dolorosa_12: (le guin)
Content note: death of a grandparent )

This is technically a eulogy, which is why some bits might read oddly for an LJ/Dreamwidth entry.

--------------------
*Note: The grandchildren call my grandfather 'Tony'.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
So, if you've been reading this blog at any point in the last, oh, nine years, you probably know that there are certain series of books that I adore and rave about constantly. And if I had to narrow the list down to 'the most life-changing books I have ever read', to the books I would take with me on a desert island, to the books I would carry around in order to keep myself sane in a post-apocalyptic scenario, I would name three series: the Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Romanitas by [profile] sophiamcdougall. These series all came into my life at precisely the right time, and have affected, influenced and transformed me in various ways. I could read them again and again and again and still discover something new.

But what struck me this morning is how close I came to not reading any of them at all. The sheer crazy random happenstance that caused me to read all these series is completely ridiculous.

memory lane is full of strange twists and turns )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
When I was younger, I used to thrust certain books upon people with urgency. I thought that if they read that book, they would understand everything there was to know about me, all I was and all I felt and thought and dreamed. I handed out copies of Pagan's Crusade, His Dark Materials, the Earthsea and Obernewtyn series, Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye,* the cringeworthy Cecilia Dart-Thornton books. I sat people down in front of episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, clips of the Banquine act from Cirque du Soleil's Quidam, with tears in my eyes because they moved me so much, they articulated me so much. And of course, it didn't work. Maybe these people (my friends, my mother) liked some of the books, but they were never me, and they could never see exactly what it was that I saw there. No two people read the same book, and no person is able to crawl inside another's mind.

But I still do it. I still have a list of texts that I feel if a person just read, watched, listened to them with the proper mindset, they would know me completely. And they are:

The Girls in the Velvet Frame by Adele Geras
The second chapter of Romanitas and the final two chapters of Savage City by [profile] sophiamcdougall
The entirety of the Pagan Chronicles series, including (unusually for most fans of the series) the fifth book
The first line of The King's Peace by Jo Walton
The song 'Blinding' by Florence + The Machine
The song 'Kino' by The Knife
The song 'Mezzanine' by Massive Attack
The episode 'Earshot' from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
[personal profile] catvalente's blog post My dinner with Persephone
Victor Kelleher's books Parkland, Earthsong and Fire Dancer

Not particularly complicated, really. Realistically, I know that it will never work for another person. No one else has my particular set of experiences or my particular personality. And if I have to explain why the combination of these things=me, I've failed. I just know that they are. I am.
___________________
*A line of this book, 'Home was an age, not a place', has remained with me forever. It's been at least 13 years since I first read that book.
dolorosa_12: (le guin)
I can't seem to stop thinking about Canberra.

Photobucket

My mother grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, and I was always incredulous as a child when she told me how stultifying, how suffocating, how smothering she found it. Canberra itself is suburb incarnate, empty streets laid out like spokes of a wheel, extending outwards from Capital Hill, quarter-acre blocks, dry grass, blue sky so bright it burns you. And I loved it.

Like most Canberrans my age, I got out. There are two great mass exoduses from Canberra. The first is of eighteen-year-olds, off to university in other cities, or to travel the world. The second is of 22-year-olds, who elected to stay in Canberra for university, but only as a stepping stone to brighter lights, bigger cities.

It took me a long time to feel at home anywhere else. And I confused matters by moving back to Canberra for a year after I finished university. It was at once the stupidest and most important thing I ever did in my life.* I think for a long time, the problem was that I confused home with childhood. I was underwhelmed by adulthood. I was bereft, adrift. I didn't feel the things that people around me seemed to be feeling, I didn't want the things they wanted.** Home was an age, not a place, it was the place where I was a certain age, an age and a place where I was no longer.

It took me a very long time to feel at home in a place that wasn't Canberra. What it took, in fact, was to feel at home in an age that wasn't childhood. But still, that city, that sky, those lunarscapes of suburban shopping-centres are impressed, burnt into my eyelids. And every time I think about growing up, moving on, shedding skins, I find my thoughts returning there. To those roundabouts.

All this is by way of preamble to my friend [profile] lucubratae's amazing poem 'Those Evocative London Placenames'. His journey in a way is the complete opposite of mine, but what he says about growing up hit me right in the heart. I highly recommend it.

