silveryscrape (silveryscrape) wrote,

One of the odd things about this stripped-down cross-country move is going through all my old stuff and pitching it. We're talking crap I've dragged around, in some cases, for nearly 30 years. But do I really need the little drawings of horses and tornados and the list of fire lizards I had when I lived on Pern? No, I do not. And the ticket stubs to Jethro Tull and Yes, and the flyers for John Cale and the Modern Lovers, and the tattered copies of the Village Voice, back when I worshipped Robert Christgau? Out. All of it, out. Dragging up a lot """" of old energies. But I'm doing a lot of yoga, too, so maybe I'll be able to ride it out.

Hee! But I found an old paper from my lit days that cracked me the fuck up. So, yeah, I took Old English and read Beowulf and Bede and all those old, weird works, and at the time I was pretty stoned usually and wholly without direction, so I was hanging on to a B- by the barest skin of my ass. But my final project took me up to a solid A+ in the class and the professor personally came to the student lounge to thank me. Hee! He said it was the first time he hadn't been bored grading a student paper in years. He was kind of a crank.

Okay, enough with the self-aggrandizing. Our project was to write some Old English poetry in the various styles of the authors we read, from the old Norse mead-hall fealty stuff to the warrier laments with Christian overtones to the straight Christian histories. I remember thinking to myself, god, take me right now. I'm bored to death already. So I took it and shook it up a bit and the title of my project was "A Short Anthology of Old English Waitress Works."

The idea: an ancient lineage of First Waitresses, whose histories were recorded by all the usual authors of those times, and the first poem was a Beowulf-style split-line warrier story in which Florence, daughter of the First Waitress, Freawaru, doomed to serve mead because her husband died a cowardly death, had to do battle with the dread monster Customer, all arms and legs and mouths and never satisfied. The second was a traditional lament, one of those all alone in a boat, cut off from hall and brothers and in disgrace style poems, only in mine it's a waitress who questioned her tip and was banished. But it's the last piece that I love dearly. It's Bede Apocrypha and it still makes me laugh. Here, if you want to you can see more:

We have heard of a saintly Christian woman, loyal to the ways of God, who was known to the world as Babs. Babs, having received of a wealthy Christian, familiar with her good deeds, a large beneficence (known to Babs as a "big tip"), went to a far land and made, in the uncouth city of Merseyside, an abbey, known to the world as Hilton. Men of Christian wisdom and learning were said to make frequent pilgrammages to this place; the writings speak of the Abbess's institution of the practice of the "bottomless chalice," no doubt a ritual concerning the transubstantiation of Our Lord's Blood, although no description can be found.

Nor was the Abbess Babs unknown to our Holy Father Gregory. The Pope, concerned that the proper Christian practices were being followed in this far-off land, wrote to this sainted woman concerning her ancient lineage, saying "Quid Freawara Cum Christos?" (ed. -- apparently the source for the famous warning of Alcuin, who seemingly thought it more proper to mention the husband, Ingeld. We now know that Ingeld was not of the ancient race of waitresses, but rather the cause for it.) The Abbess responded in idiom particular to the line of Freawaru, saying, "Mind Your Own Business," which is said to mean, in that parlance, "I have heard your complaint, Good Sir, and will bring it to the attention of the Management at my earliest convenience." It was thought that Gregory was pleased with this response, for he searched in his mind for some gift to send to the Hilton Abbey; those close to the Pope in Rome say he decided on a fine hunting dog, although they were mystified as to the significance of an animal corresponding in years to the Abbess. At any rate, Gregory was seen to wander the streets of Rome murmuring about "that ancient bitch."

When it came time for the Abbess to join God in her new life, she reported to one of her servants that she had seen a bright light, out of which spoke a voice, saying, "time to add up your checks, dear, and cash in your bank." Upon her death the Abbess Babs was interred in the chapel; many miracles were said to happen in the countryside around Hilton, as when one man, having been very hungry, soon after entering the door of the chapel felt his hunger satisfied. When the new chapel was built some years later, and the Abbess Babs disinterred, it was as if she had never passed from her body. Her body remained incorrupt, and was found to be clad in shining clothing of a slippery material, colored in the startling but not unGodly color of the new growth in spring.

Hee! I'm such a retard. But I love the Venerable Bede, Father of Gossip Columnists.

Come to think of it, that was my first fanfiction. In 1988 I was very, very strange. But I went on to write mary-sue het porn about me and Lou Reed, so I guess that's better.

Damn! There's going to be a veritable shitload of us at JC's Chicago show, no? That is so cool. I just hope we can pick each other out in the crowd, assuming there's anyone there not from lj. Me? I'll be the one Lonnie's carrying out, upside down and giggling.

  • No shame, no regrets

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