So I am on a train going to my parents for Christmas.
I have massive, incapacitating menstrual cramps at the moment. I’m not proud. Or tired, in the words of the great Arlo Guthrie.
So I took a seat in the row closest to the bathroom, because I literally could not stand to wait for the toilet.
Another younger woman came to wait for the bathroom, and I politely told her that I was waiting.
The man sitting next to me immediately started telling me that if I wanted to use the bathroom, I couldn’t sit down, I had to stand up and wait for it.
(It’s worth noting that he was not only white but very Anglo-white, and based on the phone conversations I overheard, was also straight and kind of a sexist asshole to his teenaged daughter.)
The other woman waiting for the bathroom, on the other hand, got it, without me having to explain myself, and told me as soon as the bathroom was vacated.
The man was still being an asshole on my way in.
Okay, I think, okay, maybe he just doesn’t get it. I explain when I sit down that I’m very swollen and experiencing a lot of inflammation and simply can’t stand up to wait for the bathroom.
So he decided to CONTINUE BITCHING ME OUT and tells me that I have no right to expect people to let me take the bathroom ahead of them.
I told him I didn’t expect them to, but I told the woman ahead. I didn’t demand she let me in ahead, she was very nice to do that, but I really couldn’t stand on line.
He told me that if I couldn’t stand on live, I should wear a sign alerting everyone to my condition.
I told him that was ridiculous and asked him if he expected disabled people to wear signs too.
Cue lecture about how I was an entitled bitch and yes anyone who expects special treatment should wear a sign.
So I sort of told him I was sorry he was suffering from straight white man syndrome.
That was when he called me a hateful feminist.
I am awaiting my prize.
I told him to stop being an asshole and he just started shouting MERRY CHRISTMAS at me repeatedly like it was a swear word.
(Meanwhile, the other poor woman waiting was primarily a French speaker. Guess which one of us was able to communicate almost fluently with her and which one kept demanding she speak English? It's kind of funny because he just got up and she keeps glaring down the car at him.)
You get the picture.
( cut for photos )
( totally cut for length )
OH ALSO. Who is using tumblr these days? I've been using it more lately. I'm teaberryblue over there.
Still alive, still ficcing. Still think rainy_day is the pretty much greatest writing partner ever, kind of in love with my commenters, have gotten into the most amazing email conversation with greenjudy, who has amazing smart things to say about writing and makes me sound so much smarter than I am.
If you like the Avengers at all, go read:
Dear Captain America
Spending most of my social time hanging out with justatailor and nervousystem.
Cut all my hair off. It's pretty excellent. I did this thing where I shaved my head, drunk, at 12:30 in the morning, alone, without a mirror, and it is oddly one of the best haircuts ever.
Still playing ukulele, getting better at it, music is beautiful, might actually play a set in January. If I do, I'll let you know.
This is a thing that happened:
This is the dream I had last night:
I dreamed I was reading a book about three young wizards at a magic school. Very unlike Harry Potter: it was an ordinary American high school, and every year, the kids organized a Ditch Day that coincided with a specific celestial event. This year, the lunar what's its thing was on Valentine's day. Now, the girl of his trio had a crush on one of the boys. It wasn't a love triangle-- I think the third of the trio was gay and had a boyfriend who was not part of this trio. So she sort of did that teenaged thing of telling the boys "I don't have anything to do for Ditch Day." The object of her affection said he'd come up with a plan for something to do. Meanwhile, her other group of friends were organizing a huge school wide magical prank and asked her to take part, but she turned them down as she wanted to spend time with this boy. That morning, the boy in question sends the other two an email: "I've planned a bike tour of local magical landmarks! Here's the map; I'm starting now! Hope you enjoy it!"
Clearly not understanding that she actually wanted to spend time with him.
Incensed, she gets on her bike and rides off the map, cutting him off on his route. She blows up at him and says something to the effect of "if I wanted to spend my Valentine's Day alone, I would have--"
When the prank is set off and they are rained on by a deluge of tiny rubber ducks.
