caitri: (Printer)
CURRENT TALLY OF COMPLETED FIC WORDAGE: 417,978
All Star Trek stories are Kirk/McCoy unless otherwise stated.
All Avengers stories are Steve/Tony unless otherwise stated.
Read more... )
caitri: (Books)
Today is a lovely fall day with a dark blue sky, golden sunshine, apples on the air, and in the distance, dark clouds over the mountains promising snow up there. It is also decorative gourd season, motherfuckers, as I was reminded when running errands this morning; I impulsively added a small bag of candy corn and a can of pumpkin puree (to make pumpkin espresso bread!) to my grocery run, because while I feel functional I'm going to work it.

I have a new article out at TWC: The margins of print? Fan fiction as book history. I also got cited in another article in the same journal issue, which is exciting!! With my colleague Kate O, we also relaunched the Women in Book History Bibliography last week with a new searchable interface, and I've been doing a lot of data entry from our backlog with it, adding some 250 citations in the past week so that we're at over 900 now! This is extra exciting since when we started we had just over 100, so yay blooming and growing!

I've really appreciated the messages of support I've gotten from you guys about working my way through depression--it really helps knowing that others share the feeling, and so on. <3
caitri: (Vampire Jim)

 Probably more of a thought experiment, but...I'm wondering what an Outlanderey Kirk/McCoy AU would look like. Bones time-travels 200 years to the past where he meets Jim Kirk--who is definitely not Scottish or kilted--who he falls in love with (and okay if he abandons Jocelyn, but what about Joanna?!) and has to marry For Reasons, and they try to stop....something (WW3?). Doctoring, profanity, and sex ensue. 

Erm. Thoughts?

 

caitri: (Mouse Herat)
...but not having the energy reserved because of trying to be functional.  

I've pretty consistently overslept almost every day for the past month. I have managed to get some decent chunks of writing done, which gives me hope because I had set several deadlines for myself and I'd like to *keep* them, but. To quote Bilbo Baggins (the Hobbit and not my dog), I feel like too little butter spread over too much bread. Or more originally, like an overblown balloon that needs to be drained a little, or it will hit something and POP! rather violently. But I'm not really sure what to do about that, except take it day by day, which I have to...anyway.
caitri: (Books)
 Crossposted from The Future Fire:



Judy Juanita, De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland.EquiDistance Press, 2016. Pp 226. ISBN 978-0-9716352-1-0. $19.95.



Judy Juanita’s collection of essays De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland is a mixture of previously published material from her long career in activism, including poetry, and more recent autobiographical reminiscences that relate to her 2013 novel Virgin Soul. This work does not relate to genre per se (unless we think of being Black in America today as being a dystopian experience, which, to be honest, we might well do). The sixteen essays, half dozen poems, and a collection of digital correspondence span from 1967 to 2015, much of which is drawn from the online magazine The Weeklings, cover expansive territory on Juanita’s career as an activist and an artist: she has been a member of the Black Panther Party, has taught in the first Black Studies program in the US, and is a playwright, poet, novelist and professor. She reminds us that creative work is activism too.

The earliest pieces in the volume, like ‘My California Childhood—a freedom childhood,’ ‘White Out,’ ‘Five Comrades in The Black Panther Party, 1967-1970,’ and ‘Black Womanhood #1’ revolve around Juanita’s coming of age in Oakland in the 1950s and 1960s, her time as a student and then teacher and activist, and how each identity informs the other. In ‘Black Womanhood #1’ she writes, “The black woman has her own turbulent and dialectical process of self-transforming. I know because I’m living it every day” (51). Though those words were originally written in 1967, they are still true now, for the author and millions of other women today. The following essay, ‘Tough Luck,’ focuses on another form of identity, with the author as poet. Juanita incorporates the text of several of her poems published during the period into the body of the memoir, demonstrating how she used her poetry and art to come to grips with her divorce and motherhood, and how these topics both bridged and separated her from the community of poets she was a part of.

