yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
I picked up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k, a book on increasing wordcount output, after seeing it recommended somewhere. It's $2.99 as a Kindle ebook and a fast, well-organized read. It also, sadly, doesn't help me much. But that's not surprising; Aaron herself says in her introduction that every writer's process is different and that if you don't find her methods useful, scrap 'em.

Aaron's method is based on three cornerstones: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.

By knowledge, Aaron means you should know what you're going to write before you write it. This doesn't just mean outlining in the usual sense that most writers use, but even something so simple (as she mentions) as sitting down for five minutes before your daily writing session and jotting down notes on how you want your scene to go.

I am an outliner--I outline at the chapter level because I find it almost impossible to finish stories that don't have some level of preexisting structure. (I learned this the hard way, after leaving dead story-corpses all over my hard drive and not being able to finish things for years. There's a reason my short story output per year is not great.) I rarely outline in more depth than that because I have almost never found it helpful to do so. Well, in a spirit of open-mindedness, I tried Aaron's method while working on Dragon Pearl. I spent about five minutes and worked out where I thought the scene was going to go. Within 500 words, I had gone completely off the rails, so that was pretty much a waste of time. I could have tried it again, but I know myself well enough to be pretty convinced that going off the rails would be a regular occurrence. I mean, I'm the person who tossed off Kel formation instinct almost as a throwaway worldbuilding detail only to have to practically take over the trilogy (it's a major theme and plot factor in both Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun), and a character who had not even existed in the outline for Revenant Gun ended up becoming one of the major secondary characters. So, uh, yeah. Since I'm prone to zig where I was supposed to zag, this bit of advice is not helpful to me. But it might work for you.

By time Aaron means time management--not just making the time to write, but figuring out your own writing output patterns and playing to your strengths. So if you take a couple weeks to record your wordcount output and discover that you write fastest in the evenings, then prioritize writing in the evenings. If you write best when you have several uninterrupted hours, try to arrange your life to make that possible. Things like that. This part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't work another day job--I'm a stay-at-home parent. I can pretty much arrange my hours however I want. I'm not great at time management, but this is more a function of my terrible willpower than lack of self-knowledge.

The last bit is enthusiasm, by which she means that stuff you're genuinely enthusiastic about writing will go faster--often much faster--than stuff you're not. I have experienced this; I think many of us have. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help me. I am sitting on a weapons-grade mood disorder. My being able to sustain enthusiasm about ANYTHING for longer than a few hours is pretty much never going to happen. When I have writing projects scheduled out a couple years in advance, it's pretty hard to imagine being able to maintain any level of enthusiasm for the work to come. And, I mean, besides bipolar disorder being disruptive, I spend a lot of time depressed, including depressed about my writing. So this is just a wash.

She does have one useful insight that I've observed about my own writing (and which I wish someone had told me rather earlier), which is that when you seem "stuck" in your writing, sometimes it's because your subconscious is trying to tell you that there's a glitch in what you're currently trying to do, and you need to reconsider your approach. I have definitely had that experience--generally once I figure out a solution to the problem in the writing, the "blocked" feeling resolves itself.

Anyway, the Rachel Aarons of the world may well be able to write a decent novel draft in the twelve days that she cites, but I am never going to be able to do that. I can't sustain much more than 2,000-2,500 words per day without burning out, partly because I don't think fast, partly because writing is a painful endeavor for me. I guess I will have to be resigned to being slow and suboptimal. Her observation that you should be as excited about your writing as you want your readers to be particularly dismays me, because I spend most of my time hating my professional writing [1] and by this standard I'm just doomed. :/ But that's not Aaron's problem, it's mine.

[1] In all fairness, my fanfic isn't much better, it's just that in fanficlandia people tend to not actually leave comments if they think your fic sucks, they just leave crickets. :p

So, but, the election!

May. 29th, 2017 08:22 pm[personal profile] radiantfracture
radiantfracture: and i know which way the wind is blowing (barometer)
You may remember that the province I live in had an election two weeks ago, but we didn't know if anyone had actually been elected or not because a) close races and b) massive pile of absentee votes.

The final counts and recounts happened, and the seat distribution is the same: Liberals 43, NDP 41, Green 3. No majority of seats, no government.

Today, the best possible thing (from my perspective) was announced: the Greens will support the NDP, giving a combined total of 44 seats. (It's not technically a coalition, apparently, but a "Confidence and Supply Agreement".)

