editing to add: this link spells out the scenarios, much more informedly than I could, what might be behind the "smokescreen" I was talking about.
All honour to those who are making a stand against unethical, illegal or immoral acts, especially the former Acting Attorney-General, who is one of those described in last Sunday's psalm, about those who can't be moved or shaken, who stand by their undertakings, (as she, Sally Yates, stood by her oath to uphold justice) and don't sell out the innocent - for money or a career move or for anything else.
I said especially her, but I suppose there are others not in the public eye, in humbler positions who dare not go public, but are quietly not selling out the innocent. All honour to them, and may they one day get their due as people who upheld humanity when the system around them went the other way.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to trawl through mainstream media for good news on a daily basis, following megpie71 's lead. Not always easy to find things, but I find it useful, to keep afloat.
February means that halfamoon has opened - fourteen days of celebrating women in fandom.
I'm not feeling any fiction nudging to be written by me, but I'll be contributing by posting about some women characters, anyway, and maybe about a TV series which is crammed with women characters.
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!
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.
I've been writing Calormene proverbs. :) and, some days later than I said I would, I've posted a new story in the Atrementus collection. This one (which is a Calormene-proverbs-for-foreigners book) isn't one of the ones whose title Lucy noticed on Tumnus's shelves, but then she only noted four - or is only recorded as having noted four - and I want to have at least seven items in the Collection, and maybe eight. I enjoyed writing it, anyway - I could have gone on for ages! (It's okay - I didn't. If anyone ever asks, though, in some dim, far-off future time... ;) )
In other Narnian news, a few of us are reading through Prince Caspian, over here. Other voices welcome!
and in domestic news, the International Year of Pulses continues to be celebrated here, most recently with a Tom Kha Tofu soup, which was highly delicious!
In other domestic news, a centipede crawled out of the plughole in the bath (over which is the shower) yesterday. I do not care for such happenings at all. :(
I'm trying to think through whether to be part of it this year. For one thing, this year has been so full of sadness and confusion that I'm not sure that I could come up with a story to meet expectations. (Which is pretty much why my current meandering Narnia story/collection is set in the time when the land is going down into the Winter.) I have enjoyed it a lot in the past, but there've also been disappointments; putting them together with my own doubts re: whether I could meet a recipient's hopes - I don't know whether to give it one more try or not.
So... to try to jump-start my Narnia feelings:
1. I'm off to see what stories have been posted recently on ao3 or ffnet. (I wonder what's waiting! :) )
2. I'm joining anyone who wants to be in it in reading through Prince Caspian, over at this site.
3. I'm going to post (in a few days' time) another in the Atrementus collection - a fairly light diversion-style one, I hope, which I've had in mind for sometime. I might post them all on ffnet, too, to see how they go.
I'd love to hear from others thinking about this.
adaese.livejournal.com has suggested a reread of Prince Caspian, over here. I don't know when, but I suppose starting pretty soon. :)
On Sunday evening in between cooking up a storm I watched a whole story's worth of 1980s Doctor Who episodes. (I said tenuously! They're both popular fantasy series. :D) It was 'Logopolis', with the Fourth Doctor, ( Read more... )
I was with a friend in a bookshop on the weekend - one which theoretically specialised in architecture books, but it also had some art books - and was having a sale! The friend I was with bought this beautiful book at a knock-down price. (Tenuous connection: lots of the pictures look very Narnian, which is to say very Pauline Baynes.
Though that's a good deal more violent than hers. Still, if I do have to attempt art again, I'll know where to turn for inspiration. :)
Well... to some better news, or cheerful things, if not exactly news:
Scotland has achieved its emissions reduction target six years early! :) Go, Scotland!
The 50,000 hectares of Yarralin Cattle Station (which had been held under leasehold from the Crown, most recently by the Hooker Corporation) has been formally handed back to its traditional Aboriginal owners.
Is a comedy sketch art? If it is, then here's art protecting nature, in an ad made by two well-known comedians for an NGO in Vietnam, to campaign for tiger protection (youtube, one minute)
Where nature starts to look like art:
I really liked these eggs, all from the same species of bird - the tawny-flanked prinia, in Africa. So beautiful, like marbled silk!
The photo is by evolutionary ecologist Martin Stevens, and I found it and the info in this Guardian article.
Beautiful, and sneaky, too! The origin of these lovely patterns lies in the habit of the Zambian cuckoo finch, doing what cuckoo finches do, i.e. laying eggs which mimicked typical prinia eggs in prinia nests - but the tawny-flanked prinia has been - and still is - fighting back, by each individual hen now laying her own special signature style of egg! The egg-forging finches can't keep up! Go, wonderful tawny-flanked prinias!
