readingredhead: (Reading)
So I've already managed to miss a day -- and technically two days, because I feel like my Day 4 "something" is even more of a cheat than usual -- but I'm doing this just as much as part of a mental exercise and refocusing of my current activities under the category of "creation" as I am interested in producing vast quantities of new creative material.

Day 3: I spent almost all day grading student papers. I did write a bunch of responses to those student papers, but it really feels like cheating to call that work creative.

Day 4: I wrote a report that was due today for one of my classes. If it's creative, then it's only really creative in the sense in which it creatively misappropriates Habermas to my own purposes, but I did write it with my very own words (setting the bar low, I know), and I'm going to keep it on the list, because skipping two days in a row would just look sad.

Day 5: That's today! I've actually started work on two future posts for my academic dreamwidth:

1) On reading Dorothy and William Wordsworth in the context of transformative works theory: Dorothy Wordsworth's journals are indisputably the source texts of many of Wordsworth's famous poems ("I wandered lonely as a cloud" and "Resolution and Independence," to name two major ones), but Dorothy is only ever considered important to romanticism as the brother of one of its founding poets. We talked about her in my lecture class today and I found myself thinking about how different the focus would be if we saw Dorothy's journals as a "canon" work and William's poetry as transformative fan work -- immediately we'd escape a lot of the problematically gendered issues that surround the relationship between these texts. I feel like whether students taught this way of relating D & W Wordsworth understood fan culture or not, you could get something important out of the discussion: especially because I suspect that most of the students who are likely to be anti-transformative works are also the same students who would typically put Wordsworth on a pedestal and dismiss Dorothy's works as "feminine jottings," and this context would either force them to a) admit the potential power of transformative works or b) see the intellectual relationship between D & W as intellectually dishonest (and perhaps even abusive) on William's side of the equation... And I would call either of those results a good one. (Also, man, I never thought I would want to teach Wordsworth!)

2) On interiority as social medium in the works of Jane Austen: This started out with my shower epiphany that the trope of "costume theater" in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (a modernized vlog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice -- if you're not watching yet, you should be!) is the closest this adaptation comes to representing free indirect discourse.

Now, this is a hobbyhorse of mine, because I think the dominant narrative about free indirect discourse is all wrong. For many critics of the 18th-century novel, the development of free indirect discourse coincides with a new respect for and valuation of interiority in the real world and not just as represented in fiction. The novel, or so the argument goes, develops FID in order to represent the newly-complex interior states of humans in the world in which it's situated. This argument is usually invested in larger claims about the "rise of the novel" being parallel to the "rise of the individual" and the creation of something like a modern notion of individuality as originality.

But if you actually read a Jane Austen novel, it's obvious that free indirect discourse operates in a much more complicated manner. Yes, it does allow for a narrative representation of an interior space -- but that doesn't mean that interiority = individuality = originality, because more often than not, characters' heads are full of other people's words and phrases. And furthermore, this isn't always a bad thing: while there's a sense that it would be great to have a unique interior language, there's also a sense that this is impossible. Language always belongs to a collective beyond the scope of the individual character, and so the real individuation occurs when you consciously choose which bits and pieces of other people's speech you will allow to represent your own thoughts. (I make these arguments loosely here because I've already sketched them out elsewhere and at great length, mostly with regards to Persuasion, but also in Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice.)

For example: no one disputes that the infamous first sentence of P&P is an example of FID. But it's not at all about the uniqueness of anyone's interior space -- if anything, it's about the crushing generality of public opinion, and Mrs. Bennet's inability to escape from this general public to become her own individuated person. (I call this type of FID "generalized," though I would sort of love a better term.) Another example: at several points in Persuasion, Anne represents her own thoughts using the language of others -- this is particularly visible when she describes the way in which Mrs. Russell persuades her to break off her engagement with Wentworth by describing her own thoughts in language reminiscent of a speech Mrs. Russell has just given. (I need a better term for this type of FID, which I have been thinking of primarily as "ventriloquy" but which is rarely that conscious.)

So, back to the idea of social media: I think that using LBD and the idea of costume theater makes it obvious that there are lots of ways that FID works in the Austen canon. They're harder to see because we've bought into the narrative that interiority = individuality = originality, but these instances often show the severe dependence of our interiority on a social sphere. This sphere is, in LBD, very literally the sphere of social media as we know it -- YouTube, Twitter, etc. -- but in Austen's novels, it's still a mediated social sphere. What the vlog is to LBD, the letter is to P&P, in some ways: audience-oriented interiority (oh dear god and this is the part where, were this a scholarly paper, I would quote Habermas, because damn him he is relevant). Bottom line, I think that LBD's social media rewriting of P&P could actually be a really great pedagogical tool for getting students to understand multiple modes of FID that Austen criticism only rarely differentiates.

