readingredhead: (Sketch)
In case you could not tell from the title of this post I am now going to talk surprisingly seriously about fanfiction? But mostly as a way of asking questions of others on my flist who may write it/may have written it. (Though of course this won't happen til I go off on a digression!)

My own fandom history is peculiar. I discovered internet fandom via Harry Potter but it was always so effing huge and when the tiny fansite that I had followed from its start ended up closing down and I no longer had a manageably miniature way of participating in forums, reading and reccing fic, keeping up-to-date on news, etc. I basically let go of fandom. (This was in the Days Before LJ so I had no idea what kind of fandom went on through LJ comms!)

Also through Harry Potter, though in a very different way, I ran into the fandom that would become the love of my life, my One True Fandom, if you will: Diane Duane's Young Wizards novels, which I picked up for the first time when in between Harry Potter novels and fell for in a flash. Years later my passion for HP has faded but YW and I are still more-or-less madly in love. It helps that this is a super obscure fandom, easy to keep up with, very supported by the author who runs a discussion forum over at her personal website, and all of the people in it are really kind and supportive (though you'd expect this out of a fandom whose canon depends on the belief that any anger or unkindness, however small, speeds up the heat-death of the universe and plays right into the cosmic antagonist's hands). It is the fandom through which I have made my only non-RL LJ friends!

The point being, I've flirted with other fandoms, but Young Wizards is really my home, and has been for at least the past seven years. I've read all the novels multiple times, I fall asleep listening to the audiobooks on occasion, and characters grew and changed over time and along with me. And this is really the only serious experience of fandom that I have.

Which is why I'm suddenly finding it frustratingly problematic to get my head around writing fic for another fandom. I posted before about how much I loved Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series, and I really think that it could be a brilliant second fandom home. It's the first fandom since Young Wizards where I've said, "This is something I want to be a part of for a while, not just until the obsession wanes." But my experience coming into the series is so totally different from what I had with YW. I read all three books in the trilogy within the past four months, they haven't been a part of my mental landscape for very long at all, and as much as I want to write ALL THE FIC for them, I find myself feeling weirdly blocked by a sense that I'm just not ready yet.

All of this is an incredibly long-winded way of asking: How do you get yourself to the point where you feel comfortable writing in a new fandom? How do you iron out things like characterization and tone and headcanon and backstory? Do you read a lot of other fic for ideas or do you tend to read and re-read the source material? Is there some magical secret that I have yet to encounter?

Part of the problem is that Leviathan is also a small fandom, but since these are YA novels most fandom participants are probably teenagers...not that this is inherently bad, but it does mean that the kind of discussion I would expect from an LJ comm is a bit lacking in the one active comm for the series... Another part of why Young Wizards is awesome is that a lot of current fandom luminaries are people who might have been teens when the first book was released in the eighties, but are now obviously more mature and care about having philosophical conversations about the nature of the world and the characters, etc.

Guys, I just want to write stories where a girl dressed as a boy and the boy she's in love with go around their alternate universe Europe having adventures and being awesome -- is that too much to ask?
readingredhead: (Library)
Just found out via facebook that my fifth-grade best friend, with whom I first discovered Harry Potter and with whom I used to play-act elaborate fantasy adventures with the assistance of various home-made props (including our own Hogwarts letters) is engaged. Childhood, where have you gone.
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.
readingredhead: (London)
At some point in the next few days, I'll have a post up about what it means that the last Harry Potter movie is out, and that I don't have another good excuse to wear a cloak and a Gryffindor scarf, and why the books are so much more than just books. It will also involve lots of links to other things I've been writing about Harry Potter and other wizards who are not Harry Potter but actually better, and something about how weird it is to feel grown-up enough to have my own credit card without my parents having to co-sign.

For now I will just say, does anyone have recs for fic taking place at Hogwarts during Deathly Hallows? I was always said that we never got to see Neville and Ginny and McGonnagal kicking ass and keeping the castle safe during the school year, and seeing the movie has just reinforced this sadness. Also, would love to see any Neville- or McGonnagal-centric stuff, long or short, during or after the series. FLIST I AM COUNTING ON YOU.

Eventually there will also be some thoughts about what I use this journal for, and why I'm seriously considering making it friends-only despite the fear that this might make me even less of a presence in fandom than I already am (though, let's be honest, Young Wizards is pretty much my only fandom, and most of my really fandom-y stuff on LJ takes place on [ profile] youngwizards or [ profile] myriadwords or -- more recently -- the YW fic comm I'm somehow quite happily co-modding, [ profile] dai_stiho).

