Open Thread: Fallen Flowers


Rhododendron.  My grandparent's farm, where my sister lives now, has one that's nearly as big as the two story house it's next to.

In this pictures the light sky, fence, and driveway in the background screwed up the color balance something awful and I had to try to fix it on computer.  The point though, the mass of flowers that have fallen to the ground under the tree/bush/thing should be clear enough.

Sometimes there's a windless fall and you get a similar effect; wherever there's an isolated deciduous tree there's a vaguely circle shaped zone of brightly colored leaves around it.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Repost: Good Kings, Bad Laws

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



[Content Note: Physical Abuse, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the Beavers are traveling to the place where they expect to find Aslan. Along the way they have seen proof that the Witch's spell is weakening, in the form of Father Christmas who supplied them with food and presents.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 11: Aslan Is Nearer

Edmund fans will be disappointed to note that this is the last chapter in the book where Child!Edmund will be allowed a voice. Say your fond farewells now.*

Metapost: Thank You

I want to thank everyone who has donated this year and particularly this month. Every donation is deeply appreciated and helps out. Thank you.

Narnia: What More Do You Want?

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Forced Marriage, Misogyny]

Narnia Recap: Shasta spent a night among the tombs and now we get to see what Aravis has been doing with herself.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 7: Aravis in Tashbaan

Hey-o, everyone! I have been simultaneously looking forward to this chapter (because Aravis! and Lasaraleen!) while also dreading it. Because, and I want to make this very clear, I have white privilege--as do a lot of our readers, I think. So I want to move forward carefully here and it might be a good time for everyone to think about re-visiting the Obligatory Note about racism linked above. Right, let's jump in.

WHAT HAD REALLY HAPPENED WAS THIS. When Aravis saw Shasta hurried away by the Narnians and found herself alone with two horses who (very wisely) wouldn’t say a word, she never lost her head even for a moment. She grabbed Bree’s halter and stood still, holding both the horses; and though her heart was beating as hard as a hammer, she did nothing to show it. As soon as the Narnian lords had passed she tried to move on again. 

Okay, that's a fairly practical solution. It doesn't really address all the points that have already been brought up about how the horses shouldn't be nearly so easy to disguise as all this, but we have two horses and a girl and they're doing their best here.

But before she could take a step, another crier (“Bother all these people,” thought Aravis) was heard shouting out, “Way, way, way! Way for the Tarkheena Lasaraleen!” and immediately, following the crier, came four armed slaves and then four bearers carrying a litter which was all a-flutter with silken curtains and all a-jingle with silver bells and which scented the whole street with perfumes and flowers. After the litter, female slaves in beautiful clothes, and then a few grooms, runners, pages, and the like. And now Aravis made her first mistake.

I... I'm all about weird coincidences in novels, but we may have crossed a line at this point. Not only did Shasta end up in the right city on the right day at the right moment in the exact right spot to be mistaken for his long-lost twin brother, but now directly behind the Narnians is one of the few people Aravis knows well enough to be able to spot her out of a crowd. I would have put Lasaraleen a few more feet down the road and a paragraph or two later, but what do I know about dramatic pacing.

Open Thread: Orange


Flowers as my school.  Taken the last day I'll set foot on the campus as a student.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Metapost: The Toast

Today I learned that The Toast is closing. I completely respect, understand, and honor their decision while also grieving deeply for a truly great feminist humor site. I know a lot of the readers here also read there, and there was tremendous overlap in interests between our sites. This is a space for folks to grieve if they need and want.

I have a lot of feelings about this, not least coupled with the guilt I feel about my own slower posting schedule. I actually am here--I read all the comments! and love them!--but I'm acutely aware that my "output" has drastically dropped. This is not due to burnout so much as lack of time in the day--I'm writing a lot, but it's "book" writing and therefore not blog-posts. Balancing the two has been very difficult for me; the mental "switching" between the two forms of writing is hard.

I've thought about posting fic on the site just to have content, but the few times I've posted fic I don't think it caught a lot of interest--the overlap between people looking to read nice shiny fic vs. people looking for bookish deconstruction may not actually be 1:1. Possibly I need to just practice switching until I'm better at it and go from there, I don't know. I will try, at any rate.

Anyway. This is a notice to let people know that I'm still here. *hugs* to everyone who wants them.

