( SPOILERS )
( SPOILERS )
1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What’s your favorite line of narration?
4: What’s your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn’t listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?
"Are Straight Women Okay?" [Autostraddle] "But a stroll down the “his and hers” retail section will still have me on some Family Feud Steve Harvey levels of disbelief. [...] When you further investigate this phenomenon, as I did, things get real dark, real quick. The items themselves are worrying enough on their own as they reveal a prison of what women are allowed to be and should want, but then you dive deeper and the culture that lurks just behind these items reveals itself. I’ve seen the depths of this landscape and I need to ask a question: are straight woman okay? Like, not in a joking way — do they need assistance?"
"10+ Pics Proving That Cats Are Actually Demons".
"Earth’s newest cloud is terrifying".
Flaredown is "a free web and mobile app that helps patients track and visualize their illness, treatments, and symptom triggers so that they can understand how their choices affect their health". (I haven't used this. I'm passing along a rec of it being something that might be worth looking into.)
"Smurfette’s Roots: In her original incarnation, the only female Smurf reminds me of all the assumptions I’ve had to navigate about my sexuality and sense of self as a Jewish woman".
"Anorexia Survivor Posts Powerful Side by Side Photo to Instagram". [Teen Vogue] "Instagram user Megan Jayne Crabbe, a body-positive role model who beat anorexia and now uses the handle @BodyPosiPanda, posted a side-by-side image to the social media site to highlight the differences between posed photographs and reality. In both images, she's wearing the same purple lingerie, tie-dye hair, and infectious grin — but that's where the similarities stop." [Content notes: mention of past anorexia, but the photos are not from that time period.]
From last year: "The 'Gay Porn With a Different Ending' Comment, and the Problem With Homophobia in MMA". [Sarah Kurchak at the Fightland blog]
"How Can Jordan Peele Make a Movie Like Get Out & Have a White Wife? Pretty Easily Actually".
"Why do so many male journalists think female stars are flirting with them? A magazine’s profile with Selena Gomez is the latest to have an icky fixation on its subject’s looks. Perhaps it’s time for men to be banned from interviewing women".
"'Mischievous' Jane Austen 'made up' marriage records". [BBC]
"How a study about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was doctored, adding to pain and stigma".
"Pakistani Artist’s Concept Art Of A Sci-Fi Pakistan Will Blow You Away".
"A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory". "This month, [Kory Stamper, lexicographer], the author of the new book “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries,” was more than happy to offer a tour of some of the distinctly analog oddities in the basement."
"2016 didn’t just give us “fake news.” It likely gave us false memories". (This touches on Trump and current events a fair bit, but is mainly about the research into memory.)
"Canadian Literature, Settler Colonialism, and Sex With Vegetables? HeerJeet has some insights". (Storify. Also mentions CanLit that involves sex with animals, which...is apparently a thing?)
"THE POTATO APOCALYPSE: To set off a truly epic rant you have to bide your time and wait until someone you know with Serious Ranting Chops is just a wee bit tipsy. Your patience will be rewarded. As mine was tonight". A Storify of an UrsulaV rant about potatoes.
"Dystopian dreams: how feminist science fiction predicted the future".
Meanwhile, I wanted to share this video:
It's a panel at Emerald City Comic Con organised and conducted by a friend of mine. Regrettably there's no transcript available yet.
Share and enjoy!
1) Visit to H's father
2) Visit from H's sister & her partner
3) Weekend away in Bristol (not family)
4) Visit from my mother
5) Visit from my father
It's a lot of family.
My father left about an hour ago, and I suddenly feel very tired and very relieved. Love them all, but oh, it's nice when people go. H. is making noises about having champagne to celebrate having home to ourselves.
And my father ... listening to him just makes me so glad that I have a quiet mundane uncomplicated personal life. No relationship drama, no exes phoning me up and crying, no one saying me or them. He's seventy-five and he really needs to sort his life out.
There was a communal phone line which I made a habit of answering. Many people there also had their own phones (I think some landlines and some cellphones, but it's long enough ago that I'm not certain about that.)
The communal phone line rang and I answered it, on the downstairs phone. I said "Hello", and the person on the other end said "Hello", and we had a few confusing exchanges until we realized that the phone had rung on both ends - neither of us had called the other.
We then established that he was the father of one of the other residents, and had (I think) just been talking to her - but on her own phone line, not the communal line. (I can't recall if she had a cellphone or a landline.)