‘Cleaning Other People’s Houses’ also utilizes a poem written during the period, when Juanita joins a friend’s cleaning business for a brief period. She does the work for extra cash and for the experience of having done so, to the horror of friends and colleagues. Cleaning other people’s homes is a voyeuristic experience: she sees a book about AIDS on a nightstand, followed by other books, followed by the revelation that one of the men she’s working for has been diagnosed with the disease. Another time she is semi-forced into another kind of labor when the matron of the house finishes reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and wants to discuss it with Juanita; she dryly notes that Walker championed Zora Neale Hurston, another Black novelist who worked in domestic labor to make ends meet. ‘A Playwright-in-progress’ describes her experiences in a series of writing workshops, trying to nail down exactly what she does want to write even as she faces the often unrelenting whiteness of most workshop and fellowship programs (a topic that author Junot Diaz has also written about, rather scathingly), while ‘Putting the Funny in the Novel’ recounts an ironic encounter with an editor who wants more humor in her experiences as a black woman and a Black Panther.

Juanita turns to literary criticism as well as reminiscence in ‘The N-word: Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.’ She discusses the multivariated uses the word takes on in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences (1987), cruel and affectionate, abusive and matter-of-fact. She also discusses the discomfort her students feel when they discuss the word, and the play, in class, and the discomfort she herself feels when the word is inflected differently by Black, white, and Asian students. She feels a discomfort about the divide between literary and genre fiction in ‘All the Women in My Family Read Terry Macmillan.’ Macmillan’s most famous novel is Waiting to Exhale (1992), a book that heralded a phenomenon of “black chick lit” that Juanita thinks has overtaken African-American literary fiction, and thus complicating the struggles of Black women writers like herself.

‘The Gun as Ultimate Performance Poem,’ nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015, is a stand-out essay ruminating on the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin and on the author’s own previous love affair with ‘the Gun’:
The Gun was the shatterer of the boundary between the personal and the political. I liked guns. They were talismanic and palm-friendly… The Gun is a revolt of the mind, an expulsion of hatred and thus a cleansing agent. Once it is fired, the act done, the two opposites are united forever, the killer and the killed written into history, memorialized or castigated.

To shun The Gun is to fear recklessness, to abhor chaos. Yet activists, oft called anarchistic, despise artists who don’t overtly join them. (107-8)
Taking up literal arms was how the Black Panther Party stood in opposition to the Black Arts Movement, but over time those guns became increasingly metaphorical instead. The “performance” of The Gun, Juanita argues, has taken over America in schools, theaters, and on the street. She concludes, “I liked guns. I hate The Gun” (115).

The final entry in the book is entitled ‘Acknowledge Me’ and consists of a series of emails with a colleague regarding the death of their mutual friend Peter Thorpe, a fellow playwright and mentor. The correspondence includes poems, imagined dialogues with Peter, discussions on works-in-progress, and ultimately coming to terms with grief. Most of the emails are dated from 2007, with a single entry in 2008, and then a rhapsodic conclusion in 2011 when the author’s novel is sold to Viking: “I’M A NOVELIST, I’M A NOVELIST, I’M A NOVELIST.” That shift from the literary form of writing—essays to fiction—reiterates a shift in identity as well, one that closes the book and, seemingly, provides a sense of closure for its author.

De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland is a thought-provoking collection, one that should be read and taught alongside such classics as Bulkin, Pratt, and Smith’s 1984 Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism, Alice Walker’s 1998 Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism, and Patricia Hill Collins’s 2008 Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Though the book was prepared for print and published prior to Trump’s election in the US and the Resistance movement that has followed, its appearance when so many American readers and writers are struggling with how to incorporate political activism into their work makes the book incredibly timely and necessary. Art is survival, too.
caitri: (bullshit)
 I know this. I know we are witnessing the last gasps of white supremacy and pure hatred. I know the good apples far outweigh the bad apples.

But my gods, am I tired of the bad apples. 

I swear I have been on the edge of a nervous breakdown for the past week, but it feels longer. Every new day is a new horror, a new threat, exponentially elevated from the past months of new horrors and new threats. 

And today's horror was at UVA, and ...I know that campus so well. I know people there--good, good people. And to see it taken over by murderous goddamn fucking Nazis breaks my heart and fills me with something that I can't name, past fear and anger and revulsion. It is not hatred, because I know that well, and because hatred doesn't touch on the pure contempt I feel for the murderers out there in force today.

