In the Stars

After being asked about it (go visit the FAQs page), I went back and did my astrological chart just for fun. Using Goldschneider’s Personology, here is what I discovered:

Sun: Sagittarius III – Week of the Titan
grand ideas, optimistic outlook
Ascendant: Aquarius I – Week of Genius
quick learner, perceptive
Moon: Gemini II – Week of New Language
unable to hide one’s feelings well; expressions and body language give everything away á la heart on your sleeve
Mercury: Capricorn I – Week of the Ruler
a sharpness with words, either verbal or written; this explains why my speech teacher always told me I should be a lawyer
Venus: Scorpio II – Week of Depth
Venus is the loooove planet, and mine is in sexy Scorpio, which makes me passionate but also a tad obsessive; I delve deep into relationships, and into the people who interest me
Mars: Gemini III – Week of the Seeker
someone who likes to travel and explore
Jupiter: Aries II – Week of the Star
a need for self-expression and to play a central role in things (though not necessarily in an obvious way); good luck and serendipity are my boon companions
Saturn: Cancer-Leo Cusp – The Cusp of Oscillation
this cusp normally manifests as moodiness, but Saturn brings a balance and modulation that allows highs and lows to become learning experiences
Uranus: Scorpio I – Week of Intensity
frequent need for change and an inability to concentrate when under stress
Neptune: Sagittarius II – Week of the Originator
copious amounts of imagination and fantasy but a need for structure in order for visions to become realities
Pluto: Libra I – Week of the Perfectionist
strong critical and logical abilities (I think laterally while most people think vertically)

I’d say most of this sounds about right, but then these things are so vague almost anything might apply to anyone. I take exception to the bit about not being able to concentrate under stress—though it’s true I have difficulty focusing when there’s too much distraction, I’ve always done great under tight deadlines.

The above listing suggest someone both intense and grand, as well as someone sharp-witted and sharp-tongued. I’ve been described as all these things at various moments in my life, but it’s strange to see them compiled this way. And does any of this explain why I get so depressed when the moon is in Cancer? (Full moon in Cancer this month, btw. Jesus.) Also, does it explain why all my best friends are either born during the Cancer-Leo Cusp or else on 14 February or 30 September? What is it about those days that draws people born on them to me, and me to them? I wouldn’t wonder if it weren’t this weird recurring pattern in my life. But at least it means only having to buy cards three times a year.

Best. Birthday. Ever.

I wouldn’t normally post this kind of thing here–I’d save it for my personal blog–but there is some entertainment value to my birthday this year. After all, the first part of my birthday celebrations came when I flew to London to attend the Sherlock preem at the BFI. And yesterday, I received a box of cupcakes from Crumbs. (Okay, there’s not much entertainment value in that, but it was worth a mention.) And tonight I get some Robert Downey Jr. and some Sherlock of another kind/color/flavor . . .

The ladies at my salon asked me the other day who my “movie star boyfriend” would be. Well, I’ve worked with, er, “stars,” so it didn’t seem fair to pick one. But then, after some thought, I chose Robert Downey Jr. anyway. I’ve never had the pleasure of working with him, so the choice is academic. I like a man with a quick mind, and anecdotally, Robert is just that. Some say that makes him difficult to work with in some ways, but it’s understandable; smart people can have a hard time slowing themselves down, or rather, they assume everyone is with them when they’re five leaps ahead. At least half of a genius’ conversation is dropped (sometimes more) because he or she leaves out what s/he thinks is unnecessary to articulate. It seems obvious to him, after all. It’s also why they make lousy teachers; they can’t be bothered to break down into steps something that comes to them with so little effort.

I know all this because my father is brilliant, and we’ve had entire conversations that go like this:

Dad: Did you . . .?
Me: Well, I . . .
Dad: But then . . .
Me: Yeah, because . . .
Dad: Yes, okay.

Drives my mother crazy.

But I digress. On top of tonight’s film, tomorrow night I’m going out to a comedy club with friends. I don’t normally do that kind of thing, so I’m a little nervous, but also curious. I do like to laugh. Sometimes. If the jokes are clever and not too rude. My friends have made me promise to bring Sherlock along, and I can only imagine what he’ll have to say about the whole thing.

