see icon: PRIMAL SCREAM

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:58 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
I asked Machineries of Tarot what my prognosis was for writing today using the Vidona spread:

Deuce of Gears
A cog in the machine. Pawn of powers beyond your control.

AUGGGGGGGGGGGGH

(Yes, Jedao was being snarkastic when he chose it for his emblem.)

Also, I love my catten but...she's not very bright? She likes to sit on the ping pong table and will remain sprawled on it when the Dragon and I start up a game. The ball hits her in the leg, she remains sprawled. It took the next ball hitting her in the snout for her to skitter-kitter off the table. *facepalm*

That's not the part where she's not very bright. The part where she's not very bright is that she was on the ping pong table during a game yesterday and got hit in the snout by a ball then, causing her to skitter-kitter off the table. You would think she'd figure out that ping pong game in progress = don't sprawl on the table waiting to be hit in the snout?

Back to work...

[ObMeme]

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:24 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
From Facebook.

Four things, etc. Read more... )

Back to work...

My FemslashEx story

Oct. 21st, 2017 05:18 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I had tons of fun with FemslashEx, and highly recommend browsing the archive.

My recipient was [personal profile] iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:

Female Revolutionary/Princess

Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.

Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.

I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...

DO.ALL.THE.THINGS.

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:07 pm
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
Or at least some of them.
  • New writing website is up and operational!
  • Goodreads giveaway for Out of This World is scheduled for mid-November!
  • Miscellaneous things are attended to!
  • Edits and formatting for new Emily collection are in progress!
Now to reward myself with a second viewing of Atomic Blonde, and if I make it to midnight, The Addams Family.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
[personal profile] cloudscudding

Book Smugglers is open for awakenings-themed submissions!

All the details and more new market updates: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/markets.html

(no subject)

Oct. 21st, 2017 08:55 am
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
After reading Ann Leckie's new book Provenance I went on Twitter and asked what you call a screwball plot if it isn't necessarily a comedy.

Like, Provenance, while frequently funny, is not a non-serious book -- it concerns itself with classism, wildly unhealthy family relationships, interstellar warmongering, fetishization of cultural artifacts, and inhumane conditions of incarceration, not to mention murder -- but the structure of the plot is very classic screwball. Misunderstandings! Mistaken identities! Brilliant[ly ill-advised] schemes colliding with each other and blowing up in everybody's face! The faint air of Yakety Sax playing frequently in the background!

Honestly it feels a lot like Ann Leckie channeling Lois McMaster Bujold, with less intense character dynamics but also fewer moments of side-eye.

Our Heroine Ingray Aughskold is the foster daughter of an elected official who has been locked in competition with her foster-brother since they were both small for the eventual goal of inheriting their mother's position. Ingray comes from a public orphanage, while her asshole abrother is the son of a wealthy family, which gives him an edge that Ingray has never quite been able to best.

CUE: Brilliant[ly ill-advised] scheme! Ingray decides to attempt to break a fellow political foster-kid, Pahlad Budrakim, out of Compassionate Removal (i.e. terrible jail) in order to learn the location of the highly important cultural artifacts which Pahlad has hypothetically stolen.

Complication: Pahlad is possibly not Pahlad, and is certainly not inclined to be cooperative.
Complication 2: The space captain who Ingray hired to get them back home is wanted for theft by an alien ambassador, who Does Not Understand Humans, and whom everyone is panicked about offending due to some Very Important Alien Treaties.
Complication 3: Meanwhile, what Ingray's mother would actually like her to be doing with her time is shepherding around some other ambassadors, human ones from a different planet, who want to do politically-motivated excavations in a local nature preserve
Complication 4: Also, someone is about to get murdered!
Complication 5: And the cop in the case has a crush on Ingray!
Complication 6: And MANY OF THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT CULTURAL ARTIFACTS HAVE DISPUTED PROVENANCE AND IT'S VERY DISTRESSING (for everyone but me, because the minute I heard that title I was like 'this had better be about cultural heritage' and LO AND BEHOLD)

((...though I did want to see a little more documented archival paperwork and process surrounding the question of the authenticity of the artifacts, but I mean, ignore me, it's good, it's fine.))

My favorite character was definitely possibly-Pahlad, with their bitter cynicism and constant challenges to everyone else to do better; wanting More Pahlad all the time was probably my biggest complaint about the book.

My other favorite character was the almost entirely useless Radch ambassador, who just did not want to be there that day. Everything about the treatment of the Radch in this book delights me. "So weird to hear this totally clueless woman speaking with the accent we're used to hearing from villains on the TV!" You definitely don't need to have read the Imperial Radch books to enjoy Provenance, but I suspect it does probably make the few Radch cameos five times funnier.

