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I know I promised Shakespeare, but... ah well.  Life's too glum right now to write much of that light-hearted sort of thing.  I did have fun, though, two-three months back, drifting through the plays and through the byways of mildly associated history as I got ready to write, and in particular enjoyed learning about the Carey family, two of whom were patrons of Shakespeare's company over several years.  The story I wrote featured them, tangentially, as footnotes to supposed missing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream - scenes in which I tried to address the whole disquieting plot point of two very powerful* figures quarrelling (ruinously) over possession of a child - a stolen child - that neither of them seem in fact to care very much about, in himself.
Bonus points for anyone who spots the reference to a Steeleye Span song.

* Especially Titania - Shakespeare filched the name Titania from Ovid, who used it to name one of Titanic power and heritage, as for example, Circe, who says "behold! I am a goddess, and I am the daughter also, of the radiant Sun."

In other news:
I'm trying to be productive - and in pursuit of that objective have actually started knitting a pair of socks!  That is, I've got as far as casting on the first of them, and am finding knitting on multiple needles very very very tricky.  :)

Something pleasant in the animal world - puggles!





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Reading Shakespeare for the stageoffools fest was terrific fun - of course I'd read most of the plays before, one way or another, but reading for a story exchange gave a different perspective. 
For starters, there was reading to decide which plays I'd ask (or offer) stories for.  For both, I felt I had to stick to plays I knew fairly well  - though I was very tempted by The Merry Wives of Windsor (one of those I hadn't read before) and may yet return to it one day.  And the fest rules precluded the history plays and the Roman plays, so in the end it came down to Macbeth, Hamlet, Tempest, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream - I think that's all I offered   And then I had to read those even more intensively, to be ready for whatever might be asked - and my, but I found Hamlet  an interesting read! full of new (to me) directions and possibilities.

Read more, if you like! :) )
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November already.  It's shaping to be a busy month, but less stressful than October, anyway.  (Sympathy and support, by the way, to those of you anxiously waiting to vote, or to hear the results, in the US elections.)

This month is my last chance to make a dash for completion - even beginning! - of my New Year's resolutions.  One resolution was to knit (for the first time ever) a pair of socks; it's not begun - not even the wool bought, or the pattern sorted.  I'll try for those essential beginnings this week, at least. 
And there was also Chinese character-learning... well, eight weeks to go!

Shakespeare!  The stageoffools Shakespeare fest has happened, and gone public.  To my delight I was given a terrific reworking of Hamlet: I am to do a good turn for them, by days_of_storm.  It's a great story, reworking Hamlet's canonical account of kidnap by a pirate ship to reveal very different underlying realities - I won't spoil anything, but I will say that days_of_storm gave us a wonderfully Macchiavellian Hamlet, quick, intelligent and hard as nails.  As Horatio nearly says - what a king he might have been!  (I always thought the pirate story sounded suss.  :D )

More on Hamlet - and other Shakespeare-related matters - tomorrow.  :)

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Well, DW just lost another draft post, but this was was very underdeveloped, so no crankiness ensues.

The busy month of October is almost on me, and is casting its busyness before.  I don't expect to be posting much in the next few weeks, and my responses might be slow, and less loquacious than usual, as well, which is probably not a bad thing.  :)

But October busyness doesn't fret me, because I've got my Shakespeare story done and ready to post!  and am very much looking forward to the opening of the collection, because that'll mean I can finally talk about all the things I found while thinking about what story to write, and can ask other people what they think about the plots and characters Shakespeare wrote, and hear about productions people have been to, or what's coming up that I might be able to see.  (There's an Othello I could maybe get to, later this year - but that's one tough night in the theatre.  :( )

I've only just seen that art can be entered as prompts for Yuletide - a revelation!  Because there's no huge amount of backstory which has to be known with a painting (err... generally); you can just take the image and go!.    I don't imagine I'll be in Yuletide - see above about incipient time-stress - but it's a way that would make it more possible for me. 

There's too much sadness and madness going on in the world in the world for me to even want to think about political things at the moment, but I did bestir myself up to asking my local representatives (Senate and House of Reps) to take action about the very dangerous (and depressing) Clause 42D of the Border Security Act in my country.  I'm not in the swim of what's happening on those lines currently - if any other Australians can fill me in, I'd be grateful.
On the more positive side, several very small Pacific nations have spoken out about human rights abuses in West Papua.    Human rights abuses, and also the long-standing trampling over self-determination.  I'm very grateful to them for raising the issues.

