Daily Archives: June 21, 2004

Giddy

I found the first ant of the summer in the bedroom. I tried to point it out to Nixie and Maggie, but they ignored it, so I gave up and squished it.

It kept moving. Not thrashing, or death throes; I’m talking moving in a straight line, moving with a purpose and a goal.

I squished it again.

“It’s still moving!” I said in disbelief.

“Then kill it,” said HRH.

“I have! Twice!”

And then — I don’t know, it must be the heady knowledge that I did over 5K today, or the sugar coursing through my bloodstream — I said:

“It must be a reven-ant!”

And I giggled. I giggled so hard that tears came to my eyes, and I couldn’t find the ant to deliver the ultimate killing blow. HRH looked at me for a moment, then returned to looking for a clean shirt.

“Your mother is nuts,” he said to the cats.

“I know. You get used to it,” Maggie told him. And off I went, still giggling.

Deeper

From Jana Riess, author of What Would Buffy Do?, an examination of morals and ethics in the Buffyverse:

I was taken in by its clever, rapid-fire dialogue. I was surprised by the depth of the show, and then I thought, “I’m in graduate school! I’m supposed to be a scholar! How can I be loving something with the unlikely name of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”

Right with you, Jana. Mea culpa as well.

The Joys of Language

I’ve just been doing a bit of impromptu teaching on the importance of rhythm and scansion in ritual, and I thought I’d bring it up here.

Rhythm in any kind of oral communication is important. The human ear likes to listen to rhythmic speech because we don’t have to fight against it. Scansion is also incredibly important in ritual. Lots of ritualists focus on what they want to say, and they get the guts of the idea out, which is terrific. In order to further facilitate the absorption of the idea, however, the form of the delivery of the idea is also important. Rhythm guides energy, and as such, a good ritualist understands that the rhythm of what they speak is a ritual tool. Generally you need words arranged in such a way that they roll off the tongue, flow liquidly and roll onwards, carrying the energy of the ritual along with them. Sometimes, yes, you want to create a ragged rhythm on purpose, in which case something smooth gets energy moving first, then guides it deliberately into a new motion that gradually turns ragged. Either way the ritualist must be aware of how rhythm is and how it is used.

I found two good basic web pages which address scansion and rhythm clearly. The Scansion page from St Edward’s University is a good introduction (and if you track backwards through the main menu etc, they have other good basic pages on language stuff). A writing teacher from Portland’s Riverdale Grade School has created a Rhythm, Meter, and Scansion Made Easy page which is also excellent introduction to the subject.

There is a lovely bat poem used as an exercise on the second web page. I wanted to post it because my parents have at least one bat as a houseguest each summer. Bat season is now upon us, and so I thought of them:

Bats have webby wings that fold up;
Bats from ceilings hang down rolled up;
Bats when flying undismayed are;
Bats are careful; bats use radar;
–Frank Jacobs, �The Bat