lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I find it slightly disturbing that when I'm feeling down, I find going to church rather harder than it ought to be. As in, I went to a friend's place Friday night specifically because I knew I'd feel better. Ditto with seeing mom today. Ditto with rereading DWJ (The Homeward Bounders in this case -- though there's something about using *that* one as comfort reading...) So it isn't the "Being social is hard" effect I sometimes have as a mild introvert. (Though I would like a great deal to have a few hours genuinely ALONE in the house, not just closed in another room).

Part of it is that neither Colin nor I are really deeply connected to the community. We're there, we do things with and for the church, but we don't have many deep close friends that way. Actually, depending on where your line is between friend and "acquaintance I like", some might argue we don't have many friends there. (I know a few people I would call friends, but I had the debate about where friend and acquaintance break off with at least one person whose definition was widely different from mine). So that while I like the community there as a whole when I'm down, they aren't the people I'd reach for for consolation or comfort or to forget.

Put it this way; NOBODY at church at this point knows about either miscarriage.

Doesn't help that the last non-Christmas service I attended made me burst into tears. Or that when the minister's wife actually noticed that fact, and checked on me, I promised that that I'd e-mail L. (the minister) and explain to her what was going on. And I didn't.

And now I'm bothered by an entirely different issue (It's work stuff, but since one of the problems I'm having right now is a total lack of information or communication, I can't explain further yet), and so I really don't want to be corralled about that incident.
lenora_rose: At Tara in this fateful hour, I call on all heaven with its power... (At this Fateful Hour)
Rule # 1 of internet passwords: No matter how weird or complicated my password is, how many random capital or numbers or other things are in them, it is almost invariably my username (Lenorarose or Lenora_rose) that I typo.

Another interview today. went so so. I know that I missed a rather important detail in one of the events she asked me about, and fumbled a bit with words. better than the last one, though.

Until this week, I've been working on a project that kind of bemuses me. See, I've said that I don't generally like stories set in some kind of post-apocalyptic world. I dislike some of the tropes. (The people who degenerate into violent crazies out for themselves is a major one. The usually unrealistic speed at which knowledge is lost; such that people who were around before the apocalypse sometimes seem to have forgotten what they knew. That incredibly common books, never mind movies or recorded music, become rare and prized -- pace coffeeem.)

But that project is set in a fantasy world after an apocalypse. Since it also includes three people visiting from 21st century Canada, I jokingly described it as Narnia meets Mad Max (a description the funnier for being pretty much totally wrong when it comes to the spirit of both those series'.)

Thing is, that description did point me to one thing.

I think I'm writing this because I didn't like at all what Lewis did with A Last Battle. (Well, besides Neil Gaiman's very correct point that as a novel, it's strangely and not very well structured). I can only sum it up as, "That's not how you break a world."

See, one trope about the post-apocalyptic things that I do appreciate is this; there's always something left. And from that, the seed for some form of new world.

Lewis wiped out Narnia. Completely.

And there are so many different things in this that are wrong besides just the fact that it ended.

First, and foremost, the entirety of Narnia seems to have existed so as to teach a sum total of eight earth children enough to get seven of them to heaven. (Susan has been discusssed enough elsewhere.) Once those seven children are all dead, the world simply goes away.

Yes, we see the people of that world brought into heaven (Or swallowed by Aslan's shadow), too. How nice. But the world ended when the last of those children ran through the door into heaven.

This, I couldn't even.

Until I realised that most of the stories about people from our world going to other worlds have the person who goes turn out to be special in some way. Not to the extend that the world begins and ends with them, but it's there.

Tuathea is in my head. All of it. It's fiction. it can't be as important as the real world. But so are the three Earth people who travel to it (especially as their world is the one I call Damina-Earth, which is ours with a few small variations). And they AREN'T any more special than the people they meet there. That world didn't exist up to that point to teach them anything. And when they're all dead, it will keep going. I admit, my trio were technically hand-picked as useful to the survivors. But useful is not the same as irreplaceably special. because I didn't want it to be that story.

(One of my other stories is about a world that will cease to exist when the inventor leaves. It's kind of nasty, especially to other people sucked into it.)

The next big issue I had is the lack of grief in the Last Battle. The end of the world is a bright new morning for the characters.

Because there's an afterlife, which is like all the good things in Narnia without the bad. And everyone was happy with this. The Pevensies, killed horribly in a train crash. The Narnians who stood by and watched the stars come down and the last light fade.

Which, okay, worked for the perspective from which he was telling it; the people who'd already passed through the door. Who weren't inside Narnia. But.

Imagine you were one of the beings watching it from within Narnia. On the side where the stars are falling. Think what you'd be thinking, even if you were one of the righteous who'd reappear on the other side of the door, whole and hale and with a whole bright and happy world ahead. Think about watching your world come apart, collapse into ruin, all for the actions of one selfish ape.

Even if you trust God to take you to paradise, when your own world ends, you mourn. You feel sorrow for what was left behind. For the people who fall around you.

Nobody in the Last Battle grieves. Oh, they grieve the horses shot down when they're still in Narnia, or the dryads cut off at the roots. But as soon as they cross over, the grief just stops. It's no longer bad news at all that they lost a battle for the very soul of their country, or that there's been a train accident on Earth (In fact, little or no mention is made of the people they left behind until the very end, when they're waving across a gulf between Earth (or rather Earth's heaven) and Narnia's heaven, and so are clearly also dead). the world they knew ends, and they don't feel any sorrow for it. Just a kind of wonder. The stars falling, and the things coming through the door in the end are described without much sorrow.

Nobody cries out and clings, or begs the world to survive. Nobody fights tooth and nail against entropy. There's no time, and no chance.

The description of the world ending is fast - a chapter - going from a fading bonfire to flat water (nothing as alive as an ocean) in a short span. But because of all the things that happen, I always, even as a kid, figured that was compressed time; that they stood there watching the days and years spin by like a time-lapse camera. That it wouldn't be that fast on the other side.

On one hand, once I was old enough to grasp just what was missing there, I wanted that story, too, in addition to the one on the other side of the door. Of the complete fall of the whole of the world. what it looked like from inside. of the grief.

I also wanted, as a child especially, but also even now, for it not to end. Just because things don't really end. Lives end. Civilizations end. Species end. LIFE dos not. Not until the heat death of the universe.

There have been any number of cataclysms and near apocalypses in human history. And yet we keep on. And we fight entropy. Even those who believe in heaven, who feel heaven is real and that suffering here is a shadow, are, as often as not, also working for a better world here (though since details as to what makes a better world have differed wildly, and occasionally included committing atrocities to get there, they've failed at least as often as succeeded). For the hungry fed, the poor clothed and sheltered, the family happy, the life satisfied.

We keep on keeping on. Good and bad.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote an essay once on disliking apocalyptic fiction because she always felt that she wouldn't be one of the heroes, the rough rugged survivors, or even the barely clinging on. She'd be one of the ones in the mass graves, ashes in the crater where once there was a city. There's some truth to that, too; if we had an apocalypse, I am not a likely long-term survivor.

But I'd want to try. I'd want to gather those I cared for around, and try to grow food, and try to work together, and protect each other. To keep the flame of knowledge and some semblance of the rights and responsibilities of a society.

Now, I know this story is going to follow the trope of apocalypse stories to the end I prefer, the point at which things are restored to at least some degree. Because one thing I feel that I am trying to do with my fiction is offer light not always available in the real world.

But also because I resist everything that the Last Battle taught me about the end of the world. The world isn't here for me. The world is worth mourning even if followed by heaven. The world is worth fighting for, not passively watching from elsewhere as it dies.

(Also this is far from the only thing the story is about. One of the questions the story seems to be exploring is how, if ever, a person - or being - who commits an appalling act can be counted redeemed. Including and especially by his victims. Also lots of nifty odd plot thingies - a lot of what I've been writing so far has a certain amount of "coping with language and translation". OH, and yes, I seem to have wandered onto another project for this week, ebcause I couldn't get one scene out of my head without writing it. but I think I'll be back to the apocalyptic thing.)

This.

Sep. 9th, 2010 04:18 pm
lenora_rose: (In the Name)
As ever, the disturbingly wise Jim C. Hines got it in one.

Scattershot

Oct. 5th, 2009 03:34 pm
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
It seems we are not getting our floors done this fall. My mother-in-law broke her foot a bit over a month ago, and is wheelchair-bound, though otherwise in good spirits. My father-in-law was originally going to be coming over alone, since the flooring was going to be his big job, not hers. But her foot isn't healing - she's going in to have her foot bolted together this week, as the bones were separating. So he's staying with her, at least until he heads to the Ukraine in November. (That last sentence... is not atypical. Colin tells a story of noticing one day that he hasn't seen his dad in a while, and asking his mom where he was. IIRC, the answer was "China.")

