bronze_ribbons: Andy Murray snoozing with his dog (muzz with maggie)
Open Palm Press has been producing a series of pocket-sized poetry booklets for Haiti relief. #10 in the series consists of three poems by me: "Drop," "Portion," and "Assignment."

The cost is $3 per copy; please click here for details on how to place an order. Thanks!

My minister is a great pastor overall, but she does have her blind spots: I encountered one of them this past Sunday when, in her sermon, she spoke with pity of someone whose social life was primarily online rather than in the "real" world.


It's easy to point out where the disconnects stem from: the minister is around 15-20 years older than me and an extrovert. Her job depends on her being able to interact with people face-to-face at will 24/7 with equanimity, no matter how unreasonable some of those people can be. (This is something I really wish more people considering div school would get asked sooner rather than later: in my experience, too many of them aren't realistic about the demands of providing pastoral care.)

Whereas my own work depends on me spending a lot of time alone, and that's how I prefer it. I do have a decent set of social skillz - this week, I started/sustained a fair number of conversations during Sunday's coffee hours, chaired a meeting, attended two lunches and a wine tasting, and have a third lunch date lined up for tomorrow. I would've gone to movies with the BYM Sunday night if I hadn't fallen asleep.

But these are equally "real," in my book: Trading snark and squee with another tennis junkie over the ongoing mishegoss that is Indian Wells. (Short version: Nadal looking great, how did I end up rooting for Nico over Blake, and davai Elena!) The box of gorgeous tea that just arrived in the mail, from a longtime Snape/Lupin-and-now-manga copine. Postcards from St Kitts, South Africa, downtown Seattle... The gift-card-as-casserole another longtime Snupin friend sent when my mother died two years ago today, along with literally dozens of condolence notes from others. The acquaintances and strangers who quote and rec not only my fics but my poems (and sometimes my rants, eep). The fun of being generous in like wise to others. The quiet satisfaction of volunteer work done late at night and behind the scenes so that old texts and new stories reach more people.

I enjoyed reading Ivan Ljubicic's perspective about various aspects of playing on the ATP tour. As a fan of both Roger and Rafa, I loved the opening:

The people on tour are different than they were 15 years ago. You see more players doing so much more fitness. I remember coming into the locker room 10-15 years ago and guys would be talking about other sports and now if you want to survive you have to be focused 100 percent. That's what Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have done for our sport as they are asking 100 percent out of all of us. If you are not totally committed, you can't even play with them, and I'm not even talking about beating them, I'm talking about how ridiculous you would look out there if you are not playing your best and totally there mentally because you can't even compete.

The current haul from the library includes a concert recording of Chess (the one with Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, and Adam Pascal as the leads), Tired of Being Tired (like my tangent above, I don't truly expect it to say much of anything new to me, but seeing old truths in different type is sometimes the kick my brain needs to get out of its ongoing ruts), and Posy Simmonds's Tamara Drewe, blurbed as a graphic-novel retelling of Far from the Madding Crowd (my favorite Thomas Hardy novel).

But before I get to any of those: thank-you notes, housework, spreadsheets, several hundred more words, and a long walk (or at least twenty minutes involving some variation of situps). Onward!
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
From her US Open press conference yesterday:

Q. You had a very accomplished career, and it took you a while to finally win a Grand Slam title. What advice would you give to the other players in the draw in the same situation?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Advice regarding what?

Q. As far as...
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Taking time to -- you know, everyone's road is different. We all have different things that we went through, even before the tennis career started and everything. It builds you as a human being, as a player. It's really hard to say you should do this or that.
When you're in this position, it's better to go this way or to take this road or make this choice. It's really personal things. I'm not sure there is one answer really, just one answer to each of those questions.
It's a matter of each one adjusting to the situation you are given. You have to make the choice.

Q. Do you think they have some flaws in their games or they have been unlucky or they're not there yet?
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: Who are you talking about?

