breakinglight11: (Default)
[personal profile] breakinglight11
So this weekend I participated in Theatre@First's 24-hour play festival, where I wrote a script to be rehearsed by a director and actor team for a charity performance raising funds to donate to hurricane relief. I always wanted to try something like that, so I was delighted to be asked to participate!

Here is the script I wrote. I banged this out in a few hours the night before the festival, so it is... rough. I present it here in its original, unedited form. It's wordy, as my first drafts often are, and the ending is a little draggy. But I focused on making it funny, and that I think I managed. I was pretty happy with how it came out for something banged together in twenty-four hours, particularly with how the awesome actors managed to get off book between 8am and 8pm!

Love is Dead, or You Can't Spell Necromancer without Romance )

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:39 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Of all the new-to-me books by Stephen King that I’ve read in the last year, this and the middle Dark Tower books are the ones I’ve re-read the most. I’ve re-read Duma Key three times in the last two years, and I can tell it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to. Here’s the first page:

How to draw a picture


Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil ... hesitating ... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.


On the one hand, this is my favorite prose passage in the book. On the other hand, the entire book has that same atmosphere and themes: the magic of art, the bleakness of loss, the terror of opening a door into darkness, human empathy and connections, and, always, how making a mark on paper is both simple and difficult, the dividing line between nothing and everything.

Unusually for Stephen King, Duma Key is set in on the Florida coast – an incredibly vivid and atmospheric Florida, which becomes enough of a character in its own right to make the book a very satisfying sea-soaked, sunset-lit Gothic.

I am pleased to say that this is one of the least gross King books I’ve read, bar a rotting ghost or two. It’s also one of the scariest, in a very classic “terrify by keeping the scary stuff mostly off-page” manner. The Big Bad is never quite seen directly, and is one of King’s creepiest and most mythically archetypal figures.

It’s also one of King’s most heartbreaking books. Almost all the characters are really likable, and if not likable, than still very human. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon opens with, The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Duma Key is about the beauty and magic and redemption of the world, but also about the teeth.

It begins with a wealthy self-made man, Edgar Freemantle, getting into an absolutely horrific accident while visiting one of his job sites. He loses an arm and gets some brain damage; he’s barely out of the hospital before his marriage has ended, his life as he knew it has ended, and he’s on the brink of suicide.

After some talks with his psychiatrist, he ends up taking up art, which he’d enjoyed as a boy but never pursued, and moving to a cabin in the Florida Keys. There he meets a chatty guy, Wireman, who’s the caretaker for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s – both of whom have pasts which slowly, heartbreakingly unfold over the course of the book. Edgar finds that painting is his new passion and genuine talent… but his paintings are odd. Eerie. And they can change things…

The first half of the book follows Edgar as he recovers from his accidents, explores his new talent and gains critical and commercial success, and loses some old friends and gains some new ones. The emotional and physical recovery from the accident and its fallout (which doesn't mean he'll ever be the same as he was before) was incredibly well-done and vivid. I don't know if it was technically correct, but it felt very believable.

In classic Gothic fashion, there’s creepy stuff going on simultaneously, but it’s comparatively subtle. I found this part of the book hugely enjoyable even though tons of scenes are just Edgar painting or eating sandwiches and shooting the breeze with Wireman. On the one hand, it probably could have been shorter. On the other hand, I could have happily gone on reading just that part forever.

And then the creepy stuff gets less subtle. A lot less subtle.

This has an unusual story arc. I’m putting that and other huge spoilers behind a cut, but I’ll also mention that even for King, the book has some very tragic aspects— ones which he’s explored before, but there’s one I’ll rot13.com (feed into the site to reveal) because it’s a specific thing that people may want to avoid. Gur cebgntbavfg’f qnhtugre vf xvyyrq. Fur’f na nqhyg ohg n lbhat bar (n pbyyrtr fghqrag) naq irel yvxnoyr, naq vg’f gur ovttrfg bs frireny thg-chapurf va gur fgbel.

If that’s not a dealbreaker, I suggest not reading the rest of the spoilers because even though if I’d sat down and tried to figure out where the story was going, I probably could have, the experience of reading it feels unpredictable; you can guess the outlines but a lot of the details are unexpected.

Read more... )

Also, have some brighter things

Oct. 13th, 2017 03:43 pm
rachelmanija: (Firefly: Shiny Kaylee)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Femslash Exchange 2017 is open! The original fiction stories look especially tempting; also, there's Jane Eyre/Helen Burns. Off to read my gift story (resistance fighter/glamorous '40s singer) now!

Also, have two cats hugging:

Pull The Football - Save the World

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:57 am
rachelmanija: (I wrote my own deliverance)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.

How to save the world:

1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.

2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.

3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.

Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.

How do I contact my representatives?

1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.

2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.

I've contacted everyone. What now?

Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.

What do I say?

Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.

Democrats to contact:

Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.

Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.

Republicans to contact:

The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.

Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.

Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.

Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.

Sample Script

Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)

I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far! Please share the post before you go.
jimhines: (Default)
[personal profile] jimhines

I have a favor to ask of conventions: please design your badges so that names can be easily and clearly read.


