kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Fear in a handful of dust)
because this

and then also this oh my god and especially this part, i love that someone is seriously interpreting my work oh my god

and this and this too

and then my friend who lives in california now recently texted me to tell me that she bought a pomegranate and thought of my story

and it's just like
i have never been so proud of completely ruining a fruit for everyone

*squee*
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Wizardess)
Wicked Fairy Tales, the anthology I sold a couple of erotic short stories to, is out! AND MY PSEUDONYM IS ON THE COVER!!!!!
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Helen O'Loy)
I'm going ahead with my life. I feel like I'm taking more control of it in some small way. A lot of my life has been out of my control, and sometimes I think that's fine, because I will fuck up the big things--college, apartments, cars, jobs, relationships.

But I can maybe control the small things. I can control my cell phone provider, the type of shoes I wear, the type of food I eat, the type of poetry I write, the events I go to, the people whose company I choose to pursue and the people whose company I do not.

These are the things I have been able to control recently. I feel better for having taken control of them.

*

I got to see the Transit of Venus with some friends. It was majestic. That's all I can say. Staring at the sun on the rooftop and knowing that something tremendous was happening to us. The great clockwork of the solar system was striking the hour, marking the time.

I want to read about things far more than I want to experience them. Experiences are scary. Especially sex. I think I might be going on a date tomorrow, but I'm not sure if it's a date. It's the kind of thing that might be a date but was framed as a movie. I think I'm going to assume it's a movie. I don't think I can handle a date right now. Or a job. Or anything complex, really. I just want to arrange my books and take walks and eat nachos.

The movie I'm going to see is "Prometheus." I have such incredible empathy for robots in stories. They were created by humans and they found themselves living and they don't always necessarily know how to deal with what they are. I even love bad robots. I cried when HAL died. This movie is going to make me cry.

*

I want to write about Detroit, but I don't live there. I just exist on its periphery. It's kind of pathetic, isn't it? What the hell is there to write about Farmington Hills?
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Wereweasel!)
Hey, does anyone remember back in 2005 or so when I wrote a bunch of short stories for a Valentine's Day thing? Well, I sold a couple of them to ForbiddenFiction.com and then I expanded them. The first one is here: Little Henna Hair. It's a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but with a dance club and a werewolf and she schtups the werewolf because it's a porn story. Yep. Go buy it.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Pickin' ur brainz)
I like to write about:
--The physical manifestation of emotion in the human body (limbs falling off to symbolize losing parts of oneself to a lover)
--Werewolves. (A physical metaphor for repressed queerness.)
--Physical alien-ness in some form, actually--either being "hidden" as an alien (aspie), or "hidden" as a monster (queerness or sexuality).
--Drugs are a McGuffin to kickstart altered awarenesses--usually to reveal or obfuscate the truth.
--Selfcest. This usually reflects themes of self-loathing in some way--the awareness of an unfavorable potential, either because of the potential to fail badly or the untapped potential for greatness.
--See werewolves/aliens, the awareness of an "other self" that is freer or more pathetic than the primary or perceived self.
--also, robots as a way to deal with the idea of social or neurological programming
--Parallel universes, alternate realities, etc. specifically being caught between them or aware of both. This is often in conjunction with drugs.
--Consider this in conjunction with alienation of self, noting that parallel universes seems to be a question of perception and realities "laid on top" of each other rather than literal alternate possibilities. (PKD style.)
--Awareness of difference of perception both of outside world and of self/others. Question of which is AUTHENTIC self and AUTHENTIC world--consensus reality or idios logos?
--The answer, of course, is that "reality" can only be confirmed by a physical sign such as a physical change, like transformation into a werewolf or an arm falling off.

Well, this was fucking helpful. Let's try again.

--I want to write about alienation and the metaphors people use for it.
--I want to explore how escapism is a way to escape or subvert alienation--that the feeling of being "other" can be subverted into a feeling of being "special" or "better" via escapism.
--I want to write about willful transformation of the body, taking control of the body's transformations in order to mirror a desired inner state, rather than inadvertent transformation of the body to show or betray a less desired inner state i.e. werewolves and arms falling off
--I'm sort of interested in using war-based or postwar systems of control as a backdrop i.e. tighter control of a country as an excuse to avoid further war
--Very interested in things considered "atrocities" or necessary evils repurposed purely for a "higher" aesthetic purpose (car crashes, nukes, body modification)
--Interested in writing about humanistic ideas of emotional spirituality, i.e. love and emotion as substitute for or "closest thing to" actual experience of God/gods. Probably want to save this one for fanfic, it's a bit personal

