boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-10-19 04:13 pm

Tor.com giveaway of Winter Tide

Tor.com is giving away the ebook of Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys until midnight October 20.

It is a response to Lovecraft, but Kirkus describes it as "essentially a story about identity, found families, wrapped in a cozy mystery. With magic. And monsters. Except the monsters are not exactly who you expect them to be."

https://giveaway.tor.com/
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-10-19 02:19 am
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

[This is actually from last Wednesday but I'm just going to post it now anyway]
• What are you reading?

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, by Erin Wunker. It's a bits-and-pieces book, but all the bits are in conversation with other writers, and with reality; even its bittyness recalls how Tillie Olsen would carry a sentence in her mind, polishing it in scraps of time between interruptions, through a day of women's work, a day of no peace, no privacy, no silence, no solitude.
When I started this book, I wanted to write something unimpeachable. Something so clear and objective, it could be a little dictionary or translation phrase book for how to speak a feminist language and live a feminist life. I wanted what many other writers -- the many-gendered mothers of my heart -- had already written. I wanted A Room of One's Own, Sister Outsider, Willful Subjects, Islands of Decolonial Love. I wanted Feminism is for Everybody and The Dream of a Common Language. I wanted No Language is Neutral.

I wanted books that had already been written by people whose experiences of moving through the world are different -- often radically so -- from mine.

*

I got stuck.
*
I read some more.
*
I remembered that I tell my students that reading and writing are attempts at joining conversations, making new ones, and, sometimes, shifting the direction of discourse.
*
I sat down at my typewriter again.


• What did you recently finish reading?

George & Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl.

Lizzie agreed. "I remember reading a novel in which one of the characters, a college professor, was writing a book on the influence of Emily Dickinson on Shakespeare and how his colleagues always misheard it and thought it was the other way around. I wish I could remember the title, because talking about it now makes me want to read it again. It's so interesting to think about. Do you think we read Shakespeare differently because of Dickinson's poems?"


I remember reading that too! It was by David Lodge, I think Changing Places? I read it about the same age Lizzie did. Not at the same time: I'm maybe ten years older than Lizzie. But, like Lizzie, I grew up in Michigan and went to UM and struggled with depression most of my life and, as a young woman, tried to claim my sexuality in ways that were bad for me and for the people I interacted with. Lizzie feels real to me, is what I'm saying, and I'm okay with the fact that the people around her are kind of one-note because the problem this book is about is: if you can't stop being sad about your shitty childhood even though your life is no longer shitty, if you can't stop punishing yourself for bad choices that you made long ago, if you can't stop trying to change something that happened long ago and wasn't in your control even then. . . then how do you stop?
[Lizzie says] "They're your thoughts, right? How can you not think them?"
Marla struggled to answer. "I don't know, but people do it. I think I let go of things, or at least try to. You have to, really, otherwise you're weighted down with all those cumulative bad memories. James and I used to talk about that baby missing from our lives, whether it was a boy or a girl, whether we could find out who adopted it, whether we'd ever forgive our parents, why we didn't just say 'Screw you' to them back then and get married after I got pregnant. I mean, you know, it was so present. It was always there in our lives. But if we kept that up there'd be no place for anything else. And now we just acknowledge all that awful stuff happened, that maybe we made the wrong decision, that we were just kids. We were just kids. You have to forgive yourself eventually, right?"

Lizzie's husband George got famous by explaining that, while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, but his explanation doesn't work for Lizzie. George doesn't seem to understand that, for some people, that's liberating, but for others, it says that your suffering was your choice and therefore your fault. I'd offer Lizzie Season of Mists, because "you don't have to stay anywhere forever" worked for me, but how a story works depends as much on the reader as on the story.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to write good stories. This one has a stupid editing oversight that dumped me right out:
[Marla:]"I love you Lizzie, and always will. And I will always, always, keep your secrets. But this, what this means to you and George, is an important secret. It's not the equivalent of a little white lie. It'd be like me not telling James about the abortion."
[Lizzie:]"But James knew about the abortion, he was with you when you had it."
"Don't be deliberately naive, it doesn't become you. You know what I mean: some other James I was involved with."


What abortion, I wondered? Was there an abortion as well as a baby given up for adoption? When?

