the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog

The Letter J

This is the letter meme that's going around; comment on this post, and if you like I'll give you a letter. You write ten things beginning with that letter and explain why they are meaningful to you. oursin gave me the letter "J" which at first I thought was horribly difficult, but after a little thought some things were obvious!

January The month of my birth, important to me for that reason, obviously, but also as a month of beginnings (less important in that respect than September - I live by the academic calendar - but nonetheless of some symbolic importance).

Jansson, Tove The author of the Moomin books, which were among my most favourite books as a child. They are oddly comforting, although as the characters age with the more recent books, they become more existential and vaguely sad. My favourite was always Moominland Midwinter with poor Moomintroll waking up out of hibernation and struggling to understand the odd and shy creatures who made winter their own.

Julian of Norwich Her phrase "all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well" cited in Eliot's Little Gidding is echoed in Pamela Dean's Secret Country books. Eliot's Four Quartets is one of Jeanette Winterson's (see below) favourite poems and is referenced in her novel Sexing the Cherry. This is why I call myself "intertext"...

Jeanette main character in Jeanette Winterson's novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I adore this book, and several of Winterson's other books, and wrote my PhD dissertation on Winterson. Guess what the topic was? Intertextuality...

"Julian and Madallo, A Conversation" by Percy Shelley. Two characters (thinly disguised Shelley and Byron) have an argument about the nature of life, the universe and everything (and poetry) while in Venice. They meet a madman, crossed in love, who resides in the same madhouse at roughly the same time as Henri, one of the two viewpoint characters in Jeanette Winterson's novel The Passion. See dissertation, chapter three.

And from the sublime to the mundane: Jam. I like jam a lot. I don't normally have a sweet tooth, but hot buttered toast and jam is one of my comfort foods. Preferably plum, blackberry or blackcurrant, but raspberry will do at a pinch.

Jones, Diana Wynne One of my all-time favourite children's book authors. I didn't discover her until I was about 18, but who cares! I would have adored her as a child, and I adore her now. Howl's Moving Castle is one of my best comfort reads, but I think Fire and Hemlock is her best book.

Joyce, James (does that count for two??) He's difficult, irascible, eccentric, maddening, but I love his work. I nearly became a Joyce scholar, but got captivated by Winterson, actually for many of the same reasons I like Joyce (also try keeping up with the Joyce scholarship - with Winterson you're breaking new ground...). Maybe I'm a masochist, but I rather like difficulty in a work, and like the literary puzzles that Joyce threads into Ulysses. I've even read some of Finnegan's Wake. Joseph Campbell, another hero of mine (and another J), loved Joyce and wrote a "key" to the Wake that's still the best around.

Japan Joan Armitrading (another J) sang "I want to go to China and to see Japan" - I've been to China, but haven't seen Japan except from an airport. I'm fascinated by it, probably wrong about it, as Peter Carey wrote, but one day I'll go there and find out.

Journal, Live Well, kind of self explanatory, no? I don't post as much or as often as I'd like, but read my friends' pages religiously. Like Flickr, it has enriched my life in ways I never would have expected.

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