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19612 / 80000


Some words! I may have to go back tomorrow and revise a bit--someone knows things they shouldn't, as things stand. (Of course, the question is, who does know those things? The protagonist has to learn them somehow.)

Other news of the day: the physics class I was planning to take has been cancelled. Partly "oh, man"--that's two out of three classes for fall semester gone. Partly "ooh" because the possible replacement class for my minor-capstone was scheduled opposite that physics class...but if that's now cancelled, too...

...anyway, we'll see how things work out. There's only so much I can do on that front before the semester starts, though.

I also voted in the primary elections, partly/mostly to make sure I was still registered to vote in MN--I really want to vote against the ban-gay-marriage-in-the-state-constitution thing in November. (It's already illegal in Minnesota, this is just to make it double-plus-illegal. Or something. Possibly the best proof that people are scared gay marriage will become a normal thing, still scary.)

Tomorrow, maybe I will actually type up some of my research notes. I have only had the notebooks sitting on my desk for a week...
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Some books, before I go off and leave them to be returned to the library in my absence, because this afternoon I am going to be on an airplane to Massachusetts again.

Recent reads )



Spoilers! Arsenic and Old Lace; also, Doctor Who )

Now I am going to go and try to stuff as many books into my luggage as will fit.
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Last night I woke up at two in the morning and had to take painkillers again. Sad face. I went in to the health center, who told me helpfully to go buy Sudafed somewhere else, 'cause I'd have to sign for it.

Happily, I am planning to be in Northampton tomorrow (and so can pick some up), because it will be Pride! I have a ridiculously multicolored skirt, knee-high rainbow socks, and a t-shirt that says "We're here, we're queer, our parents think we're studying"--what more do I need? I keep missing Minneapolis Pride--I've been but not for a while--and so I am glad I am going to this one, besides the part where it'll be interesting to compare what they're like. (This summer I will be in San Francisco for their Pride... now that will be an experience.)

Finals go. I can do most of the proofs on the real analysis final, but I have to write them up and sort out all the qualifiers. I have a couple of questions about the quantum final, which I really ought to remember to email the professor. (Hmm. Maybe I'll go do that.) I studied some Greek earlier and will study more tomorrow morning, before Pride, and I know at least one more distinction that I need to add to my final paper for CST--beyond what I already knew I was going to put in.

Mostly, this afternoon, I got the impression that pieces are sliding into place. I have three-quarters of a jar of jam left in my minifridge, and nothing to do with it: I shall take it with me to Northampton and eat it on rice cakes for lunch. Someone is taking my minifridge off my hands--The Mob and I have an in-dorm apartment for next year, complete with full refrigerator--so I don't have to worry about that. Et cetera. I tend to worry about things in advance, and make a lot of plans, so it's always nice to be in that bit of time when all the plans catch and hang and they all click over together.

Not Thinking about leaving campus next week. Not Thinking about not seeing Kate for over a month, or the fact that the last day we'll see each other (for over a month) will be six months from when we started going out. These things will take care of themselves, in the future. For now: I will work on my paper tonight, I will go to Pride tomorrow and eat jam and make a blanket fort with my friends in the evening to watch Doctor Who, and it will be awesome. That is all.
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Iliad, tr. Fagles, lines 204-205:
But the lord of men Agamemnon shot back,
'Desert, by all means--if the spirit drives you home!'


...clearly they do not give me enough to do here. (Five minutes in GIMP with skills learned through physics research last year, woot.)

Also, my character in the play--it has now been decided--is a wimp and has a secret Latino boyfriend who indulges him in this utter wimpiness because he thinks it's cute. (As I told Kate this evening, I can't even act straight.) You have no idea how many of my lines this motivates. Hint: all of them.

And I sent a bunch of emails I have been pointlessly not writing for varying lengths of time.

So this was a good day.
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The semester started on Wednesday. I am not sure how I feel about this.