Hoping she gets well. She seems too irrepressible not to, but sometimes, the body stops being able to keep up with the mind... and my in-laws are about halfway in age between my grandmothers and my parents.
_______________________

On a lighter note, we went to the fundraising dinner for our church, and we are so going to end up fat.

They had two money-raising efforts happening. One was a "bag auction", aka a silent auction, or actually a raffle draw. The other was an actual auction of goods and services. I put most of my tickets in the prize with the McNally Robinson gift certificate, but a few in a few other prizes, as you do.

But the actual auction happened first, or we might have done things a little differently... Colin bid very strongly, and won, the auction for one home-made pie a month delivered to our home (The first went home with us, the rest we get to pick the kind). because Colin loves pie. (I haven't tried it yet. But it looked good.)

He also bid on the 12 dozen home-made perogies (And 12 knitted dischcloths and 12 "potscrubbers", knitted things of a fabric rough enough to use instead of steel wool). And won those.

And then I won the other 8 dozen perogies from the bag auction. And another 12 potscrubbers (Someone else at our table bought the second dozen off me for $9.50. I'd have given them free, but he insisted.)

They take up less room in the freezer than we feared, and they last well. But at an average of 4-6 per person per meal, that's at least 20 meals, and possibly as much as 30, if we *don't* invite friends.

We are SO going to be stuffed.

And Colin won an espresso maker.
________________________

I don't like it when I feel the urge to shout, "Hey, you, get out of my religion" at conservative fundamentalists. I don't like it because that would be their approach to me, and I want to be better than that.

But, really (via [livejournal.com profile] karnythia, whose tag for these sorts of things is "if I have to suffer, so do you"):

Conservative Bible Project

Shorter: "We don't like what the Bible actually says, so we're going to change it to suit us."

I'm pretty sure that the correct reaction if the holy book of your religion and your personal beliefs differ, is to find another religion (or to compromise, by following what you can, and sometimes doing things you don't prefer, and picking your battles). I'm pretty sure if the tenets of your faith and your own behaviour disagree, the thing to reexamine is your own behaviour.

I'm not exactly unfamiliar with the complexity of actual Biblical translation, but I'm also pretty sure this:

"Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning"

is a bit beyond the ways the meaning of words, passages or culture has shifted over time, so that words don't mean what we think they mean.

I'm also pretty sure that this method:

"In the United States and much of the world, the immensely popular and respected King James Version (KJV) is freely available and in the public domain. It could be used as the baseline for developing a conservative translation without requiring a license or any fees. Where the KJV is known to be deficient due to discovery of more authentic sources, exceptions can be made that use either more modern public domain translations as a baseline, or by using the original Greek or Hebrew. "

isn't how most scholars go about crafting a real translation. "or by using the original Greek or Hebrew" seems almost an afterthought.


Also, how on earth do you claim "Volunteer" is a Conservative word?

__________________________

Finished the Fionavar Tapestry again. The books are justifiably a fantasy classic. The first one starts weak, and a bit unconvincing: Five people from our world have been invited to another magical world to help with anniversary celebrations. Before they even leave our world, one evil creature has attempted to follow and kill them, and the instant they arrive, they discover that the political situation isn't nearly as clean and welcoming as it sounded, and the danger is much much worse, yet only one balks, and even the one who we're told is frightened gets over her fear within sentences or moments. Big issues are brought up in front of them, yet it's seen as a sign of abnormal wisdom to catch on to the dark side of this, and they all stand passively listening for at least one major issue.

However, it doesn't take too long to convince the reader that they Have now thrown in their lot with the people they meet, genuinely, and not much longer to sketch the characters of the world in high terms and still give them eventual dimension. My favourite example of this is Tegid: Huge, fat, boistrous, rowdy, heavy drinking, a classic example of the bar-thumping jolly guardsman. Except. When he sees someone hurt, he protects them. He appreciates beauty. He's competent at fighting. He plays a killer game of chess. He may scratch his hind in the middle of formal negotiations, but he takes the part of his duties that matter seriously. And he's a thoroughly minor character.

The writing is glorious, I love the people, the choices, the powers and the poetry. I still cry at certain tragedies along the way, at certain acts of courage and defiance. it's an amazing piece of storytelling, and again, a rightful classic.

I also find the Arthur-Lancelot-Guinevere love triangle even less convincing than ever. Because it really seems to me that the saddest of all the sad stories shouldn't be one where one of the three characters can't say, "You know what? I'm not actually married to you this time, and there's no law against it here and now to make it a betrayal. Why can't I have two boyfriends?"

(And before you argue that that's too much modern thinking, consider that even Paint Your Wagon bloody did it.)

Even granting that Fionavar is a world of high romance and highly tradition-bound, *several* of the characters have casual sex or premarital sex (Outside of the religious festival, which I would grant as a whole nother ball game). It's Not a world where the social rules make that choice impossible. Kay seems to be trying too hard to have it both ways; to have a place where the prince's men can carouse with barmaids, where the women of the plains culture can visit any man they want before they're married, where people from our world won't feel too alien, and still have the high tragedy of "Oh, noes, I love two people!"

It's actually a relatively minor thread in the multiple plots, but it's one that failed to sing for me, and caused a nagging distraction.

Another oddity, this is the first time I really noticed how *small* Fionavar is. It seems like the whole of the place from top to bottom would take a week to cross on horseback, tops. (And it does have the "horses" of DWJ fame, that don't resemble real animals, don't founder after two days of gallopping, and don't balk at fighting things that even warhorses might say, "Bugger this!" to. And probably pollinate.) It's internally consistent, except that I found myself wondering how a plain that small could support herds of animals big enough that the plains people taking seventeen of them for a feast doesn't noticeably shrink the herd.

I'm also slightly inclined to take the sheer smallness of the world as explanation why it seems like almost everyone is blond, and even the dark-haired Cathalian people sound more like Mediterrainean Caucasians in looks, not people from further away.

If Kay weren't so firmly declaring Fionavar to be the world from which all other worlds spring, too, I'd just nod at the strong Celtic roots of it all and let the latter be, too. But because he does, I have to say it doesn't seem nearly large enough, geographically or culturally.

(Seriously, if I were making films of this series, I'd be as true to the books as I could in very way but casting.)

___________________

OH, and something [livejournal.com profile] matociquala chose to unveil (With help and suggestions for friends) for all those who've talked about it in the past but seemed unclear on what it really included:

The Homosexual Agenda

Scattershot

Oct. 5th, 2009 03:34 pm
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
It seems we are not getting our floors done this fall. My mother-in-law broke her foot a bit over a month ago, and is wheelchair-bound, though otherwise in good spirits. My father-in-law was originally going to be coming over alone, since the flooring was going to be his big job, not hers. But her foot isn't healing - she's going in to have her foot bolted together this week, as the bones were separating. So he's staying with her, at least until he heads to the Ukraine in November. (That last sentence... is not atypical. Colin tells a story of noticing one day that he hasn't seen his dad in a while, and asking his mom where he was. IIRC, the answer was "China.")

Hoping she gets well. She seems too irrepressible not to, but sometimes, the body stops being able to keep up with the mind... and my in-laws are about halfway in age between my grandmothers and my parents.
_______________________

On a lighter note, we went to the fundraising dinner for our church, and we are so going to end up fat.

They had two money-raising efforts happening. One was a "bag auction", aka a silent auction, or actually a raffle draw. The other was an actual auction of goods and services. I put most of my tickets in the prize with the McNally Robinson gift certificate, but a few in a few other prizes, as you do.

But the actual auction happened first, or we might have done things a little differently... Colin bid very strongly, and won, the auction for one home-made pie a month delivered to our home (The first went home with us, the rest we get to pick the kind). because Colin loves pie. (I haven't tried it yet. But it looked good.)

He also bid on the 12 dozen home-made perogies (And 12 knitted dischcloths and 12 "potscrubbers", knitted things of a fabric rough enough to use instead of steel wool). And won those.

And then I won the other 8 dozen perogies from the bag auction. And another 12 potscrubbers (Someone else at our table bought the second dozen off me for $9.50. I'd have given them free, but he insisted.)

They take up less room in the freezer than we feared, and they last well. But at an average of 4-6 per person per meal, that's at least 20 meals, and possibly as much as 30, if we *don't* invite friends.

We are SO going to be stuffed.

And Colin won an espresso maker.
________________________

I don't like it when I feel the urge to shout, "Hey, you, get out of my religion" at conservative fundamentalists. I don't like it because that would be their approach to me, and I want to be better than that.

But, really (via [livejournal.com profile] karnythia, whose tag for these sorts of things is "if I have to suffer, so do you"):

Conservative Bible Project

Shorter: "We don't like what the Bible actually says, so we're going to change it to suit us."