______________
* Stupid because I was miserable, but important, because it's what convinced me to apply to Cambridge, where I found myself.
** I realise now, of course, that I was far from unique in this regard.
dolorosa_12: (una)
I'm back, with a new meme. I think I've seen this in the back of Vanity Fair magazine.

Long-winded meme )
dolorosa_12: (una)
I'm back, with a new meme. I think I've seen this in the back of Vanity Fair magazine.

Long-winded meme )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Ah, Canberra. The best of places and the worst of places. What I love most about it is also what I think needs to change. Let me explain.

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is a small place by Australian standards. It has a population of about 350,000, most of whom work in the public service or for the government in some way. And there's a strange sort of transience about the place. Almost everyone I knew, growing up there, were the first generation in their respective families to grow up in Canberra. Their parents had all moved there for work. And very few of my group of friends remain there: they've all moved to Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane or overseas. Even those who do live and work there spent many years after school or uni travelling the world.

So there is a certain instability. People aged between, say, three and 18, the sons and daughters of public servants and journalists and political staffers and diplomats, live among an unchanging crowd of the children of other middle-class professionals, all attending the same public schools, the same gymnastics clubs, the same summer music camps and cricket teams. This continues on, to a certain extent, during university (although I left for Sydney then), and, suddenly, everyone leaves. The young workforce I encountered upon returning to Canberra aged 22 was almost entirely comprised of people from out of town, bright young university graduates from Melbourne and Sydney and Perth and Newcastle or Wagga, keen to make their mark quickly so that they could move on to brighter lights, bigger cities.

The older members of the workforce were all friends of my parents.

Growing up in Canberra, everyone knew me, from the owner of the organic butchery my family frequented to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award coordinator at my highschool who just happened to be the mother of my former gymnastics coach. To this day, if I meet someone who lived in Canberra between the years of 1988-2005ish, if I talk to them for a while, I can usually find a connection, some friend or relative or former teacher in common. [livejournal.com profile] lucubratae, who is seven years younger than I am thus never attended an educational institution at the same time, has a Facebook friends list full of the younger brothers and sisters of people I know. That's just how it is.

The closeness, the familiarity, the sense of being a big fish in a small pond is at once joyous and suffocating. I am proud to be a Canberran, and I look back on my childhood there with great fondness. It is a source of great strength to me that I grew up being known. That everyone from my piano teacher to the staff at Silo Bakery, from my friends at school to my mother's coworkers had some sort of conception in their mind of who and what 'Ronni' was. They knew who I was and who was around me and where I came from. And it was wonderful.

And it was terrible. It was constraining and frustrating and inhibiting. When I went to university I felt like the rug had been pulled out from beneath my feet. How could I function when nobody knew what school I'd gone to (and what it meant to have gone to such a school?), where my parents worked, what subjects I'd done well in at school? (I admit that almost everyone experiences this at university, not just people from small, close-knit communities.) And knowing these things myself, knowing how I was known and expected to behave put constraints upon my behaviour and made it very difficult to try to change and be different. I spent undergrad (and, indeed, the first year of my working life) struggling to come to terms with both Canberra's presence and its absence. I didn't know how to be without it, and how I was with Canberra affected my ability to become.

It took travelling halfway around the world for me to figure out who I really was, and for me to come to terms with all these things. I love Canberra. I love that I was and am a Canberran. It is no longer a restraining and constraining legacy, but rather something I wear comfortably, a component part of a fragmented identity. I wouldn't change Canberra's insularity for the world, but if I had my time over, I would see it more clearly for what it is: a mixed blessing.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Ah, Canberra. The best of places and the worst of places. What I love most about it is also what I think needs to change. Let me explain.

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is a small place by Australian standards. It has a population of about 350,000, most of whom work in the public service or for the government in some way. And there's a strange sort of transience about the place. Almost everyone I knew, growing up there, were the first generation in their respective families to grow up in Canberra. Their parents had all moved there for work. And very few of my group of friends remain there: they've all moved to Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane or overseas. Even those who do live and work there spent many years after school or uni travelling the world.

So there is a certain instability. People aged between, say, three and 18, the sons and daughters of public servants and journalists and political staffers and diplomats, live among an unchanging crowd of the children of other middle-class professionals, all attending the same public schools, the same gymnastics clubs, the same summer music camps and cricket teams. This continues on, to a certain extent, during university (although I left for Sydney then), and, suddenly, everyone leaves. The young workforce I encountered upon returning to Canberra aged 22 was almost entirely comprised of people from out of town, bright young university graduates from Melbourne and Sydney and Perth and Newcastle or Wagga, keen to make their mark quickly so that they could move on to brighter lights, bigger cities.

