Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Three notes on childhood assumptions and sea serpents

1. From talking to various people, especially yhlee: I always assumed the gods were mortal, because I remember being about 5 years old and certainly no more than 6 when I read the bit of Norse saga that says, "Men die, cattle die, even the gods themselves must someday die." And it stuck with me and warped my brain and here I am before you today.

I also assume that hacking people to bits with axes is an acceptable thing for preschoolers to read about, and to play, because, well, I did, and how else were you to slay sea serpents?

2. Along similar lines and from reading papersky, I never fussed about whether boys were doing something or girls were doing something in a book and what it meant in my life, because I knew that if I was there, I would be in charge of organizing the interesting bits. That was just...that was just how things were. It was an immense relief to run into other people who could sometimes be The Organizer and still have the activity in question be something of interest, but it was a role I was taking for granted before starting kindergarten. One of my best preschool friends was a little boy. I instructed him in the slaying of sea serpents. So there was no question about boys or girls, because boys didn't know that kind of thing and girls were also pretty much impossible. And grown-ups, too, you just couldn't count on them to know anything of value at all. You had to make do with whoever you could find who knew how to do such things or could take instruction. The world was not long enough on sea-serpent-slayers of either sex that gender really came into it much. Nor age, either.

I think this generalizes to other aspects of my friendships than merely slayings and persists to the present day.

3. I have no idea how sea serpents attained such prominence in my child brain. It can't just have been The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and D'Aulaire's Norse Gods and Giants. I think maybe it was, though.

And this doesn't mean I'm writing The Mark of the Sea Serpent at all tonight. But I am writing The Mark of the Sea Serpent eventually.

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