I’ve never been good with names. It’s frustrating as hell, and it’s become a bigger problem as I travel to more conventions. I get introduced to so many people, and within 24 hours, a lot of those names escape my brain like Batman villains from Arkham Asylum.


Most of the time, it’s not that I forget the people — just the names. (Sorry, Darla!) Especially if it’s been a while (folks I see once a year at a given convention, for example) or the context is different. Even when my brain retains a tentative grasp on a name, I tend to not trust myself, and still try to check badges to make sure.


Compare these two badges. The one on the left is from Convergence. The one on the right I made up as an example, but it’s pretty close to some I’ve seen at various conventions.


Convergence Badge Fake Convention Badge


Convergence’s badge is relatively easy to read, with clear black text on white. Even my old eyes should be able to read that at a distance. Whereas the other example uses small type in a non-standard font, and is hard to distinguish from the background.


(This will also give me a better chance of spelling your name correctly if I’m signing a book!)


I know folks like cool artwork on the badges. I know a lot of people are better at remembering names than I am. But please take pity on those of us with older eyes and leaky brains.


Thank you,

Jim and the Society of People Who Suck at Remembering Names






Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Accomplishment chart, 9/29 – 10/5

Oct. 6th, 2017 07:34 pm
breakinglight11: (Default)
[personal profile] breakinglight11
Accomplishment chart, 9/29 – 10/5

Writing

- finished Gilded Cages, version 3
- 1 blog entry for Mrshawking.com
- scribbling for Mrs. Hawking part 6
- drafting for faction companion quest for Susurrus game
- 1 horde PC for Pub Crawl larp

Theater
- cast Lieutenant Governor Stanton in Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018
- finalized cast for Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018
- acquired 1 small set piece for Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018
- saw A Bright Room Called Day with Flat Earth Theatre

Larp/Gaming
- 1 writers’ meeting for Pub Crawl
- bid Silver Lines for Intercon R

Costuming
- had 1 costuming design meeting for Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018
- acquired costume pieces for Reginald and Brockton in Gilded Cages at Arisia 2018

Physical
- 3 two-mile runs
- 2 fighter abs routines

Media
- listened to episode 129 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Teaching
- taught 4 English Comp classes and 2 Writing and the Literary Arts classes
- graded 20 English Comp essays

Cooking
- made brown rice bowls with baked chicken thighs and steamed broccoli
- made cream of broccoli soup

Dear Yuletide Author

Oct. 6th, 2017 10:41 am
letterblade: (writer)
[personal profile] letterblade
 Will finish this when I get back from offline vacation this weekend. turned into when I get back from offline vacation and also recover from being in dysfunctional levels of pain for like three days straight, ugh. Hi, it's finally here!

Dear Yuletide Author,

Welcome, thank you, and happy holidays to come!

So I tend to use my Yuletide letters as a space to throw out every idea I’ve had for something I’d like to see in a fandom in hopes that one of them excites you too. Please don't be intimidated by the length or feel like you have to write one of said ideas. Write what moves ya. <333

Things I Like - Fic that fills in holes or expands upon details, brings characters together who never got to meet or interact much, develops things that were only subtext or potential in canon, or otherwise enriches canon. Fic that brings in little details of worldbuilding and character and doesn't feel generic. Fic that takes into account the full depth and complexity of characters without filing down their sharp bits. Bittersweetness, complicated emotions, little words and gestures that mean the world to those specific characters. Realistic trauma response and recovery. Alternate continuities. If it is in your wheelhouse, kink that feels visceral and real. (I love yuleporn! I do not require yuleporn. Any AO3 rating welcome.)

Things I Dislike - Alternate settings, especially A/B/O and high school/coffeeshop/similar modern AUs. Seme/uke/top/bottom conventions (and role essentialism in general really), and kink where people drop out of character to read a negotiation and consent checklist. Mpreg, guro (except in Umineko where that counts as canon-typical violence), and cross-generational incest (portrayed...positively...again this refers to Umineko.)

Horizon Zero Dawn )


Xenosaga )


Umineko no Naku Koro ni )

Hooray!

Oct. 5th, 2017 01:21 pm
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
[personal profile] andraste
After months of saving up for parts, I am typing this from my rebuilt desktop instead of my laptop!

Still don't know quite what went wrong with it - it's a bit Ship of Theseus in there now, with a new hard drive, power stupply, motherboard and CPU. (Plus new RAM, because the old RAM would of course not fit in the shiny new motherboard. I feel vaguely guilty about wasting good RAM, but what can you do?)

Sadly, it looks like whatever happened has killed the E: drive, which his where I keep vids in progress :(. Lost my in-progress remakes of Brothers in Arms and Bicycle Race and will probably have to start over, although I do plan to try a few things and maybe consult an actual professional. Also, I have yet to figure out how to plug in the optical drive, as the motherboard says it has six SATA ports but ... doesn't? So the floor is still covered in cables and screwdrivers and the computer case is still open, but basically everything works.

Mostly I am happy that I will once again be able to vid and play games made during the last decade. Moreover, the new parts are a considerable upgrade over the old ones. (Which is part of why I waited instead of buying straight replacements.) Also, there is something uniquely satisfying about using a computer that you put together and/or fixed yourself.

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Lily

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