I don't want to write about:
--People who are very morally good
--People or nonhuman people who have amazing powers without some very serious downsides to those powers
--McGuffins
--Designated villains
--People who are fucking snarky
--Monarchies as a good thing

Hmmm.
kleenexwoman: A blonde man without a shirt, wearing a space helment and lightning bolt sash (Pulp hero)
a genre slice of life story. I ran into some fans and authors at World Steam who decided they hated litfic because "The whole point is that people never change and they're never faced with a challenge, and the human condition is that people never change, and who wants to read a story like that?" Well, for one, I ACTUALLY DO, I like depressing shit like Flannery O'Connor sometimes. For another, if you think that's all litfic, you are reading the fuckin' wrong shit. Those types of stories don't necessarily show people not ever changing--they show the small, real changes that happen to everyone. Not everyone gets to travel from the Shire and throw the One Ring into Mount Doom and change dramatically over three books of tromping over Middle Earth; most people stay in the Shire and deal with hobbit gossip and the garden failing, and they change slowly, over years. But they do change. And change is triumph, no matter how slow or how fast it happens.

For another thing, it gets kind of demoralizing to read stories where people get to have amazing journeys imposed on them by the plot and change suddenly and garner accolades and power-ups. Because life doesn't give you that. And sometimes looking for it works, and sometimes not looking for it works, but if "The Magicians" showed me ANYTHING it's that you aren't guaranteed to change just because you saved Narnia. Sometimes you're just stuck with your same stupid self in a shiny new world.

I really want to write something slice of life within an escapist genre. No big goal or McGuffin, no Hero's Journey plot arc, no villain. Just someone dealing with life and the small conflicts that happen within it and changing slowly but unmistakably. Because Gail Carriger said I couldn't do it, so I fucking will.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Bibliophilia)
Cooking from a recipe book is incredibly different from cooking from recipes online.

Here is how I cook from a recipe book:

I am bored or hungry and flip through the book.
I find something I think I can make.
I write down the ingredients.
I go to Kroger's and get any ingredients I don't have.
I make the thing, making my best guess as to what any techniques I don't know might involve.
It turns out probably OK.

Here is how I cook from recipes online:

I want to make saag paneer.
I look up "saag paneer."
I click on the first five recipes that pop up. I choose two of them. I repeat the process until I have a number of recipes to choose from that don't use Cheez Whiz.
I compare the recipes. They all have a similar process, but the spice blends are different.
I freak out slightly. I write down the spice proportions and note which ones are mostly present in large quantities, small quantities, etc.
I search "authentic saag paneer" and find a video of a lady making homemade paneer.
I check out a cooking forum I like and see if anyone has posted anything about saag paneer lately. Finding that they have not, I post a question about it. I get five responses, three sarcastic and two serious. One response tells me to go to an ethnic grocery if I can.
I look up "saag paneer" on Wikipedia and find that there is no definitive recipe, but I learn what the words mean.
I go to the Indian grocery store and get unsolicited advice from an Indian lady about which garam masala blend is better. I tell her I am making saag paneer for the first time and she smiles and says, "Don't worry, it will turn out OK."
I go home, make paneer with the help of the video, then make the other part and dump in vague proportions of spice that I think I might like.
It turns out completely awesome, and I've learned many new things.

*

I'm culling my books right now. This involves lugging more than a dozen huge boxes up from the basement, going through my bookshelf and picking out which ones I don't really need anymore, finding a new way to store my DVDs, and making an enormous pile of books and empty cardboard boxes on the floor. The poor cat is SO confused.

I said I wouldn't toss any books, but I am doing so. I threw several in the garbage and they weren't damaged or moldy. Why?

It's not like burning books. Burning books is turning something into ashes, scouring it from the earth, transforming it. You are saying, "I wish this book never existed. I will keep anyone else from reading it."

Tossing a book isn't like that. The book still exists. It is still paper. It is just in the landfill. Someone else might find it, or it might make very good worm food. You are saying, "I do not think this book is worth anything to me. I do not wish to take responsibility for passing it onto another person and sharing its abhorrent ideas or waste of space story."

