I got back to Michigan late on Monday after a wonderful week in France for Les Imaginales.
The festival was amazing. The whole town participates and helps to sponsor Les Imaginales, which felt like a cross between a book fair, convention, and renaissance festival. The town is gorgeous, the food is delicious, and there were dogs everywhere–even in restaurants or sitting under a table in the book tent 🙂
I’ve posted photos from the book fair on Flickr. I’ve got a bunch more to get through and post, but I’m doing them one batch at a time.
The best part, naturally, was getting to hang out with some wonderful author friends from America, and to meet new authors, fans, editors, and fellow geeks from France and elsewhere.
It was fascinating to see the differences between French and American conventions. The panels were very different. Instead of a free-for-all conversation, the moderator asked each author a question, one at a time. There wasn’t much interaction between the authors. It felt a bit more formal, but also made sure everyone got the chance to talk and contribute. You were also expected to talk a fair amount about your book and how it related to the topic. At home, I try to avoid doing that too much, but in France, it’s expected that you’ll talk about your writing and help the audience learn enough to decide whether or not they’re interested.
Which means the best time to be in the book tent is immediately after you’ve done a panel. (I didn’t figure that out for my first panel, and probably missed some sales since I didn’t immediately go to the tent afterward. D’oh!)
My thanks to everyone at the festival for inviting me, for their hard work organizing the event, and for making this such a delightful week.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I went to see my psych last week for a followup on the new/old meds and said, "I feel like I have my brain back, but I don't much like the brain I got back." In particular I'm having trouble with executive dysfunction and a lot of hyperfocusing.
I told the psych this and she looked at me, fidgeting in her office chair, and said, "have you ever considered that you might have ADHD?"
As it happens I have been pondering that very thing of late. But it's notable that I am 37 years old and she is the FIRST medical professional ever to suggest this diagnosis to me. See also: ADHD presenting very differently in women than in men.
Since I'm still having trouble sleeping without taking low-dose seroquel, we're going to focus on trying to sort that out first, but when I see her again in August we're going to discuss the possibility of going on something for ADHD.
This, by the way, would make all three of us upstairs both bipolar and ADHD. We're all medicated for at least one of those diagnosis but still, there's a reason our household is sometimes, um, volatile. Add in our various physical ailments and Rayne's PTSD and it's a wonder we're functioning at all.
To a certain extent this is part of why I'm poly. I need to have and be part of a support structure not just an individual partner. I think in pairs none of our relationships would be workable, but together we balance each other out quite nicely.
The really awful thing I can't talk about is possibly less awful than it was when I made my last post. Still awful, but no longer horrifyingly impressively awful. This has taken a lot of weight off our household.
I had a shrink appointment today and she said, "have you ever considered grad school?" The answer to which is a somewhat complicated yes. When I was in undergrad I always assumed I would go on to get my masters, probably in Intercultural Communications, but then I fucked up my last semester of university and that kind of crashed and burned. Currently, we're not in a financial/family place where me going to grad school would make sense, but yes, the possibility has entered my mind again.
We leave for Wiscon in the morning, and I am not actually packed, because reasons, so I should probably stop talking about stuff and sort through my clothes and figure out what I'm taking.
Over the weekend, I pulled it out and decided to make some of it into a sundress. Problem: I needed about 1/8 yard of interfacing, which I do not have. I live an hour away from the nearest city with a fabric store, and was not about to drive two hours round trip for 1/8 yard. So I ordered some from fabric.com. It will get here in 4-7 days. But it's all cut out and I've done all the steps I can do without interfacing, AND IT'S SITTING THERE STARING AT ME. The executive dysfunction of autism means that I have two modes: hyperfocused on something, and unable to focus on it without outside pressure. So not only do I feel really bad about the fact that I can't sew it right now, but there's a decent chance that by the time the interfacing gets here, the focus will be gone and the sundress will sit in a pile on the table for months and possibly never get completed ever.
Also! This is a light, delicate fabric that ravels if I look at it, and I do not have a serger. I did the seams of the skirt as French seams (where the raw edges are encased in a sewn channel so they can't ravel), but I don't know what to do about like armhole seams where you can't do that (and in fact need to clip the seam allowance so that there's less bulk and it curves better). The only time I've done significant work with fabrics that ravel like this was in the costume shop of the theater/dance department in college, where it didn't matter if it ravelled apart quickly, because it was only for stage use.
Googling has not been helpful. I have seen a lot of seam finishes (some of which are new to me), but none that look like they'd be good for armholes and other curved seams. Anybody got any advice?
Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.
I'm doing most recent too but skipping one because it's a WiP. Let's see (I know already this is probably going to be THE LOST LAND OF FOREVER RUN-ON SENTENCES) (also doing last lines, not just one):
1. Rey gripped Poe's arm tighter. "It's been a long time," she said. Maybe too long. "But we'll find him, Poe. I know we will. We'll find him." And then we'll bring him home.
No Man is an Island (the Drowned World remix), Star Wars, Poe and Rey
2. Jarvis rolled over too, shifting closer, and rested his forehead against Howard's back, one hand on Howard's shoulder. Howard lay motionless, waiting to make sure Jarvis was really asleep, before he reached out and up to shut off the lamp. Jarvis's left hand slipped from his shoulder to Howard's waist, and Howard reached up with his right hand to hold it in the dark.
Indelibility of Allegiance, Agent Carter, Jarvis and Howard
3. And underneath Marina's words, like a divine descant, there was another voice rising up, somehow in harmony with or resonating with itself, the voice you'd always known and could never have really forgotten, the first voice you ever knew, telling you the best and oldest lie of all: Enough. Enough, you have suffered enough. You deserve peace. My daughter, you are safe now, it is over. You are home.
I'll Never Tear You Apart, The Magicians (TV), Marina and Julia
4. He didn't try to defend himself; whatever she could give him, help or its opposite, he was willing to take, and he knew she'd also been just where he was now, helpless, dependent. He didn't mind losing; not this time. He closed his eyes and waited for her to bring him back, however she could.
I Remember Standing By The Wall (The Pax Natasha Remix), MCU, BuckyNat
5. "Okay, come on, Captain Rogers is about to crash and burn. You can call Talia and yell at her about invading your privacy in the morning. No, leave it, Steve, the memory of our sainted mothers will forgive us if we leave crumbs on the table one fucking night. Come on, Mishka. Let's go to bed."
the hurts of human life, MCU, Stucky
I dunno, besides OMG, GIRL, STOP HOGGING ALL THE COMMAS, themes....people relaxing? People going to sleep? Weariness? Excessive wordiness? "Put on a suit, go down to the bank, fill out an application, get a loan, and buy a full stop"? *hands* ...also, three juggernaut pairings, and the only graphic sex is the TINY pairing in the small fandom.
Or maybe I feel uneasy because the story is in such a weird place: it's an AU WIP that's so AU that I've basically decided that I'm going to take the serial numbers off and let it breathe as its own thing...except that'll mean rewriting absolutely everything I've already gotten down. So "sharing a chunk" would mean "sharing words that I already expect will never see the light of day even as part of a complete draft". (But I love those words.) (But it's a weird thing to post.) (But I've already shared swaths of it with ushobwri on workshop days, if not for quite a while, so what's the big deal, self?)
Community promotions! china_shop just created nanodownunder, which will run in June and offer daily check-in posts. I've signed up in another attempt at getting an external kick in the pants; I haven't made it anywhere near as far as trying to figure out what I might attempt to work on.
Anyway, china_shop is lovely, and it sounds fun. Do come join!
Also, prompt claims are now open at smallfandomfest! (Complete spreadsheet of prompts here.) The prompt list accrues new prompts with each round, rather than discarding the list of unfilled prompts and starting over, which means it's fairly long. ^_^ And there's a new Newsflesh prompt. Made by someone I don't know. (My fandom is small enough that wholly unfamiliar names literally always startle me for a second.)
And it's a smutty prompt for my ship, so clearly I should try to write something for it, because a) how often does that happen? and b) it's a prompt that meshes perfectly with my headcanon.
Tomorrow we're signing some Very Grown Up (and uninteresting, alas) money-related paperwork, which always feels intimidating. One nice thing is that our lawyer friend (formerly of Casual Job, who passed the bar just last year) is doing the necessary lawyerly things; if we must spend money on getting paperwork extensively handled, I'm glad (some of) it's going to a friend.
I'm waiting on such dull things, guys. For one, an email notifying me that my ancient email account that I never use but don't want to let go of has been renewed for another year (it's with the local freenet, and they require you to say "please renew my account for another year" annually, which is kind of annoying, and I did it a bit late. And I really wish the damn "okay, that's done!" reply would turn up so I can forget about it for another year.
