Saturday, December 03, 2005

It Happened Again on Friday

Somebody else asked me how I was "getting so skinny."

These people baffle me. I start moving into a size 14, and everybody thinks I weigh 150 lbs or something.

Weird. I haven't weighed 150 since I was like 12 years old.

It's all relative.

The Trouble With Writing

This isn't the first time my writing has interfered with my relationships. I'll spend a good deal of time doing research, writing a few pages a month, and then the bucket will tip over and for a couple of months, I'll do nothing but write, and think about writing, and talk about either writing in general or my latest book in particular.

I write on the bus, at work, at lunch, at home before and after making dinner. I think about my book, about the next scene, bits of dialogue, at the gym, just before bed, while doing reporting at work. I keep a notebook next to me so I can get dialogue down, little scenes, before I forget them.

I want to finish this book by Dec 31st, which works out to writing about 7 pages a day. I want to finish this book. I've been working on it, writing, researching, for year. I already have my next project in mind. I'm a writer, and this is what I do.

What the people close to me soon learn is that when I get like this, there isn't room for much else for awhile. I get easily distracted. I'm always somewhere else. I'm only really happy when I'm writing. It's another reason I spent six years avoiding the idea of having a lover. My writing became an issue in my last relationship. He said I never had enough time for him. I was ignoring him. For nearly six months, I stopped writing all together, and nearly killed myself.

No joke.

So this time around I want to find the right balance. I want to be able to give myself over to this passion, to this thing that consumes my life, but I don't want to neglect the relationships in my life with friends and lovers, and that's hard, that's really fucking hard.

Where Are All the Female Magicians?

Susanna Clarke does a Q&A about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

There was an interesting question about where all of the female magicians were in Clarke's book. And I have to admit, that question never crossed my mind. I felt Clarke was writing a certain sort of book, set in England during an alternate 1830s-ish sort of time and narrated in a written-in-the-1850s sort of way (I always read the narrator as male, though Clarke says that in her head the narrator was usually female). So the role of women in the book, as characters, would be pretty traditional. A male narrater wouldn't be much interested in what they did, or ask the question about where all the female magicians were. It wouldn't come up. When you have an opening about the boys' club of pseudo-magicians meeting together with the "boys only" sign on the treehouse door, you don't expect to see any women trying to knock it down when they're stuck wearing corsets and haven't had anything like a Seneca Falls convention and the entire book is about proper upper-crust sorts of people who wouldn't dare think to upset that particular status quo. Though magic may be another matter.

Sure, you'll have some female rebels in every society, but that's not what the book was about, and I think that concentrating on female rebels would have made it another book entirely, and that wasn't the book Clarke was set on writing.

So... no female magicians? Didn't bother me. She's apparently got some in a short story of hers - they just never fit in the book.

Because of the story she wanted to tell, and the way she wanted to tell it, I can forgive Clark for not going into the subject of female magicians.

However, forgiving the lack of relevant female Jedi in every single goddamn Star Wars movie? Especially the first three where there are tons of rebels, the perfect place for a rise in fighting women?

Not so much.

(via Meghan)

Because the Best Way to Win Hearts & Minds is to Make People Feel Manipulated

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 - The military acknowledged Friday in a briefing for a ranking Senate Republican that news articles written by American troops had been placed as paid advertisements in the Iraqi news media and not always properly identified.

Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters after receiving a 25-minute briefing from officials at the Pentagon that senior commanders in Iraq were trying to get to the bottom of a program that apparently also paid monthly stipends to friendly Iraqi journalists.