dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
I am very much Not Coping (with, well, take your pick of the conga line of political horrors parading their way around the world), which has made posting (and indeed, being online at all) very difficult. As such, this is going to be brief.

You may have seen this already on your own Dreamwidth feeds, but [personal profile] inkstone has set up a bullet journalling comm, [community profile] bujo, if anyone's interested. I've started using a bullet journal this year; I've always been a dedicated planner, and I'm combining bullet journal use with the online management tool Trello, as well a standard weekly planner, because one form of organiser is never enough!

I also have a question for those of you who regularly participate in fic exchanges. Last year I had a kind of vaguely defined goal to participate in more exchanges than Yuletide, and ended up doing both Night On Fic Mountain, and My Old Fandom (as well as Yuletide). I enjoyed both immensely, and if they run again, I'll definitely be signing up. In fact, I enjoyed writing for those exchanges so much that I'm completely hooked, and want to participate in even more! That's where you come in. I'm asking for recs for fic exchanges that you particularly enjoyed. It probably helps a bit to know more about what I liked about the exchanges in which I've participated thus far:

  • They were for small fandoms (not big megafandoms) and not fandom-specific

  • Participants could write gen or shipfic (I think I'd be happy to participate in a gen-only exchange, but to be honest I prefer the flexibility)

  • The lower word-count limits were low - 1000 words is fine, but a 5000-word lower limit would probably be difficult for me

  • They weren't happening at the same time as Yuletide, or immediately before or after

  • Based on those preferences, are there any exchanges you'd particular recommend? I like writing fic that centres on female characters (M/F, F/F, or female character-centric gen), if that helps.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords) I might as well make a linkpost. I've had some of these tabs open for over two weeks, so it's probably high time.

    Someone posted a link to a post on this blog Single Dad Laughing, and it was so good that I found myself reading the whole thing.

    A couple of feminism links next, because you know what I'm like:

    I just want to go for a walk writes avflox. Don't I have a right to do [that] without having to stop and listen to people who feel compelled to speak to me when I haven't invited it? Unfortunately, "no" is rarely an option when a woman is approached. Saying "no, thank you" -- especially without a very carefully worded and perceivably good excuse -- will result in yelling, insults or unwanted physical contact. This is my experience, and that of many other women.

    Can you tell the difference between a men's magazine and a rapist? I couldn't either.

    Ages ago, Rachael on The Social Justice League wrote a post on how to be a fan of problematic things. I wish I could print it out and give it to all the people who repeatedly say 'It's just a story, why can't you enjoy it?' (as if stories are unimportant, as if enjoyment is only possible if one looks at things with completely uncritical eyes) to me. I'd never encountered that website before, and found myself reading everything, because it was awesome.

    Speaking of problematic things: Glee. Just Glee.

    So that's what I've been reading.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
    I haven't had internet at home for a while, so I'm just now catching up on all my feeds, There's been a lot of interesting stuff posted recently, so I thought I'd make a linkpost.

    Sarah Rees Brennan posted this thought-provoking piece about what it means to be an author and have an internet presence.

    And then, for a total change in tone, she wrote a hilarious liveblog of Teen Wolf, making it sound so funny that I might be tempted to check it out.

    Catherynne M. Valente posted about how she was fed up with arguing about ebooks.

    She also wrote about the misconceptions social conservatives hold about 'women's work', and the supposed golden age of pre-industrial times.

    [ profile] sophiamcdougall made a Romanitas playlist. I geeked out.

    Here's an article from Rolling Stone about the effects of global warming in Australia. I found myself nodding away to pretty much everything being said.

    It's been said before, but it needs to be said again: unpaid internships are exploitative and perpetuate inequality.

    Our forum interviewed Philip Pullman.

    Finally, I blogged about the start of the semester in Germany.


    Oct. 15th, 2011 12:48 pm
    dolorosa_12: (una)
    [Note: I'm using 'women' to mean cis women here, because the people I'm ranting about are not aware that there are any other women besides cis women.]

    So. The Personhood Amendment. Not a pretty piece of legislation. I'm almost speechless with rage, so I think instead I'll link you to another person's words, which do more to rebut pro-lifers' claims that they are, indeed, pro-life than anything I could possibly say.

