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May 11th, 2010

Fine--classes are almost over: I'll play

"Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it. Ask about anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, if there's anything you've ever wondered or been curious about or meant to ask me, etc. Re-post this in your own journal so that we can all learn more about each other.


And no,...not screening comments ;-)

...

EDIT TO ADD: *Clearly*, I should have stipulated a rule limiting one topic per player. If you post more than one *ahem*Matthew*ahem*, I will pick the one I like best upon which to ponder, pundit*, and pontificate."

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Question from SillyViking

"What other culture/historical period than the Middle Ages interests you?"

In many respects, I fear my answer to this question will come across as that of a dilettante, "2 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge," for the answer is "many." Though, to be honest, my interest focus in the various periods vary.

I have a fairly deep knowledge and interest in the Victorian period, both in terms of the British Empire and the same period in the U.S. However, I'm not sure that it is as much "interest" as a *forced* deep immersion in the art of the time, which led, due to my cat-like nature (as in "curiosity killed"), to investigation of politics, industry, culture.... It's hard to be (first) a music major and (later) a literature major without running into the 19th century on a constant basis. Add to that a father from the South and mother who was Civil War buff, and I was pretty much guaranteed to develop a "19th c. repetoire." But, to be honest, I'm not sure I was "drawn" to it as much as I learned it, and found it comfortable. There are parts of it I adore, and parts I abhor, but I know it. Never inclined to recreate it, though.

I have a fascination with the Hellenic and Roman worlds. Always have. (I probably need to make a couple of Celto-Romano pieces for Pennsic, but, that sounds too much like work.) Next to Combat Nurses of World War II, the book I checked out of the elementary school library most often was a book on archeological digs in the Mediterranean area (okay, there was a chapter on MesoAmerica and South America, but, well, I still confuse the Aztecs and Incas unless I stop to think for a moment). I can mostly name the Julian emperors in order, can discuss with some accuracy the shifting alliances between the Greek city-states. But my fascination with both is more along the lines of watching a train wreck--an incredible piece of "technology" self-destructing in the hubris of the operators, and the occasional act of God.

Truthfully, otherwise, it's the people. Biographies are my guilty pleasure, whether it's Georgiana or Gene Tierney, Marcus Aurelius or Aerosmith, I love stories about people, so bits and pieces of time rattle around in my brain, because of the people in the stories, and I find it all fascinating. Black Kettle, The Mitford Sisters, Catherine the Great,....I'm hopeless.

But only the Medieval period, and specifically the period between Alfred the Great and the death of the last Plantagenet,* is a period that I'm inclined to try to understand from dirt floor to keep top, peasant to Pope. I don't know why--it just is.

*I'd have dressed like Blanche of Savoy if I thought I had the figure for it--Norman was originally a second choice, though ultimately the right one.