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Far from completed, but these are some raw thoughts I laid down today. Loss of job has certainly been a stimulation...creatively speaking.

Seasons of Glass (inspired partly by Yoko Ono's 1981 album of the same name).

These are the seasons of glass
When man walks alone in the wilderness
Holding roots and balms to his chest
In the mockery of healing
This fragile season of no harvest
Is broken on a blue-tinged shore
The wilderness of glass
The harsh staring of glass
Encasing judgment in the frozen wave
And calming the vision of wanderers -
In winter comes stormy weather
Pealing along the adamant sheen
And blustering clouds scud along
Like rich fingers combing back the breeze
To reveal the vast mirror
And all who sail upon her body -
In the summer months warm tropics expound
Rich islands rise from the wilderness
Cool drink and wuthering sun
Casting reflections within reflections
Until each star knows intimately its face
And the sickle of change arcs the air
And slices down the trade winds -
The fall is best of all the seasons
When the glass is milky with leaves
When the man in the wilderness
Plucks fresh apples from refracted trees
His fingers hovering on the glass
The richest season, the driest season,
When his questing fingers can locate rest -
Unlike that is spring
When youthful vigor is intoxicant
And the newborn sun sizzles on the panorama
And huddles close on every horizon
Refusing to set, to provide darkness,
And the moon is an unknown thing.
In these four disparate seasons
The wailing glass gives up light, energy, sound,
Guides the wanderer onwards, to the oases destinant,
Where rich figs and lowering palms do dwell, must dwell,
And surcease, a lack of self, may be seized.
To come of age on a blinding pane
To see oneself reflected and reflected again
To hover close and feel each breath stolen
Each footstep taken, each thirst relieved
Until the reward arrives, and is rotten -
All the palms vacant, all the water salted,
All the journey wasted across the melting ocean
To come to a place of false image
To dine and die amid graceless sands
No poor oasis, no home, not even a gentle tomb.


What is being a man?
I certainly don’t know
Nor do I care to know
If it involves the savory stench of rifles
Or the bloodied hands of the dead
I do not want to know
I was told that, to become a man,
One must fuck the proper sex,
One must not eat of certain foods,
One must attain, and enjoy, fruits
One must labor eternal
To maintain the rich mantle
The definite title, MAN:
I am not a man.
I am more than the clamor of genitals
I am certainly more than the fall of bombs
And I enjoy white meat, dark meat,
And sometimes no meat at all.
Who is the salt of the earth -
The patient artist?
The laboring wanderer?
The soldier fresh with wasting wounds?
Or the rescuer of dying animals -
I am not a man, I say, and yell,
And scream against the earth,
The unpregnant, the barren expectant,
The flush of blooded meat and war
The wanting of a warm bed
The chill of a tearless heart
And hand, and head…
Who is man, anyhow?
And what, what does he want from me?
16 November 2009 @ 02:17 pm
Dear Yule Goat,

First and foremost, sorry for the slight delay in writing this. Hopefully you haven't been freaking out too much.

Secondly, I want to preemptively thank you for the impending story. I first participated in Yuletide last year, and while not a regular in fandom (my significant other is well on her way to become a bitter old fic queen) I was thrilled with my story. So I'm not entirely a noob, despite the non-fannishness of my journal. Again, I hope this wasn't freaking you out too much.

My squicks are few: death fic, mpreg (except in the Venture Bros. 'verse, where I think it could be used to high hilarity), and unresolved angst/ennui in general. I'm a character caretaker: I enjoy seeing characters that seldom have the opportunity for happiness being happy. I suppose this is pretty clearly reflected in my fandom choices: the underappreciated and oft-insulted worldsaving detective, the bumbling delivery boy with the heart of gold, the failed scientist whose genius is hindered by a thousand insecurities and cynicism. Each of the fics that I desperately want revolves around soothing these terminal narrative oppressions.

In Venture Bros., I really want to see the man behind Dr. Venture's absolutely dissipated personality. We've had glimpses of his past, his abuse at the hands of his father and his awkward, unsuccessful teenagerhood. I don't just want to see him succeed at science: that happens often enough on the show, albeit with morally dubious consequences. I want a glimpse at the Rusty Venture hinted at in the season 3 episode where he unwittingly strays very close to being a villain, and backs away at the last moment. I want to see the Rusty Venture that actually, in some twisted way, cares for his sons. My preference for Brock being in the narrative is twofold: I love Brock, especially the places they've taken him in season 3 and beyond; and he always seems capable of bringing out, if not the best, than certainly the better in Rusty. Again, emphasis on no hearts and flowers and romping bunnies. I think Rusty is a bit too damaged for that. But I want to see him aware of his damage, and to see his ability to reach beyond it. Also, on a purely id level, any Dr. Orpheus would be excellent. He's just that excellent. Also also, not looking for slash.