    Potentially triggering for child abuse, neglect and rape )

    I'm fed up with Tea Party types who claim to be libertarian and anti-government, except when it's the case of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, then no government intervention is too much. I'm fed up with pro-lifers who care only that a foetus grow into a child, but care and do nothing to ensure that that child (and its mother) continue to have a life after birth. I'm tired of them thinking that abortion is just something that happens to bad people, that if you bring up your daughter (only your daughter) well, then of course all her children will be loved and wanted and safely born within marriage, when statistically it's highly likely that every one of these people knows someone who had an abortion. I'm tired of them arguing that if you don't teach teenagers about contraception, they somehow will not think or want sex at all. (Let me tell you something: I still remember when my then 14-year-old sister came home after a sex-ed class at school and swore never to have sex at all, because of the risks of STDs. Knowledge is power! How can a child, a teenage girl, make a decision like that without all the knowledge?) I'm tired of MY personhood being ignored I feel their words like a physical attack. Their hatred for women is like a blow. I'm scared. I'm angry, and I'm scared.

    Again, because it's worth reiterating,

    “Pro-life” is simply a philosophy in which the only life worth saving is the one that can be saved by punishing a woman.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
    So, I've been thinking about the Occupy Wall Street movement. I've been reading up on it (We Are the 99 Percent is a good place to start) and thinking and thinking. In many ways, the Australian experience is the same as the American one. You don't mention class. Apparently, we are a 'classless society'. Words like 'egalitarian' get flung about. It's as if by avoiding discussing class, we can pretend it's not there. But it's there.

    I am upper middle class. I know this because of things like the jobs my parents had, the overseas trips we took for holidays, the piano lessons and gymnastics classes and maths tutoring, the fact that when something was wrong, my mother would be making outraged telephone calls to the school, because you would never find sliced bread or supermarket own-brand products or ready-meals or junk food as snacks in our house, that my mother has never eaten at McDonald's or Pizza Hut or Hungry Jack's or KFC in her life, because those things were DISGUSTING, because we went to art school and music school in the summer holidays, because we were told not to speak 'with a rising inflection', to hold our pencils correctly 'because otherwise people will think you have been poorly-educated and you won't get a job'. And because we noticed when these things weren't present in our friend's houses or upbringings, and we knew that you weren't meant to mention it. You averted your eyes.

    I also know that my mother was the first person in her family to go to university, that her parents clawed their way out of the working class with their fingernails, and that their status was precarious, that my mother was embarrassed when people visited her house because it had bare floorboards instead of carpet, and it was her awareness of things like this, little markers of difference, that was responsible for her losing her faith at the age of sixteen. I'm certain we're not the one percent, but I'm not sure if we are the 99 percent.

    I say all this as a preamble to the real purpose of this post, which is to link to this utterly beautiful piece of writing by the indescribably wonderful Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown. She writes of her experiences of class and privilege in the United States, her unease with the '99 percent' label, and comes to this conclusion:

    The more I write, the more I know this: “Objectivity” is nowhere to be found on this Earth. Everything you are, as a writer or an activist — every place you come from, everything you’ve learned — is called upon, every time you set forth to speak or to change the world. The less we know what we carry, the more it undermines everything we do. And to write from one’s own experience, to construct a biography, is to understand where one connects with the world. This is specifically a biography of class. But I see gender, in this history, very clearly; I see heterosexuality, and I see race, and I see disability; I see location in time and space, and don’t believe any of these things are fundamentally separate from the ways money and culture (and culture is money, of course, always was; “taste” has never been an absolute good, never divorced from the reality of production and consumers) construct our lives in the world.

    If you read one thing about Occupy Wall Street, read this.
    dolorosa_12: (Default)
    This is an old post, but it's become sadly relevant again because publishers still Aren't Getting It. If you read one thing in relation to the #YesGayYA debate, read this post by [ profile] seanan_mcguire.

    “Books do not determine a person’s sexual orientation. I was not somehow destined to be straight, and led astray by Annie On My Mind and the Valdemar books. I was born with universal wiring. I have had boyfriends and I have had girlfriends and I have had both at the same time, and none of that—NONE OF THAT—is because I read a book where a girl was in love with a girl and I decided that being bisexual would be a fun way to kill a weekend.

    But those books did tell me I didn’t have to hate myself, and they did tell me that there was nothing wrong with me, and they did make it easier on everyone involved, because here was something I could hand to Mom and go “See? It’s not just me, and it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not the only thing that defines me.” Supposedly, ten percent of people are gay or bi with a tropism toward their own gender. It stands to reason that there should be positive non-hetero relationships in at least ten percent of YA literature. And they’re not there. And things like this are why."

    I'm straight, and when I was growing up the only books I encountered with LGBTQ characters were 'issues books', you know, where the character struggled with coming out. The first book I can remember with a LGBTQ character who just existed as part of the story was The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, which has Balthamos and Baruch, a pair of gay rebel angels. There were gay and lesbian characters on some of the TV shows I watched, but it was the mid-to-late-90s, and things should be better now. I know it's not all about me, but I think this is relevant to everyone. Representation matters. It matters to straight kids like me because we need to see that the world isn't made up entirely of people like us. And it matters to LGBTQ kids because they need to see people like them being brave, being heroic, being clever and kind and compassionate and complex. They need to see themselves as part of the story.
    dolorosa_12: (una)
    I've been neglecting LJ a bit due to the sheer lifeyness of my life for the past month or so. However, I've returned in true Ronni fashion with a bunch of links for you.

    First up are the first two posts on my blog about life in Germany.

    I also rediscovered the wonderful blog Myths Retold. For a taster, try It was awesome being a poet in ancient Ireland and Ilmatar likes to dive headfirst into shitstorms. The language on these posts (and throughout the blog) is NSFW. Also, that last post kind of makes me want to read the Kalevala...

    I really like this post on The Mary Sue in defence of geek culture.

    Speaking of geek culture, Smart Pop Books is running a series of posts about The Vampire Diaries (which starts again tonight, woo!). I really like this post by Vera Nazarian about vampires and obsession.

    That's it for now. I don't have the energy to engage with the Say Yes to Gay YA situation, but there are lots of good links floating around on Twitter if you search through the #YesGayYA hashtag.

    New blog

    Sep. 1st, 2011 05:09 pm
    dolorosa_12: (una)
    For those of you who don't know, I'm moving to Heidelberg in Germany tomorrow. I will be spending the 2011-12 academic year on exchange at Universität Heidelberg. In typical fashion, I've created a new blog on Wordpress to document my experiences.

    I should probably take the opportunity now to let you all know that I may be offline for a while, as in my experience universities take forever to set up their students' internet connections, and unless I find somewhere with free wireless, I won't be around until I'm connected.

    See you when I'm back online!
    dolorosa_12: (una)
    Oh people people people, I just have to link you to a FANTASTIC post by [ profile] sophiamcdougall. In it, she reacts to an (admittedly old) quote by Doctor Who showrunner Stephen Moffat, which is as follows:

    "There’s this issue you’re not allowed to discuss: that women are needy. Men can go for longer, more happily, without women. That’s the truth. We don’t, as little boys, play at being married - we try to avoid it for as long as possible. Meanwhile women are out there hunting for husbands. ... Well, the world is vastly counted in favour of men at every level - except if you live in a civilised country and you’re sort of educated and middle-class, because then you’re almost certainly junior in your relationship and in a state of permanent, crippled apology. Your preferences are routinely mocked. There’s a huge, unfortunate lack of respect for anything male."

    If there's one thing you can rely on, it's McDougall calling out privilege in an eloquent and (for want of a better word) compassionate way. Thus:

    First, it needs to be said, of course, that not all women played at weddings when they were little. I know plenty who didn’t. But I want to talk about the ones that did. Let’s assume I was one of them – I can’t completely remember whether I ever went as far as acting out a wedding, but I know I thought and talked to my friends about how I wanted my wedding dress to be. Long, swishy and dramatic, of course, but not white, because that’s boring! Why wouldn’t I want to wear my favourite colour? My wedding dress, I promised myself, would be blue – a deep, rich, bright blue.