ETA: And this idea of interiority as a social space is something that makes me think Austen would be totally in favor of transformative works because she understands the difference between imitation-as-plagiarism and imitation-as-transformation -- she understands that all language is borrowed, and she cares more about how you reflect your own agency in those borrowings than she does about whether you can say something that is wholly and utterly "yours."
readingredhead: (Reading)
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I don't know what books I'll read to them, but I know very well the books that I hope they will discover for themselves, and that we'll talk about later on down the road.

First and foremost, I hope they find Diane Duane and the Young Wizards books, because those books, more than any others, have changed the way I live my life -- and, I would say, changed it for the better. I hope that my children read novels that show them that parents and children don't need to be at odds, that kids can have mature and trusting relationships with adults in their lives, and most importantly, that magic is everywhere you look for it.

I used to think it would be inevitable that they would run into Harry Potter, but my sister (who just spent the summer teaching English to fourteen-year-olds) says that of the thirty-odd kids in her classes, only one of them had actually read the books, and only half of them had even seen the movies. Harry Potter will always play second string to Young Wizards in the Canon According to Candace, but these novels are also magical, and I don't know what my own childhood would have been like without it.

Whether I have girls or boys, I hope they'll find Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, and read them with open and respectful minds. Not because they are "classics" (the Canon According to Candace does not really take this label into account), but because they are good, and because they were important parts of my journey -- and they continue to be. 

Most of all, I hope that my kids will someday start suggesting things for me to read, instead of the other way around. That's when I'll know that I've done my job right.


Jun. 22nd, 2011 09:36 am
readingredhead: (Reading)
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I'm a re-reader by nature, so if I like a book, chances are I have read it a LOT. It's also a habit I've picked up as a student of English literature -- you can't create a valid analysis out of a single reading.

The books I have read and/or heard the most are definitely Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, but this is because I own all of them as audiobooks in addition to having hard copies that I read every so often. For whatever reason, Jane Eyre is another book I find myself reading a whole hell of a lot (and Pride and Prejudice, though I like it better than Jane Eyre, is not something I find myself re-reading).
readingredhead: (Reading)
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As usual, this is a question that demands multiple answers, because it's me we're talking about, and I rarely read one good book per year. But this past year, I've done a lot of re-reading (both in school and out), so my new books intake has severely dropped. Thankfully, that's what next year is for...?

I feel that in order to appropriately answer this question, I have to give three answers. Maybe four. So stick with me.

When I first saw this question, the answer that immediately sprang to mind was Possession by A. S. Byatt, in which two modern academics discover the lost letters of two (fictional) Victorian poets, and follow the literary clues therein on a detective hunt through Great Britain and parts of France. Oh, and did I mention that they may or may not have something like a love story of their own throughout? I purchased Possession from a small used-and-new independent bookstore down the street from the hotel my grandmother stayed at in London this spring (right by the British Museum, where one of the characters actually works). I began reading it on the Eurostar train from London to Paris, and finished it in a small hotel room overlooking a tiny street between the Louvre and the Opera Garnier; I read with the kind of energy that a book hadn't evoked from me in far too long. Possession felt a little bit like the story of my life-as-it-could-be told back to me as a fiction: a collection of various texts (the novel includes third-person omniscient narration, snippets of poetry and academic prose, the discovered love letters, and various other ephemera) meandering over a wider ground than entirely necessary (it's been compared to a Victorian novel), questioning and testing but ultimately affirming the relationship between literature and love.

The other important books of this year (for very different reasons!) are ones I've talked about elsewhere: Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg and A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane.

The rest of the texts I'm going to mention are very, very literary. But they're also very important. I think that Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion all belong on this list because the time I've spent with them, starting this summer with my SURF research, has really launched me into the thesis of a lifetime. Although Northanger Abbey is the only one out of these that I actually read for the first time this year, I've become increasingly close with the others, to the point where I have a bordering-on-brilliant fifteen-page Pride and Prejudice paper ready to be sent out to various graduate schools as we speak. My experience as a reader of Austen has changed so much since I was a freshman in high school disdainful of Emma, and I couldn't be happier about it. More and more, I feel like I've chosen (or been chosen by) the topic and the time period that are just right for me.
readingredhead: (Write)
My Professor: Wait -- would it be totally impossible for you to have a draft of this essay by 3pm Friday? (pause) Actually, never mind, obviously it's an unreasonable goal --

Me (thinking of NaNo): I thrive on unreasonable goals. Challenge accepted!