The Good Place 2.1-2.5

Oct. 20th, 2017 11:49 pm
yhlee: (AtS no angel (credit: <user name="helloi)
[personal profile] yhlee
spoilers )

It's funny--I adore this show but declined to request it for Yuletide. Besides it being a highly jossable canon, what I really want is bona fide philosophy neepery, and I'm pretty sure 99% of the fandom wants to write about relationships. There's plenty of shipfic I would read for this fandom, but I really really want philosophy neepery. And, I mean, 2.5 was basically my Platonic ideal in terms of episode content.

Poem: “Unsheathe”

Oct. 20th, 2017 05:45 pm
jjhunter: a person who waves their hand over a castle tower changes size depending on your perspective (perspective matters)
[personal profile] jjhunter
take your hands out of your pockets
touch the world
let your edges tingle
awake
primed to be

_
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
[personal profile] starlady
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017), dir. Angela Robinson
I loved this film so much and I'd bet that almost everyone reading this will love it too. Based on the real-life story of the creator of Wonder Woman and his wife and their partner, the movie has been winning deserved praise for its respectful portrayal of a poly love story, as well as its exploration of exploring kink and BDSM in a relationship. The story of Bill Marston, Elizabeth Marston and Olive Byrne is fascinating, and Robinson leaps off the agreed-upon documentary record to make it a full-on romantic trio, with Elizabeth and Olive's sexual relationship being just as important and real as either woman's relationship with Marston. Despite all that, however, the film is mostly inexplicit; Robinson is far more focused on the depiction of relationships through the way people look at each other than through body parts. It is, in other words, extremely female gaze, and very sexy. I would happily have watched another hour of the movie, particularly as the latter half gets into the challenges of queer parenting in a homophobic society in a way I wasn't expecting, but the movie's conventional structure means that there's only so much time. Still, it was wonderful, and all the actors were great. Go see it.

The Princess & the Frog (2009)
Disney's last traditionally animated feature film, its first featuring a black princess, and probably the only Disney princess movie I hadn't seen. I liked the story of Tiana and her feckless prince, and from my admittedly inexpert position it seemed like the non-white characters were largely depicted in a positive manner. The story is sweet, but it owes so much to Shrek, it's kind of painful, and the thing that really struck me is that even as Disney put a lot of effort into moving beyond racist stereotypes in its depiction of the non-white characters, they were unwilling or incapable of to get beyond lazy stereotypes and fatphobic tropes in their depictions of villains and fat people. (I was also interested to see that the dupe villain gets a British accent, since the movie being set in New Orleans means that Disney was unable to rely on its main vocal stereotyping strategy of having the villains speak in Southern accents.) All of which is to say, there's ultimately no comparison between this movie and some of Disney's more recent successes.

New Worlds: Mourning

Oct. 20th, 2017 11:18 am
swan_tower: (*writing)
[personal profile] swan_tower
October's theme continues with a discussion of mourning customs. Remember, if you become a Patreon backer, you get a photo every week -- and at higher levels, the opportunity to request topics or read behind-the-scenes essays!

Post on Omniscient POV

Oct. 20th, 2017 01:34 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Posting on the fly here--workshop still going on.

But recently Cat Rambo read my book Inda and asked me
>for a mini-interview on omni POV
. A subject I am always intensely interested in discussing.

Feels, assumptions, musicianship

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:40 am
missroserose: Backlit hands playing piano. (A Little Light Piano)
[personal profile] missroserose
I've been debating whether to write anything about this here, both because it's intensely personal and because I feel like I've mostly processed it at this point. But I'd like to have it down in something resembling a narrative; I'm slowly accepting that musicianhood is a fundamental chunk of my identity. (Which is something that anyone who's known me a while - especially while I'm in the throes of learning a new instrument - could have told me, but that I'm only really processing in chunks. Ah, self-discovery.) It feels like the real question, though, is where to start. As with most thorny questions of identity, past and present are all knotted together, and untangling them is difficult.

I think I'll start with a bit of common narrative advice, and begin as close to the end as possible.

So, last week I bought an electric piano. Nothing fancy, just a Casio Privia, a line known for being a solid choice for beginners. (The other strong contender was a Yamaha - it had a slightly warmer and fuller sound - but the Privia line has scaled weighted hammers attached to the keys to make it feel far more like an acoustic piano; the mechanical resistance on the Yamaha just felt mushy by comparison. Plus the Yamaha was finished in a high-gloss coat that attracted fingerprints and dust like whoa.) Slight brag: I was originally going to buy the entry-level keyboard for $500, but Guitar Center had the electric piano version (same footprint as the keyboard, but with a built-in stand with pedals and a fancy cover to slide down over the keys) for $600 because the new model had just come out. I inquired about it, and the only one they had left was the floor model...so they gave it to me for $560. Sold!

