I just watched that.
And then I set up a £5 monthly direct debit here, because it felt like the absolute least I could do.
ALL SLOTS FILLED! I'll do my best to write these by Halloween. :)
1. Autumn/harvest/day-of-the-dead traditions in Asgard
2. Werewolf!Peter and werewolf!Diana being wolfy together
3. Natasha anything (but perhaps post-Written in Blood and Bone Natasha & Bucky)
4. Methos anything
5. White Collar, Kate meets June
6. Neal and Mozzie planning a heist on Halloween (or any Neal & Mozzie)
7. Trick-or-treating with SGA or Avengers
8. Theo trick-or-treating at the Burkes' or anything Peter/El
9. Steve & Bucky friendship or White Collar Halloween
10. Anler/Taiv (Torn World)
.... Though I will add the caveat that since I'm traveling/visiting/not at the computer much this month, these might be REALLY short! I'll guarantee a couple of paragraphs but not more than that.
Avengers or White Collar are most likely to get more than a couple of paragraphs, but I'll try my hand at anything I've watched/read, and any character, pairing, or prompt is acceptable. If I truly don't think I can do it, I'll ask you to pick another.
ETA: Since I may not be able to check this post very often, you might want to look at both the LJ and DW side to see if there are still slots! First come, first served.
And I am looking forward to having coffee again, and a good burger. Not that I couldn't have had a good burger already, but we have not had any inhouse to cook, just birdy things. Lots of chicken. And lots of fish. I don't think I will sprout pinfeathers or scales, though.
Still the quiet lake.
Add to the list of things that I would like: a pair of jeans that I ordered from Duluth Trading and sent back for exchange because they were too big. I'd like the new ones. :) Any time now.
But these things will come, eventually.
I am not looking forward, particularly, to Early Voting later this week -- if only because of the horde of politicos shilling for their candidates outside the building where the polls take place. I have never been comfortable walking through that kind of crowd, even when I was a reporter. But I think it will be all right.
Silver Spoon volume 1 by Arakawa-sensei, because I'm going to be hanging out at an agricultural institute in Tochigi in January and three years ago I was defeated by the agricultural kanji and then by graduate school. (I was trying to be A Good Student and draw all the kanji rather than just look them up by the readings, but you know what, life is short and I'll pick them up visually eventually anyway, screw that.) Anyway it's an Arakawa manga about a dude who goes to an agricultural high school because it's a boarding school and that's literally all I know yet, but it could be about watching paint dry and I would love it because Arakawa. She is my all-time favorite. And you know, that's the great thing about manga--it can make me read about so many different things and love them all. But yeah, I bought all 12 volumes at Book-Off (which is rebranding as Yafu Off? Or maybe just the one in Shibuya? I don't know at all) for ¥2500; I'll just sell back the volumes I own in the States once I've read them.
What I've Just Read
I literally just finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and it was brilliant. I saw her at a signing this spring and thanked her for writing a book that didn't pathologize fandom and fanfiction without having read it, but I really loved the book itself, and Cath, and Simon Snow, and her relationship to fandom and the people in her life and also to freshman year of college. In some ways, I saw a lot of me and my sister in Cath and Wren; we were nothing like that, except for how we were, and how we could have been. It's a really good book and I'm kicking myself for not buying the necklace when it was available. Highly recommended.
Libba Bray, The Diviners - I really liked it. I just really liked that Evie drank and swore and was scandalous and the narrative didn't punish her for any of that, and I thought Bray did a really good job of bringing history to life. I do have questions about the larger structure of the series and some of the worldbuilding that can't be answered at this point because it's only one book of four, but if and when the next one comes out, I'll be reading avidly.
Michelle Sagara, Cast in Sorrow - I'm now only one book behind on the Elantra Chronicles, and I still really like Kaylin. It feels like she's grown a lot over the last few books, and I'm looking forward to watching that growth continue.
