Open Thread: Writer Workshop

A couple of you have requested a special monthly open thread dedicated to talking about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). So here it is!

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Open thread writing workshop below!

Metapost: Short Break

I really should have posted this last night, but there will be no Narnia/Twilight today and maybe not for a week or even (I hope not!) maybe two. I'm so sorry about that, but I'm having to juggle some stuff on this end which is causing bandwidth issues. I've not really wanted to talk about it on the board because it's... kinda boring? But in case you care, here is some metaposting!

1. The transcript project is still consuming 85% of my bandwidth, because I wanted to finish by May 1st and I'm not quite on target for that. I have shoved 180 transcripts out of 266 total, which means I am very close to done, but I'd just like to finish this, hence the short break from the board. I feel like a shitty blogger for sticking ya'll with that, but I can already tell the Narnia and Twilight posts are much better when I can focus better on them, so here we are.

2. In extremely related news to why there are no deconstructions scheduled for the week, I am having some issues with my part-time arrangements at work. I don't want to get into details, but basically I've spent probably 10-15 hours every week for several weeks now trying to pull together medical documentation to satisfy some changes to the way things are done at my day job now. It's very frustrating because it's one of those situations where every conversation goes, "yeah, no, you're obviously disabled, but we still need you to fill out form 3458-84c..." and that's been super fun.

So! A short break! I really am sorry, but hopefully it will be very short and regular business will continue soon. I love ya'll.

Narnia: Not At All Interested

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: "Noble Savage" Stereotypes]

Narnia Recap: Our heroes meet Sea People and start drinking sea water.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 15: The Wonders of the Last Sea

We're getting close to the end here; we only have two more chapters to go. This week we'll meet one of the few cultures in this book who don't need to be saved by the traveling human circus, but unfortunately they will be entirely caricatured by our heroes (and by our narrator) as Noble Savages with an emphasis on the savage part. So that's gonna suck.

   VERY SOON AFTER THEY HAD LEFT Ramandu’s country they began to feel that they had already sailed beyond the world. All was different. For one thing they all found that they were needing less sleep. One did not want to go to bed nor to eat much, nor even to talk except in low voices. Another thing was the light. There was too much of it. The sun when it came up each morning looked twice, if not three times, its usual size. [...]
   “How beautifully clear the water is!” said Lucy to herself, as she leaned over the port side early in the afternoon of the second day.

There's then a lot, a lot, of info-dump about how Lucy can see all the way to the bottom. And she sees water-forests and water-hills and water... roads, which seems a touch odd because I'm not sure I understand the value of roads when the people who live in the water-country don't (apparently) walk on the water-ground. And there's also a lot of stuff about how it is so strange and weird that the water-people would build water-castles on their water-mountains instead of in their water-valleys, only it makes sense because water-mountains are comforting and warm like our earth-valleys, whereas water-valleys are cold and dark and dangerous like our earth-mountains.

And absolutely none of this made sense to me as a kid--nor does it now--because you can't call water-valleys deep, cold, dangerous, unknown places when you've already said that Lucy can see clear down to the bottoms, fathoms below. So, what, she can see through to this huge depth of X, but a slightly bigger depth of X+1 is not only impossible for her eyes to penetrate, it would also be a major impediment keeping the locals from building down there. Huh? Additionally, building castles on hills and mountains is a thing people do; mountains are more defensibly than valleys and are additionally less likely to flood. So there's this weird, very weird, justification for things that would seem to assume that reality isn't what it is and the whole thing ends up feeling (to me) like this is something Lewis recycled out of an earlier fanfic.

What is depressing to me about all this is that so much of this book has indefensibly vague parts in it, where just a little more detail would have perhaps fixed things--like, for example, an explanation of why they couldn't be arsed to at least try to help the golden statue--but here we get pages and pages of bizarre scenery porn that isn't and doesn't (imho) work.

Open Thread: Lies

Hosted by a face in hands

Determined to Tell Lies

Determined to tell lies
People are able only to tell the truth -
Said Rahman

I said - 
Leave aside truth and lies
People only speak

And what about people who don't speak - 
Asked Rahman - 
What do they say?

I said -
You know religion, Rahman,
I don't say a thing 
- Dilip Chitre

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 coming up, 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! 

 ~ Kristycat

Twilight: They Just Don't Care

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 17, we play baseball. 

Twilight, Chapter 17: The Game

OK! We're past all the billion sudden plot points (and mess of terrible) that got dumped on us when we arrived at Chapter 17, and now it's time for vampire baseball. Except I probably shouldn't have been hyping it up all this time, because literally nothing I could say about it would be amusing at this point. But let's dive in!

   He smiled wistfully and released all of me but one hand. He led me a few feet through the tall, wet ferns and draping moss, around a massive hemlock tree, and we were there, on the edge of an enormous open field in the lap of the Olympic peaks. It was twice the size of any baseball stadium.
   I could see the others all there; Esme, Emmett, and Rosalie, sitting on a bare outcropping of rock, were the closest to us, maybe a hundred yards away. Much farther out I could see Jasper and Alice, at least a quarter of a mile apart, appearing to throw something back and forth, but I never saw any ball. It looked like Carlisle was marking bases, but could they really be that far apart?