For another, when I was out erranding with my mom last Thursday, we stopped by a library branch I don't usually go to, and since she was going in and I otherwise didn't need to, she dropped a book of mine that was due that day into the returns bin. Great! Except my online account still thinks it's checked out (and thus overdue). I've been logging in once or twice a day to see if it's been checked in, and tonight (after business hours) I finally tweeted to the library system's account to ask "um, when should I start worrying?"
These are small, boring things, and since I'm not wired to put stuff like that out of my mind, I can't stop thinking about them. >.< I've hit the point of actively resenting the amount of mental real estate they're taking up between them.
"Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading".
Via deifire, "George A. Romero Is Planning a NASCAR Zombie Movie".
"If You're Under 16, You Won't Believe What The Internet Used To Be Like". [Buzzfeed, in case the title didn't give it away]
"'A Kingdom On Wheels': The Hidden World That Made The Circus Happen".
"Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of Masculine Perseverance". [McSweeney's]
"13 Real AF Situations Every Anxious Person Has Experienced". [Buzzfeed]
"The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack".
"Exclusive: Could the legend come true? Tower of London raven allowed to fly free".
"On the radar: receipts". [OxfordWords Blog] "How and when did ‘receipts’ come to mean ‘proof’?"
"Surreal Pencil Drawings Look Like How Repressing Your Emotions Feels". (Really neat; also frequently disturbing.)
"Exploring Yugoslavia’s Mysterious Abandoned Brutalist Monuments: Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic photographs forgotten post-World War II sculptures".
"Dear Media: Please Stop Simply Saying the Rape Charges Against Julian Assange Were “Dropped”". [The Mary Sue]
"Why you should never ever feed bread to a duck".
"Coming Up Aces: What does asexual mean?" [Queership]
At Baking Bites: "A Visit to The Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles".
"Presenting…The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide!" [Matt Wallace]
"A Brief History of 'Squee': The word has its fans". [Merriam-Webster]
"The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages: Communal living is hardly a departure from tradition—it's a return to how humans have been making their homes for thousands of years".
But after a reasonably uneventful transatlantic journey, and O'Hare being no more irksome than before, and indeed, the passport kiosks do speed things up though there is still queuing once you've done so -
It's really, really annoying to find that the wifi in the hotel is on the fritz (actually, there was also something Not Right with Heathrow Terminal 3 wifi this morning, but at least I still had mobile data activated on my phone without the prospect of ruinous charges) which is apparently a wider system problem.
I am therefore posting from the one terminal in the lobby that is a) connected to the internet and b) actually works - I had to remove myself temporarily when a young person wanted to 'very quickly' print something out, which turned out not to be quick at all, tell me again about the digital native generation.
Yes, in the general scheme of things, a minor inconvenience. But after a day of taxis and airports and planes, annoying.
But, anyway, here I am.
I'm not signed up for any panels, I'm not volunteering this year. I'm not 100 percent sure that this isn't going to end in disaster again. Depending on how I react to the various allergens in Madison I may be very low-energy, I may be sneezy and stuffed-up, I may be spending a lot of time asleep, I may be slow and forgetful due to being low oxygen, I may recuse myself rapidly from controversy or trouble if I don't see an immediate way to be useful.
I may have to leave panels abruptly due to coughing fits. We may be leaving town abruptly to get me back to Canada for treatment. (My out-of-province insurance isn't going to cover me for another serious asthma event in the same damn' city as the last one. That's kind of the definition of 'pre-existing'). We have a plan for this. It's as solid as we can make it.
Or we may have trouble at the border and not get there at all.
Or it all may be just fine. I really don't know. There's no way to tell.
But I'm on a new med (Singulair), and taking ALL the other ones, religiously, and so far my lungs seem to be willing to stay fairly functional. I'm bringing my bike. I'm hoping to stay an extra week and see friends. I'm cautiously optomistic.
A small request: if you see me, and we're friends, and you possibly can, grab me for coffee or food or a quick chat? This is almost certainly my last WisCon for some time, and if I do have a dangerous reaction, it's my last WisCon, period.
I know that I've lost touch with a lot of you due to missing the con and generally being offline and preoccupied trying to get my health under control. I'm sorry about it, and I'd really like to connect this weekend if we can, because you all are one of the communities of my heart, and to be honest I'm coming much more for y'all than for the "official" con.
If you or someone near you is wearing scent, I may have to back away rapidly. I'm sorry.
I'm not really accustomed to being a fragile little flower, you know? I'm still working out how to handle it.