Since this better represents the preferences of a majority of the voters, my sense of fairness is satisfied as well as my personal glee.

Various things can happen at this point. I know because I asked my proximate political wonk for a telladonna1.

1. The premier resigns and the Lieutenant Governor asks the NDP (+ Greens) to form the government.
2. The premier doesn't resign, the legislature takes a confidence vote, and she's, I guess, removed. The Lieutenant-Governor asks the NDP (+ Greens) to form the government.
3. The premier doesn't resign, and instead calls for another election.
4. The premier does resign, but the LG for whatever reason decides another election is the better choice.

Obvs. I'd like #1, though I'd take the high drama of the no confidence vote. (Well, you know, high drama in Canadian terms.)


1. Awesome @westwingweekly reference
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
So the first four episodes of season five of Steven Universe aired tonight as a "one hour special event." They will be re-airing individually throughout the week -- two tomorrow at 7:00, then one Wednesday & one Thursday.

Aside: my DVR didn't know what to do with a block that didn't have proper season/episode information attached and shoved it down at the bottom of the list, which made me think it hadn't recorded at first, that is, panic.


(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 10:16 pm[personal profile] the_rck
the_rck: (Default)
We went to Blue Nile for dinner on Saturday. As usual, we got the vegetarian meal for three. When we get the version with meat, we don't eat enough of it to justify the added cost. The vegetarian version is tasty, filling, and what we really want when we go there. There was live music which isn't really our thing but wasn't terrible. Service wasn't great. We ended up waiting for five to ten minutes at a time on three different occasions. There seemed to be plenty of waitstaff, and they were by no means full, so I really don't know what was going on.

I sent patient portal messages on Saturday to the oncology nurse I see to discuss my decision to stay off of Tamoxifen and to the sleep disorders clinic to ask what I should do about the c-PAP. I am almost entirely sure that the problem is not the headgear. I have issues with being worried that I'll break the hose, disconnect the hose, bend it so that air can't get through, etc. I also have issues with feeling like I'm trapped by the machine itself. Taking off and putting on the headgear feels as insurmountable as sitting in the middle of a row in a crowded theater and desperately wanting to escape. (I felt this yesterday while sitting at my SIL's house because I was stuck in a corner and couldn't get out without getting several people to move. It's very stressful even when there's no reason for me to need to get up at all.)

Feminine TMI )

We spent about five hours at Scott's sister's house yesterday. We left much later than planned because everything we tried to do kind of blew up in our faces. Cordelia's back went out rather abruptly Saturday evening, and she was still hurting a bit by Sunday morning. She doesn't seem to have done anything at all to cause it, either.
dunderklumpen: (Default)

Fandom: Teen Wolf
Characters/Pairings: It's a Scott & Stiles friendship fic. No pairing although you can read it as pre-slash if you want.
Rating & Warnings: PG 12 (just because they're swearing a little). Based on things that happen in season 3.
Notes: I need mostly help with SPaG and phrasing. The story is a translation of a german fic (ca. 1.500 words) and my nightmare would be that it reads like something a 12 year old has written. You know... Denglish;)
watersword: Line drawing of a computer mouse and the words "Sorry, up late.  Internet porn." Quotation from House, MD. (Stock: internet porn)
There are many things I could and probably should discuss, but I will instead take this moment to shriek to the heavens about the seemingly-eternal fuckedupness of DRM. Adobe and its stupid middleman software that does nothing useful but get between me and my public library have wasted a solid hour-plus of my time this evening, and OverDrive is also a piece of shit, and basically I just want to read a goddamn romance novel without needing to tear my hair out. (I have a lot of hair. A single three-strand braid without any kind of fancification reaches the middle of my back and is thick.) I need to go into the reference desk so they can help me find high-interest-low-readability books for the tutee (he's not there yet, but he's made a lot of progress and I am super proud of him), and I guess I will cry on their shoulder and hope they take pity on me.

DRM is a travesty of literally everything and I hate it. Adobe can go fuck itself. Even the PDFs I have lying around without DRM are getting swept into Adobe's maw.

The dwindling part

May. 29th, 2017 08:10 pm[personal profile] oursin
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)

Actually, although this was the last day and people have been leaving like whoa since the morning, it's been my day of wild amounts of social interaction, or, at least, catching up with (different) people at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as having the lakeside walk (which I thought I might not get to) with [personal profile] commodorified this afternoon.