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Dreamwidth just lost an entire draft post.  :(  Bother.  To be fair, it may be related to the internet being out of commission for half the day, and not DW's fault at all.  (Is anyone on Dreamwidth reading this, by the way?) 

As best I can remember it included talk of:

Doctor Who, Season 18, State of Decay.  I thought the plot was too much of a rehash of the old Sevateem idea (which was a good idea in itself), the acting was particularly bad, especially in the main cast (K9 excepted), and the Doctor's strategy for overcoming the resident evil (whose very name I've forgotten) looked awfully haphazard - the writers missed an opportunity for Adric to do ultra-high maths with K9, to ensure accuracy of execution.  As it was, Adric was looking more like a liability than an alert and useful companion.  I'd feel sorry for the  Doctor, except he was a bit annoying, too.

Shakespeare.  I'm gradually dragging the words out of my brain for the Stageoffools exchange, though with (of course) many qualms that this isn't what my recipient wants.  But I'll finish a first draft and then think again.

Tam Cam, the Untold Story - which was a movie based on a Vietnamese fairy-tale with lots of similarities to Cinderella.  (Tam is the "Cinderella"; Cam is the "Ugly Stepsister").  The untold part of the story included lots of fighting - the one-on-one martial arts kind, and the big CGI battles kind - and not one, but two CGI monsters - the bad scorpionesque one and the good leonine one.  What startled me most was the final, mid-credits scene of Tam and her wicked stepmother - Tam bringing to the stepmother a brimming bowl of some mixed stew, and saying "Eat, mother."  I thought - "oh - noble Tam - even after all the cruelty and wrong she's suffered, she displays filial piety to her father's wife."  But it wasn't that at all.   Oh dear.

Pulses:  this weekend just gone - the good old standby Chilli Beans, with red kidney beans, tomato and chilli and much else.



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The weekend was crammed full of things, so I didn't get around to reading or posting much - and the week is also looking pretty full-on - but yes! there's still time for self-indulgence and various cultural excitements.  Not the terrific free lecture with excerpts and explanations of the puppetry of Bao Ha village, though - it was crammed full by the time we got there.  But never mind, there was a very nice indeed new (to me) patisserie nearby (cue: tarte framboise and iced coffee) and I was also able to spend some time in a bookshop buying delayed birthday presents for a quasi-godchild plus bonus treat of a new big Vietnamese-English dictionary for me.

and later that night culture reigned! in that I continued the Season Eighteen Old Who project,and saw the story titled "Full Circle", with the introduction of the mysterious adric  Read more... )


There's a Shakespeare story exchange happening! on both LJ and DW - I'm pondering it as a possible way to help rejig my story-writing zest.  :)  I'd have to find four plays (excluding histories) that I'd feel capable of writing a thousand words on, to an unknown prompt, sometime in September.   Hhhmmm... 

and as mentioned previously, an ongoing salute to International Year of Pulses - this time, courtesy of [personal profile] asakiyume , Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, a pleasingly spicy snack, involving cayenne pepper and chickpeas. Thank you, [personal profile] asakiyume !  I snacked on them through the weekend, and ate them all up!

Of interest mostly to australians: about the census. )



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I'm posting a lot, I know, right now, in the attempt to find some counterweights to the world's worth of bad news.  I hope I'm not wearing you all out! 

Here's the not-internet world still ticking over - fanzines live!

I was really happy to see what might be the beginning of widespread fair wages for fast-food workers in the US

I very much like this hard-edged, seen-it-all take on Emilia's speech about marital unfaithfulness, in Othello.  (video, 1:19 minutes -for some reason for me it goes to the bottom of the page - you have to scroll up to find the video) 

It only just struck me this week:  when Cockneys are written as saying "Wotcher!"  as a greeting, it's the rubbed-down, easy-going descendant of "What cheer?"  (Did everyone else know this all along?)

Meanwhile, the French are edging away from the circumflex! which feels so un-French - or so unlike the purity-of-the-language French I was threatened with, at school.  But there it is - circumflexes, wotcher- languages shift, even the inflexible French.

and something pretty to end the week on:  opalised shells.  Or pearls, the scientists do say, but they looked like shells!

