rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
If you feel, for instance, that well-read people are less likely to be evil, and a world full of people sitting quietly with good books in their hands is preferable to a world filled with schisms and sirens and other noisy and troublesome things, then every time you enter a library you might say to yourself, "The world is quiet here," as a sort of pledge proclaiming reading to be the greater good.

~Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope

Other members of the greater LJ community* have spoken better than I could about how horribly bathetic (a word which here means "ludicrously anticlimactic, and also stupid") today's bombings were. Yet another group of terrorists decided to cause chaos in London -- and they weren't even talented enough to get more than one person hurt! Is terror being farmed out to amateurs these days? I have to say I find incompetent terrorists even more frightening than the ones who know what they're doing. Who knows what a few idiots with a few bombs can do? I don't know and I really don't want to find out.

In a comment to her most recent entry, [livejournal.com profile] greythistle spoke of the "awkward dusty reassurance" (a wonderfully apropos phrase) of Duke Humfrey's Library, the Bodleian, Oxford. As some of you may remember, I was in Duke Humfrey's on the morning of July 7. It's a quiet place, a safe place, smelling of parchment and decaying book bindings. I can't really imagine a better shelter from violence and stupidity than a seat among the bookshelves and the diamond-paned windows. Hence, new icon.

---

In other news, I am currently occupied in removing twenty years of possessions from the bedroom formerly known as mine in my family home. Beginning tomorrow, when my grandparents move into this bedroom, the house will contain three generations of adults. I don't actually know whether we can deal with this much familial closeness without beginning a civil war. Fortunately, I go back to California in a month.

To [livejournal.com profile] flintknappy and other people to whom I owe visits -- a thousand apologies for not getting back to you. The truth is that I don't actually know when I can come out to see you. The amount of already-scheduled time in the next month is rather daunting, really. We'll work something out.

---

*EDIT: The greater blogging community, that is. The Yorkshire Ranter is particularly good here. (Link from Making Light.)

EDIT 2: Also linked from Making Light is a rather Hawthornian essay on the Devil and Rick Santorum. I especially recommend it to [livejournal.com profile] fleurdelis28, [livejournal.com profile] navelofwine and [livejournal.com profile] muchabstracted, but really, it's hilarious and everyone should read it.
rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
Duke Humfrey's Library, a huge cavernous ancient room in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, is quiet today. It's a normal kind of quiet, full of the soft sounds of parchment pages gently turned and of film clicking in the microfilm readers. Every so often the librarians test the alarm system, as they've been doing once every few hours since yesterday morning.

That's why I had to leave just now. There was too much ordinary silence. I had to get out and hear the noises of the street. I had to read what people were saying today, this hour, this minute, instead of staring at a 1983 microfilm of an early fourteenth-century document.

Really, things are normal in Oxford. Students and tourists wander the streets as usual. The people staring at the computer screens here in the cafe look grim and wan or red-eyed, but that's the only real sign that something's wrong.

The radio in the Internet cafe just played a remix of a Mediaeval Baebes song that always seemed strange and wistful to me. It felt rather appropriate.

I have wist, sin i couthe meen,
That children hath by candle light
The shadewe catchen they ne might,
For no lines that they couthe lay.
This shadewe i may likne aright
To this world and yesterday.

Profile

rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)
rymenhild

January 2017

S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags