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Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Kinda cool. But where to start…

London Writers Society

The Dark Crystal

Could you be the author of a new novel
set in the world of Jim Henson’s
The Dark Crystal?

http://darkcrystal.com/authorquest/

From October 1st, 2013 to December 31st, 2013, The Jim Henson Company and Grosset & Dunlap of the Penguin Young Readers Group will be accepting writing submissions to find the author for a new novel set in the world of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. This author search is open to all professional and aspiring professional writers.

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By Crom!

By Crom!

My favourite webcomic (and I don’t just say that because I adore Rachel Kahn) is coming out in book form! It has a lot of snazzy add-ons and I wrote a lovely foreword. 

Please check it out, if you haven’t already. It got a pretty sweet shout out at io9 a while back. 

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I hoped to get something  published before I went under for surgery. I’m glad it did. 

A new article of mine is up at Kill Screen.

This time I compare open word games, in particular Skyrim, to Borges’ short story the Library of Babel.

 

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Kids – MGMT (not the official video, but I like this one better.)

There’s a common theme is my last series posts. Yup, I didn’t get selected again for the Canada Writes Challenge. Here’s my entry for The Song that Changed Your Life. I take it in a slightly different direction. It’s the song that played on my way home from a moment that changed my life, rather than a song that changed me.

In hindsight, I should have simplified the story since I only had 400 words to work with. Live and learn. 

MGMT – Kids – Control yourself

“Control yourself take only what you need from it.” MGMT – Kids, I kept that song on repeat, shoving every piece of that appointment into it.  I’m sure the bus driver had seen his fair share of crying passengers. I quietly sucked back the sobs. Still a whimper escaped my mouth and tears stained my face.

I was happy that morning: one more batch of tests and I’d meet my surgeon. I’d no longer bleed through my pants. I’d get to sleep through the night. My uterine fibroid would be gone and so-long to the constant threat of anemia.

Suspiciously, I asked three times if I was getting a transvaginal ultrasound, since I had one two months ago. They said yes. They lied.

To my surprise the doctor quickly inserted a speculum, filled my uterus with fluid, and stuck the probe in. I was sure he was going to punch a hole though me. I panicked and thought ‘suck it up! Just this last test and then surgery.’ The doctor offhandedly mentioned that I’d need multiple surgeries over several months and I may not be able to have children, but another doctor would explain this to me later.

I’m almost home. The elevator doors close I hyperventilate loudly. My throat tightens and I try to hold it together. I don’t want to be humiliated again; I don’t want the neighbours to hear me. I take my keys out of my purse and run down the hall to home, to safety.

In the waiting room, my head spun from the doctor’s brief words. I assured myself that the other doctor would explain. My skin crawled; I was being watched. Dazed, I looked up and the nurse and tech who attended me, pointed and whispered at me. My jaw dropped in confused horror.

The nurse yelled at me “What are you still doing here?”

“I thought I was meeting doctor…”

“You aren’t so get out” she snapped, the tech giggled and another nurse jumped in laughing “Well you can stay all day if you want.” My face grew hot and red, my eyes welled, I called out weakly “I’m sorry!” and stumbled out of the waiting room.

My boyfriend holds me tight telling me to breathe and I can’t. The tones of “Kids” haunts me –“But I thought, this wouldn’t hurt a lot. I guess not.”

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I wasn’t selected for the long list of Canada Writes: Close Encounters with Science, so I decided to post my entry on the good old blog. I’m not certain my submission was  received because I got a weird confirmation email that didn’t have this five digit number they mentioned. I’ll never know whether it made it there or not. That bothers me. 

Iron Woman

Where did I put my keys? Oh, in my pocket. The words are dancing on the page; I can’t focus on the book as thoughts slip in and out of my head. What was his name? I strain to remember, and I can’t. Depression turns everyday actions into painstaking chores. I’ve sprinted for a minute and half and blackness creeps into my vision. My heart pounds in my ears. Six months away from thirty and it’s downhill already.

I’ve had a migraine every day this week. A cloud of blue over takes my vision leaving a small hole that I peer through. I’m eerily calm as my left side goes numb, while my student asks me about university. I’m twenty-nine. I jog. I eat right. I can’t be having a stroke.

At my physical I mention the migraines and ask if my compulsion to eat ice is from anemia. She’s my first family doctor in 18 years; I’m skeptical because my experience with clinic doctors is that they laugh and say I’m over thinking it. I’m shocked when she hears me and says she needs to look a few things up and sends me off for blood work.

For a month, I forgot about the blood work and when I got it done, the next day I got a call from my doctor to ask if I was okay. I lied and said “I’m fine”; my head rests on my desk because I can barely keep my eyes open from the migraine.  She told me that my results are impossible: my iron is 2 and my hemoglobin is 60, that you don’t see conscious or in her experience even unconscious people with those levels. She sent me to do more tests, and called again the next day and the day after that, to ask how I was feeling. I said I was tired and stressed, but alright. If I got worse, she insisted I go to urgent care for a blood transfusion.  She prescribed iron pills. I started to perk up. I couldn’t stop smiling.

I see a hematologist within a week.  I fascinate the medical residents and become a beloved subject. Apparently you don’t see people with 60 hemoglobin walking around, who look so pink, or can jog. They theorize that over the course of six years I adapted to survive on low hemoglobin. I’m prescribed four IV infusions of iron.