The older members of the workforce were all friends of my parents.

Growing up in Canberra, everyone knew me, from the owner of the organic butchery my family frequented to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award coordinator at my highschool who just happened to be the mother of my former gymnastics coach. To this day, if I meet someone who lived in Canberra between the years of 1988-2005ish, if I talk to them for a while, I can usually find a connection, some friend or relative or former teacher in common. [livejournal.com profile] lucubratae, who is seven years younger than I am thus never attended an educational institution at the same time, has a Facebook friends list full of the younger brothers and sisters of people I know. That's just how it is.

The closeness, the familiarity, the sense of being a big fish in a small pond is at once joyous and suffocating. I am proud to be a Canberran, and I look back on my childhood there with great fondness. It is a source of great strength to me that I grew up being known. That everyone from my piano teacher to the staff at Silo Bakery, from my friends at school to my mother's coworkers had some sort of conception in their mind of who and what 'Ronni' was. They knew who I was and who was around me and where I came from. And it was wonderful.

And it was terrible. It was constraining and frustrating and inhibiting. When I went to university I felt like the rug had been pulled out from beneath my feet. How could I function when nobody knew what school I'd gone to (and what it meant to have gone to such a school?), where my parents worked, what subjects I'd done well in at school? (I admit that almost everyone experiences this at university, not just people from small, close-knit communities.) And knowing these things myself, knowing how I was known and expected to behave put constraints upon my behaviour and made it very difficult to try to change and be different. I spent undergrad (and, indeed, the first year of my working life) struggling to come to terms with both Canberra's presence and its absence. I didn't know how to be without it, and how I was with Canberra affected my ability to become.

It took travelling halfway around the world for me to figure out who I really was, and for me to come to terms with all these things. I love Canberra. I love that I was and am a Canberran. It is no longer a restraining and constraining legacy, but rather something I wear comfortably, a component part of a fragmented identity. I wouldn't change Canberra's insularity for the world, but if I had my time over, I would see it more clearly for what it is: a mixed blessing.
dolorosa_12: (una)
Anyone who's seen me anywhere online in the past 24 hours knows that I've been going through an extended rapture-and-awe session about the music of Florence + The Machine. This, inevitably, provoked a review of the Lungs album on my Wordpress blog.

She sings about woman as body laid bare, not just naked but dissected, cut open and reduced to its component parts. And she does it with such compassion, beauty, sorrow, jubilation and power that I’m left feeling like I’ve been run over by a train after listening.

Enjoy!
dolorosa_12: (una)
Anyone who's seen me anywhere online in the past 24 hours knows that I've been going through an extended rapture-and-awe session about the music of Florence + The Machine. This, inevitably, provoked a review of the Lungs album on my Wordpress blog.

She sings about woman as body laid bare, not just naked but dissected, cut open and reduced to its component parts. And she does it with such compassion, beauty, sorrow, jubilation and power that I’m left feeling like I’ve been run over by a train after listening.

Enjoy!
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I could start this anywhere. I could start this with the day my mother first put a book into my hands, some American picture book I can no longer remember. I could start with the day I finally learnt how to read, and how the feeling was so shocking it was like a clap of thunder. Or I could start with how I used to pretend to be Sara Crewe from A Little Princess because her ability to escape her surroundings by imagining herself elsewhere seemed extremely desirable to me.

But really, there are only two places I can start. One day, I was ten, and I read a book where one (illiterate) character said to another, 'People who read are always a little bit like you. You can't just tell them, you have to tell them why', and I leapt up to write this down in the little notebook I always carried around, because it was so true, so perfect and so exactly what I thought, expressed in words I myself did not possess.

And one day, when I was 15, I read a book, the third in a trilogy, a book I'd been yearning to read for three years, and one character urged us all to 'tell them stories', and I, with tears streaming down my face (because this book has one of the saddest endings of any work of literature), nodded, because it was so true, so perfect and so exactly what I believed, expressed in words I myself did not possess.

Tell them stories. People who can read must be told why. These two things are true. And they must be the starting point for any response to yet another odious attack on 'depraved' modern YA literature.