Serif-im

I sometimes think, when I am reading or speaking, there are tiny angels between the letters and the words, perched perhaps on the serifs of the typeface–Serif-im, yes–inhabiting the white space.

They are pauses, breaths, words forgotten mid-sentence, the places lost when a bookmark drops.

They are silences, awkward or otherwise, and nothing fills them. They are always empty.

Sherlock S2: “A Scandal in Belgravia”

Screened at the BFI on Wednesday, 7 December.

Pre-Screening

So I must begin with some little drama involving my seats. I had two, you see, seeing as the tickets had come as a pair, acquired (as I understand it) via a charity auction and given to me as a birthday/holiday gift. Anyway, there is only the one of me, and I didn’t have any friends in London at the moment, so for fun I gave the other seat to Sherl:

But then this guy with shaggy hair and glasses came over and decided he wanted Sherl’s seat. I have to say, this irritated me because I held the ticket for that seat–it had been a gift, as had the entire trip been, and not an inexpensive one. So I’m not sure what made this man think he could just have it. You don’t go taking expensive gifts away from people.

Weirdly enough, the people around us thought we were on a blind date.

So I’ll admit to having given the guy a bit of a difficult time about it. I asked him how he had managed to get a ticket for that seat, since I had a ticket for that seat . . . He then said his seat was farther up, but he needed to sit in back in order to duck out early. Why go at all if you’re planning leave early, I wonder? But with a sense of fairness, I traded my seat for his and felt mollified.

[As an aside, if I’d known it was possible, I would have returned the unused ticket so someone else could have it. I didn’t know that could be done.]

Some people (remaining nameless, though you’d recognize the names) seemed to find my appearance in the new seat confusing, as they turned around several times to stare. I guess they were wondering what had happened to Hair-and-Glasses guy. Sorry, gents.

The other little bit of pre-show entertainment came from the chatter around me. People were laughing that Benedict Cumberbatch had entered the BFI with a hat pulled low over his face as if trying to hide. “He thinks he’s going to get raped!” one woman crowed. I suppose it does take a certain amount celebrity conceit to believe you’re such a massive target. Way to win ’em over, Benny. (Though I know for a fact, were he ever to read this, he would try to pass himself off as amused while being privately mortified.)

The Show

We were asked as attendees not to reveal, well, much of anything, so I’ll only be able to give my impressions in broad strokes here.

Let me start by acknowledging that it is difficult, when one has created such a television phenomenon, to consistently deliver the same high caliber of work. Even in the first series, the second episode “The Blind Banker” was met with some fuss about it not being as good as the pilot. (“The Blind Banker” improves with repeated viewing, as some of the best moments are understated and easy to overlook, even if the plot isn’t stellar.)

And maybe “A Scandal in Belgravia” will also seem better the second or third time around. Which isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I just didn’t like it as much as I expected to.

“Scandal” is full of fan-pleasing moments, but some come at such a rapid-fire pace they begin to border on the absurd or corny. Really, it might have been better to withhold some of these gems for a later date. As it stands, “Scandal” strives to come across as having a cohesive story, but in fact seems to be trying to do too much, or alternatively, it’s almost as if they weren’t sure how to fill/use all their time. In consequence, the episode feels a tad disjointed, with one or two too many change-ups.

The introduction of Irene Adler has been much anticipated, and the episode itself could just as easily be titled “Sherlock’s Crush.” While there is a lot going on between Sherlock and Irene, there were moments when I wasn’t convinced the actors understood their characters’ motivations and feelings (in that specific moment), which left me as a viewer equally confused. And maybe the point is that Sherlock and Irene don’t understand their own feelings, but something about that doesn’t ring entirely true. So my asking, “Why are they behaving this way?” allows facile, surface, plot-driven answers, but a deeper understanding appears to be missing.

As John, Martin Freeman is given a couple of lovely scenes, but comes off as so much wallpaper—or a voyeur—for stretches of the episode, except when required to ask Sherlock whether he’s all right.

