emandink: (sexybooks)
Raise a glass of Dandelion Wine
To toast the father of miracles and mundanities
Equally treasured
In the summer of a day.

Golden eyed colonies,
Dinosaur hunters,
Mysterious carnys,
And mythical cousins
Captured by the poet laureate
Of extraordinary dreams.

All lost a father today.

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Ray Bradbury was one of those authors whose prose reads like poetry. He had the gift of making the mundane extraordinary and the extraordinary seem mundane.

A few years ago I described my relationship with his work thusly:

I cannot remember how it was that I discovered Ray Bradbury in junior high, but from the moment I first read his stories they were absolutely magical to me. Perhaps I wanted to read the book Something Wicked This Way Comes because I loved watching the movie on HBO. Perhaps I stumbled across a story in an anthology. However it was, finding Bradbury was like opening a treasure chest, but instead of gold and jewels, I found entire new worlds. A friend of mine loaned me a copy of a collection of 100 Bradbury stories and I devoured them - "All Summer in a Day", "Dark They Were, But Golden Eyed", "A Sound of Thunder"...these were the background to my budding adolescence. I used "The October Game" as one of my selections for Prose Reading in Speech competition...my sophomore year, maybe? It brought rooms to a standstill. I still get that feeling of holding something precious when I read one of his books - especially the short story collections, which are like a string of perfect pearls.

I would be hard pressed to think of a single author whose work touched me so deeply and who captured both my mind and my heart so utterly. Peace be with you Mr. Bradbury. If there is a beyond, may you explore it as thoroughly and as joyfully as you did this one.
emandink: (thoughtful tardis)
Friends Only for the time being.  Comment if you want to be added - if I know you, or know of you, we'll see.

ETA:  I should clarify that if you are currently on my friendslist, you don't likely have anything to worry about.  ;)
emandink: (Default)

You are always on my mind...


Lots of stuff rattling around. I should really be blogging more, but whatever. Instead, some self digestion of discussions going on elsewhere re Neil Gaiman, the word "bitch"reactions, et.al.  Anyway, there's a reason I haven't commented at Shakesville, and that reason is that I'm pretty conflicted and feeling generally conflict avoidant. That conflict starts with the fact that on the face of it, I must confess that I found the original George R.R. Martin is not your Bitch comment to be utterly hilarious. I read it, I loved it, pretty sure I tweeted about it, and generally did not think about the problematic aspects at all. It is exhausting to have to think about language all the time and I suspect that I probably twitched a little, but was so enamored with the pithiness and the sentiment that I didn't examine it further.

It also doesn't help that NG is one of those famous people who feels very...accessible to me. Part of that I suspect is the number of people I know who do actually know him and who interact with him regularly on a personal and professional level. One of my dearest friends is in a business partnership with him of a sort. I've written to him and been cited in his blog on legal issues. I've never actually met the man, having decided to spend time with my kid rather than stand in an hours long signing line on the Capital Mall, but I have that - almost certainly ridiculous - sense that if I were to have the opportunity to meet him in a situation where we could sit and chat on any sort of real level that he would be a dandy person to knock back a drink or two with. The fact that he's used language, or written the occasional piece, that may be problematic doesn't change that for the most part.

None of which means that I give him a free pass, either. Anymore than I give myself a free pass for occasionally slipping up and using ablest language or for not seeing the problematic aspects of using a prison rape metaphor to describe a work environment. Thing is, I don't expect perfection. But what I hope for is that people are willing to consider the implications of their speech and to think about the actual meanings of what they are saying. I have never been raped, but I still don't like rape metaphors. I don't cringe away from the word, but I do sometimes twinge at what I'm certain are deliberate plays on the double meaning in songs like Current 93's "Panzer Rune" or  Death in June's "Behind the Rose"*. But I still listen to them and enjoy them and have a framed autographed poster from C93's first US shows ever in 1996 hanging on the wall of my home. And maybe that says something about me, but I'm not entirely sure what that is.