Classes I'm taking are:
- Real analysis: should be interesting and teach me things--it's full of people who are about at my same math level, which rocks.
- Quantum mechanics: best class ever? Quite possibly. (I have been waiting years to take quantum mechanics. On the first day we got a thermal image of a zebra. As far as I care this class can do no wrong.)
- Second semester of Greek: more maiming! More violence! Always fun.
- Science, revolution, and modernity: a critical social thought class, which seems very interesting and also kind of intense (six books plus supplementary readings? 3-4 page paper nearly every week?), at least to my physics-major brain. But hey, readings and not problem sets, so that's nice.

I auditioned for the five-college early music program and got placed in a group. Singing madrigals! I haven't done that much since freshman year of high school, and I have missed it. (I kept forgetting to check and see when auditions were, the past few semesters.) I will have concerts to go and do, in addition to two hours' weekly practice.

[Edit: And of course working in special collections. Forever.]

In grand college tradition, I would also like to attend at least a few meetings for the Coalition for Gender Awareness this semseter--I've been on their email list since last year--and, oh yeah, try out for a play. I am going to try out for the play anyhow, which might be a bad idea but oh well. CoGA might have to wait. I seem to be cycling through all the things I want to do; I just have to hope that I have enough time to actually do all of them before I graduate.

Not helping with this: I hope to study abroad for a semester next year. I have a shortlist, just need to fill out all the forms. I do have some time on that.

Meanwhile, though, I still have physics research applications to do. I am getting through them, but I have some left--the plan is to do those today. (Also, my homework for tomorrow.) I submitted my application to the U of MN materials science REU program this morning, which I point out especially because their application webform has a box to type in for gender, not just buttons for male and female. Win!

Books!

Jan. 10th, 2011 06:42 pm
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Shiver, Stiefvater: Better than the other novel of hers I've read--I think this is more recent. Northern-Minnesota werewolves, hooray. Didn't quite buy the ending, unfortunately. But I am interested enough to pick up the sequel, if I come across it in the library.
The Fuller Memorandum, Stross: Less math and comp sci geekery, more action-movie and emotional consequences, than some others of the Laundry Files I've read. Still, nice. I don't read these for the plot--if I tried to pick up each and every detail as it flew past, I'd probably start picking for holes in it, so I just lean back and enjoy the ride. So when it doesn't make any immediate sense, I am still entertained. Which I was.
Black Blade Blues, Pitt: I grabbed it because what I knew was: queer urban fantasy! I am all for that. Also, the beginning made me grin when I picked it up. I got: plenty of queer, plus blacksmithing and low-budget movies and Pacific Northwest and Norse mythology. And SCA. Some elements in here that I loved (runes were particularly neat), others I was iffy on but that's usually the case (skimmed some of the battle scenes, but then I often do that when reading). At any rate, also entertaining, enjoyed the read.

Which leaves a couple of books still unread out from the library, one of which I am bouncing off the beginning of and might not get to, and a few recent purchases still unread, all of which I am Very Interested to get to. But I read a lot of my library books before the bought ones--that is some measure of virtue.

And I have been struggling with my physics-applications statements of interest today, but finally nailed down a draft of one of 'em, at least. Which, no surprise, is for the program I think is the most awesome. Too bad it's in a city I don't have any particular desire to live in for eight weeks.

I also made vague attempts toward some statements for other programs--maybe those will be helpful when I get around to actually writing them? Wishful thinking, I suspect. Oh well.
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Having gotten enough done on my physics applications that I can put them aside for a bit and do the next part more slowly and with care, I spent yesterday evening and most of today doing Not Very Much. Which was nice. 'Cause, I mean, this is supposed to be a break, and all.

But I read a couple of books:
White Sands, Red Menace, Klages: I liked Green Glass Sea and I liked this one. It's SF in the sense that it's fiction about science, and in the sense that it addresses thematic things like the size of the universe. And all the characters are believable, whether kids or adults. And I find myself rooting for all of them, even the ones that I wouldn't necessarily have liked in real life myself as a kid.
Unnatural Death, Sayers: I am getting closer to having read all the Wimsey novels, but I have not quite reached that sad day yet. Halfway through, I sent a text message: "I think there are stealth lesbians in this Wimsey novel!" When I'd finished it, I summed up--"Stealth lesbians remarkably un-stealth, for the times." Better yet, though some of the characters have Notions about this whole female companionship without men thing, I'd say the narrative as a whole treats it with respect. ...so basically, um, Wimsey + lesbians = yes. Why do I not own this book yet? There are some dismal bits of the novel, to be fair, which have more to do with the whole murder bit than the lesbians. Those dampened my enjoyment a bit, but they were effective, so thumbs still firmly up.