I'm pretty sure that the correct reaction if the holy book of your religion and your personal beliefs differ, is to find another religion (or to compromise, by following what you can, and sometimes doing things you don't prefer, and picking your battles). I'm pretty sure if the tenets of your faith and your own behaviour disagree, the thing to reexamine is your own behaviour.

I'm not exactly unfamiliar with the complexity of actual Biblical translation, but I'm also pretty sure this:

"Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning"

is a bit beyond the ways the meaning of words, passages or culture has shifted over time, so that words don't mean what we think they mean.

I'm also pretty sure that this method:

"In the United States and much of the world, the immensely popular and respected King James Version (KJV) is freely available and in the public domain. It could be used as the baseline for developing a conservative translation without requiring a license or any fees. Where the KJV is known to be deficient due to discovery of more authentic sources, exceptions can be made that use either more modern public domain translations as a baseline, or by using the original Greek or Hebrew. "

isn't how most scholars go about crafting a real translation. "or by using the original Greek or Hebrew" seems almost an afterthought.


Also, how on earth do you claim "Volunteer" is a Conservative word?

__________________________

Finished the Fionavar Tapestry again. The books are justifiably a fantasy classic. The first one starts weak, and a bit unconvincing: Five people from our world have been invited to another magical world to help with anniversary celebrations. Before they even leave our world, one evil creature has attempted to follow and kill them, and the instant they arrive, they discover that the political situation isn't nearly as clean and welcoming as it sounded, and the danger is much much worse, yet only one balks, and even the one who we're told is frightened gets over her fear within sentences or moments. Big issues are brought up in front of them, yet it's seen as a sign of abnormal wisdom to catch on to the dark side of this, and they all stand passively listening for at least one major issue.

However, it doesn't take too long to convince the reader that they Have now thrown in their lot with the people they meet, genuinely, and not much longer to sketch the characters of the world in high terms and still give them eventual dimension. My favourite example of this is Tegid: Huge, fat, boistrous, rowdy, heavy drinking, a classic example of the bar-thumping jolly guardsman. Except. When he sees someone hurt, he protects them. He appreciates beauty. He's competent at fighting. He plays a killer game of chess. He may scratch his hind in the middle of formal negotiations, but he takes the part of his duties that matter seriously. And he's a thoroughly minor character.

The writing is glorious, I love the people, the choices, the powers and the poetry. I still cry at certain tragedies along the way, at certain acts of courage and defiance. it's an amazing piece of storytelling, and again, a rightful classic.

I also find the Arthur-Lancelot-Guinevere love triangle even less convincing than ever. Because it really seems to me that the saddest of all the sad stories shouldn't be one where one of the three characters can't say, "You know what? I'm not actually married to you this time, and there's no law against it here and now to make it a betrayal. Why can't I have two boyfriends?"

(And before you argue that that's too much modern thinking, consider that even Paint Your Wagon bloody did it.)

Even granting that Fionavar is a world of high romance and highly tradition-bound, *several* of the characters have casual sex or premarital sex (Outside of the religious festival, which I would grant as a whole nother ball game). It's Not a world where the social rules make that choice impossible. Kay seems to be trying too hard to have it both ways; to have a place where the prince's men can carouse with barmaids, where the women of the plains culture can visit any man they want before they're married, where people from our world won't feel too alien, and still have the high tragedy of "Oh, noes, I love two people!"

It's actually a relatively minor thread in the multiple plots, but it's one that failed to sing for me, and caused a nagging distraction.

Another oddity, this is the first time I really noticed how *small* Fionavar is. It seems like the whole of the place from top to bottom would take a week to cross on horseback, tops. (And it does have the "horses" of DWJ fame, that don't resemble real animals, don't founder after two days of gallopping, and don't balk at fighting things that even warhorses might say, "Bugger this!" to. And probably pollinate.) It's internally consistent, except that I found myself wondering how a plain that small could support herds of animals big enough that the plains people taking seventeen of them for a feast doesn't noticeably shrink the herd.

I'm also slightly inclined to take the sheer smallness of the world as explanation why it seems like almost everyone is blond, and even the dark-haired Cathalian people sound more like Mediterrainean Caucasians in looks, not people from further away.

If Kay weren't so firmly declaring Fionavar to be the world from which all other worlds spring, too, I'd just nod at the strong Celtic roots of it all and let the latter be, too. But because he does, I have to say it doesn't seem nearly large enough, geographically or culturally.

(Seriously, if I were making films of this series, I'd be as true to the books as I could in very way but casting.)

___________________

OH, and something [livejournal.com profile] matociquala chose to unveil (With help and suggestions for friends) for all those who've talked about it in the past but seemed unclear on what it really included:

The Homosexual Agenda
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Gee, cleaning out the trackball really did make a huge difference. Weird; it was fine until last week, and it finally occurred to me that in spite of the suddenness, it might not be a connection problem.

2) Attended a Full Moon ritual with a Wiccan group led by an old friend I don't get to see much. A positive experience, overall, and interesting to see the similarities and differences. Similarities: The last time I did a guided meditation, it was led by our church minister during the new members groups - though she hasn't exactly done that with the full congregation. Our church tends to begin the Jesus prayer with "Our Mother and Father", so invoking male and female deity didn't seem as out of place as it might (And I seem to be more comfortable with deity as female, excepting only Jesus himself, who was rather inarguably male). And the candle-lighting had strong parallels to our "Prayers of the people" segment; though they had more positive invocations than otherwise, and we tend to the opposite. The cleansing and blessings feel familiar, albeit from experiences prior to church, so that the group aspect was the new part there. The banter and reminiscences during the less solemn parts. The fumbling for matches or texts to conduct the ritual. The fact that the ritual felt effective in spite, or even inclusive of of human fumbling. And of course, every religious thing I've been to seems to involve some kind of an invitation to bring and eat food afterward in group, once the ritual is done and the serious bits passed.

3) [livejournal.com profile] tao_of_erec (Also our Baron-to-be) was in town! He's not really back yet from Afghanistan, but this is his last holiday before he's officially done, and he came to see his fiancee. He also went to archery today, so a bunch of us besides Amaryllis got to see him - and will again tomorrow for folkmoot.

4) I am so going to end up finishing Bird of Dusk within a week -- depending of course on how much writing time I get. My last writing day was 57 words short of 3k. Of course, then it's set it aside, and come back later to carve apart everything from Chapter 17 onward. And I should look and see if there's a viable break point anywhere in the vicinity, because it might be better if it were two books. If so, it probably won't be a standalone series. I don't think I can see clear to that. But enough to pass as "I meant to do that"? Maybe.

5) Work wise, the place where I worked one day every couple of weeks over the summer had me back again for a half-day this last week, wants me again the week after Thanksgiving (The Canadian one, which is rather soon), another in December if I haven't something else by then, and might be setting up a part-time position in the New Year - though the last is a maybe. It's not coming into being because of me, but because of an increase in their production, but I have been told that if I haven't something else by then, they'd be happy for me to take it. (Although I think the woman telling me this was made even gladder to hear I've been with RCC for nigh on three years - they knew I'd been working their both summers they had me in, but not for how long. And it's nice to know the 'temp' can and will do longer term.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Gee, cleaning out the trackball really did make a huge difference. Weird; it was fine until last week, and it finally occurred to me that in spite of the suddenness, it might not be a connection problem.

2) Attended a Full Moon ritual with a Wiccan group led by an old friend I don't get to see much. A positive experience, overall, and interesting to see the similarities and differences. Similarities: The last time I did a guided meditation, it was led by our church minister during the new members groups - though she hasn't exactly done that with the full congregation. Our church tends to begin the Jesus prayer with "Our Mother and Father", so invoking male and female deity didn't seem as out of place as it might (And I seem to be more comfortable with deity as female, excepting only Jesus himself, who was rather inarguably male). And the candle-lighting had strong parallels to our "Prayers of the people" segment; though they had more positive invocations than otherwise, and we tend to the opposite. The cleansing and blessings feel familiar, albeit from experiences prior to church, so that the group aspect was the new part there. The banter and reminiscences during the less solemn parts. The fumbling for matches or texts to conduct the ritual. The fact that the ritual felt effective in spite, or even inclusive of of human fumbling. And of course, every religious thing I've been to seems to involve some kind of an invitation to bring and eat food afterward in group, once the ritual is done and the serious bits passed.

3) [livejournal.com profile] tao_of_erec (Also our Baron-to-be) was in town! He's not really back yet from Afghanistan, but this is his last holiday before he's officially done, and he came to see his fiancee. He also went to archery today, so a bunch of us besides Amaryllis got to see him - and will again tomorrow for folkmoot.

4) I am so going to end up finishing Bird of Dusk within a week -- depending of course on how much writing time I get. My last writing day was 57 words short of 3k. Of course, then it's set it aside, and come back later to carve apart everything from Chapter 17 onward. And I should look and see if there's a viable break point anywhere in the vicinity, because it might be better if it were two books. If so, it probably won't be a standalone series. I don't think I can see clear to that. But enough to pass as "I meant to do that"? Maybe.

