Category Archives: Inspiration

More on the Politics in Writing Brouhaha

Here is a rant by Sarah Hoyt about more of the culling and potential for discrimination that is taking place in the Science Fiction Writer’s Community. I’ve said here (and I’ll say many more times) that it is possible and nearly always preferable to separate a writer’s politics from his or her writing. Within reason, of course, and I’m not looking to split hairs but to have an actual discussion. I might not like the way Isaac Asimov behaved at conventions around women and specifically about how his hands would occasionally orbit their asses (or even collide), but I enjoy his non-fiction and his shorter fiction and consider them primary influences. (The Foundation trilogy is a collection of novellas and stories. It’s also slathered in awesomesauce.) I think some of the things Orson Scott Card said about homosexuals are absolutely reprehensible, but Speaker for the Dead is one of my two favourite books about xenophobia and dealing with alien species. (The Fuzzy Papers is tied with it, though Speaker does hit me in the gut a little more.) And outside of science fiction, there are a few contemporary authors who have said a few things I find a little ignorant regarding communism and socialism, and I might not ever accept a dinner invitation from them unless they’re willing to debate at length, but they’ve also written some awesome books, books I am not ashamed to recommend.

Here’s the thing:  If Mr Card wrote a book about a gay man who was half a person and couldn’t succeed at his quest or mission simply because he was in love with another man, I would have no problem not reading the book. But to the best of my knowledge, his books aren’t about that. They’re about finding one’s way, or living with guilt, or understanding something utterly alien. Ditto Asimov. His stories were about living in the future and dealing with science, not about occasional gropes and insensitive comments. Of course, such things are reprehensible, but they didn’t figure into his writing.

Since reaching adulthood (and especially after I joined the Navy) I’ve learned to look at complex things in a complex manner, and I used to think that all adults either did so or at least tried to. It’s part of rational thinking, I believe. I might totally disagree with a friend’s politics (and he with mine) but if we read the same books, like the same music, do the same kinds of things on our off-time, we can be friends. I look at writers the same way. I don’t pick up a book thinking “Here’s someone who agrees with me writing things that are agreeable and that furthermore, all right-thinking people agree with.” If the author does work in something that I disagree with, well, hopefully he or she explains why this is done. Then I will either change my opinion or add to it, and give it a little more depth. It’s a challenge to one’s thinking apparatus. An exercise. I suppose if you have no desire to ever grow as a person and never improve your thinking muscles, you might like to read pap that has been pre-approved and pre-screened to have all the right political points and opinions, written by someone who feels the same way. But then again, you probably shouldn’t be reading a traditionally challenging art form like science fiction, a genre that challenges you to think what if this happens. Or what if things were different. Not what if everything were perfectly created in my own image of perfection. If for no other reason, this will make a crappy story, but I hope everyone reading this can see that that will also make for a reader who doesn’t like to think, ever, and that’s rarely a good thing.

Enough of my own ranting. Here’s Sarah Hoyt’s article. Have an awesome night.

Inspiration Tuesday

Well, I have a few things to talk about for Inspiration Tuesday, today. First, I’m at work trying to keep the rash at bay but otherwise doing alright. I’m next to positive that it’s not contagious; I think my guinea pigs… err, roommates would have noticed by now. Still not sure what’s causing it, and the itching is only getting worse. In fact, the picture below, blatantly stolen from Weird Tales’ Facebook feed…

…is an example of how I’m afraid I’ll look after I’ve scratched my face off completely.

Inspiration has been showing up in the strangest places, lately, not just below the rock in my back yard where the writing Elves usually hide my week’s worth of ideas. This week’s story is about a street magician, and it’s a fantasy story in the sense that I always wanted to be at least a sleight-of-hand artist, if not a magician, when I was younger. (By younger, I’m including last Friday, when I found three balls of about juggling size and decided to show off to the cat. She still won’t speak to me.) And even though my efforts to learn to palm cards and double-deal and produce coins led to nothing more than my own image in the mirror doubling up and laughing at my practice, I kept trying, and kept thinking about it. A few days ago, a regular character strolled on to my stage, one with a rather tragic story that he was trying to escape from, and in her attempts to give him a backstory, my Muse found my old copy of Huggard and Braue’s Expert Card Technique and, well, poof, my character was made flesh.

In a way, I suppose it is like stage magic. I clasp my hands, smile, proclaim to the audience that I have nothing up my sleeves or between my ears, and then out of nothing, a group of people are walking and talking and sharing their stories with the rest of the world. Maybe I did learn sleight-of-hand after all.

Though I still would love to do a good Four Aces trick.

Inspiration: WordPress Tweaking

I’m still working on the new theme for the blog (though Thursday’s story is finished, and next week’s is slowly peeking out of the closet I keep all my new ideas in). So, most of my inspiration today will be related to HTML, CSS, PHP, and WordPress hacking. Those of you with a blog might like these articles. Those of you who’ve tweaked your WordPress might want to offer me suggestions. And those of you who just read can either apply some of this stuff to writing bitchin’ comments in full HTML, or read something.

From WordPress:  Five Elements For Your Front Page

Also from WordPress:  Site Design and Layout

And here’s the CSS tutorial from W3Schools… there might be flashier ones, but this tutorial is short and blunt and to the point.

Digging into PHP and MySQL and such can get a little trying, but HTML and CSS are pretty powerful on their own, and really aren’t hard to learn. (Especially if you’re like me and grew up with a word processor or typewriter that had control codes.)

I’ll be back a little later with more inspiration.

Surreal Sunday

And I’m not just talking about my attempts at writing and rewriting, this time. I’m sitting in my studio drinking caffè napoletana and browsing an amazing collection of surreal art. And that, I think, is my theme for today… art of the surreal and hyperreal. First up is Igor Morski, a Polish artist whose wonderful eerie paintings have not so much as lodged themselves in my mind as they’ve brutally carved a living space underneath the old chip wrappers and apple cores that surround my Muse’s workspace.

Igor Morski

The Art of Quotation: Edith Hamilton

This awesome woman, and the D’Aulaires, are what really inculcated my love of mythology. (Though, I did have to relearn a lot of things that I learned in the D’Aulaires book… I remember being shocked when I found out that Greek Civilization expanded up into the Balkans, the Black Sea, and a good part of Asia Minor, and we won’t even talk about the mental rewiring I went through when I learned about Magna Grecia. But that’s another story, perhaps for my own books.)

“Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within.” – Edith Hamilton, author

 

Charlotte Cuevas: Rummaging

I’ve linked to her 365 Poetry Project blog before, but the poem she published today had a stanza that particularly resonated with me.

No, I am not too fun at parties-
I leave early a lot.
But I am lots of fun on the drive home,
lots of rummaging and picking fun
through the thousands of thoughts I have thrown
in your direction, to see if they would stick.

Read the whole thing.

Day 207:  Rummaging