I did my usual thing of making all the Thanksgiving food ever. That'll happen tomorrow.
So I fell into the fic hole. rainy_day is away right now, so there's less to do, so I actually realized maybe I should tell people where I am.
I am currently at Comic-Con. We wrote a chapter of our fic about Captain America being totally overwhelmed at Comic-Con.
Meanwhile, thirteen-year-old Tony Stark accidentally sent himself back in time.
This is so much fun. And then I look at the word counts. Holy geez.
rainy_day and I also started another fic, which I'm pleased by, because Dear Captain America is something that requires a lot of research and thinking even when it's not mired in heavy plot, and this is light and fun and letting me draw cartoons occasionally. Plus, it takes place a block from my office, so I can just refer to locations in a neighborhood I know very well. 1796 Broadway. This is MORE Avengers epistolary fiction, but rainy_day is writing for Tony Stark, and I'm writing for Steve Rogers.
They're both getting a really good reception, or it seems like it at least, since this isn't something I've really done before. 1796 Broadway (and yes, that's a not to 84 Charing Cross Road) seems to be getting an even better reception than DCA is getting, which is pretty neat.
So, that's a thing that is fun. rainy_day is awesome.
I also spent the weekend with justatailor in Connecticut at my parents'. We went to the Big E and ate all the things, and then pretty much vegged out on Sunday and ate more of the things. I made maple walnut gelato. It was a good, fun weekend and I was really happy that justatailor got to see the barn!
Gonna go to whiskey tonight, and then tomorrow we get the first episode of Agents of SHIELD, and I am probably going to go watch it on a big screen! So excitement.
<3 <3 <3
It's kind of wild, because I've never done anything like this before, it's up to almost 30k words, and it just keeps writing itself. Details I planted earlier in the story are coming back to haunt the characters as if I planned it, and I totally didn't. I know what happens for the next couple years' worth of letters, at least. It's grown into a fanfic not just about Tony Stark, but also about Polybius (which, if you don't know about it, is one of the greatest hoaxes of all time), and the two somehow mesh perfectly. Alcoholism and fuel cell technology have crossover threads that work perfectly in ways that I couldn't have planned out better if I'd tried.
I don't write like this, usually. This feels a lot more like roleplay than like writing, which is perhaps why I'm being so prolific with it. Usually, I have to plan everything painstakingly, and it still doesn't make a load of sense. This just works, so neatly, and I don't know how that happened. I keep wanting to write so I can find out what happens next.
rainy_day and I are planning on doing a series of letters together, and I'm super excited about that.
Another thing that's happened: I know I've told many of you about my incredibly atypical dreamlife. I have always had dreams that come together like fully-formed narrative stories, that I am rarely a participant in. Over the last year or so, I really haven't had many of those dreams. I've had very normal, mundane, often nonsensical dreams that I think are the kind of dreams most people usually have.
Monday night, I had a dream that was like my old dreams. It took place in a Medievalish fantasy setting, and opened with a lady and her two servants in a coach, returning to her birthplace. She was in disguise, because her own family had been ousted and their lands taken over by a new lord.
The lord welcomed her as a guest, not aware that she was the heir to the family he'd overthrown, and his favorite dog immediately took to her with a lot of affection. The one person who recognized her was his personal guard, who had been her childhood friend. He confronted her in secret and asked why she'd returned, and she told him that it was to find some scrolls that contained part of a magic spell she needed to complete her training as a sorcerer.
The lord, meanwhile, tells her that she's welcome at his house, and may sleep in any bed but the one set aside for the king's visits. He says that there is only one member of his household who has the privilege of sleeping in that bed.
She sneaks into the libraries to search for the scroll she needs, and thinks she's been caught, but her guard friend reveals himself and holds out the scroll she's been looking for-- and confesses that he's been in love with her since childhood. She's not sure what to do with that information. He shrugs it off, and tells her to think about it, and that if his affections are returned, she can find him that night, guarding the most important member of the house.