5) Work wise, the place where I worked one day every couple of weeks over the summer had me back again for a half-day this last week, wants me again the week after Thanksgiving (The Canadian one, which is rather soon), another in December if I haven't something else by then, and might be setting up a part-time position in the New Year - though the last is a maybe. It's not coming into being because of me, but because of an increase in their production, but I have been told that if I haven't something else by then, they'd be happy for me to take it. (Although I think the woman telling me this was made even gladder to hear I've been with RCC for nigh on three years - they knew I'd been working their both summers they had me in, but not for how long. And it's nice to know the 'temp' can and will do longer term.)
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
This is going to deal with some sensitive personal areas. But I have a reason for making it a public post.

At least one of the people mentioned besides my brother reads this journal, and... read to the end before you say a word.

__________________________

Once I had a friend. Call him PT. (The only legitimate initials in this whole thing will be my brother's. Most people who matter will know why I picked the ones I picked for the others.)

This friend was dating another friend of mine (Call her BB.)

They broke up, as people do. partly because after a few months, he felt ready to commit and clingy and mentioned the M word. Please note we are talking about people around 20 at the time.

She was not ready to commit to anything.

A month later, and much to their sincere surprise (Especially as, less than a week before, he'd been telling me something that strongly implied that he didn't expect it to happen), my brother, JH, started Dating BB.

I was asked by BB to break it to PT. Cowardice on BB's part? Maybe. But we both knew he was still hoping to get back together.

That was a painful conversation, and yes, it involved weeping on my shoulder. Or near enough as makes no difference.

But after a few days/weeks, PT got it into his head that my brother (Who had been crushing on BB, yes, but said nothing, as he knows not to do these things) had been the reason he and BB broke up; had somehow "Stolen" her by making himself a more attractive option. (Trust me. BB has agency and knows what to do with it.)

So at that year's Fringe Festival, PT spent a day following BB around the various parks and squares (BB could not listen to the Police's "Every Breath You Take" for a long time after without a shiver or five.), and culminated it in stomping up to my brother and threatening to beat his face in. (I should mention here that PT is about 6"1' and broad even when unfit. JH is about 5'9", and built like a long-distance runner. Or was then...)

PT told me later that he'd actually intended to just walk up and swing... and discovered that he hasn't got the violence in him to do it.

Here's the thing: LATER.

I was on the phone with PT for about two hours that night telling him what a Fuck-up he'd been.

And again when I got together with him later that week to figure out how he'd got himself into a mental state where stalking seemed like a remotely good idea. I thought at the time that it was better for him than losing all his friends at once. And maybe it was, in some ways, and decidedly it wasn't, in others.

PT was not cured; he never to my knowledge stalked anyone again, and I don't think he threatened anyone either. But he didn't fix the underlying possessive streak (NAme a thing what it is.) I broke up with him twice AS A FRIEND, because he was growing romantically attached and clingy, convinced we should be a couple regardless of what I said about the matter, jealous if I talked about liking anyone else. (This was not helped by the fact that I flirt with my friends without thinking about it; and I didn't *want* to have to be on my guard with someone who was legitimately a close friend, and with whom I could hash problems or life - as long as it wasn't romantic. So I would absentmindedly flirt. I confess my culpability that far.) In both cases we got together again, at first warily, because he showed sincere effort to mend his ways. Heeven pursued another couple of vague romantic lines (Some of which required the same clue stick dropped on his head of him making bad choices, longing for commitment too early, getting attached any time a female friend showed friendship... turning possessive about any woman about). For a while, he even tried to encourage me in a (vain) romantic pursuit I was following - except he *showed* me the effort, which meant he was acting the same jealous role with a veneer overtop.

And years later, when I thought he was over the worst tendencies to see (almost) any female friend as a romance, I did date him. (Weirdly, I think this was the time his behaviour was the *least* manipulative and borderline.) We both decided it didn't work, then. The most painless and mutual break-up of the four.

Yup. Four. The last one was when I started dating Colin, and KNOWING we had tried it as a couple and failed, he STILL threw a jealous fit. (Well, jealous sulk.)

And talking to someone else a little later, at least one more relationship with one more female friend went sour the same way.

But this isn't a story about the lie that a good woman or a good friend can change a person. This is a story about forgiveness of fuck-ups.

I talked to him again last year. Nothing too personal or intimate, but you know something? It felt nice to not have to fear running into him in those places our social circles overlap. It felt nice to know we might actually sit down and blather sometime at a con. Not in private, and I'm not sure I trust to get remotely close to him again. Forgiveness doesn't mean failing to recognize signs, or letting yourself get into a position which could become that of a victim. But it does mean forgiving.

I should also say, because it matters here, too. JH put pressure on me to break off the friendship. Quite justified on his part, I'd say. So did mom, for that matter (And BB, though I didn't live in the same house as her.) But both of them let me make the choice, and while they let their opinion stand, they eased off the pressure.

Had JH ever declared, "Us or him. really." I would have dropped PT. I would ahve told him why, but I would have done it. And tried to make it stick.

And it would have hurt worse than the years of breaking apart, trying to patch it, up, breaking apart again. Worse. I still don't doubt that, actually, any more than I doubt that I would have caved. Forgiving PT enough to keep talking to him wasn't easy, either internally in the doing, or externally, in the pressure.

____________________________

I have another friend. Call him RAF.

RAF is stubborn. RAF is by his own comment, "The most stubborn person you will ever meet."

I have dealt with RAF through *more* nasty social altercations than anyone else, some small, some bigger, some very very big indeed. I've watched him rewrite the facts of an event (Once within the same evening) to suit his side of the story. (He does it to books, too, but books don't get hurt by it. However, reading Left Hand of Darkness after hearing his version was... telling.) I've watched him fail to notice clues and warnings given with everything but a club, then profess surprise when everything came together and hit at once. Hurt him, yes, but he hit back at least as hard, and hurt a lot more people, including me, in the process.

That could be a description of two different events. Ouch. Both times, I stopped talking to him for a while; once for weeks (Less, maybe, if you count some wary exchanges. Well, wary on my part.), once for months.

He approaches almost any situation with "My way or the highway" and then gets smacked with the highway... and always, always, declares it someone else's fault. (The time's he's right make it worse on all the other times, because they give him fuel to feel righteous.)

He admits culpability for minor things, and uses it as an excuse for refusing to move on major ones, even when facts are against him.

He still doesn't know how upset he made some people.

Important: In few altercations was he the only one at fault* (in one case, the "other people" don't know how upset they made some of his friends, either.)

Equally important: In at least one such altercation, my attempt to point out that both sides were at fault was taken as "If you aren't 100% with me, you're against me." And I was smacked down and hurt badly.

But you know something? I see him almost weekly. We talk a lot. We bicker cheerfully. I get exasperated by his bad habits (no doubt he does of mine), but I poke fun at him for them, more often than I actually berate him for them.

One of the advantages of stubbornness to that degree is... he's got your back, and he won't stop for anything short of you yourself telling him he's done enough.

And I'm sure there were other times I did something at least as egregious as any of his acts, and that he's had to find it in himself to cope.

We're not as close as we were before some of the problems went down. But that's not the same thing as saying I don't have his back if he's in real trouble.

_______________________


Once my mother wrote a letter to BB that I thought a mite excessive, but important and useful and even the right thing.

I was WRONG. In that letter, my mother detailed everything she felt was wrong with BB's relationship (Not with PT; this was years later.) Including some, as it turned out, entirely unfounded concerns.

BB still talks to my mother, although immediately afterward, she was spitting nails. She still talks to me. The other party in that relationship still does, too, actually. Even though they knew that while I had no part in writing it, I had seen the contents and okayed sending it.

________________________

When I mention in passing that I'm glad I was in my mom's custody, and JH ended up that way, I'm not talking about which house had the better accoutrements. (In fact, most years, that would be dad's.) I'm talking about not having to live in the same house as my stepmother.

The person I had panic-attack level breathing problems for having to deal with for two weeks when I was about twelve. That's as much as I can say without violating someone else's privacy in public. Somewhere, I still have my fifteen/sixteen year old histrionics during one of our other visits, and among the melodrama therein, I - I have a hard time reading that, and not for the "OMG was I ever a drama queen!" of the others.

She and children? Not a good combination. (At least, children not her own. And even then... But again, not violating privacy.)

Colin likes my stepmother. More to the point, dealing with her as an adult, *I* like my stepmother.

___________________________

One of my friends had me on hand to help him through the realization he was turning into an alcoholic. Though he'd hurt me and others, I was there, because that was a fragile point.

I didn't get to see the end of that route. I hope to God it kept on an upswing, or got back onto one. Based on some of the people he seems to have kept in touch with all along, I suspect he had more help.