As for Futurama, I'm afraid that my tastes are rather pedestrian. The show knows (in its more astute moments) that its core is the on-and-off-again Fry/Leela love story. It occasionally runs away with Bender, and then I start to yawn. Fry is an intriguing character to me: the dumb male stereotype with an overwhelming capacity for love. It's his honest, true desire for Leela that makes him so compelling to me; that, and his ability in spite of his own limitations to be ultimately self-sacrificing. Fry is supremely capable despite his shortcomings, and is pretty unique in that. Similarly, I love Leela - total capability meets an underlying vulnerability. She's incredibly intelligent and cool under pressure, but has a pretty traumatic past and a total soft side. This is why I love the idea of Fry and Leela together: their idiosyncrasies have the potential to negate each other. I love it when Leela is all tough commander, great fighter and sensitive orphan: I love it when Fry is self-sacrificing, big-hearted and simultaneously clueless. Porn would certainly be okay, but not required - mainly looking for heartwarming silliness and mutual taking-care-of with a potential dash of angst.

As for Dirk Gently, I find him (and his slightly-to-the-left universe) to be a supremely comfortable place to relax. Dirk is a character that I love in spite of himself: he's a total charlatan in a world where everything (Norse gods, psychics, time-traveling aliens ghosts) are 100% real. As such, I find the Gently 'verse both grounding and exotic. What I'm primarily looking for is a small case file, or a character study involving Dirk and the characters he interacted with in the first two books. I've never been entirely comfortable with how completely the second book completely disregards the character set from the first installment - especially considering how Salmon of Doubt was going to feature return visits from both Kate and Thor. I hesitate to use the term highjinks, but it's sort of what I want - Dirk forced into a completely bizarre scenario that he has to unravel whilst hanging on to reality by the skin of his teeth. Alternately, if this isn't totally to your liking, I'd love some extended character studies - say the inevitable tea date between Dirk, Kate and Thor, or Dirk catching up with the Professor and Gordon from the first book. Character overlap would be appreciated. As for what I'm looking for character wise - Dirk is capable despite himself, but in a totally different way from Fry. I think he desperately wants to believe that the exists in a completely normal, rational universe, but that proof keeps stacking up to the contrary. So Dirk being simultaneously bewildered and competent would be awesome. Really what all this text adds up to is that this fandom is pretty free-form. I don't have a ship, necessarily (beyond Kate/Thor), and would really be happy with almost anything.

Again, thanks much, good luck, can't wait to read your story, and happy Yule!
Hey, all. Thought I'd drop a line, for my benefit and yours - thoughts have been churning, congealing, taking physical form. A conceptual butter, they must needs be spread on the toast of discourse.


Anyhoo, I read a fantastic article several days ago dealing with the concept of biocentrism, a scientific concept proposing the determinism of observation. We all know the classic argument for measurement altering an indeterminate result (ie collapsing wave functions by observing the trajectory of a photon or photons); if not, and if you are of a geeky-physics persuasion, I command you to go forth and do some research. Seriously, it's like atomic porn.

The article was arguing for an understanding of quantum mechanics based on the presence of an observing eye. What is time, in fact, but a necessary procession of frames we perceive in order to exist in four-dimensional space? The argument expands on many of mankind's falsifiable observations (the sun orbiting the earth, etc), transforming the universe into a massive pile of indeterminacy. Much like the thought experiment of Schrodinger's Cat, we can conceive of our reality as a sealed box. However, mankind has the benefit of being the small collective feline in this colossal box, so wherever we peer, wave functions (the mathematical expressions of chance) collapse into digestible data. We are a force of decision, crafting the definite out of the indefinite with the gaze of an eye or the snap of a quantum photograph.

Needless to say, I'm sold on the theory. I love the notion of consciousness serving a cosmic purpose, and my brain is currently churning away at determinism vs. resolution. Clearly things occur without direct observation; people develop cancers in random parts of the body, stars unseen by any eye flicker into existence and vanish. So our observation is less overtly commanding and more oracular. Perhaps, perhaps if we could find a method of bending the universe to our desired perception, we could all end up like Neo, flying hither and thither and fighting off badly animated versions of Hugo Weaving. Hey, a man can dream.

In other news, just wrapping up a reading of Astrid Lindgren's The Brothers Lionheart. It's mad-good, a post death fantasy adventure through a dystopic afterlife. Some amazing narrative stuff happening here, in this book 'recommended for ages 8-12.' Maybe I'm just being immature?

