Happy July 4 and I return to ChLA notes


For the past few years, since purchasing fireworks was made legal in CT, my sister and I have made it a tradition to go outside into our backyard and watch our slightly tipsy neighbors set off their fireworks.  I’ve come to be excited by the sound of explosions and–and this worries me somewhat–found myself actually missing the smell of gunpowder.

So I sought an alternative while far from home.

The past three nights I’ve found myself on top of Cemetery Hill watching for sparks over the tree- and hilltops, listening for the explosions, being glum when the trees or hills were too tall, and mistaking distant plane towers for distant firework displays.

July 4 I planned to meet my class there, to sit on the ground, chat between shouts of recognition, and munch on brownies.

That plan did not work out.

Instead, I passed one classmate who watched the sunset and was satisfied as I walked–almost ran with my next-door neighbors to the top of the hill.  The trees were too tall for magnificent views and it wasn’t enough to slake their hunger for firework displays.  One of my neighbors is a film student and knew that her program was meeting to put on their own party.  We followed her to Faculty Row, but missed the explosions there too.  Mostly, I ended up chatting with one of my neighbors, who used to be in editing and who is also an Anglophile, hoping someone would set off just one more cracker (we got nothing more than sparklers).  We were joined too by Rob Lynch and some of the film students popped in and out of the conversation as we talked of sports and movies.

The remainder of the brownies are in the fridge.

I’m afraid that’s the most excitement I can offer you.  I’ve spent the weekend with books and articles all around.  I’ve finished Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey and still have many of the critical sources in our edition of The Secret Garden to read, plus finalizing the sources for my paper on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which has turned into a culture comparison between the time of Lewis’ release of the book and Walden Media’s release of the recent movie.

So… I know it’s been a while, but there’s still more of ChLA to tell you about.  🙂

At “Learning to be Human,” the first paper of talked about humans made monsters, the second pre-history novels, and the 3rd seemed to be offering an anti-Christian reading of Narnia.

Then I went to “Spiritual Conflicts and Divides,” where I learned that while it might be compelling if you talk from your passion, it doesn’t help you convey a point.  But then, there were 2 papers about the meeting of science and religion in YA texts that each used the same book, Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature, which didn’t sound like a good book, but which led to some pretty lively discussion afterward.

The last talk that I attended on Friday was given by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman and I have to say that I cheered to hear fantasy so championed at Hollins–in the science building no less.  Mostly they each talked about their paths to writing and fantasy in particular, but also fantasy as a genre.


About Kathryn

My love of books has been carefully cultivated by the adults who raised me and also by the friends who love to share. My life has led me down long library shelves, to online forums, fanfiction sites, the front of a lecture hall, and into the desks of college classrooms. With an English degree and a couple master’s classes in Children’s Literature, I am now a bookseller for Barnes & Noble. I have been an editor for Wizarding Life Networks (the people who brought you Wizarding Life, Panem October, and MyHogwarts now HogwartsIsHere).

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