Q. Jankovic, Safina, Dementieva.
AMÉLIE MAURESMO: You know what? I don't know. I don't know. Who am I to just -- I don't know how they're working. I don't know in what state of mind they are. I don't know how they feel physically.
I just you know, they know the best, and they can the best choose and see who's better to help them and how and what. It's so personal. I'm glad I'm not a journalist to write on this.


16/3/09 15:40
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Yoshizumi 8 chin on hand)
Says You is a public radio program that includes bluffing rounds, where one team is assigned an obscure word, two of its members create fake definitions for it, and the other team tries to guess the actual definition. Yesterday, the word for one of the rounds was filk.

I thought, "Oh, geez, that's a gimme!"

The guessing panel picked one of the fake definitions.

The studio audience was in favor of the other fake definition.

In tandem with my partner discovering Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog only just last week, it's a well-timed reminder that my perceptions of "popular" and "well-known" are somewhat skewed.

(This is related to why I generally discourage academic authors from using the adjective "well-known" and "famous" in their prose: if something is truly is well-known, saying so is redundant, and if it's knowledge that wasn't previously shared by the reader, it can unnecessarily distance or alienate them.)

(Tangent: the only other word I've recognized going into a bluffing round was "hardanger." That one, not so much of a double-take.)

I haven't gotten around to reading Alma Alexander's books yet, but I peeked at her Flycon posts from this past weekend, and this one really struck a chord with me:

...whoever said that you or ANYBODY else are going to be reading the same book, ever, even when every word in it is identical between your two copies?

...It is flat impossible to write for every possible interpretation of a given set of words – you would have to have the mind and the breadth of vision of a God to be able to understand everything about everybody, to know the contents of every single person's duffle bag as they slog along the road of life. You write a story -- and after it's out of your hands it's between the story and the readers. They may have issues with the story. While "issues" are often something that you can take on board and fix in your head and do better (or try to) in your next story -- it's also true that you could not posssibly have known about every issue from every reader. You owe the reader the best story that you could write. What they discover in it… is more often than not something that you never thought that you had said. As a writer, this is something that you have to live with.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (wicked fairy apologist)
Reb sure gives good rant:

...where is this personal venom coming from against our inaugural poet and poem? Are people in the music industry bitching that Obama should have picked Patti Labelle or Faith Hill or that guy from Coldplay? Are they up in arms at the selection of Yo Yo Ma? I kinda doubt it. This grotesque pettiness goes back to poets fighting over that tiny crumb of a pie. Poets, forget the fucking pie already! I promise you, it's stale and flavorless. If you ever get a bite, you'll still be as empty as you are now.

I feel compelled to add, however, that as a resident of Nashville (which my favorite local t-shirt describes as a "drinking town with a music problem"), I'm dead certain that someone in my area code -- hell, in my zip code -- was bitching about the music lineup. I've encountered walking cases of sour grapes here that could make vinegar taste like Manischewitz.

Still, it's tempting to turn "forget the fucking pie already" into a button. Or icon.

*wrenches self away from lure of further catwaxing and back to mortgage-paying, laundry-drying, Harudaki-smexing soup-heating...*
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (hooch's boots)
According to the Typealyzer, this journal is an ESTP (Doer), my current personal journal reads as ENTP (Visionary), and my old personal LJ's an ISTP (Mechanic).

Which is all pretty funny to me, especially since I'm solidly an INTJ (Perfectionist, Pragmatic, and Slightly Psychotic Macher Mastermind) when I've taken Myers-Briggs' tests as me, rather than the very much edited (rambledlyness notwithstanding) personae I adopt for my posts and interactions in journal-space. (Well, and in in-person-space as well. I don't compartmentalize much on purpose, but it happens: my database-warrior voice is not the same as my pulpit voice, which is not the same as my mocking-my-dog voice, which is not the same as my ogling admiring-an-actor-with-great-cheekbones-and-a-pinchable-tush voice gibbering.