I am twenty-four again. My brain turns back on. I can read and remember what was said. My crippling depression is replaced with resounding joy. The alleged ADHD my thesis supervisor once teased me about becomes focus and clarity. When fear left me, I push myself and I jog for an hour. There is no pounding heart in my ears, no blackouts. I am free.

As I await surgery, I’m grateful for a single mineral, iron, that goes into the production of blood and a doctor who listened and saved my life.

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I saw this story floating on twitter this morning. I had to share it, because I really enjoyed it.

Summer and Antipsychotics in the City by Elmo Keep.

I was strongly reminded of my third year of university, when I slept maybe 3 hours a night for a year. I know that increasing paranoia and fear, slowly loosing cognitive functions, hallucinations, etc. It’s still something I’m not entirely comfortable talking about, but I do half seriously/half in jest tell people that a university dorm will make you go mad. At least Keep got treatment, I didn’t. I did go to  counselling for the subsequent panic attacks I had the following year, but was told literally “There are people with more serious problems than you.” I guess suddenly not being able to breathe because of anxiety wasn’t a serious problem in 2005.  I needed a cooler mental affliction or one that fit that counsellor’s current research. If you read that as biting sarcasm, I am doing something right.

I’m grateful that in 2012 I have a doctor that actually cares about me.

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50 Shades of Grey is a reimagined Twilight fanfiction. It is a sensual tale of Anastasia Steele and billionaire Christian Grey. Grey becomes fascinated with Ana and invites her into his secret world of erotic tastes.

I laughed many times while reading the book. Often I found myself imagining Gilbert Gottfried reading it. I did enjoy it.

Many reviews have been written on 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not going for the usual arguments of bad writing, boring sex, lack of agency, the awkwardness of a personified subconscious and sexuality (inner goddess) etc.

My issues come from disbelief and trust.

Like the series The Walking Dead, I had to tell myself a lie to suspend my disbelief. To enjoy The Walking Dead, I have to pretend they live in a world were horror or suspense movies never existed, because how else could everyone be so naïve?

For 50 Shades of Grey, I had to tell myself that both characters have sexual super powers. Steele is super responsive or Grey has the equivalent of the Midas touch for orgasms. It’s hard not to laugh when Steele loses her virginity and says “Aarg!” Appropriate? Yes, but funny.  It’s easy to cynically disbelieve that she has an ‘earth shattering’ orgasm during her first time. I would have believed it, if the orgasm was from a hand job or oral sex, but no, it was from nipple play. So she either has super powers or is the luckiest woman alive. Either which way, grats.

Yes, it’s fluff, it’s not meant for my ‘thinking brain’, but the fact I had to lie to myself to make the book a successful read is a problem. I expect authors to take me on a ride and one that I can get into without having to pretend.

I wasn’t shocked.* There’s nothing offensive about ‘consensual, safe, and sane’ sex. (The motto of BDSM). I’m no expert on BDSM, but from my point of view it was light BDSM.

BDSM is multifaceted. You don’t have to be sadist or a masochist, though that can be part of it. There doesn’t have to be ‘whips and chains’ or even sex. In fact, some BDSM relationships are a bit like a parent and child. It can be a bedroom only thing or it can be 24/7. It’s a wide open field.

In a submissive and Dominant relationship, a sub willingly gives all their power to their Dom. The Dom becomes responsible for the sub and has to ensure their needs are met. The sub at any point can make all of it stop, because they are the one that gave permission for the Dom to control them. This relationship becomes built on this trust and the power exchange between two alpha personalities. Yes, often the sub will have as strong or an even  stronger personality than the Dom. Both people have a certain need that the other fills.  The sub often has a need to serve and the Dom has a need to control. Both communicate their secret thoughts and desires in order to build that relationship. Both parties have to know who they are and what they need. In the book and in certain BDSM groups there are contracts that the potential Dom and sub negotiate over to determine the nature of their relationship.

A big part of BDSM and a lot of other fetish cultures is openness and trust, which, for me, is the sexy part of it.  You have to completely expose yourself to another person. Those aspects are hinted at in the snippets about Grey’s relationship with his first Dom (Mrs. Robinson/Elena), but it’s not openly stated. (I can’t say for the other two books).

The fact that two people could trust each other so much, that one would be willing to do anything the other tells them to do, is beautiful and far more fascinating than anything 50 Shades of Grey shows us about that world.

I won’t even play that game were you have to trust the other person to catch you.  The first time I tried it, I was dropped by the person that was supposed to catch me. She and the surrounding witnesses cruelly laughed at me, because I was an idiot to trust someone to do  what I had just done for them.  It was humiliating. After that, I felt an overwhelming anxiety when I was asked to try it again. Many years later, a treasured friend coaxed and reassured me that she wouldn’t let me fall. It was exceptionally difficult for me to let go, but I tried and she caught me. It felt good. That’s why the trust issue is so fascinating. I can’t let go. I have a hard time  imagining building the level of trust required for a Dom/sub relationship. But, it makes me in awe of people that can.

*End note:

 But there was only one part that actually shocked me, because I was 100% sure they were gonna pass over that fact since there is a culture of squeamishness around period sex.

 pg 430.

 “He reaches between my legs and pulls the blue string – what?! – and gently takes my tampon out and tosses in the nearby toilet.”

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