juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
ALERT ALERT MAMAKITTY IS IN THE BATHROOM

Dee and I took Odi into St. Johns today, to stop by Starbucks and drop books by the library; it hovered and then dropped below freezing, and my fingers are still just cold enough that it's hard to type. Here at the house, the upstairs bathroom is toasty warm and Mama is surprisingly calm for a cat in a new situation; I lifted her onto Gillian's microfleece blanket and she kneeded it, pressed her cheek onto it, stretched out on it all comfortable and warm. We wanted to bring her this winter in part because Dee wanted to adopt her (of course) and in part to spare her another year of cold and rain, and while Gillian and financials set that back a bit this is all very right. We bring light into the winter so early, and then January and February stretch cold and dark before us—but in the midst of freezing temperatures, we brought a fluffy sweet kitty into the house.

When I sing aloud to Florence + the Machine, Odi (in his crate downstairs) hears me and whines.

I should charge my camera battery and then CAT PICTURES.

But yep. Mamakitty in the bathroom. (She'll be Dee's, not mine, but I'm giving her her own tag [rather than putting her on the pets: not mine tag] because she'll be an about-the-house cat and I imagine will show up in a number of posts and pictures.)
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
On account of how change is scary and thus LiveJournal's new update page rubs me the wrong way, I've made the deeply ironic and incomplete change over to Dreamwidth: My skeletal account is now set up, so you can find me as [personal profile] juushika on Dreamwidth; everything will be crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] juushika and LiveJournal will remain my central hub for social interaction (although replies to my posts are welcome anywhere). Basically, this means no change for anyone reading this now, but if you prefer one site to another feel free to follow/interact with me there; meanwhile, I get to use a better update page that's more likely to load; the end.

I put J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy on hold when it came out on account of it being Rowling, and four months later my name finally came up on the list; I'm 30 pages in and about to call myself done. I'm also (finally, [livejournal.com profile] phoenixfalls) reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Spell Sword.

Last night while reading the latter I told Devon that while I agree that there's a need for sexist fictional societies—so we can explore their flaws, and make parallels to the flaws in our society—it would be lovely if maybe once in some fantastical setting in a distant era sexism could perhaps just ... not be a thing. Bear and Monette's A Companion to Wolves and Tipper's Grass (which I read last month) both have innately sexist societies despite the fact that they're as disparate as ancient pseudo-Norse and future space colonization, and it's sexism with depth and commentary and purpose—but it was still my daily dose of sexism, always explored to about the same point: hey guys, sexism really sucks! this man here is realizing that; this woman here is struggle to overcome that. their small efforts make us feel better but honestly make few significant changes to their society or ours.

So The Casual Vacancy is the intentionally petty story of a whole bunch of petty white folk, and I know it digs into issues of sexism and rape and poverty (and drug use and hot button issue of your choosing and and and) while still wallowing in the pseudo-depth of the sufferings of a bunch of suburban white folk. The Spell Sword is about a bunch of attractive white folk in heterosexual romances, and while it at least digs into some cultural divides it's still hugely homogeneous. And both are another same old story that mentions that sexism is bad.

And it is!

And I know that.

I'm about to return The Casual Vacancy barely begun, but I'm actually really enjoying The Spell Sword; likewise, I loved A Companion to Wolves and Grass. It's a two-pronged thing, the difference: One, the genre books are also the story of something else: telepathic powers and/telepathic companion animals and/evil telephathic companion animals and: trying to save the world. They sell themselves first on a fascinating premise; the premise of Vacancy is a social upheaval in suburbia, which is not so fascinating. Two, the premise in each book interacts with the "sexism is bad" commentary; in genre books, the interaction is unique.

The Spell Sword: telepathy introduces an incredibly intimate aspect to certain interpersonal relationships, therefore crumbling the wall of every social boundary—between sexual and nonsexual relationships, between sexual orientations, between gender identities and roles, between individual identities. A Companion to Wolves: a bond to a female animal puts a man into a "female" sex (and therefore cultural) role, making him personally aware of many of the effects of sexism. Grass: humans are exploited, telepathically and interpersonally, according to their gender roles; controverting that exploitation requires recognizing the harm of and deviating from the limits of those gender roles.

None of those books (well, I can't speak yet to all of The Spell Sword) do a stellar example of exploring or resolving the issue of sexism; as mentioned, they all hit home that sexism is bad (no, really, is it? tell me more), but their solutions to the problem are limited and more feel-good than convincing, especially on the level of permanent social change. But each goes about it in a way that's both interesting and unique, because they tell a fantastical story and because what makes the story fantastic gives it unique insight into the great beast that is sexism. It doesn't just tell me that sexism is bad, but shows so in a way that white folk is suburbia can't: they can't have men assume the sexual role of a female wolf, or experience a telepathic intimacy that makes them question their understanding of sexual or gender identity. The fun of genre, of crazy and intriguing ideas, is neutral: neither better no worse than the mundanity of general literature. But that it brings something new to the table both makes me a more willing reader and allows me to explore something I couldn't otherwise, be it that premise or an angle in towards a message, a bit of social commentary, which is also in dead earnest and is applicable to our society.

So back to the library with ye, The Casual Vacancy; may the next 736 readers with holds have better luck with you than I.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I am currently at LAX, awaiting plane. I am mostly dead, which is better than all dead. The cruise was. I'll be home tonight.

Yay!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
This may come as a surprise, but I'm leaving for a week. The surprise may be that you missed my previous mention of this trip, or that I'm making any sort of hiatus announcement at all—usually I just disappear without warning.

For the next seven days I shall be on a freakishly large boat some miles off the nearest coast. We will not have internet access, because they overcharge about as much as you'd expect. I may not catch up on my flist when I get back; if that matters to you, feel free to leave important comments here or shoot me an email. I'll be back when I'm back—y'all take care 'til then.

We're not ready yet, and only have, well, just a few more hours before it's out of our hands and onto the plane, as it were. I am finally phasing from "lala I can't hear you" to "oh fuck, I have stuff to do," which is about time even if it's no fun. The cruise will be. Hopefully it will also be good. Crossed fingers from friends are welcome.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I'm spending this morning/early afternoon with my family. I came home for Sunday breakfast, and then my father and I went to go pick my sister up at the train station. She's coming down for a day and a half so that she can go to the U of O orientation, as she's transferrring there from U of W.

On the car ride back to the house:

Sister: What are we having for dinner?
Papa: What do you want?
Sister: Chicken.
Papa: What kind of chicken?
Sister: Cooked.

Black sheep as I am, I am most certainly a part of this family.

Back at Devon's house, we are currently without internet and will be so until Monday afternoon. I've been filling the free time with much reading. Meanwhile: Mark, I got the package, and will respond in all thanks when I've tested scents a bit ^_^; Bart, I'm so sorry I haven't written yet but I will soon; everyone else, I'm not ignoring you, just unable to read LJ or anything else for that matter.

Hoping all is well!

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