(Stumbled across this via Christine Kane's blog, where she writes about self-sabotage and persistence, recovering from bulimia, coping with challenging people, creativity, gratitude, and cats. Which is to say, I find it worth visiting periodically and I think some of you might as well.)
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (spiral notebooks)
In the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell discusses creativity - especially the kind with late-blooming results:

[David] Galenson quotes the literary critic Franklin Rogers on [Mark] Twain’s trial-and-error method: “His routine procedure seems to have been to start a novel with some structural plan which ordinarily soon proved defective, whereupon he would cast about for a new plot which would overcome the difficulty, rewrite what he had already written, and then push on until some new defect forced him to repeat the process once again.” Twain fiddled and despaired and revised and gave up on “Huckleberry Finn” so many times that the book took him nearly a decade to complete. The Cézannes of the world bloom late not as a result of some defect in character, or distraction, or lack of ambition, but because the kind of creativity that proceeds through trial and error necessarily takes a long time to come to fruition.
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (wirite)
Via kirbyfest: Merlin Missy's Your Friends Are Not Watching the Same Show You Are (And That's Okay).

cut for Dr Who/Torchwood spoiler )

The "fandom as an evil clone of The Potato Salad Theory" postulate:

To summarize the potato salad theory, fanfiction works for readers because the readers are already coming to the story with enough history and background to enjoy the story without piles of world-building and setup, much like stories that feature historical or mythological characters. We are bringing our own utensils and plates to the picnic, not expecting restaurant service. That's fanfic. When it comes to our source material, we're all bringing very different things to the table, and that's going to affect what we consume.

The description of the Torchwood that half of my friendslist is watching: Torchwood spoiler )

Her alternate titles are not only a scream, apparently they're triggered a meme now percolating through TV fandom. (See link to kirby's journal for examples.)

the picnic in the pro world / weapons against self-inflicted woe )
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
It's been a long haul work-wise this week (and I've been better health-wise as well), so I took the morning off to bake an Indian pudding and inch forward on a fic.

(The reviews of the pudding so far: "Looks like cat barf, tastes like pumpkin pie without the crust." Let it not be said my officemates don't tell things as they are. *g*)

I've also been obsessing a bit too much about gift culture (both in fandom and real life), prompted by some wibbling in various quarters over the past couple of months that has been rubbing me the wrong way. I suspect I'm overreacting to and/or misreading a fair bit of it because of my personal issues, which I'll elaborate upon in a moment; that said, if something's coming across to me as passive-aggressive or reeking of entitlement, chances are it's hitting other people that way as well.

A list much, much longer than I'd intended it to be... *sheepish* )
Put another way: If lack of feedback is a deal-breaker for you, your skin is frankly too thin. And the best way to thicken it is to sit down and work on something new that will turn out better (luck and stubbornness willing). And if the bunnies just won't behave for you, you could at least take that negative energy and route it into recs and nominations and feedback for other people. It's not just talent that makes the high-profile fans beloved among so many -- to name three of the highest-profile names in Snape/Lupin, [ profile] snegurochka_lee, [ profile] scribbulus_ink, and [ profile] lore are adored not only because they're fantastic storytellers, but because they also routinely encourage and promote other writers and artists besides themselves.

(And now I need to get back to work and take my own damn advice. *rueful smile*)

a rant

24/8/07 10:08
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
At the moment, I am tired of fandom being characterized as weird, maniacal, and crazy, both among our own and in the larger world. Aside from the fact that fandom is not and has never been a monolithic entity, I just don't believe spending time on derivative stories and/or art is any weirder or inappropriate than mainstream society's collective devotion to watching a bunch of males in unflattering clothing beating up on each other or whaling on plastic projectiles. Both sets of activities induce pleasure, pain, glee, and wild surges of hope and adrenalin among fans, and they bore, baffle, and/or trigger resentment in those who are not.