Got caught in the on and off rainstorm coming back this evening, but there was a spectacular rainbow.

Also got to a panel on canon and fanon this morning, and managed to resist spending vast amounts in the dealers' room.

Tomorrow: onwards (well, back to O'Hare with a view to further travel).

Farmer's Market!

May. 29th, 2017 09:05 pm[personal profile] jadelennox posting in [community profile] davis_square
jadelennox: Ronia The Robber's Daughter: "My spring yell is coming!" (chlit: ronia: spring yell)
I had somehow decided the farmers' market didn't start until [community profile] davis_square told me it had, but apparently the universe doesn't revolve around our little community, and it's had two weeks already. Yum!

At Day & Herbert Streets
May 17 - Nov 22, 2017
Wednesdays, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
EBT-SNAP accepted
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
... And can only seem to write in two. So today was a federal holiday and also the start of SASO Bonus Round 1 and I. Got. Into. It. I prompted a lot and filled four slots. It was superfun and quite relaxing. Day well-spent, imho.

animal instinct, Aomine Daiki/Kagami Taiga, Kuroko no Basuke, Teen, 730 words. Daemons touching in the middle of Maji Burger? On a weekday? Totally scandalous. What would Kuroko say?

show me devotion (take me all the way) Yamazaki Sousuke/Matsuoka Rin, Free!, 862 words. After Rin left their boy band, Sousuke was bitter. Really bitter. Luckily, he managed to channel all of the negative feeling into his own solo career and find success. But what happens now that Rin is back and hotter than ever?

wanna wake up to you (all in tangles) Aomine Daiki/Kuroko Tetsuya, Kuroko no Basuke, 807 words. Aomine makes him stupid. Stupid and young and longing for something that never stays. But Kuroko's put all that behind him now. Of course he has.

courtly love, Aomine Daiki/Momoi Satsuki, Kuroko no Basuke, 925 words. Touou had wanted him and brought her along with the understanding that she could control him.

Goddamn, the last one was the the most fun to write and should be understandable even without knowing canon. A female yakuza boss takes control! Fun and chuckles around.

In addition to all that, I finally finished Kuroko no Basuke, season three. KnB: The Last Game has not yet been released so that's all for now. I'm considering reading the manga, which is super unusual for me.

Also, Carly Rae Jepson's "Cut to the Feeling" -- you've heard it, right? We all have. It's so good.

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 12:09 pm[personal profile] skygiants
skygiants: Jane Eyre from Paula Rego's illustrations, facing out into darkness (more than courage)
You know how you live your life, watching television shows like a normal person, and then suddenly you're watching an episode of a show and all the important and dramatic scenes are full of women over thirty interacting with each other, and even though people on screen are literally being set on fire you suddenly have this tremendous feeling of peace in your heart?

ANYWAY. Relatedly, the kdrama I've just finished is a Gothic thriller called (depending on who you ask) Ms. Perfect or The Perfect Wife. The show itself is not perfect, but if you're into Gothics and would like to watch a show in which grown women drive pretty much every plotline, it might be worth your time -- with the very strong caveat that despite some token nods towards the importance of treatment and therapy we're definitely going Full Madwoman In The Attic, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Any Brownie Points Regarding Trope Deconstruction Or Respectful Handling of Mental Health.

More under the cut )

WisCon 41 - Day 4

May. 29th, 2017 06:19 pm[personal profile] owlmoose
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
Links to previous days! Arrival Day / Day One / Day Two / Day Three

This was a programming-free day, because I decided to sleep in and take it easy rather than rush to any of the panels. It was the correct decision. Although I feel much better today than I did at the start of the con, being sick the entire time did put a crimp in my con experience; I didn't sleep as well, had much less energy than I wanted, and my voice was pretty thrashed by the end of every day.

So, anyway, after a casual breakfast, packing up, and checking out, [personal profile] renay and I said goodbye to [personal profile] justira, who had an earlier flight direct out of Madison, and went to the sign-out, where Nay added to the autograph collection in her copy of Joanna Russ's How to Suppress Women's Writing. It was delightful to join her for this leg of her quest, and to see the reactions of such women writers as Pat Murphy, Alexandra Erin, and Nisi Shawl. I also got Kelly Sue DeConnick to personalize the copy of Bitch Planet Vol. 2 that I bought on Friday.