Writing news: What with one thing and another, I haven't written a thing all year, apart from some three-sentence fiction, so I've been trying to kickstart my writing by launching back into a Narnia project I started last year. ( Read more... )
1. Trollope is hideously unfair to the Marchioness of Hartletop. ( Read more... )
2. I read a short piece in the Guardian about what is and isn't proper grammar - it was very scathing about the use of 'amongst', saying:
"How longeth wilt thou persist with “amongst” and “whilst”? Yea though thine prose doth ring fanciful, long hath the “st” lain banish’d ’pon the pebbl’d shore. (These days, it’s always “among” and “while”.)"
Bah, humbug! 'amongst' is a perfectly good word, and I will jolly well continue to use it any time I feel like it. (also, "How longeth" is simply silly.)
3. I think the science here is open to doubt, because the CSIRO say so, but it's interesting in itself, and also for a glimpse of a very country Greens Party pollie in australia: the Condamine river, famed in song and story, set on fire. (videolink, one minute.)
and the question:
Four years ago, just about, I posted my first ever fanfic to fanfiction.net. Is it worth overhauling it, smoothing off some of the rough edges, and reposting it on ao3 - or is that boring? (This is partly inspired by seeing someone asking for fics starring older characters, which this does.)
In terms of writing, I came back to find a sudden flurry ( a small flurry, but very welcome!) of reviews and kudos on AO3, especially for The Ivory Merchants, but also for one or two others - this was beautifully cheering to find! and I hope will help me restart writing before the year gets too old.
There's been quite a bit of tough stuff happening, but good things have happened, too, while I was travelling. One was lots of good reading, viz.:
- I'm now about half-way through War and Peace (which means I can start to read moon_custafer 's posts on W&P, too!) and
- one day I made a lightning raid on Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney, to snatch as many books as I could of my Books I'd Like To Read list - eight, in total, I think, and
- as has happened before, while staying in other people's houses I read great things from their bookshelves, including a SF Classic that everyone but me read years ago. :)
Meantime, here's from Australia, about the glorious night sky, and the dark constellation which is now riding high in the south.
For those interested in the diplomatic side of environmental matters: ( Read more... )
Fandom is bustling,too, with many challenges and fests happening - including halfamoon: 14 days of celebrating women. I'm thinking hard about what I can contribute. Recs? Meta? Maybe I'll seize a prompt. Can't let the chance go by to join the celebration, anyway!
From Ethiopia - the Lion returns. This, the dark-maned largest lion, is the kind I've preferred to write as aslan in my Narnian fanfic.
Speaking of Narnia: over on the NFFR site the Narnia LWW Reread has reached Chapter Twelve, with some very interesting meta, sources, questions, suggestions...
after last week's complex-character exertions ( :P to all those laughing!) it's back to the simple side for this week's character! 天
and in the tiny domestic triumphs department: the last of the missing socks has revealed itself! My sock-bag is now only holding pairs!
There was a most glorious nearly-full moon last night. I'm looking forward to the really full one tonight - though of course it might by then have slipped into just-past-full-moon; the pleasure of knowing which is still to come. :)
(It looks like there's some lovely conjunctions coming up, too - but they'll be early morning… I'm not too sure I can manage that.)
There's absolutely no exciting news in my life;
( dull news follows - )
Other changing, in which I'm not seeing the good: there's building - a seven-storey building - going on over the laneway from me, and however amiable the builders (and they are!), I'm very unkeen, because there goes the view from the top-floor terrace, or the openness of that bit of sky - let alone the impact on the lane of twenty-odd new apartments'-worth of extra people in a crowded neighbourhood. Oh, and there's currently a constant sense of fine grit in the air from construction dust. (moanmoanmoan :( )
Reading: Not recommended reading, unless you want to get one dimmish sidelight on the UK Fabian Socialist group in the early twentieth century, is Hubert Bland's tedious, horribly self-satisfied Letters to a Daughter - he reveals himself as repressive and loathsome and to my mind creepily interested in micromanaging his daughter's lovelife, even to the extent of railing against her for mentioning her "favourite actor". (The letters I take to be fictional, but his daughters were real.) E. Nesbit had a lot to put up with.
Coming up, for reading: The Radetzky March - Joseph Roth.
Writing: I'm having to backburner the story I was working on, pending further research. Bother. On the other hand, I spent part of a dullish seminar on Saturday roughing out a different story, so all is not lost.
My NFE story has crawled finally past the hundred-viewings mark! (I had some thoughts of posting here a link to a real-life, this-world illustration of the process outlined in that story, but - oh well - there's all too many of those. )
Gratuitous extra bit: best wishes for wisdom to prevail in the election, Canada!
- the wintry female-centric adventure, The Mystery of Mount Pire, starring two Queens, a Tarkheena, a Wolf and a Raven, and filled with delicious cameos and cross-references, was by edenfalling /Elizabeth Culmer - thanks again, Liz!