I wish I were friends enough at this stage to at least be able to ask, even if I don't want to get close for other reasons.

___________________________

I mentioned before learning that NL, a friend I'd drifted apart from, and of whom I retain fond memories, had talked some truly nasty smack behind my back, something I learned while considering getting back together with her.

We haven't seen each other often since, but when we have, it's seemed like a good thing. I miss NL, sometimes a lot. I made some bad mistakes myself in our friendship. But it would be nice to have the chance to talk enough to really find out if she can accept an apology, and the things I've been wishing I could share with her.

__________________________


I once broke JH's nose. It wasn't a childhood accident. It was a willful swing of the hand (After a charge up the hall).

My brother is, and remains, one of my best friends in the world. I still don't know how he forgave me doing something so dreadful.

__________________________

Forgiveness isn't easy. It's not pretty.


PT read at least one draft of a book I wasn't then ready to show to anyone else short of family. Which meant opening up parts of me I was a little scared to show in public, trusting him to accept those dark bits of me. I wrote a story only for him, one of my better short stories (Still unpublished. I should consider sending it back out). The story turned out not to be true in this world, but that's okay.

RAF - There have been a number of times he was the person who managed to welcome new people into our social circle, and to reach out and make connections. He used to accuse me of being the best person for finding things that didn't look like they'd suit him, but did after all (Like the movie Ever After, and a pile of books. I guess he forgot the near-misses.)

NL and I got each other through high school. WE collaborated on writing, shared art marathons, played together in RPGs, introduced each other to music. Created dragons and worlds.

The alcoholic - I can't say, not without cracking open a privacy. But I don't wish him ill. I hope in in a better place than he was then. With good people he can count on to tell him if he's fucking up again.

Do I have to say what my mom and brother and dad mean to me?

Heck, mom: "The song of my live will still be sung, by the light of the moon you hung."

JH is ALWAYS going to be one of my best friends. I don't like him being so far away we can't blather about whatever, whenever (At least since neither of us ever remembers to call the other.)

Dad: Dad is far away, a long narrow cord that has never broken. The classic family: "If you have to go there, they have to take you in."

My stepmother has grown calmer and wiser as well as older. She has never gone so far as to admit or talk about her mistakes. But she's given me advice on my own future family that was so obviously grounded in painful experience and awareness of how much she went wrong that I could admit some of my own worst fears in that area.

Forgiveness is hard.

But we're all humans. We're more than a flawed species. We're all broken and messed up.

And sometimes the best and least painful of the painful choices (though because it hurts in itself, we're leery of it, and can hide in the thing whose pain is more familiar) is to reach out again. Sometimes it has to wait until you're in a position of strength, or at least a position where you cannot be convinced that forgiveness means allowing yourself to become a victim. Sometimes it takes distance enough to look at your own failures, and know that their forgiveness is even more precious.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
This is going to deal with some sensitive personal areas. But I have a reason for making it a public post.

At least one of the people mentioned besides my brother reads this journal, and... read to the end before you say a word.

__________________________

Once I had a friend. Call him PT. (The only legitimate initials in this whole thing will be my brother's. Most people who matter will know why I picked the ones I picked for the others.)

This friend was dating another friend of mine (Call her BB.)

They broke up, as people do. partly because after a few months, he felt ready to commit and clingy and mentioned the M word. Please note we are talking about people around 20 at the time.

She was not ready to commit to anything.

A month later, and much to their sincere surprise (Especially as, less than a week before, he'd been telling me something that strongly implied that he didn't expect it to happen), my brother, JH, started Dating BB.

I was asked by BB to break it to PT. Cowardice on BB's part? Maybe. But we both knew he was still hoping to get back together.

That was a painful conversation, and yes, it involved weeping on my shoulder. Or near enough as makes no difference.

But after a few days/weeks, PT got it into his head that my brother (Who had been crushing on BB, yes, but said nothing, as he knows not to do these things) had been the reason he and BB broke up; had somehow "Stolen" her by making himself a more attractive option. (Trust me. BB has agency and knows what to do with it.)

So at that year's Fringe Festival, PT spent a day following BB around the various parks and squares (BB could not listen to the Police's "Every Breath You Take" for a long time after without a shiver or five.), and culminated it in stomping up to my brother and threatening to beat his face in. (I should mention here that PT is about 6"1' and broad even when unfit. JH is about 5'9", and built like a long-distance runner. Or was then...)

PT told me later that he'd actually intended to just walk up and swing... and discovered that he hasn't got the violence in him to do it.

Here's the thing: LATER.

I was on the phone with PT for about two hours that night telling him what a Fuck-up he'd been.

And again when I got together with him later that week to figure out how he'd got himself into a mental state where stalking seemed like a remotely good idea. I thought at the time that it was better for him than losing all his friends at once. And maybe it was, in some ways, and decidedly it wasn't, in others.

PT was not cured; he never to my knowledge stalked anyone again, and I don't think he threatened anyone either. But he didn't fix the underlying possessive streak (NAme a thing what it is.) I broke up with him twice AS A FRIEND, because he was growing romantically attached and clingy, convinced we should be a couple regardless of what I said about the matter, jealous if I talked about liking anyone else. (This was not helped by the fact that I flirt with my friends without thinking about it; and I didn't *want* to have to be on my guard with someone who was legitimately a close friend, and with whom I could hash problems or life - as long as it wasn't romantic. So I would absentmindedly flirt. I confess my culpability that far.) In both cases we got together again, at first warily, because he showed sincere effort to mend his ways. Heeven pursued another couple of vague romantic lines (Some of which required the same clue stick dropped on his head of him making bad choices, longing for commitment too early, getting attached any time a female friend showed friendship... turning possessive about any woman about). For a while, he even tried to encourage me in a (vain) romantic pursuit I was following - except he *showed* me the effort, which meant he was acting the same jealous role with a veneer overtop.

And years later, when I thought he was over the worst tendencies to see (almost) any female friend as a romance, I did date him. (Weirdly, I think this was the time his behaviour was the *least* manipulative and borderline.) We both decided it didn't work, then. The most painless and mutual break-up of the four.

Yup. Four. The last one was when I started dating Colin, and KNOWING we had tried it as a couple and failed, he STILL threw a jealous fit. (Well, jealous sulk.)

And talking to someone else a little later, at least one more relationship with one more female friend went sour the same way.

But this isn't a story about the lie that a good woman or a good friend can change a person. This is a story about forgiveness of fuck-ups.

I talked to him again last year. Nothing too personal or intimate, but you know something? It felt nice to not have to fear running into him in those places our social circles overlap. It felt nice to know we might actually sit down and blather sometime at a con. Not in private, and I'm not sure I trust to get remotely close to him again. Forgiveness doesn't mean failing to recognize signs, or letting yourself get into a position which could become that of a victim. But it does mean forgiving.

I should also say, because it matters here, too. JH put pressure on me to break off the friendship. Quite justified on his part, I'd say. So did mom, for that matter (And BB, though I didn't live in the same house as her.) But both of them let me make the choice, and while they let their opinion stand, they eased off the pressure.

Had JH ever declared, "Us or him. really." I would have dropped PT. I would ahve told him why, but I would have done it. And tried to make it stick.

And it would have hurt worse than the years of breaking apart, trying to patch it, up, breaking apart again. Worse. I still don't doubt that, actually, any more than I doubt that I would have caved. Forgiving PT enough to keep talking to him wasn't easy, either internally in the doing, or externally, in the pressure.

____________________________

I have another friend. Call him RAF.

RAF is stubborn. RAF is by his own comment, "The most stubborn person you will ever meet."

I have dealt with RAF through *more* nasty social altercations than anyone else, some small, some bigger, some very very big indeed. I've watched him rewrite the facts of an event (Once within the same evening) to suit his side of the story. (He does it to books, too, but books don't get hurt by it. However, reading Left Hand of Darkness after hearing his version was... telling.) I've watched him fail to notice clues and warnings given with everything but a club, then profess surprise when everything came together and hit at once. Hurt him, yes, but he hit back at least as hard, and hurt a lot more people, including me, in the process.

That could be a description of two different events. Ouch. Both times, I stopped talking to him for a while; once for weeks (Less, maybe, if you count some wary exchanges. Well, wary on my part.), once for months.

He approaches almost any situation with "My way or the highway" and then gets smacked with the highway... and always, always, declares it someone else's fault. (The time's he's right make it worse on all the other times, because they give him fuel to feel righteous.)

He admits culpability for minor things, and uses it as an excuse for refusing to move on major ones, even when facts are against him.

He still doesn't know how upset he made some people.

Important: In few altercations was he the only one at fault* (in one case, the "other people" don't know how upset they made some of his friends, either.)

