Friday, September 04, 2009

Guitars, Sequels and Nuns


This was my last week of French camp gigs. My last gig was a regular musical storytime akin to the ones I usually present. I didn't tell many stories as the children were in no mood to sit and listen-- in fact, two of the guys in the front started shooting each other with finger-pistols. At first I ignored it, but then thought I needed to say something. What came out of my mouth was, "Guns are resting during storytime." It didn't work, but I remembered that years ago when I worked in a daycare, we often told the kids that there were "No guns in daycare." Whether there's a piece of breakfast toast or a toy block, something can be made into a gun.

Afterward, one of the parents who stayed told me that her son always came home from camp talking about the "lady with the guitar". In my book, that is high praise indeed. I have dreamed of being the Lady with the Guitar.

I'm currently working on bass runs and barred chords with the plan of actually implementing them in songs for performance by the end of the year. I want to be able to do them with confidence.


I waited for a year for Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. When I finally got my copy, I plowed through it. Even though I knew I would have to wait another year for the resolution, I just couldn't put it down. Ever since the final page, I've been listless and grouchy. I haven't been this grouchy about waiting for a sequel since I first read Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife. I recognize this current need for escapist fiction from reading patterns in earlier years. It's because the real world just breaks me up. There is injustice, heartache, wrongful death and needless suffering in the world. I can write letters to congressfolk, vote, and pray, but I can't stop the things that are wrong. Within the parameters of fiction, there is hope for a new world order within the lifetimes of the characters.

Regarding Catching Fire, I know there's discussion in forums about whom Katniss, the main character, will end up with with romantically, if she ends up with anyone at all. I really don't care. That's not why I'm reading the books. I'm reading the books because I am hoping that Collins will deliver on a new world order in the country of Panem that eradicates the poverty, starvation and cruelty inflicted by the Capitol upon the rest of the Districts. I take the books personally. I want justice in Panem. In the real world, justice is having a hard time coming up for air.


Does anyone have any recommendations for children's books about nuns besides Demi's Mother Teresa? I can visualize a DK book a la "Eyewitness: Nun" but it doesn't actually exist. Ever since Lucia watched "The Sound of Music" she's been obsessed with nuns. She loves the habits and thinks they are fancy. Lucia wanted to be a nun when she grew up until I pointed out that nuns are obedient and take a vow of poverty, i.e. no tiaras. Lucia said, "I won't be a nun, then. I'll be an actress and play a nun in a movie." She's gone to bed now, and is listening to Taize music to soothe her to sleep.


Vivian said...

Not sure whether any of these books are good, but here is a link from Amazon for books on nuns.

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks, Vivian! I realize I forgot to put "children's" before books. I was mildly curious about the What does a Priest Do? What Does a Nun Do? book but there are no customer reviews and I am not feeling adventurous. Lucia may just have to wait until she's older and can do the research on her own.

Lone Star Ma said...

I think there is a funny nun in the books about the Cut-Ups - a teacher, but I may be confusing picture books that I used to read to my siblings. Is Miss Clavel a nun? Who can say? The nuns at the Catholic school I attended as a child would have beat me to a bloody pulp if I had called them "miss" anything - I once got shouted at good and proper for answering "yes, ma'am," instead of "yes, sister". There is Sister Anne's Hands, but is about racism, really, not nuns.

Is science fiction escapism for me? Maybe. Sometimes I think it is preparation. Both views seem to spring from glum feelings about present-day society. At any rate, I prefer it most anything. I haven't read those books - heard they were about children killing each other gruesomely and took a pass, but I guess I will try them now.

Saints and Spinners said...

LSM: A big "Oy gevalt" for being shouted at for saying "Miss" instead of "Sister". I've only ever met kind nuns, but they weren't teachers. I'm glad to know that the nuns at the Goddess of Clarity's school were pretty cool, and one of them taught her to play guitar.

Hunger Games and Catching Fire do deal with teenagers killing each other-- I don't know how to explain it, but Collins manages to convey how horrible and blatant it is without glorifying it. As one reviewer put it, it's like the violence in Grimms' fairy tales. What is driven home repeatedly though is that the adults are responsible for it. Just like in real life, there is variety in personalities-- some of the tributes have definitely embraced the violence, whereas others are just trying to survive. I appreciate that there are good adults on the side of the teens. Cinna, Katniss' stylist, is my favorite.

Lone Star Ma said...

I'll try them.

I was always sure that the nuns loved me, I must say, even though it was a pretty abusive sort of love. And they were smart,besides being scary, and told the most lurid stories. Mimosa briefly attended a local Catholic school for Montessori pre-school and had a very good experience with the nuns. When I was observing before sending her, I hesitantly stammered to the nun in the classroom "um...I went to Catholic school and, um, you don't...hit them, do you?" She put her arm around me, smiled, and whispered "Those days are over".

FairiesNest said...

Oh dear, I've read your blog and I'm completely hooked! Dolls, Sci-fi, fantasy, and children's books are all favorite topics and I'm an ex librarian too. I'll be back for more!

BirchLeaf Designs said...

Super lovely blog...very interesting and inspiring. Must make more time to follow all your links!

tanita davis said...

Hee!! Poverty = no tiaras.
Oh, man, your daughter is priceless. I want her to know about this when she's fifteen. "Yeah, your Mom talked you out of being a nun with the whole tiara thing... she didn't mention boys at all."

Oh, I feel ya on the sequel thing; I've put off reading anything new by Kristin Cashore or Suzanne Collins right now because I was extremely grumpy when finishing their first books! I will resist as long as possible...

The LIbrary Lady said...

Funny, I've always had an interest in nuns. One of my all time favorite books is Rumer Godden's "In This House of Brede", but it will be years until Lucia's old enough to read it. I don't seem to recall any of Godden's child books having nuns in them--though there are lots of dolls, of course.

Funny that you're the "Lady with the Guitar". I used to work with such a person. She was a hard act to follow for the first year after she left the library!

We have 15 reserves system wide on "Catching Fire", so I have sent our branch copy out to help fill requests. I want to read it, but I'm not in the mood right now, especially knowing that it is the middle book and leaves things hanging!

Saints and Spinners said...

Library Lady: I haven't read any of Godden's grown-up books, so I've placed a hold on Brede for my own interest. I'm not surprised that you're a Godden fan. Diddakoi was my favorite, though I really liked all of the doll books and The Mousewife besides.

Tanita: At least Cashore's books are companion novels, not direct sequels! I can deal with that better than cliff-hangers. If I ever publish the stories I write, I will not have cliff-hanger sequels! Each book will be self-contained. In Garth Nix's defense, he'd written Lirael and Abhorsen as one big book, and t was the publisher who decided to turn it into a trilogy.

Birchleaf and Fairiesnest: Welcome, my fellow Nattykids cronies!

LSM: I'm glad to hear it. It's appalling how many states still have some form of legalized corporal punishment in the schools.

adrienne said...

"I'll be an actress and play a nun in a movie."

HA! Entertaining, logical, and an excellent solution to all her problems. Go, Lucia!

The thing about The Hunger Games is it mostly tied itself up. I mean, I was waiting, waiting for that second book, but it wasn't because of anything specific. Catching Fire ends right in the middle of things. There are questions; I want answers. When I get to feeling *really* cranky about how long I might have to wait (which oh yeah, I'm cranky), I think of what it must have been like to wait for the LOTR books to come out back in the day. Both the first two books end in spots where you HAVE to know what comes next NOW. It must have been terrible.