And thus, I'll be spending most of my free time between now and Friday at 3pm working on my 20-page senior-thesis-precursor essay about Pride and Prejudice instead of writing my novel, but that's okay, because 50k is not that much, I'm fully capable of pulling off a 12k day (and have done so for two days in a row once, and could possibly repeat the feat if necessary), and my paper idea is just about as awesome as my novel idea, so no hard feelings.

Also, this means the only time I'll be online between now and then is for work-related stuff, and communications of absolute necessity. (Yes, this counts as one of those.)
readingredhead: (Write)
This November, I'm doing so many things that I probably couldn't explain them all in the five minutes' time I've given myself to write this update. But if you know about none of the other things, know this: I, Candace, am writing a novel that is effectively Pride and Prejudice in Space -- with genderswapping! As much as I feel like death warmed over from a combination of too little food, too much caffeine, and far too many homework assignments, I can't wait for it to be midnight in this timezone so that I'm allowed to start. Before I go to sleep tonight, Ellis Bennet will meet Willamina Darcy at the local pub on a colony planet named Jane and find out that he's "not reprehensible, but also not worth her time" -- and the adventure will begin.

I might die this month. I might stop using all forms of internet communication. I might not respond to comments/facebook posts/emails/tweets/etc. I might write some of the most reprehensible English papers of my career, and fail at getting into grad school because application-writing takes time I don't have. But no matter how low I get, I know one thing: by this time a month from now, I'll have another novel draft in my pocket. With aliens!

WIP Meme

Feb. 26th, 2010 04:33 pm
readingredhead: (Library)
Post a sentence (or two) from as many of your WIPs as you want, with no explanation attached. Meme from [ profile] araine. Perhaps as expected, very few of these are actually one sentence.


“How did you two deal with going off to college?” Nita asked.

Tom and Carl shared a look that was one part nostalgia and one part “I told you this question was going to come up and that when it did, I didn’t want to be the one to answer it.”


“So let me get this straight,” he said. “You,” he pointed a finger at her, “want me,” he poked a finger into his own chest, “to help you learn how to act like a man. You want me to give you lessons in being a man, and then you want me to lend you a few sets of clothes and keep the secret that this mysterious man who’s just become engaged to your best friend is, in fact, you--dressed as a man, of course.”

Gil nodded. “Yeah. That pretty much explains it.” She paused for a second, then added, “And the sooner the better. We’d like to announce our engagement next week.”


Much has been said on the subject of universal truths, to the extent that a modern author, upon attempting to annex another aphorism to this collection, must be circumspect to say the least; but to the compendium of factual evidence thus sanctioned, I find it profitable to append one truth more: that is, that a man who does not know what it is like to be laughed at, cannot possibly have a wife, or cannot have had one for long.


For a moment, it’s all that Carl can do to look at Tom, wide-eyed and wondering which Power to thank. For safety’s sake, he decides to thank all of them. “You’re sure?” he asks breathlessly, in a voice so faint he can barely hear it.

“Carl,” Tom says, and there’s something new in his voice: impatience, and need. “Do you really think I’d have bothered with asking if I wasn’t?” He reaches up a hand to Carl’s face and traces the curve of his jaw with tentative fingers, his eyes never leaving Carl’s, not for a second.


It’s twilight when I open my eyes and find myself in the cemetery.


Everyone knew the witch’s house by its roses.


“Beautiful,” she heard him say, barely above a whisper. “Don’t you think?”

“Dangerous,” she returned.

“The fire warms as well as burns, you know.”

“It’s all a function of how close one gets,” she replied. “The closer you are, the greater the danger.”

“But the greater the warmth.”

“I don’t think I’m cold enough yet that I’d be willing to endure the pain of the burn for those few moments’ heat.”

Suddenly, he was looking right at her, his eyes cool and piercing. “Are you sure?”


Gah, going back through and looking for these quotes makes me really want to write the stories they belong to! Aaaaand now I have to stop procrastinating and actually get some work done. Less fun, but more productive than the alternative!
readingredhead: (Default)
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The point of reading and writing, for me, is finding myself in people and places that I wouldn't expect. Both the characters I read and the characters I write generally gain a great deal of their likability from the extent to which I can identify with them. There's really a long list in this question, but I'll try to narrow it down to the top five or so.

First, Hermione Granger, for always being the girl on a team full of guys and making that work to her advantage, for being smart and feeling like that was important, and for having a heart. It was always her intelligence and practicality that I identified with, but also the fact that she's sensitive and kind, always giving the boys lessons in how to be better people. And I like to think I could be like that.