I also have started poking at A Returning Power again. Why is it that when I start thinking through the implications of possible changes, I see problems that were there in the first place and I never noticed? (Don't answer that.)
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36.1 / 75


Small steps.

---

Still busy. Have noticed, however, that getting enough sleep helps.

Current dilemma: one-day writers'-conference on MHC campus on Saturday; ridiculously expensive; might be awesome. Do I go, or do I save the money and officially dedicate the day to Working On Novels? Fret, fret, etc.

Also? Am wearing not-quite-copious but still a lot of purple today. So--yeah. That's happening. (We had a quickly-planned not-quite-flash mob at lunchtime today outside the campus center. It went off remarkably well for something we came up with last night! We sang gay songs, someone passed out purple ribbon, someone took pictures.)
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I always complain, ahead of time, about not understanding the point of Coming Out Day.

I say, "What is it, anyway?"

I say, "How am I supposed to celebrate this thing? I'm already out, after all."

And then it arrives. Some years that I've been aware of it, this attitude has continued. But not this year, not really.

This year, throughout the day I spent bits and pieces of time on facebook, scrolling through pages of news feed updates so I could 'like' dozens of Coming Out Day statuses my friends put up, and I didn't even hit all of them. People declared themselves queer, bisexual, gay, straight.

All of them, every single one of them, are brave and beautiful and bold.

And I figured out that it's not exclusively about the occasion of you Coming Out--that first time you stand sweaty-palmed in the doorway and say, "Um, uh, so... you know how I'm in the Gay-Straight Alliance at school? I'm not in the straight part." It's about that, but it's also about visibility; it's about awareness; it's about community; it's about we-are-here and here-we-are.

It is, I think, a nice holiday.

So I am pretty proud to type this post up, with all these people standing with me: across the campus, across the country, and across the world. (You aren't reading this, but you'd know who you are if you were, and my thoughts are with you.) Some of them I know, and some of them I will know, and some of them I never will, but here we all are.

I am gay and cisgendered1. Happy Coming Out Day!



1 The other reason I like Coming Out Day is that it's an excuse to come out as cisgendered, which I don't often get, and thoroughly enjoy when I do. It's so often an unmarked state in our society that getting a good chance to mark it prominently pleases me.

2No, I did not get any writing done today. Shh.
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"The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will."
--Czeslaw Milosz, "Ars Poetica"

Queens' Play, Dunnett: It took me a strangely long time to read this. Part of it is the difference in narrative styles, I think--it is definitely not structured like today's prose, even on the paragraph/interior-to-a-scene level. Finally got through it, though. I would be interested to see what the next book was like, but it doesn't look like the five-college system has it, and I'm not sure I am devoted enough to ILL it. We'll see.
Strong Poison, Sayers: I am glad I read Gaudy Night first. It means I have way more insight into both of 'em than I would have otherwise--well, okay, technically I suppose I just had to do less work for it. Next one please.
Centuries Ago and Very Fast, Ore: I got this through ILL. A friend spent part of Friday evening doing dramatic readings of the silliest lines she could find in it, so when I actually got around to reading it, I was slightly relieved to find that actually those lines mostly did make sense in context. Since I had mostly gotten it on the strength of finding the title of the book lying around in my head somewhere, I was also happy to find that it was a pretty nice read. It's about a time-travelling immortal gay Paleolithic man; it's told in slivers that mostly aren't quite short stories. It's more about queer people than the mechanics of time-travel, and it's more about mortality and the mechanics of living in a body for a very long time than any question of how or why that happens. It's also, sort of at a slant, about family.
Bells in Winter, Czeslaw Milosz: I have not, in any real sense, read this book of poetry. I can't sit down with a book of poetry like a novel, read through it running the sentences and paragraphs through my fingers like beads, and lay it aside. In many real senses I have not even read one poem in this book. But I have touched some of the beads in the necklace of Bells in Winter, and hovered over some other ones, and put it on and taken it off a couple of times.

