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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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At First Things, here.

It was hard to grow up as a teenager in the late 1990s, growing up in the American Bible Belt, without bumping up against Joshua Harris. His book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (which advocates for exactly what it says on the tin) was hugely influential, and while my sister and I were never really pushed to give up dating entirely, this whole idea that sexual and romantic purity was very much the ideal and the best way to a lasting marriage and a satisfying sex life within those bounds (which again was very much the gold standard) was so much a part of people's assumptions you almost didn't have to make it explicit by naming it.

Recently Josh Harris stopped publishing the book and apologized for the harm it had done, so a lot of evangelical-niche blogs (and conservative religious-niche generally; First Things is Catholic of course) have been talking about the purity culture the book kicked off. Favale's reaction is one of the better ones I've come across. And I think she's definitely right: any pastoral care of young Christians on sex and romance needs to start with why rather than how. (I think that's true on any number of issues and for other ages, too, though obviously my generation's willingness to question and go against institutions makes this more important with us.)

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A bit of good news

I got an offer (and accepted) to teach another adult education course. Basically it's about fairness: whether it's every okay to show preferential treatment to people in certain situations, what it means to be fair, and why we think fairness is a good or necessary thing to begin with.

Beyond that, I've pretty much been given carte blanche. I could pick some of the more interesting readings I did when I taught at Fordham and do it with my eyes shut, but I think I can stretch myself a bit beyond that and bring in some evolutionary psychology, interesting court cases and political arguments, that kind of thing. 

`

I have this idea instead of holiday cards I'd like to do ecards this year, but with a fannish twist. What I'd really like to do is work up a graphic with Tolkien-inspired art on the margins, but with space in the middle for me to add a personalized message for each person, which I could then email out to friends and family.

I have a rather definite idea that I think could work well for non-Tolkien nerds but have a special resonance for those of us in the know. 

Of course I have precisely no skills for visual arts — I'm really purely a writer — so what I'm really trying to do is feel out whether anyone would be interested in taking this project on. I'm willing to pay (or make a donation to your favorite charity if you prefer) or would even gladly write you something in trade.

If anyone's interested in taking this on or just wants to talk more about what this might look like, please get in touch.

Blackkklansmen

I went and saw Spike Lee's Blackkklansmen tonight. From all the reviews I was expecting something really remarkable - it has like 96% on RottenTomatoes. With Spike Lee at the helm, I wasn't expecting subtlety. In fairness, this is the first film I've seen by him, but I know his reputation of course.

What I was, was bored.

The basic plot actually had a lot of really clever potential. From the trailer you probably got the basic gist: a black cop goes undercover with the local KKK, doing phone work himself but having a fellow white (Jewish) cop attend meetings as him, since obviously he's black so can't go himself. One additional detail, though not a major spoiler: Ron Stallworth, the black cop, begins dating what I'd call a black separatist, who doesn't know he's actually undercover. So you have the potential for some really interesting dialectic: a white Jew who identifies with his Jewishness only in the most basic of terms. A black man who's thoroughly able to "pass" (at least over the phone) and another black woman with no interest in doing so. And there's some really good conflict between working "within" the system versus rejecting it.

Just to make sure the point isn't lost on the audience, Lee bookends the Ron Stallworth story with a screening of scenes from Birth of a Nation (the DW Griffith standard, not the 2016 Nate Parker film about the Harpers Ferry revolt) at the beginning, and news footage of the Charlottesville attack at the end. I'm just not sure what the point is supposed to be, actually. That racism is still a thing, and that we're still grappling with the same issues? I didn't need the movie to tell me that. That white America is hostile toward black America, and good white people need to wake up to this act? Strangely, Blackkklansmen undercuts itself here: the local KKK is stupid to the point of being offputting, and what other white characters there are are actually fairly supportive, up to a point. The local police is actively recruiting minority applicants, for instance, and Ron probably does more good in the context of the system by working with the white power structure than do the other characters actively rejecting it.

The whole thing had a distinct whiff of preaching to the already converted, and simultaneously letting King's "white moderates" off the hook because we are very much not like Them (TM), the true racists. If you want to feel good about your wokeness, this film will probably scratch that itch, but it certainly didn't compel me to do better. The characters felt flat, both because they didn't develop and even when there were natural tensions between their positions and starting-points, that wasn't really followed through on.

I did find it interesting as a writer, though, because it really didn't involve me in the story, either plot-wise or character-wise or even theme-wise. It's interesting to ask why, and why that failure kept me from really connecting with the point it was trying to make. And I think the best take-away I can offer is I just never made it into the film's target audience -- either because I wasn't the intended audience (which is fine, I guess, though I'd like my evening back), or because it was a bit muddled and didn't really have one. It was so well received, I have to think other people connected with it in a way I didn't. As a cautionary tale on the importance of connecting to your readers, it does seem worthwhile.