    But you know what I didn’t daydream about? You know what never entered my mind?

    The groom.

    Never, when I thought about My Wedding, did I promise myself that on this day of days, at last my innate female loneliness would be over. I never even imagined how handsome he’d be or how much he’d love me. Not even “He’ll be a kind, nice man.” The poor fellow never got a look-in. I knew he’d have to be there, vaguely, but that was a detail as negligible as the seating arrangements, and frankly, if I could have had the wedding without the husband that would have been just fine by me.

    Yes, I am afraid, Steven, little girls’ wedding fantasies are not about you. You can relax; packs of little girls are not being reared from infancy to hunt you. It’s just the dress. That’s the fantasy. It’s about wearing an awesome outfit and getting to be the centre of attention.

    I wish I had an applause gif right now, because her whole post just made me want to stand on my chair and clap.

    Because I was one of those girls who played getting married (and indeed, if wedding ceremonies are legally binding if officiated by a seven-year-old girl from Canberra draped in sarongs and doubling as an organist, I'm currently married to the younger brother of my childhood best friend), but it wasn't all I played.

    Because the game that my sister and I most consistently played was that we were some form of single-mother-headed family, with a mother (me), an absent (and never-mentioned) father, a resourceful oldest daughter (her) and a gaggle of younger children represented by our (exclusively female) dolls. No matter what the setting (and we had several different versions of the game, but the two most common iterations were: struggling single-parent family lives in the top floor of a block of flats, is oppressed by the cartoonish rich family in the neighbourhood, and single mother is wrongfully imprisoned but is able to slip in and out of the bars on her cell and goes and has adventures with her friend, who lives an Aladdin-like existence in the streets*, and all are oppressed by the cartoonish rich family who owns the prison) the game was always about overcoming adversity through trickery and just generally being awesome.

    Because the characters from books I played at being were Naomi and Chava Bernstein from The Girls in the Velvet Frame (impoverished Jewish family in British Mandate Palestine, widowed mother, five sisters being awesome) and Sara Crewe from A Little Princess (impoverished formerly privileged girl uses the power of the imagination to triumph over her horrible circumstances).

    Because when my cousin S and my sister and I played together we pretended to be Sadako Sasaki or characters from Heian-era Japan (to cut a long story short, every game involved my sister being a cheeky child with a menagerie of animals, my cousin dying from some terrible disease and me being forced to make a political marriage with someone horrible (and off-screen)).

    Because when I played dinosaurs with my sister and whatever friends came around, we were always herbivorous dinosaurs in a dinosaur boarding school run by carnivores who maltreated us.

    Because, when I think back on it, pretty much every imaginative game I played as a child involved combating some kind of injustice with deviousness and cleverness and resourcefulness or just sheer endurance and acceptance. Because those were the ways girls and women were heroic in the kinds of books I read. Because they made themselves the centre of their stories by slipping in sideways. They weren't the Chosen One, they were the ones scrambling around trying to live in the margins, on the boundaries of a world that would never have a Chosen One come and save it. And because no one ever told me that that wasn't heroic, that compromise and shiftiness and bargaining and moral ambiguity were what saved people, I grew up wanting to be like those girls, like those people.

    Men were kind of absent and irrelevant to my childhood imagination. That's the truth of it. Sometimes, it's just not about the men. And usually, when it's little girls playing, it's not about wanting to force the poor oppressed middle-class men to the altar.

    * When I look back on the things I imagined and played, I cringe a little. I was middle-class, white and clueless. I had no direct experience of the kinds of oppression that I was playing at opposing, which I think is why they captured my imagination at the time.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
    I've been blogging away on Wordpress and thought I'd give you all a few links.

    First up, I wrote a (spoiler-heavy) review of [ profile] kateelliott's book Cold Magic on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. It's mostly about the similarities between that book at Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

    A while ago I interviewed [ profile] sophiamcdougall. Part I is here. Part 2 is here. They're also pretty spoiler-heavy for her whole Romanitas trilogy.

    dolorosa_12: (Default)
    I first found out about the original article via this excellent post on Tiger Beatdown. It's especially good because the comments are all incredibly perceptive and further explore some of the issues arising from the WSJ article.