Equally important: In at least one such altercation, my attempt to point out that both sides were at fault was taken as "If you aren't 100% with me, you're against me." And I was smacked down and hurt badly.

But you know something? I see him almost weekly. We talk a lot. We bicker cheerfully. I get exasperated by his bad habits (no doubt he does of mine), but I poke fun at him for them, more often than I actually berate him for them.

One of the advantages of stubbornness to that degree is... he's got your back, and he won't stop for anything short of you yourself telling him he's done enough.

And I'm sure there were other times I did something at least as egregious as any of his acts, and that he's had to find it in himself to cope.

We're not as close as we were before some of the problems went down. But that's not the same thing as saying I don't have his back if he's in real trouble.

_______________________


Once my mother wrote a letter to BB that I thought a mite excessive, but important and useful and even the right thing.

I was WRONG. In that letter, my mother detailed everything she felt was wrong with BB's relationship (Not with PT; this was years later.) Including some, as it turned out, entirely unfounded concerns.

BB still talks to my mother, although immediately afterward, she was spitting nails. She still talks to me. The other party in that relationship still does, too, actually. Even though they knew that while I had no part in writing it, I had seen the contents and okayed sending it.

________________________

When I mention in passing that I'm glad I was in my mom's custody, and JH ended up that way, I'm not talking about which house had the better accoutrements. (In fact, most years, that would be dad's.) I'm talking about not having to live in the same house as my stepmother.

The person I had panic-attack level breathing problems for having to deal with for two weeks when I was about twelve. That's as much as I can say without violating someone else's privacy in public. Somewhere, I still have my fifteen/sixteen year old histrionics during one of our other visits, and among the melodrama therein, I - I have a hard time reading that, and not for the "OMG was I ever a drama queen!" of the others.

She and children? Not a good combination. (At least, children not her own. And even then... But again, not violating privacy.)

Colin likes my stepmother. More to the point, dealing with her as an adult, *I* like my stepmother.

___________________________

One of my friends had me on hand to help him through the realization he was turning into an alcoholic. Though he'd hurt me and others, I was there, because that was a fragile point.

I didn't get to see the end of that route. I hope to God it kept on an upswing, or got back onto one. Based on some of the people he seems to have kept in touch with all along, I suspect he had more help.

I wish I were friends enough at this stage to at least be able to ask, even if I don't want to get close for other reasons.

___________________________

I mentioned before learning that NL, a friend I'd drifted apart from, and of whom I retain fond memories, had talked some truly nasty smack behind my back, something I learned while considering getting back together with her.

We haven't seen each other often since, but when we have, it's seemed like a good thing. I miss NL, sometimes a lot. I made some bad mistakes myself in our friendship. But it would be nice to have the chance to talk enough to really find out if she can accept an apology, and the things I've been wishing I could share with her.

__________________________


I once broke JH's nose. It wasn't a childhood accident. It was a willful swing of the hand (After a charge up the hall).

My brother is, and remains, one of my best friends in the world. I still don't know how he forgave me doing something so dreadful.

__________________________

Forgiveness isn't easy. It's not pretty.


PT read at least one draft of a book I wasn't then ready to show to anyone else short of family. Which meant opening up parts of me I was a little scared to show in public, trusting him to accept those dark bits of me. I wrote a story only for him, one of my better short stories (Still unpublished. I should consider sending it back out). The story turned out not to be true in this world, but that's okay.

RAF - There have been a number of times he was the person who managed to welcome new people into our social circle, and to reach out and make connections. He used to accuse me of being the best person for finding things that didn't look like they'd suit him, but did after all (Like the movie Ever After, and a pile of books. I guess he forgot the near-misses.)

NL and I got each other through high school. WE collaborated on writing, shared art marathons, played together in RPGs, introduced each other to music. Created dragons and worlds.

The alcoholic - I can't say, not without cracking open a privacy. But I don't wish him ill. I hope in in a better place than he was then. With good people he can count on to tell him if he's fucking up again.

Do I have to say what my mom and brother and dad mean to me?

Heck, mom: "The song of my live will still be sung, by the light of the moon you hung."

JH is ALWAYS going to be one of my best friends. I don't like him being so far away we can't blather about whatever, whenever (At least since neither of us ever remembers to call the other.)

Dad: Dad is far away, a long narrow cord that has never broken. The classic family: "If you have to go there, they have to take you in."

My stepmother has grown calmer and wiser as well as older. She has never gone so far as to admit or talk about her mistakes. But she's given me advice on my own future family that was so obviously grounded in painful experience and awareness of how much she went wrong that I could admit some of my own worst fears in that area.

Forgiveness is hard.

But we're all humans. We're more than a flawed species. We're all broken and messed up.

And sometimes the best and least painful of the painful choices (though because it hurts in itself, we're leery of it, and can hide in the thing whose pain is more familiar) is to reach out again. Sometimes it has to wait until you're in a position of strength, or at least a position where you cannot be convinced that forgiveness means allowing yourself to become a victim. Sometimes it takes distance enough to look at your own failures, and know that their forgiveness is even more precious.
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
- PArt of my birthday gift arrived. My Folk Festival reading material is Naomi Novik's Victory of Eagles. MY mother's, promptly borrowed, is Jo Walton's Ha'penny.

- The paycheque that never arrived in May has been replaced and is now residing happily in the bank. (Fault is with the post office, not the temp agency.) (Slight downside. Just in time for me to not get paid for my last Monday at SMD. OH, well... the phone call earlier should resolve that.)

- This should offend me ("You! Out of my religion!") but it amuses me. Someone mailed a Chick Tract to our address. It didn't have our names on it, but it also didn't look like a general bulk mail-out. I wonder what we did? I don't think that much of the sex is visible out the window...

- The Folk fest starts tomorrow! All is almost ready. My shifts don't conflict with anything but sleep. And If I finish this and get to bed, that won't be much of an issue. (hee!)

- I think I rescued that scene in the Serpent Prince that had fallen apart.

- The Mark Knopfler concert is Friday! Yes, clashing with folk fest, but I can live with it, so long as I have some way back to site afterward.

- last year, a friend gave me some climbing roses. They didn't get sufficiently watered in their transplant shock phase (I was out of town for part of it, and the person feeding the cats didn't always have time to do more than zip in and out), so all the extant stems pretty much died off. I gave them extra fertilizer this year in hopes, but when even the most spindly of the other roses in the city were going green and solid, they showed no signs. So while I left them in the ground (I'd planted a couple of strawberries in front of them, but had no viable ideas for that particular spot), I gave them up for dead. Not so! They have sprung up some new branches and leafs in rather healthy fashion. The only reason I didn't find out sooner was that a combination of canker worms followed by lack of spare time had kept me out of the garden. But they're establishing nicely, and next year there should be blooms. (Also, the rest of the garden is at least partially weeded and the morning glories have strings to clamber upon and make the house pretty. And the tomato plants are big and happy.)

- the friend whose writing I critiqued in depth, pointing out several serious problems (albeit mainly because it was "almost there" in some ways) actually thanked me for it and seemed quite pleased at the ripping apart results.
lenora_rose: (Wheee!)
- PArt of my birthday gift arrived. My Folk Festival reading material is Naomi Novik's Victory of Eagles. MY mother's, promptly borrowed, is Jo Walton's Ha'penny.

- The paycheque that never arrived in May has been replaced and is now residing happily in the bank. (Fault is with the post office, not the temp agency.) (Slight downside. Just in time for me to not get paid for my last Monday at SMD. OH, well... the phone call earlier should resolve that.)

- This should offend me ("You! Out of my religion!") but it amuses me. Someone mailed a Chick Tract to our address. It didn't have our names on it, but it also didn't look like a general bulk mail-out. I wonder what we did? I don't think that much of the sex is visible out the window...

- The Folk fest starts tomorrow! All is almost ready. My shifts don't conflict with anything but sleep. And If I finish this and get to bed, that won't be much of an issue. (hee!)

- I think I rescued that scene in the Serpent Prince that had fallen apart.

- The Mark Knopfler concert is Friday! Yes, clashing with folk fest, but I can live with it, so long as I have some way back to site afterward.

- last year, a friend gave me some climbing roses. They didn't get sufficiently watered in their transplant shock phase (I was out of town for part of it, and the person feeding the cats didn't always have time to do more than zip in and out), so all the extant stems pretty much died off. I gave them extra fertilizer this year in hopes, but when even the most spindly of the other roses in the city were going green and solid, they showed no signs. So while I left them in the ground (I'd planted a couple of strawberries in front of them, but had no viable ideas for that particular spot), I gave them up for dead. Not so! They have sprung up some new branches and leafs in rather healthy fashion. The only reason I didn't find out sooner was that a combination of canker worms followed by lack of spare time had kept me out of the garden. But they're establishing nicely, and next year there should be blooms. (Also, the rest of the garden is at least partially weeded and the morning glories have strings to clamber upon and make the house pretty. And the tomato plants are big and happy.)

