Writing: Death of the Author (Part 2)

Wondering why there is a part 2? Because I think this actually goes beyond merely literary critique. Let’s take an example: The Bible. One of the big areas I see this is around homosexuality. And it makes me see a little cross-eyed because every verse that gets brought up is brought up either without the cultural context of the time it was written and/or the linguistic context. I’m not going to break down all the verses (there are 6 and you can Google it for yourself). But when people talk about Sodom and Gomorrah they always talk about man-on-man sex. It ignores the custom that when you feed someone in your house (as Lot did), in that culture – you have taken on a responsibility to protect them. This is huge. I would compare it to spitting in someone’s face in today’s world. It is such a taboo you’ve probably never seriously considered it except as an act of extremity –

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Writing: Death of the Author (Part 1)

This has been on my mind a lot lately. For a lot of reasons. The premise of the original essay (Roland Barthes, 1967) is that the author should be excluded when considering a work of art. You shouldn’t talk about Beethoven being deaf. You shouldn’t talk about Sylvia Plath having severe depression and committing suicide. You shouldn’t talk about J.K. Rowling’s tweets expanding/explaining the Harry Potter universe. When critiquing a work, you should only rely on the text within the work itself. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; the unity of a text is not in its origin, it is in its destination; but this destination can no longer be personal: the reader is a man without history, without biography, without psychology; he is only that someone who holds gathered into a single field all the paths of which the text is constituted.

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Review: Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard was released in January. I am trying to get better about finding the new releases as they happen. This is one I am really glad I saw my library had available. I had to wait a minute because others read it ahead of me. This book is not a retelling of a fairy tale. I was expecting to see bones of something familiar – and although there are a few references, this is definitely it’s own story. Supposedly it’s based on “the princess and the pea” but I think it’s got significant legs of it own. Lyra can’t talk and usually a “silent” protagonist is really difficult, but Howard does a good job. My biggest critique is how long it takes to get to what I felt was the “meat” of the book. The first 1/3 of the book or so has a perfect tone of a fairy tale. But it takes too long. I think

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Politics: It Isn’t even ABOUT “choice” – it really IS about “life”

I have seen a LOT of posts about abortion lately. News articles about the New York law that passed, constant articles of other states (including GA) trying to prevent access or availability to abortion options…. and people claiming it’s murder of a life. And as someone 7 months pregnant with a much-wanted child…. I don’t want to imagine the pain of a mother who has to make a choice at this point. To me, it goes way beyond the womb. 150 years ago (ok, probably more like 300+ years, but I bet it still happened in the 19th century) if a family had a child they couldn’t take care of, they might take it out and leave it exposed. If you ever read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, there is a point where they have 2-3 kids and when the next one is born during a horrible famine…. it is implied that O-Lan kills her (I read it as “smothered” the

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Short Story: Squirrels in the Attic

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
The family had three cats and a dog.  Two of the cats were hunters and came from the same litter – Taffy and Cinnamon. There was a long debate about which cat to put into the attic the first time the family heard squirrels.  Taffy was far and away the superior hunter.  He brought in everything from snakes to bats.  Alive. Apparently bringing them home and letting the humans play with them was the most affectionate thing he could think.  No matter how many times he got yelled at. No matter how often he was reminded “you bring it inside, you lose it!” Cinnamon might or might not be an amazing hunter; she was smart enough not to be seen bringing in her prizes. The only time anyone knew she had been hunting was when remains were discovered.  Her favorite spot to take these “toys” was the bathtub in the hall.  Somehow she learned that if you put…

Review: Binti Trilogy

Over the holidays I read the Binti Trilogy (Binti, Home, The Night Masquerade). Now, I was intrigued because it’s Nnedi Okoafor (I lovedAkata Witch). So Binti went on sale and I picked it up. I didn’t realize these are novellas, so they are quick little reads and thoroughly enjoyable. What I love about Okoafor is her great twists on genres. In Akata, she brought african mythology to the traditional western fantasy genre. She approached a similar idea with Binti. The main character, Binti, is brilliant and imperfect in some of the best ways. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and I’m not sure I can sum up beyond the first few pages of book 1 without spoilers. So… let’s just say the plot kept me so engrossed I was sad to leave the universe she had built. I firmly believe Binti and her companions have further adventures – they have to. They are too good together not to get into more shenanigans. My

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Life Events: Water Heater Adventures

This weekend was a roller coaster. It rained a lot last week, and sometimes when it rains the water comes in under the garage door. So I don’t think too much about a little water on my side of the garage when it’s raining. But it was dry all day Friday. I went to go get pizza for dinner. I came home and parked in the garage. There was water. I followed the water path to the hot water heater and the wooden boards it was on (it was rested on 4 cinder blocks with a board on top) was soaked. Oooooooh. Shit. We’ve known since we bought the house that the water heater is old. Like 15 years or more (there isn’t a date on the thing). So we knew it was going to go at some point. Our plan was to finish the kitchen and bathroom renovation, see what our water consumption was for a few months and

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Writing: Women are automatically YA Writers???

This came up when a friend asked for women of color or women writers’ books. So I pulled out my goodreads and gave a few suggestions. I included Dragon Pearl because- well because I kind of loved it and I want a bazillion people to read it. I made a comment “YA but doesn’t feel like it.” Someone raised a question with a link to this article. Ok…. Breathe deeply and don’t get angry. So fifteen years ago when I first started looking at being a writer – specifically a Sci-fi/fantasy writer – the general was that women writers were predominately romance novelists. Apparently, they’ve been allowed to break into YA – but GOD FORBID they write for “real” sci-fi or fantasy fans. If The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin is “Young Adult” than so is every single book by John Scalzi – and they are NOT Young Adult. He is not classified as a YA author on any chart I know. The foul language alone in

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Review: Frankenstein

Whew – that was. Interesting. So I knew the story pretty damn well. Despite not reading it before, I really felt like there were few surprises. The only big surprise to me was the super-secret of how he made Frankenstein. That is one the movie-makers really confused me on with the whole lightning thing. I even went to Gutenberg and searched “lightning” – it’s only mentioned 5 times in the whole book and all AFTER the monster is created. I was looking for that!! Ok, I’m not going to stress about spoilers because…. well the book was originally written in 1818 and anything 200 years old (Damn, I wish I’d read it last year) I think should be pretty fair game. If you need to, you can go to Wikipedia, although it definitely is worth the read. Now, for my take on the book. I think Frankenstein made the monster up because he is mentally ill. I don’t know enough psychology

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