unattended glasses, Ian Fleming subdues several patrons, nearly spills his martini, and then leaves via back entrance with Virginia Woolf. Evelyn Waugh and George Eliot are content to watch, as is Jerome K. Jerome, though he makes notes of the entire debacle, while holding a cold cloth to his split lip. Tolkien and Lewis do not notice the to do, as they are entirely engrossed in the old English etymology of certain modern English conjunctions. Eventually, the din dies down, the patrons disperse, and the pub prepares to close. A last lone denizen, unnoticed and alone in a dark corner, leaves quietly and says goodnight to the barman, 

Goodnight Thomas. Says the barman to Thomas Pynchon.

Oops - that was eleven.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Shakespeare, Tolkien, Arthur Conan Doyle - Mini-March reading challenge wrap up

The Mini-March Reading meme/tag/challenge – whatever you want to call it, hosted by The Once Lost Wanderer included three challenges:

Sherlock Holmes weekend, March 17-19
Shakespeare week, March 20-26
And National Tolkien Reading Day, March 25.

For these challenges, I read:

The Gloria Scott and The Musgrave Ritual – Sherlock Holmes 1st and 2nd cases, both short stories.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – One of Shakespeare’s earliest plays (possibly the first).

And Beowulf translated by J.R.R. Tolkien together with Sellic Spell, which is Tolkiens retelling of Beowulf in English prose.

Thanks to Hamlette at the Edge of the Precipice for joining the challenge: See her reading selections HERE.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Beowulf translated by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Sellic Spell by J.R.R. Tolkien

Beowulf translated by J.R.R. Tolkien,  and Sellic Spell by J.R.R. Tolkien
Beowulf is a an Old English Epic poem, possibly the oldest surviving Old English long poem. The author is unknown. The date of composition is uncertain – 8th to early 11th century. Professor Tolkien ascribes to the earlier date. The setting is late fifth century, primarily in Denmark and Geats (modern Sweden).

Beowulf, a Geat warrior travels to Denmark as he has heard that land is troubled by the demon Grendel. Hrothgar, king of the Danes has built a glorious mead hall, but the hall is terrorized by Grendel, who regularly kills and devours Hrothgar’s mightiest knights.

Beowulf arrives and boasts that he will make battle with Grendel. He vows to face Grendel bare handed, without weapons:

No whit do I account myself in my warlike stature a man more despicable in deeds of battle than Grendel doth himself. Therefore I will not with sword give him the sleep of death, although I well could. Nought doth he know of gentle arms that he should wield weapon against me or hew my shield, fierce though he be in savage dees. Nay, we two shall this night reject the blade, if he dare have recourse to warfare without weapons, and then let the forseeing God, the Holy Lord, adjudge the glory to whichever side him seemeth meet.

Beowulf does indeed fight Grendel barehanded, rips one of his arms of at the shoulder, and Grendel flees to his death.

There is great rejoicing and the mead hall is site of revelry and celebration. But a new terror emerges as Grendel’s mother, an ogress and enchanter now seeks revenge, killing another knight.

And again Beowulf vows to destroy her. He tracks her to her lair, which lies deep under a lake, in a cavern. Beowulf does not fare well at first, but during the struggle he sees a giant sword, indeed it was giant’s sword, hanging in the lair, he uses it to kill the ogress. He also finds Grendel’s body and beheads it. After this the blade of the sword melts. Beowulf returns to the Danish king, and there is renewed celebration. This time, there is no new terror.

Beowulf returns in glory to his home, the land of the Geats. He is eventually made king, and does battle with a great dragon. He slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the contest. A proper funeral is observed – and thus ends the tale.

Even in translation, this is still a bit challenging to read in spots. Still, it is an exciting tale, and an important piece of literature.

Sellic Spell is Tolkiens retelling of Beowulf in modern English prose. It was of course much easier to read.

Reading Beowulf and Sellic Spell satisfied part three of the Mini-March Reading Challenge: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, WilliamShakespeare, and J.R.R. Tolkien.