I finally caught Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last night. I never read the novel, sorry. (Rowling lost me back when Harry Potter became the moody, self-involved teenager. Some characters can hold up against that, but not when the entire universe warps around them. It's just too much for me. Not that I feel she's a bad writer. She isn't. Just not my thing.) Anyway, it was every bit as gorgeous as I hoped it would be. The costumes were incredible. The sets were stunning. And my favorite characters were Queenie and the Baker character. The two of them couldn't have been cuter. I loved that. (In fact, at one point I told the screen, "He'd better mysteriously get the money for his bakery, and that shop had better be the most mysteriously successful bakery in New York." If you've seen the movie, you know exactly when I said it.) I'm normally not fond of the "fat, ugly dude gets the gorgeous gal" trope. It sends awful messages. However, there was actual chemistry between the two. It was very clear that Queenie fell for him for real. You could see how she lit up when he was in the room. It was like no one else existed. Plus, he, in turn, let her shine. He never once showed discomfort about her powers. He accepted her as she was and didn't try to mash her down to make himself bigger. They were like this matched set of bookends that wandered into the same room looking for some books to hold up.
Instead of books, they held up the whole movie.
Well...not a live one. Maybe a plastic one. I may be visiting Terra Toys today. Maybe. Or the Leggo Store. Maybe. I don't know. I should go see some Art, but I want to finish a short story. So, I should work. I can't make up my mind. Heh. Anyway, it's going to be a good day. It is already. I've got a girly make-over scheduled. I thought I'd give that a try. And birthday cake is on the agenda as well as DnD. (Sadly, I'm playing the thief tonight, not my paladin.) The largest part of my birthday already happened--in that Dane bought tickets to Stevie Nicks for me, but Dane being Dane, he produced birthday roses last night and a card with some iTunes points. (He knows how much I love music.) So, if nothing else materializes in the way of Happy Things, I'm way covered.
Anyway, shenanigans shall ensue shortly. Will report later for those with nothing much better to do. ;)
I hope your Wednesday is a great one.
Good morning, y'all. Hope your weekend was great. Mine was. I crewed a sailboat for the first time, and it was during a race no less. My friend, Dre, put me in charge of the main sheet. I was scared I'd screw Dre's ranking in the race series. (He was in first or second place before the current race started, I think.) But oddly, as soon as I got settled everything just felt right. Dre's mentor--we'll call him Mr. B--only had to tell me a few things. Once I saw how the sail was supposed to look in the wind, I had it. (I'm a visual learner.) I'm proud that Mr. B didn't have to yell at me very much. Mostly, I just kept the tension in the sail on the edge of too tight. I knew if it flapped in the wind it was too loose. If it was too tight, it wouldn't gather enough wind. Once I got that down, Mr. B told me to watch the gunnel. I needed to keep it just above the water while balancing myself in the high part of the boat. I was sitting in a high seat. So, the angle of the rope was such that I was pulling up all the time. Pretty quick, I learned that hitting the line with my foot was the fastest way to release it from the cleat. So, I spent a lot of time standing on one foot or the other while dealing with the line. Tacking was interesting. I had to tighten, release, and tighten the sheet while moving across the tilting boat. It was like I was having this conversation with the skipper at the tiller, the wind, and the water. So. Cool.
Now, we come to the reason why I'm telling this story: I was the only woman. Given my interests, that happens a lot. Mr. B, naturally, launched off into misogynist jokes and "PC" comments as soon as we were on the water. Then he spent a great deal of time interacting with the guys. I decided that I'd just focus my job, listen, observe, learn as much as I could, and do my best to prevent Dre from losing his ranking. By the time the race started, a sort of pecking order had been sorted out among the guys. I was invisible. Mr. B had classified me as a mouse. I had a hunch if Mr. B actually knew his shit, he'd catch on. During the race, he didn't yell at me all that much. He spent a lot more time hollering at the guys. (Mind you, their jobs involved a lot more scrambling on the deck and seemed more complicated.) We finished in second place, I'm happy to say. We got the boat moored, and I mentioned that I must've done okay since I didn't get screamed at that much. My other friend, Fred, said to me: "Didn't you hear, Mr. B? He said the mainsail was down tighter than he'd ever seen." Basically, he didn't see that in beginners. That made me very happy. We got to the yacht club, and Mr. B introduced me as to others and state as much. It felt great to be right about him knowing what he was doing.
The thing that sucks is having to sit through all the manly posturing in the first place. Why is that even necessary? I suspect it's because males are always jockeying for a power position whether they warrant it or not. Men don't understand that women don't do this, not at the start. We cooperate first, then we get into the politics/power plays once things are working. At least, that's been my experience. It was interesting seeing things from a different perspective. Years ago, I'd have been too busy taking the insults personally. This time, I didn't let any of it touch me. I knew it couldn't unless I let it due to the situation. (I wasn't in danger.) That said, women have to judge for themselves when it's time to speak out and when it's not. (I did kick Fred when he started to join in because I knew it was appropriate to do so, and I knew that if I let that go the others would do the same.)There's no simple answer when it comes to harassment.
