Letter 13: February 25, 2022

I’ve had a tough time penning this letter. Primarily as a result of I’m so very busy with new articles and different content material. I need to write good letters as a result of within the close to future that’s all my free readers can be receiving. As I proceed to amass paid subscriptions, I’m progressively gratified that what I’m doing is value the fee.

One of many causes I’ve been taking my time on this letter is as a result of I needed to attend till at present, the one-year anniversary of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK. A full yr spent studying what this platform could possibly be and methods to fulfill its promise. I’ve discovered that not each topic, whether or not it’s a theme or a person, naturally leads me to impressed language. Some topics stifle the inventive urge by being so finite. What thrilled me on the gallery wall or within the cabinets of bookshops now stops me chilly. I’ve to work my approach across the topic, and which will take me weeks or months to do. Anybody to whom I’ve communicated a need to write down about your work, and have anticipated it to be completed up to now, you’ll need to forgive me whereas I develop methods to outline it. It’s not that I doubt the ability of those sources, however my relationship to them must be established with the usage of my very own language, and that takes time.

There are such a lot of topics, and so many interpretations of them. Although I’m primarily targeted on visible artwork and literature, different issues are seeping into my consciousness, like movie and tv. Within the final yr we acquired a digital TV and began watched streamed packages. This allowed me to speculate absolutely within the full backlog of episodes for a sure present, and spending weeks on finish watching them with out having to attend for once-a-week packages. One in all my favorites over the last month or so was VIKINGS, which initially aired from 2013-2020 on the Historical past channel. It’s a part of how I’m wired that when one thing is common, I would like nothing to do with it. As soon as it’s turn out to be previous hat, when different individuals have moved on, then I’m drawn to it, and may give it my full consideration with out the distraction of social dialogue. So this present that ended a yr in the past grew to become my newest obsession.

I watched two, generally three episodes each night, and at that charge it took two months to get by way of six seasons of the present. I haven’t been so obsessed since I watched the primary 5 seasons of Sport of Thrones prematurely of the sixth season. I’ve been searching for one thing I might discover equally engrossing, and what I discovered in VIKINGS was really extra satisfying in some ways. Although I loved the complexity of GOT, its a number of timelines, its grand story slowly converging to particular roles and occasions that might by no means be utterly anticipated or recognized till they occurred; this was the magic of their supply materials. The Historical past and Mythology that drove its characters made them infinitely extra compelling. Behind all of the pageantry and the tales trailing their solution to an inexorable finish, was a concern of the unknown.

With VIKINGS nonetheless, among the background on its characters had a grounding in actual fact, or at the least in legend. Their tales will be discovered on Wikipedia. The producers of the present have modified lots of the info to suit the story, however their particular person histories haven’t modified all that a lot. What I preferred concerning the present, and the historical past it presents, is that it offers an trustworthy portrayal of what Viking society was actually like within the ninth century. Its characters current a possibility to gaze into the depths of Norse beliefs, and to grasp how these myths impressed males to dwell like gods. Scandinavian society at the moment was of the hunter/gatherer kind, with many individuals in numerous communities being farmers. But part of their perception system additionally perpetuated the notion of all males, and even girls, as warriors. There was an innate must feed this function, and the best way that they did so, apart from warring with neighboring communities and different nations within the area, was to journey round to assault and pillage. This allowed them to really feel like warriors, and if anybody died in these assaults, they might immediately be transported to Valhalla, the heaven for warriors, the place every single day is spent in superb battle, and each night within the ‘Corridor of Heroes’ feasting on the victories of the day, surrounded by the gods and by one’s mates in life. This perception in a glorified afterlife undergirds all their actions in life, and their motivations to be nice in all issues. Of the characters who make up the story I’ll say little, as a result of I might really say a lot that it might go on for pages and pages. Search for it on Hulu, and search for the brand new present, VIKINGS VALHALLA, launching at present on Netflix.

Of books I’ve been studying, there are various. One in all my nice easy joys stays studying, and I’ve particularly loved many books I can obtain without spending a dime or low cost on my cellphone. Most of those are older titles which have fallen out of copyright. Many are pulp sort tales, just like the Barsoom and Tarzan sequence by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and The Conan the Barbarian books by Robert E. Howard. These have been all initially printed in pulp magazines like All-Story and Bizarre Tales, a significant type of mass market leisure within the period previous comedian books or tv. Racy content material and journey heavy tales, generally with fantastical settings like overseas jungles or alien planets, offered a possibility for the hard-working women and men of the WWI period to bask in a useful leisure at any journal stand. I take pleasure in settling all the way down to learn such tales on the finish of every day. I used to be a comic book e-book reader as a baby, and within the interim interval between comedian books and literature with a capital “L” I additionally learn closely within the genres of science fiction and fantasy, in addition to the Victorian horror tales and mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the boyhood adventures by Jack London. I see a transparent path between such authors and the extra severe novels of Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Balzac, Turgenev, and others.

I’m trying ahead to expounding additional on kinds of story in books, TV, movie, and extra within the months to come back. Think about a paid subscription, particularly a month-to-month one. Thanks for studying!