• What are you currently reading?
Vanity Fair is still happening, I swear. Just, I've had more headspace for audiobooks and comics lately, so it's coming slowly.
I'm listening to Conversion by Katherine Howe, which is a YA book with parallel stories about a 'mysterious illness' at a modern day girls' school, juxtaposed against the narrative of the Salem Witch trials. This is the second book I've read by Howe with a similar premise (the first was the adult-marked Physick Book of Deliverance Dane) and I keep enjoying the author's ideas more than her storytelling. I feel like her work needs a good editor and isn't getting it. As I told a friend, I wouldn't anti recommend this, if the topic sounds interesting to you, but I would go in with expectation calibrated appropriately. I'm going to finish it but will likely end up wishing it was better executed.
• What did you recently finish reading?
I read Tomboy by Liz Prince, a graphic memoir about the author's experiences growing up and struggling with gendered expectations of behavior and presentation. The book really captures the discomfort of adolescence -- in ways that are likely to feel familiar whether you struggled with her particular issues or not. I'm not sure how to feel about the author's framing of her gender identity -- the resolution is basically 'and then I discovered punk/ zine culture and accepted myself and everything was okay! which feels pretty abrupt and incomplete - but looking at this as an individual's story, I thought it was very effective.
Continuing my post-2-comic-cons in 2 weeks reading, Strange Fruit Vol. 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill is a visually inventive book that straddles the line between comics and illustrated children's book. The style of the writing definitely feels like it' 'for kids' (I think it's supposed to feel like the picture books about 'great men' like Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin that a lot of us were probably exposed to as kids) but since these are all interesting, little-known stories, and since the art is so impressive, it was interesting to read as an adult to. I have some criticisms -- I'm not sure the 'Strange Fruit' reference to lynching in the title is a great choice because it implies something darker than the generally 'inspiring' stories that are included here; and I wish that women had appeared in some capacity other than wives to the male heroes -- but it's a cool project and I hope there will be a volume 2.
I also finished both I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (which is much more of a darkly comic picaresque story than I had been led to believe; most of what I'd heard about the book focused on the abuse Angelou suffered and her period of elective muteness afterwards, which is definitely a memorable part of the book, but it's not the unmitigated chronicle of suffering that I had expected -- which I think says something not good about our expectations of 'victim' narratives, which assumes that someone who writes about being a victim can't also be smart and funny and adventurous); and Remarkable Creatures (which is the most unimaginatively dopey story anybody could manage to tell about the nineteenth century women who helped invent paleontology; look for a good nonfiction book instead).
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I am very excited to have Louise Penny's The Long Way Home from the library and I haven't decided if I'll have the patience to finish Conversion first or jump straight to Inspector Gamache and Clara Morrow and company.
Do y'all have any advice, or experiences that you think would be good for me to hear about? How do I take action and still care for myself?
"I can't say for sure," he said. "I didn't meet you last time, but I did meet your biopsy, and it looked pretty scary under a microscope."
Anyway, they wanted some blood work, which was fine, but apparently now I regularly get that thing where they puncture a vein and you pass out. So that was less than fine. But eventually, after regaining consciousness and lying down for a while, they put me in a cab and I came home.
To find the Neato humping the Wii Fit, but I digress.
They said, just in case I'm anemic, they wanted me to drink some beef broth, which I am doing.
Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to drink an entire cup of beef broth. It's like chewing on a lump of salt. Or like, repeatedly licking a steak without getting to eat it.
Steak may be in my future for dinner.
I had my first German class today. I don't have a book to give the student yet, but a teaching copy arrived, so that'll help me anyway. He asked about meeting twice a week, and I was like um. Because I start a regular class in early October, and there's also a high school student who's going to be taking private classes (possibly for TWO YEARS). So with all that and finishing the certification, I don't really have time. But once I finish the certificate, maybe. He's really motivated, at least. I pointed him at Duolingo for practice, since it's popular and has both web and mobile versions, but the early exercises are beyond the "Hello my name is" we did today.
Ways To Give:
amemait linked to sunshinedorkface, who has Keratoconus, a genetic eye condition which is interfering with her sight. She is raising money through commissions and donations to her paypal for expenses and possibly non-insured costs for a new procedure that will help with this condition. You can read more about her work and commissioning art here.
linneawrites linked to a friend and Crossfit coach, Will Lanier, who is undergoing several surgeries for colon cancer. You can read more about his diagnosis and treatment and donate here, and also bid on fundraising items for sale here.
ashbet linked to naamah_darling, an author, artist, and blogger about mental illness, who along with her partner Sargon has just taken a massive food benefits cut, from $250/mo to $50/mo. You can read about their situation and donate here, and you can also purchase Sargon's adventurotica fiction here.
facecat linked to MDA Lockup, a national campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. You can read more and help them "make bail" here.