This chapter continues more of the same Bigger and Better themes of the book: vampire baseball isn't really about a tighter focus on nuance or skill, but is rather really more about super-sizing the existing game. The bases are farther apart. Every not-hit is a strike. Every hit is a home run. Every home run has the outfielders running to Canada and back (or wherever).

Metapost: Late

There is an excuse for why there is no Twilight post this morning, but it's a poor one: I haven't felt well all week because my back pain has flared up which causes me to take pain meds which screws up my sleep schedule which causes my back pain to flare up. Et cetera.

But I am sorry and I will try to have VAMPIRE BASEBALL up soon this afternoon or, barring that, tomorrow. (Spoiler: It's totally boring, and I've just been looking forward to it out of sheer determined bloody-mindedness to get past it. LOL.)

Narnia: Only One Right Answer

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Suicide, Contempt of Consent, Disproportionate Punishment]

Narnia Recap: Our heroes meet a retired Star.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 14: The Beginning of the End of the World

We're gonna try to whip through Chapter 14 in one week, for a couple of reasons. One, the first half of the chapter is mostly world-building around Ramandu and Coriakin as stars, none of which is particularly noteworthy this far after the fact and in light of the fact that, you know, Coriakin keeps slaves. And Ramandu doesn't give very many shits apparently about his own ensorcelled prisoners. So wev.

Two, the main thrust of this chapter--Caspian's brow-beating of the Reluctant Sailors--has already been touched on in a previous post, so we can return to that and mop up some of the theologies that we didn't get to yet. So let's get started!

Open Thread: Midnight

Hosted by a midnight sky

A Clear Midnight

THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
lovest best.
Night, sleep, death and the stars. 

- Walt Whitman

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 coming up, 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: Saxophone

Hosted by a saxophone player

Close your eyes for just a moment, and imagine the sound of a saxophone.  Something hot and jazzy, maybe, or slow and soulful.  Hear the notes floating in the air, tugging at your soul, quickening your blood.  Think of how a saxophone's sound seems to sidle up to your ear, like it's furtively inviting you to come and listen.  Take a moment, and just imagine listening to a saxophone play.

There.  Doesn't that feel better?

Open thread!  Talk about saxophones, or saxophone players, or saxophone music.  Do you play sax or know anyone who does?  Do you have a link to really good saxophone music to share?  Is there a night of music that stands out in your mind?  What's your favorite song to hear on the saxophone?
 ~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!  

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!  

Twilight: No Excuses Needed

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.
Extra Content Note: Discussions of rape, abuse, and kink.]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 17, we play baseball. 

Twilight, Chapter 17: The Game

Chapter 17 remains the longest chapter ever written, and I despair of getting to the actual baseball. But we are going to eventually, I promise! But first we have to wade through a lot of abstinence porn (which is great if that's your thing but is probably not great if that's not your thing) and a lot of Edward being genuinely awful at Bella. So let's put on our Wellingtons and slog through.

First we have to get Bella into an "off-roading harness" because the jeep is going to drive partway to wherever they play baseball which, apparently, is not reachable by your human roads (and only partly reachable by your human off-roading vehicles).

   “What’s all this?” I asked when he opened the door.
   “It’s an off-roading harness.”
   I tried to find the right places for all the buckles to fit, but it wasn’t going too quickly. He sighed again and reached over to help me. I was glad that the rain was too heavy to see Charlie clearly on the porch. That meant he couldn’t see how Edward’s hands lingered at my neck, brushed along my collarbones. I gave up trying to help him and focused on not hyperventilating.

Narnia: Knowledge and Belief

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Hell, Death Penalty]

Narnia Recap: The ship travels to an island where they find enchanted sleepers.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 13: The Three Sleepers

So when we last left our heroes, they had established that:

1. Honor could best be had, not by taking the sleeping Lost Lords back to the ship and (hopefully) away from whatever is ensorcelling them, but rather instead by The Caspian Five sitting stubbornly at the table all night long to see what happens.

2. It is extra-special super-duper honorable for The Caspian Five to do this by their lonesome selvesies, because having extra soldiers around to guard the one guy who is keeping Narnia from slipping back into chaotic civil war is for wimps and losers.

3. The narrator is still (and always will be) a dirty no-good liar because he promised us, way back on the Slavery Island of Financial Privilege (aka Bern's Badass Base Camp) that end-book Caspian would stop pulling these stupid solo stunts because they're stupid and stuntastic.

   They took some time choosing their seats at the perilous table.


Open Thread: "Wine, Women, and Song"

Hosted by wine...

...and women...

...and song.