- the world-first (I think) story starring a much-neglected minor character from VDT (and beautifully skewering some deplorably patronising attitudes of canon characters), Clipsie the Mariner, was by transposable_element (thank you, trans!)
and another story gorgeously subverting canon dismissal of a minor character, and bringing out the wisdom of the small and earthy, was The scent of apples, by redsnake05 (thank you, Red!)
Three! I am very, very lucky! :)
As for my own contributions: I wrote two stories,one in the main collection, and one in the Madness.
( about my main collection story... )
( about my Madness story )
( about future plans )
However, getting to that stage did mean that I missed large lumps of the weekend, and hence am late in linking, for anyone who missed it, this wonderfully detailed fossil of a winged-and-feathered dinosaur (you can see the feathers!). The wings have been judged too small to be effective for actual flight, but I'm imagining it could go as far as wing-assisted hops up into trees, like peacocks.
and as a follow-up to the link about bird and languages last time, it seems birds can also learn other bird languages - though only at the most basic level. :)
The cricket has been being watched live in this house, thanks to the Indian internet - and lo! there was scored the first double century at Lords by an australian batsman since Bradman! :) I know this won't mean much to lots of you out there, but it's significant to australians anyway, since Bradman is a name to conjure with. (Who reading this does know the name?)
In reading, I have begun Les Miserables, which I have never yet read - so far, just book one of the first volume, and the only main character has been the bishop, the one with the candlesticks, though Jean Valjean has yet to appear. I felt Hugo was laying it on a bit thick to start with - I get it, I get it - the Bishop is a Good Man. But in the end, it really is a very winsome portrait of goodness (leaving aside his treatment of the women of the house) - which is causing me to mull over the whole matter of the depiction of goodness in fiction - both nineteenth century and fan-. How often is it attempted, how is it shown as interesting - or even exciting? I don't think Dickens ever succeeds, does he? There's Joe and Biddy in Great Expectations, of course. Good but ineffectual.
(Mildly relevant quote from Simone Weil, more or less:
Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating.”)
as for my own writing: I'm 500 words into an NFE possibility, without knowing if this is a story I really want to write or not, or if it's the one I'll end up writing, or if I'll end up throwing in the towel. So far there's nobody particularly Good in it.
- plums - small, sweet, red plums, but not so sweet as to forget that a plum's essential mission is delivering the tartness hit.
- lychees - fresh! still on the twig
- watermelon - well, watermelon!
- mangoes - which drop free from the tree next door! :)
- and lastly... pineapple! this time, very little ones - just about fist-sized, once peeled (I bought nine!)
Meanwhile, in the kitchen... the floods have gone,and the mysterious well has been utterly transformed; instead of a well, we now have hidden under the floor a neatly tiled (around the edges) miniature Roman bath, and leading from it, an open channel cut down through the floor tiles, with two pipes in it, running away to underneath the sink. Which will be covered over like the bath, they say, with all due dispatch - but I have a gloomy feeling that the covering and retiling is going to wait until they can find tiles to match, the tiles which formerly ran along that bit of the floor having been used to tile the hidden Roman bath, of course. What chance will there be, of tiles to match for a decades-old house? I wait excitedly to find out!
Links, links.... here's two from australia, of very different life-forms:
a video of a joey koala, emerging from its mother's pouch.
and some still photos of an ethereally blue bioluminescent bloom in Tasmania. I especially like the one where someone has walked away across the sand leaving glowing blue footsteps.
Syrena_of_the_lake has curated a second collection of stories from rthstewart's 3SF - this time it's the Wings But No Feet (Dragon!Sherlock) collection - so far six stories are up, and I think about the same number still to come.
When I put up the two for Kangarooverse, by the way, I deleted them from my own 3SF post, which left me two chapters short in what was billed as a six-chapter collection. So I added two more, offering a reason why Susan might have been thought to be no good at schoolwork. (Chapters 5 & 6)
Curiously enough, it was a story which had gone close to unnoticed, even by the recipient, when it went up as part of the NFE 2014*; so however they decide to take what they took, it wasn't obvious merit. I thought at first that the story-takers were working backwards (ie most recently posted first) from the date on which they began,but that doesn't seem to work, either.
Well, whatever was their grounds for taking what they took, to be using work which I put up as a gift, as part of the gift economy, for money-making (however they do it) is not something I can let go without protest, so though I find such stuff pretty alien, I've begun the process of registering my non-approval of this use of my work.
So - I didn't plan a post today, but there it is.
Plus, for lighter relief, of mild interest to australians - Julia Gillard on Game of Thrones - the politics! the unexpected twists! (and twistings of the knife). It's like those ex-cricketers who become commenters on TV.