But right now, I really just want to get back to enjoying my summer afternoon, reading Red Glove and admiring how Holly Black refuses to pull her punches, and just keeps hitting her characters with blow after plot-propelling blow.

(Also, if anyone realized that the title of this post is actually a Young Wizards reference, please let me know so I can profess my undying love/propose marriage/bake you a cake.)
readingredhead: (Default)
Day one • a song
Day two • a picture
Day three • a book
Day four • a site
Day five • a youtube clip
Day six • a quote
Day seven • whatever tickles your fancy

Conveniently, I have come across another meme that allows me to sort of answer this one by providing a whole lot of stuff about books!

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Not having my bookshelf in front of me at this moment (it being in another country and all) it's hard to say, but probably Anne McCaffrey, simply because she is so prolific. I own all of her Dragonriders of Pern books (multiple copies of some of them) plus assorted others. She takes up a jam-packed half-shelf.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
This is probably a toss-up between Jane Eyre and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. For Jane Eyre, I have the first copy I read (a falling-apart-at-the-seams $0.25 library bookstore purchase), the first critical copy I bought (because I really liked the introduction), two copies of the one with the killer engravings (yes, two, they were only $1 a piece), and the copy that I bought in London this semester to read for my Fiction and Narrative class. As for Sorcerer's Stone, I possess it in paperback, hardback, UK paperback, special edition (leather-bound and gold-edged pages), and the Latin translation. But I am the kind of person who thinks it's awesome to have multiple copies of the same book, particularly if they possess different cover art or have some interesting distinguishing feature, so there may well be some other book that I possess five copies of.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Considering I just ended my last response with a preposition, I'm going to say no.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
I can't give one answer. Remus Lupin is mostly an intellectual crush. I love Mr. Darcy but more because I identify strongly with Elizabeth. Same goes for Mr. Rochester -- I like him because I am so attuned to Jane. I feel guilty loving fictional characters who are already (fictionally) attached! Also, of course, I love Nik from Julie E. Czerneda's Species Imperative trilogy and Enris from the Stratification trilogy.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I feel like it's probably one of the Harry Potter books or a Young Wizards book, simply because those books were my favorites long before I read any of the other books that are currently my favorites. I feel like I've read Jane Eyre a million times but the truth is that I've just listened to my audiobook a million times; I've only read it cover-to-cover maybe three or four times.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- I know I read it before I turned eleven because once I turned eleven I kept waiting for my owl from Hogwarts to come...

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Breaking Dawn. Enough said.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Usually the answer to this would be a Julie E. Czerneda book, hands down, but Rift in the Sky was such a traumatic experience that I'm not sure I can say I liked it that much. I probably don't have a 'best' list, but I really came to like Neil Gaiman (mostly for The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere), George R. R. Martin redefined 'epic' for me with A Game of Thrones, and most recently Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca sent chills all up and down my spine.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Her books have changed my life and I can't imagine not having them in the world.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
J. K. Rowling. Her books have done more to unite the world under a banner of peace, love, and understanding than any author now alive.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Probably Diane Duane's Young Wizards books. There was actually a project to do this a while back, and Duane herself was going to write the script (before becoming a fiction writer she wrote for film and television).

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Paradise Lost. Despite the fact that at one point last year there were two projects (one studio, one independent) attempting this. I don't know why.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I was talking with Julie E. Czerneda and she got mad at me for not having made Rebecca read her books. Another time Diane Duane told me that I was being cocky because she overheard me tell my dad that I really wanted to be published by a particular sff imprint.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
The more expensive variety of paperback romance...actually, the Twilight books are probably worse. And I read fanfic, so do with that what you like.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner is the first that comes to mind because it's difficult to get the story, much less something of the deeper meaning. But Paradise Lost might be the book where I've had to do the most digging for insight and meaning -- and where it has been most worthwhile.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Probably Love's Labours Lost -- I have read more obscure Shakespeare plays than I have seen.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Oh man, my favorite revolutionaries. It's hard to pick (the Russians have Chekov!) but in the end I have to go with the French. As long as you understand that they're rarely meant to make sense, you'll be alright.

