taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
Today's Snowflake challenge: In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

Thinking about that, I started with — I want to keep what I have. What I've put together over the last year. This time next year, I want to be earning a living by writing what I want to write, and living in a place I love, and talking with friends and family.

And then I thought, there's more to it.

This year I want to meet people who will matter to me and teach me.

I want to stretch. I've spent the last year rebuilding structures I'd lost, in new ways, but on comfortable ground. 

Remember the kind of confidence that goes with conversations at all hours, new ideas running like sap, trying for something just within reach and sticking the landing, falling and getting up again, and sharing that high with people who understand how it feels?  

I want to talk with people who will make me think and challenge me. Looking for a mind at work.

I want not to be afraid to tell people who I am and what I do. And to learn to do it well. (Sales isn't my strength, but I need to learn.)

I want to write something that intimidates me and feel that it's good. 

Do you find it hard to start a sentence with I want? I do. I can tell myself I want to l love. I want to write. I want to talk, even to people who intimidate me. Especially to people who intimidate me. I want to hike the highest peak in the state. But saying it out loud? I want to thank this challenge for giving me a prompt. 

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taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
More from the Snowflake Challenge ... In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Usually Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night wins this this kind of question, but I've been thinking about it in the last day or two. A book that changed the way I think, and that I come back to ... there are many of them. But right now, I'm thinking about Toni Morrison's Playing in the Dark.  She writes a beautiful series of essays about the way several white writers write about characters of color. I remember her general comment on almost any story by a white American — you know all the characters are white because no one says so.

And I thought, she's right. A character shows up, even with a name like Scout or Ishmael, and all I know is that she wears overalls or he's on his way to New Bedford to share a tavern bed with an Ocean Islander, and I immediately see them both as European-American. Sometimes I may be absorbing ideas from a the time and place, the character's background or clothing or voice or job. But a lot of the time I'm on automatic. I've never thought of that before. And it's so obvious. It's an assumption, and it's so deeply ingrained I never knew I was making it. 

She made me think. And kept making me think. And I've tried to hold in mind what I learned from her, when I write. Because she shows brilliant writers limited by their own assumptions — she shows weaknesses they have given their characters without knowing it, and those weaknesses are their own. And I want any character I write to be strong and human and alive. 

And her writing is beautiful. There are lines in Beloved that come back to me years later. Beautiful and aching, angry or gentle, vivid. Joe D's loving tribute at the end. It's good to have a woman who's a friend of your mind.
taabe: Two monks embracing (Monks)
Following Kass's lead, because it's a quiet, snowy day ... I'm taking a look at the Snowflake Challenge.

Day 1: In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

Lauds begins at the end of Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" — it's the first fanwork I wrote for Yuletide and almost the first fanfic I wrote (on paper. Like everyone else, I've been writing them in my head as long as I can remember.) And it's one of the few I've written that I know struck a chord with people.

(ETA: More clearly, it's one of the few stories I've written that seemed to strike a chord with a group of people. Most of the Yuletide stories I've written were for small fandoms, so they had small audiences, and that's wonderful all on its own. There's nothing better than feeling that someone I've written a story for takes it as a gift.)

"In which Waldo of Hereford and Rabano of Toledo fight fire, find shelter at the onset of winter, and revolt at the end of their illuminations, and truth learns to laugh at last.

We stayed close when the library burned. For three days we watched it from a lower shoulder of the mountain while the walls cracked and the embers recaught and died, and the snow fell over the golden sandstone crags and made no difference. ..."

Rasa is a crossover: Deeba Resham from Un Lun Dun and Haroun from the Sea of Stories. In Un Lun Dun, a city has a kind of shadow, a mirror, an abcity, made out of elements lost on the press of people and things, so there's an UnLondon. But what happens when an abcity's adcity is destroyed? I loved writing these two bright, brave people, and it warmed me that a couple of readers who know their worlds, I think, seemed to think I was on the right track.

They are saying you went into the place where morning lies, said the voice from nowhere.
"You know what they're saying? You speak Encordoban?"
But but but certainly, the voice sang in her head. All translations that matter, and all matter that translates! I always travel in cognato! They are speaking medieval Arabic and Spanish with a gilding of Sephardic Hebrew. No problem!
"So what's the big deal?
I think, said the voice, the big deal is the water.

Programming in C++ is in Welcome to Nightvale. When the City Council makes a move against Carlos, Cecil comes out to warn him. But why are they after him — who sent the computer virus to gum up his equipment — and why has a helicopter joined in the chase? I loved writing this story, partly because I've spent time in newsrooms (and a little in radio stations), and Cecil's world moves me. Also because I wanted to challenge some elements of it. Where the news comes from, and how to protect sources and interns. How a radio station survives in a police state that even outlaws pencils. Who Carlos and Old Woman Josie and Black Angel are, and who they love. 
"He is sitting cross-legged on the packed earth at the edge of the shadow of the rock wall. The morning light rests on his bare shoulders. He is sitting still and shirtless, with his back straight and his eyes closed, as though he has been waiting there to feel the sunlight move across him. And I’m standing in the doorway watching the air stir the hair on the back of his neck."


taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)

January 2017

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