There was no obvious explanation for how the glitch could have happened, or how the phone system could have made a connection between her phone line and the communal phone line. (I'm half inclined to think that she had a cellphone precisely because it makes it even more inexplicable - if it was a landline, perhaps some physical connection had a glitch, and I feel like I had mentally ruled out that possibility back when the incident was fresher in memory.)
--Writing anything resembling fiction is happening even less. I just poked my writing tracker, and I wrote a whopping ~800 words last month, and so far, nothing at all this month. (I'm at under 3000 words for the year so far, which I needed to look up to check in at inkingitout.) My brain feels both empty and sludgy. It's very weird and I actively dislike it, but I haven't even been opening WIP files and staring at them, which is more my usual not-writing MO.
--Casual Job resumes for the spring session in about a month--which is to say, about a month later than usual. We suspect it'll only last for a month or so (presumably followed by our office keeping me and the other seasonal folks on for four additional weeks to clear the inevitable spring-session backlog), which is not wallet-cheering news.
--On the freelancing front, I just recently finished Maid-sama! and am finishing My Love Story!! for VIZ, and I also seem to have two Seven Seas series with only one volume remaining. That doesn't leave me with a worryingly-low number of titles, fortunately (I think I still have eight between the two publishers), but it's a lot wrapping up all at once.
--We're not at the point of booking plane tickets yet, but scruloose and I are starting to work out when we're probably going to be in Toronto next. It feels like it's been forever. (It hasn't. We were there last August.) So that's a thing I'm very much looking forward to.
Spouse very tired despite nap. Probably part of the sickness. Greeeaaaaat.
Watched the episode of DS9 where Odo gets his shapeshifting back. Well-done pair of A-plot/B-plot. Bittersweet.
...crap, I need to edit. *headdesk* So darn sleepy. Ravenpenny, poke me tomorrow in DMs. *headdesk*
w_______ says, "Hmm. What's the smallest set of Archangels for which "if none of these is for it, you're not getting it approved" holds true? (Assuming something which would need approval beyond mutually-cooperating-because-friendly Archangels, anyway.)"
w_______ says, "I'm guessing it would include both Yves and Dominic, and probably Laurence, but I'm not sure who else."
f___ says, "If both Novalis /and/ Michael say NO, it's probably a bad idea."
w_______ says, "True enough!"
f___ says, "If Novalis, Michael, Janus, and Dominic /all/ say NO, then you should probably feel bad about having even asked in the first place."
--Yes. Yes, you should.
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )
This suggests Bannon and Short haven't either:
One Hill Republican aide who was involved in the last-minute negotiations said Mr. Bannon and Mr. Short were seeking to compile an enemies list.
Alternatively, they read about Nixon's "Enemies List" and thought ooh, that sounds great, we should do that, it worked out so well for him.
(Seriously, I don't actually imagine that this is literally Watergate 2.0 or going to play out exactly like that, because that would be too weird and history doesn't work like that, which is one reason why it's so odd when Trump and co. seem to be borrowing such highly-specific things from the Nixon playbook.)
ETA: Do you think they saw a reference to an "enemies list" somewhere and thought whoa, that sounds super-hardcore and badass, we should have one of those? Has nobody told them yet?
Also, these are beautiful words to read:
Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, according to people familiar with White House discussions, described what happened as a flat-out failure that could inflict serious damage on this presidency — even if Mr. Bannon believes Congress, not Mr. Trump, deserves much of the blame.
Dear USians, please enjoy these words and take strength from them.
1kg bag of baby spuds
3 small carrots
1 large leek
Odds and ends of fish from the reduced section. In this case:
2 fillets of salmon
3 smoked cod loins
1 haddock fillet
most of a bag of prawns
half a bag of mussels
1 pint boiling fish stock
1 large tub Quark
2 tbsp cornflour
Cracked black pepper and salt
Heat oven to 200C
Put the potatoes to boil until nice and crushable.
Cook the leeks - slice them, fry them till soft, then add a little water and evaporate that off. Put in the large pyrex that I hope you're using for this dish. Small one won't cut it.
Meanwhile put the boiling fish stock in a pan with the odds and ends of fish and chopped carrots, and cook them through. With a slotted spoon, lift out the fish, and put in the pyrex with the leek.
Put the prawns and mussels in for a couple of minutes into the hot stock and fish them out as before.
Now, make up the cornflour with some cold liquid, and then add to the hot stock, along with half a tub of the quark. Pour over the fish mixture.
Drain the potatoes and crush with the rest of the quark, and some salt and pepper.
Place over the top of the fish mixture, and put in the oven for 35 minutes till golden.