...If you were wondering, I really like Czeslaw Milosz's poetry. It might take me a while to get through this book, but I am very much enjoying it. His poetry makes me take the long view--not to think of what my emotions are right now this instant or today, but wonder what I'll see when I look back here, decades on from now. I read his poetry, and then I walk home, and in the first dry autumn leaves I smell what I will smell in thirty years when I come back to visit Mount Holyoke, when all the slang will be impenetrable and the cultural references obscure (to me, I should add); when I will know a wildly different set of people, but maybe some of the same ones; when I will be older and stranger and more like myself.

Which is a lovely mood, but gets no homework done. (But I did wash my clothes.)
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310 / 350


The night before the Big Climactic Battle (or Appropriately-Coordinated Battles, as the case may be), no one's sure if what they're doing is right, emotions running high... can't back out now, though. And there are some neat little moments that apparently I've been setting up through this whole novel. So that's nice.

Between progress on this novel, learning that I don't completely fail at driving (road test in a week, eep! But I'm less worried after practicing tonight), and Prop 8 being overturned (anyone out there to whom that's news? If there is--yeah, it was)... pretty good day.

Also, I read A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend yesterday/today. It's by Emily Horner and a few years ago it would've totally rocked my world. I've figured out enough about the world and myself by now that it didn't have quite the same effect on me now, but that part of me that's always thirteen or fourteen on the inside (which will always be thirteen or fourteen on the inside) kept shying up to the text and skittering away again as I read, staring.

Queer YA is awesome--this adds in the questioning part, and the part where you aren't even questioning because that question hasn't even occurred to you or because you don't want it to. Wanting things without knowing their names, or thinking about them, or wanting to know their names, because you just can't be there yet.

And then it says that that's okay, and that you can have friends and relationships of all sorts without knowing Absolutely Right Now What You Are Go. Which I think is a really really good message for people to take away from a book, and not one that I see very much.

Additionally, there's a musical about ninjas and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Being a nerd, and not-quite-a-theater-kid--oh, so familiar--as well as, you know, the whole dead-best-friend part. Et cetera.)

Okay, okay, so maybe I'm still going "eeee! They wrote a whole book, just for me!". So sue me.
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27.2 / 70


A bit of progress on the revision, anyway.

(Today: working at the bindery, walked two and a half miles around downtown--renewed my permit, sat at the Open Book center to read and think about writing projects--before busing home; now: tired.)

Banvard's Folly, Paul Collins: 13 essays about people who were famous and now aren't, largely from the 19th century. I think [livejournal.com profile] kelljones mentioned this to me? It was interesting--I'd heard about one or two of them before, possibly because this book raised their fame briefly again. The focus on the 19th century made me contemplate how many books could be written about such figures from other time periods (many, I'm sure).

Overall, though each essay was neat, the main unifying theme I got was "fame and fortune don't last", illustrated by examples ("here are some ways in which fame and fortune don't last"). I would be interested to read something on a similar topic, but focusing on one tight group--say, poets in a a specific decade of the 19th century--and looking at their fame then, how and why they got it (if they did), when they did, if it lasted and how long and theories as to why... this was a bit too scattered for me to take anything large from it, but it was an entertaining read.

Vintage, Steve Berman: I had heard good things about this and eventually figured I ought to check it out. The ensemble cast is as queer as any from a Melissa Scott novel, which is to say quite satisfyingly: the main gay characters, plus some queer secondary characters both female and male (sexuality other than 'homosexual' or 'heterosexual' is never explored too much in depth, but books do not have to try to be all things) and, oh, right, a couple of straight people and a homophobe or so to round it out. Not really a coming out story, either (yay!); it could be read as a coming-into-community story, but I am totally okay with those and I think we need more of them. At some points I didn't buy the progression of the central romance, but oh well.

All in all, this was a satisfying example of the queer YA SF/F subgenre that I lurk with delighted, delicious glee.
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Since I keep forgetting to write about these, here's a quick summary of my last few evenings.

