sartorias: (handwritten books)
Today's post features excerpts from a book about Diana Sperling, who was an indefatigable painter of real life scenes during the Napoleonic era. She works in so many delightful details of her home, what people wore and did.

I love artwork by ordinary people who depicted their lives as they saw them. The emotions this art evokes are different from that I feel before the timelessness of great artists, but that might just be me. (In museums I'm always drawn to statuary that is modeled from real faces rather than the ideal or the generically beautiful.)
sartorias: (handwritten books)
Many thanks for the good wishes! We're fine. The leaks are slowing. We'll find out if the condo association is responsible for fixing them, and if not, they join the very long list of repairs waiting until we get the debt load below five figures. (Assuming that ever happens.) It's not like it's going to rain like that again for another twenty years.

So the rain tamed early last night, though my cell phone blared twice about flash floods, and then pinged about a severe thunderstorm warning for the next hour. I never even saw lightning, so it must have sailed north of us, going squarely east.

I got our fresh matches (I always have flashlights around in case of midnight quakes that take out the power, but those are for escaping a crumbling house) and candles, in case, but unneeded.

I try to be mindful, but really, I can be such a clueless dork when it comes to certain kinds of habits. Like, I keep wearing the same two ragged cotton long sleeve shirts that constitute my home winter wear, because usually, we have maybe five or six mildly cold days of "winter" a year. We've had lots of cold days now, which I do relish, but last night even I felt cold when the temp plummeted, and my shirts were both waiting for a turn at the washer. (The heater has been broken for years, and I keep the windows wide open, so whatever it is out there is the same in here). And it STILL didn't occur to me until I woke up this morning that hey, all those nice long pants and sleeved shirts that I take back east each October, and never get to wear the rest of the year because they're too hot? I can put them on right here!

I feel as stupid as the day when I was around fifty, and realized I actually did not have to go downstairs to the bathroom there to get a single sheet of tissue to blow my nose every time I needed one while in the grip of a nasty cold. I could have tissues up here, of my own. Even if a pattern of authoritarian behavior has not been repeated for years--decades--its shadow has a long, long reach. Especially if you're an oblivious walk-into-a-wall like me.

Well, more tea, and more gleeful ripping apart of a project and doing a Frankenstein's monster restitch. It's so much fun to tear out wads of prose and toss it all.
sartorias: (handwritten books)
Kings and battles . . . timely, eh? What we need are heroes. I've been rewatching Nirvana in Fire because I need a dose of idealism, smart leadership, loyalty, and telling truth to power as an antidote to the news. Until that happens, today's BVC riff is about epics, and what I see as the lure.

Agree? Disagree?
sartorias: (handwritten books)
I was commenting to [ profile] asakiyume about how I was watching film clips, as I often do when resting my hands. I guess I was drawn to such after hearing that the wannabe Putin is trying to take control of intelligence and data gathering, and it is so depressing to consider how few of my fellow Americans have a sense of history--or of consequences.

Berlin, summer of 1900:

So many men and boys.

So many women in this one, same area, (some of same sites) in summer 1945:
sartorias: (candle)
This campaign, participated in by a slew of fellow writers to raise consciousness of mental health and depression related issues, has my entry here.
sartorias: (style)
Friendships seem to be okay in books, film, and TV, but heaven forbid anyone is committed, except in these favorites.

What are yours?
sartorias: (1554 S)
So we're trading off holding down the fort between repair people showing up, eldercare-related medical visits, and voting, someone always having to be here for said repair people (you know that "Will arrive sometime between noon and six p.m." routine).

It occurred to me this morning as I walked the dog through the neighborhood that there are fewer signs than I remember in the past. That will probably change when we get closer to November (sigh) but I was thinking, why do people put those things up? Is anyone ever convinced by those bright colored signs? Or is it simply about tribalism, and marking your chosen group?

The only bumper sticker I ever put on a car was my ancient Rambler, after I got back from Europe and discovered that my sibs had been driving it all that year and had gotten into several accidents. In those days, nobody had insurance, or at least nobody in our neighborhood. So my car looked like a junk heap on wheels, making it totally irresistible to have a MY OTHER CAR IS A KLINGON BATTLE CRUISER on it.

Well, that was funny in 1972.
sartorias: (Fan)
This one came via [ profile] supergee. Though it was not only funny, but typical of the Quakers I know.

Though I have to observe that the Quakers I know don't actually quake. But I suspect it's too late to call themselves Penners, though a lot of them have written some pretty good stuff.
sartorias: (desk)
[ profile] rachelmanija and I talk about"specialness" in our reading and subsequently our approach in writing.
sartorias: (desk)
Reflections of immortality? Personal expression? Scam? Challenge? Looks at street art, rock art and possible meanings.
sartorias: (desk)
Deborah J. Ross talks about it over at BVC in what I thought was a thought-provoking post.
sartorias: (desk)
Some thoughts about Danny by Steven Harper and an interview.

I think he makes the magical realism element work with a tough subject--whereas another book, one getting max publicity, from a very popular writer, doesn't.
sartorias: (desk)
I thought this post by [ profile] mrissa spot on in so many ways.