Kumota Haruko, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu vol. 1 - I finally finished the first volume of the rakugo manga! I bought it on a whim because it's popular and because the author was the subject of an exhibit at the Yonezawa Manga Library in June. It's set in the 80s (and yes, when you think about it, the Bubble really was the Showa Genroku) and follows the career of an ex-con who becomes an apprentice rakugo raconteur when he gets out. I expect many doujinshi at Comiket devoted to the rakugo sensei and the sensei's dead rival, who may or may not be haunting the sensei as a ghost? I had a friend who did her Fulbright research on rakugo, so I know about two knuckles' worth of stuff about it, but even that was enough to know that it's a pretty sexist sphere, and I'm glad that Kumota puts that front and center in the person of the sensei's dead rival's daughter, who he's raised in his household and wants to be a rakugo raconteur but simply can't. I don't really care about the protagonist much yet (except, since the mangaka made her name in BL, and this is shelved in BL/Ladies at Book-Off, wondering whether he or any of the other male characters will suddenly appear in a BL scene), but that's pretty normal for me, and also not a dealbreaker by any means.
What I'm Reading Next
More Silver Spoon and rakugo, I dare say.
What I've Bought
…A lot of manga. Two more volumes of rakugo; all of Silver Spoon; the first of the Roman bath manga, vol. 10 of Ôoku, Billy Bat 1 (again; my copies of all of these are in the States); xxxHoLiC Rei 2. Also One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire, because somehow I never bought it in paper. Oh, and a copy of Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy for ¥200 at the little bookstore next to the conbini, because it is my policy to always buy books from The Women's Press.
I got lots of thoughtful comments that took stabs at figuring out my puzzling issue, but chatty people being chatty people, I also got all sorts of comments that branched off from the subject I'd brought up and talked about things that my question had made them think of. And words do not describe how irritated I was by this! Each ensuing comment came across as someone jumping in and saying "let me derail the conversation you want to have and get everybody to talk about the thing I find more interesting instead!", and this made me glare very intensely at the screen.
Then it struck me that this isn't just a Facebook thing--people have always done this here, too. My journal is full of tangential conversations, and I have always found them nothing but delightful. The difference, of course, is that here those conversations take place in separate threads, so even if three or four people skip merrily off behind a tangent, that doesn't necessarily imply a derailing of the original point. And here, any subsequent commenter uninterested in the tangent can just start a new thread branching off from the original post.
Which just makes me miss the days that all of the great internet discussion was happening on a threaded platform, of course (cue heavy sighing).
2. We got tasty burritos for dinner.
3. The other day Irene was watching Akira and it made me want to read the manga (I've never read it before, though I saw the movie several times back in the day). The only site I could find raws on uses a file hosting site that allows you to download one file every six hours, so it's been taking what feels like forever to get these, even though there are only six volumes, but I'm downloading the final volume right now, yay.
Seattle and San Francisco were great, Redwood was stunning, as were Kings Canyon/Sequoia and Joshua Tree. The Red Rock Canyon State Park was really nice, especially for such a small area.
I must say, though, that I was underwhelmed by both Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Both were very "touristy" and with Yosemite we could really only see the Valley, which is stunning, but somehow my expectations were really high. And the Grand Canyon is beautiful and stunning and spectacular, but unless you can actually hike down it sort of feels like viewing a pretty picture, maybe? And way, way too touristy. We hiked a bit and that was nice, but nothing compared to hiking at Redwood or Joshua Tree.
Is this completely strange? Am I the only person not spiritually transformed by seeing the Grand Canyon?
I first “met” Lesley Smith a year and a half ago, while looking for beta readers for a short story. Lesley is also an author herself. Her book The Changing of the Sun came out this month, and she’s currently working on a Kickstarter for the second book in the series, The Parting of the Waters.
Her guest post is about disability in fiction, and about her own choices along those lines as a writer.
One of the great maxims told to newbie writers is ‘write what you know’. I’m never sure if that’s true, but it’s a good a place to start as any. To understand my writing, you need to know that I was born with a visual impairment caused from wanting to get into the world at twenty four weeks, rather than the usual forty. Too much oxygen left me with brain damage, Asperger’s and, most obviously, a visual disability. I’m blind in one eye and so short sighted in my left that I’m functionally useless outside without a long cane or my beloved guide dog, Unis.