I enjoy sports myself. I lettered in track and cross-country in high school, I had a season pass to Michigan Stadium during graduate school, and when the Bulls won their first championship, I saw it on tv as it happened and then stayed up watching my fellow Chicagoans literally dancing for joy in the parking lot across from my apartment.

That said, you'll never hear me claim that being a White Sox fan is a hobby for the rational (and I'm married to a man who roots for the Yankees. The WOE!). I'm also coming to believe that making kids practice in full pads in this weather ought to rate as some form of abuse. [Another Southerner and I were talking about one team local to him a couple of weeks ago, and he said, "And the thing is, they're not even that good." On the saner end of the spectrum, some of the schools in one of the counties next to mine are delaying tonight's games by thirty minutes to wait out the heat.] As far as I'm concerned, if someone wants to pontificate about fandom's objectification of imaginary minors, I'm going to have trouble taking them seriously unless they can tell me how their principles apply to athletic prodigies -- say, for instance, gymnasts -- and other child performers (and if the argument falls back on artistic/inspirational merit, well, that's an age-old impasse, isn't it).

And, as many of you know, I don't even write about underage characters 98% of the time. And there are Kentucky fans who don't paint their faces blue on a routine basis or shoot out newspaper boxes when the team gets sanctioned. Even so, I do have some fondness for the, er, more expressive participants in both HP and sports fandom -- I mean, yeah, sometimes they're rude or mean or gross or shrill, but they're also often hilarious and inventive and wildly entertaining. But when they're written or spoken of as representative of all of us? It makes me annoyed and tired. Not because I'm saner or morally superior to them, but because they aren't me, and I never did particularly take well to being ignored. If people are going to generalize about fandom, I want them to include or at least acknowledge my kind in their considerations.

Naturally, I'd prefer that people refrain from generalizing altogether, but that would truly be veering into realms of unreality (not to mention hurling stones from my glass cave), and this is already longer than I meant for it to be. :-/

bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
One of my all-time favorite journal reads is truepenny's "John Milton How I Hate Him" post. In it, she acknowledges that (1) she ought to like Milton's work, and (2) she can't stand it anyhow.

There are NYT bestsellers and fandom classics that leave me underwhelmed, and yet there are Nora Roberts novels and cheesy French power-ballads that bring tears to my eyes. There are technically perfect poems and immaculately plotted mysteries that leave me unmoved, and others that dazzle me precisely because the author took such pains to get things right.

With any author or artist, my reaction may depend on timing, headspace, and amount of bourbon at hand. As with any reader, I have baggage the author can't possibly know about - buttons he or she may end up inadvertently pushing -- but, as with any reader, I'm also entitled to say, "This simply didn't connect with me. This failed to convince me it was true or that it matters."

Medium of delivery matters, too: I don't care much for any of the Brontes, but Claire Bloom's live reading of Jane Eyre (Chicago, 1989) was deliberately, winningly droll, and there was one scene in a 1990s University of Michigan production of Wuthering Heights that made me cry. On the flip side, there have been productions of plays and movies I ended up not enjoying because there was too much dissonance between what I was seeing acted out and the scenes I'd heard and seen within my own mind as I read them.

Among my friends, opinion is wildly divided when it comes to Austen, Bujold, Dickens, Melville, Tolkien, and pretty much any other major author you can think of. There are people very dear to me who adore Confederacy of Dunces and I simply don't get it; on the other hand, I reread The Fountainhead every couple of years and I have friends who would sooner run naked through Boston in a snowstorm than open that book.

The link to truepenny's post:

In other museanderings, I had thought all was quiet in the plotbunny warren and was kind of thinking a break would be a good thing, but then one of the damned beasts snuck up and sank its fangs into me yesterday morning, and deep. What I thought would be a drabble (no, I never do learn) is currently at 1,800 words and counting, and I've reached the point where I don't actually know what happens next. Fortunately, there's no rush. The characters will eventually let me know, and in the meantime, I'm going to go make myself lunch and work on the things I'm actually supposed to. ;-)


bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)

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