Sunday, November 8, 2009

Home Again!

Had a truly WONDERFUL time at NAVC. There's much to be said for seeing friends, especially ones you only see once...maybe twice a year. Much to be said for friends who have disturbed imaginations and live considerable blocks of time in the 18th or early 19th centuries.

After some 2-3 hours of TRULY panicked attempts to organize my notes, fill in some blanks and improve my talk, it was delivered at 3:00 pm on Saturday. Pretty good-sized crowd, actually (OY VEY IZ MEER!). I felt inadequate; thought it was choppy, not sequential, lame and feeble. Stood amazed, watching myself from "outta the body" and thinking "Who is this moron, and why does she know nothing?"

HOWEVER. Several people came up and said they'd enjoyed it, and there was one lady who said my theory of human beings requiring aesthetics was GENIUS! That did much for my feelings, I am here to tell you.

Briefly (in case anyone's interested) here's that theory, inspired by stuff I thought about during some 4th-grader tours at the Museum. Goes like this:

Everyone needs food, clothing, shelter, air and water, to sustain our bodies and maintain our very lives. No arguments there.

But I postulate (am I using that right?) that there is a sixth Human Need; while a lack of it might not actually cause the life to flow out of us, leaving us a little pile of empty clay like no food or water will, it must be a very basic thing indeed: this is "the need for lovely (or ornamental, decorative, aesthetically-pleasing) things. I base this on an inspiration that came to me looking at a many-hundreds-of-years-old clay pot made by the paleo-Indians who lived here in Wisconsin.

It's decorated. Very SIMPLY-decorated, but decorated nonetheless. SO I says to myself, "Self? I postulate that the decorated pot proves up my theory." To the kids I says, says I: "Does the food cooked in this pot taste better than it would if the pot were plain? (Insert chorus of young voices saying "Noooooo" here.) "Would the water in the clay pot be more refreshing if it were plain?" (See above.) "BUT!" says I, "wouldn't the woman who made it and all her family and friends take more pleasure in looking at it than if it were plain?"

And then they get it, and I'm usually satisfied to note that the adults along are looking like they get it too, all smiling and nodding and stuff.

Furthermore, in a true "mouths-of-babes" moment, one of the little tykes observed, "Couldn't it also show WHOSE pot it was?" I would've gladly taken the kid out for pizza then and there. "YES!" says I, overcome with the Sharp Degree of Getting-It-ness the kid showed.

That theory was what wowed my Mrs.-Non-Reenactor-at-the-Program. That, coupled with the statement (true) that the whole long extensive fascinating, earth-and-life-changing Fur Trade was initiated because of FASHION really tripped her trigger.

Going into Tour Guide Teacher mode: the beaver hats that were SO desired in France and England....the hats that inspired explorers and traders and hunters to come to the New World to find them in abundance -- those hats were NOT wanted because of any of their virtues other than STYLE. Add to that the fact that 60% of the trade items were of like aesthetic value primarily (cloth, silk ribbon, trade silver brooches, glass beads) and you have the universality of human beings, red AND white, to look cool. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So my lecture was poorly-delivered and scatty all over the place, but inspirational to one attendee and apparently (to my great relief) at least interesting to the others, and it seems to have been successful in some regard.

And it's DONE! Delivered, presented, lecturized and PAST TENSE! Therefore, I will now resume regular programming, and I am about to hunker down and WRITE. I have a few thousand NaNoWriMo words to get under my belt........and a few pages of my "real novel", as my Writing Group meets tomorrow. So no new word count to post tonight, but watch this space!


janna said...

Yay! I'm glad it's over, but I'm sure it was great!

Marjorie said...

Nose to Grindstone, Et, Nose to Grindstone (sez yer et with a much shorter nose than previously)!