18) Roth or Updike?
No idea who these people are.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Managed to never read either of them.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Milton, hands down. See the part where that man consumed last semester at Berkeley (in a rather painfully joyous way).

21) Austen or Eliot?
Um, since when is that a question? Austen. Definitely.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have never read anything written before Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. For non-English majors this is not at all a gap, but for me it means I haven't read Homer, Virgil, or Dante, only some of the most alluded-to authors that I've never encountered.

23) What is your favorite novel?
The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane

24) Play?
Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, The Last Five Years (score by Jason Robert Brown), Metamorphosis (not by Ovid!)

25) Poem?
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds" by Shakespeare; "When I consider how my light is spent" by Milton

26) Essay?
"Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern Short Story" by Michael Chabon

27) Short story?
I don't really like short fiction -- either reading it or writing it. "Skin So Green and Fine" is an odd Beauty and the Beast retelling that makes the cut; "Attached Please Find my Novel" is a tale of intergalactic publishing escapades that's in it for the title alone.

28) Work of non-fiction?
Erm. I don't read those?

29) Graphic novel?
See above. Although I recently read Maus and thought it was fantastic.

30) Who is your favorite writer?
Aargh hatred for this question. But it's down to Diane Duane, Julie E. Czerneda, and J. K. Rowling.

31) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I wouldn't know, I haven't read him!

32) What is your desert island book?
Tough question, but probably A Thousand Words for Stranger or The Wizard's Dilemma. Both are narratives of hope and connection in the midst of a chaotic world. But Paradise Lost might make the list because I could use all that time I was stranded to get all my Milton ideas out of my system and onto some paper.

33) And ... what are you reading right now?
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
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: (Talk)
A moment of white space for the California Supreme Court's decision:

Seriously, guys.

My family subscribes to the LA Times, and while I was glad that they covered the topic extensively, including front-page articles and a full spread later on, the first sentence of this article which glibly assumed the court's decision that marriage is a "label," made my stomach twist. For the first time, I wrote a letter to the editor:

Even if we accept for a moment that marriage is merely a “label” when our emphasis upon it as a significant cultural ritual would suggest otherwise, denying this “label” to gay and lesbian couples legitimizes discrimination. The excuse that partners joined in civil unions or domestic partnerships receive the same rights as married couples without the “label” is untrue both legally and in practice. This smells of another “separate but equal.” True equality consists in entirely shared rights--even the right to a label.

I could have said so much more, but shorter letters have a greater likelihood of being printed.

In the meantime: compassion, determination, willpower, justice, love. These are powerful tools. Let's use them.


I'm getting so much done that it's scary.

Thanks at least in part to [ profile] rondaview 's birthday gift of a beautiful Moleskine day-planner, I have been actually organizing the goals that I want to achieve this summer, and working bit by bit, day by day, toward achieving them. I'm always good at making big goals, but breaking them down into smaller components so that I can actually accomplish things is somewhat new. So now, I write down what I want to accomplish on a day-to-day basis, and instead of sitting and staring off into space when I don't have something immediately pressing to do, I look at the planner and it tells me what I need to get done. Quite efficient! I am hoping that this will continue as the summer progresses...


In other news, I don't know if I ever told anyone that I got a job for this summer. I'll be writing study guides and other materials for DemiDec, the company that produces materials for Academic Decathlon competitions as well as a bunch of other academic-related stuff worldwide. It's entirely work-from-home, I just have to upload projects every few days or so and integrate editorial comments from whoever my boss is (I'm still not clear on this). In fact I'm still not clear on a lot of things, but the one thing I do know is that it pays well, has flexible hours, and is something I can do from an internet cafe anywhere in the world. Frankly, these sound like hallmarks of a great job to me.


In the past week, I finally read Good Omens and The Graveyard Book. I was actually a little disappointed with Good Omens because it had been so hyped, and while I liked it a lot, it doesn't beat out any of my favorite books. I was trying to explain this to [ profile] octavius_x on facebook but I don't know if it worked. The thing is, I really like books that are really focused on the mind of a single main character, maybe two MCs tops, with well-controlled supporting casts. I also like series, because they give me more time to fall in love with the same people. I really enjoyed the world that Gaiman and Pratchett present, and I think that it's obvious that they have great things to say and a great way of saying them, but as a story, it didn't grab me the way I wanted it to.

