n paraphernalia [pӕrəfəˈneiliə]
a (large) collection of (small) objects, often the tools etc for a job or hobby
v paraphernalia [pӕrəfəˈneiliə]
a (large) emotional collection of (small) objectives, often the tools etc to live life as a continual hobby
ex After work each day, Dody likes to paraphernalia.
I named this blog Paraphernalia for a reason. I knew I could not focus on one particular topic and stay engaged. Long ago, I used to make bridal head wreaths and French ribbon rose brooches. I called my little ‘business” Paraphernalia – in keeping with one of the official definitions of the word “A married woman’s personal property exclusive of her dowry, according to common law.” I love the word… I hate that it is associated with drugs … but I choose to ignore that definition…
Lately, it seems I am surrounded by Paraphernalia – the lovely, comforting flotsam and jetsam of my intellectual and creative life. It reminds me of that old, old Cracker Jack commercial; the one where the little boy empties his pockets and reveals a treasure trove of marbles and string and maybe a jack or two… I loved playing jacks… writing about playing jacks could be an entire blog post. The paraphernalia of that little boy’s pockets was very satisfying.
If paraphernalia was a verb, you could say that I paraphernalia throughout each day: I read a little, I craft a little, I write a little – in other words I function within my large collection of small objectives, collections of words, collections of images, collections of thoughts manifested as art and beauty. So, what are these collections? What does it mean? What is paraphernalia-ing?
For one thing, it means I read little bits of many books. I have found that I need to get hopping if I am going to read everything on every topic that interests me. So, I read many at once. I am currently reading five books. The first is The Man Who loved Books Too Much – which is a quirky, true life crime story of a rare book thief. I plan to write a whole post on the book as soon as I am done, which is in fifty five pages.
Since I am a Janeite – I am reading Jane Austen, The World of her Novels by Deirdre LeFaye. This book is delightful. It is a wealth of information about what it was like to live in Jane’s age. I pick it up and learn something everyday…about travel arrangements, currency, the countryside. It is a wonderful book, with beautiful illustrations.
If you read five books at once, at least one has to be a novel. Right now that novel is The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. I will review it as well. So far, it is…fine. However, it doesn’t make me want to live in it for days on end, so it must not be amazing. I have 250 more pages. It is getting better. I will let you know.
Finally, I am finishing two biographies – The Mistress of the Monarchy, by Alison Weir which is loosely about Katherine Swynford, mistress and the eventual third wife of John of Gaunt. I say loosely because it mostly reads like the Franklin daily planner of John of Gaunt with shout outs about Katherine. It consists of many, many passages which begin, “we can assume” or “most likely”Katherine was…” and nothing really definitive. Read the novel Katherine by Anya Seton. Except for the fact that Ms.Weir sorts out some misconceptions about who died of what or when, the novel is the way to go. However, I have really enjoyed learning about this period, which includes information about Chaucer. So, read it for the history.
The second biography is also by Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was one scrappy lady. I would like to say I am like her, but I am not, I am a wimp. I would have stayed with Louis and sunk like goo into the quick sand of history. She kind of proves (fortunately or unfortunately – I make no judgements) that in some cases, taking that risk, divorcing, can move you up in the world. Carpe Diem.
I am feeling very medieval these days. I bought Loreena McKennitt’s The Visit from iTunes to accompany this mood. Listen to The Lady of Shallot to completely immerse yourself in this medieval mood. Every now and then, it is good to just go all out and be medieval.
This covers the reading part of my paraphernalia-ing. I am also working on a project. It feels very fun and very consuming. I will tell all about it soon, maybe even tomorrow…
By the way – if you feel so inclined, comment. A paraphernalia of commentary would be fun.
Here is that Cracker Jack commercial…
6 thoughts on “Paraphernalia as a Verb… and a Cracker Jack Commercial”
I was paraphernaling when I read your blog and really enjoyed it. Another book I think you would enjoy is The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks – the story of an ancient Haggadah and the people touched it.
I love Geraldine Brooks! I will get it – maybe I will Kindle it. Thank you, sweet Ellie, for the suggestion…
I love the idea of ‘paraphernalia-ing’! It sounds like a wonderful way to live a life, and I feel that my life has recently taken such a turn – more to do with an attitude of mind than any ‘objective’ changes. I think I need to reflect further on the idea of life as a hobby – on the one hand, it feels flippant, yet I think I’m coming round. In a way, to paraphernalia through life is really all about exploring and discovering, and finding intriguing connections that emerge – rather than planning it all out in a dull, routine and predictable way. This has been a wonderful blog to read and I will reread it.
I too dip into lots of books and have given up feeling a duty to finish them all. It’s the connections that arise between the bits and pieces that give meaning to life. I like the stream of consciousness that ends up with the possibility of a further entry on jacks – I look forward to that. I think I’ve mirrored that stream of consciousness in this comment!
It does feel flippant. What a good word. Because, in a way, it is. To shift from pleasure to pleasure. I have also reached an age where I no longer feel obligated to finish every book completely. I love it when you stop by, Karin. (I think of you as Satya, which is a lovely name…)
Flipping from pleasure to pleasure could almost sound indulgent – but because the pleasures have such content associated with them, I think not.
It occurs to me that you may not know of a current BBC radio series called The History of the World in 100 objects. The objects are all from the British Museum, a true collection of paraphernalia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/programme
PS Satya means truth in Sanskrit.
I enjoy stopping by – your website and blog are a true discovery and are now part of my paraphernalia.
“Every now and then, it is good to just go all out and be medieval.”