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Writing:  I've made absolutely no advance on actual writing all week, but (as part of my continuing quest to learn from how other writers do it) I put together four pages of background about the Telmarines in 'The Ivory Merchants'  - their history, religion, culture, social structure, economy, geography, and current political situation.  It was all stuff I've had vaguely in my head, but not written down; none of it was new (except for how one already-dead-in-the-story character died).  Still it feels good to have it straight and in writing.  And I've whittled down, considerably, the forty-five pages of "bits and pieces that might come in handy", discovering in the process that almost all of it won't.  So now there's nothing standing between me and the need to actually sort out the plot - which is daunting.  :)

Reading: I have lost track of how I came to see this article on DNA research - via jjhunter's reading page, I think.  But I thought it was a huge new understanding of DNA or how it works.  For a start, it'll call into question a whole lot of criminal convictions (or acquittals), I would think. But also, I'm pondering how it might broaden out the idea of male and femaleness, at the DNA level.  Even the detail of the woman with two blood-types... fascinating!  Who (or what) we are can't be pinned down as easily as hard science seemed to say.  And what might it mean (I have no idea!) for the idea of patenting DNA?

My linking skills are not up to scratch!  So here it is in plain errr... English?  Plain letters, anyway.  :)

http://aqueductpress.blogspot.com/2013/09/biologically-speaking-what-is.html

 
 

heliopausa: (ID pic)
Yes, a day early for International Women's Day, but I am off tomorrow at about six a.m. for a two-day IWD celebration, and expect to be offline for the duration, so... International Women's Day greetings to everyone out there! :)   ( Tried to make that all come out in colour, but it doesn't seem to be.  Bother! )
Okay, continuing the greetings... I am very grateful for all the women-positive stories that I read by you all; I believe strenuously in the power of literature to shape culture*, and I think all your stories are terrific shapers!  Thank you!

And, not unconnected! -- I know I am often reading things (or watching things!) miles after everyone else, so I expect everyone else has seen this, but I only recently came across this article relevant to women-positive writing -- Seanan's McGuire's post about "Things I will not do to my characters. Ever." (trigger for discussion of use of rape trope in fiction.)

*I also believe in political action, hence the music choice.  :)
heliopausa: (ID pic)
I don't know... the Lydia diary I saw today, No 29, has left me wondering if this whole relationship with Wickham is not so disastrous after all.

Spoilers, if anyone hasn't read the book.  :)

To hear her say "I feel good enough for somebody for once... it's really nice" was very moving,and revealed such a bleak landscape of years of insecurity.  Even if Wickham is a jerk, and he is, he is giving Lydia a taste of feeling adequate and loved.  What she's doing, putting her sense of self-worth on such a shaky foundation, is hideously risky --  it leaves me feeling like some croaking aunt on the sidelines, saying "it won't last!".  (and it won't. :(  )  But in the meantime, she has found someone who makes her feel, as it seems for the first time, loved and valued.  Wickham mightn't have intended to give her that, as Wickham in the book didn't intend to give her the status and security of a married woman, but for the time being, she has it.

BookLydia's life is permanently impinged by Wickham, but she manages, and is "Lydia still", as the book says -- unabashed, zesty, snarky, seizing everything she can even the top place at the table, pushing spinster Jane back into second.  She comes up a winner, or undefeated, at least, when a lesser person would have whimpered away, crushed. The last we hear of her she is trying it on, asking for a "job for the boys" from Darcy -- she doesn't get it, but she's got the gall to try, and I have to admire her for it (as someone who would probably never have a tenth that amount of bravado.) 

There should be a disaster hanging over the whole family, and I can't quite see it, but this episode makes me feel (or hope) that Lydia, though her assurance of being "good enough" is based on an insecure foundation right now, will come through finally to knowing she is good enough, and can make her life on her own undaunted terms.  I'm cheering for you, Lydia!
heliopausa: (ID pic)
Okay, I guess everyone but me already knew this story, but I have only just found out about this man, born in England, but reinventing himself when he was about twenty, creating a whole new identity as an Ojibwa man, Grey Owl (and it's all in wikipedia).  I find the whole business of people deciding they want to be, or are, someone totally other -- Princess Caraboo, Lobsang Rampa -- fascinating, and morally complex.  (Obviously not all that complex where it's just a way to to get money or fame, the lost inheritance or whatever.  I'm meaning the people who really want to be someone totally different, and just declare that they are.)

He made a living trapping animals for furs, but (quoting wikipedia) "In 1925, then 37-year-old Grey Owl met 19-year-old Gertrude Bernard (aka Anahareo, or Pony), a Mohawk Iroquois woman who was to be very influential in his life. She encouraged him to stop trapping and to publish his writing about the wilderness. They had a passionate eight-year affair, beginning with their Anishinaabe wedding ceremony. Through her influence, he began to think more deeply about conservation. Anahareo encouraged his writing and influenced him by saving and raising a pair of beaver kits."



And hence the photo (from www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com)  But apart from this being a beguiling photograph, I was taken with the idea that it was because of this man that Beavers got into Narnia.  Grey Owl ran a long and passionate campaign about the need to protect beavers against extinction through over-trapping, and toured England in the later 1930s, very successfully -- he was introduced to King George VI and family, and much feted, and his conservation message was very widely spread.  I'm guessing that it was because of that publicity that Lewis felt fond enough of beavers to put a Beaver couple so prominently in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and maybe even because of Grey Owl's urgent conservation message that he noted in Prince Caspian that they had died out.

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