Not just the wrongness of so many would-be helpful posts about "the care and feeding of" introverts (actually, that care and feeding of bit has always irked me with its sly condescension with a veneer of being wise), but about the different types of extroverts.

Also about acquiring skills. Though social interaction is a skill learned at different axes, like skating or math, say. All three I have tried to work at all my life, with an abysmal success rate.

And about the work involved. For the following social gathering givers in my immediate circle:

*My extrovert sister, whose gatherings are pretty much always successful, largely because of her natural charm but also she puts together people who have something in common, as well as organizes the details beautifully. (So when the gathering cross-sections with family, like a baby shower, and I find I am the only one there with utterly nothing in common with anyone else I can fade into the kitchen and be helpful behind the scenes, and she will permit that rather than chivvy me out exhorting me to "be social!") Afterward she can collapse and say, well that went well, and be right.

*My extrovert late grandmother, who loved gatherings, but who put together people who frequently had nothing whatsoever in common, and so would expend great energy going around trying to force people into groups with the exhortation that you should be more outgoing!--the most painful of all being "You are single, and so is X!" [It was such a relief when we all were un-single!] Afterward she could collapse and say, that went well, and be oblivious. But well-meaning. Obligation having been the glue that brought everyone, not things in common.

*A largely self-proclaimed introvert relative who obligates others to do the cook/clean/serve work, and who puts together a gathering in order to be the center of attention. If the group is not circled around X, will go to little groups and obligate them back into the bigger group with a wistful, martyred air of "well, I guess little me is too dull," and continue to hold forth. And afterward collapse with "Well that was exhausting, but I did my duty," having talked Xself out.
sartorias: (desk)
Emerging from the hideousness of having to disassemble ten thousand books, the closets, the kitchen, because a week ago a black widow crawled across my pillow just before I was going to turn out the light and go to bed. Result, inspection, surprise, termites eating the walls, black widows everywhere. Expensive treatment, massive work, my hands hurt so much I have trouble holding a glass of water.

Enough of that.

Sara Stamey, whose Ariadne Connection I thought a vivid, extremely tense thriller with an infusion of the fantastical, writes about the Hemingway Complex.

Her life: wow.

At the end, she asks if writers need a Hemingway Complex or can one write from pure imagination. The easy answer is, of course they can: Patrick O'Brian apparently never set foot on a tall ship, and he certainly couldn't have experienced the Napoleonic wars. Contrast that to memoirs written by people in harrowing experiences who managed to render them utterly banal.

Some of that can be attributed to talent, but I also think that memory is an issue here. It's such a weird thing, memory. We can remember every detail of something we've read with as much passion and emotion and even a sense that we could smell, taste, or touch the experience as something we actually experienced in our physical selves. People we've read about -- fictional characters who never breathed -- can be as real as relatives. And more precious to us.

It seems to me anyway that merely recounting physical experiences can be handled by journaling--or journalism. Fiction writers's minds--imaginations--take sights, sounds, smells, impressions and string them together into patterns that spark meaning in others' minds.
sartorias: (desk)
Originally posted by [ profile] rachelmanija at Requires Hate/Requires Love
(More victims speak out below)

If you are not already aware of the Requires Hate situation, there is a full report here. Briefly, a person who writes under the pen name of Benjanun Sriduangkaew was revealed to be the notorious harasser Winterfox/Requires Hate/Lesifoere/many other aliases.

For over ten years, Requires Hate made death threats and rape threats, and stalked and harassed many people, including myself. To date, she has not responded to my public request for her to promise to leave me alone.

She engaged in a systematic campaign to destroy the careers of writers whom she apparently saw as her competition, primarily women writers and writers of color, by abusing and intimidating anyone who reviewed their books, harassing and threatening the writers themselves, attempting to get the writers professionally ostracized, and engaging in blackmail. (The blackmail link goes to an anonymous report; however, I have personal knowledge of the blackmail and vouch for it.)

I am posting to state that I have reported her to the police. I previously didn't say so publicly because I didn't want to give her the pleasure of knowing that she succeeded in making me fear for my life. However, I believe that the chances of her retaliating violently against me or others, whether in person or by hiring someone, are lessened if she knows that the police are aware of the situation. If any harm comes to me, a detailed report is on file documenting that I have a longtime stalker with a history of threatening death and violent attacks, including acid-throwing.

Supporters of Requires Hate often try to garner support for her and suppress discussion of her abuse by saying that speaking out against her is inherently racist because she's a woman of color, and that to support women writers of color, one must support Requires Hate. This erases the many other women of color in the field - a number of whom have been abused by her. Despite her efforts to suppress other female writers of color, she is hardly the only one.

Marginalized people are often unfairly persecuted and falsely accused. It's reasonable to be suspicious when you first hear claims that a woman of color is abusive. But marginalized people are people, and some people are abusive. Some marginalized people are abusive. Supporting abusers is not justice.

If you would like to do something positive, I suggest that you make an effort to read and review the works of writers with marginalized identities, and to promote the writers themselves whenever possible, such as by considering them as convention guests, lecturers, columnists, and so forth. There are very genuine obstacles in their paths that non-marginalized writers don't face, and they could use your support. Also, I very much doubt that Requires Hate will revive her campaign of harassing reviewers, so it should now be safe to review again.

