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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Previous models set first occupation significantly later. Much earlier and the first humans on the path to Australia would have left footprints in the still-cooling ashes of the Toba eruption.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:39 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I'm feeling so very, very overheated right now. I know that part of the problem is that the only way I can get caffeine right this moment is by making and drinking hot tea (cold brewed will take about twenty hours, so it's not an immediate option). Well, I could spend a couple of hours going to the store to buy something. Decidedly not worth it to.

I'm at home alone right this moment. Cordelia had a volunteer shift at the downtown library this morning and plans to meet up with friends at the Traverwood library in the afternoon. She'll go home with them, and we'll pick her up at 9:30, after movie night with her friends. Their current plan is to watch Grease.

A couple of nights ago, I cooked the remaining ground turkey in the instant pot with some great northern beans and turkey bacon. I added chicken broth and some herbs/spices. I think I misjudged that because it almost gives me reflux. It doesn't actually; I can just tell that I'm near the tipping point.

I've managed the two most urgent phone calls, but neither matter is resolved yet. The second call is almost certainly going to end up with me having to call a different doctor's office about parameters/limitations for Cordelia's knee in high school gym. I was hoping not to have to because that's the doctor that wanted us to do surgery. The first call went to voicemail, so nothing's resolved until I actually manage to talk to the person.

The other call I should make is to Shar Instruments to ask about buying a viola and whether or not we can do it on installments. Of course, buying a viola kind of requires us to be fairly sure Cordelia's done growing. She's only grown half an inch in the last year and a half, and she's in the height range where all the women in my family tend to fall (5'1 to 5'3"). It's just that everyone in Scott's family is tall, so Cordelia's still hoping she'll get taller.

I'm trying to decide whether filling out insurance forms is more important than starting to write right this moment. My procrastination levels are set to 11 at the moment. The forms are important, very much so, but would there be any harm in having Scott fill the dratted things out this evening?

I have given our old crock pot to our cleaning lady. She'll actually use it, and we haven't touched it in years. The stoneware inserts are really too heavy for me at this point. I don't think this is the sort of thing that's worth holding onto for the years until Cordelia moves out and might want it. Plus, I'm pretty sure she'd rather have an Instant Pot instead.

awake! awake!

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:17 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Remember the 17th Amendment, the one that made it possible for you to elect your Senators instead of having them chosen by power brokers and current Senators? ALEC -- the American Legislative Executive Council, a far-right pressure group designed to influence legislation their way -- and the Koch brothers want this changed. They want to go back to having Senators chosen by other Senators. Which is not a good thing for any of us. This is a Bill Moyers story -- read it.

Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.

ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.

***

A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.

The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.

Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.

Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.

Who's your hero?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.

I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why? (Y'all are forgetting to tell me why...)

ETA: It's a series, not a movie, but all the major women in Black Sails are heroes, in particular Eleanor Guthrie (who singlehandedly tries to keep the village of Nassau profitable), Max (who goes from slavery and prostitution to managing businesses, owning land, and not employing anyone enslaved), and Anne Bonney (who is a pirate, no excuses, no arguments, and who takes down a murderous thug who had already killed several men -- she noticed the shards of broken glass over to the side, and once she had them, it was as if she had her swords again.) They are all complex, complicated characters, who love and hate and make deals and make compacts and agreements and understand how their world works when many of the men around them don't.

Some is Better Than None

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:01 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
My schedule, during the workday and during the evenings, is pretty busy this week, but I did go to the gym last night. I did alternating sets of push-ups and squats, some tricep and upper body stuff, a tiny bit of "bicycle" leg works and a great deal of stretching.

I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.

Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.

Crossovering Letter

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:06 am
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[personal profile] evil_plotbunny
Placeholder. Nothing to see here

No good very bad day

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:19 pm
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
[personal profile] gwyn
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.

Bah

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Reliable sources report the death of Jordin Kare.
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
ETA: Logged out and gone to sleep. Good night, all!

I'm going to be trying to figure out what city I should be setting my urban fantasy in. (Or at least, what it should be an analogue to, geography-wise.)

I'll be on Discord for a couple of hours, if anyone wants to join me:

https://discord.gg/w9PK3Yg

(This time I'll remember to edit the post to say when I log off Discord!)

Wednesday Reading Meme

Jul. 19th, 2017 04:10 pm
sineala: Detail of Harry Wilson Watrous, "Just a Couple of Girls" (reading)
[personal profile] sineala
What I Just Finished Reading

Marko Kloos, Fields of Fire: Sometimes you just want some mil-SF where people shoot giant bug-eyed aliens with big guns. There was a chapter at the beginning devoted to the main character and his wife yelling at her parents who didn't believe in guns or the military that was really kind of lousy, but thankfully most of the book was then about shooting aliens with big guns.