I was lucky enough to have an almost trouble-free childhood and adolescence. I had an engaged, thoughtful and empathetic mother who had been buying me books as presents before I could even read, who always answered any questions I had truthfully and without a shade of embarrassment (I remember her explaining to me 'where babies came from' when I was three. I didn't understand her answer, but I'm really happy she actually bothered to explain). My sister and I were always very comfortable discussing everything with our mother, and enjoyed a relationship of openness and mutual respect which continues to this day.

Like most nerdy children, I suffered the usual bullying in primary school, and had the misfortune to be in a group of friends with whom I was incompatible in the early years of high school, and lacked self-confidence until well into adulthood, and books were an escape and a comfort, but compared to what some other people have gone through, it was nothing. I was lucky enough to have really good friends outside my 'group' (I was in higher classes than my 'group', so I knew a whole other bunch of people from those classes, and I also had good friends outside school from gymnastics, piano, Kumon, family friends and, later, my part-time job), and it was less bullying per se than a kind of bewildered indifference. We had formed our group in early Year 7, when people's personalities were less defined, and then, too late, realised we had very little in common besides a hyper-awareness of (and indeed anxiety about) other people's opinions. In any case, I loved reading and was consoled by it, but I don't want to describe it as an escape as I don't really think I had that much to be escaping from at that point in my life.

To be honest, most of the really awful things that have happened to me happened in adulthood. I was ill-prepared for adulthood in a psychological sense and became increasingly depressed as the years after high school continued. The low point was 2007, when I graduated from uni and moved back to Canberra to work in a job that I hated and dreaded. In that year, it was a YA book that saved me, as it brought me to the internet, to The Republic of Heaven, and to a truly wonderful group of people who, and I wish I could say I was exaggerating, gave me something to live for. They saved me, and they have continued to save me for nearly five years now.

But I digress. I'm happy now, and, in any case, in going into my own personal story of how YA literature saved me, I'm wandering away from the main point I'm trying to argue. Which is that literature gives you words.

If you are lucky like me, and grew up, for the most part, without significant pain or sadness, it gives you the words to articulate your beliefs and feelings, and it gives words to those outside your experience, who did and do suffer. I never had an eating disorder or a problem with body image, I was never a teenage victim of abuse, I did not have a problem with poverty or drugs or alcohol or self-harm, I had no disability, I was not pressured into sex as a teenager, I never had to come out or experience homophobia, I never experienced war or violence, my society did not view me as Other. But in reading stories about people who did, I was given the words of people who had experienced these things, and I like to think, or at least I hope, that in having the words of fictional people who experienced these things, I was better equipped to empathise with, and indeed to recognise the common humanity of real people who had. But the point is that if those words were of benefit to me, how much more must they have helped real people who had experienced all these things? Because those stories give them words - words to articulate their experiences and beliefs and feelings.

(I'm uncomfortable talking any further on behalf of others, as I recognise that I have various privileges: white privilege and straight privilege and cis privilege and so on, and indeed if anyone sees anything that's problematic, feel free to let me know either in the comments or via PM, but I did want to at least try not to make this all about me.)

We need stories. We need words. Because they are an essential starting point for really important conversations. Without words or stories, children and teenagers - and, indeed, adults - won't be able to think more critically about, well, anything. Stories and words are the starting-point. Some people would prefer their children not to think about these things at all - indeed, not to know about these things at all - but these are precisely the things that teenagers should be thinking about. Ignorance helps nobody.

Tell them stories. Always ask why. These are the beginnings of all things. They are not a luxury. They are dangerous and powerful. They are essential.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I could start this anywhere. I could start this with the day my mother first put a book into my hands, some American picture book I can no longer remember. I could start with the day I finally learnt how to read, and how the feeling was so shocking it was like a clap of thunder. Or I could start with how I used to pretend to be Sara Crewe from A Little Princess because her ability to escape her surroundings by imagining herself elsewhere seemed extremely desirable to me.

But really, there are only two places I can start. One day, I was ten, and I read a book where one (illiterate) character said to another, 'People who read are always a little bit like you. You can't just tell them, you have to tell them why', and I leapt up to write this down in the little notebook I always carried around, because it was so true, so perfect and so exactly what I thought, expressed in words I myself did not possess.