I have tossed several books that weren't damaged or moldy. Some were simply out of date manuals for things I don't own. But two of them were actively offensive to me. I'd never burn them or wish they didn't exist, but I don't want to be responsible for putting them in someone else's hands.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Order is an illusion)
I was at some sort of pagan convention that was held in a large stadium. A withered old woman who looked a lot like one of the elder trans activists I've been working with came up to me and told me that I was a terrible witch, that she worshiped a witch god and witch goddess who were mean and vengeful, and if I wanted to be any good at all at what I was doing I'd convert to worshiping them. I yelled at her and told her that she was a terrible person, and then she started muttering under her breath about how her gods would get me. Later I saw her outside, sitting with a cardboard sign that said "Will Hex For Food."

I was going on a camping trip with the X-Men, and I had to get batteries, so I ran into the local Big Lots. The girl behind the counter pretended to look for batteries, told me there were none, and started talking on her cell phone and making fun of me. I yelled at her and made a huge fuss until Wolverine came in and started telling me that I was making a big deal over nothing. Then he stole some batteries for me.

I was getting married at the little town square park near my house. I was in a big white dress with green highlights, and I don't remember who I was marrying, but I kept having to send people back across the street to my apartment for things like breath mints. When nobody could find breath mints in my apartment, I went to get them. When I came back, I happened to stop by the wedding planners, who were sitting in a disused storefront with the DDA and some corporate bigwigs. They were making secret plans to raze and ruin downtown and replace it with a bunch of corporate stores, and they were using my wedding somehow as a diversion or excuse to start on it.

I was in some kind of boarding school that I had been told would be very secular and openminded, but actually they were fundamentalist Christian. I was trying to keep my head down and fit in, but I was made to wear little short skirts, and when I asked for pants I guess that tipped them off. I had people following me around to see what other weird, anti-Christian things I did. I got so nervous that I was being followed that I started ticcing and stimming, and they decided that every little quirk I had, like turning my pockets inside out to get crumbs out of them, was evidence of some horrible Satanist thing. So they ambushed me and started beating me with peacock feathers as an exorcism. I got really annoyed, and grabbed the peacock feathers and started yelling at them about Yazidi.

I had been asked to housesit for a Finnish lady, who was paying all of my expenses to stay at her house in Finland. When I got there, it was sort of snowy, and very dark already at 3 in the afternoon. I wandered around feeling uncomfortable until the lady sighed and told me that she had brought me there to defeat some fairies in her house. I told her she was barking up the wrong tree and I didn't know anything about fairies.

The dream I had last night was about the Hunger Games, which Seth got me to read. We all lived in District 13 after the revolution, and for several years, everyone was content with not repeating the mistakes of the past. But for whatever reason, people got nostalgic about the Hunger Games, and some of the kids said they thought it sounded like fun. The adults got super worried and thought about it. In the meantime, the kids were going kind of nuts and fighting with each other. They finally decided that the Hunger Games had also been a way to channel peoples' competitiveness and desire for violence, and solved the problem by letting all of the kids who wanted to participate into a disused and safe arena with paintball guns. The winner got free ice cream for a year.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Marvelous Rocket Wizard)
So I went to the Artemis ritual because I wanted to see how a goddess takes someone's body for her own.

More stuff )
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Marvelous Rocket Wizard)
A note: WALL OF TEXT UNDERNEATH THE CUT.

Oh my )

meme

Jan. 27th, 2012 05:25 am
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Wonder stories!)
Give me an AU prompt in the comments and I will plot out for you the fic it evokes in my mind.

"Shame"

Jan. 3rd, 2012 04:40 am
kleenexwoman: A girl in a pink bikini reading a book (Nymphet for books)
[personal profile] drworm came up from Ohio in the blinding snow to show me "Streets of Fire," cuddle the cat, cuddle with me while we watched "Community," and see "Shame" at the Main Art Theatre. We saw it for naked Michael Fassbender.

Click to find out if he gets naked )

"Shame"

Jan. 3rd, 2012 03:40 am
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Hell yeah tits)
[livejournal.com profile] drworm came up from Ohio in the blinding snow to show me "Streets of Fire," cuddle the cat, cuddle with me while we watched "Community," and see "Shame" at the Main Art Theatre. We saw it for naked Michael Fassbender.

Click to find out if he gets naked )
kleenexwoman: A girl in a pink bikini reading a book (Nymphet for books)
My Yuletide story is up. I think it's one of the best things I've written, and it's in a fandom that I still love that I haven't written anything in for a while. It's making me want to write more.

My Down the Chimney story is up. It's awful. I'm not proud of it. I'd like to orphan it. But the recipient seemed to enjoy it, so that's all right.