Amba has information and awareness-raising tweets about the recent Kashmir floods posted here; they've had very little coverage and could use the boost. You can also give here or here to help support recovery post-flooding.
brainwane linked to Growstuff, an open data platform for gardeners which is crowdfunding to pay software developers to work on an open database for food growers, with a stretch goal that includes supporting an intern at the project. You can read more and support Growstuff here.
Anon linked to a fundraiser for Wayne, a cat in need of emergency surgery. You can read more and support the fundraiser here, but Wayne's human also has handmade soap for sale here.
priscellie is looking for a fannish roommate in Los Angeles' Thai Town: 2BR/1BA, $900/mo plus utilities. Gorgeous 1920s architecture, in-unit laundry, lush garden, parking included, and LGBTQ-friendly. Walkable to metro red line. You can view photos and read more here; email priscellie at gmail.com if interested.
off_coloratura is looking for a third roommate in a Rogers Park apartment in Chicago. $750/mo plus utilities; a private room with shared bath, in-unit laundry, and two cats, close to the red line and grocery. You can view pictures and get more information here.
And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!).
it's super weird to hear Andy as a voice; I'm used to hir being this disembodied and now largely ghostly presence, the author of works that zie can no longer claim because zie's killed off the associated personas that originally posted them.
Word count: 360
Prompt: Thimbleful Thursday, "throw down the gauntlet"
Notes: Look! It's short!
“All right, you four.”
They all looked up from the schedules they were comparing over their usual lunch table to see Maureen standing over them, arms crossed, tapping her foot. She was still beautiful, but her frown was like a slash of pink lip gloss across her milky complexion. “Let’s have it out. You and me. This afternoon, out back, as soon as school lets out.”
They all stared at her for a moment. Finally, Angel said, “What are you talking about?”( Read more... )
I know why I had the dream, though. I was driving home from my sister's at 2:30 last night, and maybe it was because we'd been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and I was feeling open and forgiving, but passing through the intersection where he and I both went to elementary school, where the highway that curves around the bay connects to the road that leads to both of our parents' homes, I was struck with this massive quantity of remembered tenderness. Enough, I guess, to carry over into my dreams and make me imagine strange and joyful reunions that will never happen.
He was such a big part of my life. I don't know what to do with my memories.
Word count: 3,458
Notes: I knew I wanted to write this, but I didn't know whose perspective it should be in. So I wrote it in four perspectives.
The court never failed to fill by suppertime. Of course, that had been by design, in part; Ursula wanted many people to see her as the queen, to know that they could come to her for anything. She would need that trust when she called on them to fight—and that would be sooner than later. She needed each and every one of the people crowding into her hall right now.
That didn’t make it any easier to face. Especially today. Less than a full day after discovering the news about her daughter—about her own past. The day she had to hasten her life along, make things happen that she was not ready for, all for political reasons.
( Read more... )
World: other (post-apocalyptic but not Wasteland)
Word count: 1,759
Rating: PG-13 for violence to animals
Prompt: 3WW: carcass, geek, slash
Notes: This is a fairly unpleasant story, but what did you expect with those prompt words?! It kind of feels like the start to a novel to me, but I'm not sure I could (or would want to) write a whole novel about Latanya.
Latanya had been waiting three years for this.
The first time the circus came through, she’d gone with her mother and her three older brothers. Her brothers had all gone into the tent to see the geek, and they’d all come out laughing and whooping. Latanya had asked—begged—to be allowed to go in to see it, but her mother had forbidden it and her brothers had forbidden it even more.
That night, Tony had woken them all up with his retching. There had been chicken feathers in his vomit. “The circus geek,” all three brothers murmured to each other (not knowing Latanya heard), and that was the last it had been spoken of.( Read more... )
Vanity Fair, now and forever.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Great writing, really evocative of the world she is describing. It's interesting to read this shortly after A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Different times and very different cultures and communities, but both narratives about smart, sensitive girls growing up in hard circumstances. Trigger warning for a depictions of serious child abuse.
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, which is a novel about real life female paleontologists in Regency England. You would think this could not help being amazing but unfortunately the author decides to focus on apparently manufactured drama and romantic rivalry rather than the actual real life friendship between Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott. Really, this ought to read like an IRL version of A Natural History of Dragons and I'm mildly bummed that it doesn't. It does make me want to read more about the history of paleontology though.
• What did you recently finish reading?
Bad Houses, a graphic novel by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. I picked this up from CSM's table at Baltimore Comic-Con and really -- enjoyed it might be wrong, because overall it's a pretty sad book about lonely, desperate people in an economically depressed community. There's a thread of hope running through it, though, and particularly with McNeil's art, there's a wonderful specificity to the way that places and inanimate objects take on real significance to the story. (The title is literal; one teen character's mother is a hoarder, another organizes estate sales; if you're interested in the phenomenology of STUFF, if that makes sense, this book is fascinating).
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I picked up LOTS of comics at Baltimore and only expect to get more at SPX. Also I have Kameron Hurley's "Mirror Empire" and would definitely like to crack it soon.