No, it must have been changed from an abortion to an adoption at some point. Which was a good change: it's believable that Marla would find it harder to move on with her life after carrying the baby for nine months, while knowing that there was a person out there that she felt responsible for but had no ability to protect. But leaving evidence of the change in the story made me notice how flat all the other characters are, how they are the way they are in order to serve Lizzie's story.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-10-02 02:52 pm
Entry tags:

from Crossing to Safety

for [personal profile] jesse_the_k:
And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it but mutual liking. It is therefore rare.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-10-01 10:11 pm

tarot

I usually pull a single card to give me something to think about that day. Today my card was Nine of Swords (Cruelty): Debilitating mental anguish or ill health. Being dragged down by the dishonor of others. Participation in a shameful or regrettable act. Inescapable guilt, mistrust, and doubt. May indicate a death or other catastrophic loss. What this made me think about -- for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture -- was the times O've reached out recently in a friendly way and got nothing back. So I asked about that, and got

The Celtic Cross spread is one of the most popular Tarot spreads, providing varied insight into many aspects of a complex situation and your role in it.

The card not shown but at the center of the cross, represents the atmosphere surrounding the central issue. Two of Coins (Change), when reversed: Admirable flexibility. Agility. Expertise.

The card visible at the center of the cross represents the obstacle that stands in your way - it may even be something that sounds good but is not actually to your benefit. Page of Coins: An intelligent and sensible young person. Dependable and practical person who yet hides mysterious corners of himself and hoards secret treasures. An admirer of the patterns of heavens, the makeup of nature, or the language of numbers.

The card at the top of the cross represents your goal, or the best you can achieve without a dramatic change of priorities. Seven of Cups (Temptation): Living in a world of fantasy and illusion. Unrealistic and vain hopes. Dependence on external and even supernatural aid.

The card at the bottom of the cross represents the foundation on which the situation is based. Four of Swords (Truce): Retreat from the battlefield of life. A rest from the conflicts with colleagues or competitors. Calm in the storm. Self-imposed exile.

The card at the left of the cross represents a passing influence or something to be released. Six of Staves (Victory), when reversed: Fear of failure and fear of success.

The card at the right of the cross represents an approaching influence or something to be embraced. The Tower, when reversed: Disaster avoided. Dramatic rescue. False alarm.

The card at the base of the staff represents your role or attitude. Four of Coins (Power), when reversed: Equanimity. Suspension of conflict. Balance of power.

The card second from the bottom of the staff represents your environment and the people you are interacting with. Nine of Coins (Gain), when reversed: Stormy relationships. Unstable circumstances. Unseasonable activity.

The card second from the top of the staff represents your hopes, fears, or an unexpected element that will come into play. Page of Cups, when reversed: Emotional excess. Distraction. Seduction.

The card at the top of the staff represents the ultimate outcome should you continue on this course. Six of Cups (Pleasure): Regret and nostalgia for a time past or a love lost. Disillusionment.

I think this is about how much more energy I put into relationships with imaginary people than real people. And how much I insist on other people acquiescing to my world-view.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-28 06:02 pm
Entry tags:

gohnoms

Guest of Honor nominations for Wiscon 43 (that is, the one in 2019; the Guests of Honor at next year's Wiscon are Saladin Ahmed and Tananarive Due) are open until October 15. Blog post here: http://wiscon.net/2017/09/27/wiscon43-goh-nominations/

Anyone can nominate.
Concom chooses Guests of Honor from the nominations we receive. (This is the only perq you get for being on Concom that is not available to all volunteers.)
Send your nominations to gohnoms@wiscon.net.

Reading the Guests of Honor's work, discussing their work at Wiscon, and listening to their readings and speeches has always been one of the best parts of Wiscon for me, so I am grateful for your suggestions.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-27 11:20 pm
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

The Other Half of the Sky, edited by Athena Andreadis. I don't read short stories often enough. I think my powers of visualization must be feeble, or at least easily exhausted. The worlds of these stories have mostly been really interesting, but it takes me a long time between finishing one and being ready to pick up the next. The standout so far is Nisi Shawl's "In Colors Everywhere," in which there are penal colonies, but they are on another planet, so to save money you get shipped there without your body. They'll decant you into a new one once you get there, but your new body's race and sex may not match your own.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Kinda Like Brothers, by Coe Booth, because I'm interested in the depiction of eleven-year-olds in fiction. Recommendations welcome!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner, for library book group.

October is going to be all about Lovecraft. Classics book group is reading The Call of Cthulhu and other weird stories. SF book group is reading two novellas: "The first is by H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness. The second book is based on another Lovecraft story, "The Horror at Red Hook". That particular story is especially disturbingly racist, which is why I didn't choose it to read, although you're welcome to if you want for comparison's sake. This second book is The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. This novella has been nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, Locus, British Fantasy, Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Awards and won the Shirley Jackson horror award. Here's what the author himself has to say about his book: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/02/17/the-big-idea-victor-lavalle/ "

I might, if I'm already soaking in a Lovecraftian miasma, take the opportunity to also read Kij Johnson's The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe and Ruthanna Emrys's Winter Tide.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-21 11:10 pm
Entry tags:

graphic novel book group

I went to Graphic Novel book group once before, to discuss Bitch Planet, when the group leader, Cameron, happened not to be there. He was there today. I don't think I'll be going back.

