Ten Minute Poem

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

Aug. 31, 2011 -- 6:31 p.m.

Well, grad school is more time-consuming than I expected. It's a little daunting to be surrounded by A-students who've been in the full-immersion class environment more recently than I. I'm used to competing with other slackers, not younger, more mathematically gifted versions of myself. I'm used to being at the top of the class, not the back. It doesn't help that everyone else attended BYU and so already seems to know everything about the campus while I'm stumbling around lost wondering what big hunk of brown brick I'm supposed to be going to. I wish there was a shuttle from one end of campus to the other. Getting from parking to my classes is pretty intense in the heat/humidity (yes, Utah does have a little of that.)

Anyway, first assignment due this weekend. We'll see if my writing/analysis ability is still any good. I've forgotten how to do simple things, like citations and mathematical proofs.

I'll try to post pics from Worldcon this weekend. It was awesome, but the kind of awesome that's hard to form into words. Mostly a sense of community. You can wander over to someone and strike up a conversation with people who share your loves, instead of looking at you with confusion and pity. And so many of my idols. E.G., I hung out at the Tor Party before the claustrophobia got to me and someone walked up and started talking to me and it was Lois Bujold. Lois Freaking Bujold just started talking to me like she's an ordinary person and not a goddess of awesome. In my own personal pantheon of Gods, anyone with a wheel-barrel full of literary awards is certainly able to pull a fiat lux out of nowhere and make it bright enough to blind my ass.

All the authors/editors had the same advice for breaking in. Write. Write some more. Write a lot more. Don't follow trends. I keep hoping if I collect enough chips of wisdom, I can cash in for a book deal, but it doesn't work like that. I understand, but I still can dream that someone somewhere will have the magic word that I need to hear.

The writing group with Louise Marley and N.K. Jemisin went well. Both of the pros had some hard things to say, but they were good hard things that I needed to hear. I'll take some of their advice and ignore the rest, but it was cool talking to them. Louise Marley grew up in one of the towns I used to cover with the newspaper I edited. Small world.

Anyway, until I post pics of me sitting in the Iron Throne, here's a poem I wrote in ten minutes, because that's all the time for writing I've had this week. I'll try to lock myself in a closet this weekend, where considerations of calculus don't tread on my creative synapses.


The pencil of Black Moods

is scribbling in my ear.

It makes thick, jagged lines

Whispering as it carves straight into

The pink lining of my cochlea.

From above, its scratches look like

Yarn after the cat’s been in the crochet drawer.

Or maybe letters formed by a two-year-old,

Who abandons things midway to go chasing after orange Jello.

Half-formed memories flow, twisted and taunting,

Belched out by the tip of the dark lead

Pressed against my eardrum--

The next-door neighbor to my brain.

The pencil of Black Moods

is scribbling in my ear.

Scribbling, scribbling…

Good thing I have an eraser.

Playboy Feminism

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 6, 2011 -- 7:55 p.m.

I enjoyed reading Linda Holmes' takedown of producer's attempts to sell the new show 'The Playboy Club' as 'female empowerment'.

I hate the fact some people conflate 'low neckline' with 'female empowerment'. There is a distinction. Female empowerment is the right to be able to do what you want with your breasts. If you want to be celibate? Sure, if it makes your life happier and more fulfilling. Wanna be a stripper? Sure, if it makes your life happier and more fulfilling.

(And I have met some very smart, well-adjusted strippers. And some not-so-well adjusted ones.)

The point is, it's every woman's decision, and you have the right to make it for yourself, hopefully for the right reasons. I feel like a lot of teenage girls let themselves get pressured into doing dumb things because there's this assumption that you have to do something to satisfy a man's expectations. That if you flirt or let someone take you out to a really expensive restaurant, then he's entitled to kiss you, to f*** you. That's not the case. Your sexuality is your own, nobody else's, and you don't owe anybody anything.

But in and of itself, sexuality is not necessarily empowering. It's especially not empowering if it perpetuates the idea that a woman's value is determined solely on the basis of her bra size. Appearance is only one facet of a person's personality, male or female. It's a big, important part in terms of dating and your professional life, but you bring more to the far more to the table, even if you're only a 34B.

Of course, maybe the Playboy Club was counting on the publicity generated by their stupid marketing techniques to drum up bigger ratings. If so, I think it's a failure, since the people who pay attention to feminist blogs probably aren't going to watch it anyway.

(Read an excerpt from Gloria Steinum's expose on the Bunny Clubs here.)

Sickness and Health

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

August 3, 2011 -- 12:33 p.m.

Ugh. It's amazing how the end of writing a book can leave you so frustrated, tired and depressed. It's like reaching the end of a marathon without the runner's high. There's the brief moment of joy and then...thud.

I can't bear to begin revising it at the moment. I'm bursting with creative energy though, even if I'm lethargic. Maybe I'll churn out another short story.

What I really want to do is start working on an epic fantasy about a city made entirely of mist but I probably ought to go back to the one I was working on during Brandon Sanderson's class, since it's already partially finished. New shiny ideas always seem to win out over dull old ones in terms of distraction.

It's also interesting how illness can strike two similar people in different ways. Monday, I woke up so dizzy I was barely able to stand up, so I spent the day napping and felt better after the sea-sickness passed. I wanted to nail the room down and say YOU! SIT! STAY!

But a family member of mine who works at a law firm felt fine...until he passed out in the middle of a deposition, banging his head a face times on the way down. The red scabs on his face looks like he got in a bloody beer brawl instead of a brawl with a table. He felt fine, afterward. Refused to let them take him to the hospital. I joked that he was the beginning of a House episode.

I figure we had the same illness and it just manifested in two different ways. Perhaps another symptom is me not particularly feeling like writing about the rest of my Hugo votes, though I did get them in on time. Oh well, maybe later.

In the meantime, in honor of all the Doctor Who nominees, here's the 1960s classic, 'I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek...'