Of course, none of this to say it isn't good -- it's still fantastic! It can't possibly not be fantastic! I really liked how the story started, but (and maybe this is because I rushed through the end a bit) I didn't like the end as much. Probably because there were more pages devoted to a much smaller amount of time (the few days before the end of the world). But maybe just because the book opens with the Angel with the Flaming Sword giving the aforementioned sword to Adam and Eve to keep warm, and then continues by asserting that infamous London motorway M25 is in fact shaped like a devilish sigil, explaining all of the pain and frustration and hardship that this single road causes.

I think I might have liked The Graveyard Book better, mostly because Silas is kickass and I think I love him quite a bit. Also, Spoiler! ) I really liked the Jacks of all trades, they were a fantastic sinister presence, and part of why Neil Gaiman rocks so much. Thank you, Neil Gaiman, for taking children's books seriously.

(Sidenote: when I was searching for The Graveyard Book at my local public library, I couldn't find it on the shelf where I thought it was supposed to be, so I went to ask the woman at the children's desk. When I told her the title I was looking for, her face scrinched up and she said with mixed disdain and horror, "Oh, you want the scary book." Her colleague then interrupted to inform me that it was shelved with the award winners, and she scrinched again at the thought.)

I was thinking about this, and I realized that I also liked The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents better than I liked the one adult Terry Pratchett novel I started (and have yet to finish, I know, I'm a terrible person): Monstrous Regiment. Maybe I just have a thing for children's literature? Roughly half of my favorite books are marketed as young adult (Harry Potter, Young Wizards) and that certainly doesn't keep me from enjoying them.


Finally, [ profile] kaleo2tz is busy gallivanting through Europe right now, and I am infinitely jealous. However, as I will soon be doing some gallivanting of my own, I am probably not allowed to complain. Probably. But I might do it anyway.
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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FOR SURE werewolves. I never got what the deal was with vampires. This is perhaps because it required Rebecca to introduce me to Laurell K. Hamilton and Buffy, and because there are no really important vampires in Harry Potter.

Really when I say "werewolves," it is my way of saying "Remus Lupin." Because seriously -- he is my favorite adult character in the entire series and I am still in denial of his death (on good days I pretend that the entire seventh book never happened and JKR is still working on a new one somewhere that will be SO MUCH BETTER).

But also now I have to say werewolves because of my personal werewolf, Roman Leroux from the Beauty and the Beast retelling that has also turned sligtly into a Jane Eyre reworking of its own accord (in which Roman was just outed as a werewolf).

This is a scattered post, but might I also add -- werewolves are fuzzy. 'Nuff said.

(And since when is drinking blood so sexy anyway? Why have we turned vampires into sex icons? Why are millions of rabid teenage girls reading AND ENJOYING things like Twilight? Any answers to these questions are very welcome.)

Unrelated but pretty darn awesome thought -- the condition of being a werewolf may be a male analogue for female menstruation. Think about it for a second: controlled by the moon, causes changes in behavior that escalate characteristics one would generally associate with the sex, essentially unstoppable by the person involved... The moon has just always been such a feminine principle, all the way back to before everything (thought right now I'm thinking of Paradise Lost because Milton has this way of piggybacking on all my ideas). So what does that mean about female werewolves?
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)
So my assignment for Monday's creative writing class is to bring in a single paragraph of published literature that I find true/real/loved. Here are the preliminary candidates (there are probably a lot of them, and the list will probably grow over time rather than shrink like I need it to). 

from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling:

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high.  Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew—and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents—that there was all the difference in the world.

from A Thousand Words for Stranger, by Julie E. Czerneda:

            Light fingers stroked my hair, investigating its new fullness.  I closed my eyes, not needing vision, feeling the living stuff quiver under Morgan’s touch, winding in soft whirls around his hand, slipping up his arm to whisper across his cheek.  “Sorceress,” Morgan growled out loud, but very quietly, his other hand buried deep in the hair at the back of my neck.