*and hasn't been much noticed since, either. Who? Me? Chagrinned? What makes you think that?
I posted a few new prompts, a couple of which went unfilled (here I prompted: LOTR, Bree-folk,the pointy end of politics, and here: Kipling's Kim; Kim, any; twentieth century)
but then the fills began to roll in!
For the prompt: Sinbad (2012); Rina, Cook; what's cooking?, meridian_rose posted this lovely snippet of interaction, where unspoken affection belied the spoken words.
Then for this prompt: Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth/Macbeth, "I have given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the babe who milks me" vs "he has no children", came the stunning fill, "Such a heart in my bosom" , all in iambic pentameter, from edenfalling . :)
My next prompt, Narnia, VDT; any characters; the voyage home, elicited two fills!
From syrena_of_the_lake , "Disembark" , telling how Eustace, post-VDT, is still held by the memory of breathtaking loveliness and lifechanging insight.
and from edenfalling , "To Breathe Free", a completely different take, focussing on the second, often overlooked,voyage in VDT.
and there were two fills, as well, for my next and last prompt: Narnia; Susan, Rabadash; "how meekly and courteously he consorted with us the space of seven days".
autumnia wrote "Behind closed doors", showing the true self that Rabadash was keeping so carefully hidden,
and transposable_element wrote "Ridiculous", bringing out the terrible dangers inherent in the gulf between Rabadash's appalling arrogance and Narnian simple directness.
Very excitingly, there were two new fills by syrena_of_the_lake taking the Sherlock!dragon story "Wings but no feet, cont." deep into the store-rooms of the Oxford Natural History Museum! Read all about it here and here! :)
I posted three new fills myself, as well. :)
For rthstewart , who asked for Doctor Who, Donna, Fastest Temp In Chiswick, I wrote "Echo of a Time Lord"
Forsyrena_of_the_lake , whose prompt, Harry Potter, Voldemort AU, His middle name was Bertram, and that changed everything, essentially set a fiendish anagram puzzle, I wrote first this: Last night at the Orphanage (in nine sentences), and then, in even greater folly, a second fill: And thus is equilibrium maintained...
And I think that's truly the last of this round-up of prompts and fills. The whole event was loads of fun, with a mind-bogglingly wide spectrum of creativity, from the most seriously jolting and poignant to the most wildly cracky - thank you, everyone, and especially, of course, instigator and maintainer rthstewart !
(oops! I forgot "Siege Perilous", which I wrote to fill a prompt from wellinghall: Saki (HH Munro), Vera Durmot, seduction. )
In terms of Wednesday reading, I have no books to report, only lots of three-sentence fictions. :D
And I've managed to post most of my own 3SF fills so far, too, over on AO3:-
There's a round-up of more-or-less Narnia fills - four so far
and a round-up of Tolkienish fills - two so far
(These leave me with the problem of where to put the Susan/Maglor fic - Narnia or Tolkien? I haven't put it in either so far.)
and a round-up of everything else, ranging from Antigone to Bertie Wooster.
Two and four seem very paltry numbers to have separate sections to themselves - I'll have to go and look for more Narnia/Tolkien prompts to fill. I do have a couple more fills written (not Narnia, not Tolkien) which haven't been posted yet, but they'll get AO3'd eventually. :)
And on quite a different tack, a good news story from my home country, for no good reason - I just liked the gumption of the boy:
"And then it just sort of hit me that my life isn't going to be all coins, so I thought I'd better make things a little easier, and easier for others as well."and I like that it paid off! :) A sucker for happy endings.
I've posted fourteen fills, of which four are arguably Narnian, and two are distinctly Tolkien, and one is a crossover of the two, but I've also had great fun with older fictions of various sorts, and new fandoms that I don't really know, and in general have been feeling again the fun side of writing, and a sense of community at play. :) I'll post them on aO3 (and linkto this journal) when the weekend is done, and the reading/writing/posting slows down for the working week, before next weekend's probable new flurry of additions. :D
Meantime, thank you, Ruth, and everybody, for it all - not just the prompts and great ficlets, but also the way it leads to undiscovered books and tales, by way of prompts unknown - such as the book The Leaky Establishment, which I'd never heard of, and which sounds a must-read, and the Czech Cinderella version called Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, which has set my mind off running after all the stories of women using nuts (mostly hazelnuts?) to solve dilemmas. (Does anybody have any of these? - I know of another Cinderella-ish one, and Kate Crackernuts, but I'm sure I've read more... ) and the opening up of new fandoms of things I've read or seen, but never, never thought of writing in! (Bertie Wooster! terrifying Greek myth! pictures!!)
and on a quieter note, halfamoon has come to an end. I don't feel I ever quite connected with what was going on, but I managed to post a single story, and then at the last minute posted as well a list of those stories from NFE 2014 which were specifically female-centric.