I got it home and set it up in the spare bedroom, and made arrangements with my pianist friend for lessons. I even did a little refreshing on the basics via YouTube, no problem. And then I went to write about it here in my blog, and all my paralyzing ambivalence about music began to kick in - to use the metaphor from Come As You Are, I could feel my flock of birds start to wheel about in different directions. Rather than try to push through or ignore the feeling like I usually do, I took the book's advice and began listening to each bird (i.e. my assumptions and experiences and values) and writing out what it had to say. Some particularly relevant ones:

--I love music. I love making music. I love learning music. It's right up there with bodywork and storytelling as things I'd say are fundamental to my identity. "Musician" is one of the few role descriptors that's felt right to me for my entire life.

--To become a real musician, I have to go through years of rigorous training, with teachers who berate and humiliate me until everything I play/sing is perfect.

--Becoming a real musician requires hours of disciplined practice every single day. Scales, drills, repetitions. Each new song needs to be completely perfect before it's ever performed.

--Performing in front of a live audience is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my life.

--Real musicians are always hustling. Gigs are few, good-paying gigs even fewer. The only way to make a living at music is to be poor and constantly working, traveling to work, or practicing.

--Following from the above assumptions, being a real musician is both amazing and absolutely miserable.

--The only worthwhile way to be a musician is to be a "real" musician; otherwise you're just a hobbyist and a dabbler and you'll never actually be any good.

--Fun is completely incidental to music. If you're having a good time jamming with friends or trading techniques, this is nice but not real musicianship.

Yeah, can any of you tell that my mother was classically trained? :P

As with most such sets of assumptions, these are of course ridiculous and contradictory when written out. But I'm not sure I can convey exactly how much emotion I had invested in them. To borrow another metaphor from Come As You Are (for a book about sexuality I'm seeing an awful lot of personal value from the non-sexy bits), these plants were pretty deeply rooted in my mental garden - some from my own experiences, a lot from the messages I got growing up with my mother and her own ambivalence towards musicianship. Pulling them up was fraught, to say the least; I spent about twenty minutes simultaneously crying and laughing with fear and rage and relief and anger and amusement at the sheer ridiculousness of all of it. It was more than a little terrifying - at one point I wanted to put my fist through the wall. I never get that angry!

I think, on some level, part of the fear was/is that pulling up those plants (i.e. facing these assumptions and letting myself feel the associated emotions) would mean that I'd no longer have any desire to pursue music - without that internal pushback, would I still have any kind of passion for it? It's a little early to tell, but I don't think that's the case; I'm still practicing, albeit at my basic fifteen-minutes-a-day level. (It's not hours of discipline, but I've seen real results with it. I got to be quite a competent guitarist by setting a rule that I had to play fifteen minutes each day, and if I felt like doing more, great.) I'm hoping that, now that I've pulled up this particularly stubborn patch, I'll have an opportunity to replace it with positive assumptions and experiences. (There's no reason someone who plays as a hobby isn't a 'real' musician! Jamming with friends is 'real' music! Even if I never perform professionally and just play for friends, that's still a worthwhile endeavour!) But at the very least, I don't feel that paralyzing sense of self-hatred and fear anymore when I think about how much I still have to learn, or how I might go about pursuing music in the future. And that feels like a big step in the right direction.

On a related note (haha), I'm thinking about getting some kind of music-themed tattoo - sort of a promise to myself that I'm a 'real' musician, even without classical training or a performing career. Have you seen any particularly interesting designs? Tell me about them!

World Fantasy 2017

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:00 am
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
[personal profile] marthawells


Registration for World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio ends Oct 21, banquet seats still available until Oct 27, and the final program schedule is now online:

http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/programming/program-schedule/


Panels include:

Paging Doctor Tavener and Carnaki: Occult Detectives Old and Newly Reinvented

Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic

Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times

Metaphors & Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature

Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy

From Angry Fairy Queens to Flying Lizard People: An Interview with Toastmaster Martha Wells [Spotlight]

Exploration of Gender in Fantasy

Calamity Jane Defeats Conan—the Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature

Kitsune & Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias

Greg Manchess: Short Take on a Long Career in Illustration [GoH Spotlight]

Hild and Hilt: the Female Monk, the Lone Woman Protagonist

Hidden Secrets [GoH Spotlight] ( Tananarive Due will discuss the role of history, especially hidden history, in her work and in black horror in general, which is emerging as a sub-genre in the wake of Jordan Peele's Get Out. How horror serves as trauma narratives, or even healing narratives, to help artists and readers come to grips with the past.)

Borrowing from History: Intention and Appropriation

The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings

Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes.

Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News (Engaging Our Theme IV)

Everybody Was There: Diversity in Fantasy Then and Now

Remembering Zenna Henderson: A Centennial Discussion and Appreciation

Women Authors That Men Don't Read --- Or Do They?

Reinventing the Fantastic Other

Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date

New Graphic Novels You Should be Reading

Gratitudes

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:58 am
kass: a latte in a teacup with a heart shape drawn in the foam (latte)
[personal profile] kass
1. Beautiful sunny morning. Beautiful hills. Beautiful skies.

2. A latte. Because latte.

3. Goofy kid-and-kitten shenanigans this morning before school.

4. Shabbat is coming and I get to have Shabbat dinner with some people I love!

5. The Good Place is on On Demand, so last night I watched the two-part S2 premiere and it made me happy.

How are y'all?

seal script that looks like cat kanji

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:39 am
asakiyume: (miroku)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Wakanomori is providing me with all kinds of interesting items these days. For today, have some cat kanji. It looks made up, doesn't it? But it's a bone fide form of seal script--that is, stylized kanji used for signature seals. The source is 篆楷字典 (Tenkai Jiten), a dictionary of seal script (tensho) and kaisho, a very clear, blocky style used in inscriptions.

Friday Favorites, 10/20/17

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:07 am
sputnikhearts: (so much love)
[personal profile] sputnikhearts
Welcome to Friday Favorites! I've decided to start a weekly series where I highlight a short story*—could be past or present—that I love.

I'm starting off with The Weight of Memories by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu. ~2,800 words, science fiction. While sometimes I give content warnings, I'm choosing not to on this one. (Okay, I'm giving one: I personally found the science to be implausible, but that doesn't bother me in stories so long as the narrative is internally consistent and doesn't bill itself as hard science.)

This is a story about a violent conflict between memories and experiences--the sames memories experienced very differently, with very different results. If we are the sums of our experiences, then is it possible to add up the same things and arrive at two different sums? Yes, says this story, depending on how the addition is done.

As a very visual reader I also loved how spare the story is, and how stark, with almost all the violent bursts of color coming from the memories being relived.

I was also very deeply touched by this story as a Chinese person. I don't talk about it a lot, but that is my heritage. A lot of awful events (check Wikipedia, I don't have it in me to discuss) went on over the last two generations, which my family, especially my parents, somehow survived. I grew up never asking about my family's past because the answer was invariably Yet Another Awful Story. And I feel sometimes—and my parents too—that China is changing so fast that one generation doesn't understand another, and this story touches on that connection/disconnect as well. I'm shivering as I type those words. Read the story to find out why.

You may look over the above and say "gosh, Kara, that's a really dark recommendation." Fair enough. A friend once summed up my authorial obsessions as "memory, death, tragic love." What is there to say other than ... may as well lean in. If you're on my wavelength, this may resonate painfully but wonderfully for days, as it did and still does for me.

* Okay so in reality I reserve the right to recommend whatever piece of writing I feel like, but for now at least, I want to focus on short stories!

happy music

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:32 pm
yhlee: Texas bluebonnet (text: same). (TX bluebonnet (photo: snc2006 on sxc.hu))
[personal profile] yhlee
Because today has been a Day for uninteresting reasons, I present to you a song that makes me happy: Anne Murray's "I Just Fall in Love Again" [Youtube].

(I'm Texan. I grew up on country, okay? ^_^)

Feel free to link to Youtube versions of songs that make you happy! I expect yours are less mushy than mine. ^_^

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:29 pm
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
Dreadnought

4/5. Danny is fifteen and trans and very, very closeted. She happens to be present for the death of a superhero, and when his mantle passes to her, it transitions her.

A lot of this is great. Though in the case of Danny’s deteriorating relationship with her parents, “great” also means scary and infuriating. See also: the greatest transphobic threat to Danny’s safety and happiness in this book is arguably from someone who is supposed to be on her side and who claims the banner of feminism, which is painfully spot on.

I kind of wish this wasn’t a superhero book though? Which is not relevant, I realize, since this book is really just what you’d get if you reimagined a Marvel superhero’s origin story to include transness and queerness then wrote it in prose. That’s not a bad thing! But I am 0% interested in the extended – seriously, lengthy – descriptions of all the punching and kicking nonsense. And only minimally interested in superhero tech. And only a touch more interested in the ethics of superpowers conversation. Been there, done that.

So I guess what I’m saying is that this is a great book from a purely representational perspective – yay straight-faced superhero origin story about a transgirl – but I am not interested in straight-faced superhero origin stories these days.
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
I was going to wait until I had time to go into Seventeen and get the textual backup for everything I'm saying, but I have gradually come to realize that if I wait until then it will never happen until possibly after Yuletide which isn't acceptable. Also I guess it would be even longer than it actually is. So. Here you go.

This is long even without quotations. )
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