So, I've started reading SPQR last night, and I'm enjoying it. It's funny. Someone will recommend a Fantasy novel to me and say, "Stina, this is an example of amazing world building!" and I'll read it and nod my head. It'll stop there. But if I read non-fiction about an interesting culture of which I'm not a part, the inspiration fairy fires up and doesn't stop. The ideas go on for miles. Oddly, I'd never noticed that before, and that's a vital thing to know about oneself as a writer. The reason why I operate that way is probably my sensitivity about plagiarism. While there's nothing wrong with being inspired by other authors' works, there is a line that quite a few people seem to have some problems with. So, I'm twitchy. In addition, this reaction is also a leftover from architecture/art school. One can generally tell the difference between the work of someone who has studied a movement, understands and respects it, and decides to work with those themes versus someone who sees something as popular and wants to join in the conversation without doing any of the homework first.
Years ago, I worked for Motorola as a graphic designer. During the same time period, I was also studying graphic design at ACC. (I've always believed in improving my professional knowledge.) That year, Russian Constructivism became all the rage in design circles.
At the moment, I'm in the midst of clearing out a closet full of things I haven't touched since we moved into this house. One of those boxes was full of old journals. I took a break to read. While this has significantly slowed my cleaning progress, it reminded me of how unhappy I was and how happy I am now. I think that appreciating what one has is...well...a big part of enjoying it. It's also a big part of keeping those things that bring you joy. In addition, Japanese things I used to like keep grabbing my attention. Things I used to be drawn to and had kind of forgotten. I go through these phases, see. I'll go a couple of years being obsessed with one topic and then I'll drift to another. It's my way of exploring the world. Sometimes, I'm called back to that subject. Sometimes, I never leave. Sometimes, I never go back. Apparently, it's time for the Japanese things to return.
Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. We didn't get washed away in a flood. So, I'm doing great. :) And now, those links you're probably looking for... And now...today's video:
The big storm is supposed to hit tonight. We'll see how that goes. I'm scheduled to go dancing tonight. ;) I must confess, I have a fear of big storms. My earliest years were spent in the midwest and one of my most powerful memories is of that time is from when we lived in Kansas City. A tornado swept through our area and to this day I can't hear the sound of those sirens and not be terrified. My family hid in the basement. We were perfectly fine, but I remember being afraid for our cat, Velvet, who'd been outside and hadn't come when called. Strangely, I still have nightmares even though we moved to Texas after that. It's why I love watching that cheesy Twister movie. There are two things that get under my skin big time: tornadoes and T-Rex. Spiders are a distant third. (And yet, I watch the hell out of that shit. Go figure. My husband is still trying to puzzle that one out.) Anyway, I read an article yesterday that gave me a good scare just in time for this storm front. Yeah. Heh.
I'm still reading Escapology. by Ren Warom. (I did mention that I'm a slow reader, right?) I'm about 3/4th the way through, and am still enjoying it. Good stuff. As mentioned before, it's cyberpunk--a total departure from everything I've been reading lately, but I consider that a good thing. Also, I downloaded SPQR by Mary Beard--my next audiobook listen. It's research for Blackthorne. Based upon what I've heard about it, I'm sure I'll love it. My hairstylist, Brad Joe, gave me a number of interesting details about Ancient Rome and hairstyles last week that I'm so sticking into the novel. My hope is to pick up more odd and interesting bits via SPQR. I'm certain I will. In addition, Mary Beard is kind of a bad-ass online, and I admire her a great deal. Also, I found this wonderful site, hosting images of women samurai. Am hanging on to that for inspiration for the novel too. I pick up inspiration from all over the place, really. It's one of the fun things about being a writer.
In other news, check out this wonderful combination of two of my favorite things: Studio Ghibli and Mucha. And today's featured art piece is by Joseph Cornell, my favorite mixed media/found object artist.
Just saw the trailer for a new Australian series called Cleverman. I hope like hell we'll be able to get it here in the States, because it looks freaking amazing.
And here's a clip:
I seriously can't wait to see it. The series is doing the thing that super hero stories do best: engage with the concepts of power, abuse, and the system of oppression head on.
Today will be spent wrapping up the taxes and lying with my head in a cage inside a huge tin can full of electro-magnets while the gangs from The Warriors circle around it armed with baseball bats. (It's how it sounds anyway.)
In other news, Neil Gaiman is working on a script for that Good Omens movie we've always wanted. At the same time, I'm blinking back tears because...damn. In case you weren't aware, Sir Terry was and is a huge influence on me. Yeah. I know you probably don't see it because my work tends to be so dark, but it's true. He taught me more about creating tension with dialog than any other author. His work also featured pretty heavily in my early relationship with my husband. Dane spent the first year of our relationship attempting to foist Discworld on me. I was reluctant until he handed me a copy of Good Omens with the qualifier, "You like Neil Gaiman, don't you?" like a new mom with a spoonful of spinach making airplane noises in front of a toddler. Forty-one novels later...I'm so not sorry that happened. I'm forever thankful for meeting some of my favorite characters in literature: Granny Weatherwax, Commander Vimes, Tiffany Aching, the Patrician, Captain Carrot, and DEATH. Pratchett was brilliant. [sigh] There have since been other instances where Dane has attempted to gently spoon-feed me other greats: Preacher, V for Vendetta, Hellblazer, and The Watchmen for example. And then there are others that have missed the mark entirely ([cough]SouthPark[cough]), but that's an ongoing conversation he and I have been having for 20 years.