Next, Elizabeth Bennet, for her spunk and spark and maybe for her too-quick judgments and for the fact that Mr. Darcy's just as attracted to her brains as he is to her looks (thank you, Professor Goldsmith, for an analysis of "intelligent eyes"). If I were any of Austen's heroines, it'd be her. She's the only one with enough energy to match me.

Finally, and most powerfully, the first time I read Reap the Wild Wind, Aryl Sarc stood out to me as a character that was so unlike me and yet so devastatingly similar. At the time I read that novel, Aryl and I were both on the edge of something huge and difficult to understand. We were both about to be thrown out of the worlds that we knew and into something more, and we weren't sure if we were ready for it, but we didn't have a choice and that didn't matter anyway, because we held our ground and made a life out of what we had, and it turned out to be beautiful. I also definitely identify with Aryl's craving curiosity for the unknown, even if sometimes it's scary.

Also: how is this question different from this question? (I like how I realized this after typing out these answers...might as well post this anyway! And then back to work!)
readingredhead: (Rain)
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I have written a sonnet about the difference between spring and autumn, and it is posted somewhere on here, and I love it. Part of me wants to post it as an answer to this but I'm in the process of revising it for my poetry class on Wednesday so I'll probably keep it to myself for now.

I love autumn -- it's my favorite season. It's the transition between summer and winter -- the difference between the extremes, the warmth of summer sun and the cold of winter wind, and the moment when the leaves begin to fall in the same caramel-honey-auburn color as the slanting light that pierces my perception of life at around 5:27pm once daylight savings time hits.

I feel autumn in hot chocolate and warm blankets, in snuggling closer to the people I love on cold nights, in the condensation that forms on the inside of the single-paned windows of my dorm room, in the biting cold of early mornings, in the nestling of myself into puffy jackets and hiding from the elements in the safeguarding arms of warm wood libraries and cozy cafes. I feel it in the visceral sense that the world is preparing itself to be remade.

Also, it must be said -- now, and for the past three years, autumn is inextricably linked to National Novel Writing Month, which I am now going to shamelessly plug. DO IT! DO IT NOW! October 1st the site should open for sign-ups again. Is anyone crazy and stupid and wonderful enough to write with me this year? I still don't know what story I'm going to write. I have a few plotlines in my head. Because I am procrastinating doing my homework, I will discuss them now!

#1: At the moment I'm really considering writing this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that I thought up for my sister at the end of last year. I wrote the first part of it to her on a series of postcards. Technically I'd have to start from scratch since you're not supposed to bring written work with you into November, but it might be worth it. In my modern P&P, the Bennets live in middle-of-nowhere Nebraska. On a farm. Jane goes away to college in New York -- at NYU to be precise, studying communications -- and Elizabeth wants nothing more than to follow her sister in getting the hell out of Nebraska. But a (probably fictional) bill passed by the US House of Reps decreases the subsidies provided to corn farmers right after Jane goes to college, and Elizabeth knows her father won't have the kind of money he needs to support her at an out-of-state school, plus she still has three younger sisters who need to go to college, so she does the selfless thing and decides to go to University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Her plan is to save money so that she can go to grad school for journalism on the east coast. Of course she visits Jane in New York over the summer where she meets Darcy, and where Jane has met Bingley, and things progress from there...

#2: This is not nearly as detailed, but it's my attempt to answer a question that I've been thinking about for a while -- how do you write a fantasy story in which your main character has no magical powers at all? Meet Leia McAllister, 17-year-old Nordstrom employee (got to put that job training to use somehow!) who finds out, quite by accident, that her friend Jill is a wizard. And once she finds out, she's on the run from Earth's Wizarding Council, most of whom want her memory completely wiped. But, a mindwipe has to take place within a certain amount of time after the memory is made, otherwise there is a danger that the mindwipe will interfere with other more important memories and potentially impair intelligence. Of course some wizards on the Council wouldn't care, but there is a radical reformist movement battling it out with a traditional conservative movement and neither side can get the upper hand. And poor Leia gets stuck in the middle of this. (Also there are aliens who are wizards!)

#3: This is the anti-Twilight story. Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Boy is vampire. Girl is drug addict, has AIDS. Girl wants sex; no one wants Girl because Girl has AIDS. Boy is vampire and can't get blood diseases anymore. No one wants Boy because Boy wants to drink their blood. Girl doesn't care if Boy drinks her blood because she's going to die anyway, but would he sleep with her first? What starts out as a skewed relationship of convenience turns into something potentially meaningful just in time for Girl to die. The End. (Great antidote to Stephenie Meyer, yeah? I think of it as RENT meets Buffy.)