When I started writing The Changing of the Sun, I’d just finished Camp NaNoWriMo and was itching to write anything but the project I’d put aside at fifty thousand words: an urban scifi about an alien priestess trying to solve a murder while an engineered plague began decimating London’s alien community.
I realised I couldn’t write this story before I’d set up the one which forged my protagonist, or at least her past selves and her civilisation. I knew the basics: an alien world devastated by a solar storm, an order of blind seers who ruled in wisdom and passed the mantle down through centuries, and great adversity tempered by common sense and the desire to survive the impossible. I started writing and the short story became a novella, then a proper novel. Just over a year and a Kickstarter later, I’ve just unleashed that novel on the world.
Key to the universe in which the Changing trilogy is set is disabled characters being more than just set pieces. There might be miracles, but curing disabilities isn’t one of them. Yes, the oracles have lost their vision, but like Odin and Tiresias, they’ve gained something in exchange. However, this doesn’t mean an easy ride. Far from it. Having a disability doesn’t give you an instant pass and the people aren’t there to be inspirational … they’re just trying to get through the day.
For example, the stereotype of a blind person is that they are a) totally blind and b) have heightened senses. This is rubbish. All is means is that most blind people have some useful vision and that we pay more attention; I have better hearing than you simply because I don’t have as much visual noise that prevents me focusing.
Saiara, the POV character, is blinded as part of a ritual gone wrong. She finds herself banished to a shabby tower where the blind oracles are kept locked away, too close to the divine to be allowed near the populace except on the high holy days. The powers don’t want them to be self-reliant or capable of surviving without servants, guards and being beholden to the High Chamberlain’s ‘compassion’. There’s the elderly Eirian, the former ruler of the planet, who is coming to the end of her life, and is just trying to keep their collapsing ordering intact so someone is left to lead even as she goes to her grave. She tries to teach every woman in her care how to go beyond their blindness, to find their way, to use their other senses, to regain power in a place which would rather they be powerless.
Back when I was writing Changing, I read an excellent post on this very blog and it made me decide that if there was one rule I was going to stick to, it was that if you lost a limb, nothing could restore it to you. You might lose your vision and gain the grace of knowledge, but you’d still be blind, still be lost in a world not designed to help you or make allowances for your disability. This makes the idea of an exodus north, though the desert with limited supplies and the thinning ranks of a sacred order of blind women, much more complicated.
One of the biggest scenes involves Jeiana, one of these alien beings incarnated as a Kashinai woman, having her writing hand amputated after a tiny scratch turns septic. She’s borrowed the body of a woman who drowned at the beginning of the book and has been slowly losing her sense of self, almost like a kind of dementia. When she collapses, her lover, the healer Senara, has to make the decision between Jeiana’s life and the infected limb.
The problem is, because Jeiana is slowly forgetting who she is, a side-effect of her corporeal state, she has been trying to write down all the secrets she has brought with her from beyond their little world. Losing her hand means she can’t record the words for posterity, and there comes a point where the fate of an entire planet relies on Senna’s decision. While Jeiana eventually gains an amanuensis, she is never able to write, and the loss of her hand forces her to have to relearn how to walk, how to move and live with a limb which stops just above her elbow, suffering phantom pain from the amputated limb that she doesn’t really remember losing.
I wanted to have empowered characters who accurately reflected my own view of the world. Jeiana, Saiara, Eirian, Lyse and the others are not there to be pitied. They might not always know the answers or have an easy ride but they’re stronger for every trial. They are not there to be tokens or to make up the numbers but to reflect that just as the world is full of people with disabilities, so alien worlds should have their share of differently abled individuals.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Spoilers: Episode 5.04 “Ka Noeʻau” (The Painter)
Word Count 1840
Warnings: Graphic description of decaying body
Disclaimer: This is a work of transformative fiction, created for fun and pleasure. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: The title comes from Peter Gabriel's superbly haunting song “Signal to Noise”. This work was graciously beta'd by verasteine. Thank you, bb.
Summary: Steve puts a hand on his shoulder, squeezing before moving it up to cup Danny's jaw and face. “Don't look.”
( Danny's breaths are loud, shallow, his shoulders shaking with each inhale. )