A Knight in Moderation

Several years ago, my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  It was summer – too early for the question – and we were walking down a sunlit street.  “A knight in shining armor,” I said.

Obviously, I wasn’t serious.  As I remember it, I wasn’t even keeping my eye out for romance at the time.  I just thought I was being cute.

Six months later, I unwrapped the lad in the photo.  I loved him, of course:  I’ve always had a thing for miniatures (in moderation), and this fellow is so steadfast.  He’s sits on my windowsill with Ganesh and Happy Buddha, and together they are part of my home-in-a-pocket kit whenever I travel.

Thank goodness, though, that he stays faithfully on that windowsill, and doesn’t butt in too much.  Knights In Shining Armor can save the day, but they can also have some exhaustingly high expectations of themselves and of you.  As my sister said when I unwrapped him, it’s much better to carry your own Knight with you, so you don’t have to go looking for him in other people.

Book Review: A History of Witchcraft

Synopsis: The authors discuss the definitions of witchcraft, and chart witchcraft’s historical, anthropological, and religious manifestations from ancient times to the present. This book also includes an analysis of the importance of the internet and films in the dissemination of modern witchcraft – and the personal tensions as a secretive, initiatory cult becomes an open and recognized religion.

Verdict: Readable, and of a modest length. Seems to be well-researched. A nice, thorough introduction to witchcraft past and present, as well as to the power of the idea of witchcraft. Recommended for anyone interested in this subject – especially at this time of the year!

(Click on the cover image to order this book from an indie bookseller near you!)

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, by Isabel Fonseca

Shop Indie BookstoresThis website is most concerned with the character of the gypsy, the bohemian, the wanderer. But for a contemporary portrait of the Romani – the group most often labeled as ‘Gypsies’ –  this tome, in which Isabel Fonseca describes the four years she spent with Romani from Albania to Poland, listening to their stories, deciphering their taboos, and befriending their matriarchs, activists, and child prostitutes – is fascinating. Don’t go to this book for any lyrical generalizations: Bury Me Standing draws its strength from its detailed, specific portraits of diverse Romani individuals. Fonseca’s writing is articulate and interesting, but be prepared: The contextual material (mainly involving the political upheavals in Eastern Europe during the latter 20th century) makes for a dense read.

(Click on the cover image to buy this book from an independent bookseller.)

Virtual Hugs

I’m on Facebook. I rarely log in (as you may have noticed, I haven’t been logging into Blogger very much lately either…) and have my privacy settings ramped up to the max, but it’s a good way to get back in touch with people.

I have one friend from college, who also rarely logs in, who I’ve never lost touch with. We don’t get to hang out much, since he’s off in a sunny, young L.A., but every two weeks or so we’ll talk on the phone, and he’ll get me laughing, because he’s just that kind of guy. I don’t like talking on the phone, but if you have to talk to someone on the phone, he’s your man. As it happens, we’ve both been on Facebook for over a year, and we’re not “friends” after all. LOL.

Every once in a while, one of my Facebook friends will send me an invite: “Be a Vampire Slayer!” or “Poke me back!” or somesuch. And while I did “Become a Fan of Barack Obama!” I generally don’t want an excuse to spend more time staring at a screen, so I hit “Ignore.”

What I do appreciate, though, is this: Really, when someone invites me to slay the undead, what they’re saying is, “Hi! I’m over here, and I haven’t forgotten about you!.” That is something sweet to hear.

I confess, though, that I would rather have tea or drinks or a dance with a friend once a year, than exchange virtual hugs and updates every week. So if I don’t write on your wall, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you.