Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002


It's a nice day outside, but I feel very blah -- just this side of depression, but not quite there. I would connect this with my lack of progress on my album, the fact summer is over, or the fact that my job isn't particularly satisfying. But the truth is that, even when I'm happy and doing well, I still am fully capable of being blah or depressed. People being nice to me is always a downer.

Last August, I was Interfilk guest at Conchord in LA. Wonderful con, wonderful people, and a wonderful vacation afterward with my friend Seanan, who let me stay at her house in San Francisco for a few days. But then I could barely bring myself to speak with any of the people I met, even a year afterward. I'm not sure if this is shyness -- bringing me out of my shell always makes me scurry back to it so I can huddle myself in a fetal position and pretend I never left -- or just my normal lack of self-esteem. But I feel very bad about it. People deserve better of me.

Good News

One of my old friends is apparently expecting. Hurray!

Voyage wrapped in darkness, full of danger
Futures spread with love before this stranger
Come to share our lives and learn our ways.
We will count the months and days

Till the stranger comes and makes us change:
Everything we have we'll rearrange,
Every day we'll worry, every night we'll wake --
All this for a stranger's sake.

This is how our people come to Earth.
Nothing we can do that has more worth --
Worth the time and trouble, worth the work and fear
When we have our stranger here.

That's by me.

To-Do List

I need to find out exactly what commands this blogger thing accepts, and why some of the markup stuff doesn't show up on my Netscape at home. I guess I also need to put in more links and stuff. Oh, yeah, and find out how to let other people know this blog exists. While it's soothing to be able to write whatever I want in the sure knowledge nobody else notices, ranting to myself isn't even preaching to the choir. It's preaching to the lectern.

I suppose I could always translate the title into Latin. :)

Church Latin

I like Latin. I don't love it, but it has a lot of beauty and style, and you can't beat it for deathless literature. But you won't find me reading Latin in the original for pleasure, like that gentleman, scholar, and master of science fiction and fantasy, David Drake. I am perfectly happy to read his vivid translations of Latin poetry, either on his webpage or in his Lord of the Isles fantasy series. I just don't have that 'they lied to me about what it said!' drive to read the actual stuff. (Though if Drake's translations from the Metamorphoses continue to be soooo much better than the translation we read in school, I could easily change my mind.)

I remember as a kid that I was thrilled to sing Latin stuff in choir. It was new and different, and it was Gregorian chant, right? Which meant it was from the Middle Ages, and that was cool. (Little did I know about Solesmes....) But that was with much preparation and a good hymnal to sing from.

These days, Latin songs in many parishes (not mine, thank goodness) seem to be dumped on me without warning. Or sheet music. Or even a lyrics handout.

Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

Look, I didn't learn every common Latin hymn and Mass as a kidling. The stuff I did learn was probably not to the same tune, and anyway, we only did it once or twice in my life. It's hard to try and dig up Latin words from something I learned back in 2nd grade, or figure out what the translation should be on the fly. Plus you have to pronounce everything the American church Latin way, which isn't even the same as most of the medieval Latin pronunciation systems on my early music albums, and is definitely different from the classical Latin I took in high school.

The vast majority of those under 35 are far more ignorant than I. If I'm barely treading water, they must just hold their breath and hope for the Latin flood to recede soon. If people want to support the Latin tradition, they have to stop this arrogant assumption that 'everybody knows the song' and print out some lyrics.


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