“There are three things, and three things only, that can lift the pain of mortality and ease the ravages of life. These are wine, women and song.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

I had opportunity yesterday to think back on joyful nights of dancing and laughter, of flirting and fellowship and friends and of strong red wine.  And so that is the theme of this open thread: talk about nights of wine, women, and song.  Or wine, men, and song, or even just wine and song.  (I'll even accept just wine or just song, if you don't sing or drink!)  Spontaneous get-togethers or beloved traditions.  Nights where you're with friends and loved ones, magical nights where it feels for just this moment that everything is perfect, and for just a moment you believe it always will be.

Monday Reminder!  While I have fun coming up with pretty pictures and/or interesting “prompt” questions for open threads, you aren’t limited to those!  These threads are open - go wild, talk about whatever moves you!  (Just remember that this is still a safe space, please!)  

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! 

Tropes: The Real Me

[Content Note: Entitled Behavior]

There isn't really a proper deconstruction today, and I'm sorry for that. I've been kind of swamped with the filibuster work (because I'm so close and really just want to finish) and also my cough is still lingering which means medicated cough syrup which means sleepy-head. But! I did have a thing I wanted to talk about, that maybe you all will want to talk about too! (Discuss! Or not, lol.)

Husband has got us watching House, M.D. which... yeah. Ya'll can probably imagine how much I yell at the screen because it's about a privileged asshole who feels like medical consent is for ninnies, but it's also one of those properties where there are enough laughs and I like the actors involved well enough that I keep watching. So that's nice, your mileage may vary, etc.

But! We watched an episode last night (Insensitive) where Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Dean of Medicine, Dr. House's boss, and generally awesome) goes on a first date with a nice guy she meets on a dating site. Dr. House, being that he's an asshole, keeps interrupting her date and she sees through his bullshit and tells him to leave her alone because she's enjoying herself and he can live with it, so there. And it's really a great scene, and I'm fist-pumping along because yeeeaaah! You tell him, lady. Etc.

But then her date gets all pissy with her about being passionate about her job before revealing that his real issue is that she's passionate about telling off House. He's upset that she's more reserved around him, a guy she doesn't know from Adam, than she is around House, a man she's worked with for years and has a complex friendship with:

I don't know whether it's House, your job, or you just thrive on conflict, but you should hear yourself when you're talking to him. Nothing else in the world's going on. You're focused, confident, compelling. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd like to go out with that woman.

And now I'm groaning at the TV because I have heard this speech eleventy billion times before from men about wanting--no, demanding--to see "The Real [Me]", as though I'm being fundamentally dishonest or hiding my true feelings if I don't disclose every detail of my life on our first meeting.

It takes a truly, truly, astonishing level of privilege to assume that everyone walking around today could safely disclose everything about themselves to a stranger for the sake of instant honesty and intimacy. Every thought I think, every feeling I feel, every painful past memory, every aspect of who I am laid bare for others to poke and prod and consume for their own pleasure.

And it takes even more privilege to insist that people not only should walk around with their open selves on their sleeve at all times (any failure to do so is dishonest! a moral failing! a sign of immaturity! or of hidden feelings they can't deal with yet but totally should! please let me diagnose you as an amateur psychologist!), but that they should also be expected to disclose-on-demand anything else that might be demanded of them by a random privileged stranger.

The "real me"--like the real a-lot-of-us--is more complex than one mood in one interaction with one person. For most of us, it takes years of interaction, under a variety of settings and situations in order to intimately understand what makes us tick. The demand that all of us, particularly those of us whose viewpoints aren't constantly privileged in mainstream media (and, indeed, whose viewpoints are constantly flattened and minimized and two-dimensionalized in the same mainstream media), provide a window into the soul on demand is dehumanizing garbage.

Expecting a woman to have the same relationship with you on the first meeting as she does with a man she's been friends with for the better part of a decade--and then holding it against her when she doesn't--is unreasonable, entitled, patriarchal nastiness.

Friends: An Annotated Index of Ross Geller (119-124)

[Content Note: Misogyny, Patriarchal Relationships, Disability]

So did you enjoy the very slight Ross-reprieve on the last disc (which didn't even last the entire disc)? I hope so because now it's back to really-horrible-Ross-ville, population: YOU. And also probably lots of eyerolls and maybe some judicious rage, lol.

(Also, I'm sorry this one is coming after such a long delay--I've been sick this week, ugh.)

Metapost: Transcript Update

Not too many more of these left to go! We are rolling-rolling-rolling (keep those doggies rolling...)!

Proof (Vol.)
Proof (Prof.)
SB5 Video
not started
HB2 Video
not started
SB1 Video
not started
not started
Citizen (1)
not started
not started
Citizen (2)
not started
not started

Couple of things to add:

1. If you are already a Volunteer, please-please-please check your email for an important update I just sent out and please let me know if you did not get it. I want everyone to be able to weigh in on some stuff-and-things.

2. If you are not already a Volunteer, but would like to help me by checking that the links in an epub/mobi/pdf file (they're identical, so you can pick whichever to examine) actually go to where they are supposed to go, that would be super-helpful because links take time to check and I'm trying to get this finished. Drop me an email if you wanna help with this, and all my thanks in advance.