Serious question for fantasy and science fiction readers: are apostrophes ever acceptable in a constructed language ("conlang")?
I've known pretty much from the get-go that they're verboten and a sign of a try hard, but I was jarred recently when I read a conversation on io9 about how authors shouldn't use apostrophes because it's stupid and meaningless and just use English letters already. I went from having no real opinion on conlangs with apostrophes in them to reading them as necessary in certain contexts.
Mostly because I've been reading about cultures, and fiction set in those cultures, where the languages have apostrophes and I became quickly accustomed to this integral part of the word. e.g., Hawai'i sounds worlds apart from Hawaii. It's another syllable longer. It's two sounds longer.
The 'okina is a perfectly natural part of a word to my eyes, and it has no readily understood English corollary.
The English language isn't necessarily limited in its phonemes, but it (like most languages) lacks the potential for the wide variety of sounds humans can make (English has between 40 and 50 phonemes, a few languages can have as many as 100 or more). I think about this constantly when I wonder "how would I pronounce this? How would the reader pronounce this?" 90% of the time I don't care, I want what looks pretty on the page. That other 10%, though....
My writing often takes me into languages I can't transcribe and sometimes it's nice to just slap down a fake language instead of attempting to describe whale song (why did I write a book about whales!?), and I am occasionally stymied by how I want this conlang to sound. I am an anthropologist, but not a linguist, and come to conlangs as a fantasy reader, so I'm further stymied by the way my eyes glaze over when I attempt to read about linguistics.
Usually I get away with this because I have a penchant for ugly-pretty words that make perfect phonetic sense to me (there is only one way to pronounce "Njaht"!) and I understand they don't make sense to other people but they're at least consistent on the page.
Sometimes I need, absolutely, to let the reader know that this word is very much unlike that word and I've grown accustomed to certain tools that English simply doesn't have. Sometimes it's sounds I transcribe and admit some readers likely can't pronounce ("ryu" is one letter/phoneme in Japanese and it's devilishly hard to say if you haven't studied the language, as I learned when I went to Japan with not one but two guys named Ryu.) I find myself occasionally itching for an apostrophe, to neatly slot them into a linguistic system that I guess I could use another letter for--tare instead of a're--but it doesn't have the same pleasingness to it, that pause, the emptiness between the voiced sounds (also it draws more attention to the pronunciation, more people would read that as "ah-rey" vs. "are"). Another letter feels far more ambiguous than a well-deployed glottal stop for pronunciation.
I know some translations use hyphens to denote glottal stops or similar pauses, but my western eyes don't like to see those as single words. Hyphens are two words! Even if we actually use hyphens for the same purpose, visually they don't look like a single word. Quick, is "uh-oh" one word or two?
Obviously it's fantasy and an author can do whatever they want, but what do you think? Is it a silly blanket rule, or is it something that turns you off as a reader right away?
I revised the castle story and sent it out to another anthology. I think it fits the criteria marvelously, but I have no idea what the editor will think.
I not only have a German 1 class starting in October, but I also have a private lesson starting Monday. And no textbook (it's on order and hasn't arrived yet).
I made an appointment with my GP tomorrow morning to talk about my knee grinding when I go down stairs and the persistent tingling. (Sciatica? Something else?) I don't know whether I need to go to an orthopedist or if going back to PT will help. The PT I saw was fairly dismissive of my statements that my right hip didn't move as well as my left. ("Your left hip is just really loose, and you're comparing the two." Yes, I do have loose joints, but that doesn't preclude my right hip from having a problem.) So IDK, if I get a dispensation from an orthopod, maybe the PT will listen. Or a different PT.
I don't want to give up running, because I like it. I don't have money to join a gym (and the Y is more expensive than the gym ffs, fucking Chapel Hill), and my elliptical makes a distressing metallic grinding sound when I use it. I'd take up swimming, but the gym is too expensive. Unless I want to drive 20+ minutes each way to use a pool. (Spoiler: I don't.)
I emailed my mom to ask if that's something she'd like, and mom replies that I should email sis a picture of the pattern and let her decide if she wants it and pick a color.
Isn't that the opposite of a gift? I'd planned to go to the store and pick out a pattern from a book and some yarn, or get yarn that has a pattern on the label. I want to make something very neutral gendered: no pink or blue, no patterns (hearts or flowers). I saw a book of afghan crochet (the kind of crochet that's like single-hook knitting) baby blankets, and I liked one of the patterns in it.
Honestly, now I don't even want to bother.
Anyway, internets, am I wrong for being upset that I should let a gift be dictated?
World: prison planet
Word count: 547
Prompt: Thimbleful Thursday: beat around the bush
Notes: Ha! Just got it in under the prescribed wordcount ;) Now, when the wordcounts get smaller... not sure if I'll manage.
Carla looked dubiously at the bushes that the critter had run into, weighing her makeshift spear in her hands. “Are you sure this is how this is supposed to work?”( Read more... )
so good to be in the north again.