I think part of the reason why I feel compelled to get something down in pixels about this is that I get the impression from what some of the commenters who have "discovered" Shakesville via this issue have said and from Neil's own words, that there's a sense that there's a distinction between people who love and understand and "get" Neil and who read his blog and who appreciate his insight and who have spent long dark nights holding on to their last scraps of personal integrity through the power of his words to captivate them and feel less alone in the world, who turn to one or more of his works when they need something familiar, like a blanket or a fought for treasure, that can make you feel like those words were written just for them and those people who may like his work but who find the use of the word "bitch" problematic in the context in which he used it. Or that somehow, criticizing that turn of phrase means we didn't read and didn't understand the point of the GRRM post. And that's just not true. Some of us are absolutely one and the same.

I guess, really, what it comes down to is that enjoying someone's work is not necessarily the same as endorsing everything that person does. I can adore virtually every word I've read that Gaiman has written and still think he's fallible. Hell, I can think that an artist is absolutely scum of the earth in zir personal life and still appreciate that zie has great talent. The two are not mutually exclusive. The flip side is that there are definitely people who have done things that offend me so deeply that I cannot get beyond that to appreciate anything else they might do. There are businesses I will never buy from, individuals who people I know greatly respect who I will not give the time of day to  because of things they've done or said and I am never going to judge anyone else for determining that something is unforgivable to them.

So what to do? Right now, I shall respect his request that people take the discussion elsewhere for the moment. But ultimately, I do want to write him, I think, and explain some of what I've ultimately been blathering about here - namely that this doesn't have to be about picking sides, and that no one expects perfection. What we hope for is to be understood and taken seriously when raising issues that are so entrenched and supported by our culture that even some of us who think ourselves highly conscious of such matters find it easy to gloss over or ignore.

*Should you desire evidence that I am prepared to indulge in a fondness for works by seriously problematic artists, well, there you have it in spades.

emandink: (ashitonofbooks)
First off, here's the final list of books read in 2009, under this nice LJ cut )

And now for some analysis:
So, definitely met the standing 100+ books goal with 120 unique books last year.
In addition, there were 2 books that I started prior to this year and finished, one that’s part of a mystery series, another non-fiction history of Haitian voodoo.
I gave up on 5 books entirely. Of these, 3 were by authors I’ve read before and enjoyed, including one adaptation from a book I enjoyed originally and one sequel.
As of Jan. 1, I had 5 books still in progress (note that of the 2 started in 2009, 1 I’ve given up on and 1 is completed, but that’s for a year from now). The 3 remaining are from previous years. Maybe this will be the year I actually plow through Ulysses.

I got pretty haphazard about tracking reading with the boy this year. Ultimately, I just started noting books that I would/have read on my own as well. I’m just not up for keeping track of 40 Scooby Doo chapter books.

As for the rest of the analysis:
• 15 of these were rereads, and that doesn’t count that I read 1 book twice.
• 83 were books in series of various kinds.
• In terms of genre, 39 were fantasy (as defined personally), 37 were YA, 19 sci-fi, 22 involved vampires, werewolves or other staples of urban fantasy (I categorized these differently, because Anita Blake just feels different to me than, say, Mists of Avalon), 11 were mysteries
• In terms of form, 5 were short works (usually short stories), 17 were graphic novels and 4 were non-fiction (and 1 of those was a graphic novel)
• Looking at authors, only 8 books were written by authors identified as non-white, 26 total were new to me (accounting for roughly 38 books read) and approximately 58 distinct authors represented overall.

Every year I tend to beat myself up for the fact that I read a lot of genre fiction and not a lot of “classics” or books that are generally heralded as books of substance. But screw that. I read for entertainment and what entertains me are stories about vampires and fictional societies where magic exists in some form and dystopic alien worlds and mysteries where I can lose myself for a while. I could whip out my hairshirt about the fact that I don’t really enjoy biographies and non-fiction much outside of humorous pop-cult essays, but really, why bother. I still read more than probably 90% of the population and I’m teaching my kid to value reading for its own sake and am continuing to discover new sub-genres and authors that I thoroughly enjoy. So, go me. Or something like that.

emandink: (Default)
This time from [personal profile] the_siobhan

By Iconomicon. I'm conflicted about this icon, actually. I initially snagged it because living in a tourist area, there's all sorts of annoying bs that locals have to deal with, and I also find it sort of funny in a "if you're just driving by and seeing this journal, here be dragons" sort of way. Given the likely context of the sign, though, I find it sort of troubling from an imperialist sort of perspective. I'm probably overthinking it.

