I’m teaching a curriculum called Omnibus at a classical Christian academy. We are studying some of the world’s great literature, and among such is the classic, Beowulf.
I hated Beowulf when I was in high school, and I promised my students I would make it interesting for them. I found on the Internet another teacher’s plans in which the teacher challenged his students to create a “heroic boast.” As found in Beowulf (ll. 114-116, 173-198, 236-264, 630-649), such a boast consisted of three elements in which the speaker tells 1) who he or she is, 2) geographical origins such as place of birth and 3) why he or she is fit for the challenges ahead. In addition, it was to contain alliteration (repetition of initial sounds) and kennings (example: calling a the sea a “whale-road” and the sun a “sky-candle.”)
My students found it great fun and participated enthusiastically in making their boasts, which I encouraged them to embellish and exaggerate for effect (did you see the beowulfian alliteration there?) Only one student hesitated, saying she wasn’t sure if it was right to lie.
I asked her if she ever composed short stories, and if they were factual or from her imagination, and she then saw the point and raved about herself.
(Photo courtesy of Saavm from stock.xchng)
Now, oh novelmatterians who likewise lie for fun and financial gain, let’s temporarily put aside all vestiges of proper Christian modesty for the sake of stretching our literary muscles. (God will forgive us this time—after all, anything we accomplish He has given us strength to do, right?)
I challenge thee to a duel! A duel of beowulfian boasts!
And I begin with my own!
I am Celeste Latayne Colvett Scott,
key-striker of all genres
(many of which are somewhat marketable),
and curious seeker into all mysteries of souls and soteriology.
I was born in the City of Sacred Faith,
In a nunnery-nativity,
An early abortion escapee
And am descended from Daughters of the Revolution,
Thieves and thugs, and apothecaries and sharecropper agriculturalists
And musicians--honeytonk and harmonica;
And a considerable and documented number of crazies.
Life-tasks are mine for the taking.
Before me are life and death issues, literary and dreams.
I have been book-baked and trial-trampled:
Two times in burning theaters yet unscorched,
Swimming pool-perished and resuscitated,
And submerged in medicine-houses again and again
As payer, not patient; pray-er and palliative.
And I have continued in connubials for forty summer-returns.
I have climbed the guard tower at Guantanamo.
I have watched a fire extinguished in the engine of my sky-boomerang.
I have backpacked to the biggest state stone-mound, and back.
I have birthed babies, untimely ripped, unusual and extraordinary as adults now.
I once pecked at paper. Now pixels and MP3s convey my constructed conundrums.
I roar without fear of the future!
Now, be brave! It's your turn!