#4: There is one more, but I have forgotten it. now I'm going to go and actually do homework. Radical idea, I know, but what can I say? I'm pretty awesome. :)
readingredhead: (Default)
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Favorites, in no particular order, include:
Hermione Granger
Remus Lupin
Nita Callahan
Kit Rodriguez
Dairine Callahan
Tom Swale
Carl Romeo
Harry Dresden
Karrin Murphy
Thomas Raith
Michael Carpenter
Artemis Fowl
Holly Short
Dana Scully
Fox Mulder
Luke Skywalker
Leia Skywalker
Han Solo
Jane Eyre
Edward Rochester
Elizabeth Bennet
Fitzwilliam Darcy
Anne Shirley
Joshua Lyman
Aryl Sarc
Sira Morgan
Jason Morgan
Rael di Sarc
Enris Mendolar
Mackenzie Elizabeth Winifred Wright Connor, aka Mac
Nikolai Trojanowski

It's a rather interesting list. I have characters by J. K. Rowling (2), Jim Butcher (4), Julie E. Czerneda (7), L. M. Montgomery (1), Jane Austen (2), Charlotte Bronte (2), George Lucas (3), Chris Carter (2), Diane Duane (6), Eoin Colfer (2), and Aaron Sorkin (1).

Of course I am more in love with some of them than I am with others. I think if I had to make a top five list, I would probably die first. But since I don't have to, if I think really hard about narrowing it down, it's not so difficult. I don't just like characters for their similarities to me, or their entirely kickass abilities, or anything like that. Sometimes it's more about their depth and complexity.

For instance, take Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre. I would rather be Elizabeth, but as a character I have a deeper admiration for Jane. Elizabeth's story is fun and witty, but Jane's is soul-wrenching.

It's not surprising to me that Julie's characters make up most of the list, since the thing that I love about her writing is her characterization, but if I had to pick one I liked the best it would be a tough call...all her leading ladies have captured a different part of my heart. Aryl, Sira, and Mac would be strong contenders for a spot on my top five, though if it came to an out-and-out battle, Aryl would win.

Scully's possibly the only non-literary character who could make my top five. I love the X-Files because of the depth and complexity of these characters despite the limitations of the medium (I always feel more for books than for TV). I have felt for Scully enough that I think she might deserve a place on the list.

Harry Dresden might be the only man to make the top five, but he really deservese to be there, simply because he is so kickass. Also, his voice is beautiful. There's an example of creator and creation in a fantastic working relationship.

Hm. So I think perhaps my top five, in no particular order, comes down to Hermione, Aryl, Dresden, Jane, and Scully.

And now I'm just rambling. There are far more characters who annoy me than there are characters that I like, so I think I'll stop this entry right now before I go absolutely crazy.
readingredhead: (Stars)
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First off, take note: this is discounting characters I've written. Invariably, I can relate to them best (although Holly, Jasen, and Noelle top the list right now).

If we're going chronologically from when I encountered these characters, the first on the list is undoubtedly Hermione. I was (and am) so happy that she was a girl, and smart, and skillful and perfectly capable of running with the boys, and necessary to them. She makes being the only girl in a group of guys seem effortless. I relate to her obsessive scholasticism, but also to her vulnerability. I'm Hermione in her moments of triumph, but also in the moment when she's sitting in the girl's bathroom and crying because Ron insulted her.

Next -- specifically for one line of beautiful prose -- I'd say I'm like Mac from Julie E. Czerneda's Species Imperative series. That one line, which I'm sure you've heard me quote over and over (though never exactly) is the one about a heart with two settings: "don't care" and "forever." More and more, I think this describes me. And that's not a bad thing.

The character who's felt the most like me since Hermione is Aryl Sarc of Julie's Reap the Wild Wind, because Aryl's just on the edge of growing up, and she's scared and apprehensive and faced with things too big for her, and her entire picture of what her life was supposed to be is fractured in the space of a moment, but despite all of this she's brave and strong and spirited and doesn't give up, and though she doesn't know it yet -- neither do I, for that matter -- she's going to be rewarded for it.

And of course must come Elizabeth Bennet, who I really feel is my Austen double. Ask any girl which Austen woman she'd be and I'll bet you good money she answers Elizabeth, but I'll also bet you good money she's lying. Not to sound conceited or anything, but I'm not. All I'm waiting for is a stand-in Darcy to tell me about the beauty of my intelligent eyes and proclaim that he most ardently admires and loves me.