By Ty at Obsessive Icons. Originally for use with diet posts. Now used more ironically in a "fuck guilt over food" sort of way.

By how_iconic. Found in a search for Doctor Who icons. I love the drama queenie aspect of the text.

By Iconomicon. It makes me giggle.

By Iconomicon - well, iconed by him, anyway. Fun for use in feminist communities, although I'm not really a Marxist feminist by any means.

I don't remember where I snagged this one. It was a couple of years ago when looking for Christmas/winter icons.
emandink: (mischief)
So, this week, R has been attending "Dinosaur Camp" at the day camp he's been going to all summer. (Lessons for next year - the special interest camps are worth the extra $$. First day, he comes sprinting out to the car, "Mommy, Dinosaur Camp is so. much. fun!)

The first day he says to me, "Mommy, I wonder if they'll have a time machine!"

To which I respond, "Maybe sweetheart. If they do, just remember one rule: Don't step on any butterflies."

emandink: (Default)

So, lately I've been reading a lot more semi-historical fantasy. Things like Juliet Marillier's Wolfskin/Foxmask (i.e., romantic fantasy with Vikings) and Sevenwaters (i.e. romantic fantasy with threads of Celtic myth) books, Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange novels, Robin McKinley's work, and the like, all of which take place in some generally unspecified pre-industrial revolution time period where people still ride horses and have carriages and/or carts and cities are made of stone and surrounded by walls and most people are agrarian and magic is real. Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Avalon" books certainly fit into this as well, as do any number of other fairytale and myth retellings that I may or may not be familiar with.

These books tend to follow similar storylines - female heroine with some sort of magic leaves the comfort of her totally-ordinary-except-not-and-probably-somewhat-"enlightened"-family to go on some sort of quest that is at least semi- at-odds with what her family thinks they want for themselves and for her and along the way, said female heroine falls in love with an unlikely male figure who helps her save the day in some way while she helps him become a better man. It is genre fiction, as is much of what I read in other areas (urban fantasy, anyone). There is - arguably - a subtle feminist subtext, even while the tropes are troubling. These are often books where I can find messages that I value highly inermingled with things that in less engrossing stories would make me want to throw them across the room (again, seeing parallels with urban fantasy here...).

Sex may or may not be explicit in these stories. Certainly, it is in Carey's work and it is sometimes almost shockingly explicit in Marrillier's, at least in light of the fact that the Sevenwaters series is in the YA section of my local library. Don't get me wrong - I am *not* complaining on my own behalf and I would like to think that I'd be comfortable with my future 12-year old reading sex as it is described there - as something good and powerful and not to be feared. Pre-marital sex happens, as does passionate love, in ways that were definitely not part of the YA cannon when I was a lass.

I've been thinking about this lately in part because I've been wondering what the attraction of these stories is to me. I suppose part of it is the same thing that attracts me to smutty paranormal books - they are entertaining and the worlds are enchanting, literally and figuratively. Some works are better than others, to be sure - I just finished McKinley's <i>Rose Daughter</i> which was nice, but not particularly gripping to me, whereas I practically inhaled her other Beauty and the Beast retelling, <i>Beauty</i> earlier this year. <i>Deerskin</i> left me cold, whereas I inhaled <i>Outlaws of Sherwood</i> and am madly in love with <i>Chalice</i>. I could go on... Lest anyone newish here wonder what the point is here, I was a writing major with a minor in film studies and pop-culture analysis is so ingrained it is harder for me not to think about these things than to blather on about them incessently.