Friday: an event at the Bedlam Theater, which started at nine and which we didn't stay for the main act of--I was tired, and still not really moved between houses--but what we did see was kind of neat. A cellist opened; Open Eye Theater had a puppetry wagon, with little bells and doors all over and things that rotated and opened and spit water at the audience... it was a bit hard to see the puppets from our distance, but their bit was still entertaining.

Then there was a multimedia part: one screen had a digital projector, and then a film/slide projector went onto a folding paper screen behind a guitarist. The contrast in illumination between the two projectors was amazing--the digital projector's image was bright and jarring, while the slide projector gave these clear, warm gems.

On Saturday, there was a Park Square Theater production of a pastiche play, Sherlock Holmes and the Jersey Lily. From the blurb, I acquired only two phrases: "Sherlock Holmes" and "Oscar Wilde". To my eternal and undying disappointment, they put Oscar Wilde in as the foppish comic relief, Gay Best Friend character. I'm still not certain how you can do that, but they did. (Delivery resembled nothing so much as the Sassy Gay Friend sketches on Youtube, if you're wondering.)

The play itself was amusing enough--disguises, mistaken identity, very silly plots, an epee duel between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty (unfortunately, similarly neater in concept than execution, at least to my modern-fencing-trained eyes), some Shakespeare (ditto above, in some regards)--but I never could quite get over how they used Oscar Wilde.

At any rate, part of why I like being back in the Cities for the summer is all the theater, so: yay. (They gave Wilde very nice clothes, possibly as compensation, so there's that. And Holmes's study had an astrolabe-type instrument I wished to purloin.)

Last night, being the fourth of July, there were fireworks above the river. It was the first time I'd actually been down to them--some of my high school friends were going--and they were very passable fireworks, sparkling and thumping satisfyingly under my collarbone and leaving drifting octopi of smoke behind them in the sky. I can take or leave the fourth of July as a holiday, but I enjoy fireworks.

So this morning was raspberry pancakes and laundry, that being about all my brain has been up to. Whether I get anything done on writing in the rest of today is up in the air for right now.
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197 / 350


Good times, days spent writing. I was thinking of trying to get to 200 pages tonight, but that would be silly. It's not really that much of a milestone in in-novel terms--just exterior to it, and I'm feeling pretty good about my progress through it anyway.

The Beastly Bride, which I finished reading today, is another nice addition to the Datlow/Windling anthologies. I've enjoyed all of this series so far (Coyote Road and the like). Many of the stories featured romance and similar relationships, of various ilks (unsurprising, when you consider the number of Selkie love-stories et cetera there are out there--is there some connection between shapeshifting/animals and relationship stories, other than, um, the obvious?); it cheered me to see several queer relationships in there. (More I believe than I've seen in previous volumes of this anthology series, though I'd have to go back and look to be certain.) None of the stories are My New Favorite Story Omg, but it was quite a pleasant read, all in all.
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Today was a Day Of Things Which Were Not Progress On The Novel. These days happen.

Things included, um, lying about, drinking tea, posting to the Ideomancer community (Atlas of Imagination! Still up and running!), working on the still-untitled short story, taking a nap (I pretty much never take naps, so this was of note), walking to the store to buy food, and seeing How to Train Your Dragon (which was cute! Though of questionable morality at some points).

Rainy cold days make me want to work on this short story, apparently, which says bad things about how cheerful the story is. All of those bad things are true, with cherries on top. It is a story of Doom and Gloom, so it's... sorta nice the weather's cooperating, really.

With luck, though, tomorrow I'll leap out of bed and work on the novel. Spending a day working on something else once in a while is probably good for me, but I don't want to lose too much momentum.

The Demon's Lexicon, with as few spoilers as possible: hmm. I'd gotten spoiled for the main spoiler of the book long before I read it, so I'm not sure how it would've read if I hadn't known that going in. There were a couple of parts where I was confused, either with logic or presentation of material, but they all sort of made sense eventually. I liked the Goblin Market a lot, and I found it refreshing (and awesome!) to have a queer character whose sexuality was present in the text but wasn't really made a big deal of. Result: I'll read the sequel, though I don't plan to buy either at this point.