If you're not sure where to start, here is a non-exhaustive list of sff/mythic fiction writers with marginalized identities of various kinds. The majority are women writers of color. Writers who were targeted by Requires Hate are starred. Please consider purchasing and/or reviewing at least one book or story by one of these writers, or by another writer of your choice.

*Saladin Ahmed
*Athena Andreadis

Samhita Arni
Samit Basu
Joseph Bruchac
Joyce Chng/J. Damask
Zen Cho
Aliette de Bodard
Tananarive Due
Zetta Elliott
Andrea Hairston
Nalo Hopkinson
S. L. Huang
*N. K. Jemisin
Alaya Dawn Johnson
*Caitlin Kiernan
Yoon Ha Lee
Malinda Lo
*Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
*Karen Lord

Lyda Morehouse/Tate Halloway
Shweta Narayan
Ty Nolan
Nnedi Okorafor
*Cindy Pon
Michelle Sagara/Michelle West
Sofia Samatar
Cynthia Leitich Smith
*Kari Sperring
*Tricia Sullivan

Judith Tarr
Shveta Thakrar
*Liz Williams

If you want to talk about Requires Hate, feel free to email or PM me. Please do not discuss her in comments. Trolling and off-topic comments will be deleted.

Liz Williams, one of Requires Hate/Benjanun's many victims, speaks here

Another victim, Athena Adreadis, speaks here

(Rachel again) I am enabling comments ONLY for the discussion or recommendation of works by marginalized writers other than her, and for topics related to that. (My book reviews are tagged by author: surname.) Feel free to state a subgenre or tropes that you like, and maybe I or other commenters can rec something for you.

Please note that you don't necessarily know exactly how people identify, so stating the nature of a writer's minority identity is not necessary. Let's not do any identity-policing or arguing over whether any given identity is sufficiently marginalized to be called that. Definitions differ, so we can all decide that question for ourselves.

Crossposted to Comment there.
sartorias: (desk)
I first became aware of the "Requires Hate" blogger when people would link to her vitriolic reviews of certain books. Many of these reviews were lauded by people who felt that "Requires Hate" was speaking up for minorities who have been silenced for far too long.

But when I joined the now-defunct LJ group meant to discuss and propagate word of works by persons of color, and saw the nasty posts by someone named Winterfox that effectively shut down the conversation, and subsequently heard that Winterfox was another persona of Requires Hate, I set out to avoid both those personas as much as I could.

When the kerfuffle over [ profile] rachelmanija's and my book Stranger evolved into the Yes-to-Gay-YA movement and then was turned toxic by another troll, Requires Hate/Winterfox/whatever-new-sockpuppet used the opportunity to slam Rachel some more, and me by association, as well as our book (which needless to say she could not have read, as it only existed in ms form) and I went even more head down. I thought this was random troll action.

Well, it turns out that the situation was a whole lot worse than I thought. This is over ten years of systematic and frightening abuse, the most frequent targets female writers. Of color.

In the comments there, you will find links to posts by some of this persona's many other victims, including [ profile] rachelmanija's full story.

I'm linking this because it seems to me that without any kind of legal protection against this kind of abuse, the net community, specifically the SFF community in which this particular troll, whatever their real identity is, is operating, needs to form its own net of safety for victims to be able to speak out and feel safe against abuse and attack.

I'm closing comments because I think enough vitriol has been splashed about, but I encourage anyone reading this who was also a victim, and thought they were alone, to read that link and speak up, if only anonymously, or write to Laura or the others directly.

I think the creation of safe space is important in this weird new iteration of human culture. We have to protect ourselves as we can.

EDITED TO ADD: And here is an attempt to provide that space.
sartorias: (Fan)
Over at her blog, [ profile] rachelmanija asked people to name the most obnoxious, ear-grating songs they have ever heard. Not ordinary songs they happened to be hearing when something terrible happened that made them hate the song. Actual stinkers that drive them straight out of the room.

It has been fun to see how passionate people get about music, though not a surprise. Sometimes I wince with embarrassment when people name something I rather like. But the responses are so intense. Music is so very personal at times.

My answer was: pop versions of "Jingle Bells."

Pretty much anything by John Denver, or Barry Manilow. Both the quality of their voices and their music drives me straight out of a room.

I loathed the sound of Carole King's voice, though I liked a lot of her songs if someone else sang them.

Another song I really, really hated was "American Pie." During 1971-2 you could not get away from it and its several thousand nasally whining verses. After which it ear wormed you. Blast and damn, it's ear worming me NOW. I have to go put on some Ernst Bloch, or maybe For Minor, to counteract the evil spell.
sartorias: (a shadow passed over my face)
A few days back, Kari Sperring put up an excellent post about collateral damage, which got me to mulling a response. But today Judith Tarr pretty much said it for me here.

I will only add to those very popular, young and pretty authors who have rah-rahed to their followers about how those "old guard" ought to get out of the way/retire/drop dead, guess what. You will be old too, yet you will still feel you have something to say. I wonder if anyone will listen.

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