Yesterday proved to me that I had good cause to fear those notes I'd made during the most recent Daughter of Hounds read-through. Fortunately, I had Spooky here to keep me focused and moving ahead. But it was the very definition of tedium. About 4 p.m., we took a break and drove over to Springvale Park (the setting for Sirenia Digest's "Bridle"). But it was raining, and there were mosquitoes, and we didn't stay very long. A got a Red Bull and headed home again and back to the ms. pages. We were at it until after 6 p.m. And we almost managed to finish with that set of notes. When we finally stopped, only a few things had not been checked off. Unexpectedly, I found myself expanding the last scene before the epilogue, which still has me a little nervous today. Anyway, speaking of today, I'll get to what I didn't get to yesterday and try to get through the old notes from the first read-through back in January/February. Ugh. I haven't abandoned hope that tomorrow can be my last day with this ms., but I still have the appendices to proof.
The best part of yesterday was the mail, which brought a book I'd purchased on eBay. A Snake-Lover's Diary by Barbara Brenner (1970, Young Scott Books). This is the book which began my fascination with herpetology, particularly snakes, and led to a period late in elementary school and early in junior high where I stopped wanting to be a paleontologist and decided, instead, that I would be a herpetologist (much to the chagrin of my snake-hating/fearing family). When I almost stepped on the DeKay's snake last month, I remembered this book, which I'd not read (or even seen) since at least 1979 or so. But I found an ex-library copy cheap on eBay (formerly of the Mission Glen Elementary School, Houston, Texas). Anyway, I scanned the cover:
While we were having dinner, around 7:45, the power went out and was out for an hour or so. An hour at the most. It was kind of nice actually. I lay in bed listening to the rain.
Last night, we finally finished Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today. All in all, it's the best book on Neo-Paganism I've read so far, but it is dated and does have its shortcomings. The first few chapters are the best, and then Adler seems to lose focus and the book begins to meander and double back upon itself. She relies far too heavily on quotes. Still, the scholarship is much better than average. Most importantly, Adler's book has reassured me that I can call myself Wiccan and think of myself as Wiccan without having to succumb to superstition and gender polarity, dogma and "magical thinking." I rather liked this line from the epilogue, where Adler is writing of George Mylonas' work on the excavations at Eleusis:
What little we know of the Mysteries [of Eleusis] seems to indicate that these rites emphasized (as the Craft, at its best, does today) experience as opposed to dogma, and metaphor and myth as opposed to doctrine. Both the Mysteries and the Craft emphasize initiatory processes that lead to a widening of perceptions. Neither emphasizes theology, belief, or the written word. (p. 441)
Having finished Adler, we began Ronald Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, which promises, I think, to be superb.
Okay. The platypus is a lonely hunter. Time to get back to the pages...