Then, after a flurry of goodbyes, Nay and I hit the road to Chicago. The drive to the airport was mostly uneventful -- only a little more traffic than on the way up to Madison -- and we are now safely ensconced at our respective gates, waiting for the planes that will take us away from con space and back to real life. Even if the con experience wasn't exactly the one I would have asked for, I'm still so glad I went, and I absolutely plan to make the pilgrimage again next year. If I met you there, I hope to see you again, and if I didn't meet you, I hope I do.

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 06:15 pm[personal profile] the_rck
the_rck: (Default)
Well, the good news is that my documents all seem to be there. Of course, there was only one document that would have been an irreparable loss.

My bookmarks are still there in both Firefox and Chrome. My address book and calendar are intact.

But all of my archived email, two decades worth of photos, links, feedback, and correspondence, is gone. All of my iTunes files are likewise gone. Several programs have also vanished into the ether, and my preferences are intact some places and utterly gone in others.

The loss of the email archives is pretty devastating. I start crying when I think about it. Every single bit of fic feedback I got on LJ or via email is completely gone. Every discussion I had with anyone about story directions/progress is likewise gone. Every poem Scott wrote for me. Every photo of Cordelia that other people forwarded to me.

The iTunes files are only heartbreaking. I can restore some portion of what's gone, but some of the CDs are no longer playable because of having been exposed to young Cordelia. Some of the music was filk not available on CD. The library audiobooks I had in progress are gone, and some of those are no longer available from the library (plus, I tracked where I was in a book by deleting the already read tracks. I've now lost my place in twenty different books).

The version of Mail I have now no longer allows me to do any sort of offline archiving. This frustrates me vastly because I loathe having my mail on Google's servers any longer than it takes me to read it and either archive it or delete it. This version of Mail also insists on threading messages, something else that I loathe (it makes replying to specific messages nearly impossible). Are there other email programs available for use on a Mac?

Scott can't figure out why that other stuff didn't come over with the backup. My suspicion is that it's a space issue. Both the iTunes stuff and the email would have been huge. Scott didn't bother to clean his crap off of the new-to-me hard drive before trying to load my stuff. I'm making an effort to delete everything I can.

Writing and time travel

May. 30th, 2017 07:47 am[personal profile] 17catherines
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
I've been trying to write Michael's first story for a year and a half now.  He really needs to have his story written because there are a lot of stations in Paris that are named for him, and he keeps showing up in everyone else's stories being an angelus-ex-machina.  But he doesn't want his own story.

Until now, when he decided that he wanted a story involving time travel and alternate history and epidemics and Louis Pasteur and sneaky Camus, and more research than I have EVER done on one of these stories (ask me about silk worm parasites!  Actually don't, they aren't very interesting, but I promise you, I know a lot more about them than I did before).

I honestly can't tell any more whether this story is good or bad.  I can only tell you that it was absolutely determined to be written, and once I started writing it, I couldn't write anything else, which was a little alarming, because I haven't had a story that was quite this stubborn for some time.  Also, I am pretty sure I was the wrong author for this job (this is not about false modesty, it's about the fact that every single time I tried to figure out the time travel plot and the alternate timelines, I instantly got a headache - I really think my brain is not wired for this sort of story structure, which is a shame, because now that I have established Michael as a time traveller, I have a horrible feeling that it's going to be a feature of all his stories.  Though hopefully with less science, because my brain is also not wired for thinking about alternate science history this much.).

And then, when it was finished, I couldn't post it for another three hours because I had absolutely no idea what to do about a title. 

Anyway, it's done now, in all its oddness.

It's called Dragon's Venom, and it's for Saint-Michel station.

And I would like to revert now to the alternate timeline where I didn't feel compelled to write this story, and instead got a reasonable amount of sleep over the last few days...

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The following poems from the May 2, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

There are still verses left in the linkback poems "
Testing the Metal," "Dangerous Refuges," "The Marble and the Sculptor," "Picking Up the Litter," "The Golden Peaches of Peace," "Leaves Upon the Water," "The Quick Brown Fox," and "Lead Us in Peace." Linking to this page will reveal new verses in whichever linkback poem you request.

Read more... )

"The Black and the Red"
It talks about the history of red and black Seminoles, and how they feathered out after the Fledging.
54 lines, Buy It Now = $20

"Divisible History"
The people of Roluma history is not whole, but splinters, and nobody really comes out of it intact.
66 lines, Buy It Now = $33

If there's one thing that
the people of Roluma know,
it's that time is a fragile thing.

