Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

The Artist as Communicator

It always irks me when a musician is asked about the meaning of one of his songs, and he responds with something along the lines of, "I'm not sure exactly what it means myself. It might mean something different to everyone." What this tells me is that this particular person should not have written this song. The artist is a communicator, and if the artist, be he a musician, a moviemaker, a painter, a sculptor, or a writer, does not have something to communicate then he shouldn't be creating.

Reading La Vita Nuova by Dante, I was quite happy to find that he agrees.
"...for it were a shameful thing if one should rhyme under the semblance of metaphor or rhetorical similitude, and afterwards, being questioned thereof, should be unable to rid his words of such semblance, unto their right understanding. Of whom (to wit, of such as rhyme thus foolishly,) myself and the first among my friends do know many."


Erica said…
On the other hand, most of the musicians I've heard say this were also on some manner of illegal drugs when they wrote the song in the first place. This probably explains a lot.