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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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"Tolkien" biopic - who's watching?

Inquiring minds and all that.

I'll admit, I'm of mixed minds. I'm not really a purist, but I'd lay odds I know as much about JRRT's life as the filmmakers. Most fandom members, particularly those who have more than dabbled in Silmfic probably would, and that's not a criticism of the filmmakers. It's just that we're all geeks. I'm also really concerned they'll try to turn his WWI days into a parallel of balrogs and dark towers rising out of the earth, and just... no. For all the obvious reasons that would bother me quite a bit.

On the other hand, I really feel a kindred spirit in JRRT. I don't always agree with his views -- I disagree quite a lot, actually -- but there's something about his unique mix of scholar and (sub)creator. I guess I just feel at home with his soul, if that makes sense. And as many movies as I see, it seems a real shame to miss out.


The Old Rugged Cross, by Alabama

dreamflower02 posted the lyrics, which inspired me to poke around on YouTube and I stumbled across this lovely version of the old hymn. I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Southern boys (and girls) singing the old songs). What a welcome treat.

Also, to her and all who are celebrating it: A very good Easter.


I've started rereading the Silmarillion on a bit of a whim ('tis the season....) and I've been thinking about the Ainulindale

Specifically: why did Iluvatar "expound the theme" of the Song to the Ainur, rather than performing it himself, or indeed just having it exist in His Mind. What's the advantage of involving the Ainur, who seem to have been created particularly for this purpose? Broadly speaking, I mean — their role seems to be to take the general theme Iluvatar revealed to them and instantiate it, to give it a kind of reality. And obviously reality is better than merely conceptual/hypothetical in several important ways, but what's the value in doing this through third parties?

I have my theories drawing from some neoplatonic philosophy, and am toying with the idea of writing an essay on it all, just because I miss playing with the philosophy. But I'd be interested in what other people think, if anyone has any thoughts.

(*waves*, btw. I do realize I've been AWOL....)

I actually did a phone screen this afternoon for a job I applied for... this morning. For the interested it was this one, which looks a bit like the billing half of my current one but with a much more established medical practice. It surprised me how attractive the job was to me as I don't particularly like billing, but a solid day job with benefits and probably a pay jump over what I make wouldn't be a bad thing.

It didn't work out. He was looking for someone who could manage an in-house billing department (not clear from the job advert), and that's not me. It was a bit insulting actually, because he said he thought I might work as one of his foot soldiers (the people that prepare and submit the rote billing paperwork), and I regularly do much more than that, I just don't have the experience managing people he needs in this more senior role. But the fact that the managing doctor read my resume and thought he wanted to talk to me right away is encouraging. I guess.

I am out of shape presenting myself! Lots of uhhhh's and well's. Of course the first three minutes of a phone conversation with a stranger are always going to be tough.

I will say, I really can't imagine a harder job out there than searching for a job. It's a bit like whack-a-mole, if you're the mole rather than the whacker. Still we carry on. :-)

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It's been a rather wild two days. 

Broadly speaking; I guess we're now in day three. I've bought a new computer, filed a Better Business Bureau complaint against the maufacturer of the old, skyped with a Bulgarian prince (a real one, if minor — had to do with the Kid), and saw Crimes of Grindelwald, which I liked a lot more than I thought I would, and definitely want to read some of the Dumbledore fanfic that should be inspiring. 

Going a bit further back, I decided I couldn't take on the f-word class, which I was looking forward to but really need to focus on finding a better job. I told the Institute and they cancelled the class. There was a lot of interest, too. But the topic will still be there when I'm better able.

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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.


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.



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