Saturday, September 14, 2019

Day 113. My class project website

I'm still stuck working on the book proposal, but at least there is some good rabbit energy going on: I set up the website for my Myth-Folklore class project about Brer Rabbit and the Witch-Rabbit. I missing getting to work on Brer Rabbit every day like during the summer, but this is something anyway. I'm excited about getting Taily-Po ready for Halloween!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Day 112. Book dilemma

I was already scrambling when the school year started, and now I've got another dilemma; I've been asked to write a book proposal about teaching online. I debated about whether to submit the proposal or not, but I decided it was important to give it a try. So, I'm working on the book proposal right now, and if it goes through, Brer Rabbit will be on a back burner not just during the school year but next summer too.

But it's good either way: I will be happy if the book proposal is accepted... but if not, it means I'll be able to get back to Brer Rabbit and maybe even write a Brer Rabbit book next summer. :-)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Day 111. Cherokee Rabbits

I didn't get to do any real work on the project today at all (and that's going to be a perpetual problem while school is going on I'm afraid), but I did do a wonderful aetiological story starring the rabbit in Cherokee legend: Why There Is Flint Everywhere.

A Sioux story makes it clear that this flint creature is a bear: The Rabbit and the Bear with the Flint Body.

With stories like this, it is clear why there would be so much good synergy between the rabbits of Native American storytelling traditions and the trickster rabbits of the African American traditions. It's not about proving origins as in some folklore studies, but instead about the great new stories and new versions of old stories that resulted from all this storytelling energy. I really want to find a way to make my Brer Rabbit anthology reflect all that rabbit energy at work!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Day 110. Jerry Pinkney

I was flipping through my copy of Julius Lester's version of the Brer Rabbit tales, with all those gorgeous illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. His depictions of the animals are wonderful, but what's really remarkable is the way he draws Miss Meadows and the gals, along with Mr. Man and the other human characters, as African American. Every time I see a white Miss Meadows, it just feels so wrong. I wish so much that Pinkney's illustrations were in the public domain. Maybe someday I can afford to hire an artist to draw some illustrations for the stories like these, where the human characters do not get "defaulted" to being white...

So much better than the usual 19th-century illustrations for white audiences:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Day 109. Rabbit and ribbons

I did some research this morning for the version of Tortoise and Hare I want to write for my Week 3 story in Myth-Folklore, and I had one of those great folklore moments: in Harris's version, there is reference to Rabbit wearing ribbons (not so tortoise), and the illustrators pick up on that, but it's not motivated in the story at all. But if you look at Native American versions of the story, there are references to the contestants wearing ribbons or feathers (and so Turtle has to supply his substitutes with those markers also). I don't know if that is Native American innovation (which then passed on to Harris's informant), or if that is also in the African stories; I didn't have time to read through the African stories yet to look, but they are definitely in some Native American versions, so I will include that in mine too for sure. Here's Rabbit with ribbons:

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Day 108. Brer Rabbit units ready to go

I finally got some time to work on Brer Rabbit, and I fixed up both the Brer Rabbit Units, One and Two, at the UnTextbook. I'm really glad to have those new versions of the stories and all the illustrations ready for people to read. Each time I copied in the story without the eye-dialect (I had already removed the Uncle Remus frame), I felt so sure people would really enjoy the stories more. I ended up ditching two of the poems, but that worked out fine given that there were three poems I replaced with prose that was longer. I took reading notes also, finding favorite stories in all four parts: 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, and 2-B.

I've also got a plan for the Brer Rabbit stories I will write for class; I did the one about wolf-under-the-rock; next I will do the tortoise and the hare (Aesop and Brer Rabbit combination), and then the tortoise-in-the-pond (inspired by the Indian jataka), and then there are two weeks I can use Brer Rabbit sources, so I'll pick two Rabbit stories then (not sure which ones), and then in Week 11 I'll be able to do a Cherokee story (or some other Native American analogue story), and finally meeting-man in Week 13... if I'm not done with the class already.

So, that's six or seven stories here at the blog, plus I'll do the Mammy-Bammy-Big-Money stories I think for the Storybook, so that's another three or four... the odds are looking good for ten stories this semester. :-)

I'm even thinking I might have that magical little bird in the story of the little rabbits be one of Mammy-Bammy-Big-Money's magical agents...

Friday, August 30, 2019

Day 107. Planning for tomorrow

So, this week was just hard... I'm glad it's Friday! And what I thought I might do with this blog post is use it as a "tomorrow-agenda" approach, having in mind at the end of the day today what I want to do tomorrow. And since tomorrow is Saturday (glory hallelujah!), that means I can work on Myth-Folklore reading, which will I think needs to be fixing up the Brer Rabbit units in the UnTextbook, so that will be my goal for tomorrow. I am going to swap out the eye-dialect versions (I had stripped the frame, but not the eye-dialect) with my new versions, plus improving the notes:
Brer Rabbit
More Brer Rabbit

Those units are from five years ago and, at that time, I didn't have a good handle on the Harris bibliography at all, so I worked with the stories at Gutenberg with the most abundant illustrations. So, I might also swap out some of those stories for other ones, and to do that, I will need to follow this procedure:
1. Get the time-date stamp from the story being retired.
2. Create a new post using that time-date stamp and same labels.
3. Change time-date stamp on the old post to backdate it.
4. Update the table of contents.
5. Update the forward-backward navigation.

That's a pretty tedious process, so I'll try to keep that to a minimum, but I know for sure I want to swap out the whippoorwill story; Chase did not include that, and I'm still trying to figure out what its source might be (it's a good story, and it's even aetiological... I hope I will come up with a source or analogue eventually!). And I'm also going to put a story in place of the proverbs

So, that will be a good project to start tomorrow! I think I can make it my goal to get through both units, which I'll count for Week 3 Reading A-B and Week 4 Reading A-B... and maybe I can do some of the Nigerian stories too; I'll count that as Week 3 and 4 extra if I can get to them; I really enjoyed working on those and adding the notes last time I got to sit down and work on the course.

The past two weeks have been so hectic that seems like a long time ago!