Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bad Ideas!

What if i did hourly comic day, but with poetry? As in, I would write a poem every hour I was awake. It would probably be pretty boring, unless I was out in public for inspiration and inebriation (the two ins of literature). It would also probably mean that my homework wouldn't get done. Hmm.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pig Tales

I'm in the middle of reading Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq. The book is making me increasingly uncomfortable: it is the story of a woman who is turning into a pig. The conflation of woman's sexuality with meat and with animals, well it's pretty prevalent. Just watch commercials for a little while and I'm sure you'll see what I mean. The protagonist works at a perfume shop, where she gives massages and has sex with the clients (as per the directions of her boss). At one point, she gains control of her sexuality, but then loses that confidence and control again.

I'm having trouble continuing. I don't like the sex negative aspects of the book, and every time I think I understand the point the author is trying to make, there is more of the sexual objectification that I work so freakin hard to avoid in literature, television and movies. I'm not sure what to make of this feminist book which seems incredibly sex-negative, and seems to be more about disembodiment than pro-female bodies. I could be missing something. I could be misreading. But I don't like the way I feel reading this book, that's for sure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Let's talk about sex

A lovely bit of writing from Tamora Pierce's book Squire:

Ilane leaned her chin on her hand. "I've often thought the nobility's handling of sex and marriage in their girls is the same as that of horse breeders who try to keep their mares from being mounted by the wrong stallions."

Kel sat bolt upright. "Mama!" Hearing such things in her mother's deep, lovely voice made them even more shocking. She expected this kind of phrasing from her male friends, not her mother.

"You can't say this to noblemen, of course." Ilane got up and went to the small fire that burned in front of the tent. "Tea?"

Kel automatically stood to get the cups. Before she realized she didn't know where they were, her mother had placed a small table between the chairs and was setting out all she would need. Kel sank into her chair. "Why can't this be said to men?"

"The good ones are too romantic to like it, and the bad ones don't care. My papa was the don't-care sort. I overheard him once describing me to a potential suitor. Even though I had small breasts, he said, my hips were big enough that I should foal with ease. It would be easy to find a milk nurse once I dropped a healthy son." Ilane deftly put a tiny scoop of powdered green tea in each of the large, handleless cups, then added water from the iron Yamani pot. She took up the whisk, beating Kel's tea, then her own, into a green froth. They bowed to one another Yamani-style, then sipped.

Kel sighed with gratitude: she loved freshly made green tea.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


So i've noticed i've had an increased number of page-views recently. so welcome to the people who have managed to stumble upon my little corner of the internet. please feel free to say hello in the comments, and, if you'd like to, let me know where you discovered this blog!

more fangirling over Tamora Pierce

i feel like i'm just starting to relax, and it's time for school to start up again. i've been reading a lot of Tamora Pierce lately (as i've been writing about on the 95 books blog). Sure, young adult novels don't exactly challenge the intellect, but they're damn fun reading. I'm impressed that in Protector of the Small (book 1 or 2, I can't remember) Pierce slipped in a brief gay acceptance message, without making a big deal of it. None of the main characters is gay, but it's nice to see an author acknowledge LGBTQ characters. Pierce is also one of the most female-friendly YA authors i've read (although i'm not very current in YA literature, so there may be many other female-positive books out there that i'm not aware of). It's refreshing to have my liberal values reflected in literature, when i'm noticing more and more misogyny and homophobia on tv and in movies (this has more to do with my increasing awareness, not necessarily any increase in misogyny).

Which reminds me...have i posted this link yet? Writing Gay Characters.

Monday, January 4, 2010

digital books

it's hard to read a book on my laptop. the screen hurts my eyes, and i wind up with a headache. i don't want to print out pages and pages, since it seems like a waste, so i deal with it. most of what i read on the computer are library books that i get through my university's database subscriptions, although i also have downloaded copies of books that i own but don't have with me (due to lack of space; my parents have boxes of my books in their basement, but they live far away).

i'm very tempted to save up for an e-reader, because i've heard that they're easier on the eyes. no one i know has one, so i haven't been able to test this out. my ideal ereader would need to be able to display pdfs, rtfs, and it would be nice if it could also show ms word files and html documents. i'm not sure how many ebooks i would actually buy, because i do like having the physical object to manipulate and keep and share, but i can see myself choosing to buy an ebook when i only plan to read something once, or want to get a book that would otherwise be too expensive or hard to find. i wonder how many publishers will make out-of-print books available as ebooks? that's where i could really see myself spending money.