So, now I'm wondering if I can take this genre and make it my own somehow. I have the inkling of a more modern version with the same sort of natural magic appearing for the main charater in unexpected ways, drawing most likely from my own ocassional feelings about where I work and how aspects can feel almost magical. I also think I could probably have such a caracter be a lot less of a MarySue than my vampire proto feels sometimes.
Things to ponder.

Book Meme

Aug. 5th, 2009 11:05 am
emandink: (ashitonofbooks)
From [livejournal.com profile] kakiphony :

Because I always do book memes. Also, even though they are repetitive in nature I think the differences in results each time I do one says something about where I am at in my life.

So, via [info]xanath:
Here are the rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. They don't have to be the greatest books you've ever read, just the ones that stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Copy these instructions and post in your livejournal.

1. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
2. The Westing Game -  Ellen Raskin
3. What Do You Care What Other People Think - Richard Feinman
4. The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury
5. Close to the Knives - David Wojnawrovitz
6. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
7. From Anna - Jean Little
8. Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler
9. Mists of Avalon -  Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
11. The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
12. The Last Lunar Baedecker -  Mina Loy
13. Who Really Killed Cock Robin - Jean Craighead George
14. The Stranger - Albert Camus
15. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
emandink: (Default)
I am in need of a diary-free birthday treat for 15 kids that can fit in a 6-year-old's backback.

My fallback is fruit roll-ups, but I'm hoping for something a little more interesting. Ideas?

Also, OMFG, R is going to be 6 tomorrow! I think I need to go back to bed.
emandink: (Butterflies)
Please to be recommending the following:

1. A book.
2. A movie.
3. Someone I should follow (can be here or DW, on twitter, a blog I should add to my blogroll, etc).
emandink: (Default)
I think I'm going to at least begin to use this account for developing possible more "official" blog posts. I've been sort of doing this with my primary LJ (and so, apologies to those who see things more than once), but this seems like a more appropriate place, being, as it is, more tied to my public persona. Or something like that.

It absolutely disgusts me that George Tiller was murdered, shot down on his way into church in cold blood, because he provided late term abortions. He was one of two abortion providers in Kansas. TWO.

And the thing about late term abortion is that they are almost exclusively NOT elective. The women who need late term abortion are not by and large women who do not want to have a child. They are women who chose TO have the child they are carrying, or who at the very least, came to terms with the idea or chose adoption or chose specifically NOT to have an abortion in the first trimester when it is legal by and large.

The women who need late term abortions need them because ultrasound and other testing show with an extremely high success rate (to the extent that "success" is really an appropriate term) that the child they are carrying - that odds are they WANT - is not viable. That it does not have a brain, or lungs or otherwise will be stillborn or live an excruciatingly painful few days before dying.

The women who need late term abortion have been dreaming of motherhood. They have talked to their growing bellies. They have picked out names and nursery schemes. They have registered for tiny little outfits and have been journaling about their progress. Maybe they have a website of belly pictures. Maybe they have older children who are anxious to be big siblings. They have hopes and dreams for this baby, this child they want to raise.

As a mother who had a c-section, I can think of almost nothing more horrible than being pregnant and wanting that child desparately and then being told that your baby will not survive. And add to that the possibility of not being able to terminate the pregnancy in the least invasive and physically tramautic way possible, but then having to either have another c-section or try to have an induced vaginal birth with a child who will most likely be still born - it is almost impossible for me to fathom.

I was completely terrified when I was wisked away for an emergency c-section. I had a panic attack on the table and could not stop shaking, even after they finally let J in to hold me. I was sobbing uncontrollably and the ONLY thing that kept me sane was hearing R's cry and the reassurance that he was big and healthy and pink and whole. I did not feel whole again until they finally tucked him under my chin and I could finally hold him and watch him make little raspberry faces and I cried when they took him away to be cleaned up.