I'm trying to decide whether I should spend my free time meandering around on more fanfic or writing real things. The problem is:

--Fanfic is easy. Path of least resistance. High potential for success.
--Fanfic has a built-in audience and immediate feedback. The egoboo potential is high.
--Original stuff is hard and it can be hard to connect with the characters or flesh out an idea. Potential for dismal and disheartening failure is high.
--Original stuff is likely to be overlooked or rejected in favor of works that are far better than you can ever do or that are total crap. Again, PFDaDF is high.
--I've gotten many compliments on the unique quality of my fanfic, but I find it really hard to transfer that quality to my original stuff. My original writing feels clunky and slapdash to me, except in small doses.
--However, people like my poetry a lot, and the potential for reward in original writing is also very high.

I think what I need to do is write a lot more original stuff until I get it right. I can't expect my first works to be the stuff that gets published. Hopefully, with everything I write, I'll learn and improve. Also, now that I've won NaNoWriMo, I think I may not try to do it again unless I really need a boost at that time--I won it, yes, but the thing I wrote was a terrible slog.

While I'm trying to choose what to work on next, I'm also going to try to put together a chapbook. I've been working on jewelry to try to sell at the Bizarre Bazaar at OTBP, and if I have enough done by early February or so, I'll team up with my mom and work on things. I'd like to work on sewing more things, but the problem is that sewing takes longer and tends to be more complicated, so the time I'd put into sewing something provides less of a profit in terms of productivity. I think I'll probably work on making some drawstring bags for this one, and try to perfect some more interesting styles for the next.

Also been cooking. I got a new immersion blender, and in the past few days have chopped up spinach for Florentine/saag dishes, made vodka applesauce and chopped apples with hard sauce, started an orange/ginger-infused vodka (and decanted an apple-infused vodka), and made a huge tray of hummus for a party. Then I made chai powder.

I also made a blog: The Library of Babel. It's all professional-y and stuff. Sara's blog is really taking off, and I whinged about my own blogging style and Kids These Days for a while before I decided to go fucking make my own gimmick. Remember when blogs just used to be blogs and some people found a good style or gimmick and then got readers? Now you have to have a gimmick at the start and then you do twenty good posts and get a damn book deal.

Ultimately, I think I'm afraid that I'm really just a very middle-of-the-road writer, that I don't really have the imagination, skill, or energy to create something that's both original and transcendent. And I feel like most of what I'm doing now is procrastinating, but I don't know what I'm procrastinating.

I might end up trying to write my own life story, how goddamn dull would that be?

*

In happier news, I have a full social life. I've been getting to hang out with some friends from college who now live in a little town 40 miles south of me, and we have been watching samurai movies and Westerns and comparing them. It's nice :)
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Shiksas lieben die Juden)
I’m not lighting a menorah this year. We didn’t even do it at the Chanukah party. I don’t even own a menorah. I passed up the chance to own one three years ago.

Chanukah isn’t just a Festival of Lights, like every other damn holiday around this time of year—it’s not just about the sun going away and coming back. It is a holiday about anti-assimilation, the refusal to participate in a larger and monolithic culture in order to keep your own culture alive.

I’m a very, very assimilated Jew. I have never kept kosher and don’t feel guilty about it. You know that failblog macro that goes around, the one with the deli advertising spiral ham for Chanukah? I look at that and I go, “I see nothing wrong here.” Actually, I look at that and I go, “Damn, that’s a good deal on ham.”

So I don’t know if I really deserve to celebrate Chanukah the way it’s supposed to be celebrated. I understand the holiday, I understand what it’s about, but it’s always just been a nice winter holiday and a big party at my dad’s to me. I’m pretty thoroughly Hellenized, my one concession to my heritage at this time of year a Scrooge-ish refusal to decorate or shed a tear at sappy Christmas movies.

I can take part in or skip other Jewish holidays with a clean conscience—Passover is about freedom, and my ancestors would be happy to see me living in a free land, drinking wine and eating kosher Asian fusion cuisine with my family. I take the High Holy Days as seriously as I can take any religious obligation, as a chance for forgiveness and a new start with the world. Purim’s just a big party, and there are other holidays my family never paid much attention to that I don’t feel bad about not doing, either.

But I don’t hold myself separate from the larger culture I live in, I don’t feel much of a sense of tangible community with other Jews, and I don’t even worship the Jewish god above all others. I consider my Jewishness to be an important part of my heritage, but it’s not a part of me I’m really carrying forward into the future. If I was ever going to start a family, maybe I’d try to live more as a Jew, but I’m not. I have friends who are interested in the beliefs and traditions of my heritage, but I don’t have anyone to pass these things down to.