this is all a dream, of course. ereaders are expensive, and it is still unclear which reader will dominate the market leaving other formats obsolete. it's probably unwise to invest in one right now, even if the money did magically find its way into my pockets. i like the sounds of the sony reader, but apparently the software it comes with contains rookits (the same nasty backdoor-opening virus that sony used to gather data from music cd buyers a couple years ago). kindle seems rather limited in what it can display other than ebooks purchased from amazon. the iphone/ipod touch apparently have decent applications for reading ebooks, but again, i haven't seen them in use, so i'm not sure whether the screen creates the same reading problems as a laptop, and i'm not sure how readable the text is on what is still a fairly small screen.

so for now, i'll continue reading on my laptop. at least it gets the job done.

95 books in 2010

a challenge has been put forth by my friend ryan fitzpatrick: read 95 books in 2010 and blog about them. several intrepid readers accepted. a few of us have already begun. follow our journey here.

who will read the most books? who will read the coolest books? who will wind up setting their book collection on fire? find out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

my femin(is)m

a kneejerk response to “Are You a Feminist or a Feminine-ist?” by Karen Salmansohn at

my feminism is enraged
my feminism does not replace power with empowerment
my feminism is LBGTQI friendly
my feminism says choose your choice, even if your choice does not reflect mine
my feminism is a safe space, where women are not imaged as meat, where women are not pictured as parts, where women are not measured as bodies
my feminism wears combat boots
my feminism wears tennis shoes
my feminism wears high heels that click smartly on the sidewalk
my feminism goes barefoot when the mood strikes
my feminism plays contact sports
my feminism dances a graceful ballet
my feminism does not accept a binary world
my feminism writes angry letters to parliament, to advertisers, to television stations
my feminism imagines that most of those letters go unread and unnoticed, but she keeps writing anyways
my feminism is a slut
my feminism is a prude
my feminism lies in bed masturbating alone, except that one time it was on her living room couch
my feminism tries not to judge
my feminism feels fat and lazy
my feminism is told she is too thin, she should eat more, is told she is too fat, why doesn't she try to exercise
my feminism acknowledges her middle-class white ablist privilege
my feminism wants to unpack that privilege, is working to unpack that privilege as best she can
my feminism wants to educate
my feminism wants to fight battles, have shouting matches, dispel ignorance with violence
my feminism is a pacifist, is gentle, tries to model appropriate behaviour
my feminism is a bonerkiller, is humourless
my feminism will not laugh at rape or sexual assault played for laughs
my feminism can take a joke, believe it or not
my feminism is an equal opportunity employer
my feminism is afraid to walk home by herself at night, even when sober
my feminism believes no one should be held to a different standard to prevent victimization, but nevertheless utilizes the buddy system
my feminism knows that it is not her fault
my feminism feels guilty, has trouble looking herself in the eye sometimes
my feminism avoids talking about feminism, because talking politics is impolite
my feminism insists that the personal is political, but politics should stay out of the bedrooms of the nations
my feminism feels ignored by science and medicine
my feminism is hysteric
my feminism is feminine
my feminism is masculine
my feminism is queer
my feminism is asexual
my feminism is polyamorous
my feminism is a fetishist
my feminism is bitchy
my feminism is nice
my feminism is soft and gentle, with a floral fragrance
my feminism is unshaven
my feminism is shaved bare
my feminism is not wearing underpants
my feminism bleeds monthly
my feminism has missed a period
my feminism is irregular
my feminism has never menstruated
my feminism is quiet and reserved
my feminism waits for the opportune moment
my feminism is subtle and polite
my feminism is a small bird hitting the glass ceiling
my feminism is asked when she will have children
my feminism is a mother
my feminism is a spinster
my feminism will not get married
my feminism got married at city hall
my feminism was married in a church
my feminism was married in a blue dress, in a black suit, in white, in jeans
my feminism cannot have children
my feminism has children
my feminism refuses to be defined by her relationships
my feminism is a person in her own right
my feminism runs a business
my feminism works for minimum wage
my feminism wants it all
my feminism is told what to want by advertising in magazines
my feminism is a consumer
my feminism is tired of being treated as a niche demographic
my feminism produces her own content
my feminism is a balancing act
my feminism is unhappier than ever before, is happier than ever before, who’s to say
my feminism plays with dolls and monster trucks
my feminism is sobbing at newspapers
my feminism is the future
my feminism is aching
my feminism is
my feminism is
my feminism is
my feminism is
my feminism is for you.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Statuesque is writer Neil Gaiman's directorial debut. It's lovely.