We outnumber you, motherfuckers. And the quality of our mercy is increasingly strained. 

I do not think we will have a second civil war, as some do; I do not think the numbers bear it out. I think we will have several years of social unrest, and protests, and movements, and eventually, the goddamn Nazis will melt back into the rotting shadows from which they emerged to begin with, and die there. But they are going to make it damn unpleasant for us in the meantime.

Do not give up. Do not give in.

Hold light in your hearts, and put it together with mine, and let the light burn away the darkness.
caitri: (Mouse Herat)
 My dear friend Candace passed a little while ago. I'd been expecting, it though not this soon. There's a part of me that's relieved that she only had weeks of pain, instead of months or years. The rest of me feels robbed. I saw an interesting-looking CFP earlier today, and my instinct was to show it to her, and then I realized, no, we're never going to write together again. Or be conference roommates, or text pictures of doggies. She won't come for Christmas. So many things.

Cycle of life stuff, I know. There's a childish part of me that keeps going, "It's not fair! It's not fair! It's not fair!" But life's not fair, and that's all there is to it.
caitri: (Mouse Herat)
 I've been stupidly stressed recently, so last night my brain decided to help me out by supplying a dream in which I hang out with Oscar Isaac in a library and we wander amongst the shelves talking about books. We had a long conversation about Hamlet and he told me Meaningful Things about how he sees the character as an actor and so forth. No idea what they were, but they were interesting and insightful. Anyway, good job, brain.

Fic Rec!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:30 pm
caitri: by blue_hobbit (Don't Go Where I Can't Follow)
[personal profile] fritzfics has a new AOS Jones fic that I beta'd. Linkie here.
caitri: (Default)
(Also, I hope we get a better acronym soon. DIS? I got nothin'.)

caitri: (bullshit)
1) My friend C. is still in the hospital and not doing well. She's turned off her phone and doesn't want to hear from anyone, and according to her niece had a conversation with the nurse to the effect of "Just let me die," while the nurse was like "....you're not gonna die anytime soon."

2) Chester Bennington, RIP.  I STILL LOVE LINKIN PARK I AM SO SAD.

Flailpost

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:10 pm
caitri: (bullshit)
 For the past week I've started and stopped composing a bunch of posts. Mostly this is just in reaction to an excess of Real Life: my friend C, for example, was just admitted to the hospital, so I'm worried about her. I also went to my doctor last week to talk about my meds, which weren't really working for me, but her solution was to try a different cocktail whose side-effects were, as far as I was concerned, way worse, so I opted to stay what I was on because all of a sudden a bit of stomache and so on were ~nothing.~

As always I'm working on several projects, trying to tie them together to get more done at once. I have a friend about to go on the job market who is flailing constantly, so I'm trying to balance useful feedback on packets with "OH MY GOD YOU ARE FINE I PROMISE!"

Really, I just want to take something like a "summer break" for myself but haven't been able to rationalize it because, let's face it, I'm a workaholic. However, I have been doing an unusually good job at saying "no" to things recently, even if only it's because I've had no real interest in the topics at hand.

I also got accepted to the course on the History of Women Printers in San Francisco next month, which I'm looking forward to. The organizers seem to be a little spacey; they had a last minute-ish venue change, so I had to cancel the hotel I had booked and then rebook another that was closer. It has been a bit of a headache, but hopefully it will all be worth it.
caitri: (Books)
 Crossposted from The Future Fire:


Cassandra Khaw, Food of the Gods. Abaddon Books, 2017. pp 238. ISBN 978-1-78108-519-6. $15.00.



I finished reading Food of the Gods shortly after seeing the season finale of American Gods, and while some of the entries in Khaw’s collection were previously published, it’s hard not to think about what’s in the air that draws genre writers to recast myth in terms of the daily grind. (And I do know this isn’t exactly a novel idea, but these are the two texts that are on my mind immediately right now, so please bear with me.) Neil Gaiman’s original novel focused on gods-as-immigrants to America, with all the challenges that entails, as well as being a paean to steadily vanishing roadside kitsch; the TV series keeps the immigration story, but adds the violent intersection of race in contemporary America to the story that is, frankly, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it element of the novel. Khaw is, like the younger Gaiman, a London-based writer, but unlike him she has her roots in Southeast Asia, and unlike American GodsFood of the Gods goes back and forth between London and Kuala Lumpur. Her hero/not-hero (but not anti-hero) is Rupert Wong, a former gangster who has become a chef to the literal underworld to save his karma, such as it is.