And the fact that the anti-choice movement has managed to create a discussion about late term abortion that makes it sound like a walk in the park enrages me. It makes me want to scream and cry and howl terms like god-damn-inhuman-fuck-necks at the top of my lungs. Their arguments are based on lies. And lest anyone doubt, no woman, EVER, should be stopped at a clinic door. No woman is more or less deserving of abortion on demand without apology.
emandink: (Default)

A new journal/blog.
A new beginning.

I have some vague ideas of how I want to use this, and I do indeed want to use it. But first, I think I need to determine how I am using everything else. Let's see. There's I'm Just Not Impressed, my woefully underused politics/issues blog; Waisting Away, my similarly underused was-originally-weight-loss-but-I-found-HAES-along-the-way blog, and two LJs - one semi-public gothy/politics/life/random stuff journal which is connected to a lot of my public face for the past 15 or so years and one super sekrit place to hide.

And now this baby.

In my wildest fantasies, should I ever actually become a published author who anyone gives two whits about, this - tied as it is to my actual public persona on twitter and various blog comments - will become my public face.

But for now, who knows...

emandink: (Default)
Everyone else can move along:

Children are:
A. Precious little miracles who must be nurtured at all times.
B. Adorable little people in training who must be encouraged to be themselves at all times.
C. Individuals who must be taught how to fit into society until they are old enough to make their own choices.
D. Howling little barbarians who need to be trained to be human.
emandink: (Default)
Answering largely because it is easy. And because I have to give props for the Billy Bragg reference.

[Error: unknown template qotd]Pain is no stronger
than the resisting force pain calls up in me.

The struggle is equal.

-Mina Loy, Partuition
emandink: (Default)

I just did some ranting up in here regarding an aspect of Amazon's total douchyness that's not getting a lot of play. (Thanks to [info]bifemmefatale  for the head's up.)

It kind of surprises me that this aspect surprises people, to be honest.

(P.S., in the unlikely event that anyone is interesting in linking to me about this, I'd appreciate using the notimpressed link, as opposed to LJ. ;)
emandink: (Pope LOLz)
Fiction World Rocked as Woman Claims no Attraction to Neil Gaiman
(made infinately funnier by the fact that I saw this on Neil's twitstream)

I LOLed.

For that matter, there's just some good stuff all the way round at tor.com today...
emandink: (White People)
And I am a racist.

I say that without a sense of irony and with some small sense of shame. It is primarily passive racism at this point, but I benefit from the color of my skin in innumerable ways every day. And if you are reading this, and you are white, so do you. And you have been trained by our society not to see it and to embrace it and to benefit - every day - from the fact that you are not a person of color.

I am racist. I don't like it. I hate it. But every fucking day I struggle with myself. I fail at being an anti-racist ally every fucking day. But I keep trying. And I learn. I'm not saying this because I want someone to give me a cookie and a pat on the back for trying not to be an asshole. I'm saying it because we can all learn together if we want to, but first we have to see our prejudice for what it really is. We have to own it. We have to admit to ourselves the way that we react to people of different races and not try to explain it away as something other than an instantaneous value judgement based primarily on the color of someone's skin.

There has been a ton of fail around these here internets latey - RaceFail, if you will. It is bleeding over - as it should - into other venues I frequent (and if you frequent them too, then a lot of this might look a little familiar, but it needs to be said). It makes people uncomfortable. Fact is, it's not nice to be confronted with our own privilege. It's not nice to think that we as white people might be racist. It's a lot easier to talk about racial prejudice, and privilege. It's lot easier to not push ourselves out of our comfort zone. It's uncomfortable, and it sucks, and it burns and if we are even the slightest bit concerned with social justice, it can make our entire selfhood squirm to call our race based prejudice by its actual name.  RACISM.

But here's the thing.
It's not about us. It's not about the white people.

It's not about how our feelings get hurt when people call us out for saying stupid shit.
It's not about how an innocent comment (or chapter or essay or statement) was misconstrued.
It's not about how hard it is to be sensitive to other people's cultural sensitivities.
It's not about how it stings and burns and makes us want to rage when someone suggests that we are, in fact, racist.
It's not about us white folks.

