Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Palace Fool

I have learned to love marketing, the way Catherine Morland learned to love a hyacinth! I'm going to do a promotional event per day and be crowned Queen of Bookflogging at the World Festival of Books by King Kremer and all his train of followers!

Yes, it is that day.

Once again it is time for the rule of the April Fool with all his foolishness and pranks. So I am thinking about Scalimander the Palace Fool, who is shaking his little beribboned maypole and jingling and dancing and playing tricks.

But most of us don't need our own private fool to remind us of our human foolishness.

The letters O, L, F, and O sometimes form in gold on my forehead--though not in quite that order. So I was glad to see this line:

The one thing a writer doesn't need to have is pride. You have to be very humble and just go in there and make a fool of yourself. –Molly Giles

Exactly right.

Happy Spring Misrule! Blessed April Fool's Day! I am, alas, subject to incessant pranks here at the Palace. I'll let you know if anybody gets a good one by me.

********

Photo credit: Royalty-free photo of "two court fools on top of an ancient building, next to St. Nicholas' church in Gent" from www.sxc.hu. By Ulrik De Wachter of Belgium.

12 comments:

  1. Happy April Fools Day Marly,

    I wanted you to tell the Pot Boy that although tis true, I am no "Wife of Bath", I would have married Rich the first time, if I could find out where he lives. Alas I am now wed to the palace pauper, er knight...

    I now too, go off to do the dreaded taxes. If tears form on the screen thou shalt know why.

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  2. the Wyf of Bathe12:46 PM, April 02, 2006

    Alacke and weilawaye, wel I woot thatte we can nat alle be ywedded to largesse of purs and to vesseles alle of golde. Y lik the goode, trewe, and olde housbondes for richesse. Natheless, Y lik welle the lustie and yonge housbonde for likerousnesse and daliaunce.

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  3. Olfo, eh? I had no idea you were Norse ;D. No wonder you don't mind the thought of a year of medieval Scandinaviana.
    Of course, I KNOW you're not medieval or even middle-aged. I wasn't born yesteday you know.

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  4. olfo-lofo the fool3:00 PM, April 02, 2006

    The teenagers around here might tell you that I am dratted over the Hill--the great greeny hill that we clamber so slowly up. Going down we roll, with rocks and roots and trees. Faster and faster until we sail off into the region of the great beyond...

    But I say that I'm perched up nice and high, with a grand view.

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  5. The worst seminar I took in graduate school was on Chaucer. Oh, man. No, wait. The worse was on Walt Whitman. He is so damned fey. The Chaucer was only bad because of the professor. Whitman was bad because of Whitman. There now, what were we talking about?
    Marly, your way of describing time and life passing is very, very poignant. I'm going to remember it, I can tell you that.

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  6. Damned fey!

    Hee.

    Back in the brief time when I taught (writers shouldn't teach), I loved teaching British survey because helping students to learn Middle English by reading Chaucer was riotous fun.

    And when I was in school, I had a professor--a very funny man--who adored the way I read poetry and, in particular, Whitman. And he made us read aloud a lot: the only class I had like that. It was an 8:00 a.m. class, but he made us meet at 7:00 a.m. because there was so much wonderful stuff to read. Aloud.

    Did I mention that I am not a morning person?

    At 7:00 he would fly in the door, singing "Lily Marlene." Now, "Susan" means "lily," and my first name is Susan. And my birth certificate says not "Marly" but "Marlene." After serenading his favorite reader, he would ask me to produce great steaming swaths of Whitman. Some days I was oddly awake, and tore off, burbling wonderfully well. Other days I had a mouth full of marbles and a gulf of sleep in my brain.

    Thanks for the compliment. We need all we can get, I imagine, to encourage us on the path. But life is poignant, isn't it? Just grass, spiring up in the sun until harvest. Us.

    And now I am finally getting back to work on the novel I was writing last summer when one of those final rolls down the hill stopped me.

    Off I go again! To take my little green joys in the sun...

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  7. So Wyf of Bathe,

    What say ye to marrying an old man for the largesse and dallying with a young one on the side????

    Just kidding. It tis best to finish one thing before one begins another. It makes life a lot less complicated.

    The taxes are done. The feds are giving me back some and the state is taking all but twenty dollars of it, so hey I can go buy myself and family some Lexington Barbecue when I get my refund.

    I didn't take a class on Chaucer or Whitman. I would have loved the Chaucer one. I remember liking Whitman in High School. I liked the free verse format of Leaves of Grass. But then we didn't do a whole class on him.

    I just took my seventh grade class through Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperus" and they were baffled by smote and amain. I wonder what they would do with Chaucer.

    And Marly,

    Is the new book a fantasy?

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  8. the WYF OF BATHE sayeth -

    Thatte is yclepped adulterye, and ye wille be besmarted in helle by litel redde demones iffen ye goe doon that roade!

    Onlye a jape--the Wyf of Bathe es lustie and "with itte."

    ****

    but Marly said -

    That Wife of Bath is going to hell in a handbasket, that's for sure. She was into finishing off one husband when she got interested in another...

    I cannot, cannot, cannot talk about books in secret progress or else I quit them! But it is a mite strange.

    Well, you smote the little blighters with a will, and that's all you can do!

    Lexington Barbecue tax return is not too bad. Could be I-O-U-I-R-S tax return.

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  9. That's okay, I understand about the book bit. I am beginning to wonder if I should have posted the Razor Blue chapter, seems as if I have lost interest for now. Although my mind has started churning a bit with it again. And I have several short stories bantering about in the brain for release.

    I was going to apply for a Fulbright teachers program to Japan this summer, but youngest daughter is great with child and will deliver of a grandson then. So, I shall try to write and do artwork. By the way, because I run a Mac laptop, Blogger won't let me post pictures. I am going to check other blog sites, and may have to move the palace.

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  10. Yes, I never show things until I've got a solid draft and am down to tinkerings. And I never "talk them out."

    Japan: do it for the next year. That would be inspiring to the drawing/painting side of you.

    Another "Moving Castle." Well, leave a forwarding address...

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  11. I’m back from spring break to decipher Middle English? Yikes! I’ll go away again and return when I can contribute, but before I do, I must defend Walt and with a piece of his Song

    “Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
    You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions
    of suns left,)
    You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
    You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
    You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.”

    Now, Marly, I’d love to hear you burble that at 7a.m. or whenever.

    If writers shouldn’t teach, then should teachers write?

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  12. That was a naughty thing for me to say--most of my friends who write also teach... And most writers appear to be teachers these days.

    More power to them!

    But I find that being two things is quite enough for me, so I don't try to be three.

    If the teacher is you, then scribble away!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.