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Life just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

(I wish I COULD buy five copies for my mother, but alas, she passed away in 1998).

This is pretty cool.  Even without the cover.
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amused amused
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I seem to have to repeat this every year or so.  Okay, sure.  There are always folks who come in late, who never got the memo.




I have a website, and I have this Not A Blog, right here on Live Journal, and every so often (rarely)  I post on other people's blogs and websites, or on certain bulletin boards and news / discussion sites.  But that's it for my internet presence.

There are accounts on Facebook and Twitter that carry my name, I know.  Some just repost the things I post here.  Others are more actively malignant, making up all sorts of crap and trying to make them seem like my own words.  They're not.

Accept no substitutes.  This is where I hang out, nowhere else.


Current Location:
Santa Fe
Current Mood:
angry angry
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I have been keeping sacks of birdseed out on the clubhouse lobby, in the open air, convenient for access but sheltered from any occasional rain.

Until some sharp-toothed sharp-brained creature that I take to have been a squirrel chewed through the plastic of the sack and chowed down on more than its fair share of seed.

Since then I've been keeping the seed in a heavy plastic lidded bin. That'll show ya, squirrel, thought I.

Until today, when I find the determined little sod has gnawed a hole all through the bloody plastic.

So now I'm keeping it in the clubhouse, under lock and key. And cursing the sodding squirrel every time I have to fiddle with keys, from now to the indeterminate future.

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Viserys Targaryen is helping to kick off the Santa Fe Film Festival this year.

The festival proper runs from May 1 - 4, and the Jean Cocteau Cinema will be one of the main venues, along with the CCA's two screens on the other side of town.  But to open the festivities in grand style, we're having a special One Night Only screening of a terrific new road movie on the evening of April 30.

BIG SIGNIFICANT THINGS is the tale of a young man who sets off on a quest across America, in search of adventure, meaning, and... ah... Big Stuff.

The film stars HARRY LLOYD, better known to GAME OF THRONES fan as the late great Beggar King, Viserys III, last having molten gold poured over his head by Khal Drogo.


Harry will be on hand personally come Wednesday night, to introduce his new film, meet the fans, and answer your questions... about BIG SIGNIFICANT THINGS, his new TV series MANHATTAN (now filming outside Santa Fe), DOCTOR WHO, GAME OF THRONES, or whatever.  He's really a MUCH nicer guy than Viserys, so do come meet him.

BIG SIGNIFICANT THINGS will be playing ONE NIGHT ONLY at 7pm, Wednesday, April 30.   We will have big drinks and big snacks and we expect a big crowd, so get your tickets early at the Cocteau website:
Current Location:
Santa Fe
Current Mood:
amused amused
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I was tagged by Claire Weaver ( so do go and read her posts, too.

1. What am I working on?

I’m currently writing a number of short stories, both for private subscriptions and for magazine consideration. The final (for now) Chen novel will be announced shortly and I’m also working on a new book, which is a sort-of fantasy, set here in Somerset. I rarely write so close to home and using the folklore of my current county is proving interesting.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I’m not sure what my genre is. I mix and match a lot: I’d say that a lot of of what I write is old school science fantasy. I don’t like using standard tropes, and I try to take a hard look into the forms that societal change would actually take (whilst I understand where a lot of 1970s matriarchal utopian writing came from, for instance, I’m by no means convinced that an all-female society would be any kinder or less corrupt than its male equivalent, hence the Mars of Banner of Souls and Winterstrike). My writing is sometimes described as ‘difficult’ and I think people have a hard time figuring out my agenda: story, worldbuilding, prose and ideas are important to me. If it helps, I’m more likely to criticise my own politics than other people’s, and quite frequently won’t do either. Both novels and short fiction are varied. Ghost Sister was a critique of the extremist end of the environmental movement; Empire of Bones was written as an attempt to address first contact stories that are always set in the West, and Nine Layers of Sky was based on living and working in Central Asia.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I like telling stories and exploring ideas. Gender has often been an aspect of my work, but it’s irritating to expect female writers to be solely concerned with gender. When I first started reading – Bradbury, Vance, LeGuin, and fantasy writers such as Julian May and Lloyd Alexander – my primary concern was worldbuilding rather than gender. I’ve never particularly been concerned with whether ‘I’ was represented in fiction, because the point of reading, to me, was to have the experience of becoming someone else. I read a lot of William Burroughs at one point, and his concerns are very much not my own, but I learned a great deal from what was to me a very alien point of view. For me, the purpose of reading SF is not to learn about myself, but to learn about others (that’s obviously problematic if the genre becomes too uniform in who it depicts and I do think that it would benefit from increasing its diversity as much as possible). I’ve always been more interested in reading about aliens rather than humans: I think it increases the scope and depth of understanding, and it’s a great challenge for the writer. The work of Gwyneth Jones, Hal Clements, Mary Gentle, C J Cherryh, and Jack Vance, to select but a few, are cases in point.

I’m also a fan of occult fiction, which tends to get neglected when people talk about fantasy, but which has been a domain of female writers since at least the Golden Dawn and the big esoteric societies in the late 19th century: Edith Nesbit, Dion Fortune, Ithell Colquhoun, and Joan Grant, for example, tend to get left out of analyses of fantasy, but are highly regarded by occultists.

