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Seven Things from whymzycal [Meme]

So it's been a bit more than a month since whymzycal assigned me these seven things! Life has been rather complicated during that time, to say the least.

1. Grammar
I sometimes think that I could be an obnoxious bore about grammar, except that I usually hate laying down the law and so I spend a lot of time biting my tongue about grammar instead. Part of the issue is that to me, grammar is a vital part of communication, and communication is what I am about, basically. Breakdowns in communication give me trauma and heartburn, and when I'm really communicating with someone, I'm really happy. Grammar is one of the most important mechanisms for communicating with words - especially in writing - and deserves respect for that reason. I think that part of the reason that I like writing for fandom_grammar is that I'm not actually telling any particular person to do anything, yet I'm furthering the cause of grammar. Or so I tell myself, anyway.

2. The Old Kingdom Trilogy
This series by Garth Nix is one of the best things to come out of YA fantasy since I've been an adult (so that's for the past 30 years). Sabriel, protagonist of the first volume and a major supporting character for the rest of the series, is a kickass young woman who is also extremely well-educated and brainy. I love the fact that her femininity is never a liability. Lirael, who takes the lead in the latter two books, is much less self-confident, but again, her issues have nothing to do with the fact that she's female. Nix has a deadpan sense of humor that mainly comes through in his dialog for two of the series' other most memorable characters, Mogget (who looks like a little white cat: don't be fooled) and the Disreputable Dog. I really wish the author would write something else that's up to the standards of this series: I've been sorely disappointed by his other books.

3. The one children's/YA book everyone should read
Oh, whymzy, don't do this to me! How can I come up with only one, and who am I to tell anyone that she or he must do anything!? Having said that, I think more young readers should be given James Thurber's The Thirteen Clocks, which has been recently reissued (with a foreword by Neil Gaiman). Many not-so-young readers would enjoy it too. (Here's another review.)

4. Comfort food on a winter's night
No contest: home-made bread fresh out of the oven, with butter (which I don't eat very often) and maybe some honey. Other good winter things are pot roast, home-made matzoh ball or minestrone soup, apple crisp, cup custard, and gingerbread (the soft cake type, not the cookie/biscuit).

5. Writing fic
Writing fic is mostly like the things I used to imagine and keep to myself because I was embarrassed to say anything about them (especially the Boys Kissing stuff), but now I have friends with whom to share these things. And more and more authors are coming right out and saying that they really don't mind at all, so it's a nice situation anyway you look at it. In times past, before TV and radio and movies and sound recordings on various media, people used to entertain each other by telling stories. Sometimes they would create their own characters, but often they would use figures from history or mythology or religious canon. Nowadays, not everyone has the same background in those areas, so we write about the characters we do share. In the past, someone might have painted her friend a picture or played her a tune; now, she might write her friend some fanfiction. The sharing counts as much as the creative process does.

6. Your favorite fandom
I remain loyal to Saiyuki, despite the fact that things have been rather drifting apart in the fandom, mostly because of the hiatus in the series. And really, the tragic illness of mangaka Kazuya Minekura, which caused the delay, is rather symbolic of this entire series: pain, a story with amazing depth, humor in the face of disaster, scars, and the will to press onward. I have met so lovely people through this fandom, and the shared world of the series has been a wonderful place for me through some very troubled times. I'm hoping things will get a second wind with the long-awaited publication of the next chapter of Saiyuki Reload Blast later this month ... although the lack of an English language publisher remains troubling.

7. The thing you're most looking forward to this year
Arrrgh, I will have to give a pretty vague and frivolous answer to this. Plans are really up in the air, partially because our college-age daughter has not yet decided what she's doing for the summer. I'm hoping that we are able to make our usual trip to Cape Cod, and that it's less like last year (which was flawed with a number of unhappy life events) and more like it has been in previous years. And maybe the Mr. and I will go to Worldcon in Chicago, partially just as an excuse to take a trip: we're talking about staying for the rest of the week after the con and just doing tourist things. I do like traveling with my guy.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2012 02:24 am (UTC)
ee, I adore the 13 Clocks! Also his other books for children (the White Deer, the wonderful O), which have that similar magic around every sentence. Such a disappointment to grow up and realize that most of Thurber's oevre was unreadably curdled. But those children's books are just small bites of magic.

I have been in a Saiyuki mood recently, and am really excited for more Reload Blast soon.
Mar. 15th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
PS about grammar: I used to think I had excellent grammar, and then I went and married a non-native English speaker, who made me realize how very, very much I didn't know. It's humbling.

I hope complicated does not mean bad, but it almost certainly does mean exhausting, and I hope you have more of a chance to breathe soon.
Mar. 16th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)

A number of our Saiyuki fic authors have a very good grasp of grammar, whether they are aware of it or not (and that includes you, ma'am). I think that the issue is - as it was with me when I became a trainee copy editor straight out of college - that people are doing this more or less instinctively, on the basis of a good ear and solid pattern-matching skills. However, they can't actually explain the rules for what it is that they're doing: they just know that this way sounds right, but that way sounds wrong.

You're right that learning another language can make you much more conscious of how languages work, and why things are right (or wrong).

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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