The book is made up of three novellas, all of which take place in swift chronological order. ‘Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef’ is perhaps the most straightforward story; it’s a murder mystery in which Wong is hired to investigate the death of the daughter of Ao Qin, better known as the Chinese Dragon God (who is also the patron saint of the South China Sea, a small detail of increasingly global relevance). The second story, ‘Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth,’ takes place shortly afterwards in the aftermath of that story, and sees Wong being hastily paid off to London to take up a new position as chef for a restaurant run by Orpheus and frequented by the Greek pantheon. This story is perhaps the weakest because it fills in the space between the previous and the final entries; there isn’t an overriding plot and the best moments are Wong’s interactions while traveling on a fourteen hour flight and his arrival at customs. The final story, ‘Meat, Bone, Tea,’ has a minor mystery plot and concerns what is functionally a gang war between the Greek and Chinese pantheons that Wong is determined to survive, one way or another. The book closes with a series of epilogues and endings that simultaneously tie-up loose threads and offer possibilities for future sequels.

Khaw’s sharp writing more than makes up for the occasional deficits in plot; Rupert Wong is an engaging smartass of a character you can’t help rooting for, and the sensory details of his cooking are incredibly vivid (and indeed, mouthwatering, at least until you’re reminded that he’s usually cooking that other white meat, human pork). His best moments are when interacting with his undead girlfriend Minah (who is, in case you are wondering, much more interesting and sympathetic than Gaiman’s “dead wife Laura”) and her demonic dead fetus, an ectoplasmic vampire that Wong nicknames George and regularly feeds from a cut on his wrist. Unfortunately, Minah and George are removed from the series early on, though thankfully not to fuel Wong’s arc, and the stories are weaker for it, I think. Wong is at his best when he has someone to riff off of, and it’s only in ‘Meat, Bone, Tea’ when two new characters emerge for this purpose: Fariz, a fellow human in this metaphysical underworld, and Nyarlathotep, a fictional creation of H.P. Lovecraft rendered real through the popularity of the Chthulhu mythos. This is a fascinating idea, and one I wish bumped more against our ideas of mythology: (some of) the Chinese and Greek gods appear with their family dramas more or less intact, and yet somehow still diminished. Would certain other members, like, say, Nike, not be more empowered in our capitalist and overly branded world? What about other fictional characters? Surely Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy would at least be demigods by now?

Ultimately, Food of the Gods is a fast and light read. I feel like the talk-back of Southeast Asian culture never did the work it set out to do, either in London or in Kuala Lumpur, but it nonetheless appears as a counter to the omnipresent Western narratives that tend to dominate Anglo-American genre writing like Gaiman, or more recently, Jo Walton in her Thessaly series, and that’s nonetheless incredibly useful in the ongoing conversations around representation and diversity in genre writing. Khaw’s voice is needed in our discussions of genre and myth, and I look forward to what she comes up with next.
caitri: by blue_hobbit (Don't Go Where I Can't Follow)
I belatedly realized that when you import from lj to dw internal links lose their function, so I've spent the last week fixing the links in my fic masterpost so that they are all internal to dw now. (That was fun.) (NB. It was actually not fun. Kind of headache-inducing, even when done in chunks over a week.) But anyway NOW IT ALL WORKS, or at least it should! So. 
caitri: (Default)
 Many thanks to everyone who sent me birthday greetings and wishes--they were muchly appreciated!! <3 

I hope everyone is staying cool (and safe) during heatwave/storm season. I've taken (possibly too much) to working later at night and then sleeping in a bit longer during the heat of the day....but I'm still getting shit done, so.

I'm trying to think if I've been up to anything interesting lately and the answer is not really. I write and I do chores. "Yay."  I did get accepted into a class at CalRBS in August, so that's something to look forward to! But otherwise it's trying to keep routine and not get sucked into news/politics and whatnot on social media (emphasis on "try"...I'm terrible at it. I have gotten to where I probably "only" check the NYT six times a day or something). I keep thinking "I should post more" and then thinking "about what?," so.

