Posts tagged with "meta" - Faerye Net 2010-11-17T23:12:13+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Fisheses and things 2010-11-17T23:12:13+00:00 2010-11-17T23:22:00+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m having yet more travel days &#8211; this time to Seattle for what one might call Nephewcon, if one weren&#8217;t yet over the humor of appending &#8220;con&#8221; to things. (One isn&#8217;t.) Here, however, in lieu of actual content, is my favorite of the photos I took last week:</p> <p><a href="" title="Mystery fish. by Felicity Shoulders, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="374" alt="Mystery fish." /></a></p> <p>He is a fish, obviously, but I haven&#8217;t yet researched what kind. Should any of you know, please enlighten me. I feel I should have an inkling, but I have just started <em>Mass Effect 2</em> so now he looks like a Krogan to me.</p> <p>Tomorrow, hopefully, I should have the time to throw some links in the meat of the letter I am going to send to several branches and nodes of government about <a href="" target="links">this <span class="caps">TSA</span> outrage</a>. Just because my congresspeople are going to get it on paper doesn&#8217;t mean I shouldn&#8217;t imbue it with linkjuice for you, denizens of the intertube. I will also be making a version for my state government, because <a href="" target="links">this</a> seems like a good idea.</p> <p>Sidenote: when I write fiction, I tend to write skeletal drafts which need fleshing out. When I write angry letters, I tend to write more voluminous drafts which need to be trimmed to a crisp, incisive point. Now I&#8217;m going to go watch a <a href="" target="links">YouTube video of kittens</a> to relieve my civic angst.</p> What is the purpose of blog comments? 2010-08-24T13:33:41+00:00 2010-08-24T13:35:05+00:00 <p>A while back, Ryan mentioned to me that he may remove the capacity to comment from his blog, <a href="" target="links"></a>. This rocked my world. No comments? But blogs have comments! It&#8217;s a universal constant! Okay, so I exaggerated there. Sure, I&#8217;ve seen comments-disabled posts, often on touchy or personal matters, on otherwise comment-enabled blogs. And I&#8217;ve visited a few blogs with no comment system. It tends to have a more&#8230;austere feeling. Like a museum, rather than a tearoom. Comments invite you to stay a while and have a scone. No comments? You are invited to move along to the next exhibit.</p> <p>Ryan tends to think things through, so he had plenty of arguments against the necessity of comments <em>for his blog</em>. His blog is increasingly about technical matters. I pointed out that people like to discuss these matters, and he pointed out that they are welcome to do so by e-mail or on twitter. If their comment is longer than 140 characters, he pointed out, they&#8217;re welcome to post it on their own blog and send him a link. Obviously, he has a point.</p> <p>Different blog spaces carry different necessities. I read a fair amount of social justice blogs, like <a href="http://racialicious" target="links">Racialicious</a> and <a href="" target="links">Feministe</a>. Part of their purpose is discussion &#8212; lively at times &#8212; and to provide a space dedicated to hashing out issues, often nominally or actually &#8220;safe&#8221; for those participating. Many major blogs of this type even have &#8220;open threads&#8221; from time to time, where the management offers no guidance on what the commentariat should mull. Obviously, these blogs are part forum.</p> <p>But my blog isn&#8217;t like that. I am glad it&#8217;s not. Writing a social justice blog means setting yourself up as an authority and giving yourself a certain responsibility to keep up with and comment on current events. That&#8217;s admirable, but it&#8217;s not the path I&#8217;ve chosen in life. I&#8217;ve chosen to be a fiction writer, which means a certain amount of dreamy detachment is part, parcel, perquisite and peril of my vocation. Some of my blog posts ask for audience participation, but some of them don&#8217;t.</p> <p>I can see some arguments against comments in general. Where the commentariat is largely people one knows, there is a sort of social pressure. If I post good news, do you have to publicly f&ecirc;te me? I like congratulations as much as the next person, but I don&#8217;t want to make anyone feel they <em>must</em> pipe up. (I&#8217;m the sort of person who tends to send off-list congratulations to on-list good news, so obviously I&#8217;m a little weird about the dynamic of clapping people on the back in front of a crowd.) In other cases, I&#8217;ve heard people talk about the social pressure of commenting &#8211; someone you don&#8217;t know or barely know comments on your blog, so you feel you have to comment on theirs.