Also, I took my tiny laser apart entirely today. It had a laser diode inside. I'm pretty sure it's irreparable now, which is a pity, but what would I really use a laser pointer for anyway? Taking it apart was entertaining, at any rate.
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This is unfortunately not an "awesome things I did at WisCon!" post.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the "Lesbians in SF/F" panel. I learned that basically without even trying very hard I have covered pretty much all of the extant lesbian characters in SF/F proper; and that I have no idea about "lesfic", which apparently grew out of Xena fandom and which I will probably look into now--it sounds like it's mostly erotica/relationship focused, so I'm not certain I'll love it to bits, but it will be interesting at any rate.

But that is not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about being queer. )

tl;dr: Hi. I'm Alena. I'm gay. I'm going to go suggest a panel topic for next WisCon now.
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94 / 350


I am closing on a hundred pages! Yay.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours importing the novel to Scrivener to try it out. So far I've figured out that I like MS Word's interface/setup better for just straight-up drafting which could just be that I'm used to it--but the Scrivener organizational functions are definitely shiny. Today I wrote a new scene half in MS Word and half in Scrivener and updated both files. Which is an inefficient way to handle things, but we shall see.

---

Last night I went to see an all-female cast perform Macbeth at my old high school. It was... kind of awesome.

(For one thing, I believe we were totally breaking fire code on the black box theater, so it was a little bit "aww, just like the old days!"--we spent about a year tiptoeing around after a journalist wrote in the local paper about how we broke fire code all the time with our audience numbers, but this was authentically airless, hot, and stifling, with two rows of people sitting in front of the chairs and standing room in the back, doors propped open, and the directors telling us that the exits were here and there and, in case of fire... good luck!)

The array of gender presentation was impressive. Different genders presented, different ways of presentation--some cast members made a distinct effort to hide typically female characteristics (sex or gender), or some but not others; some costumes were designed to hide or change more than others; the way they acted, held themselves, used their faces and their voice. None of it involved fake facial hair, or modification of voices to get a laugh. I could easily read all of them as female biologically (most of them without effort), but they had taken their presentation of gender so far out of the normal spectrum that it was difficult for me to pin pronouns on the characters as they played them.

The way that presentation shifted was intriguing, too. All the actors but Lady Macbeth played at least one male role, I think; several also played female roles, but we first saw them in male parts. The presentation of female gender was in some ways just as deliberate as the presentation of male gender.

That, I think, is what fascinates me so much about shows like this--you have to break down gender, gender presentation, and build it back up, for an all-female cast to work with this sort of show. Sure, you can just stick girls in pants and put fake beards on them, but that's shoddy work.

(I kind of wish that all shows everywhere would do this. All-female casts push the issue, but it'd be interesting to see how other casts would deal with it, and what the product would look like.)

And it's interesting now reflecting on The Tempest at my college in light of this production. To a certain extent the presentation of gender there, too, was varied, but I noticed it far less--probably because I expect and am used to a variety of gender presentation from people there.

In the setting of my high school, though, there is definitely not such a wide distribution, which made the choice (and at my high school it had to be a specific choice, whereas at my college it's sort of de facto and you work from there) and the presentation much more dynamic, arresting, fascinating to my eyes.

To be fair, though, a lot of Macbeth is about gender dynamics. Blood and children and women and men and death and... death, see "different ways of". A lot of The Tempest is not. So that probably helped too.
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Yesterday was the first day of spring break. Getting off-campus in mid-morning was a relief; I'd been around since early January with not much of a break. Leaving the five-college area was a relief, too. My father and I wandered into Boston by mid-afternoon, checked into our hotel and looked at theater listings for the evening.

Othello was sold out, sadly. However, as Boston is not a one-theater town, there were plenty of other options. We decided we would go and see We All Will Be Received, which was up in the South End at the Boston Center for the Arts.

