10. Herland (Gilman)

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:25 pm
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[personal profile] mrs_leroy_brown
Herland is a turn of the century feminist utopian novel about three rich American dudes who seek out to discover (i.e. subdue and conquer) an isolated nation where there are no men. It's easy to make comparisons to Themyscira - girls are trained to enable them to protect themselves from a non-existent threat, educated to improve their society as well as themselves, and nurtured in a sisterhood whose religion is based on the honor of collective motherhood and ensuring the success of future generations.

Enter the menfolk: Jeff, a drippy romantic who yearns for a woman to protect and idealise, the kind who'd probably burst into tears if the lady of his affection let rip a stank pizza-and-beer fart; Terry, an oily lothario convinced against all evidence that he can vanquish the hotties for his own personal harem; Van, the level-headed sociologist narrator increasingly filled with doubt and guilt as he is educated in the ways of Herland (their term).

The penny drops for Jeff and Van - "We were now well used to seeing women not as females, but as people; people of all sorts, doing every kind of work", but gross Terry playacts his education and manages to ruin it for everyone. What a tool.

Being "of its time", Herland is chock full of gender essentialism and tiresome references to savages (naturally the ladies of Herland are all white). Everything else is very sign me up - big up the vegetarian diet and garments of many pockets! I enjoyed this short book, though it did feel like it ended somewhat abruptly where a "ten years later" style epilogue could have answered some unfinished questions.

9. The Paying Guests (Waters)

Jul. 15th, 2017 05:40 pm
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[personal profile] mrs_leroy_brown
Frances Wray is a posh but poor former flapper living with her mother in a crumbling Champion Hill manor. With her brothers all killed in the war and her father's passing, Frances and Mrs Wray open their home to "paying guests" (much more genteel than "lodgers") to help pay the bills. Enter boorish Len Barber and his beautiful wife, Lilian. Illicit love blossoms and just when the women make up their minds to run away, tragedy strikes.

This was not the book I was expecting (in a good way!) - the second half kept me gripped with its anxious, urgent, page-turning tension. If you're looking for a hefty period novel, meticulously researched but never too do-you-see?-y, this is a great book to get lost in.

Pretend play

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:13 am
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[personal profile] zulu
L has just started, within the last day or so, to do a new kind of pretend play. He's been playing "I'm cooking" or "I'm driving", activities that happen in real life, for months. But now he's adding in, "I'm a kitty!" or "You're a puppy!" and acting it out by meowing or crawling on all fours.

This morning in the car, he said that he was a kitty and I was a puppy and he was my mama. I said, "L, if you're a kitty, how can you be my mama if I'm a puppy?" Sidestepping this logic, he said, "Mama, you a SAD puppy and I'm your mama." I made some sad puppy sounds and then said, "Mama, how are you going to make me feel better?" He said, "Here's Kitty!" (meaning his beloved stuffy). So I hugged Kitty and gave her back (always give Kitty back!). Hugging Kitty solves all problems, so that was that, and then he went on to other details of our commute ("There's a gas station! There's a cement truck!").

Kids! Development! So weird and cool.

Looking for a post

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:30 am
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
[personal profile] zulu
Someone on my reading circle recently (within the last month?) quoted someone else on dreamwidth who wrote a post that boiled down to, "Here's a list of nine things that your brain wants you to think you're supposed to be able to do flawlessly all at once, but in reality most people manage two at most," those two being "holding down a job" and "keeping a living space livable". Some of the others were, like, "meaningful artistic practice", "gregarious and active friend circle", etc.

I wanted to reread, but I can't remember who posted it or when. Does this ring any bells?

Quite pleased

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:44 pm
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
[personal profile] zulu
Short story draft is at about 3000 words; I'm aiming to be finished in the 5-6K range. It's going well but most of all I'm pleased that even though my days are carved up with internship, I am finding time to write, and I am consistently coming back to the story able to remember/pick up where I left off (not always guaranteed with original fiction).

I was invited to submit by an anthology editor who remembers me from last time, so that is nice. They won't accept necessarily but the odds are good. Hoping to submit by Friday.

I've been using the "moral premise" plotting style for my recent short fiction--has anyone else tried it? (There's a book but I'm too cheap to buy it; I've been basically doing what someone suggests in this blog post about it.) I'm finding it pretty helpful to round out characters and keep focused on a single problem in a short space, instead of writing a bunch of "is this the first chapter of a novel?"s.

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damelola

May 2012

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