- the friend whose writing I critiqued in depth, pointing out several serious problems (albeit mainly because it was "almost there" in some ways) actually thanked me for it and seemed quite pleased at the ripping apart results.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
This is what's been going on in my church.

The United Church of Canada Policy on Sexual Misconduct. )
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
This is what's been going on in my church.

The United Church of Canada Policy on Sexual Misconduct. )
lenora_rose: (Default)
First, an unrelated and minor gripe. I have currently loaned out all my Heather Dale Cds to three different friends, except for Call the Names, early and rather rough versions of SCA songs, and This Endris Night. And I got a craving. So currently I'm going through Christmas music even though I don't traditionally play Christmas music (at least as Christmas music) before December First.

And I just discovered the big scratch on it makes the Huron Carol skip. Waaah! (I do have a copy of it in my Christmas mixed CD, but still.)
_________________________________

I've been having some wholly navel-related thinking going on about the direction of my life lately. Today, thank God, that's not the fodder I want to talk about.

For various reasons, James Loney ended up speaking at my church yesterday after the service, in a hastily set up replacement for his planned appearance at a Catholic-based human rights conference from which he was disinvited.

James Loney, for those who don't know and don't feel like clicking the link, was one of four members of Project Peacemakers captured and held hostage in Iraq. One of the others, Tom Fox, was murdered before the three survivors were rescued. The survivors then made a point of publicly forgiving their captors, because the only sentence for kidnapping and hostage taking in the Iraqi court would be death, and as pacifists, they opposed this -- even for their immediate enemy.

The first thing about this, for Colin and I, was that this was the first time ever that the balcony has had to be cleared of the boxes and lumber usually stored there, and opened to public use; even with the short notice, so many people from so many different human rights groups and religious groups came to listen. We went up there, naturally, to get the new perspective on our home church. I've only seen the main floor that full on Christmas Eve, or Easter Sunday, and the useable parts of the balconies (Some areas along the side were still full of lumber, old piano parts, etc.) were likewise stuffed to the point where a few people chose to stand.

The talk itself gave me much fodder to think on. For one thing, Jim Loney is very critical of the Just War attitude, which I believe; that there are, in fact, times when one must fight. He's not blindly or stupidly critical of it; he agrees that situations like the Rwandan Genocide, where the fact that military was blocked from action may well have led to the slaughter (or the old Chestnut of World War Two, which wasn't brought up, but which I've heard raised before) are complicated situations, and that thus far, humans haven't come up with a response to such things that isn't violent in its turn. What he refuses to believe is that humans can't *develop* a new response that would work, if they stop looking to violence as the answer and start trying to commit money, time, science, and general thinking to coming up with a new answer.

That being said, I found myself agreeing with him more often than I disagreed; because some basic facts he has right:

- Violence does beget violence. Self-defence and just war may be justifiable, and restrained, but they are violence nonetheless, and violence that happens because of prior violence. And all too easy to turn into violence for its own sake, because there is a justification behind it, and knowing when to quit isn't exactly humanity's strong suit.

- We are as a species too quick to say "There is no answer besides fighting back physically." (Except in those circumstances where we are too quick to say, "I can't do anything at all, so why bother?" But that's another conversation.) We find it too easy to say, "Here, now, I must hit back."

And his prime example of how violence begets violence is exactly how his captors - ordinary, non-evil people - got into a mindset where taking peace-makers and pacifists hostage and murdering one of them seemed eminently justifiable and reasonable a course of action. How it could look like self-defence for them. How before the invasion they were considerably more ordinary people, who had now lost kin, friends, lovers, to various military actions.

Jim showed great sympathy for them. Not Stockholm Syndrome sympathy; he was not won to their cause, nor willing to agree that they were justified in their actions against him and his fellows, or their attitudes of extremism. But he could, in fact, describe them as humans, see their motives, and what made them turn to what he feels is terrible wrong and terrible violence.

And the thing which struck me most was his description of a movie night.

As he tells it, the captors sometimes got bored, sitting and guarding prisoners all day and night. The youngest, called Junior by the captives, would go out and buy whatever movies could be found in the black market. Especially action movies. And sometimes, for a change of pace, or someone new to talk to, they would allow the captives to watch with them.

One such movie was Transporter 2. Which, quick plot summary, involves the Transporter trying to rescue the kidnapped child of a US official from some drug cartel.

What Jim noticed - couldn't help noticing - was that his own captors, the people who had kidnapped him, who hated the US and the rest of North America, were cheering for the hero, the good guy. Against the kidnappers.

As cognitive dissonance goes -- actually, I wasn't surprised. It's too human. Too real. That, actually, was the detail that made these captors the most human, and the most frightening to me. That and the phrase where one in fact expressed respect for their mission: "I love a peaceful man." And he didn't, from the context James Loney gave, mean "Because he's easier to cow/destroy/beat up." he meant it as it was said; he liked, and wanted peace.

We writers talk a lot about how "Everyone is the hero of their own story." But this was the real world. A man died because these people were the hero in their own story. Three others were held in captivity, kept chained up, kept in conditions where an empty bottle to urinate in when the captors were disinclined to let one go to the real bathroom, and a rag to clean oneself with were important and desired items. Because they were the heroes in the story. Because their war was just and justified, in their own head. Because the violence they had seen bred violence inside them, and they couldn't stop to look for another, better way.

I still believe in a just war. I still think that as long as someone out there is willing to use force to get their way, regardless of the innocents in the way, then someone, somewhere, must be willing to use enough force to deflect that off the innocents, to put a stop to it. But I also think, and have thought, that there are other things to try first, and that once someone lifts a hand, they must aways, always, before every single shot, decide within themselves if that shot is still justified, or if it's the one that tips them over the edge, turns the protective warrior into the torturer.
lenora_rose: (Default)
First, an unrelated and minor gripe. I have currently loaned out all my Heather Dale Cds to three different friends, except for Call the Names, early and rather rough versions of SCA songs, and This Endris Night. And I got a craving. So currently I'm going through Christmas music even though I don't traditionally play Christmas music (at least as Christmas music) before December First.

And I just discovered the big scratch on it makes the Huron Carol skip. Waaah! (I do have a copy of it in my Christmas mixed CD, but still.)
_________________________________

I've been having some wholly navel-related thinking going on about the direction of my life lately. Today, thank God, that's not the fodder I want to talk about.

For various reasons, James Loney ended up speaking at my church yesterday after the service, in a hastily set up replacement for his planned appearance at a Catholic-based human rights conference from which he was disinvited.

James Loney, for those who don't know and don't feel like clicking the link, was one of four members of Project Peacemakers captured and held hostage in Iraq. One of the others, Tom Fox, was murdered before the three survivors were rescued. The survivors then made a point of publicly forgiving their captors, because the only sentence for kidnapping and hostage taking in the Iraqi court would be death, and as pacifists, they opposed this -- even for their immediate enemy.

The first thing about this, for Colin and I, was that this was the first time ever that the balcony has had to be cleared of the boxes and lumber usually stored there, and opened to public use; even with the short notice, so many people from so many different human rights groups and religious groups came to listen. We went up there, naturally, to get the new perspective on our home church. I've only seen the main floor that full on Christmas Eve, or Easter Sunday, and the useable parts of the balconies (Some areas along the side were still full of lumber, old piano parts, etc.) were likewise stuffed to the point where a few people chose to stand.

The talk itself gave me much fodder to think on. For one thing, Jim Loney is very critical of the Just War attitude, which I believe; that there are, in fact, times when one must fight. He's not blindly or stupidly critical of it; he agrees that situations like the Rwandan Genocide, where the fact that military was blocked from action may well have led to the slaughter (or the old Chestnut of World War Two, which wasn't brought up, but which I've heard raised before) are complicated situations, and that thus far, humans haven't come up with a response to such things that isn't violent in its turn. What he refuses to believe is that humans can't *develop* a new response that would work, if they stop looking to violence as the answer and start trying to commit money, time, science, and general thinking to coming up with a new answer.

That being said, I found myself agreeing with him more often than I disagreed; because some basic facts he has right:

- Violence does beget violence. Self-defence and just war may be justifiable, and restrained, but they are violence nonetheless, and violence that happens because of prior violence. And all too easy to turn into violence for its own sake, because there is a justification behind it, and knowing when to quit isn't exactly humanity's strong suit.

- We are as a species too quick to say "There is no answer besides fighting back physically." (Except in those circumstances where we are too quick to say, "I can't do anything at all, so why bother?" But that's another conversation.) We find it too easy to say, "Here, now, I must hit back."

And his prime example of how violence begets violence is exactly how his captors - ordinary, non-evil people - got into a mindset where taking peace-makers and pacifists hostage and murdering one of them seemed eminently justifiable and reasonable a course of action. How it could look like self-defence for them. How before the invasion they were considerably more ordinary people, who had now lost kin, friends, lovers, to various military actions.