"Rewriting the Narrative"
From this I got the free-verse poem "Rewriting the Narrative." Just because you lost the war, doesn't prevent you from retelling history in your own image.
28 lines, Buy It Now = $15

"We Will Fade into You"
It explores what the Neanderthals left to the Cro-Magnons.
26 lines, Buy It Now = $15

Continuing with the Iron Horses, I wrote a diptych:

"The Place Where the Journey Begins"
The Iron Horses rescue a young man tangled in a barbed wire fence.
763 lines, Buy It Now = $382

The Iron Horses rode over
the open plains, motorcycles
eating up the endless miles.

They came together, broke apart,
and then gathered again like
a herd of buffalo dividing
around hills and ravines.

"We Are All Related"
The Iron Horses take Kenzie to a safe place for recovery.
1091 lines, Buy It Now = $546

Joseph Elkdog pulled his motorcycle
into the driveway as carefully as he could.

The ride had been nerve-wracking at times,
and they had to stop frequently to check
on Kenzie whom they carried between
their bikes, but they managed.


May. 29th, 2017 04:45 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
Dragon Pearl raw rough draft done at about 75,000 words.


I think I'm going to have a COOKIE. A really nice woman came up to me in this bookstore café and gave me a coupon for a FREE COOKIE with the purchase of a café drink. (She said she had too many of these coupons and she'd eaten her fill of COOKIES. She also gave another coupon away to another woman in the café area before leaving the store.)

I may also buy a book on writing that I've been eyeing.

And also I have to read this book on Korean feng shui for worldbuilding/magic system purposes. (Tantalizingly, [personal profile] swan_tower, it references the practice of feng shui-derived geomancy in Japan as well as Vietnam, etc., but the focus is on Korea. The book is Hong-Key Yoon's The Culture of Fengshui in Korea: An Exploration of East Asian Geomancy and Ch. 12 is The Use of Geomatic Ideas in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Cities, so maybe useful to you? I'm not very far in yet. The author is apparently trained in "cultural geography" (UC Berkeley), which I'm not even sure what that is because this is the first I've heard of it, but it might be worth seeing if he has academic articles on Japanese feng shui (fusui) specifically.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
This is the first book I’ve read by Walsh. I think she’s best known for a children’s time travel novel, A Chance Child, and official Lord Peter Wimsey fanfic.

Earth has been environmentally devastated and is about to be destroyed; it’s unclear if that’s because of war or something else. Many people have already fled in spaceships. The book is from the point of view of a very young girl, Pammy, whose family is with the very last group to flee, in a low-grade spaceship and with minimal preparation and supplies. The mad scramble to get out results in everyone being allowed to bring exactly one book, but no one consulting with each other to prevent duplication; this has major repercussions on the planet they end up on.

This is children’s sf, very short, written in clear, simple prose but with some remarkably beautiful imagery. It’s written from the point of view of a very young girl, Pammy, but she uses “we” and “Pammy” rather than “I,” reflecting that she’s part of a community of children.

The best aspect of the book is the evocative descriptions of the alien world and its landscapes and ecology. I absolutely love this sort of thing, and the world here is my favorite type: dangerous, strange, and beautiful. The book was worth reading just for that. It also has an excellent ending.

I had some problems with the plot, both because some crucial points required everyone to be idiots and that some things needed more explanation to be plausible or emotionally resonant.

The rule about bringing only one book is supposedly because of weight/space issues, but a tiny children’s paperback and the complete works of Shakespeare are both considered “one book.” This makes no sense. It should have been determined by weight or mass, as those were the reasons for the restriction.

Other issues are spoilery. Read more... )

The Green Book
sartorias: (JRRT)
The story is about to branch out. At the start of book five, we’re back with Pippin, peering out from under Gandalf’s cloak, after the ride that seemed to set the world spinning under Shadowfax’s hooves.

I’m trying not to mention the Jackson films (especially as so much was disappointing) but one of the things I absolutely loved was a bit I didn’t even notice in my first rapid readings as a kid: the lighting of the beacons.

We find out about it through dialogue, which—to a reader unfamiliar with the concept—doesn’t convey the drama: “See,” says Gandalf. “The beacons of Gondor are alight, calling for aid. War is kindled. See, there is the fire on Amon Din, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.”