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This city never stops changing;this morning I found that the buses no longer run along the pleasant garden-nursery-lined road close to home, but instead are a good (not-so-good) long walk away, and...there has been much foot-slogging and only minor getting things done today.  The fair trade shop has vanished, too, despite their website saying they're still there, grump, grump.  I was hoping to make more progress in getting and sending presents today.

So I got home tired, and revived myself in watching the latest episode of Doctor Who.  Here are some thoughts on that, and on the last few episodes, cut because they're long, and so that non-Who followers can skip them.

Read more... )

I saw a local production of Hamlet recently, too.  My, but that play's a knockout.  always, always something new to shine out. This time what hit me was the pity of Polonius' story. How much love and desire to protect and foster up his children there was (the scene of the three of them together was terrific) , and how hopelessly inadequate he is for the task of making any sort of safety for any of them (himself, his children) in the stinking quagmire that Denmark has become, thanks to the brutally reckless crashing about of the powerful. 

and two Russianish links to finish with:

In the Pirmosky Safari Park,
a tiger has unexpectedly struck up a friendship with a goat offered him as food.  (Youtube video, about a minute.)

In australia's Northern Territory, Boxing Nick, the last of the Romanovs in my country (I expect) has diedIt's such an NT story: the long trip going nowhere much, the car breaking down, and five years in Katherine, and spending his time teaching his dog to balance a can of beer on his head.  :)  Not a sad story, really.  The Russian representative in the NT called his death a "tragic end", but there are worse ways to die than of a heart attack, under a tree, with your dog alongside. 

3SF Report

Dec. 11th, 2013 06:25 pm
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I gave myself a day to play about in the Three-Sentence Fiction game, before I thought I needed to turn to Other Serious Stuff - and in fact I stayed more than a day, so that now:
behind me, I can hear
Time's chariot hurrying near,
and yonder all before me lie
desarts of vast not-having-done-things-in-time.
So it's time to stop.  :)

Still, I managed three fills, and a prompt, which was promptly and happily filled in its turn.  They were...

A  prompt from betonyb
Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice's mother, No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, and then a star danced, under that was I born--what ever happened to her?

A prompt from wingedflight21:
Narnia, Lucy & Tumnus,ghost-hunters

A prompt from psyche29:
Narnia, Rabadash, Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin "You are weighed in the balance, and found wanting." 

And the prompt which I offered, which was most satisfyingly and beautifully taken up by autumnia:
Doctor Who, any, just somebody that I used to know

Thank you, all writers, prompters and commenters, and thank you caramelsilver, for running this.

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Today I really want to make a serious push to get a good first draft of the story I'm writing for fandomaid.  So far it's proving to be a fascinating business, and taking me right out of my comfort zone, since I gave up Doctor Who at the end of Season Six, and the request calls for Clara - intense research has been happening.  :D

And then as soon as that's done, the fandomaid story, I'll be into the next chapter of 'Ivory'. (I posted Chapter Eleven, by the way, last weekend.  It's here.)

But this morning, so far, I haven't been writing, I have been mulling more about Shakespeare - still thinking through the Joss Whedon version of Much Ado About Nothing.  I'm now thinking he didn't go far enough in the sleaziness of the Messina world.  There's very light touches of it (the concealed guns, the private guards, the strange semi-military structure of things, the non-stop lies and manipulation - by everyone except Beatrice and Benedick?  I must think that through.  Oh, and not the Dogberry gang, either, of course) but it's all still the bright comedy, where we're meant to see the ending as happy. 
But if this were played as a real view of the underworld, with a gangster family all in the know about what  horrible trade their party-money comes from, it would make "Kill Claudio" absolutely straight, grim and believable - i.e. Beatrice as the child of a gang hanger-on calling on another hanger-on to cut down a member of the gang - which would be a huge thing to ask, probably fatal for Benedick as well as Claudio.  And Hero's "happy-ever-after" gaining of the man she's obsessive about (but a gangland leader's daughter gets to have the man she wants, to meet the gang-leader's "honour") would at least acknowledge how really ambivalent and edgy the ending is,with Hero and Claudio affirming their membership of an ultimately destructive organisation.  And Beatrice and Benedick as the two who at least try at the end to get right out of that world - whether they can succeed left undetermined. 

But these are thoughts I need to set right aside, and get down to Doctor  Who!

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