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[sticky post] fanfic master list

Below is a list of my various fanfic and blog posts discussing different books, TV shows and movies. Feel free to poke around and read anything that strikes your fancy.

The fiction in particular often carries specific warnings and benefited from the help of beta readers and (in the case of some poetry) co-authors. Rather than trying to recreate this information here, please find it at the archive where the stories are posted. If you've helped me out over the years and I haven't properly thanked you, please let me know so I can correct it. Most of the links point to ArchiveOfOurOwn.org, which I joined several years ago, and while I've done my best to give credit where due, I do know my own limitations in this area and am willing to fix any mistakes.

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Nov. 28th, 2016

I'm feeling a swell of sadness in me tonight over work. Not for myself so much as for a coworker, who our boss told in part of an email I was copied in that she basically wasn't doing a big part of her job. I don't disagree with him that what he's talking about needs to get done; it's just that she and I have talked about this exact area, and I know all the other things she's doing that means she just doesn't have time to do it. It's necessary! It's just the way this is being handled show such a lack of a clue...

Feeling a bit of that myself, actually. There's a few things I should be working on for work, in the sense that they're important and still sitting undone, but I was working a full day already and couldn't motivate myself to takle them tonight. Because, you know, I shouldn't have to, and because what I'm seeing is that no matter how hard I work it will be impossible to do what's expected of me well. It's just very disheartening that that's not honored, or recognized, or accounted for. Makes it hard to even try, or be motivated to do better.

But I'm not working, which is something. I'm getting my address book in order for holiday cards, which is such an indulgent joy for me, to sit down and actually write things out by hand. If you'd like one please do get in touch. (Face Book private message .... Tumblr PM ... LiveJournal's ask feature ... email martabee@mail.com .... carrier pigeons ... ) Comment here if you have absolutely no regard for personal privacy, as I've not locked things down.

ETA: And in that came out darker than I meant. Today was a good day, relatively speaking. This is just me being quietly contemplative, which is the closest to peace current circumstances allow.
Mischief managed on the mandatory side of the whole Xmas gift thing - mostly. I've taken care of dad, stepmum, stepsis, and sister, just leaving my brother in the mandatory must-buy group. And I have absolutely no clue what to get him, because the only thing he put on his wishlist were hardware that is both insanely boring and overpriced (to my mind), and in any event over my fairly firm budget. Will have to think on that one, and I suspect I'll buy him something kitschy and fireman-themed in a few days just to be done with it. I do try because I love them, but I don't really know them well enough anymore to know what he'd really like.

Also, I've booked train tickets up to Prince Edward Island the week before Christmas. Looking forward to the time away from all the hustle bustle (and work!). A grad school friend's parents had a cottage up there they let me use and while I'm not asking for the keys again, I did fall in love with the area and they have some nice old bookshops, beds and breakfasts, woods for wandering around, that kind of thing.

I've not been around here much, I know. I miss you lot. I know I always say that, but I really do. At the moment it's that this is the one place I feel safe complaining, and I'm really tired of wanting to do that. Also the longer form makes it harder to do drive by posting, which is all I have time for these days, most days.

But enough of that. It's thanksgiving, which means time! Did it a bit differently this year. Usually I help out at a soup kitchen, but the Kid wanted to go watch them setting up the floats for the parade last night. Do I dropped off my work stuff at her flat and we went off and did that, which morphed into crashing on their couch, followed by watching the parade on TV and then helping prepare a Thanksgiving meal - Macedonian style. Food prep is food prep, and I take directions well, but I bailed at the thought of actually eating that with friends and their family. Luckily I hadn't showered and had no change of clothes I hadn't been wearing for 36 hrs at that point. So. :^)

Which left me with turkey sandwiches and instant mashed potatoes I'm afraid. Tradition #2 that fell through, turkey curry. I really did need a nap. And after I put together a Xmas wish list for family, which will turn into my pick-me-up list throughout the year, which I haven't even looked at in too long. Did you know there are two Kindle books full of Rowling's Potter fanfic she's posted on Pottermore? I didnt, but if I don't get them before Christmas I Def will after.