And I will address my notes for Benedict to him directly:

You have a lot of people telling you how wonderful you are, and you won’t love this—even small criticisms are almost physically painful for you—but I’m sure eventually you’ll come to appreciate the value of honesty. Point 1: Please remember Sherlock Holmes is a master actor. I don’t know what kind of direction you were given, so it might not be entirely your fault, but your mugged priest bit was whiny and not terribly convincing. Maybe it was being played for laughs? (And no, mentioning the mugged priest is not giving anything away; the original Doyle story has as much.) Point 2: I’ve seen people play the violin. I’ve seen people imitate playing the violin. You were doing neither. At least try to match your movements—up and down with the correct notes, vibrato with your left hand—to the music. It’s a minor peeve, yes, but so very distracting. You are wonderful and talented, Benedict, which is why I’ve come to expect the absolute best from you and have no qualms in calling you out when you’re slacking. (BTW, that fabulous intuition of yours failed spectacularly on Wednesday night. Never let nerves cloud your perception.)

The Q & A

Panel members included Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Lara Pulver. Andrew Scott (Moriarty) and Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson) attended the viewing but did not participate in the Q & A. Moderator Caitlin Moran was somewhat unfair in allowing only four audience questions. This either shows a selfishness on her part for monopolizing the conversation, or a nervousness on the part of the panelists who may very well have asked that audience questions be limited.

Moran opened by asking each panel member which scene(s) of the episode were their favorites, but as I cannot elaborate without giving anything away . . .

The awww, how sweet moment came when Benedict related that Una, having been a friend of his mum, was like a second mother to him. He also noted the difficulty not of learning lines so much as having to speak them very fast, as well as spoke about not liking to watch himself on screen.

There was some friendly ribbing of the absent Martin Freeman, who—in the context of Lara Pulver spending swaths of the episode in stages of undress (including complete undress)—they called “Martin Freehands.”

A young boy named Oliver stumped Benedict by asking what to do if one wants to become a consulting detective. “Memory games” was a portion of the stammered response, “and study criminal cases, finding out where mistakes were made.” (I’m summarizing; Benedict’s answer was less succinct but endearingly flummoxed.)

Another question was about the character of Mycroft, and Moffat and Gatiss reiterated what they’d said at the June screening of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, which is that Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Mycroft in that film largely informs their take, not least of which is having a thin Mycroft instead of one that is grossly overweight. (At the June screening they had pointed out Lee’s Mycroft had a sinister streak but also a certain amount of care and concern for his little brother; the latter is on good display at key moments in “Scandal”.)

Ideally the whole Q & A (which was filmed) will wind up as a DVD extra.

Summary

Please remember this is by nature a subjective point of view. I’m sure I haven’t won any friends or fans with my less-than-gushing review, and there will be many ready to freshly disagree when the episode airs early next year in the UK and in May in the US. But–much as I do love Sherlock, and certainly feel it deserves praises—I’ve never seen any use in simply and blindly loving everything, even in the best of television programs. As Steven Moffat said during the Q & A when someone asked him what draws him to create spiky, conflicted relationships in his shows: “They’re more interesting than easy, happy ones.” Nothing is perfect, but imperfection is what makes things interesting. “Scandal” is flawed. But still entertaining.

Special Thanks . . .

To Virgin-Atlantic, for their hospitality: as ever, you take the best care of me
And to London, my home away: much love, see you again in spring, and be good while I’m gone

For Steven Moffat on Reaching His 50th Year

Tick tock goes the clock . . .

My high school English Literature instructor turned 50 during my senior year (I don’t know what they call all this over where you are, “forms” of some kind, which I understand to be like grade levels here, only entirely different). Anyway, Mr C had been my instructor and mentor for a couple years at that point, and I loved him dearly (in fact we’re still in touch) but at that time I thought 50 was incredibly old. Even my parents weren’t 50! Who the hell lived to 50? Who would want to? By then you might as well just stop altogether and give up.