4. How does my writing process work?

'Process,' eh? I write what I can, when I can. I run a business and teach as well as being a writer, and I can’t afford to be particularly precious about when and how I work. You just have to get on with it!

Nominated next on the blog tour: Neil Williamson, author of recently released The Moon King, and David Clements (, who has a non-fiction book on Infrared Astronomy coming out near the end of the year.
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I know you've been here before: You're talking to a friend about her long-term, borderline abusive relationship. He hasn't really done anything illegal, but he just has this tendency to be hurtful, controlling, making himself out to be the victim in any argument, making her into the bad guy with the kids and otherwise being manipulative, mendacious, etc., etc... You believe he's cheating on her and you don't want to say so because it would just add one more thing to her long list of worries about him. So you let her talk and get it off her chest, and give some advice about setting boundaries, and eventually, she goes back home feeling a little better, a little more confident and assertive...

...until the next week when she's back on your couch again doing the same thing. This goes on and on for years, until it finally dawns on you that... YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM. If you weren't there to let her blow steam and talk it out and have a bit of a cry and so on... She would have dumped that asshole years ago. You're just enabling her to maintain a crappy relationship, and not only is it wasting her life, but she's wasting yours with this codependency bullshit.

After a while, you even start to tally the hours and the pots of tea and the going out to the pub that you've been doing to make her feel better, and you see that it's costing you money, not just time. And there's all those lost opportunities that you have because you were at home on the weekend consoling her rather than getting to know people and do interesting things. And all this builds up into a huge festering pile of resentment. Eventually, you stop seeing this friend of yours, you cut her off, you let her sleep in the bed she made.

Is that being a friend? I don't think so.

But what can you do?

I realize, perhaps while thinking about the period twenty to ten years ago, that I've spent the decade between ten years ago and now doing this social networking thing. I've been both the woman with the abusive relationship and the longsuffering friend through all this time, and I'm thinking.... This is not working. Not for either of us.

What kind of brought it to a head is YET ONE MORE BULLSHIT EVENT FROM THE SFWA.

It's not a particularly bad one. Some bigots rallied around a bigot and got him some votes. Happens every election in every European democracy. There's always the token skinhead member of parliament, and most everyone seethes to see him there, and the minority rejoice to get one up on the system.

But here's the thing: I've begun to notice how much time I devote to this codependency. I'm beginning to see how there's this one country, and this one country has these serious problems with equality. Race, gender, and economic equality. And this broken relationship it has with equality manages to inveigle itself into every. single. online. issue. ever.

I'm also noticing this because someone (I won't say who, because she'd resent me for bringing her into this petty argument) said that one thing you need to know about Americans is that "we assume everyone is just like us." And it's true. I know because I was raised American and it took twenty years of marriage to a non-American for me to get a full grasp of the enormity of how this is true. We Americans (and possibly all humans, but being raised American biases me) try to put all things into our own context rather than try to understand someone else's.

To the point where we actually have the fucking gall to tell other people how to run their societies, when we're so abysmally bad at running our own. The hypocricy is STAGGERING. [But that's my own bugbear. Being raised as a Foreign Service brat makes me put everything into the context of international relations. See? AMERICAN!]

So I am going to try (AGAIN, because I've tried before, and even closed down an earier LJ account to prevent myself from sucking at this bilious teat) to stop enabling this relationship. Now... back to pretty flowers.

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Recently I read yet another book where the character I most identify with ended up sad and alone after the death of her beloved partner. Reader, I am fucking done with these books. DONE. Done done done.

If you nodded along to Ferrett's post about how the "logic" underpinning all-white and all-male award nomination lists is suspect, then nod along to this. Every time a lesbian dies, every time a wife is widowed, every time a mother grieves the death of her child, every time rape is used to define a woman's character, it serves the story that the author wanted to tell--the story the author chose to tell. And I am no longer content with "it makes sense in the context of the story" as an explanation or an excuse. That "logic" is just as suspect.


Tell stories where it doesn't make sense for her husband or wife to die. Tell stories where her child dying is unfathomable. Tell stories where women live happy fulfilling lives. Tell stories where women find love and don't lose it again. Tell stories where women and their bodies aren't treated like objects.

Tell stories where women are happy, where a woman's happiness makes sense in the context of the story, where a woman's happiness serves the story, where a woman's happiness is integral to the plot. Tell stories where women's hearts and minds and bodies and families and vocations are healthy, and treated with respect by other people.

Tell stories where women are happy.

This should not be such an outrageous suggestion. But take a look at recent SF/F, at the books that get awards, at the books that get talked about, and it is entirely and utterly radical.

Tell stories where women are happy. I dare you. And I'm begging you, please. I can't handle any more unhappy women. I can't. It's why I read romance more than SF/F these days. I don't identify as a woman anymore, but that doesn't stop me from identifying with women, and they are all so sad and I can't do it. Stop showing me how tough and realistic your grimdark is by making the women as miserable as the men. Stop showing me how exciting and dangerous your space adventure is by putting the women through as many trials as the men. I believe you, okay? It's tough and realistic, it's exciting and dangerous, I believe you, you can stop now.