Quick signalboost: Two of my friends had books come out this month! Lisa Edmonds just released Heart of Malice and Nicky Drayden just released The Prey of Gods. They are both kind of doing their own self-promotions, esp. Lisa, so if you can pick up their books and leave reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. Consider it good karma!
caitri: (Books)
 Crossposted at The Future Fire

Frances Hardinge, A Face Like Glass. Amulet Books, 2017. Pp 487. ISBN.978-1-4197-2484-8. $19.95.



Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass first appeared in the UK in 2012 and has only just arrived in the US this spring. It straddles the gap between children’s literature and the young adult genre uneasily; the protagonist is a preteen girl named Neverfell, who is too young to be interested in the romance or nascent sexuality that is usually a hallmark of YA, and yet she is witness to the aftermath of numerous murders, and the threat of violence is often just off-page. And yet Hardinge loves playing with language in a way that recalls some of (what I think, anyway) is the finest children’s lit like The Phantom TollboothThe Neverending Story, or Alice in Wonderland—the latter of which the author has a small homage to when Neverfell follows a rabbit up rather than down, discovering a wider and scarier world in the process.

Neverfell lives in Caverna, an underground world whose extensive caste-based society ranges from lowly Drudges to the highest members of Court. The central focus on Faces, or the ability make facial expressions, an art form which must be extensively practiced and which is limited by caste, with Drudges limited to only a small number (and none of them ever angry or dissatisfied) and members of Court with access to hundreds. Neverfell, as a girl from the world above, has ready access to numerous faces naturally, all of which ripple across her face and betray immediately whatever she really thinks. When she is discovered as a child by the Cheesemaker Grandible, he is horrified by this and has a mask made for her, convincing her that she must be astonishingly ugly. When a Master Facesmith visits the Cheesemaker, Neverfell hopes that she will help her make a Face of her own… and from there follows Neverfell’s adventures and misadventures in and out of Court, numerous mysteries around both Neverfell’s unknown origins and a series of murders, and finally, something like a revolution at the end.

A Face Like Glass is incredibly complex and sprawling as Neverfell climbs up and falls down the social ladder on several occasions. Unfortunately, Neverfell is both incredibly naive—which means that the other characters have to repeatedly explain what’s “really” going on to her, each situation’s dangers and benefits, and so on—and strangely without her own agency. She gets adopted by Grandible in the beginning; she is adopted literally or metaphorically throughout the rest of the book by other families, friends, and enemies for their own purposes, and so plot keeps happening with Neverfell usually a bystander. When she does take control in the final pages of the book, it is just before she takes an amnesia-inducing potion, so she only gets to see the effects of the successful plan, and so is rendered passive even by herself.

I had mixed feelings about this book—though I suspect they have more to do with an adult reading a children’s book than anything else. The plot is incredibly unhurried in a way that will likely work for a young reader who is reading slowly and with absorption, the better to enjoy the minutiae of description and detail that permeate the text. Unfortunately, I rather wished the characters would just get on with it, rather than telling one another their plans, explaining how the plans would work, then carrying out the plans, etc. The sprawling length of the story also meant that minor characters would be introduced briefly and only reappear a hundred or more pages later, by which time I had forgotten who they were and what they were meant to be doing; I wish a Dramatis Personae could have been provided, as it would have been helpful. On the other hand, I immensely respect the amount of thought that Hardinge put into her world, especially with its use of language and some truly memorable turns of phrase. As a side-effect of living underground, the time of day is delineated through counted hours; to be “out of clock” is to not match the schedule of hours, while to always be “on clock” is to maintain an unusually steady sleep and activity period. Other inventive elements include the True Crafts, in which True Wine, True Cheese, and so on, have properties beyond taste and smell, including the abilities to alter memories or provide hallucinogenic sensory experiences, among others.

I think young readers will get the most out of this book, but adults with sensitive children may want to peruse the volume first because of the violent scenes—which are admittedly far and few between—haunt the characters throughout. Adults will enjoy a well-told and absorbing adventure story, one without the seemingly omnipresent love triangles that have become cliche to so much of the YA genre. Neverfell is, if not altogether endearing, at least far from a cliche.