Also, if there's a volunteer task I can do, something you need help with, that you can grab me for on the spot, please do. It's hard to contribute meaningfully when you can't make any promises, and I'll appreciate any chances to do so.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a fantastic conclusion to this series of books. I remain in awe of Byatt's skill as a writer. The previous books are bookended with glimpses into the future and then settle into a narrative that happened in the past. This book doesn't begin that way, and the reader slowly realizes that this book is taking place in the future that starts and ends the previous three; there's a wonderful moment where Byatt takes you full-circle back to the very beginning book and shows you a moment happening in that future scene from a different perspective. So very well done and makes me believe she had all four books plotted out before she ever put pen to paper for the first.
Again, way too much child harm in this book for my tastes; fortunately, it was not belabored, but still. Too much. If I wasn't already way too invested in this series not to finish it, I would have had serious reservations about doing so.
There's an element of repressed violence throughout the whole thing. Some of the characters have gone to live in what amounts to a religious cult, and the narrative is clearly building to some terrible end. I love that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop and wondering exactly what form the terror will take.
The novel is set against the backdrop of the late sixties with students protesting everything from war to institutions of education themselves. It manages to acknowledge the ways in which these protests are ridiculous and meaningless exercises as well as the ways in which they are reasoned arguments for needed change. Byatt also touches on an issue very pertinent today: who should be allowed to speak on a college campus? Should students be able to silence voices with which they disagree?
I absolutely adore that Byatt ends the novel exactly the way she ends Agatha's novel that she reads aloud to Leo and Saskia: right in the thick of things, en medias res, with no true conclusion and everything up in the air, which is as it should be. I don't want Frederica to be neatly concluded with all the threads tied off. That ending is a brilliant piece of craftsmanship.
I highly recommend the Potter Quartet. I want to write like A.S. Byatt when I grow up, but in the interim, I'll settle for reading the original. :)
View all my reviews
In its favor, the film is beautifully photographed and cleverly cast. Otherwise it is a deliberate and insulting inversion of Greene's novel and a criminal fucking waste of Michael Redgrave. Spoilers everywhere because otherwise I'll just keep on swearing where the cats can hear me.
( I'm a reporter. I'm not involved. )
But of course what Mankiewicz didn't have was the cultural or political permission to film a definitive adaptation of The Quiet American in the late 1950's. Trying to find out what the hell besides McCarthyism had happened to a director I had always considered basically lefty, I ran into the stranger-than-fiction fact that Lansdale—you know, the guy who ran General Thế for the CIA, so popularly if incorrectly associated with the character of Alden Pyle that his authorized biography was titled The Unquiet American (1988)—actually consulted on the film, where by "consulted" I mean "among other input sent Mankiewicz a three-page letter detailing the true history of the bombings at the Place Garnier and encouraging the writer-director to disregard it completely and blame the Communists." Okay, then. The end credits are dedicated "To the people of the Republic of Vietnam—to their chosen President and administrators—our appreciation for their help and kindness," which I doubt Mankiewicz as producer would have been able to secure without assurance of a positive spin on the present state of South Vietnam, five years in the film's future. Both Greene and his novel were banned by Diệm's government. Allen Dulles signed off on the script treatment. I have no idea if I can or should recommend this film to anyone. Certainly it is historically significant, attractive to look at, and it is a truth at least semi-universally acknowledged that Michael Redgrave distraught and disheveled is pretty hot, but as I shouted to spatch, "No amount of hot Michael Redgrave is worth intellectual dishonesty!" Your mileage, I guess. This betrayal brought to you by my engagé backers at Patreon.
1. Murphy had starred as himself in the 1955 screen adaptation of his 1949 autobiography, To Hell and Back.
2. I'd love to be able read her gesture postcolonially, as independent Vietnam rejecting both naïve America and paternal Empire, but I am pretty sure it's just your standard Code-mandated reminder that only heroes get the girl in the end. Either way, casting Phuong's relationship with the American in the light of tragically lost true love romanticizes and retroactively legitimizes his complete failure to see her as a person rather than a symbolic object to be saved.
3. In the 2002 film, she is played by the actually Vietnamese Đỗ Thị Hải Yến and, while she gets very little dialogue compared to her male co-stars, appears to possess an interior life in consonance with the novel, which several times suggests that she sees more than either of the men she lives with. Fowler likens her to a bird, to opium, to her namesake phoenix, to her own country, but he has at least the grace to recognize the existence of her independent self, of which she shares only so much with him: "But even while I made my speech and watched her turn the page . . . I knew I was inventing a character just as much as Pyle was. One never knows another human being; for all I could tell, she was as scared as the rest of us." Quite seriously, if anyone knows of literature or nonfiction revisiting the events of The Quiet American from Phuong's perspective à la Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) or Lauren Wilford's "Possessed: Vertigo Through Her Eyes" (2015), I'd be fascinated.