</p> <p>This brings me back to the responsibilities of blogging: I don&#8217;t want to ever be in a position where I <em>have</em> to blog about something. If something dreadful happens in the world &#8211; which happens all too often &#8211; I usually feel that my perspective on it is redundant, if not useless. I may feel stunned and wordless. Political bloggers and social justice bloggers seem to have a socially mandated duty to speak on current events. I never want to be there. Neither do I want to be committed to post everything of a certain sort in my own life &#8212; every time I make a pie, for instance (I guarantee you, while it makes useful filler here and there, that I don&#8217;t post every pie I make!). There&#8217;s too much speaking for speaking&#8217;s sake in the world. That isn&#8217;t a call for seriousness, by any means: anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I am chock-full of nonsense. What I am advocating is sincerity. Don&#8217;t blog if you don&#8217;t feel it. Don&#8217;t comment if you don&#8217;t want to (and if you do want to, don&#8217;t feel constrained!)</p> <p>And if you do want to respond to something, I hope you have the space or make the space. Ryan&#8217;s point that would-be commenters can post on their own blogs is well taken. Even in the forum-like bustle of large social justice sites, people take a step back into their own spaces and respond there. A long comment may not get much attention when it&#8217;s attached to someone else&#8217;s work. On your own blog, it has the chance to breathe, to be read on its own merits and for its own sake. Much of what we want to say in the world is a response: to someone else&#8217;s speech, yes, or to our own lives, our own experiences, to nature or culture. Maybe it would be silly to start a blog just because you wanted to comment on someone&#8217;s post and comments were locked. But maybe it will happen again, and again. Maybe you should have, if not a blog, a text document on your own computer. Even if you don&#8217;t need or want anyone else to hear, hearing yourself is vital and healthy.</p> <p>Maybe I&#8217;ll close down comments on a post here and there. I experimented with this on the most recent <a href="" target="links">update</a> on my upcoming story. Just the facts, ma&#8217;am, and no meaty topic for discussion. But upon reflection, I&#8217;ll be keeping comments open on most posts here. I like the idea of putting out tea and biscuits for all comers.</p> <p>This blog&#8217;s purpose has shifted over the years. When I began, I hoped to share a few silly anecdotes, but mostly give myself room to write and hear myself. I needed a place for words and creativity in a life that didn&#8217;t otherwise hold that space. Now my life fully inhabits those spaces, and the blog serves to share &#8212; my news, my nonsense, things that make me laugh, delight me, or make me think. It&#8217;s my blog, but I need to believe you&#8217;re a part of it. I&#8217;ll definitely be keeping comments, but I&#8217;m glad to have considered the question. Rethinking and questioning keeps blogs, as well as people, healthy.</p> List slippers 2010-07-10T14:54:01+00:00 2010-07-10T14:56:03+00:00 <blockquote>It&#8217;s always necessary to remember that the fiction writer is much less <em>immediately</em> concerned with grand ideas and bristling emotions than he is with putting list slippers on clerks. <strong>-Flannery O&#8217;Connor</strong>, <em><a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780374508043'>Mystery and Manners</a></em></blockquote> <p>In my <a href="" target="links">last blog post</a>, I meant to include this quote. (In fact, at one point I intended to call the post &#8220;Collecting List Slippers&#8221; in its honor.)</p> <p>In context, O&#8217;Connor refers to <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780140449129'><em>Madame Bovary</em></a>:<br /> <blockquote>Sometimes she would draw; and it was great amusement to Charles to stand there bolt upright and watch her bend over her cardboard, with eyes half-closed the better to see her work, or rolling, between her fingers, little bread-pellets. As to the piano, the more quickly her fingers glided over it the more he wondered. She struck the notes with aplomb, and ran from top to bottom of the keyboard without a break. Thus shaken up, the old instrument, whose strings buzzed, could be heard at the other end of the village when the window was open, and often the bailiff&#8217;s clerk, passing along the highroad bare-headed and in list slippers, stopped to listen, his sheet of paper in his hand. </blockquote></p> <p>In yet further explanation, I proffer this link about the nature of <a href="" target="links">list slippers</a>, shoes made, sole and all, from fabric and thus very quiet to walk in. (Although in the quote above, I think their informality rather than their stealth is their primary characteristic.)