Ben Aaronovitch, The Furthest Station: A novella in the Rivers of London series in which Peter et al. investigate ghost sightings on the London Underground. Like the rest of the series, it's a fun and engaging read. I have no memory of any of the supporting characters, which is probably not ideal, but this book is A+ worth it for Nightingale's comment to Peter about how it is now time for him to learn Greek.

Rick Beyer & Elizabeth Sayles, The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery: It seems like "inflatable tanks" are something no one would really have done, but apparently that was what the Ghost Army was for. This is an interesting read; it's not as wordy as I usually like my non-fiction to be, but it makes up for it with all the images. I hadn't realized that so many of the Ghost Army soldiers were actual artists, and apparently they just kept drawing the war as it happened, so there are a lot of really nice sketches.

What I'm Reading Now

Comics Wednesday!

Doctor Strange #23, Invincible Iron Man #9, Ms. Marvel #20, Secret Empire #6, Secret Empire Brave New World #4, US Avengers #8, Ultimates 2 #9, X-Men Gold #8 )

What I'm Reading Next

No idea.

Dear Genex Author

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:50 am
tielan: (cat02)
[personal profile] tielan
... I am so sorry that the link to my letter is broken. I forgot that I signed up, figured I missed the date, and deleted the link.

Thank you so much for writing for me. I hope that you don't stress about it, and enjoy both the process and the result.

MCU, DC Cinematic Universe, Harry Potter )

Please note, all these are suggestions - a jumping-off point. Don't feel you absolutely must come up with the scenarios I've depicted to please me; just write the fandom and the friendship that we've matched on the way you see it, and I will love reading the result!
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Yes, yes, I said I was walking away for a while -- and then we got wall-to-wall contractors (today, stonemasons and the installer for a new garbage disposal, and possible another beyond that) and I have to be here.

ETA: Got the new disposal, but the pipe needs to be snaked *below* the disposal, and this was discovered after it was installed. Plumber won't come till Friday. We're going to eat out a lot.

Anyway, now you suffer through a few links I tripped over:

Let's look at matters educational (or not):

School should be impractical. hmm.

Women's colleges may say they support women, but that doesn't always show in the way they treat adjuncts.

As paperwork goes missing, student loans may be wiped away.

Predatory programs aren't just from for-profit colleges. Look again. One of them is at Harvard, the American Repertory Theatre Institute. And as a result of people learning that ART Institute burdens students with tons of debt, that program isn't accepting admissions for the next 3 years.

In theatre, seeing your own face, your gender, your ethnicity on stage is important. It can, in fact, be magic.

Marriage and Brehon law in ancient Ireland. And all 10 forms of marriage are listed.

Media:

Ken Burns is doing a documentary on Vietnam. It's taken 10 years -- he's done a lot of interview, and nobody agrees about anything. He wanted to avoid the old tropes and the old narrative, and here's why it was difficult. And it starts in September.

Disney wants to acquire a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Behind the scenes of The Last Jedi.

The voice of Kermit the Frog has been fired.

Arundhati Roy on writing, life, politics and the air we breathe.

TED: Life lessons from writers.


Black Lives Matter:

If you don't know Ida B. Wells Barnett, you should.

Why I'm leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.


Trumpery and WTFery:

The real plan is to cut legal immigration.

Jeff Sessions was the guest speaker to attorneys from the rabid Alliance Defending Freedom, and he made them some promises: he told them to go ahead and impose their Christianist beliefs on unbelievers, LGBTQ people and more.
Money quote:

In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

Note that he is promising that the entire Justice Dept. will back up this behavior.

This town melts down.

Something good: The House rejected an Islamophobic proposal that would have required Muslims to receive special scrutiny from the Defense Dept.

Something not good: Trump only plays golf on courses he owns. When he plays at the course along the Potomac, wounded veterans doing on-the-water rehab and Olympic kayak and boating teams are banned from the water for security.

A lawsuit forced Trump to hand over the secret Mar-a-Lago guest list to three watchdog groups.

The closing of the Republican mind.

Yes, Trump Tower is being used for money laundering, according to the eighth man in one of the meetings with the Russians. *looks out the window* I can almost see the grimy soapsuds from here.


None of the above:

Oops!

400 soldiers from Maryland that disappeared during the Revolution may have been found, in NYC. And no, they have not been on a bender the whole time.

Sacred architecture, not necessarily welcome.

Polyamory, not necessarily unwelcome.

How a hunter-gatherer diet affects the body. Also thoughts on decolonizing your diet.

Climate change is making Native people adapt their rituals. And would a revenue-neutral carbon tax slow it down?

The Kitten Rental Program is saving lives.

The defiant, refugee-loving history of New Mexico.

Is R. Kelly holding women against their will, in a cult?

To be a genius, think like a 94-year-old.
lost_spook: (james maxwell)
[personal profile] lost_spook
To start at the end, as it were, before I forget everything. The theme for this week in my old telly adventures seems to have mainly been Bad Stuff Happening to Planes.*

Ransom, Secret Army & Department S )

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:27 pm
kittydesade: a bright red queen chess piece at the head of a diagonal line of white pawns on a white background (red queen running)
[personal profile] kittydesade
Well yesterday was a day of saying up too late the night before and then everything and its sibling happened at work and then I got home and ordered fucking pizza because fuck everything I did not have the energy to do dinner. I didn't even have the energy to do the day's writing. Or study languages or much of anything. Feh.