***

And a quick rec for Women in Noir Week:

Jacqueline Carey's novels Santa Olivia (2009) and Saints Astray (2011) are unlikely to be read as noir, but I would argue that they are closer to that genre than to conventional dystopia, as noir is characterized through its ethical ambiguity and fatalism, and dystopia through omnipresent degradation. In Carey's world, there is a valid escape to be had from the shitty not-too-distant future southwest US, where a queer Hispanic teen named Loup is torn between revenge for her dead brother and escaping to a better life for herself and her girlfriend Pilar. The outer world, including Mexico and Europe, has rebounded after a devastating pandemic in a way that the isolationist US has not. Loup's and Pilar's journey evolves beyond a quest for survival to one of discovery of this outside world, from tourist beaches to fashion and pop music.

Their saga concludes with their search for social justice for their home, still under martial law, and for equal rights for genetically modified humans, both of which are impeded by the complex oligarchy of the US government and military, as in this case being born, for Loup, is a crime of itself.
caitri: (Default)
I'm having a ~good week academics-wise. I've gotten two articles accepted, a conference paper accepted, revisions done on a book chapter, a book review sent off, and a blog blurb forthcoming. Also,The Unsilent Library: Essays on the Russell T. Davies Era of Doctor Who, which I had a chapter in, is going on sale at this link, and in the accompanying piece my chapter gets a special highlight:

Additionally, Catherine Coker’s chapter 6 titled ‘Does The Doctor Dance? Heterosexuality, Omnisexuality, and Spontaneous Generation in the Whoniverse’ is a vital addition to the collection. Coker contends that 2005’s ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’ are the first real doses of omnisexuality within the Whoniverse. Moreover, the essay highlights science fiction handling sexuality as an “awkward ‘issue of the week’” rather than a normality of society. Instead, Davies rejects this model and “instead chooses to address the group as part of the regular viewership of the show by allowing the LGBT population in his universe to exist and thrive”. The essay also considers Captain Jack as an ‘Omnisexual Superhero’ and explores The Doctor’s lack of sexuality. The Doctor and Rose shippers have a lot of good material to gauge on here…

This is up against several real-life frustrations I don't feel like talking about, so I'm just going to roll in good feelings for a little. :)
caitri: (Books)
Geekerella by Ashley Poston.

I seriously stayed up until almost 3am last night so I could finish this in one sitting. IT IS SO CUTE. It retells Cinderella (mostly through shades of Ever After, especially with a few names and lines) through fandom, with the prince as the newly cast star of a Trek-like reboot and Elle as a fangirl whose fandom is a way to bond with her beloved dead parents--who met at a con, cosplayed together, and her dad founded a local con. It hits all the beats of a satisfying fairy tale with some bonus witty observations on fan culture, social media, and the interaction between fandom and popular culture writ large. Also a very cute and mostly believable romance.
caitri: (Screw Subtext)
"Child of Europe" by Czeslaw Milosz, 1946

1
We, whose lungs fill with the sweetness of day.
Who in May admire trees flowering
Are better than those who perished.

We, who taste of exotic dishes,
And enjoy fully the delights of love,
Are better than those who were buried.

We, from the fiery furnaces, from behind barbed wires
On which the winds of endless autumns howled,
We, who remember battles where the wounded air roared in
paroxysms of pain.
We, saved by our own cunning and knowledge.

By sending others to the more exposed positions
Urging them loudly to fight on
Ourselves withdrawing in certainty of the cause lost.

Having the choice of our own death and that of a friend
We chose his, coldly thinking: Let it be done quickly.

We sealed gas chamber doors, stole bread
Knowing the next day would be harder to bear than the day before.

As befits human beings, we explored good and evil.
Our malignant wisdom has no like on this planet.

Accept it as proven that we are better than they,
The gullible, hot-blooded weaklings, careless with their lives.

2
Treasure your legacy of skills, child of Europe.
Inheritor of Gothic cathedrals, of baroque churches.
Of synagogues filled with the wailing of a wronged people.
Successor of Descartes, Spinoza, inheritor of the word 'honor',
Posthumous child of Leonidas
Treasure the skills acquired in the hour of terror.

