I got this meme from minnehaha
: Comment on this post. I will choose seven userpics from your profile and you will explain what they mean and why you are using them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so others can play along.
Here were the icons minnihaha
K. asked me about:
This is from the movie Sense and Sensibility
(of the Jane Austen novel of the same name) and it pictures the actress Emma Thompson in the part of Elinor Dashwood. Throughout the book (and movie) the reserved Elinor ("Sense") stands in contrast to her sister, the romantic passionate Marianne ("Sensibility"). At the course of the novel, Marianne, who has always rather looked down upon Elinor for what she terms her coldness, learns that Elinor feels just as passionately as Marianne herself, except that she (unlike Marianne) exercises discipline over her emotions for a variety of reasons: because it is more honorable, more temperate, and because she does not wish to give her family and friends pain when she herself is hurting. My emotions have always been a difficult part of my own character to manage, and much of the process of my maturation has been learning how to handle them appropriately. I have adopted what I call my "Elinor Dashwood" mode (and I use this icon) to describe those times when my emotions may be tumultuous and painful, but I do not feel it is appropriate to make a parade of them, or to speak directly in my LiveJournal of what is bothering me. See this entry
where I began the metaphor, and all of my entries tagged "Elinor Dashwood" here
Both of these icons (as well as my default icon) are representations of what I have come to call the Holy Tree
. I first became aware of the term by reading Tolkien: he loved trees dearly, and they became central to his mythology, as depicted in The Silmarillion
. (In the first manifestation of the world, there was no sunlight or moonlight. Instead, there were the Two Holy Trees, Telperion and Laurelin, from which shone golden and silvery light.) This idea has mingled in my imagination with my favorite poem of all, Yeat's The Two Trees
. (I was introduced to it by Loreena McKennitt, who sang it as a song on her album The Mask and the Mirror
.) The poet speaks of a magical tree which grows within the human heart, and contrasts that with a false vision of a blasted, barren tree, which may be seen when demons hold up their bitter glass (a mirror). To me, this poem is about one of the central struggles of my life, and it words it so beautifully. I am too apt to believe the demons who hold up the bitter glass, and show me a vision of a blasted and barren tree. I have been trying to see more clearly the holy tree, which the poet assures me grows within my own heart. The song is also a damn good description of cognitive therapy, one of the best I've ever read. When depression gets its claws into me, my tormentors are, indeed, the "ravens of unresting thought," who shake their ragged wings, alas. The key, the poet says, is to turn the eyes away from the bitter glass, with its false vision of the blasted tree, back to the holy tree within the heart. The first tree icon, highly stylized, I posted because I was considering it as a possible tattoo (it was on the cover of a devotional booklet distributed by my church). I still love the design, but I know it would have to be simplified and I am not sure I will ever do it (the idea of my getting a tattoo does horrify some members of my family). The second tree icon was taken from a watercolor done by Tolkien himself, picturing the Mallorn trees of the Golden Wood (from The Fellowship of the Ring
This candle is an evocation of another important concept from Tolkien: A light in dark places
, when all other lights go out. (This is a reference to the Vial of Galadriel, which was a source of light to Frodo in the cave where he encountered the spider Shelob. I use this icon when the depression seems to be waxing and the Light seems to be waning. I use it to remind myself that there is
still light there, and I need to remember and draw courage from that.
This is a line from Pride and Prejudice
, something said by the insufferable, bossy Lady Catherine DeBourgh. I swiped it from www.pemberley.com
. I thought it might be good to use when I wanted to comment on other people's journals, although since I swiped it without permission I feel guilty about having it and so I haven't used it that often. It was actually these Pemberley icons that gave me the idea of creating my Tolkien icons.
This is a picture of the ice palace in St. Paul, taken from the air, at night. I was trying to write a fantasy novel, where the central character was the architect designing it. Unfortunately, I lost my way, and the book has been abandoned for now.