            How inevitable, that I should turn in his light hold to look up and see how his blue eyes darkened.  Inevitable, that my aching right hand should search out and grip his warmly in the welcome Yihtor had thought to force.  In answer to some echoing need of his own, Morgan’s mouth lost its smile, coming down to press with infinite gentleness on mine.  This was all there was, and should be, to life—a mutual comfort and excitement beyond any of my imaginings.

from Grave Peril by Jim Butcher:

            The door burst open.  Murphy came through it, her eyes living flames of azure blue, her hair a golden coronet around her.  She held a blazing sword in her hand and she shone so bright and beautiful and terrifying in her anger that it was hard to see.  The Sight, I realized, dimly.  I was seeing her for who she was.

from White Night by Jim Butcher:

            Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize there are more flavors of pain than coffee.  There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind—graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown.  There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectatinos.  There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would.  There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up.  The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn.  There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.
            And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realize that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last—and yet will remain with you for life.

from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:

“In vain I have struggled.  It will not do.  My feelings will not be repressed.  You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” —Mr. Darcy

from The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux:

Poor, unhappy Erik!  Shall we pity him?  Shall we curse him?  He asked only to be “someone,” like everybody else.  But he was too ugly!  And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind!  He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and in the end he had to content himself with a cellar.  Surely we may pity the Opera ghost!

from Deep Wizardry, by Diane Duane:

What they saw was part of a disk four times the size of the moon as seen from Earth; and it seemed even bigger because of the Moon’s foreshortened horizon.  It was not the full Earth so familiar from pictures, but a waning crescent, streaked with cloud swirls and burning with a fierce green-blue radiance—a light with a depth, like the fire held in the heart of an opal.  That light banished the idea that blue and green were “cool” colors; one could have warmed one’s hands at that crescent.  The blackness to which it shaded was ever so faintly touched with silver—a disk more hinted at than seen; the new Earth in the old Earth’s arms.

Those are all of them at the moment, but ther e are certainly more books I need to look through to find the quotes in there that I'm missing from this list.  Most specifically, I need to look through: The Wizard's Dilemma and Wizard's Holiday by Diane Duane, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.  Also, So You Want to Be a Wizard probably merits a look-through.  If there are any glaring omissions on my list, let me know.  Also, I'm curious -- which paragraph (or, in one or two cases, paragraphs) is the most true/real/loved for you?

readingredhead: (Default)
I got an iPod, finally. Yes, I have succumbed. It's not my fault they provide the best product I've been able to find.

It needs a name now. When I bought it I thought for sure I was going to name it Dana (after Dana Scully from X-Files), because that's what I always thought I'd like to name a white iPod, but now I'm not so sure. Other tempting names include Fred (from So You Want to Be A Wizard or Harry Potter), Jaxom (The White Dragon), and Moony (Harry Potter). The thing is, I'm tired of naming all my inanimate objects after men. I think I need a woman, and a white iPod seems the most feminine of all of my techno-gadgets. But at the same time, I ususally name the gadgets after literary characters, and Scully's from TV. Hm...advice?

Nothing much else is happening with me. I've been going out sporadically, staying in and reading primarily, trying to resign myself mentally to the idea that in two weeks and six days I leave here. It's not working too well, I can tell you that. I really don't know how I'm going to manage.

On a slightly related note, I really need to see my friends more this summer. I'm realizing that I've spent most of it alone. That's not cool.

I should probably go eat lunch now, and then maybe read, and then work on not worrying about cramming meaning into every second of my existence.
readingredhead: (Default)

A mere sixteen hours ago, I was a different person.  Then, the copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had never touched my hands.  But now it has passed through my grasp, an experience unique as only the first time can be, and in as best a way as feeble words can work, I strive to immortalize the experience.

It is hard for me to part with the boy who, along with his friends, has been my childhood, plain and simple.  But as I realize this feeling, I also remember something I once wrote, years ago, as an intended end to a story I had barely even begun to write:


And with this, the telling of the tale is done.  But do not be disheartened, for the tale itself goes on, and you never know when you may stumble onto a piece of it within your life.  Know that the story told within these pages is only a small part of the story of the characters that have lived it, and know that, while this appears to be an end, many ends are merely mistaken beginnings.