"And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice" by Cassandra Khaw creepy dark little mermaid re-telling (content note: a human character with ambiguous gender traits is referred to as "it")
I'm not "in the wrong body"; this body is very much part of me, and there are things I really like about it. But there are parts that feel stunted, like they never fully developed like they were "meant" to, and at times they ache as if they were still desperately trying to. Descriptions of phantom limbs from amputees often resonate with me. I assume this would not go away in a perfect society. It has got worse with perimenopause and seems to show some cyclical variation, so I imagine there's a hormonal factor involved.
Also, some of the parts I really like are the very ones that cause people to guess my gender wrong, and that causes a real psychological tension. I have to choose every day whether I want the cognitive dissonance of hiding those parts as if I were ashamed of them, or the cognitive dissonance of leaving them visible and being misgendered. This part would clearly improve if societal etiquette changed so that it was understood to be rude to guess someone's gender without being told, or at least rude to voice the guess.
Then there's a gender role/performative component, which expresses itself as a feeling that I'm constantly failing at "being a girl" by looking wrong, acting wrong, thinking wrong and just generally Being Wrong. This part has improved considerably since I gave myself permission to stop trying to be one, but there's a residue that would probably require societal permission to get rid of. For me, full societal recognition of nonbinary gender(s) would probably do it, but total abolition of the gender binary would also work for me (and for agender people? but maybe not for strongly binary-identified people?) Even then, there may be a biochemical component that would not disappear, because I feel the looking wrong part is linked to my bulimia, and that gets worse with certain nutritional deficiencies and could presumably still happen without sexism. Society not being so damn fat-shaming would surely help, though.
Summary: In a perfect society I'd probably still have body dysphoria and maybe a small amount of psychological discomfort. I might still define as trans because although we wouldn't be assigning gender at birth any more, I might still have self-assigned as a girl before the hormones kicked in enough for the body dysphoria to become noticeable. But I'd have much less cognitive dissonance and everyday life would be much more comfortable, so none of these issues would be the grave threats to mental health that they are now.
I'm really glad I didn't take Emma with us, not so much because of the violence (which it is really, really violent), but because ( SPOILERS )
Emma and I are seeing Beauty and the Beast this afternoon, so hopefully that will raise my spirits.
I may plausibly one day write one of these, but then again I may not. And either way, please do borrow/steal/adopt if you are so inspired — the world needs all the f/f regency fluff it can get.
The one that is really just Pride & Prejudice fanfic
Edit: FRIENDS!!! THIS ACTUALLY EXISTS!!! ~60K OF MARY/ANNE FANFIC!! I haven't read it yet, but eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!
Edit 2: I HAVE READ IT NOW IT'S AMAZING GO READ IT YAY!
Mary, the priggish, unlovely and unloved middle daughter of five, is packed off to be the next in a long line of particular companions to her cousin-by-marriage Anne. She hopes that by her strong moral example and deep interest in scripture, she can become an inspiration and a comfort to poor sickly, ill-tempered Anne.
Chronically ill and utterly fed up Anne just wants everyone to stop fussing about her, but at least this latest nuisance is amusing — not least because of how much she annoys Anne’s mother.
Out from the hustle and bustle of her busy family, Mary finds a place to grow into herself, and learns that humility and humour are not always at odds. To her great surprise, Anne finds someone who actually listens when she talks, and may even have something worth saying in return.
The one that’s a bit my favourite Georgette Heyer set up, but also very clearly not
Stately, proper Mrs Sophia Banks, recently widowed after a not too unhappy marriage to the well-respected Reverend Banks, has always been conscious that while Caesar’s wife must be above reproach, that is far too low a standard for the daughter of an English missionary and his Yoruba wife. Her own youngest daughter is about to make an advantageous match, but a visit from a distant cousin on Sophia’s mother’s side may throw everything out of order.
Iron-willed Dowager Lady Margaret is charmed and delighted by her only son’s fiancee, Charity, the beautiful and modest youngest daughter of the Reverend and Mrs Banks, but privately worries that she is perhaps too good a match for her much indulged son, who does, after all, resemble his late father a little more than one might like. When Charity’s distant cousin, a bright young girl not at all impressed by this cold and stupid country and its cold and stupid people, comes on the scene, Lady Margaret wonders if perhaps the mistakes of one generation will not be repeated on the next.
Sophia’s hopes for Charity seem to be in direct opposition to Lady Margaret’s privileged idealism, but could their wishes for a better future and shared amusement at the vagaries of youth help them find common ground?