I'm currently waffling over whether to buy a new jacket. There's a great Black Friday deal I can pick up but it's still $40 and money feels a bit tight at the moment. I do kind of need it, current everyday is three years old.

But apparently not so tight I won't splurge for a movie out just because I want to. Going to see Arrival again, or maybe Fantastic Beasts depending when I get there. I have movie passes (I buy in bulk off ebay), so it's just popcorn today. Some traditions aren't meant to be broken.

Ps If you're interested my wish list: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/ref=cm_wl_upd_succ_mng

I saw "Doctor Strange" tonight, and... wow. I really am stuck on that word, and feel the need to squee over the many, many wonderful things about it. Spoilers below, obviously.

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Bottom line: maybe someone should give the DCU a hug or something. They just may need it.

Halloween fanart commission

I had pocketsizepeople draw me a cute piece for the season. Here's to the joys of being a fan with disposable income!

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By the way, she's a very sweet fan-artist active over at Tumblr. Check her out if you're so inclined.
Tomorrow is Hallowe'en. I bought Spock ears and a pin that looks like the Star Trek communicator to wear to work (it's apparently I thing, and I'll be darned if I was going to do something as boring as cat-ears). The ears are a bit bent and cheap and won't really sit well, though, so I think I'm just going to wear the pin.

Paired with black dress pants and a v-neck golden long-sleeved tee. You know, to make sure people get the point.

This is the closest I've ever come, and probably the closest I ever will, to cosplay.

Oct. 14th, 2016

I've received two endorsements from Tolkien fandom friends in the last two days. I don't know what spurred this on, but just wanted folks to know, it means an awful lot that you're still thinking of me.

Sep. 23rd, 2016

I watched “The Menagerie” for the first time ever last night (the two-parter where Captain Pike returns to Talos IV after being horribly maimed), and it struck me how interesting it would be to use it to teach Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Plato’s idea is that humans in their natural state are like prisoners in a dank, dark cave seeing shadows cast against a wall, the palest reflection of things-as-they-are. It’s all we can know in that condition so it seems “real” to us but if we’re ever freed from our captivity and make our way out of the cave (Plato describes us as being dragged out by others, against our will), once our eyes adjust we’ll see reality (or at least something closer) we would never choose to go back - except to liberate other folks still trapped in the cave.

The basic idea is that reality or truth is better than illusion. Which seems to close to what "Menagerie” is about at the end of the day - no human would choose the illusion, or should, no matter how pleasant. But that’s where it gets mucky, because in “Menagerie,” they put it explicitly in terms of pleasure. Delusion is tied to captivity pretty closely, and humans are hard-wired to dislike that so intensely, even a very comfortable captivity would be so unpleasant for them, they’d rather die. We choose reality not because it’s better but because we’re somehow hardwired to find it more pleasant.

Which isn’t Plato’s point at all, I don’t think. Maybe the people in the cave are happier than the people out of it, even after they’ve adjusted; they’re still worse off. But how the heck do you make that point - what possible way do we have to compare experiences beyond what’s pleasant to us, what we’d choose? And how do you get a fair comparison? The only people capable of comparing are the ones who know they’ve been deceived, which has to sour how pleasant they find life in the menagerie. The fact we can’t imagine a story that breaks this goodness == pleasantness barrier is a pretty damning criticism to my mind.

*****

Also loved the female first officer in the flashbacks. Didn’t I hear somewhere that Roddenberry wanted to go that route for the main series but the studios nixed hr being a woman and we got Spock instead? There's something ironic there: take away that progressive route, and we get (1) a two-parter starring her anyway, and (2) a biracial character who (3) gave us so much queer subtext the fandom and society at large is still wrestling with it in some fashion or another. The moral arc of the universe is slow, etc.