To round the list out, there's Jane Eyre, who really is quieter than me, but other than that is a person I can deeply sympathize with. We both have moments where we gasp for liberty; we both have moments when we do things we wish we didn't have to; and in the end, I know we both will grow and change as individuals, defining ourselves as separate from men (the book's not called Jane Rochester for a reason) and happy in our own right. What more is there to ask for?

(And this is only including literary characters I relate to. If we broaden our approach to encompass TV, movies, and musicals, I have to add Scully, Princess Leia, and Elphaba to the list.)
readingredhead: (Light)
And you thought that one month-long timed writing challenge per year was enough.

As some of you may remember, last year the wonderful folks at the Office of Letters and Light -- yes, those same awesome folks who run National Novel Writing Month for my novel-writing enjoyment every year -- started up another project. Script Frenzy ran through June and challenged everyone to write a 20,000 word screenplay or stage play in 30 days. I started (and as usual didn't finish) a play about five writers who were part of the same college workshop class. It was my first foray into the world of script writing and I was convinced after the end of last June that I wouldn't make another attempt at it again.

Of course, I began to eat my words sooner than had been expected, even for me. This year Script Frenzy's been changed up a bit. It's been moved to April and the goal is measured in pages -- 100 of them -- instead of wordcount. And the one reason that I'm doing it again this year is that in Script Frenzy, unlike in NaNoWriMo, it's acceptable (even perhaps encouraged) to work with a partner.

So without further ado, I announce to those of you who do not already know this that Rebecca and I are turning Pride and Prejudice into a musical over the course of the upcoming month.

I just got that much cooler, didn't I?

At first the plan was to write a few original melodies but then rip off popular tunes and write our own words to them. Now, it looks like we're starting completely from scratch, with nothing but Jane Austen for our guide. But as some of you know, she makes a pretty good guide.

Wish me luck, and if you're at all interested at getting in on the frenzy, you can find out more about it at It's not too late to sign up!
readingredhead: (Talk)
I feel like the most wonderful geek, because you know what I stayed up for last night? Collaborative poetry. And you know what's even better? It's not the first time.

Rebecca's in a poetry class this semester and they do a lot of interesting and weird and fascinating experiments with poetry as a medium. One of those has to do with "transelations," a word coined by people who translate poetry with the intent of keeping the emotional sense of the original poem even if the metrical or rhythmic sense, or the exact word-for-word translation, is broken from. Rebecca's teacher handed out a bunch of poems in non-English languages (most of them still used roman characters, at least) and had the class write what they thought the poem was -- think of it as multilingual tag-team telephone, only with poetry. Some of the results were crazy, but I've seen it work out pretty well.

So last night neither of us could really get to sleep but it was too late to start a movie and we didn't feel much like reading (there's a first for you) so Rebecca hit on the idea of doing our own transelations. We picked two poems to start with (one originally in Spanish, the other in English) and went at it, swapping with each other when we'd finished the transelation and continuing the process. We ended up with six variations on each individual poem. To give you an idea, here's a string of transelations.


by Anna Swir

When you kissed me for the first time
we became a couple
of the youngest children of an angel,
which just started
to fledge.

Lapsed into silence in mid-move,
hushed in mid-breath,
to the very blood,
they listen with their bodies
to the sprouting on their shoulder blades
of the first little plume.

by Rebecca

When you kissed me for the first time
weeping came -- a few
of the yawning swans of the angels
which -- we swore -- just stared
and fled

Laving into el momento de silencio
Hunted in muted breath
two varied bloods
ay -- glistening bodies
Trees sprouting, shuddering
of the tinest flute.


by me

When Euclid came the first time,
Weeping to view
The yawning signs of angles
Inching up stairs,
He bled.

Leaving nothing of momentum's violence,
Haunted by aching breaths
Of asymptotes lost,
To variables
And heavenly bodies
Lines sprout and stutter
Onward, mute.


So it's a little different when you're working from English into English, but it's still fascinating to see how the poetry shifts from one telling to the next, stealing the sound and sometimes the sentiment of the poem before, but ending up with a radically different meaning. We got from a love poem about angels to a Euclidean appreciation of angles in the space of two transelations.

The best part was that this was the shorter of the two poems we transelated, so one of us always got done before the other. One time this happened and Becca started doodling in the margins, and she drew Mr. Darcy with his famous quote, "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me." When it was my turn, I not only transelated the poem, but also Mr. Darcy's statement, so that it became "She's intolerable, but naughty hands of eunuchs tempt me."