Open Thread: May shower on an April flower


One of many such pictures taken on May 3rd.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Repost: Gender Essentialism and Female War Veterans

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



Narnia Recap: Edmund has slipped out of the Beavers house and has reported to the Witch's home. The other children and the Beavers have realized that they are in grave danger.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 10: The Spell Begins to Break

Earlier this year, I read a wonderful book called "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" which is sort of a half-personal, half-serious account of one woman's struggles with gendered toys while trying to raise her daughter to be strong, independent, and happy. I enjoyed the book immensely, and I recommend it highly. Today's post is also about gender essentialism and gendered toys and gender assumptions and a lot of other gendery things in the Chronicles of Narnia. And so I want to make some disclaimers first.

Promotion: If I Was Your Girl

In case you missed it, Meredith Russo's If I Was Your Girl is available for purchase today. It's a YA novel with a trans girl protagonist, written by a trans author who is also my friend on Twitter and generally awesome.



I haven't read this book yet, but it's so high on my reading list it's basically #1 right now. Meredith is sweet and funny and clever, and we need so many more books written by trans authors. I'm really excited to see If I Was Your Girl published and I hope we see lots more from Meredith.

Open Thread: Snowgrass


[image] I live in New England; it was Tuesday.

I'm sure there are a plethora of places you could use to replace "New England" in that sentence and end up with similar Tuesdays.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Narnia: Passing Time

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has run away from the Narnians.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 6: Shasta Among the Tombs

Haha, did you think we were going to see Aravis any time soon? I DID TOO, but we were wrong. It would seem that Lewis has a really hard time being crowbarred out from the white male point of view character he's imprinted on.

Okay, I will freely admit I am starting out snarky here. It is a valid writing choice to follow Shasta's path out all the way to the "dead-end" and then backtrack to take up Aravis' path. It's not a writing path I would use here, and it reminds me personally too much of video game mechanics where split-the-party mechanics end with everyone hanging out in a big waiting room, but it's a valid choice. However, I went to sleep last night thinking "well, at least I get to write about Aravis in the morning" and that isn't panning out, so y'all get snark.

  SHASTA RAN LIGHTLY ALONG THE ROOF on tiptoes. It felt hot to his bare feet. He was only a few seconds scrambling up the wall at the far end and when he got to the corner he found himself looking down into a narrow, smelly street, and there was a rubbish heap against the outside of the wall just as Corin had told him. Before jumping down he took a rapid glance round him to get his bearings. Apparently he had now come over the crown of the island-hill on which Tashbaan is built. Everything sloped away before him, flat roofs below flat roofs, down to the towers and battlements of the city’s Northern wall. Beyond that was the river and beyond the river a short slope covered with gardens. But beyond that again there was something he had never seen the like of—a great yellowish-gray thing, flat as a calm sea, and stretching for miles. On the far side of it were huge blue things, lumpy but with jagged edges, and some of them with white tops. “The desert! the mountains!” thought Shasta.

I said waaaaay back in a previous chapter that there are glimpses and pieces where I feel Shasta was channeling an earlier ideal of a City Street Rat. I don't know if there was an earlier draft (seems unlikely) or if Lewis got the idea from 1,001 Nights (along with much of the rest of the aesthetic) or if it's only there for me, but there's these glimpses of a Shasta that isn't our Shasta. He's good at stealing, and good at not being caught. Now he's running over roofs like a pro despite never before having left the ground.

He's also getting his bearing pretty quickly, given that this place really ought to feel impossibly big to him. I mean, he's lived his entire life among rural villages of maybe a few hundred people but now he's capable of taking in at a glance where he is and how to get to the meeting-point they've already agreed upon. I'm impressed, and I don't know whether to chalk this up to spotty characterization (Shasta is what the narrative needs him to be), racist characterization (Shasta is the best because he's white), or my pet theory that this is a glimpse of an older, earlier, more competent and morally-gray Shasta who was a proper "city pauper" in contrast to Corin's princeliness.

Repost: Moral Event Horizons

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



Narnia Recap: Edmund has slipped out of the Beavers house and is heading for the Witch's home.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 9: In The Witch's House

   AND NOW OF COURSE YOU WANT TO know what had happened to Edmund. He had eaten his share of the dinner, but he hadn't really enjoyed it because he was thinking all the time about Turkish Delight -- and there's nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food. And he had heard the conversation, and hadn't enjoyed it much either, because he kept on thinking that the others were taking no notice of him and trying to give him the cold shoulder. They weren't, but he imagined it.