The one that’s In Orbit but longer, set slightly earlier, and with a bit more plot. (If you haven’t already read In Orbit, my one bijou published bit of original fic, this kind of spoils for it. Go read In Orbit first. It’s very short, and I’m still very proud of it.)
Sarah, raised by her grandfather the golem-maker, has only ever wanted to take apart the sky to see how it works. When the time comes for her to marry and continue the line, she dutifully goes to meet her grandfather’s friend’s three sons — and his one daughter, Naomi. Unbeknownst to the oldest son, she begins a correspondence with one of his tutors under his name, positing ideas about the inner workings of golems that raise questions about the nature of the universe and the structure of stars.
Naomi, fascinated by the witty, driven woman one of her brothers is to marry, begins her own preparations for adulthood. She dreams of a loud family, of love and laughter and her own secret life away from them. She can never settle on anything — not an ambition, not a husband, not a direction for her life — until somehow, without her noticing or consenting, love finds her.
Will Sarah’s academic dreams be crushed when her identity is revealed? Will Naomi pick a path and follow it the whole way? And what do the golems think of all this, if they think at all?
The one that’s a country house mystery
Sweet, good-natured Modesty is quite sure she doesn’t have an enemy in the world. Her only flaw, if indeed she has one, is that she is perhaps a little too much of a credit to her name — despite a very proper settlement from her loving uncle and not unappealing features, she has been out for three years and failed to make a match. She prides herself on seeing the best in everyone, and finding fault in no one. But during a fortnight in her uncle’s country estate she may finally meet her match in the cruel and quick-tongued wife of the internationally famed detective Mr Ghatge. Surely this wicked, heathen woman would try the patience of a saint?
Baiza and Daulat are the perfect double act. She plays the self-important fool, he the quiet genius, and together they solve crime and seduce men and women across three continents. But when they are hired to protect the naive Modesty from an unknown threat, Baiza finds herself a little more invested and a little less objective than she might wish to be. What does Modesty know that she’s not telling them? Why is her uncle so insistent that she shouldn’t find out about the Ghatges’ investigation? And would it really be so wrong to mix a little business with pleasure?
I do see that she has come to realise that 'children's books: not the easy option',from trying to write one, because have we not, my dearios, seen an awful lot of celebs who think any fule can can write a kiddybook?
But, might we not also see in that article that she seems also to be coming round to the notion that fantasy is Not A Bad (or at least, a lesser, genre) Thing?
The two categories do seem to be somewhat assimilated, even conflated.
And I really don't think you get very far just by replacing one binary with another binary:
Instead of thinking there’s “literary fiction” and “everything else”, or even adult fiction and children’s fiction, I now believe that there are books with magic and without.
I don't think it's that simple, even if she's using 'magic' in its broader sense?
I think there are still some unexamined assumptions around canon and literary value going on there.
Having got almost as far as I'm planning to go with my City Watch re-read (I might re-read Thud!, I probably won't re-read Snuff), I decided to take a diversion into the subset of books branching off it which could loosely be described as "Ankh-Morpork's Industrial Revolution", beginning with The Truth and then continuing with the Moist Von Lipwig books. (Some people seem to include Moving Pictures in this subset, but I don't, because in Moving Pictures it's basically all eldritch forces and things return to "normal" at the end, whereas the changes which happen in The Truth and the Moist Von Lipwig books are permanent and influence the Ankh-Morpork shown in later books.) In this one, movable type printing comes to Ankh-Morpork, and leads in short order to the launch of the Discworld's first newspaper. Meanwhile, there's yet another conspiracy among the rich and influential to bring down Lord Vetinari and replace him with a Patrician who is more to their taste, but while Vimes and the other members of the Watch are certainly on the case, this time the focus is on William de Worde, an underemployed intellectual with an unwavering dedication to truth and fairness who is estranged from his wealthy and bigoted father and who suddenly finds himself editor and lead writer of the Ankh-Morpork Times.
I remember enjoying The Truth a lot when I first read it; on re-reading I still think it's one of the best Discworld books, and it is also the perfect Pratchett for the era of fake news and alternative facts, because it's all about how the news media shapes people's understanding of the world around them, the way people are more likely to believe stories which confirm their existing biases even if they're lies, and the difference between the public interest and what the public is interested in. (It also features a character saying that they can't instruct the assembly of Guild leaders to reverse a legitimate decision, even if it turns out to be based on erroneous information, which hit fairly hard given recent and ongoing events.) It's also about the immigrant experience, the reasons why people move to another country, the difficulties they face, and how hard it is even for the more open-minded native-born citizens to appreciate the true extent of cultural difference. It's definitely one of my favourites.