Then, by my own words, I must celebrate this day—not as the end of something great, but as the start of something even greater.

readingredhead: (Default)
1. Beauty by Robin McKinley
2. The Coelura by Anne McCaffrey
3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
5. An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan
6. Duty and Desire by Pamela Aidan
7. These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan
8. A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane
9. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
10. Cameo Diner by Matt Miller
11. A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane
12. Talking in the Dark by Billy Merrill
13. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tenessee Williams
14. A Thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E. Czerneda
15. Blood Wedding by Frederico Garcia Lorca
16. Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw
17. Ties of Power by Julie E. Czerneda
18. The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard
19. To Trade the Stars by Julie E. Czerneda
20. The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore
21. A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez
22. The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey
23. Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life by Erica Jong
24. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
25. A Fate Worse than Dragons by John Moore
26. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
27. The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen Donaldson
28. The Dragons of the Cuyahoga by S. Andrew Swann
29. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling
30. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Steph's beaten me, but that's well deserved. I'm still working on a couple of books, one of them being the Writer's Marketplace guid to sci-fi and fantasy publishing. And of course I'm halway through Prisoner of Azkaban. Next is some more kid's fantasy: Artemis Fowl! And I'm taking enough English classes first semester that making it to 52 won't be a problem.
readingredhead: (Talk)
Okay, so this goes on my personal wish list:

Reminds me of a shirt from T-Shirt Orgy that had the words of the first amendment arranged and colored so that from far off they seemed to be a picture of the American flag. Would've bought that shirt, but I found the Star Wars one...

I'm not in the mood to update. I've been spending about an hour a night working on the TOK project, and finding out about how I'm damned to hell for reading Harry Potter, among other things. If you've read Harry Potter, think literal interpretation of the Bible can get out of hand at times, and are able to laugh at the stupidity of the universe without going off into a corner and writing dark emo poetry, read this article:

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry (seems I run into a lot of this lately) so I decided to laugh. (Warning: contains Hillary Clinton, stem-cell research, archangels, Annunciations, onic symbols, and homosexual innuendo. At least, that's what the author would like you to think.)

I'm going to go read some good "pagan" books now and go to sleep.
readingredhead: (Default)

Well, I’ve got a raving headache and tears in my eyes, but I’ve just finished what I think has been one of the most hard-to-describe books I’ve ever read.  I’m talking, of course, about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


The only reason I’m posting this is because no one else here is done with it yet and I’m afraid that if I don’t say something about it I’ll burst, but I obviously can’t tell them.


I went into Rome this morning and got the book, started reading it before I even bought it, though there wasn’t much of a line.  Read in the train station, on the train back to Frascati, at Flavia's house, at our borrowed house, and just finished back at Flavia's.  Got the book at maybe noon and just finished at about 8:30 PM.


Warning: SPOILERS!!! Don't read more unless you've finished Half-Blood Prince!!! )

I live!

Jul. 15th, 2005 04:12 pm
readingredhead: (Default)
Just a short entry to let all my friends know that yes, I'm still alive.

Venice and Florence were both amazing, though in retrospect I think I liked Venice better this time. It's a bigger city and has more cool shops and restaurants. We did all the tourist things, like feeding pidgeons in San Marco's square, but we also walked a lot. One day we kinda walked in circles, but that was okay -- we weren't short on time.

I shared a hotel room with my cousin Flavia. It wasn't very big but our window opened up over a canal and you could hear people going by in gondolas. We took a ride on a gondola one day as well.

Venice is also really well known for Carnivale, its version of Mardi Gras. So even though Carnivale is in February, there are stores that sell costumes and elaborate masks all year round. Corinne, Carissa, Flavia, and I each bought a mask. Now we really have to have a masquerade party this Halloween, because I want an excuse to wear mine! Deanna, you would have died -- there was this one amazing costume shop that was full of old opera costumes and I wanted to buy the whole store. Amazing velvet capes, gorgeous dresses...a costumer's heaven, but hell also since everything was expensive and impossible for us to bring back home. It was wonderfully terrible.

Um...I think that's about it for Venice. Florence was cool, too; we saw a lot of art, and I mean a lot: in four days we went to three museums. It was awesome seeing all the Renaissance art because I remembered everything from AP Euro. Most amazing of the art I saw would have to be Michelangelo's David. It was truly gigantic, and enormous, and every other word you could think of.

Florence is also known for its leather, and so we bought a lot of leather things. I have two new leather-bound of which looks like the twin to Azuria, I kid you not. When I get home I'm going to make it into a sort of Azuria scrapbook. (And some people are probably reading this and going, "What the heck is Azuria?")

But I've been taking lots of time on this, and I originally came over to Flavia's house to go in the pool. The rest of my tale will have to remain untold, or at least shortened, seeing as it's 4:15 PM here and I want to get to bed early tonight so I can wake up early and drive into Rome to get a copy of the sixth Harry Potter book in English...


readingredhead: (Default)

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