Regular readers of this deconstruction will possibly recollect that I have an unexpected soft spot in my heart for young Edmund, so in this chapter, it probably won't be too surprising to see me take an issue here or there with the narrative. What I wasn't quite expecting was how soon into the chapter this would occur.

Open Thread: Caustics


The glass gallon jug was free to good home.  Its shadow and caustics are seen here outside of the building where I found it.  The sun was bright, the wind was strong.  The dark shadow that goes out of the right side of the picture is from note saying it was free, it's being blown straight up here.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

[Added:] Sorry about initially publishing this without a name, and as a political season reminder, please take any stuff on the election to The Slacktiverse.  In fact, I've just made an open thread just for political stuff over there.

The platform there is kind of overly cautious when it comes to new faces so your comment might not show up right away if it's your first time posting there, but I'll make sure that it's told your not an evil spambot once you've made your first post.

Open Thread: Blue Too


They're sort of like giant sequins that are designed to blow in the wind.  As they blow they catch the light differently, creating an ever changing pattern.  This was a sunny day so the light and dark was particularly pronounced.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Blue


Floor of a Greyhound bus, low light.  The key to finding pretty, it has often seemed to me, is to always be open to finding it even when you're not looking for it and wouldn't expect it.  Maybe it's hiding on the floor of a bus, maybe it's the way light is reflected off of water glazing the concrete area where commuters wait for rides and buses when their journey on the T is over.  Actually reflections have a lot of potential.  Sun in the sky: blinding light, don't look it'll kill your eyes.  Sun reflection on largely flat water that has a gentle breeze rippling the surface: Sparkly!

Or maybe it's a rust formation on the metal sidewalk of a drawbridge.  Maybe it's the light through the leaves or the stitching pattern on a textile you never thought to take a close look at.  Maybe it's the way light comes through a dirty lampshade, or the bark on a tree.  Maybe it's those monochrome rocks they keep around the subway tracks, or lichen on a rock that you usually don't have time to notice.

Maybe it's the floor of a Greyhound bus.

The world is full of pretty once you start taking notice of it.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Xanth: Very Honorable Men

[Xanth Content Note: Rape, Misogyny, Self-Harm]

Castle Roogna, Part 8

When we last left Xanth (er, over a year ago, sorry), the Harpy Faction (air-creatures of all descriptions) and Goblin Faction (ground-creatures) were closing in on Castle Roogna. They are not, to be clear, particularly concerned with the humans in Castle Roogna; instead, they are closing on the site through the magic of Murphy's curse, which is sort of a play on "Murphy's Law" except not really.

Dor asks King Roogna what weapons they have left, and it all has a very quaint D&D slash McGyver slash Chopped feel to it, because you have to use everything in the basket to pull out a win. They have a Pied-Piper flute that makes people follow it, a two-inch ring that anything which passes through disappears forever, and a Major Forget spell. Vadne enlarges the ring to a thin hoop despite it being outside the normal limits of her "neo" (i.e., not-up-to-sorceress level) talent because fuck any kind of consistency when it comes to Vadne.

Chapter 11 starts with the words "Zombies ahoy!" because a centaur lookout has noticed that the Zombie Master has shown up with his horde to help. The problem is that there's a huge army between the castle and the zombie horde and they were really hoping to have the Zombie Master INSIDE the castle so that he can set up his laboratory and start zombifying people. I don't really understand this, because I thought I remembered his talent to be essentially touch-based and immediate, so why he can't just carve his way through the goblin army, zombifying things as they go, is unclear. The book just sort of asserts that the goblin army is a Problem, but I mean, it's the Problem that the zombie horde was brought here to solve.

Thing Of The Day: Rogue One

Also, here is some nice things in the wake of the new Star Wars trailer.

Xanth: A Romance Series

I plan to revive my Xanth deconstruction soonish, but I wanted to share this. It was a good affirming thing for me to realize.

Narnia: Noble and Free-Born People

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has been taken in by the Narnians so that we can observe their conversation from the character's POV.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 5: Prince Corin

Welcome back to Chapter 5! When we last left Shasta, he was idling in the corner while the Narnians planned their escape. That's fine. I explained why I'm theoretically okay with this as a rhetorical device. But now the author is faced with a rather big problem, namely: since the Narnians are going to where Shasta wants to go, and since their way seems a lot more fun and less dangerous, why can't he go with them?

Open Thread: South Station Spring


Taken on the 24th of March at South Station in Boston.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

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