March 2014

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Friday, April 18th, 2014 10:44 pm
Man, Dickie Bennett sure is looking rough these days. I wonder if Jeremy Davies ever calls his agent and is like, "You know, I want to play somebody normal this time. Just a regular dude. Can we do that?" And his agent laughs in his face.

hannibal )
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Friday, April 18th, 2014 02:53 pm
Earthy Anecdote
by Wallace Stevens, 1931

Every time the bucks went clattering
Over Oklahoma
A firecat bristled in the way.

Wherever they went,
They went clattering,
Until they swerved
In a swift, circular line
To the right,
Because of the firecat.

Or until they swerved
In a swift, circular line
To the left,
Because of the firecat.

The bucks clattered.
The firecat went leaping,
To the right, to the left,
And
Bristled in the way.

Later, the firecat closed his bright eyes
And slept.
Friday, April 18th, 2014 01:45 pm
Catullus 2

Sparrow, my lady's pet,
with whom she often plays whilst she holds you in her lap,
or gives you her finger-tip to peck and
provokes you to bite sharply,
whenever she, the bright-shining lady of my love,
has a mind for some sweet pretty play,
in hope, as I think, that when the sharper smart of love abates,
she may find some small relief from her pain--
ah, might I but play with you as she does,
and lighten the gloomy cares of my heart!
This is as welcome to me as (they say)
to the swift maiden was the golden apple,
which loosed her girdle too long tied.

tr. by H.J. Walker



original text )
Friday, April 18th, 2014 01:27 pm
Here's a great essay about diversity in publishing, especially young adult books. My favorite quote: “The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive.” Wowch, nailed it.

There's a problem when an industry lacks diversity: “None of these agents look like me,” she said, “and they don’t represent anyone that looks like me.” ... “What if they don’t get what I’m doing?” While it's possible for people to reach understanding across cultural lines, it is much easier for people to understand each other when they share a lot of common ground. Lack of diversity among gatekeepers (agents and editors) therefore undermines access and representation.

Now here are two quotes from advantaged people in the industry: "I think the change is going to have to come from within those who are affected,” and Another agent, when asked why less than 1% of her submissions were from people of color, captured what seems to be the publishing industry’s general attitude in just 10 words: “This seems like a question for an author to answer.” Both of those are right. In order to work, social change must incorporate the views and needs of the people affected; top-down solutions tend to be offensive and ineffective.

However, that doesn't mean everyone else can just abdicate all responsibility. You have to look for the part of the problem that lies within YOUR reach. In this case, it means engaging a conversation about unmet needs. The industry should be asking, "If people of color don't read or buy books, why not?" (They have less access to education, fewer books starring characters like them, less disposable income, etc.) And then ask, "What would help fix that?" If a question is for authors to answer, then agents and editors should in fact be asking authors that question, and listening to the answers.

And here it is in the essay: The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?”

Of course, there are many issues in publishing, as in society. Most people will pick one or two favorites to focus on. Maybe they want to deal with sexism or classism rather than racism. Maybe they want to focus on books that will hook people who rarely read. Everybody doesn't have to deal with every problem, but every problem should have somebody working on it.

Me, I'm weird as usual; I'm the one waving a broom and shouting, "Fight ALL the oppressions!"  What am I doing?  Sure, I write characters from all different cultures, because I'm a mix.  But I also promote  projects by a wide range of creators.  Word of mouth advertising is really, really important.  I may not have a lot of money but I make one hell of a barker.

This is an area where crowdfunding can help.  You can support creative people of color.  You can ask for ethnic characters or plot structures.  You can look for projects to fund a book for distribution.  Yes, there's a filter, but we don't have to go through that bottleneck anymore.  We can go somewhere else.  The market is a lot more diverse than the dinosaurs believe.  They're standing in the breach?  Fine.  Let them have it.  Go somewhere else, go where there are people, and get their attention.  There are niches with almost no representation and therefore minimal competition.  Go fill them.  People are starving for stories about characters similar to themselves.  Feed a cat, gain a cat.
Friday, April 18th, 2014 12:15 am
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," and "Green Eggs and Hulk."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, JARVIS, Clint Barton, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanova, Bruce Banner.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: This story is mostly fluff, but it has some intense scenes in the middle. Highlight for details. These include dubious consent as Phil and JARVIS discuss what really happened when Agent Coulson hacked his way into Stark Tower, over which Phil has something between a flashback and a panic attack. They also discuss some of the bad things that have happened to Avengers in the past, including various flavors of abuse. If these are sensitive topics for you, please think carefully before deciding whether to read onward.
Summary: Uncle Phil needs to pick out pajamas for game night. He gets help from an unexpected direction.
Notes: Service. Shopping. Gifts. Artificial intelligence. Computers. Teamwork. Team as family. Friendship. Communication. Hope. Apologies. Forgiveness. Nonsexual ageplay. Nonsexual intimacy. Love. Tony Stark needs a hug. Bruce Banner needs a hug. #coulsonlives.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25.

Read more... )
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 07:37 pm
This poem was inspired by the "Free Space: Mirrors" square on my 8-13-13 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 10:21 pm
Translation by Robin Flowers:

I and Pangur Bán, my cat
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way:
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.


Original version... )
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 09:59 am

 

20140416springsnow

 

A spring snow shower yesterday brought lots of moisture, and the mud is deep around the barn right now.

Mirrored from Five Acres with a View.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 07:39 am
The Owl

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved;
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014 06:26 pm
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 11:59 pm
As of about 12 hours and 15 minutes ago, I'm ABD.

It went great, and I had a great time. Thanks to everyone who's provided support this semester--I couldn't have done it without you, truly.
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Thursday, April 17th, 2014 12:19 am
 Word meanings can shift over time.  Sometimes this is good, other times not so much.  I'm often bemused by "decimated" to mean "mostly or wholly destroyed."  It really means "1/10 destroyed."  LInk courtesy of my partner Doug.