 In case you get the impression this has only been a one-way thing, I gave him Holly Black's Tithe, The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, The Lord of the Rings, C.J. Cherry's work, PN Elrod's Vampire Files...
 Trigger Alert: DnD STORY AHEAD: [wink] Once upon a time (years before the movies came out) I ran a Tolkien-based DnD campaign. (Set in the totally made up 5th Age. The books are set in the 3rd Age.) The PCs were sent into Mordor undercover to spy for the good guys. I had a great time creeping them out. And then we came to the dinner party with the Witch King of Angmar. I waited for everyone to start shitting their pants. No response. "I said, across the room is the famed Witch King of Angmar." No response. "Nazgul? Anyone? Anyone?" [confused players] "READ THE DAMN BOOKS, PEOPLE!" A couple of years later, the players start reading the books because the movies would be coming out soon. Dane and I are reading in bed one night and then that's when the fucking penny drops. I hear him choke. I ask him, "What's wrong?" He says, "OMFG! We had dinner with THAT?!" I just looked up at the ceiling and said, "THANK YOU, MR. JACKSON!"
 CORRECTION: there was one player who caught the reference because he'd read the books. ONE. His name is Thad Engling. (And yes, I named a priest character after him.) Moral of the story? Read books and maybe an author will name a character for you. ;)
Today was one of those days filled with errands and...well...hair. I have quite a lot of it. So, coloring it takes a lot of time--even the touch ups. So, yeah. I started my day running and kind of didn't stop until just now. And then there will be taxes. Tomorrow won't be much better. I've an MRI scheduled. I kinda don't like days when I can't write. They make me itchy. But hey, what can you do? Sometimes, some shit needs doing. I did have a lovely visit with my hairstylist, though. It's always great to see Brad Joe.
In a related story to yesterday's blog post...we have Samantha Bee:
Yeah. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
And bordering on illegal and creepy.
American politics has a serious Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi trope problem. But let's go to the beginning as Vizzini would say.
I love myth. It's fun to think about, and fun to work with as a storyteller. It's fascinating to examine the various forms it takes. It's also important to understand what it's really saying. Why? Because myth is extremely powerful. Storytelling also a big part of how human beings learn to be human beings. That's why, I feel, it's extremely important to examine what our myths are teaching us. What are they really saying? Where do they come from? A source can be just as telling as the story itself. So, let's talk about The One--the idea that there's this one perfect being or leader or savior or whatever. We're all familiar with it. In Fairy Stories, it's the Prince who saves the Princess in the tower. In Fantasy, it's existed since JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. That is, from the start.
In Sci-Fi, we have the Kwisatz Haderach thanks to Frank Herbert's Dune, but archetype of The One existed long before that. It's present in religion. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Paganism all have their savior stories. On the positive side, the savior myth teaches us how to be more self-sacrificing, to think of others, to take on a leadership role, to act upon the evils of the world. On the negative side, The One is used by the powerful to stifle uprisings, and to keep the poor in their place. It's used to teach the lowly that they cannot save themselves. They don't have the power. "Wait," it says, "Be good. Do as you're told. Work hard. Suffer. And maybe one day there will be a savior to take you away from all this."
So, believe me when I say American politics has a serious Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi trope problem, I mean it. When Obama was running the first time the hope pinned on him was tremendous. It was a relief, after the horrible, hopeless, fearful slog through the W years. But Obama didn't save us instantly and there was a backlash. The GOP got power again and trashed the place. Obama got back in office which was good. However, Liberals had a hell of a time pulling out of the tailspin. And now I'm watching the Bernie crowd. It sounds like the exact same rhetoric. He's THE ONE. He'll save us! Blah. Blah.
Guess what? Bernie is not the Messiah. Our problems will not go away overnight. They didn't with *eight YEARS* of Obama. (I love Obama. Don't get me wrong.) They won't with the next Dem in office. It took us 40+ years to get here. It'll take at least half that to step it back--*if we're vigilant and lucky.* This shit takes hard work, and I'm for whichever Dem candidate is nominated. Am I thrilled a Socialist has gotten this far? Hells to the yes. It's about time. Still, stop looking for the magical "ONE" who will solve it all with a magic sword. Not only is it lazy thinking, he's a myth. "The ONE" is considered a trite trope in SF lit circles--why the hell isn't it so in politics? The only way we'll be able to do all that work is if we stop telling ourselves the big stupid lie.
We have to save ourselves.
Posted something about dealing with Bernie Bros...and well...most of my energy for internet-based response was used up by that. Sorry. On the upside? It fueled a post idea. So, hopefully, I'll have time tomorrow to finish up that idea. But today just isn't that day. Right now, this video kind of says how I feel.
Anyway, I've a deadline. I must run off. See you tomorrow. [hugs]
Good morning, y'all. Ready for some rage to pump that sluggish blood through your barely conscious system? Strap in, darlings. Here we go!
Today's first video just makes me giggle because...yeah:
And now...Tempest tells it like it is:
I loved that show in spite of the historical crazy. The entire reason I was watching was the friendship between Abby and Crane. I loved the fact that Abby was a POC woman, a main POV character no less, who did not exist to be the romantic interest. She was her own person. She was a partner, an equal. That meant so much to me and I'm not even a person of color. The Entertainment Weekly interview regarding the show spurred even more fury. Yeah. That. Stay classy, Fox.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.