Mr C tried very patiently to explain that 50 was, in fact, really only the middle of one’s life (particularly if one lived carefully like the Jesuit he was). But I told him in all my 17-year-old glory that I hoped never to live so long because to be so old would be TRAGIC.

In turn, Mr C made me go memorize some Canterbury Tales. Showed me, I suppose. But I’ve long since forgotten all of it, so there. (Can’t fit both Shakespeare and Chaucer. Got some Wordsworth wandering around in there, too . . . THIS is what it’s like to be old, I suspect—weird snippets of things one once knew drifting in and out like waves of fog. Or maybe that’s just writers.)

They say you’re only as old as you feel, but at 50 you’re probably at least starting to get achy whenever the weather turns. They make an ointment for that, I think. I don’t know [yet] because I am not old [yet] and will not be for some time [yet, if ever].

Yes, I’m rubbing it in a little.

But you’ll have to rub in the ointment on your own.

Happy birthday.

Today: The Noughties Blogfest

This is the blogfest in which you list your favorite movies, music, books and so forth for each year from 2000 to 2009. Ah, a bygone era! (Visit Dave for more info.)

2000

This seems like so long ago. It was the year matchbox twenty’s Mad Season came out, and I remember the first time I listened to it thinking, What the hell is this? Because it didn’t sound anything like their first album. But I continued to listen to it; it fact, it was on almost constant rotation as I wrote my thesis. I also got to see them play in Amherst that year.

Also the movie State and Main. To this day it’s one of my favorites.

2001

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Right? Came out just before my birthday, and what a treat. I grew up listening to my dad tell the stories of the Hobbit and Middle Earth (I had only read The Hobbit, never the others), so this was special to me, to see it come to life in such a wonderful way.

Also: Alias. Loved that show. I want Victor Garber for an honorary uncle.

2002

Okay, I’ll go for something less obvious here. The Mothman Prophecies. That movie was seriously creepy. Oh, and the book Batavia’s Graveyard. More mainstream: The Two Towers, which is my favorite of the trilogy, and matchbox twenty’s More Than You Think You Are.

2003

Runaway Jury. I really enjoyed that movie (and not only because I was in New Orleans for some of the filming of it–more that I love John Cusack). And of course, in television, this is the year Arrested Development debuted.

Notable concert: matchbox twenty with opening acts Sugar Ray and Maroon 5.

2004

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2. The Other Boylen Girl by Philippa Gregory. Also saw Rob Thomas play a special charity concert at the China Club in NYC, along with Jewel and Darryl Hall. Saw Jimmy Buffett play at Fenway Park. And got some of my first written works published.

2005

Rob Thomas’s . . . Something to Be. I saw him live again at Avalon in Boston and also saw U2 live in concert for the first time. Jude Morgan’s Indiscretion. Robert Downey Jr’s rising star with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. And the return of Doctor Who to the television schedule, as well as the premiere of Bones.

2006

At this point I had an infant and did not have much time to watch or read or do much of anything, but I did go see V for Vendetta. And I read Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story.

2007

Hot Fuzz is a classic, is it not? And I loved Alison Weir’s book Innocent Traitor as well as Jude Morgan’s An Accomplished Woman.

2008

Cloverfield. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Weir’s The Lady Elizabeth and Stephen King’s Duma Key.

2009

A year for books: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, One Day by David Nicholls, and Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.

Also, Sherlock Holmes. And Rob Thomas’s Cradlesong (saw him in concert again). And OneRepublic’s Waking Up.

How I Learned to Drive

Although I had a driver’s license, I didn’t really know how to drive . . . until some Teamsters took pity on me.

Here’s the whole story. I went to driver’s ed like most other high school students, dragging myself to school very early in the morning in order to watch gruesome VHS tapes of “bad things teenagers do in cars that get them killed.” Then, after many weeks of these videos, we were split into groups, put in cars, and forced to run the gauntlet. By which I mean, we tried not to do any of the “bad things teenagers do in cars that get them killed.” Because besides getting us killed, it would get us yelled at by the high school’s Eastern European basketball coach who was doubling as our driving instructor.