    [ profile] ceilidh_ann makes the important point that we should deplore the shoddy reviewing going on in the original article for the same reason that we should hold YA literature up to the same scrutiny as other types of literature: we should be thinking about YA writing critically.

    There's a discussion going on at the [ profile] bookfails lj comm.

    In my opinion, however, the best response so far has come from Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak (a book about a teenage survivor of sexual assault which is often criticised for containing overly dark material). As well as making the crucial point that people who want to ban books tend to be people uncomfortable discussing difficult issues with their children, she reposts a wonderful video she made a while ago. The video consists of a poem made up of quotes from letters readers sent to her about Speak. I'm going to repost it with a trigger warning. It makes me tear up every time.

    dolorosa_12: (una)
    Just letting you all know I've put up a Savage City reaction post over at [ profile] romanitas_fans. Anyone who's got the book, feel free to spread the word.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
    [ profile] catpuccino posted a link to Rachel Hills' Tumblr. It's so weird, I went to uni with Rachel, although I never knew her, and she was one of those student journalism types. I'm pleased to see that she's making a living out of writing. Her blog's pretty interesting.

    If I haven't pointed you there before, you need to read Ferretbrain. I don't always agree with the conclusions they reach, but I think they're some of the best reviewers out there.

    I found this post about Gen Z and homeschooling quite interesting, if only because I initially agreed with her (mainly because she made some generalisations about the different generations that really chimed with me) and then thought about it and realised how US-centric, white, and middle-class her views were. Also, what is it about the homeschooling debate that turns both sides into slavering, fear-mongering ranters? The way they tell it, homeschooled kids are unworldly and unsocialised, and school-educated kids have uncaring, cruel parents who can't wait to get them out of the house and should never have been parents in the first place. An interesting read, nonetheless.

    The new and revised Rome Burning is out. You should all buy it, because it's awesome, and [ profile] sophiamcdougall does cool things like draw pictures of her characters and post them on her blog. This time, it's Dama, who is totally NOT how I visualised him. For some reason, although I'm sure she described his appearance, in my head he always looked Tibetan. I have no idea why.
    dolorosa_12: (travis)
    It's another linkpost, I'm afraid. The holidays seem to have left me more tired than term time.

    My friend [ profile] cereswunderkind has just published a book of short stories. I know it will be excellent because I've read many of his stories over the years, and they are fantastic.

    [ profile] sophiamcdougall is offering signed first editions of Romanitas and Rome Burning with drawings, as well as illustrations as part of the fundraising to help Japan in the wake of the recent earthquake.

    You should all check out the website First Novels Club. It's a group of aspiring authors saying cool stuff about books and writing. What's not to like? (For a taste of what they're about, see The Hunger Games, Disney Princess style.

    I love everything about the lead writer for the Dragon Age games David Gaider smiting down the whinings of an entitled 'Straight Male Gamer'.

    [ profile] seanan_mcguire has pulled out of the Wicked Pretty Things YA anthology in the wake of the homophobia of its editor.

    My friend Catie has written an interesting review of The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon comparing it with Old English literature.

    That's it for now. See you later.
    dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
    I knew my productivity would kick in as soon as term ended and the sun started shining, and I was right. This week has been fantastic. Every day I left the house around 9am, got to the English faculty library, worked until about 11.30 (by which time I would have written 1000 words), then went home. Then I'd go for a run, then eat lunch. By 2.20pm, M would be home, and since it's the holidays, he's only working his morning job (no teaching out of term time, of course), leaving us free to do whatever we wanted in the afternoon. The only unfortunate thing is that we're both ridiculously poor: I'm waiting on my April stipend cheque, and he's waiting on being paid next week, so we can't really enjoy all our free time in lavish style. Oh well.

    Anyway, I actually came over to LJ to post some links. First up, a post by yourlibrarian on Dreamwidth about the ingredients for a particular fandom's success. I agree with the general argument, although I don't think it takes anime fandom into account enough (honestly, anime fandom is HUGE), nor of fandom that's not focused on fanworks. It's an interesting discussion nonetheless.