Jim showed great sympathy for them. Not Stockholm Syndrome sympathy; he was not won to their cause, nor willing to agree that they were justified in their actions against him and his fellows, or their attitudes of extremism. But he could, in fact, describe them as humans, see their motives, and what made them turn to what he feels is terrible wrong and terrible violence.

And the thing which struck me most was his description of a movie night.

As he tells it, the captors sometimes got bored, sitting and guarding prisoners all day and night. The youngest, called Junior by the captives, would go out and buy whatever movies could be found in the black market. Especially action movies. And sometimes, for a change of pace, or someone new to talk to, they would allow the captives to watch with them.

One such movie was Transporter 2. Which, quick plot summary, involves the Transporter trying to rescue the kidnapped child of a US official from some drug cartel.

What Jim noticed - couldn't help noticing - was that his own captors, the people who had kidnapped him, who hated the US and the rest of North America, were cheering for the hero, the good guy. Against the kidnappers.

As cognitive dissonance goes -- actually, I wasn't surprised. It's too human. Too real. That, actually, was the detail that made these captors the most human, and the most frightening to me. That and the phrase where one in fact expressed respect for their mission: "I love a peaceful man." And he didn't, from the context James Loney gave, mean "Because he's easier to cow/destroy/beat up." he meant it as it was said; he liked, and wanted peace.

We writers talk a lot about how "Everyone is the hero of their own story." But this was the real world. A man died because these people were the hero in their own story. Three others were held in captivity, kept chained up, kept in conditions where an empty bottle to urinate in when the captors were disinclined to let one go to the real bathroom, and a rag to clean oneself with were important and desired items. Because they were the heroes in the story. Because their war was just and justified, in their own head. Because the violence they had seen bred violence inside them, and they couldn't stop to look for another, better way.

I still believe in a just war. I still think that as long as someone out there is willing to use force to get their way, regardless of the innocents in the way, then someone, somewhere, must be willing to use enough force to deflect that off the innocents, to put a stop to it. But I also think, and have thought, that there are other things to try first, and that once someone lifts a hand, they must aways, always, before every single shot, decide within themselves if that shot is still justified, or if it's the one that tips them over the edge, turns the protective warrior into the torturer.

Potpourri

Jun. 13th, 2007 12:08 am
lenora_rose: (Goblet and inhabitant)
Progress notes for June 11, 2007:

Bird of Dusk

Total words new or revised : 2400 and then some.
Probable percentage actually new: Not much at all in the first scene, the second was about 50% deleted and 30% new material added (Making it shorter than it was, but more pointed)
Reason for stopping: That second scene was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. It made no sense, it made the villain look like it was even less logical than it is.
Tea: hot milk with various stuff in.
Music: Heather Alexander...Live!, Loreena McKennitt, the Visit.
Mean Things: What would happen to you if you found out you used to have a sister who has now ceased to exist so completely nobody remembers her?

Current reading: Peter S. Beagle - The Line Between

To-read pile: Or maybe, I should get around to Peg Kerr's Emerald House Rising.


Progress notes for June 12, 2007:

Bird of Dusk

Total words new or revised : 1132 (Attempting to replace the failed scene from yesterday. It makes more sense plot wise, but it does kind of read as a sudden jump into the wrong subgenre.)
Probable percentage actually new: Most every one.
Reason for stopping: Time for bed. Must work tomorrow.
Tea: hot milk with a slightly different set of various stuff in.
Music: Oysterband - Granite Years
Mean Things: Entrapment, rude messages, making a mess.
There's Always Another Quirk in the Character: Finno can keep his head, and even have some fun, when in a situation with no small resemblance to -- but not actually containing -- his single worst panic trigger.

Current reading: Peter S. Beagle - The Line Between

To-read pile: However, all things considered, the highest priorities are now Steven Brust's Dzur, and a reread of Bradley's The Heritage of Hastur, because those are library books and have to go back.

I also peeped at the Used Book Sale they have, and [livejournal.com profile] forodwaith, I swear to you, as of 6:00PM today, there was another almost pristine copy of Emerald House Rising in the $.30 paperbacks. I didn't pick it up (I thought later I should have, and given it to you later, as then I'd know it would reach you)

I did grab a hardcover of Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad as a 3-in-1 book, as it's almost the only work of his I haven't read, and a paperback of Martha Wells' The Death of the Necromancer that was in such poor shape I almost didn’t bother, but I reasoned that for thirty cents, I could have the story now, and not feel too guilty about replacing it with a nice (and possibly royalty-making) edition later.

Inevitable Asides:

Pirates 3 Rocked. With a capital Rock. Among other things, it became obvious just how much Dead Man's Chest suffered from being the set-up to this story rather than a story in itself (and that's the parts I liked and that were relevant at all). Not brain candy but... oh, hell, yes, it was brain candy. it wasn't brain food, is what it wasn't. Pure candy, and tasty. The visuals were usually utterly arresting, but there was a lot happening overtop that. Lost track of the double-crosses a few times, especially since over half of them were feints and buying time rather than real betrayals. But I found myself grinning at the screen far too often for them actually doing something I thought was going straight for the shameless.

I didn't find the after-the-credits part annoying, but this may be because Spoiler )

And unlike with one, but very much like with 2, I want the soundtrack.
___________________

It seems like only a week ago I was expressing frustration (in person, not on journal) with my work situation. I was working one day a week -- and due to terminate this month -- at a place that obviously needs someone there more than that, and working one and a half days at another where I wasn't sure how long it would last at all,as it's already extended well past the planned time, or if they really need me.

Since then, the one day a week thing has jumped to two (and the endline is in 5 weeks, so longer than originally declared), and the one and a half one? Actually wanted me there an extra half day - they can't this week because of the other job, but they might next week. They also made it clear this is more ongoing than originally planned. They also added some mindless data entry to the mindless filing, amking it clear that with a little organization, they can find me plenty to do for as long as I can keep going.

Not sure how this will play out the week of Folk Fest... it all depends if location 2 are still needing me.
____________________

This has been rather the week for attempting severe self-damage. I already confessed to the attempt to clip the claws of Irina without backup, a towel, or sedation.

Then I tried to slice off the top of my finger (I only succeeded in removing a flap of skin and leaving myself a sensitive spot to brush against rough objects.)

THEN I managed to slam a chair into the back of my heel with the whole rest of my weight on it. At speed. (Yes, that was hard to manage. My comment at the time was "If I were Achilles, that would definitely have been 'Death by Stupidity, straight to hell'.") It doesn't seem bruised, and the ache isn't bruise-like or muscle-like. On the other hand it's minor, and hasn't kept me from walking, bouncing, dancing, etc.

After all of which, and barely 24 hours after remarking to Colin that I never bruise instantly, it usually takes hours to show, so that half the time I forget how I got it, I managed to walk hard into the pointy corner one of our low tables hard enough to bruise, badly and instantaneously.

To top it all off, in attempting to take my snake earrings from my study to the bedroom, I managed to drop one of them down behind the basement steps - which means, in effect, behind the newly renovated basement *Wall*. (For those of you who know that both my study and the bedroom are on the second floor... don't ask.) I'd love to be wrong and find it lurking on some more innocent bit of floor or step, but I checked pretty thoroughly, and I'm quite sure I heard it bounce left.

Technically, I know, this isn't self injury, but those were pretty much my favourite earrings. I mean, how often do you find snake earrings that can be, and have been, mistaken for Christmas trees at a distance of less than five feet? They were just cool.

Well, I still have one. I should see if I have a near enough match in any of my other orphaned earrings (I don't mind wearing different ones, but I'm no longer comfortable if they aren't close in weight and how they swing.)
__________________

I've meant to post about:

- The service this week, which was a combination of Interfaith celebration and preparation for the Gay Pride march that afternoon We started with a native elder's prayer and song, a Buddhist, a Jewish woman (Actually known to me as Ruth from the Folk Festival and Amaryllis's aunt), someone from a new age faith, the Rainbow Ministry's choir doing the music, and a few other interesting touches.

- How this season of Doctor Who started bland, and with serious danger of repeating itself too much (the Face of Bo, New New York, Major-historical-figure-plus-standard-horror-monster, female companion with romantic overtones, the Doctor being oh, so cool and genius and perfect), then morphed into doing several experimental and unusual shows in a row - most of which also have had some killer dialogue and some unusually good presentation.

- The whole Livejournal mass deletions and inadequate apology.

- A wide variety of other minor rambles about work or life or near-future plans.

But some of these have a time limit which is pretty much over and done, and some, I really don't have that much to say on. Other topics of more length and depth have also passed into my mind, but usually disappeared soon after. Or, I deemed to be things I would not say either in public or in front of my mother.

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