Not enough image for me to get the drama until I saw the films. (Other readers were probably much more astute.)

When they arrive at last, and Pippin wakens to Gandalf explaining him to the careful door guardians, Pippin is indignant at Gandalf claiming him to be a valiant man.

“Man!” cried Pippin, now thoroughly roused. “Man! Indeed not! I am a hobbit and no more valiant than I am a man, save perhaps now and again by necessity. Do not let Gandalf deceive you!”

Pippin then accidentally mentions Boromir, then picks up he shouldn’t have, and then speaks with the grace that is becoming such a part of him, young as he is: “Little service can I offer to your lord, but what I can do, I would do, remembering Boromir the brave.”

We slip out of Pippin’s POV (though writer me wishes we could have seen through his eyes) as we approach the High Court through the citadel—Aragorn’s future home, if all goes well. A quiet knell of what is to come as the description ends, “ . . . and in that space stood the houses and domed tombs of bygone kings and lords, for ever silent between the mountain and the tower.”

As they approach Denethor’s chambers, Gandalf asks Pippin not to mention Aragorn.

“Why not? What is wrong with Strider?” Pippin whispered. “He meant to come here, didn’t he? And he’ll be arriving soon himself, anyway.

“Maybe, maybe,” said Gandalf. “Though if he comes, it is likely to be in some way that no one expects, not even Denethor. It will be better so. At least he should come unheralded by us.”

Gandalf then stings Pippin for not paying attention to the talk of kingship—something far, far outside of Pippin’s experience. (And one might even say, interest.)

And so at last we meet Denethor, and I have to say, anyone who claims that Tolkien’s characters are one-dimensional is just not paying attention. The byplay between Gandalf, who understands Denethor’s complexities (and the battle he is losing), and Pippin, who has no idea, but is inspired to carry out his rash promise made at the door, and Denethor, who in meeting young Pippin is given a brief glimpse of sunlight and possibility, but who in the end cannot overcome his own weaknesses, is so intriguing, tense, subtle, changing mood every page.

After they leave, Pippin says he did his best. “Indeed you did your best,” Gandalf says. “And I hope it may be long before you find yourself in such a tight corner again between two such terrible old men.”

Pippin then meets Beregond, through whose eyes we get a glimpse of the ordinary Gondorian—we get a tour and a history lesson, until something horrible happens.

“What was that?” asked Beregone. “You also felt something?”

“Yes,” muttered Pippin. “It is the sign of our fall, and the shadow of doom, a Fell Rider of the air.”

It’s Pippin who first recovers, and he states that he won’t despair. Though he is no warrior and dislikes the thought of battle, he says it feels worse to be on the edge of one that he can’t escape.

As Beregond speaks to bolster his own courage, Pippin makes a very shrewd observation to himself: Alas! My own hand feels as light as a feather. A pawn, did Gandalf say? Perhaps; but on the wrong chessboard.

Shortly after Pippin meets Bergil, Beregond’s son, who talks with the typical belligerence of ten. Pippin demonstrates perhaps his existence between youth and adulthood in his ease of adapting to the son as well as to the father, and in Bergil’s company he enjoys himself, “the best company Pippin had had since he parted from Merry.”

Who we catch up with in chapter two. Merry is pretty much relegated to baggage as the Rohirrim and Aragorn figure out what to do and where to go.

Halbarad shows up, bringing a wrapped gift, and here we get our second mention of Arwen, though at even further a distance than we had in Elrond’s house. But there is a subtle hint of the relationship, far too subtle for me to pick up at fourteen.

Arwen sends word along with the mysterious gift, The days are now short. Either our hope cometh, or all hope’s end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!

Now, at fourteen, I wrongly assumed that the old-fashioned pronouns and verbs were extremely formal, as I encountered them only sometimes, and always couched in more formal-seeming dialogue. But JRRT rightly knew that ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ were strictly for intimate speech, the equivalents of ‘tu’ in French and “Du” in German—though English had decided to opt for the formal ‘you’ whose verbs take very little declension. That and the ‘Elfstone’ are pretty much the modern equivalent of “You’ve got this, sweetie-dumpling. Mwa!”

And likewise, Aragorn saying, “Keep it for a while,” was a promise that yeah, our time is coming, and this present indicates that you’ve got my back.”

Not obvious, nor full of remembered scenes of stolen passion, but I think when you pick up hints of meaning, they carry just as much punch as the more standard bash on the beautyrest.