Maybe he would be diluted in a larger group? There were only four of us. And neither I nor the other two guys, whom I know from SF book group, are very good at grabbing the talking stick. Still Cameron seemed weirdly controlling. I think more than half the time was just Cameron talking, and he didn't leave spaces where other people could start talking if they wanted to; he'd call on us, like, "What did you think of it? Was there anything else that you liked?" And whenever anyone spoke up without being called on he'd say something like, "Yes, go ahead." He'd actually interrupt a person who was speaking in order to give them permission to speak. When he said he was a history teacher I thought, that explains it.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-14 11:29 pm

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, by Emma Marris. Marris's prose is just pedestrian, neither delightful nor efficient, but it covers the ground she wants to cover, which is intensely interesting to me.

Coincidentally, I just read two links from [personal profile] forestofglory on this topic:
http://edgeeffects.net/uw-arboretum-prairie/
Knowing Prairies, a short graphic essay (like graphic novel, but nonfiction and short) about prairie restoration: what it means, how possible it is, what it is worth. "When I visit the first restored prairie, I don't see a time machine nor a fake nature. Instead, I see a place altered by people negotiating their relationship with the natural world."

and http://uncannymagazine.com/article/packing/
"Packing", by T. Kingfisher, a short story about choosing which species we're going to save.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, for Classics book group.

I thought this would be a bit easier to read the second time, but it wasn't. It was good to talk about at book group though. I really like the faculty sponsors and the grad student who lead this discussion.
She shook her head from side to side, resigned to her rebellious brain. Why was there nothing it refused? No misery, no regret, no hateful picture too rotten to accept? Like a greedy child it snatched up everything. Just once, could it say, No thank you? I just ate and can't hold another bite?[....]I don't want to know or have to remember that. I have other things to do: worry, for example, about tomorrow, about Denver, about Beloved, about age and sickness not to speak of love.
But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day[....]Other people went crazy, why couldn't she? Other people's brains stopped, turned around and went on the something new, which is what must have happened to Halle. And how sweet that would have been[....]

I'd like to reread The Fifth Season and think about how it relates to Beloved.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, for Graphic Novel book group.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-12 12:10 am

Which Steven Universe episodes

...to show someone what makes this show so great?

My daughter doesn't watch much animated stuff and had never heard of Steven Universe, but was intrigued by my description of Amal El-Mohtar's Wiscon GoH speech. If you were to pick a few episodes from the first season to help someone decided whether this is the sort of thing she might like, and you were really hoping she would decide yes, which ones would you pick?
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-06 07:54 pm
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

Borderline, by Mishell Baker, for SF book group. I am enjoying this although it does have a Mary Sue problem: the narrator is very important to everyone she encounters, for no reason that the reader can see. Also it is very talky.

• What did you recently finish reading?

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris. Interesting and beautiful. I would have like a warning for the child sexual abuse.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Beloved, by Toni Morrison, for classics book group. Reread.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-05 01:43 pm

where's the fire

It's cool and overcast, equally hazy in all directions. The sun is an angry orange blob. The moon was orange last night too. There isn't much smell of woodsmoke, but maybe I am just too congested to smell it. I think about all that carbon tossed back into the air.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-09-04 01:05 pm

Downward Dog

+ I just watched the episode of Downward Dog that guest-stars Nichelle Nichols!!

- Why do I always find out about good TV after it's cancelled.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-08-29 04:28 pm
Entry tags:

voice

Library book group chose books last night. This group reads six books over nine months, and chooses books by voting. I persuaded the group to choose Kindred, by Octavia Butler. The other five books we chose are:

The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
The Good Earth - Pearl Buck

A wide variety!

Classics book group meets every month during the school year. Each CSU grad student or instructor who volunteers to lead a discussion gets to choose the book. The first four books for that group are:

Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories - H.P. Lovecraft
The Woman Warrior - Maxine Hong Kingston
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

Tawanda book group is the one that has been meeting for 26 years and doesn't really discuss books much any more. Terri hosted this month and asked us each to bring a poem to read. Amy recovered twelve of her steers since last month, but eleven are still lost in the forest so she couldn't afford to take a night off the search. Terri read "Your children are not your children," by Khalil Gibran. I read "Wild Geese". Jo read "Going to Walden," also by Mary Oliver. Kathleen brought something by Wendell Berry, but I don't remember what, because she asked me to read it, and apparently I do not have enough brain to speak in public and put things into longterm memory at the same time. Cate read "It's Time Somebody Told Me," which her mother had cut out from the newspaper, laminated, and carried around in her wallet until she died.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-08-27 05:19 pm
Entry tags:

Wiscon questions

We just had the first concom meeting for Wiscon 42, and I have questions:

1. I agreed conditionally to run Kids' Programming this year. The condition is that some other people run it with me. It has been run by one person for the last few years, but that was all she did during all the daytime programming hours, and I'm not willing to give up that much of my Wiscon, so I'm looking for co-leads. Are you interested in joining Wiscon's concom? Do you know anyone who might be interested? Let me know!