...yeah, it makes me such an extreme geek that this is the most amusing thing that's happened to me in the past week. But it is! If you're as amused by this transelation thing as I am, post a short quote in one of your comments. Then anyone who wants can transelate it. I'm actually really interested to see what this would look like in a forum setting.
readingredhead: (Default)
Agh, too many things I want to do and not enough time to do it.  I've got  a bajillion things to do tonight.

1. finish writing my short story
2. read and critique two short stories
3. vote for Barack Obama
4. begin reading As You Like It
5. read more of Canterbury Tales
6. go to a students for Obama party tonight (watching election results)
7. go to an Alumni association meeting
8. do research for the library seminar

Um, I'm sure there's something else I'm forgetting.  And of course I don't have to do all of those, but I really want to.  Especially the Obama party, because it's at my favorite pizza place on northside.  Maybe I'll get Becca to come with me?

I stayed up til 1AM last night in order to watch the beginning of the A&E Pride and Prejudice, and it makes me immensely happy.

Maybe if the voiting thing doesn't take too long, I'll be able to make everything work.
readingredhead: (Pants)
Oh goodness. The number of things I have to say. So many things. Too many for me to adequately get down in the next five minutes, which is the amount of time I'm allowing myself before I make myself start in on the homework.

1. I am happy NaNoWriMo's over, but at the same time disappointed. I always tell myself that I won't stop writing when the month stops, and then I always do stop writing when the month stops. I've told myself that this time will be different, but so far I haven't written anything since November 29th, and that bothers me. I don't want to fall out of love with another story.

2. I turned in that history essay I was complaining about and I get it back graded this Monday, so we'll see how much I needed to complain.

3. I turn in my paper on Pride and Prejudice Friday, and it's pretty glorious. I showed it to my professor, because I wanted his approval of it -- it was the first paper I'd shown him, the first time he's read my writing. The first words out of his mouth were, "You write very nicely!" in an amused, happy tone. He read the first part of my paper and talked it over with me and it was a great experience. He was gratified that I had taken a concept he had brought up in lecture and used it as the framework of my argument, but in a completely different manner than he had discussed it in class. He enjoyed the way that the draft flowed -- he found it hard to believe I'd been through so much revision of it, since usually revision makes papers choppy and disjointed. There was one phrase that he really liked, and he actually laughed, and congratulated me for making him laugh! So that was good.

4. Sadly, today was my last English lecture of the semester. I know I'll miss Goldsmith terribly, but seeing as how my plan is to stalk him throughout the rest of my career here at Berkeley, I know we'll be seeing more of each other soon enough. Just not next semester...

5. The thumb and pinky on my left hand have been aching since last night. I know why -- they're the only keys I use for the spacebar and shift keys -- but I'm kinda worried about, it actually hurt enough last night to discourage me from typing. And it didn't get better overnight like I'd hoped. It's better now but this morning it was painful, too.

6. The history class that I really wanted to get into filled up before I could register for it, so I'm on the wait list. This wouldn't annoy me so much if it weren't for the fact that, had my IB transcript been received by the school, I could have had my registration two days ago, when there were still 13 seats left in the class. I think it's all Dr. Chris's fault. Curse that man.

7. I'm re-watching the West Wing with Rebecca and remembering how much I love it. Also I'm realizing that Josh Lyman is another fictional character crush for me, which is pathetic because he's a ridiculous guy and not nearly as good looking as Sam. And yet I like him much more.

8. I'm excited because this Friday night Rebecca and I are going into San Francisco and having dinner with her aunt and going to Borders. Yes, folks, this is my idea of a night out on the town. And I know it will be awesome. I love hanging out with Rebecca, no matter what we do together.

9. I think I need to re-read Jane Eyre, or at least the good parts, fairly soon. I also think I need Krucli to lecture me about it again because that was probably my favorite part of all of last year. (Yes, I am a geek. You knew this already.)

10. I had my tae kwon do final on Tuesday and I'm pretty positive I passed the class. Like, I had better have passed the class. I did well enough. I'm considering taking the promotional test, to get the next belt up. I'll probably do it; my only thing against it is that it's early this Saturday morning and that means I can't stay out too late on my awesome book-buying girls' night out in the city.

And I think that's it because I really have to get something done before I go off to a club meeting, otherwise I will feel like I am getting absolutely nothing done. Period. Which is a sucky feeling.
readingredhead: (Default)
I am sick of not wanting to write my history paper.  It's disgusting how much I don't even want to look at it.  By the time I get to Pride and Prejudice I'll probably be ready to cry out in relief.