Also, writing is coming along slowly. Finally finished a scene I think I've re-written at least a dozen times. Trying to find momentum, and getting ready for my upcoming move to Bloomington, IN. Hopefully getting out of Galesburg will stimulate the creative juices a bit...our landlord apparently 'forgot' to pay the power bill this month, so all the lights in the hallway are out. So far I've managed to climb the steps in the dark without incident, but I really don't think that should be a prerequisite for living on the third floor. The last thing I want to do after coming home from hours of hauling bags of sod is to stumble up six flights of stairs in the pitch darkness.

Oh, and this is just a formal request to all the shows I watch: please stop sucking. Please, great gods of the television, avert the inevitable Huddy, banish SPN's angel brigade, and make Dollhouse decent. Is that so much to demand?
Anyone who knows my writing process knows I have a harder time naming my stories/poems/etc. than is probably proper. I've been slogging through my Kelrob/Jacobson manuscript for about two years, and have never gotten around to naming the book; in fact, the lack of title has turned into a weird liminal comfort zone. However, the lady-love and I were bashing around some archaic names for wizards a couple nights back, and I suddenly stumbled over the trilogy-title.

Yup. I'm writing the Magistricide Trilogy. Names for individual books will hopefully follow - I love it when brainstorms just happen.

In slightly less spiffy news, I've been catching a lot of vicarious flak from the crazy fandom Race Imbroglio 2009. The whole thing started with a critique of Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron books...which is a shame, since they caught my eye a few months ago and have been on my to-read list since then. As it is, I do have one of her books, All the Windracked Stars, which I got for Christmas from the 'rents...and a prettier hardcover couldn't be found. However, since Bear's crazy-ass rant on her lj, wherein she basically pats fandom on the collective head, denies any wrongdoing on her part, and dismisses fannish arguments as the crazed ramblings of a faceless horde, I've been trying to figure out what to do with the book. Reading it is right out (her post is very Bobby Jindal-esque, with lots of patronizing inflection and infantilizing language); I think we might be shipping it off to an International Literacy organization or something. Try as I might, I just can't throw out a book. I think I'd have a massive yellow pages collection if I didn't live with a slightly more reasonable person.

Pro-writers: stop the fail. Seriously.
Current Mood: goodgood
15 February 2009 @ 09:55 pm
Spinning some thoughts off of lotesseflower's meta thought process...

As a wannabe pro-fic writer, I've spent several years learning to swallow my pride. I've managed to crush the first-draft-is-virtuoso-performance bug, and the must-be-constantly-writing-a-classic-bug. I've managed to subvert the indignity I used to feel when editing, and have stopped issuing mental death-threats when other writers are even marginally successful. I definitely had some pride issues that needed working out.

One thing that I've never had a great deal of difficulty with is the external mutability of my own narrative, ie how people will read it, respond to it, interpret it. I've seen numerous lists of authors that absolutely refuse to allow any kind of fanfic to be written about their work. This sort of uber-protectiveness has always baffled me; first of all, it cultivates the hallowed Cult of the Author, which has grown to immense and ludicrous proportions. Second, it denies the agency of the reader, curtailing the whole Author is Dead thing that literary theorists have been batting about for the last half-century or so. Third, it's just plain silly. How will someone writing about your character engaging in oral sex with a gargoyle affect the character as it exists in the written work? Is the character a monolith, a sacred object, a construct that is to be hallowed rather than interpreted? This, of course, leads to the often-voiced authorial complaint that fans just want their character to have teh buttsex, which is explored in some detail in my significant other's post.

I've always assumed that the seminal point of creation occurs when eyes meet words. A book is a lump of paper before it is read. It is nonsensically speckled with ink, and may or may not have a shiny, attention-catching cover, emphasis on attention-catching. Books require readers to exist, and as long as readers exist, they will fantasize, mutate, and blatantly ignore aspect of the narrative at hand. The perennial frustration of the author with the reader often infantilizes that reader, depriving them of the literary agency their decision to pick up your book entails them to. Yes, they may think there's a whole lot of lesbian subtext in your story. This doesn't imply a disrespect for the narrative (whatever the heck that means). Ideally the writer would be deeply satisfied that their work was compelling enough to engender deeper interpretations, surface-scratching desires and general thinkitude on the part of the reader.