You have a clever mind which sees instantly
The good and bad of any situation.
You have an elegant, skeptical mind which enjoys pleasures
Quite unknown to primitive races.

Guided by this mind you cannot fail to see
The soundness of the advice we give you:
Let the sweetness of day fill your lungs
For this we have strict but wise rules.

3
There can be no question of force triumphant
We live in the age of victorious justice.

Do not mention force, or you will be accused
Of upholding fallen doctrines in secret.

He who has power, has it by historical logic.
Respectfully bow to that logic.

Let your lips, proposing a hypothesis
Not know about the hand faking the experiment.

Let your hand, faking the experiment
Not know about the lips proposing a hypothesis.

Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision
Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.

4
Grow your tree of falsehood from a single grain of truth.
Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.

Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself
So the weary travelers may find repose in the lie.

After the Day of the Lie gather in select circles
Shaking with laughter when our real deeds are mentioned.

Dispensing flattery called: perspicacious thinking.
Dispensing flattery called: a great talent.

We, the last who can still draw joy from cynicism.
We, whose cunning is not unlike despair.

A new, humorless generation is now arising
It takes in deadly earnest all we received with laughter.

5
Let your words speak not through their meanings
But through them against whom they are used.

Fashion your weapon from ambiguous words.
Consign clear words to lexical limbo.

Judge no words before the clerks have checked
In their card index by whom they were spoken.

The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.

6
Love no country: countries soon disappear
Love no city: cities are soon rubble.

Throw away keepsakes, or from your desk
A choking, poisonous fume will exude.

Do not love people: people soon perish.
Or they are wronged and call for your help.

Do not gaze into the pools of the past.
Their corroded surface will mirror
A face different from the one you expected.

7
He who invokes history is always secure.
The dead will not rise to witness against him.

You can accuse them of any deeds you like.
Their reply will always be silence.

Their empty faces swim out of the deep dark.
You can fill them with any feature desired.

Proud of dominion over people long vanished,
Change the past into your own, better likeness.

8
The laughter born of the love of truth
Is now the laughter of the enemies of the people.

Gone is the age of satire. We no longer need mock.
The sensible monarch with false courtly phrases.

Stern as befits the servants of a cause,
We will permit ourselves sycophantic humor.

Tight-lipped, guided by reasons only
Cautiously let us step into the era of the unchained fire.

~
Czeslaw Milosz
caitri: (Screw Subtext)
Where I am cranky and anxious for no reason. Or rather, I have reasons that overflow into one massive BLAH:

1) It's the end of the term, or rather, just past it, and yesterday I skyped with my advisor for our annual checklist/meeting I have to do to discuss my progress and whatnot. Which, I've had a good term; I've done a chapter and gotten a paper proposal accepted for a big conference next year which will fold into the next chapter. My advisor was happy and had good and useful thoughts on things, and I have a plan forward. And I also wrote several other essays this term for other forthcoming publications and sent in two sets of revisions. I am a good puppy. BUT I AM ALWAYS ANXIOUS because this is my default setting.

1a) A friend of mine has straight-up had two mini breakdowns in the last three days, the first about her diss because she has extreme burnout from writing and the other because she starts teaching two summer courses on Tuesday and the PTB raised the attendance cap without telling her. So while she has printouts and assignments and whatnot for a class of 35, she now has a class of 40, which doesn't seem like a big deal except it totally changes group assignments and the ability to read and return papers. And I'm kind of limited in helpful things I can say. Like, yeah, this sucks, but...welcome to academia? Where shit always gets piled on and fucked with?

2) I might have to deal with a IRL Troll tomorrow and am inwardly prepping. On the one hand, this person isn't as bad as others in the extended social circle, but they are still the kind of person who will go to a potluck without bringing anything or without helping in anyway, and who will purposefully try to redirect/distract conversations to themselves and their interests, and...I don't have the energy for mitigating that right now. So, wish me luck, I guess.

2a) I also tend to dislike holiday weekends, and today I braved the crowds to go grocery shopping, which was managable, but still. I just want to hunker down and do as little as possible, but I still have chores to do. *sigh*

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caitri

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