The problem is that I'm writing the history paper about literary sources -- poems -- and so I want to analyze them as literary sources.  Except it's a history class and a history paper so I need to analyze them as histocial sources, and it's killing me because I don't think I can do that in a decent enough way.  I've been putting off this paper all day, and before that I had been putting it off all afternoon.  I've been sitting in the library for nearly two hours trying to figure out what I'm writing about, and each time I think I figure something out I remember that I hate it.

This isn't exactly productive, either.  Of course it's not.  I don't want to be productive.  I want to be at home for the weekend already!

But I need to write the paper because it's due in a week.

And I wouldn't be putting nearly so much effort into this if it weren't for the fact that I'm afraid I'll let my GSI down.

I hate this.
readingredhead: (Stars)
While in the process of procrastinating because I really don't want to write my history paper, I stumbled again across my senior thesis. Seeing as how I was procrastinating, I read it.

Honestly, I was very gratified.  It read like something professional -- like an essay of literary criticism fit to reside in any of the compilations of literary criticism that I've been reading through lately. Of course this is just my biased opinion, and obviously it's probably exaggerated, but the uniqueness of the approach still has me giggling with excitement nearly a year after its initial conception.

The craft of it impressed me as well.  Usually when I re-read things I've written in the past I tend to discredit my former style of writing as childish or immature, but that hasn't happened yet with the senior thesis!  I still feel like it's well-written and deserving of respect.  More than that, it's well-argued, referencing just enough passages that the reader would probably believe what I have to say.  I looked back at it and thought, "Gee, why can't I just whip out a history paper that looks like that?"

And then I remembered exactly how long it took me to write that marvelous masterpiece of an essay, and how engaged in the subject I was, and how many revisions it went through, and I said to myself, "That's why I can't just whip out a history paper that looks like that."

The idea is a little depressing, especially since I'm meeting with my history GSI to talk about the paper tomorrow and I don't really have much to show her, but at the same time the gratification of knowing that I'm still in love with my senior thesis is helping me to balance these things out.  Whaddaya know -- IB was good for something after all.  I know that in the future I'm certainly planning to make further inquiries into the literary criticism of dystopian literature in a historical context, because that's what moves me.  

Just like I'm reading through a couple books of Jane Austen criticism in order to write a simple paper on Pride and Prejudice.  It's so refreshing to have such a love for a subject that even the research and the work is something worth it.  The only problem I have is that at some point I'll have to pick an area of English to specialize in, and I'll be torn between the Romantics and the Dystopians!  Maybe it's Professor Goldsmith's fault, but at the moment I'm leaning to the Romantics, especially if it means I get to read more of Austen and learn about the critical tradition in her works.  Besides, I can always wrangle the Dystopians into the focus of my history major, which looks like twentieth century western history at the moment, from the Great War to the Cold War.

And then there's always the chance that four years from now I'll have graduated with a degree in Women's Studies and be starting med school -- at least, my father would remind me of this if I mentioned how set I feel I am in the paths I want to take.  After all, he went into Berkeley as a lawyer and came out as a teacher.  But somehow I don't see myself undergoing the same kind of transformation.  I know very well what I want to do with my life, and though the specifics might change, they also might not.  And that's not exactly a problem.

This has turned into an oddly retrospective entry for something that was initially intended as further procrastination, but I think I like it that way.  I've got an odd mixture of Pride and Prejudice and Fahrenheit 451 running around in my head right now...maybe I should follow it.
readingredhead: (Default)

So, things I need to do in some kind of order--

1. Read the history chapter on WWI
2. Re-read the history sources
3. Write an essay outline on the history sources
4. Look for critical literature about the function of letters and writing in Pride and Prejudice
5. Re-read passages in Pride and Prejudice that discuss the function of letters and writing
6. Look for critical literature on whether Pride and Prejudice has a happy ending
7. Construct an essay outline for English
8. Memorize how to count to ten in Korean
9. Write 2,500 words
10. Sleep

Lather, rinse, and repeat?

readingredhead: (Stars)
From BBC Channel One:

Mr and Mrs Gardiner invite Lizzie to Derbyshire. There they visit Pemberley, Darcy's grand and handsome estate. Lizzie's astonished at its beauty and even more astounded when the housekeeper sings nothing but praise for Darcy.

Elsewhere, Darcy is bathing in his lake. When he strolls back to the house, soaked in his wet breeches, he's shocked to see Lizzie. She doesn't know where to look! They make small talk before Darcy's swift exit.

And now, courtesy of YouTube:

This is what comes from getting to read P&P in English! I swear I've been glowing all day.


readingredhead: (Default)

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