So I can’t really do Chanukah with a good conscience. The candles of the menorah don’t fill me with the joy of light or of Hashem’s presence, or the strength to feel like I’m one of the Maccabees, like I can resist the cultural forces that want to strip away my identity. The biggest emotion I feel when I look at the candles is guilt…which is, after all, the most Jewish emotion you can have.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Default)
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At this point, most of them. I celebrate Christmas with my mother, because it's her holiday. I celebrate Chanukah with my father's family, because it's a holiday about anti-assimilation and resistance and also I love latkes. Now I celebrate Yule because most of my friends are pagan.

My own holiday is Hogswatch. It means as much to me as any winter holiday does, in a completely different way. As fiction it encompasses the heart of belief.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Wizardess)
The pagan group at OU got a call the other week from a lady who said that her house was infested with fairies. She said that they had cured her cancer (they were sent from her dead mother), and after that they had been playful and nice, but they had become malevolent and were screwing with her paintings, turning on the radio, and killing her plants. She needed help getting them to stop. So the day before we went to see her, I went around with the kid who knows fairies, looking for supplies like boxwood, yew, four types of tiger eye, etc. We found nearly everything we wanted, and I also learned from the lady at the Crazy Hippie Store that the reason why there is evil in the world is that Lucifer and his minions mated with us long ago and gave us evil DNA which makes us do bad things like detonating the nuclear bombs which shut off the doorway to heaven. Yeah.

Anyway, so I bake some cookies with lots of honey for the fairies, and we set off to the lady's house. She shows us around and shows us some reproductions of paintings and old family pictures which she said had been tampered with. The Degas painting looked sort of weird, but the old family pictures didn't seem to have anything especially weird--a couple of odd angles and some blotches or bits of light in the background, but nothing really freaky going on. Then she started showing us how the fairies would put faces in her wallpaper or the tile in her bathroom, as well as some statues she said would move around at night. Yeah. And she also said that they made her see the face of her dead cat Smokey everywhere. And also that she saw fairies in the light. Just reflections of the light. Not that she saw little men with wings IN the light, but any odd reflection was a fairy. Her husband said he didn't see any of this, and he didn't see the difference in the pictures because it wasn't like he had them memorized.

So we spread out, and I helped Mark the necromancer try to channel her mother. He couldn't get her mother, but he said he channeled a force that was malevolent and making the fairies think they weren't appreciated, so they were unhappily toying with her. Well, OK. We did a smudging and the other kids did some kind of thing where they talked with the fairies. Then we talked about ways that she could keep the fairies happy, and cleanse her house. Then while Mark was doing something and the other kids were talking with her husband and I was in the kitchen with her, she started freaking out about patterns of light on her stainless steel refrigerator. I turn off the lights, I cover up the electronic light of the microwave and show her that the only light she sees is from the window and the light she sees on the floor is coming from the window, and she goes "oh." And then she goes, "but I still never saw that before." I ask her why she thinks that the patterns she is seeing are Smokey, and she says, "Because he's everywhere!" And it is clear that because this lady is terrified of light patterns, a ritual will not help her, and there is something in her brain that is making rational help not an option. And I am not a psychologist and it is far beyond my purview to suggest she see one, but there is something I can do.

I take her into the living room and I tell her that look, all the fairies are doing is appearing in the light. Well, they aren't hurting you, are they? They're just making the light funny. They know that you're going to freak out, and they want that, because then they can feed on that energy that you're giving them. So if you stop freaking out, they will go away. If you see a fairy in the light, look for the source of the light and then tell yourself, "It's just light, whatever." And the fairies will get the message that you do not care anymore and that they have no power over you. Then I point out the shrine to Smokey (seriously, the way they set up the pictures of this cat, it was like a little shrine complete with candles and an offering bowl), and I tell her not to be scared of Smokey's eyes, because he loved her and he is watching over her and making sure the fairies don't do anything else. So that every time she sees his eyes in something, she could just remember that he is protecting her and say, "Thank you, Smokey," and be okay.

She seemed to accept that. The kids told her to call back in two weeks only if things got worse. Her husband cut us a check for $200, which is not a bad price for 3 hours' work and some peace of mind if you are as wildly rich as they were (and will top up the fund so the students can go to ConVocation in the winter). I really hope the ritual and advice helped her, because it must be horrible to live in a house where you see malevolent fairies in every stray beam of light.

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kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Default)
Rachel

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