". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Eating Holiday! Plus - Authors!

Has anyone else played this game?

I played Authors constantly, right up until leaving home, taking a deck with me much in the way others brought their tarot decks to college.  But I never encountered anyone who had even heard of the game, much less played it, and have not since. Even before leaving home, Authors seems to have become somewhat of an esoteric game.  None of my cousins ever played it, and had no interest in learning to, when I'd suggest it on holidays held at our house.  So I never played Authors with anyone except my brother and sister, a few people at school -- and in high school my best friend, who was as much a book-and-reading fool as I was.

Today it's deep freeze here, perfect context for me still being sick -- since November 7, fer pete's sake!  Every time I feel better and then go out, the next day I feel as miserable as I ever did.  That happened yesterday after getting to see clips of Treme's new season on Wednesday night. Nevertheless we are having Thanksgiving and we both have enormous amounts for which to be thankful, thank goodness!  :)

As I leisurely begin preparations for dinner I have been thinking of Thanksgivings past.

The first copy of Little Men I read was my mom's, one of the many volumes she purchased for the kids in the country school she taught before marriage.  Imagine my shock when reading this one to discover entire chapters had been cut out -- as irrelevant to the story, I suppose.  That was my first encounter with a bowdlerized book.  Then, as now, I hate it!
I loved how Louisa May Alcott always included holiday gatherings in her novels. There's a colorful account of a Thanksgiving held at Plumfield in Little Men that I enjoy reading as much every time as I did the first time, when I was nine.  It felt so -- familiar, so homey.   One thinks of marking the tale of a life through his / her Thanksgivings.  For many years I was able to account for every Thanksgiving I'd experienced since leaving home.  Not so much any longer. Woo.  :)

Some still particularly stand out in memory, several of them in New Mexico.

One of the very best was with a collection of amigos / amigas at a cabin without plumbing or electricity in the Organ Mountains.*  The turkeys were wild turkeys, and cooked in an outdoor adobe oven, while everything else was done on a wood burning stove.  We were grateful for that stove, particularly after the sun went down.  The sky at night!  It looked like those over saturated color Sunday School lesson front page of the sky above Palestine at the Nativity.  More stars brilliantly sparkling up there than in a jewelry store's diamond case.  Knocking back tequila, reciting poetry, dancing to the portable radio, stumbling to the outhouse.

Fine memories.


* Had not yet encountered the mighty and gracious el V -- but I have a splendid New Mexico Thanksgiving memory with him included too!  Then it was on to creating NYC Thanksgiving memories, as after we met, I didn't stay much longer in NM -- though I did return for a year at one point, which was a tremendous error in judgment on my part.  Or -- maybe not.  It turned out to get me what I wanted. But there was no way for me to know that would happen, or even to expect it would.


Sarah Johnson said...

Yes, actually!

My dad introduced me to Authors, and we used to play regularly when I was growing up. I take it this is the game of cards that represented books by Hawthorne, Dickens, Longfellow, Alcott, and other notables, where you had to collect four of a kind. It was one of my first introductions to great works of literature.

Foxessa said...

That's exactly the deck, Sarah. How exciting to see someone else played and remembers doing so!

I first heard of Authors from Louisa May Alcott, whose Little Women played the game.

Alcott and Authors played a huge role in my early education in both literature and history.

What is curious, of course, is that Alcott's books were on my deck of Authors, while the game, They Say, wasn't devised until 1863. One wonders if this isn't another moment in which Alcott the author is having a bit of fun in her text?

It's been updated, wiki says, several times, though still available. Wonder what writers have taken the place of our classics?

Love, C.

Sarah Johnson said...

I had no idea the game had such a lengthy history until I saw the wiki entry. I'd figured it was just a novelty game my dad had picked up at a toy store. That's very interesting about its presence in Little Women -- I hadn't remembered that. How amusing!

Foxessa said...

I just love that Alcott's books were an Authors' suite, am dthat she had the March sisters playing the game!

Ms. Alcott could be a sly one when she so wished.

I think I have all her books memorized -- having read Little Women and Little Men first when about age nine, I think -- acknowledging that memory has been proved by scientists no less as notoriously unreliable! :)

Love, C,