Today, okay, I still stayed up too late the night before playing silly games on my phone but I managed to get out the door intact and with my capoeira clothes, work is slower, writing is happening, and I might even get my Patreon up by the end of the week. I adjusted it back down to monthly and am working on reshaping the goals because if I'm describing myself as trying to replace income, that makes more sense than having it be per-creation. Also Patreon is absolute shite at explaining how per-creation works, and possibly shite at making per-creation work without charging people either more or less than they should be charged. Oy.

So, monthly it is. Which means figuring out what my expectations of myself are going to be and how to articulate it to my audience and so on. Possibly also figuring out how PHP and maybe a couple other languages work because I'll want to put in input forms on my website at some point. That's going to be fun.

Starlight, despite yesterday's exhausting clusterfuck of a day, is still continuing apace. [redacted] happened and there was much frenzied discussion of books and it looks like that's going to go smoothly up to the point where someone else has to decide that this is a worthy thing to happen, but I'm used to that. Thanks years of submitting novels and so on. I think I mentioned that I went to the second stage of PandaMoon submission slush pile, but in case I didn't, yes, I went to the second stage, word-vomited up some answers to some very silly questions, was complimented for my thoroughness, and now that's being read. I'm actually really pleased with Turing Shrugged so while I'm fairly uncaring whether it gets accepted or not, I'm... hm. What's the right description here? I give no fucks for pro publishing or self publishing but I'm proud to have submitted the best version of it that I had? Something like that. And pleased to be read and hope they like it but if they don't, reasonably sure it's because it's just not their cuppa rather than because I wrote a shitty novel. There's satisfaction in that.

Also I think Starlight will actually be finished, in a draft, by the end of the year because somehow I've gotten a lot better and a lot faster and more efficient at writing second drafts. Go figure. Hopefully a lot more efficient and faster at writing when I have an idea of the overall structure in general but that doesn't necessarily translate; an outline is a lot different than a first draft and it might take several tries to figure out where the fuck the story is supposed to go. Not there! Not there. Not there.

I actually feel okay about going to capoeira tonight. This may make the second night in a row considering I skipped Saturday because oh dear god between headache and all argh. What is this madness???
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams: Holy shit, it has to be noted—and I did not do this on purpose—but it took me five years exactly to read this book. I started reading it on July 11, 2012, and finished it on July 11, 2017.

That's exactly how slow going it was.

To my disappointment, not everything William Carlos Williams wrote is as accessible as "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say," two of his most famous poems. Instead, there's a mix of transparent and opaque.

And then there's Paterson, which he's also known for, a five-volume epic poem that here is presented in extracts, taking up about forty pages instead of its usual three hundred, and seems to be about a grasshopper, a park, geography, some text from a medical journal, a personal letter, and a history lesson. I don't know if it would have made more sense if I had read it in its entirety, but I'm not interested in finding out.

Williams liked to experiment with white space and sentence fragments—he's a contemporary of e e cummings and T. S. Eliot—but his white space lacks the energy and enthusiasm of cummings, or, later, of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Mostly it just looks jumbled, or unnecessarily spread out, staggered like the teeth of a zipper. The chopped up, incomplete sentences were coarse and seemed to impede meaning rather than free it. I didn't feel like I was discovering or feeling something; I felt like I was tripping over it.

For such a long volume, my notes with my favorite poems and lines don't even take up a whole index card, and I was definitely experiencing William Carlos Williams fatigue by the end. The book collects selected poems from 1914 to 1962, and I found Charles Tomlinson's introduction to be wordy and almost breathless in tone but informative about Williams and his poetry style, though more useful after I'd read the book than before.

My favorite discovery has to be the complete Pictures from Brueghel series. I'd read parts of it before, but didn't realize there was more to it. It's ten poems based on works by Brueghel the Elder, who I encounter quite often in poetry. There's something about his paintings that draws poets to him. It's probably the level of detail, all the little stories going on in these huge lush landscapes full of color and people and animals. The poems I've read have all evoked such clear images, even if I'm unfamiliar with the paintings themselves, and Williams's work is no exception. Though, as always, in order to enjoy Williams's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" to its fullest, you benefit by knowing the joke behind Brueghel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and the tiny splash Icarus makes down in the corner of the painting where no one is even looking. Just his leg sticking out of the water. Williams captures the humor and sadness of that image, still giving it only slightly more attention than Brueghel did.

It seems I like Williams best when he's being simple and transparent. His complicated, fractured works don't appeal to me as much, and it feels like this collection is more geared toward the latter. But could be it only felt like it.

Contains: rape, classism, and racist language and attitudes.
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