After a few weeks of that, and once we’d passed the written exam at the DMV, the Eastern European basketball coach took us out individually for a driving test. I remember him telling me that if he had to use his special emergency break, I would fail. I actually yelled at him at that point. I said something like, “I am FOUR SECONDS BEHIND THAT CAR! I am NOT going to hit anything!” After that, he didn’t talk to me any more. But I passed.

Okay, so if I passed the driving test and had a license, why did the Teamsters need to teach me to drive? Well . . .

I was an adequate driver. Really, I was. But a nervous one as well. I didn’t drive if I could avoid it. In fact, I was relieved in college not to have a car, and therefore not to have to drive. The campus buses were fine for getting around the area. The city buses weren’t terribly reliable, but I made do.

So then I was working on a film set. And I didn’t have a car of my own, but I was also too young and too expensive to insure for a rental, so the production office gave me a driver. Score! His name was Charlie, and he was awesome. He had lots of great stories about famous people he’d driven for, and told me that the set we were on was “one of the worst” he’d ever been on (it was a pretty difficult shoot). He said to me, “If you can get through this, you can do anything.”

And then one day the producer had me drive her Dodge Ram truck, and that made me all nervous. So Charlie and some of the other Teamsters took it upon themselves to buck me up. And they basically re-taught me to drive.

I imagine it was something like a defensive driving course, though I’ve never taken one, so I don’t really know. But I learned to maneuver and such, learned how to watch for other drivers in ways that were effective . . . Not so long ago, my husband said something about how, when I’m driving, I “worry about other people a lot.” But being aware of the other cars is part of driving well–especially since these days a lot of other drivers aren’t watching for you.

What Charlie and his fellow Teamsters really gave me, though, was confidence and a sort of freedom. It was years before I had a car to drive, but when my boss gave me his for a week at one point, I was able to go forth with few reservations. I had survived working on that awful movie set, after all, and as Charlie had said: if I could do that, I could do anything. Even drive.

In Which I Answer Some Random Questions

1. Why did you stop liking the last person you liked?:
I’m going to assume this means romantically? I still like him as a friend, but he confessed two years in that he’s gay. Sort of put a break on things in that direction.

2. If you were dating someone seriously for a long time and were considering marriage, would them not wanting kids (or wanting kids; if you don’t want them) be a deal-breaker?:
Well, I think it’s important to have similar goals. You want to be moving in the same direction, so . . . Unless one of us could imagine a compromise, then yes, that could be a deal breaker.

3. If someone cheated on you, would you give them a second chance?:
As a rule, I’m not a forgiving person in this area. BUT–considering I’d want a second chance if it were me on the other side of it, I’d have to learn the circumstances and decide based on those.

4. Could you date someone who was a different religion than you? What about be just friends with someone of a different religion?:
Well, I *married* someone who is a different religion, so . . . Guess so.

5. Do you enjoy sexist and racist jokes?:
No. I generally find them in poor taste.

6. What about dirty jokes?:
Clever entendres. Nothing gross.

7. Do you respond to texts that just say “lol” or “haha” or just a smiley? Why or why not?:
Not usually. There’s not a rejoinder for that sort of thing.

8. Do you think you’re easy to talk to? Are you a better talker or listener?:
I’m easy to talk to, but don’t come across as very approachable, I don’t think. That’s usually the sticking point. I’m shy, but it apparently reads as “aloof” or even “snobbish” from across a room. I’ve been trying to work on that.

9. Do you think a relationship with a 16-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man would work out? Do you think age differences like that (when they’re under 18) should be legal?:
I don’t have a problem with significant age difference, but in this case I’d be concerned that the 16-year-old is still learning about herself, life, and such. Maybe there are 16-year-olds in the world mature enough for that kind of thing, but I’d guess they’d be few and far between. I really do believe a person needs to know themselves thoroughly–needs time on their own–before making a commitment.

10. What’s one job you would HATE to have?:
Any kind of food service.

11. Be honest. When you hear someone wants to be an artist or musician, do you automatically think “Oh gawd, they’re going to fail and be a loser forever…”?:
No. But I do think, “Don’t say you WANT to be, say you ARE and make it real.” I don’t tell people I “want” to be a writer; I tell them I am one. Because I write. And I would guess someone saying they want to be a musician or artist does, in fact, actually make music or paint or what-have-you, so . . .