</p> <p>Okay, so obviously this quote needs a lot of unpacking, and perhaps it&#8217;s just as well that I left it out of the other post. But it also deserves more than the slight mention I&#8217;ve <a href="" target="links">already given</a> it &#8212; it&#8217;s a massively important point about writing made succinctly and pungently. I think of these list slippers every other day or so.</p> <p>As everyone&#8217;s friend John Gardner writes in his <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780679734031'><em>Art of Fiction</em></a>, &#8220;If we carefully inspect our experience as we read, we discover that the importance of physical detail is that it creates for us a kind of dream, a rich and vivid play in the mind.&#8221; As writers, we are trying to do so many things: amuse, inspire, impassion. But we have to see the small as well as the large. We build our castles in the air one brick at a time. Everything matters, from list slippers and the buzz of piano strings up to despair and delusion.</p> <p>Everything matters. How could I not love that?</p> Disruption in service 2009-10-31T13:54:57+00:00 2009-10-31T13:55:38+00:00 <p>I apologize for the delay mid-Terminator Week. I am at World Fantasy Convention and have not yet been able to wrest working wireless from my hotel (I type from my phone.) Rest assured two features are still planned for Terminator Week and sooner or later they will appear. I only wish I could send them back in time to prevent this pause!</p> Terminator Week on 2009-10-26T12:57:43+00:00 2009-10-26T12:58:18+00:00 <p>Gentle reader, twenty years ago today, the original <em><a href="" target="links">Terminator</a></em> came out. It launched a franchise, but we&#8217;re not here to talk about that. In the wake of three sequels and some sort of TV show, it&#8217;s easy for the first movie to be overlooked, and that&#8217;s a crying shame. It&#8217;s a compelling movie with good pacing and a pet iguana, and it pioneered James Cameron&#8217;s use of the special effect that would serve him so well in his early career: Michael Biehn.</p> <p>But seriously, I love this movie, with all its 1980s fustiness and even its jerky stop-motion ending. I have ever since the time Mom was out of town and Dad and I roamed the video store aisles, looking for something suspenseful or violent. This week I&#8217;ll be sharing some reasons why. Very little mention will be made of T2, and none of T3, T4 (which I haven&#8217;t seen) or any TV shows (sorry, Summer Glau, I haven&#8217;t seen those either.) If you are allergic to time travel and fighting implacable robotic overlords, you&#8217;ve been warned: come back next week, when it&#8217;s safe.</p> <p>Everyone else, come with me if you want to live.</p> Pie tracking enabled 2009-06-11T15:06:48+00:00 2009-06-11T17:27:00+00:00 <p>Yes, I will now be updating a list of all the pie types I&#8217;ve made, to be found here: <a href=""><strong>Pies I Have Made</strong></a>.</p> <p>Why am I doing this? Why do I assume you, gentle reader, care about pies? Well, firstly, it&#8217;s <span class="caps">PIE</span>, so why wouldn&#8217;t you? Secondly, as Spike would say, I hate to brag &#8212; who am I kidding, I love to brag! Alternatively, you can see this as a cry for help. I am obviously addicted to pie manufacture.</p> <p>My memory may have failed me here and there &#8212; all the more reason to keep careful track from now on. This list is roughly chronological. Hopefully I will update it within the next few days with June&#8217;s Homemade Pie of the Month!</p> <p>Some of you may be shocked, despite my tree nut allergies, to see that I&#8217;ve never made a pecan pie. I think. I remember having finished one my grandma started, but I&#8217;ve never soloed that pie flight. That will probably change this Thanksgiving.</p> Positive 2009-01-12T11:38:53+00:00 2009-01-12T11:39:58+00:00 <p><a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> whipped up the &#8216;Top Tags&#8217; <a href="" target="links">Thoth</a> plugin for me, to replace &#8216;Categories&#8217; in my sidebar. Yup, little to the right, little bit down&#8230;that&#8217;s it. Top Tags. I hastened to taggify many of my articles, so that the Top Tags would be fairly representative. I had a hard time figuring out, at first, which tags I would reuse a lot, but soon I discovered, poring over my archives, that many of my articles were, well, <span class="caps">WHINY</span>. Perhaps not so much whiny as <span class="caps">KVETCHY</span>. I started tagging these complaints &#8216;<a href="" target="links">grouse</a>&#8217;, and was horrified to discover that &#8216;grouse&#8217; quickly hit my Top Tags.