Now, today's video. X23. I am a fan. :)
Blackthorne is done. I'll tell you a secret: I've been working on that novel for fifteen years, and while I'd prefer it if I had one last pass over the thing to make it perfect...well, that isn't going to happen. Sometimes it's time for the thing to be done. So, off it goes. Damn, it's been a long time coming. There's a lot of good stuff in there, and I hope you like it, dear reader. I sincerely do.
I've also started a couple of short stories and have the opening for the next novel too. I used to twitch in place until the latest novel came out. It was like some part of me felt I had to be told that I was good enough to continue writing. That's just stupid. If you want to be a professional writer, don't get in your own way like that. Please. There are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to perform the service of halting your progress for you. Don't do the haters' job. Just don't.
Five novels into my career--going on six, and there's one thing I've learned. Every. Novel. Is. Different. Eventually, I'm hoping to get faster, but getting better is more important to me than speed. So, that. There are many things I've learned this time. There are so many more that I need to learn. That's a good thing. This time, I learned a great deal about sticking a landing. I'm pretty good at beginnings. I know what makes them grippy. Endings? Good endings are tricky. Now, I feel they're less difficult to pull off. (Thank goodness.) I'm just about ready to tackle the concept of a great middle. Almost. Middles are where I end up muddling around. They're what slow me down. So, this is something I've been kind of dreading. At the same time, I think once I get a good handle on it, I'll have enormously improved my skills as a storyteller. Yeah, yeah. This wouldn't be a problem if I only outlined. I do tend to go at writing like it's a block of marble and I spend my time taking away the stone that isn't the novel until I have the novel. It's how my story-brain works, but it's good to have other tools in your toolbox, you know? You have to be flexible. And the only way to do that is stock up on your writing skills. You never know what you might need to know.
Anyway, I'm off to write some more and watch TV. I'm behind on The Expanse and Madam Secretary.
 And I've done that to a certain extent, but it doesn't cure the problem because my subconscious prefers to wander off the map. Writers have to be okay with that. Sometimes the story is what the story wants to be. All the outlines in the world won't change that.
I wasn't going to write about Netflix's Iron Fist and what I feel is wrong with it. I was going to watch the thing out of a sense of completion and grumble privately. I've been told and told how it gets better. But we're at episode 10...and everything about the show demonstrates that those who need to be adapting to the very real and diverse world, aren't bothering.
Dear writers, if you're going to tell a story about a spoiled, rich, white boy being the hero, make damned sure he doesn't get away with shit without consequences. Stop having shit magically be okay for them while they run over the rights, privacy, and well-being of others--all in the guise of being the Good Guy™. Just stop. Good intensions do not make it okay, even the bible tells you that. The fantasy that being a powerful, rich, white dude resolves the worlds' problems is harmful and dangerous. If it's a phase, phase him into maturity the moment he hits the real world because realistically he's going to hit a wall. To do otherwise sets a bad expectation. (see toxic masculinity)
Next, let's move to how Danny shows up in a magical place filled with magical people and decides of his own accord that he wants the big prize. Why? He deserves it. Why? He wants it. It's power. Does he understand what that power is for? Nope. Clearly not. The fact that it's the Prize is all that matters. Does he actually do the work to get the prize? Now, here's where I absolutely stop believing what Danny says due to two little known literary devices called "Show Don't Tell" and "Unreliable Narrator". Danny says he did the work. Danny says he has control of his mind, body, and emotions. Danny says he has self-discipline. He demonstrates exactly zero of these things. He never even practices, outside of waving his limbs around for five minutes every few weeks. (As opposed to Colleen and Claire.) In fact, he discusses his training in terms of abuse. Thus, he appears to have been awarded the prize because Little Rich-Orphan-White-Boy™. Does he accept the responsibility that goes with the prize he wants? Nope. In fact, he steals the prize away and takes it home to America, leaving the temple and everyone in it in danger. He wanted it because it was pretty and shiny. He had no understanding of the thing nor the function of that thing within the culture in question. He took it out of its context regardless of whether he had a right to do so. That's classic imperialism. Straight up.
Good morning, y'all! Ready to get that righteous rage on? Let's do this thing!
I love the expression "the man box." It's a good one. For the record, it's not easy to find Feminist videos on Youtube as that community is apparently wall to wall misogyny most of the time. (I need to work on my filters over there. There are filters for that site, right?) Anyway, let's move on to those links.
Even if you don't speak Irish, you probably have a good idea what that means. ;) In the U.S., it's the day of awful green beer and several thousand drunken frat boys crowding the streets. So...not really my holiday. If it's yours, then good on you. Be safe. Take a cab or public transportation. If it's not yours and you're out on the road, please be safe too. Nonetheless, I do tend to drag out the Irish films and maybe a tiny bit of Irish whiskey at home because...well...I happen to like it.
Anyway, let's talk Irish and Irish-themed media. Shall we? First up, The Quiet Man.