Merry is fitted out with what amounts to kids’ armor and shield, and that is the attitude taken toward him as the Rohorrim and Aragorn make their plans—which include a very long debate about the Paths of the Dead, during which Aragorn starts showing bits of the king beneath the Ranger.

As his star begins to wax, respect-wise, Merry’s is waning. He susses out that he is being gently shouldered to the sidelines along with the women and kids, and at the same time, Eowyn welcomes her uncle back, and gets ready to see to everyone’s comfort—to be told that Aragorn is planning to take the deadly shortcut.

Eowyn’s aid is rejected, and she explains bitterly that her fear is of a cage, not death. JRRT certainly shows he understands this mood and mode, and though it’s probably highly irrelevant, or wrong, or whatever, but from the few hints we get about his homelife, I wonder how much of Eowyn was confessed on the marital pillow. We know that he loved his wife, but we also glimpse through the letters and diaries of the Inklings that JRRT spent a great deal of his free time among other men, writing his projects, while his wife was stuck home with the long hours of drudgery, from which she probably got very little relief, as they were not wealthy enough for a staff. She might have complained—she had been an artist on her own before marriage—and he might have sympathized, but they were both caught in cultural roles from which it seemed there was no escape except wealth.

At any rate, the bitterness that Eowyn feels in being forced into the mold expected of most females resonated so very strongly for many of us in the sixties, that she was the favorite character of a lot of us. Certainly mine.

Aragorn shuts her down, saying, “Stay. For you have no errand to the South.”

To which she retorts with absolute truth—and equally absolute bitterness—“Neither have those who go with thee. They go only because they would not be parted from thee—because they love thee.”

Note once again, the choice of pronouns: Aragorn gives her the formal ‘you’—as he in honor must—and she gives him ‘thee.’

Aragorn and company embark on their grim journey, once again touching on tales we don’t learn as they pass a grim place. “Hither shall the flowers of simbelmyne come never until word’s end. Nine mounds and seven there are now green with grass, and through all the long years he has lain at the door that he could not unlock. Whither does it lead? Why would he pass? None shall ever know!”

Aragorn meets with the shadowy figures in a tense, memorable scene when he calls upon the Oathbreakers and promises them peace at last, and he leads the King of the Dead on his quest.

The township and the fords of Ciril they found deserted, for many men had gone away to war, and all that were left fled to the hills at the rumor of the coming of the King of the Dead.

Fic: Fairy Tale Bliss

May. 29th, 2017 02:22 pm[personal profile] ashiiblack posting in [community profile] yurionicefans
ashiiblack: (Default)
I wrote a Viktuuri fic!

Fairy Tale Bliss (3176 words) by Ashii Black
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katsuki Yuuri/Victor Nikiforov
Additional Tags: Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot, Top Katsuki Yuuri, Locker Room, Fluff
Summary: Viktor lets Yuuri take the lead this time after practice.

Dubrovnik: on the wall

May. 29th, 2017 09:05 pm[personal profile] naye
naye: the sky and mountains above lake geneva (mountain dawn)
The Walls of Dubrovnik are a series of defensive stone walls that have existed in one form or another since the city's founding in the 7th century. They've been modified and extended and generally tinkered with all through that long history, transforming from wooden palisades to today's double stone walls. They run an uninterrupted course of approximately 1,940 metres (6,360 ft) in length, encircling most of the old city, and reach a maximum height of about 25 metres (82 ft). The bulk of the existing walls and fortifications were constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, but were continually extended and strengthened up until the 17th century. [Source]

All of the above to say: they're damn impressive, even by today's standards.

On our second day in Dubrovnik, Wednesday May 17th, we knew we had to go see them. Fortunately for us it was a cloudy morning, making the Mediterranean heat less oppressive, but it cleared up and we got treated to blue skies over brick rooftops and cerulean seas.

We both took loads of pictures that day, including during our stroll around the narrow alleys in the deepening dusk, but this will be all about the walls and the Old Town.

db-6560 db-6530 db-6527 db-6507

Let's walk around the walls and see Dubrovnik from above )

house painter small job

May. 29th, 2017 04:53 pm[personal profile] somervillerocks posting in [community profile] davis_square
Our house was painted five years ago but the paint has peeled off the bottom edges of the dormer on third floor. We are looking for a recommended painter with equipment to work at this height and willing to tackle a smaller job.


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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