This has never been hard for me to swallow. My significant other has already written a fanfic of my book-in-progress, a callboy AU that's nine ways of steamy, and I couldn't be more complimented. There is never a time when a narrative is not being appropriated. If you fear or resent the interpretive lens, write for the drawer.
12 February 2009 @ 12:52 pm
Just heard Joss Whedon talking on IPR about Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible and the challenges of avoiding feminist polemics while developing essentially feminist narratives. I'll admit, I've been really nervous about Dollhouse (and not just because I'm 99% certain it will die a small, whimpering death at the hands of Fox). Joss handles many things amazingly well, but Dollhouse ties into an extremely delicate and potentially disastrous set of themes. Disempowered women programmed to be sexual companions? The entire concept of the programmed woman reeks of male power fantasy, and has had me on pins and needles ever since the show was announced. But somehow, listening to Joss coolly and calmly address my deepest, darkest fears makes everything okay. He talks about the show dealing with Echo's gradual reclamation of power and self-determination, her growing ability to remember her life. It definitely sounds like River Tam redux (this is supported by an article over on io9), but after a few minutes of Joss's language, I think this might be a continuation of River's story as opposed to a retelling. Another aspect that increases my interest tenfold is the conceit that each of the Dollhouse operatives willingly entered into a five-year contract of memory wipes and personality transplants. This introduces an idea of agency at the root of things, and steers the show out of some conceptually problematic waters.

Tomorrow's the night. Joss has pretty much sold me on his concept. I hope the product lives up to his gigantic brain.
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
This last week has been a major test of my sanity. I've been writing a socially conscious fantasy trilogy for about two years now (I'm struggling with labels here - post-fantasy fantasy? Fantastical dystopia? Marxist high fantasy?), and I keep coming up against mental roadblocks. These have less to do with the story at hand, and more to do with facets of the research process that I never considered. Let me make this plain: research is rewarding in every way, but sometimes getting to the point of actually doing the research is like prying out a sore tooth with a rusty melon baller.

My most recent roadblock is the proper pronunciation of names. Particularly working in extremes of fantasy, naming can seem like a harsh yoke; currently, I've structured the world on a three-culture system (the servants, peons, peddlers, and various rustics all have Germanic names, the higher and more lordly merchant class derives from the French, and the inscrutable magician class pulls directly from Old Welsh). I make a habit of reading all my new material out loud to my significant other, and was surprised at my own tone-deafitude. The French-derived Aceline sounded like a mangled version of 'vaseline,' and the magisterial Gallord sounded like gaylord. I've halted writing to do some research into language pronunciation, at least for the moment - that same significant other has assured me that knowing how to correctly pronounce names (and I mean CORRECTLY, with no obdurate flourishes or mildly clipped syllables), is as important to understanding my characters as my knowing their favorite flower, color or deep fried ice cream dish. Of course, I raised my Hackles of Laziness (yes, that should be capitalized), but I've ultimately found the research rewarding. Like, you know, most research is.

Looking for other opinions on this. How do y'all work around naming sensibilities? I'm curious about opinions of Name - Tolkien demonstrated that the proper identifier for a character is as vital as plot or conceit or metaphor. Even if every fanboy I've ever met thinks Celeborn is pronounced Seleborn.
Current Mood: listlesslistless
02 February 2009 @ 07:00 pm
Finally got around to posting my Yuletide fic.

Fandom: Robotech-The Macross Saga.

The setup is as follows: A group of humans have been trapped in space aboard a reconstructed alien vessel. For the past year they have been tormented by a race called the Zentraedi, aliens intent on reclaiming the ship at the expense of those on board. Now Maximilian, the finest pilot of the Robotech Defense Forces, has suddenly become engaged to Miriya, an ace Zentraedi pilot who assimilated into human culture with the sole intent of killing him. After attacking Max at knifepoint, he proposed, and she accepted. Rick Hunter, Max's superior officer, is a little put out by the whole affair.

Even Half of EverythingCollapse )
I had a bit of a shock yesterday. I was minding my own business, scanning groceries, waiting out the last hour of my shift. A customer came through my line with an organic cereal - I can't remember the specific brand. The back of the box was covered in little grinning Inca soldiers, hands clasped around their spears.

I paused and took a good, long look.Collapse )
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Muse - City of Delusion
27 January 2009 @ 04:57 pm
Brr is cold. Brrr.

First and foremost, was wondering if anyone out there has any experience setting up podcasts. I've been thinking about starting up a broadcast, but seem to lack the technical knowledge. Read a bit about web feeds and web syndication - predictably, it made my head spin. If any one knows anything, even a good site to link me to, I will hug you.

I've wanted to put this up for a while...this is an introductory speech/short essay on comedy I cooked up for the last release of a campus humor 'zine I was involved with. I'm particularly interested in academic work on the whys and wherefores of humor as evolutionary advantage.

This is me breaking down my thoughts on the topic.Collapse )
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