    Check out Ursula Le Guin's rather excellent blog post about swearing. (Unfortunately, you can't link to individual posts and will have to scroll around a bit on the page to find it. Obviously it's full of swear words and NSFW for that reason.)

    John Scalzi's got an open thread where commenters can recommend interesting writers' blogs. I think I'm going to have to check some of them out.

    Over at The Book Lantern, they're discussing Australian YA books. Actually, if I haven't mentioned it before, The Book Lantern is awesome. You should be following it.

    Finally, Pop Matters is doing a whole series of posts about Joss Whedon and his work. I've linked to the introduction.
    dolorosa_12: (una)
    The title of this post deserves an Una icon because she is AWESOME.

    I had to do something about all the tabs I've got saved in Firefox, so you're all getting a linkpost. Aren't you lucky? The first is a discussion about whether epic fantasy has been 'feminised'. I think I came across that link via [ profile] kateelliott. Then, I've got a couple of links relating to GLBTQ characters in fiction, and how outing characters in extra-textual spaces (webisodes, interviews etc) does not really address the problem.

    Then Patton Oswalt posted this article on Wired about the supposed demise of geek culture, and rodo on Dreamwidth and seperis, also on Dreamwidth pointed out that rumours of geekdom's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Those last couple of links are courtesy of [ profile] metafandom.

    Neil Gaiman remains as awesome as ever, as does Jo Walton. Seriously lacking in the awesome, however, is Sebastian Faulks, who, in a BBC programme about the history of the English novel, claimed that Shakespeare's heroes lacked both personality and flaws. To which I say, have some Borges!

    Then I read about this (trigger warning for rape) and got even more angry. Thank goodness the good folks at Tiger Beatdown are all over it. (A couple of good other Tiger Beatdown posts on the subject: Sadie calls out the Democrats on their deceptive advertising with regards to HR3 and a post about contraception and abortion, and the problems relating to them in the US. (This freaked me out somewhat, since it's a subject about which I'd only been dimly aware. I had some vague idea that things were somewhat better in Australia, where I lived until 2008, and the UK, where I live now, but it suddenly occurred to me that I have LITERALLY NO IDEA about how such things work in either Australia or the UK. For all I know I could be wringing my hands with pity at the situation in the US and it could be just as bad here.))

    As a unicorn chaser of sorts, I hung around listening to this song by [ profile] seanan_maguire. That made me feel a whole lot better!
    dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
    1. If she goes for a long time without running, and combines this with a long time forgetting to take her iron tablets and consuming Vitamin C-heavy foods, she turns into a hysterical, freaking-out-to-the-point-of-curling-up-in-the-foetal-position wreck.

    2. However, ASNaCs are the kindest people in the world and will always be there when she needs a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or a cookie.

    3. Also, her supervisor, when she's on the warpath, is the best kind of avenging angel to have on your side.

    Links and stuff )
    dolorosa_12: (Default)
    The internet! What a marvel it is! So full of wondrous and interesting things! Things that make me go !!!, apparently!

    There is [ profile] papersky's review of Dune! And Ursula Le Guin's thoughts on a female Prospero! (I love Le Guin, and The Tempest is my favourite Shakespeare play, so this induced a swoon of geektastic proportions!)

    We've got a couple of insightful posts about the Arizona shooting on Tiger Beatdown, while John Scalzi's written some good stuff about Sarah Palin's 'blood libel' comments. He's also got an open thread about Obama's Tucson speech.

    Now, in case anyone needs a unicorn chaser of sorts, Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson are in the same place. Be still my geeky, geeky heart.
    dolorosa_12: (Default)
    For those of you not already aware, I've got a new project up at my Wordpress blog: Victor Kelleher Week, where I review some of my favourite books by Victor Kelleher, who is one of the most unfairly underrated authors I've ever encountered.

    First up is my review of Parkland. I will be following this with reviews of Earthsong and Fire Dancer later in the week. The post is very spoiler-heavy, so unless you've already read the book, proceed with caution.


    dolorosa_12: (Default)
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