Know this going in: the film has some issues around women's rights, domestic abuse, and well...the stereotypical violence and alcoholism pinned on the Irish since forever, but other than that...it's a pretty good film. My favorite part of it has always been the struggle between the choice of non-violence and violence. Mind you, I'm not happy that violence is seen as the answer, but I am happy that at least the argument against violence is presented. Yes, this film is John Ford's love letter to the "old country." (Personally, my experience of Ireland was that it wasn't anything like that green, but I was there in the early spring and the island still had its winter on.) It just goes to show you how much one can internalize oppression even when you're the oppressed. My favorite character is Mary Kate, of course. Well, obviously.
The Secret of Roan Inish has become my favorite Irish-themed film.
Hey, look! It's spring. Sort of. I know. There are vast chunks of the US that are still buried under snow, and it's a little bit cooler than usual around here. (Yesterday, it was 63F. And right now it's 67F.) But technically...spring. I like spring. I hate summer. (And if you lived in Texas you'd understand why.) Sunny days with temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s are my favorite. And here we are. Yay! I used the pretty pink flowers today for a reason: irony. It's going to off-set the dark.
Because last night I took a break from the massive page proofs and went to see Logan with Dane.
There are so many things I loved about this film, and a couple that I didn't. I selected this trailer because it actually better fits the mood of the film. The second trailer is...too hopeful. The Johnny Cash cover of NIN is the perfect soundtrack. It's exactly right. So, if you haven't seen it yet, hold that thought in your head when you go in. And now, I'm going to place the rest of this review behind a link because...spoilers.
I overslept a bit today. Went to the Stevie Nicks/Pretenders concert last night, and it went late. (It was AMAZING for the record. Seriously. Magical. So glad I got to go. Stevie told stories and laughed and sang and told more stories. More on that later.) Anyway, you're here for Feminist stuff and your Monday morning righteous rage. So, here goes. :)
And now, those links.
It's no secret that music and writers go together. For me, certain songs are hard-wired into specific experiences. It's also no secret that I associate certain songs and bands with particular characters and even scenes in my stories. For example: I can't hear Rolling Stones without going directly into Liam Kelly's (OB&H) head space. To be honest, I never even liked the Stones that much until I started climbing into Liam's head. Can't You Hear Me Knocking is that scene where Mary Kate does the strip tease for Liam. Street Fighting Man is, of course, the opening scene to OB&H, and Led Zeppelin's Kashmir is...well...a certain scene in chapter 3. Heart's Magic Man is totally Liam's mother's song, by the way. Oh, and Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros is totally a Liam song. The fun bit is that it isn't one I came up with. That was my agent. "Lord, there goes the Buick '49. Black Sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line. Think there is a soul. We don't know. That soul is hard to find." Yeah. That. Ha! I could go on and on for that group of novels, but I'll move on to Cold Iron. Nels's first song is The Highwayman. That association is unique in that it was the first time I've ever hit upon a song that got a strong reaction out of my subconscious. Nels hates that song, and that hatred was the reason for the first story I wrote about him. Suvi's songs are Avalon by Roxy Music (the first ballroom scene) and Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics because I can't think of a better soundtrack for a backstabbing, sexually predatory, power-mad, royal court than that one. That's Cold Iron.
Now for some you haven't heard/seen me list before--the ones for Blackthorne. Blackthorne the character is Nels's opposite. He's super grim. So, his soundtrack was made up of a lot of NIN, NIN, Gary Numan, Gary Human, and Alice in Chains, and Alice in Chains, and Alice in Chains. I hope this doesn't give anything away, but I spent far more time with Dylan Kask and his lover, Darius, in the new novel. They grew on me. A lot. And so, Depeche Mode is their band. Starting with Never Let Me Down Again. In addition, Elton John--particularly I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues. (A love letter from Dylan to Dar, of course. ;)) I also ended up listening to Austin's LGBT radio station Pride a lot which is a lot of fun. They play quite a bit of electronic, dance, and house which I like.
Anyway, today I saw this video. And I'm so happy about it. Also, YAY! New ALBUM.
 Sometimes this isn't always a positive thing. And if it's a song I adore, I force myself to listen to it over and over until the associated memory fades and has less punch.
 Another band I wasn't much into until Liam.
 In case you weren't aware, Liam is a huge Clash fan because of Charles de Lint who went to all of the trouble of tracking down music that would've been playing on the radio in Northern Ireland at the time. Bless him. And you know, Joe Strummer is just amazing anyway. If you're out to get the honey, then you don't go killing all the bees. Yeah. That one really speaks these days, doesn't it? In more ways than one.
 And this cover too because it is possibly the best cover of that song I've ever heard. So sinister and perfect.
 It's Dar giving Dylan what for after having abandoned him.
 Jar of Flies is about as upbeat as Blackthorne gets. What do you expect from an assassin/ronin type? Also, I started this novel in 2003. So, there's a lot of '90s in the soundtrack.