She goes to dinner with the lord, who feeds his favorite dog under the table throughout the meal. While they are talking, thinks fondly on her memories of the guard. She's not entirely sure what she wants from him, but she decides to find him anyway. When he's not at the door to the lord's bedchamber, she goes on a hunt, until she realizes that the most important member of the house must be the same person permitted to sleep in the room reserved for the king. So, she seeks out that room. It's unguarded, from the outside. She pushes the door open and finds the guard dozing on the floor...and the lord's favorite dog in the bed.
And that is when I woke up! Seriously. On that punchline!
Dear Captain America.
I started writing it this week. rainy_day has been writing a story that I've been discussing with her since before she started it, in April, and I really liked the premise of it, because she's actually trying to write Captain America in the present day as someone with 1940s sensibilities rather than just a lot of anachronistic jokes or points where he doesn't understand pop culture, which seems like a tall order but also a rather good commentary.
She hit a wall in her story and we were discussing where to go with it, and as a sort of morale booster thing, I decided to write a letter from Tony Stark to Steve Rogers for her.
And I kind of got hooked. I started writing letters from Tony Stark to a fictional writer-of-Captain-America (since the Captain America comic exists in Marvel canon, in one of those wonderful metaliterary twists that I love), and it's chock full or nerdery about comic history and comic fan mail, but I'm also trying to write in character development and plot and I just don't know what I got myself into.
Plus, the comments people are leaving on it are just amazing.
Part of me is torn because I feel like if I'm going to write something, I should write something commercially viable, but I also love the idea of playing with characters who are cultural icons because there's something intensely meaningful about it. I wrote a couple blog comments this week about why it's important to demand change from big publishers like DC and Marvel, because they have ownership of beloved icons and have the power to use those icons in important stories. This is in the wake of DC canceling a story where Batwoman would marry her longtime girlfriend. Ironically, DC didn't cancel the story because they were concerned about the lesbian angle, but because they thought the characters getting married would make them seem "old." This is in line with them retconning a ton of hetero marriages, as well, so I'm willing to believe that, but it doesn't take away my disappointment.
So I've been doing that. I also need to say that I'm completely floored by the response I've gotten. I've been posting fics on fanfic archives for years, and the most I've ever gotten is about fifteen comments on a single Harry Potter fic. This one already has over 2000 hits, forty-odd comments, and all of them are pretty much unequivocal praise. Some of them are really long and well-considered and talking about what I'm doing with a lot more thought than I was putting into the fic at first. I'm extremely touched that people are taking the time and are feeling this strongly about something I had just started noodling around with for kicks, and it sort of makes me feel like I need to do better.
I've also been playing more music, of course.
I also played this song for rainy_day, since she said she'd been listening to it on repeat while working on her fix:
And here's a song I wrote in 2000, about falling out of love:
FIFTEEN. It was the first song I wrote that I was really proud of. And I never had a way to play it. And now I can play it. Or will be able to with practice.
Songs I wrote that I can play now:
The Sea Song
Grand Central Circus
I Love You
Ones I haven't recorded yet, but know the chords:
4 & 20
Ones I am close to having the chords for:
Don't Be Cruel (Yes, it's a response to the Elvis Presley song of the same name)
That's ten songs. Ten songs I've written over a twenty year period that I couldn't play before now.
Ones I want to work on:
Perfect Like The Sun
So anyway, here's a link to the very very very old archive of song lyrics I wrote a long time ago:
I'm a little...hesitant to show them around. A lot of them are bad, angsty things I wrote in my college days. But if any of you particularly like any of the lyrics, I will try to learn music for them.
Oh my god I am so in love with this thing.