All the times I've been in Boston, I've been in cars. So while I have faith unto the skies that Boston is awesome, I never quite like it as much as I feel I would on foot. Neither of these feelings were changed by the half-hour we spent circling blocks in the vicinity, looking for a place to park. (In the dark, in the rain.) However, once we did find a place, it was a lovely walk to the theater despite the wet, and we were only fifteen or twenty minutes late for the show.

Which was also lovely. The website had said it was about a road trip and drag kings and Elvis and Dolly Parton and gender identity construction, and it was all of those things. It also incorporated several elements of different media. The three performers--the members of the road trip, two drag kings and a filmmaker--did scenes live on the stage; there were videos and, at one point, a kind of powerpoint presentation displayed on a screen behind it; and at least once the filmmaker's camera was used to put live footage from the stage onto the screen in real-time. The production company involved, Queer Soup Theater, has a stated mission of "using laughter to smuggle ideas across society's borders", which I can definitely agree with as a tactic.

At any rate, it was awesome to see some real live theater, see some queer theater, see people doing fun and interesting multimedia things that actually worked within the context of the show. And it was also great to walk around a little bit of the city at night. The rain made everything look more glamorous: it smeared the light down the street, pooled underneath the curbs so that flying leaps were necessary to reach the sidewalks.

Today is the St. Patrick's Day parade, so we purpose to avoid that part of Boston, but I am glad we went.
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In the queer-kids'-books class I'm taking this J-term, there are a lot of things we're looking at askance. How far have we come since the publication of Annie on My Mind? Heather Has Two Mommies? Are there any good picture books with queer content, really?

In all of this uncertainty and doubt, it is good to be able to point at something and say, This is awesome. This is new. Which is How Beautiful the Ordinary, a collection of YA short stories edited by Michael Cart.

The Table of Contents reads like a who's who of queer YA fiction. The variety of types of stories is awesome: epistolary, two columns of text, graphic novel format, as well as straight-up narrative--both linear and nonlinear. The variety of ways in which the queer content is included is also awesome. Some stories, yes, are about first-love or coming out, but none of them are only that. They deal frankly with sex; with being queer in society today; with having queer parents. This is a YA anthology, but several of the stories connect to or from the past, jump generational gaps...

All this, and it's even packaged inoffensively. The title doesn't shout "queer people!". Nor does the cover. (Compare: How Beautiful the Ordinary and Am I Blue?.) Yes, in an ideal world anyone could be seen reading anthologies with rainbows and pink triangles all over them; but that world's not this one, and teens, especially questioning teens, might hesitate over picking up "Am I Blue?" for that reason. I hesitated, and--well--my family's liberal, pretty much all my friends are liberal, and for a third thing I was halfway across the country from all of those people at the time, in another liberal area. I did pick it up, and it was good; but How Beautiful the Ordinary is proof that queer YA anthologies can rock even more.
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Survived the flight! I love airplanes--the takeoff especially, but also what you can see out the window. The sun had set by the time we got off the ground, and the sky was clear, so for most of the trip the little glittering galaxies of lights were strung out below us. Minnesota was overcast. We dove through layer after layer of clouds, plunging through with the winglights flashing alarmingly bright white and red. And then we were down, and through, and the Cities lay beneath us, smooth white fields of lakes and the dark shapes of trees, and the soft glow of Christmas lights under snow.

I wrote about 1400 words while in airports and en route, despite the plethora of children. ("Minute 32. They have me surrounded on all sides. I am trapped against this window. Flight attendants' offers of pretzels to placate children not stopping the screams. But who will placate me?") So that's 11.4k, and eventually I really will get a wordcount meter.

Minnesota has snow, real snow. It looks like winter here. Today I'm going out present-shopping, and hopefully will return laden with all sorts of things to hide in my wardrobe and wrap in newspapers.

If I can swing it, I also want to go by the library or a bookstore--I'm taking a J-term class on GLBT content in children's and YA literature, and they've given us the list of readings, which basically reads like a list of things I've vaguely wanted to buy for the past few years except with more picture books. (Which is why library. As cool as Heather Has Two Mommies is, I don't think I need to own it.) A couple of things might be difficult to find, but I can always order them online; I just want to get a head start.

August 2015

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