And one day, when I was 15, I read a book, the third in a trilogy, a book I'd been yearning to read for three years, and one character urged us all to 'tell them stories', and I, with tears streaming down my face (because this book has one of the saddest endings of any work of literature), nodded, because it was so true, so perfect and so exactly what I believed, expressed in words I myself did not possess.

Tell them stories. People who can read must be told why. These two things are true. And they must be the starting point for any response to yet another odious attack on 'depraved' modern YA literature.

I was lucky enough to have an almost trouble-free childhood and adolescence. I had an engaged, thoughtful and empathetic mother who had been buying me books as presents before I could even read, who always answered any questions I had truthfully and without a shade of embarrassment (I remember her explaining to me 'where babies came from' when I was three. I didn't understand her answer, but I'm really happy she actually bothered to explain). My sister and I were always very comfortable discussing everything with our mother, and enjoyed a relationship of openness and mutual respect which continues to this day.

Like most nerdy children, I suffered the usual bullying in primary school, and had the misfortune to be in a group of friends with whom I was incompatible in the early years of high school, and lacked self-confidence until well into adulthood, and books were an escape and a comfort, but compared to what some other people have gone through, it was nothing. I was lucky enough to have really good friends outside my 'group' (I was in higher classes than my 'group', so I knew a whole other bunch of people from those classes, and I also had good friends outside school from gymnastics, piano, Kumon, family friends and, later, my part-time job), and it was less bullying per se than a kind of bewildered indifference. We had formed our group in early Year 7, when people's personalities were less defined, and then, too late, realised we had very little in common besides a hyper-awareness of (and indeed anxiety about) other people's opinions. In any case, I loved reading and was consoled by it, but I don't want to describe it as an escape as I don't really think I had that much to be escaping from at that point in my life.

To be honest, most of the really awful things that have happened to me happened in adulthood. I was ill-prepared for adulthood in a psychological sense and became increasingly depressed as the years after high school continued. The low point was 2007, when I graduated from uni and moved back to Canberra to work in a job that I hated and dreaded. In that year, it was a YA book that saved me, as it brought me to the internet, to The Republic of Heaven, and to a truly wonderful group of people who, and I wish I could say I was exaggerating, gave me something to live for. They saved me, and they have continued to save me for nearly five years now.

But I digress. I'm happy now, and, in any case, in going into my own personal story of how YA literature saved me, I'm wandering away from the main point I'm trying to argue. Which is that literature gives you words.

If you are lucky like me, and grew up, for the most part, without significant pain or sadness, it gives you the words to articulate your beliefs and feelings, and it gives words to those outside your experience, who did and do suffer. I never had an eating disorder or a problem with body image, I was never a teenage victim of abuse, I did not have a problem with poverty or drugs or alcohol or self-harm, I had no disability, I was not pressured into sex as a teenager, I never had to come out or experience homophobia, I never experienced war or violence, my society did not view me as Other. But in reading stories about people who did, I was given the words of people who had experienced these things, and I like to think, or at least I hope, that in having the words of fictional people who experienced these things, I was better equipped to empathise with, and indeed to recognise the common humanity of real people who had. But the point is that if those words were of benefit to me, how much more must they have helped real people who had experienced all these things? Because those stories give them words - words to articulate their experiences and beliefs and feelings.

(I'm uncomfortable talking any further on behalf of others, as I recognise that I have various privileges: white privilege and straight privilege and cis privilege and so on, and indeed if anyone sees anything that's problematic, feel free to let me know either in the comments or via PM, but I did want to at least try not to make this all about me.)

We need stories. We need words. Because they are an essential starting point for really important conversations. Without words or stories, children and teenagers - and, indeed, adults - won't be able to think more critically about, well, anything. Stories and words are the starting-point. Some people would prefer their children not to think about these things at all - indeed, not to know about these things at all - but these are precisely the things that teenagers should be thinking about. Ignorance helps nobody.

Tell them stories. Always ask why. These are the beginnings of all things. They are not a luxury. They are dangerous and powerful. They are essential.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is a book meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose


Meme this way )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is a book meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose


Meme this way )
dolorosa_12: (travis)
I promise I'll write something other than music-posts soon, but I've been flat out with travel and work recently. I am, in fact, writing this (very self-indulgent) post while I'm on a break from editing my thesis chapter.

While I was on my run this morning, I started thinking about the songs that I would choose to define each year of my life.

