Whenever I’ve won I stuck up all those winner’s badges everywhere, so I think it’s fair that this year I announce that I didn’t win.
The “why” is very simple: Too much life, too many kids, and too much course work.
I did learn that all that advice along the lines of “if you are a writer you have to write all the time, if you don’t you’re not a writer!” and “if you don’t feel like writing, do it anyway! If you’ve got other stuff to do, put it on hold and WRITE! If your kid is crying lock them in their bedroom and WRITE!” is just bullshit. You hate your writing, you hate yourself, you hate your life, and, in my case, the stress starts making your muscles do annoyingly painful things.
So, I decided to ditch NaNoWriMo and concentrate on my writing course, looking after my kids and finances, and dealing with some unpleasant shit that is just going to keep piling up. Some of that’s out of the way now, and I’ll be doing the final revision* of my book and publishing the damn thing.
*I hope it’s the final revision – I thought the revision I did three revisions ago would be the final one. We’ll see.
Miniature Symphonies is a book of song-inspired vignettes, ranging from flash fiction to short essays to emotional soliloquies to the occasional rant. The songs range from heavy metal to jazz to rock to rap, an eclectic mix that means you’re bound to recognise and enjoy at least some of the songs, and be left scratching your head over what some song you’ve never heard of must be like to inspire the piece that was written. The same treatment is applied to books about music and musicians, and films about music and musicians. According to the author: “This book is to offer up the idea of inspiration and how close writing, music and film can be.”
F.J. Gouldner has a distinctive voice, and a worldview that is chock full of freedom and individuality and anti-government libertarian anarchism. This comes through in his interpretations of the songs that inspire him, screeds of individualism and fighting-the-power. There’s also a healthy dose of a desire to protect close family and friends. Then there are pieces like Carny, which look at how a life can go very wrong. There is a (seemingly) autobiographical bit at the end which gets downright disturbing, and is a brilliant piece of writing if it’s not completely true.
The NY Times has an article on Disney Princesses, specifically the way they’re being transformed and repurposed, gender-bent and race-bent and everything else that crops up on tumblr and instagram. They’re also the subject of long dissertations about why a particular princess is actually awesome, what each princess signifies in terms of life lessons and admirable traits to emulate, and how they’re far more serious and important than a mere children’s film.
This sounds very familiar – it’s what nerds did with superheroes. ← This link explains it pretty thoroughly, but the overly simplified version is that nerds adultified superheroes, and made them part of mainstream culture via a two-pronged process of having the best talent create superhero stories and having a large demographic with excess cash like superheroes.
I think Disney princesses are at the stage we were in the 90s – maybe they’re a little bit more ahead, but a lot of what I see reminds me of the conversations I had with my friends while waiting for a bus. So in the coming decades we’re likely to see “Disney Princess” movies made for adults rather than children, with complex plots and ambiguous heroes, and amazing writing. They’ll be good enough that they’ll be mainstream, everyone will watch them because they’ll be the best movies with the highest production values, and even people who don’t like Disney movies – and who probably ridicule those who do – will start liking Disney Princess movies.
They’ll get remade. They’ll get rebooted. And they’ll be celebrated in a way that will annoy current fans.
I follow the trail of yellow flowers until it ends. There’s no-one here. It’s just a dim, grimy street corner, and the xoloitzcuintli that has guided me simply sniffs at a power pole and sits. (continue reading)