PS - I know I haven't been around much. I've been thinking of you all and missing you, but also fighting through a touch of depression so not having the energy to really reach out.  This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/17162.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

I have new skills!

Specifically, setting up a basic Access database and setting up a form so I can print patient demo sheets. 

Access was the one real member of the Office Suite I'd never dug into, at least as a designer. Which is a waste because I have some experience at least thinking in terms of what database queries can accomplish, if not writing the actual queries (all our correspondence and pretty much anything automated on the MEFA website was built off of SQL queries. I've always thought if I mastered the syntax and basic mechanics, I've got the analytic skills to really do a lot with databases.

... And yes, I suppose this counts as working on a Saturday afternoon, but I'm going to put a more positive spin on it inside my skull at least.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/16966.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

A bit of Johnlock fluff

Because it's Sunday afternoon, and rainy/chilly, and because I can.

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Sherlock couldn’t quite hide the smile twitching across his face. Hamish sat bouncing on his knee, the pale-yellow of his christening gown cascading around the black wool-tweed of Sherlock’s trouser-leg. Pale-yellow was an odd choice, he knew, but there was purity, the customary white, and then there was light. A pale fire; or honey, properly cured. The black sash  pointed quite clearly to the latter, even without the wings they’d planned (ethereal as fairies’, but to his mind more apian in their design). If the host of Watsons and smattering of assorted others all around could not see, well, the great swath of humanity was more the fool than Sherlock had previously thought.

Mycroft had of course guessed the outfit’s meaning at first glance, but in the spirit of the day had wisely kept his thoughts to himself. So too had his mother, or else Mycroft wasn’t quite so discreet as he liked to think.

John was turned, deep in conversation with one of the many Watsons whose name Sherlock probably should not have forgotten so quickly, his hand still a comforting anchor on Sherlock’s thigh. “Well, yes,” Sherlock heard him admitting, “yellow is a bit unusual. But Sherlock is hardly one for convention.” He opened his mouth to object, but John’s hand patted his thigh just then, and Sherlock let the words pass unspoken. He could play his part, today. “We should count ourselves lucky he didn’t just dunk her into the nearest pond,” John said with a laugh.

That was a lie, of course. Sherlock would have gladly paraded her around Westminster, preening all the while, if he’d thought they could have managed it. But he’d not fought too hard when John had suggested the colors. Not cadmium, not ochre (John’s vocabulary in colors was still pointedly, purposefully limited), but simply light yellow. Pale as the new-morning’s sun, and sweet as spring’s first honey, properly cured. Their little bee. 

Sherlock thought then (or dreamed) of summer wine, sickeningly sweet but just this once; and a lazy sun shining down through a curtain of willow-fronds, he and John feeding each other honey-cakes as their little bee flitted about. And he found he didn’t mind the lie so much, the plain truth hidden in plain sight. 

It was a christening, after all.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/16649.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 This video brought to you by the letter: badgers.


This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/16528.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 17th, 2018

I am back safe in NYC. I was supposed to fly in tomorrow, but given the entire east coast is being slammed by a storm and they were projecting half the flights into NYC airports were going to get cancelled or delayed today, I cashed in my ticket and took a train instead.

Which was lovely. I honestly love long train rides, and the romanticism of a storm just made it all the better. And now I have a day to get errands done before I jump back into work on Thursday.

I do have a tired, though!

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/16147.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jul. 13th, 2018

 I have a vague sense of all the people wishing me happy birthday today. I have grand plans to read through and acknowledge them all, but at the moment I just feel cocooned by a cotton-wool cloud of being loved. Is that unbearably sappy? Perhaps; but it's also true. So, thank you.

I'm also giving myself a much-needed gift of time. Going out of town tomorrow night to visit a friend and not coming back to work until Thursday. The only people I'll be spending time with are friends I'd take an airplane to spend time with. Plus: adventures. I work from home tomorrow and then I'm off. This time in more ways than the one. *winks*

Today was actually really nice. I took The Kid and The Mom out to Italian in the old neighborhood and totally carbed out, and there may have been wine. Then met up with some old grad school friends for a game of Risk, where there was definitely scotch and yet more sugar in the form of birthday cake. You have not played strategy games until you have played them with former philosophy grad students, particularly with the standing addition to the rules: if you can convince the group you ought to have won on ethical, logical, or otherwise philosophical grounds, the heck with the dice.

Also I may have bought the "Lego Movie" Blu-Ray from a street vendor. I never saw it, but I'm really looking forward to it!

You know, sometimes people talk about thirties like we're actually adults, but I'm not seeing the evidence today. This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/16018.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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