There are many other open positions on concom, so if you are interested in running Wiscon but not in entertaining children, let me know and I will put you in touch with Personnel. And if you are interested in entertaining children but not in being on concom, that's useful too! You could take charge of one programming slot without any other responsibilities.

2. About Wiscon's social media presence: apart from http://wiscon.net/ all the outreach is happening on Twitter and Facebook. I could retweet stuff about Wiscon, but I don't have any followers. I'm not joining Facebook. Do you think Dreamwidth is still useful as a way to promote Wiscon to people who are not already interested?

3. Should I volunteer to lead a storytelling workshop at Wiscon? It would be like a writing workshop, except you would bring a story to tell. You'd get a couple chances to practice standing up in front of sympathetic strangers to tell your story, and get feedback from said strangers on your story and your delivery.

I don't know whether people will be interested in this but that is a self-solving problem: if no one is interested, they won't sign up.

I'm worried about the expectations of people who do sign up, though. Lots of things called "storytelling workshop" are actually lectures, which I'm not interested in giving, or classes, which I am not qualified to teach. Is there another word that signifies peer-to-peer critique session?
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-08-10 11:24 pm

somebody should write that

My SF book group today came up with three ideas for things that we agreed we would read the heck out of (and our ratings for The Fifth Season were 8-10 out of 10, so clearly we collectively have very good taste):

1. Donna mentioned Soldier of the Mist and I said I longed to read a fanfic from the point of view of the AI in Person of Interest, in the period when she is figuring out how to circumvent the protocol that wipes her memory every day.

2. I mentioned Station Eleven and Jacqie said she had an aversion to post-apocalyptic traveling theater troupes doing Shakespeare, so we talked about what we'd like to see a post-apocalyptic traveling theater troupe do: they have an orchestra, why not Gilbert and Sullivan? But the most approval went to the suggestion of post-apocalyptic Rocky Horror Picture Show. There was some discussion of how the audience participation could work when you would not throw any rice or toilet paper you happened to have.

3. Someone said they were reading a book about Helen of Sparta, that is, Helen of Troy before she ran away with Paris. Stephen said he thought it was going to be a book about Helen of Troy as a Spartan warrior. Stephen says that Spartans let women train like warriors.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-08-09 10:25 pm
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin, for SF book group. I had been putting this one off, because I heard it began with the murder of a very young child, in a world that is so terrible that this seems like reasonable behavior. The book is grim, but gripping.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing! I'm in the middle of six different things. I didn't finish Out Stealing Horses because a moose crashed through the fence of the woman who was hosting book group in July, and now her steers are roaming free on thousands of acres of forest, with the rains washing away their traces. She'll reschedule in August and I'll read it then. There is a moose at my husband's house, too:moose )
I have to keep a careful eye on the dogs when we visit.

I did watch the first season of American Gods, which was beautiful. I read American Gods too long ago to judge how good an adaptation this is, but it is a very good TV show.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

My Favorite Thing is Monsters, by Emil Ferris, because my library hold just came through.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-07-26 07:59 pm
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

Chimera, by John Barth. Last read in college, when I was studying computer science, and everything Barth said about letters and stories seemed to be a direct reflection of something Turing discovered about numbers and computing machines. "The key to the treasure is the treasure."

• What did you recently finish reading?

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I had been putting this off, because my non-SF-reading friends were saying it was really good but my SF-reading friends were finding it disappointing, which usually means I'll find it disappointing. Turns out it's really good!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson, for Tawanda book group.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-07-08 10:14 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

garden photo )

Every time I go out to move a hose, I see dozens of things that make me think, gotta take care of that. But right now each of those things makes me think, what is that going to look like in two more weeks? I gotta take care of that now!
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-07-07 06:43 pm
Entry tags:

tarot

One Card
The card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Simbi La Flambeau (Eight of Wands): A sudden release of raw power, cutting through confusion and indecision, and setting things in motion. Rapid progress towards a desired goal, brought about by immediate and decisive action. Boldness and daring in love, business, travel, or spiritual growth.



It is true that I am using my anxiety about upcoming travel for immediate and decisive action towards a desired goal of clean kitchen, bathroom, and laundry.