4. He filmed a similarly liminal Belfast for Reed's Odd Man Out (1947): he had a talent for showing cities as both their documentary selves and their expressionist reflections. I am charmed that his first solo credit as director of photography was Leslie Howard's The Gentle Sex (1943).
--I promise not to get in the habit of signal boosting lots of aftertheendtimes posts over here, but cantarina is trying to gauge interest in a fanworks exchange covering all of seanan_mcguire's worlds.
--scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went to Happy Veal for lunch, and we're forced to conclude that while the food ranges from "tasty" to "AMAZING" (hello, green onion pancakes), the service is just always either mediocre or awful, so we're always going to have to calculate if we're up for dealing with that. ( TL;DR, the food arrived SLOWLY. No, more slowly than that ) And yet I can't swear off the place. The green onion pancakes are so good I could cry.
--Garden: scruloose dug out the rough shape of the flowerbed, and it looks like getting that ready will be trickier than we'd hoped. OTOH, transplanting our six tiny Lemon Boy tomato seedlings into their interim pots was quick and simple. And in between those things, when Kas and Ginny dropped me and scruloose off, they came in to borrow a spade and see the breathtaking new openness of our small back yard. Ginny got a look at Neighbor L's dandelion ripper, and then scruloose brought our shiny new one out...and Ginny proceeded to spend something like half an hour, in her Fluevogs and cute dress, merrily massacring dandelions for the sheer delight of using the thing.
It's remarkably satisfying. [/understatement]
This is my revolution playlist's older, slightly more jaded sister. But despite the name and the sentiment I don't think it's terribly depressing. Just crabby. And couldn't we all use some crabby every now and then? This is also longer than most of my playlists: 26 songs or an hour and forty four minutes of music.
Capitalism Will Eat Your Children
Zip file on dropbox (146MB) or Individual tracks on dropbox
There's A War Going On For Your Mind - Flobots
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) - My Chemical Romance
Walking Down Madison - Kirsty MacColl Feat. Aniff Cousins
Bankrobber - The Clash
Dance or Die - Janelle Monáe Feat. Saul Williams
How Long? - Wild Strawberries
The Trouble With Normal - Bruce Cockburn
Death To My Hometown - Bruce Springsteen
Jacob's Ladder (Not In My Name) - Chumbawamba
16 Tons - Tom Morello
Save This House - Spirit Of The West
The Economy Is Suffering...Let It Die - Anti-Flag
(Antichrist Television Blues) - Arcade Fire
Burundi - Saul Williams Feat. Emily Kokal
Weight of the World - Martyn Joseph
Wings - Josh Ritter
Oh My God - Michael Franti & Spearhead
Reject All American - Bikini Kill
Pink White House - PRIESTS
Jam Tomorrow - Oysterband
Little Boxes - Walk Off The Earth
The Kids Are Ready To Die - The Airborne Toxic Event
The Sound of Silence - Disturbed
Come On Forest Fire (CPI Mix) - Rae Spoon
Waiting For The Great Leap Forward - Billy Bragg
This Is Why We Fight - The Decemberists
I'd appreciate a comment if you download, just so I can know how much interest there is :)
MEGAN WHALEN TURNER FANS COME TALK TO ME ABOUT THICK AS THIEVES OMG!!!
I just want ALL the fic RIGHT NOW. It doesn't matter that it's a tiny book fandom and the Thick As Thieves hasn't been out long enough for much fic to be written yet. Rationality has no place in my desires, and my desire is for ALL the fic, ESPECIALLY if it's slashy.
Presume spoilers in comments. At least, I hope there will be spoilers in comments ;)
• I also seem to be buying excessive quantities of culottes. (Well, two pairs, but you know.) For once I'm on trend. I know I have to buy now, before they disappear for another twenty years. I hate the fashion cycle.
• Victor isn't the only one who has a phone case of himself
• This weekend I'm going to Belgium, and it's now clear that it's going to be boiling hot, like 28C/83F on Sunday. Currently reconsidering my packing list, plans, life choices, etc. (Don't laugh, people from elsewhere.) I still plan on climbing the Wall of Geraardsbergen but I'll have to do it early in the morning. And, you know, on foot. Needless to say.