These are the songs I concluded did so )

I regret nothing.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
I promise I'll write something other than music-posts soon, but I've been flat out with travel and work recently. I am, in fact, writing this (very self-indulgent) post while I'm on a break from editing my thesis chapter.

While I was on my run this morning, I started thinking about the songs that I would choose to define each year of my life.

These are the songs I concluded did so )

I regret nothing.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
So, I've been having one of my periodic bouts of misplaced nostalgia, and for some reason this got me thinking about the various cliques within the Arts Faculty at Sydney Uni when I was a student there. You'll know the ones I mean.

Rose-tinted glasses ahoy! )

There is nothing that will replace those things. I am here, and they are there, and for the most part, I can distract myself with my thesis and my friends and my books. But every so often, when I have too much time to think, I think about home, and I think about homesickness, and I'm reminded of all the little things which I cannot live without. And yet I do, and I will, and I must.

*Yes, this doesn't quite fit the context, but those who went to Sydney will get why I'm using that particular piece of Latin, and the rest of you can Google and work it out.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
So, I've been having one of my periodic bouts of misplaced nostalgia, and for some reason this got me thinking about the various cliques within the Arts Faculty at Sydney Uni when I was a student there. You'll know the ones I mean.

Rose-tinted glasses ahoy! )

There is nothing that will replace those things. I am here, and they are there, and for the most part, I can distract myself with my thesis and my friends and my books. But every so often, when I have too much time to think, I think about home, and I think about homesickness, and I'm reminded of all the little things which I cannot live without. And yet I do, and I will, and I must.

*Yes, this doesn't quite fit the context, but those who went to Sydney will get why I'm using that particular piece of Latin, and the rest of you can Google and work it out.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I wrote an absolutely epic post on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. It's a rather self-indulgent post about all the book characters who inspired and continue to inspire me.

The post was influenced by quite a few articles and blog posts I've been reading recently. [livejournal.com profile] stefeny posted many of the links last night on Twitter, which inspired a bit of a Twitter conversation about childhood literary idols. There's an ABC interview with actress Kristen Stewart, where she asserts that Bella Swan 'sets a good example for girls'. A good example of how to be completely dependent on a guy for self-esteem, to the extent of going catatonic when he abandons you, perhaps. Another of our friends posted a link to a great article on the Age which said pretty much the opposite, but all Fairfax websites seem to be down, so I'll add the link in when they're working again.

Sarah Rees Brennan ([livejournal.com profile] sarahtales) and Justine Larbalestier blogged about the 'Blank Page Heroine', which prompted some commenters to link to old articles on Jezebel about the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' and on The Petite Sophisticate about 'Amazing Girls'. Altogether, these articles and posts say a lot about the difficulties of creating three-dimensional, human characters in works of fiction. It's a task at which few writers succeed. The ones who do give us such a fantastic gift: opaque words on opaque paper which, thanks to their writers' talent, become transparent, acting as windows through which we sometimes see ourselves, sometimes something alluringly alien, but through which we always see truth.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I wrote an absolutely epic post on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. It's a rather self-indulgent post about all the book characters who inspired and continue to inspire me.

The post was influenced by quite a few articles and blog posts I've been reading recently. [livejournal.com profile] stefeny posted many of the links last night on Twitter, which inspired a bit of a Twitter conversation about childhood literary idols. There's an ABC interview with actress Kristen Stewart, where she asserts that Bella Swan 'sets a good example for girls'. A good example of how to be completely dependent on a guy for self-esteem, to the extent of going catatonic when he abandons you, perhaps. Another of our friends posted a link to a great article on the Age which said pretty much the opposite, but all Fairfax websites seem to be down, so I'll add the link in when they're working again.

Sarah Rees Brennan ([livejournal.com profile] sarahtales) and Justine Larbalestier blogged about the 'Blank Page Heroine', which prompted some commenters to link to old articles on Jezebel about the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' and on The Petite Sophisticate about 'Amazing Girls'. Altogether, these articles and posts say a lot about the difficulties of creating three-dimensional, human characters in works of fiction. It's a task at which few writers succeed. The ones who do give us such a fantastic gift: opaque words on opaque paper which, thanks to their writers' talent, become transparent, acting as windows through which we sometimes see ourselves, sometimes something alluringly alien, but through which we always see truth.

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dolorosa_12: (Default)
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