</p> <p>I don&#8217;t think of Faerye Net as a negative place! I was mortified at the idea that instead of &#8216;anecdotes, opinions and occasional fiction&#8217;, I might be providing complaints, whinges and occasional fiction. I invented the antonymic tag &#8216;<a href="" target="links">huzzah</a>&#8217;, and hastened to apply it. It did not rise into the top tags. I tagged more of the archives. Nothing rose to topple &#8216;grouse&#8217; off the list. So I resolved to be more positive, to post fewer articles that required the description &#8216;grouse&#8217; in future.</p> <p>As of December 28, with <a href="" target="links">this post</a>, I geek over language more often than I complain. <a href="" target="links">Vocabulary</a> is in the top five. My tagging is by no means complete &#8211; lots of the archive languish unfolksonomified (and, since the switch to tags also switched us to Textile word-formatting markup, unchecked for formatting blips) and I still think I need to come up with a tag to distinguish posts about writing from posts which contain my writing (like <a href="" target="links">the Grey City chronicles</a>.) But at least I can rest secure knowing that I&#8217;ve made Faerye Net a less whingey place. One small step for a kvetch.</p> <p>P.S. As of this post, &#8216;huzzah&#8217; ties &#8216;grouse&#8217; at 30 posts. Ha!</p> Blogrolinage 2008-08-08T13:18:09+00:00 2008-08-08T13:18:09+00:00 <p>So I finally created a <a href="" target="links">blogroll</a>. I didn&#8217;t do this for a long time because when I first started blogging, it seemed more than likely that people who were reading my blog already knew each other&#8217;s blogs. But now, after my <span class="caps">MFA</span> program, I know a lot more bloggers, so I thought I&#8217;d link them here.</p> <p>This blogroll will eventually be linked in the sidebar under Oddments, as &#8220;Friends&#8221;. I have used real names for bloggers who do so, leaving off last names or using handles by the same criterion. If you&#8217;re a bloggin&#8217; friend of mine and you are not on the list, it may be because I thought you weren&#8217;t updating any more, or because I didn&#8217;t know if linking to you would break your desired level of anonymity. These are not all the blogs I read. That list would be long, fluctuate a great deal, and involve scads of people I don&#8217;t know, let alone call &#8216;friend&#8217;. There are a few blogs I read whose authors I&#8217;ve met only in passing, but don&#8217;t really know, so those aren&#8217;t listed.</p> Taggers may learn highly instructive things 2008-08-07T11:45:01+00:00 2008-08-07T11:45:01+00:00 <p>I love tags. They&#8217;re intuitive, individual, flexible and informative. They appeal to the part of my mind that <a href="" target="links">color-codes obsessively</a> and also to the slapdash right-now portion (or portions). So one of the chief advantages to <a href="" target="links">upgrading</a> to a newer <a href="" target="links">blog engine</a> was the tags, the glorious tags.</p> <p>I haven&#8217;t finished tagging the archives yet, but after Ryan wrote the Top Tags plugin, I was surprised to see certain trends emerging. For one, I hadn&#8217;t thought I blogged about &#8216;real life&#8217; <em>all</em> that much. For another, I was disturbed to see &#8216;grouse&#8217;, my chosen tag for negativity and ranting, in the top 5. Am I really that negative? I wondered, and considered how many fewer items could be tagged with &#8216;huzzah&#8217;, grouse&#8217;s opposite number.</p> <p>So I&#8217;ve been trying to be more positive. Oh yes, if something is a grouse (like yesterday&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Zyrtec-D</a> rant) I dutifully and truthfully tag it that way. But I&#8217;m trying not to write as many, to think of more blog items that celebrate or interest rather than excoriate. Tagging is self-revelatory. C&#8217;mon, be honest, you&#8217;ve looked at your tag cloud on some site or other. It&#8217;s interesting to see in aggregate the choices and distinctions we make in individual places, and to compare them to the aggregate choices of other users and the site as a whole. And the thing about any sort of self-revelation is that sometimes it shows you things you didn&#8217;t really want to see. It gives you a chance to change.</p> <p>So I&#8217;ve already managed to push grouse down to number five on the Top Five Tags list&#8230;let&#8217;s see if I can&#8217;t push it off altogether!</p> In keeping with long tradition... 2008-06-08T11:59:25+00:00 2008-06-08T11:59:25+00:00 <p><a href="">I missed Faerye Net&#8217;s birthday</a>. Five years of bloggery! I&#8217;ve been bloggin&#8217; for so long I have bloggin&#8217; calluses! Get off my lawn!</p>