At it's root it's about systematic racism and how generations of racial oppression have created a system in which what a white person says is valued more highly than what a person of color says. It's about how generations of passive lack of resistence have benefited white people at the expense of people of color. It's about using the language of oppression to cast white people we don't like into the role of racial other when there is no other target, or to make the case that we're not racist, we're classist. It's about white being the default and non-white being "special interest." It's about not having to bear scrutiny for our entire race when we fuck up.

It is not about how uncomfortable we feel. If it hurts to be called a racist, too damn bad. If it hurts that much, do what you can to help create a world that is less racist. It's our fault as a race, not peoples of color. We can listen. We can speak up. We can see to it that we learn and that we don't leave anti-racist work to people of color. We can call out our friends.

We can own up to our own racism.
emandink: (White People)
I know I've been quiet lately. But one of the things I've been doing is being more active in communities. My usual suspects are [livejournal.com profile] feminist_rage (where I'm also a mod), [livejournal.com profile] feminist , and increasingly, [livejournal.com profile] cf_debate .

A new one those communities is [livejournal.com profile] racism_101 , basically, a place for (white) folks fighting their way through their privilege to help each other learn how to "fail better next time." It is similar in that context to [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite , but is definitely more at the 101 level (similar to [livejournal.com profile] feminist_101  with a lot of questions and this-is-how-I-deal-with-this responses and disagreements and discussions). Right now it seems to be mostly a bunch of us who know each other within one or two degrees.

If it sounds like someplace that might be interesting, check it out, eh?
emandink: (copyright)
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to some of you that I am facinated by the developing Shepard Fairey copyright case.  Part of what makes it so facinating is that, unlike a lot of copyright cases where a close look at existing law and precident makes it pretty clear who is likely to win, this one is a crap shoot to my mind.  Cases like this one, and the recent Harry Potter Copyright Trial of Doom, illustrate a trend in the U.S. federal courts to apply nuanced reasoning about what fair use really means and what it truly means to "transform" a work into something new that does not depend on the original.  I don't think that Fairey will win on his declaratory judgement action.  There are too many questions of law and fact at stake and I suspect that it will require a full trial (provided that it doesn't settle first).  At full trial, though, I think he has a decent chance.  Then again, so - potentially - does AP.  I suspect, though, that it would tip in his favor, since while his image is clearly derivative, it does not represent a market that AP was likely to exploit, nor does it supercede the value of the original image.  OTOH, he copied it.  AP has made it's basic case.  Whether Fairey's Stanford legal team can esablish the fair use defense will be the real issue.  It's a decent case, but not a slam dunk.

In the meantime, how about that Shepard Fairey.  The more I learn about him as an artist, the more I sort of dislike him.  From a legal perspective, my feelings are mixed - on the one hand, probably 30-40% of the art referenced in that first link (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hooper_x and [livejournal.com profile] likeawoman for the tip, btw) is in the public domain.  OTOH, a lot of it isn't.  And forget the comparisons to Warhol and Lichtenstein - they copied iconic images, for sure - iconic images that were easily recognizable from their source.  And they transformed them into something else.  Warhol turned household goods into art objects (and did settle a lawsuit with Campbells for his trouble).  Lichtenstein took comic images from the 2x2 inch paper booklet and put them on walls.  Obama poster aside (which is somewhat like Warhol's famous figure works), Fairey takes other people's propaganda and turns it into...propaganda.  And, as pointed out by [livejournal.com profile] likeawoman here, he borrows heavily from works made by people of color to publicize and fight their oppression and commodifies them into somehting easily consumable by an audience comprised primarily of white hipsters, while simultaneously marketing some of the actual emblems of their oppression right along side. 

Shepard Fairey makes a good poster boy for the anti-copyright movement right now.  But I'm not entirely sure why they would want him.

emandink: (Gingerbread!)
I knew I was forgetting something Friday - now I know what at least part of that was about. Happy holidays!

Stave V: The End of It
To-day? Why, Christmas Day. )
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