12. When you write, what do you usually write about?:
Depends on what I’m working on.

13. Were you ever “the other man/woman”? How did it turn out? How do you feel about it today?:
No.

14. Have you ever cheated? What have you learned from it?:
No.

15. What do you think of open relationships? If your partner suggested it, what would you say?:
Hmm. I think I have a jealous streak that wouldn’t allow for it. But I’d hear my partner out if he wanted to make a case for it.

16. Are you a party animal? Why or why not?:
No. Not my idea of fun. Much prefer something cozy and quiet, good food and conversation.

17. Do opposites truly attract, or would you rather date someone more similar to you than different?:
I think for staying power, you need to have more in common than not. It’s fun to be with someone different for a while, but I don’t think those things last; the novelty wears off, and then you just get irritated with one another.

18. Would you ever date out of your race?:
Why is that even a question? I’d date anyone I liked, regardless of race.

19. When you have old clothes/whatever that you don’t want anymore, what do you do with it?:
Donate them if they’re still useable. Turn them into dust rags if not.

20. Do you still have a landline, or does everyone in your family just use cellphones?:
We have a landline. For one thing, it’s the number to give people you don’t want to be able to reach you just anywhere, and for another, it’s good for my kids to have a phone they can call emergency on if they ever needed to (since my cell has a passcode).

21. Do you like the “guys/girls you can’t have” or would you rather have someone up front, honest, and good for you?:
I might be intrigued by what I can’t have, but I value honesty more.

22. Are any of your clocks set in the 24-hour (sometimes called “army time”) format? Do you know what 18:08 would be in “regular” time?:
My parents were in the Navy and we had a couple 24-hour (“military”) clocks in the house when I was growing up. So yes, I know 6:08 PM.

23. What are five personality traits that would make you instantly not want to be with someone romantically?:
Arrogance, self-absorption (no, those aren’t the same things), self-pity (morose), narrow-mindedness, aggression.

24. What about five traits that would immediately catch your attention?:
Intelligence, wit, curiosity, tolerance (shown as kindness perhaps), confidence (without arrogance).

25. Ever had a relationship last under a week? Do you even count those as relationships?:
Yes. And no. So I guess that technically is a “no” for the first question, since I don’t count it?

26. Do you celebrate “month-a-versaries” or do you just do it yearly?:
Yearly, but we have two: wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our first date.

27. What does your work uniform look like?:
Jeans and a sweater? (I don’t have a uniform.)

28. What’s the oldest age someone should be living at home at (if they’re NOT going to school or because they moved back in due to a divorce/lost their house/or another tragedy)?:
Depends on the situation, but as a parent I think it’s important your child(ren) know(s) they always have someplace safe to go where they’ll be welcome.

29. Is there anyone you know who hasn’t changed much (personality-wise; not maturity-wise) since middle school?:
Yes.

30. What curse words do you find to be the most offensive?:
Swearing doesn’t bother me unless it’s excessive to the situation.

31. What kinds of books do you normally like to read?:
I go in cycles: fantasy, mystery, non-fiction . . .

32. What do you put in your coffee?:
I don’t drink coffee.

33. Do needles make you pass out?:
Syringes? No. But I can’t look when I get a shot or have blood drawn.

34. Do you have any friends who spend all their time with their partner, but when something goes wrong, they come back to you? Even though they ditched you for their partner a bunch of times?:
No.

35. Do you think being gay is a choice?:
I don’t understand how anyone thinks being gay is a choice.

36. Do you think you’re good-looking? Why or why not?:
I’m average. I have nice eyes and skin but that’s balanced against terrible hair and big ears.

37. Would you have sex before dating someone?:
Uh . . . I’d like to get at least one date in first, preferably a few. But I wouldn’t rule out a surge of passion, I suppose. So long as I at least caught his name?