Though I must say, the way they dealt with ugliness and disability? Kind of turned my stomach. Suppose you can't have it all at once..
I'm thinking a bit about a link I saw passed around in some Facebook posts today: Eighty-five Years Ago Today, J.R.R. Tolkien Convinces C.S. Lewis that Christ is the True Myth. To be honest, I've not gotten past the title. The site is a standard of evangelical culture-blogging (including culture war-blogging), and I'm not sure I want to invest my time in their reading of Inkling lore. Never mind my Wesleyan suspicion of a "salvation date," a single timestamp when someone's understanding of this "true myth" is complete, let alone their our to it perfected. (Salvation, if the concept makes sense at all, is a process much more than a discrete point.)

But the details don't really matter so much to me. It's that phrase, "true myth," that made my inner philosopher sit up and take notice. Because the idea of theology as myth rather than factual claims is actually pretty interesting. Not sure if the word "true" is the best one here, but it's close. To my mind, "true" means an accurate description of reality. The statement "The American president on September 21, 2016 is African-American" is true if (and only if) there is an American president on that date and he actually is that ethnicity. It almost certainly won't be if we change the year to 2017, and definitely wasn't if we go pack in time to 1916. "Marta likes strawberry ice cream more than chocolate" is true if and only if that's an accurate description of my preferences. Philosophers will quibble over this approach (we call it coherentism). For instance, how do you make sense of ethical claims? Most people would say a sentence like "We ought to help starving people if we can without making someone else (or ourselves) suffer in the process" is true, but it doesn't seem to be describing anything that actually is. It gets tricky when you bring time into it, too. So definitely there's room for debate and fine-tuning but I do think this approach to truth makes a lot of sense, at least in the broad strokes. Certainly it's what most people mean when they talk about truth, or at least a large part of what they have in mind.

The problem is, myth isn't supposed to work like that. It's not really a description of how things are, or even how they'll definitely be at some specific future point. It's like art that way, but with a tie to the good I don't think we can presuppose when it comes to art. Good myths drive us to imagine the best possible world. Take that fascinating Chesterton quote: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” He clearly isn't talking about the literal existence of dragons, or literally slaying them, it's about something metaphorical and the moral lesson that we can master them. It's about imagination and possibilities and the kind of attraction Aristotle thought was so key to building character. You see (say) generosity or courage modeled, you like what you see, you want to become like that person so you try to do the kind of thing you think they'd do, in your situation. Good myths do something similar because they get us thinking in terms of what-ifs, but in a context that's tied to how we ought to be. (I'm not going to sit here and say art can only be good art if it drives home the right moral lesson; good art seems to be doing something else entirely - c.f. Hannibal, to take one example....)

But set that quibble aside. That description of Christian theology as myth is a fascinating one, isn't it? I mean what would theology look like if we were less interested in making specific claims that were true or false, and more interested in opening up the kinds of possibilities that attracted people to some transcendent good. (Or Good, in the Augustinian sense: That which gives all other good things their goodness, the ultimate goodness.) Using language to describe God is an iffy endeavor anyway, for a variety of reasons, youv'e either got to make claims the human mind can't really understand or else they're not going to be sufficient descriptions of God because He's just supposed to be bigger. I never liked the idea that this was all religion was supposed to be about, factual claims the human mind could understand and defend - seemed so stilted, somehow. And myth seems like a much better way of thinking about theology. I'm just not sure what that would even look like.

Feh. Maybe, for all my different influences and my not-so-latent-these-days identification with the Jewish side of my upbringing, I really am very Protestant, which means creeds and factually correct belief. Don't get me started on the irony there. I can't help thinking that article title might have been on to something, even if it was just by accident.

(Btw, I read peoples' responses to my other post. Meant a lot. Still quite ... everything I was when I made that post. But I needed a break and space to play for a bit, so have this musing on an entirely different topic for right now.)

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