I haven't been on a computer in four days and I'm tripping out a little. There has been so much that's happened in the past couple of weeks-- my family reunion, Sara's and Steven's wedding, Max's return (I AM SO HAPPY), Bianca's birthday, lots of awesome friend time with awesome friends, lots of ukulele playing, moving, the Other Max's goodbye party, REBECCA MOVING HERE, KATE MOVING AWAY (I AM SO SAD), eating so much food, saying goodbye to my apartment...things I want to record but I'm just not sure when I'll have time.
Anyway, apologies if I missed anything significant in the past weeks or days; if there's something you think I should know about, let me know.
I'm pretty much exhausted and sore and not all here, trying to catch up for work. Getting a little zoned out looking at a screen. Wheeee.
In the fourth grade, you could elect to take a stringed instrument: bass, cello, viola, or violin. I took cello because I was told it was the closest to guitar. I enjoyed playing the cello, but I wasn't particularly good at it.
I remember my mother saying though that the wonderful thing about cello was that it always sounded beautiful even when I wasn't good at it.
In the fifth grade, I wanted to play saxophone. Oddly enough, this was the year before The Simpsons debuted and JUST before Bill Clinton decided to play the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show. The saxophone was about to gain notoriety, but I had no way of knowing that. I was one of five kids, and the only girl, who wanted to play saxophone.
I loved saxophone. I practiced all the time, and while I don't think I was ever stunning at it, I was pretty good.
I was good enough that, at the end of the year, when the seventh grade oboe players were graduating and there was no one else who wanted to play it, the band leader asked me to switch to oboe, because he was convinced I could learn it faster than the boys.
I really didn't want to, but I did.
I had a love-hate relationship with the oboe. It had been my favorite instrument when I was a kid, because of the duck in Peter & the Wolf, but it wasn't the instrument I wanted to play. It had a beautiful tone. I loved the delicacy it took to play it.
But, in all of this, I am starting to realize that I was never really taught music theory-- or at least, was not taught it in a way I could understand it. I was taught notes: how to read them, what the fingerings were, but not so much how to organize music in my head, not the mathematical part of it that makes music so ordered even when it seems chaotic.
When I was twelve, I picked up a metal fife, and started teaching myself to play that, too. Then I graduated to a wooden one.
At seventeen, I started teaching myself the harmonica. I never quite got the hang of playing specific music on it, but I was great at improvising on it.
We had a piano in our house. I never took lessons. But I would sit down and painstakingly plunk out notes to tunes. I could write music, and wrote quite a lot of music, but I didn't have the skill to perform it. And notation on a staff was always incredibly difficult for me, because dots on lines, when you're dyslexic, could be anything. I wrote my music out by the letter, my musical notation was a list of letters on a piece of paper, with lines underneath the notes that were meant to be held longer. The more lines, the longer you held it. It made sense to me.
I desperately, desperately wanted to be able to play music, but I just never felt like I was good enough. And not just oboe or another wind instrument: I wanted to be able to accompany myself. But I really believed it was something beyond my ability. Something I would never completely understand.
Over the past year, I've had several friends encourage me to try to find other ways to make music. On the computer. By using a voice-to-midi program. I toyed with this stuff a lot but didn't get super far with it.
Then, catfish23 put the idea of getting a ukulele into my head. She tried to get me one on Craigslist. That didn't pan out, and I thought, ah, well, I probably wouldn't bother with it, anyway.
About a month ago, I saw my friend Ellia's band play. Ellia plays the ukulele.
And I watched her play, and something just clicked. Three days later, I bought my ukulele.
Okay, I know, I know, I am talking about my ukulele about as much as most people talk about their children. But it's like I finally found the right instrument. It just felt...okay. Good. I picked it up and could play things. And understood, suddenly, the relationships between all the different chords, and the strings, and the frets.
I love this thing so much. And it's renewed my hope that I can keep learning all kinds of new things, even things I never expected I would be any good at.
I guess what I am trying to say is, keep looking for your right instrument. You might not have found it yet.
Meanwhile, I'm going to go play another song I wrote.