It will be hard the first few times, because it's so alien, this notion of women's happiness. But you'll get used to it, once you can adjust your ideas of what's "logical".

Tell stories where women are happy. Go on. Give it a try.

You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
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Today was a lot better than yesterday. X fought off gluten-poisoning to meet me after work and brave the perfumed chaos of BB&B, and we got curtains and curtain rods and various other useful things. We took a cab over to the new apartment and installed curtains and were happy.

I got some hooks that hang off of cabinet doors (super useful!) and while I was figuring out which doors to put them on, I realized that I hadn't yet had a chance to ask X the all-important question of "which drawer do you assume the silverware is in?".

R: Hey, I have a question for you that I asked Josh already.
X: Yes, I will marry you.
R: *stammers and blushes and grins like a fool for several minutes*

We held each other in our new kitchen and it felt like home, our home, our family home.

And then I asked about the silverware drawer and we both felt (as J had) that it should be one of the middle ones because towels go nearest the sink and cooking utensils go nearest the stove. We all tend to be very in tune around things like that. It makes things so lovely and easy.

Later on, as we were walking back to the old place from the subway:

X: Huh, there was something I was going to ask you...
R: Yes, I will marry you.
X: Well, FINALLY. I've been waiting for ages!

And there you have the difference between the two of us. :) But it's just a different kind of in tune, really. Sappiness and silliness, melody and harmony.

Just five more days.

You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
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Fun things, Apr 17: idea, that was a million years ago
Apr 18: went by the new place after therping and immediately felt less stressed
Apr 19: packing party! and then dinner with J, and another trip to the new place, and watching The Princess Bride with X
Apr 20: another nice dinner out with J, and companionable packing with X
Apr 21: X and I got curtains and other things at BB&B and installed them (except the shower curtain rings, which are too big for the grommets on our shower curtain)

Yes, all the joy in my life right now comes from packing and interior decorating. This will be true for another few weeks at least.

Media log:

33) The Princess Bride. (Movie.) Rewatch, of course. It remains brilliant, but I kept thinking "This scene is better in the book!" and now I want to reread the book. Cary Elwes is so young. I continue to ship Humperdink/Rugen like whoa.

I mean, what is there to say about it, really? We've all seen it a billion times. It's one of the wittiest and most quotable scripts ever written, Wesley castigating Buttercup for marrying someone else after she thought he was dead is kind of tiresome (especially given all his later assertions about true love--if it's Meant to Be and all that, why did he ever doubt her?) but over quickly, the acting is phenomenal even if Mandy Patinkin's broad Spanish accent is cringeworthy these days, and I will always love the fencing scene to tiny little itty bitty pieces. I appreciate Andre the Giant more than ever--his Fezzik is such a wonderful portrayal of a man who's not nearly as short on brains as everyone else thinks he is, and is more bighearted and noble than anyone else imagines, a perfect paladin minus the armor--and Wallace Shawn is incomparable. Carol Kane and Billy Crystal are so splendid that you barely stop to wonder how a couple of Brooklyn Jews ended up working miracles and eating MLTs in Florin. They're all marvelous.

Except, oddly, Robin Wright, who is wooden and one-note throughout. But she's given far less to work with than anyone else in the film; Buttercup really is the dolt that Fezzik is supposed to be, with no redeeming qualities except for her perfect breasts. Note that literally none of the famous quotable lines are hers. She's the straight man for Wesley's wisecracks, and then she sets him up to die away from her because she can't bear him dying in front of her. Inigo immediately knows that the cry of ultimate suffering is Wesley's; Buttercup is baffled by it. Her one shining moment is "You never sent those ships", and that realization is so completely belated that all I could do was roll my eyes. I'm surprised Fezzik remembered to steal a horse for her, given that she's more of a quest object than a person.

Oh well. All the men and Carol Kane are great, anyway.

One intriguing side effect of spending so much time doing literary criticism is that I was totally fascinated by the grandson arguing with the book whenever it diverged from his culturally mediated expectations of a fairy tale. "You got that wrong, grandpa!" He hates "kissing books" but he knows enough about romance conventions to know that Wesley has to get the girl and Humperdink has to die (and he's so mad when his grandfather tells him that Humperdink lives--that's not how it's done!). It's a fascinating little study on how quickly and thoroughly children absorb the tropes we feed them, and it helps to make up for the movie being more of a fawning homage to cliché than a sneaky send-up.

Verdict: The book is better. (Not least because it is much more of a sneaky send-up, including the greatly superior ending.) But the movie is still great.

For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? I expect we'll wear out the DVD. I plan to read them the book, too. Including the descriptions of the boring parts.

34) My Real Children by Jo Walton. (Book.) NOTE: The following contains spoilers, and also a major spoiler for the Small Change books (Farthing/Ha'Penny/Half a Crown). If you don't want those, stop reading now.

Spoilers ahoyCollapse )

Verdict: Annoying verging on upsetting.

For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? Tolerate. It's not inherently offensive or objectionable. It's just not in any way my thing.

You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
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