Magic: A Fairy Tale

I took my 5-year-old to see The Princess and the Frog back when it was in theaters a couple years ago. I can’t say he enjoyed it much, and the representation of “Shadow Magic” particularly confused and scared him a little. He asked me a lot of questions about it, and at some point I told him that the villain had been eaten by the bad magic because he had promised to feed it but didn’t. When this only caused more questions to arise, I came up with a story that went something like this:

Once there was a little boy who lived in a cabin in the woods with his mother. The boy helped his mother by doing things like cutting wood and working in the garden to make sure they had plenty of vegetables to eat. He milked the cow and fed the goat and pigs.

There were wild animals living in the woods around the cabin, and the boy’s mother often told him to beware of them. “Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone. Never leave any food out where they might come to get it; we want them to stay away from the cabin.”

Because he wanted to be a good and helpful son, the boy listened to his mother. But one day while he was weeding the garden, the boy noticed a wolf standing on the hill by the trees. It was a beautiful wolf, but it was skinny too, and the boy felt sorry for it because he thought the wolf must be hungry. But the boy remembered what his mother had said and so ignored the wolf and went back to his work.

However, when it came time to feed the goat and the pigs, the boy saw the wolf was still there. And he decided it couldn’t hurt so very much to throw a little something out for the wolf to eat. So he did.

The next day, when the boy went out to chop wood for the morning fire, he saw the wolf again. This time it stood a little farther past the trees, closer to the cabin. The wolf was not really any less skinny than it had been before; the boy knew just one meal would not satisfy a wolf. But the boy ignored the wolf and went on with chopping wood, milking the cow, and working in the garden, until it was time to feed the goat and pigs again. Then the boy threw a little extra out for the wolf once more.

The next morning the wolf was halfway down the hill, sitting and waiting. The boy did just as he had before, completing his chores and then throwing food to the wolf. He began to wonder if maybe he could tame the wolf. What a splendid pet it might make! And a good watchdog as well.

The next day the wolf was right in the garden. Instead of waiting, the boy gave the wolf scraps from his own breakfast and tried to teach the wolf to sit and lie down. The wolf complied for as long as the boy had food to give, but once the food was gone, the wolf was no longer interested in learning.

On the next morning, the boy opened the cabin window and discovered the wolf sitting right beneath it. By this time the wolf was looking less skinny, and its fur was beginning to grow even more thick and lovely.

“I don’t have anything to feed you,” the boy told the wolf. “I haven’t chopped the wood yet, so there is no fire, and so no breakfast.”

The wolf watched and waited while the boy chopped wood. It watched and waited while the boy milked the cow while and his mother cooked the breakfast. But the boy was very hungry that morning and forgot to save any scraps for the wolf. When he went outside to work in the garden, the wolf followed him, growling.

“You’ll have to wait,” the boy told the wolf.

But the wolf did not want to wait. The wolf was used to being fed, and the more the boy fed it, the hungrier and greedier it became. So the wolf went to the pig sty and ate a piglet.

When the boy discovered this, he knew he could not keep the wolf as a pet, could not train it or trust it. He knew his mother had been right when she’d said he should not feed wild animals.

The boy looked and found the wolf lying in front of the cabin door. When the boy tried to step over, the wolf growled and snapped its jaws. So the boy went to fetch his axe. He swung the axe at the wolf, and the wolf jumped up and out of the way. It ran off into the woods.

Relieved, the boy thought that was the last he would see of the wolf. But the next morning it was again under the cabin window. The boy decided to ignore it. But when he went out to chop wood and milk the cow, the wolf followed. Finally, the boy told the wolf, “I have nothing to feed you, today or any day. And if you kill another piglet, I will use this axe on you for good.” Then the boy turned to go back inside to eat his own breakfast.

But as he did, the wolf lept on the boy and ate him up instead.

The idea was that dark magic might be tempting, but once you start to “feed” it, it will only want more. It will hurt the things and people you care for, and it will eventually hurt you, too. Idle threats won’t work against it; if you get mixed up in something like that, you have to be prepared to kill it outright if you want to be free. It’s an imperfect analogy, of course, but not all bad as a story.