NaBloPoMo’09: Malapropism

Something that always bothered me…

When Juliet asks, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” she is not asking where he is – she is asking why is is a Montague.

She’s asking the rhetorical question, “Why does the man that I fell in love with have to be the son of my family’s sworn enemies?”

NaBloPoMo’09: Coming Out of "Retirement"?

Recently, I’ve wanted to turn my favorite X-Files fanfics from just stuff I read on my computer every six months or so into actual hardbound copies.  In addition to being great fan fiction, I think they’re just good fiction, and worth being able to keep on a bookshelf or a nightstand for quick reading on a rainy afternoon, or before bed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been into fan fiction – at least 6 years, since Buffy went off the air.  There have been no TV shows that I’ve been invested enough in to warrant reading a lot of fan fiction for – although, there was that whole Twilight thing back in February…

Also, I short of the fan fictions I turn to repeatedly, I have really stayed away from the fan fiction community as a whole largely because the sad fact is that a lot – and I mean a lot – of fan fiction writers are painfully bad. Embarrassingly bad. Which is not to say that they don’t have every right to be: it is the internet, the content is largely to the writer’s (rather than the reader’s) discretion, and the dissemination of information is usually quick.  But, so much of it is wank of such epic proportions I can’t be bothered.

What I usually find so abhorrent about fan fiction at large is the lack of research that authors do: the characterization is implausible (“that character would never say or do any of that!”), the spelling is egregious (I edited fanfic for a writer who could not spell “minute” to save her soul), and there appears to be little or no footwork done to create a plot that is educated as well as interesting.  I just don’t understand, now with the advent of Wikipedia, and Google ferchristssakes, how fan fiction authors can just do so poorly.

Perhaps I should not be so harsh of a judge: I don’t know how long the writers have been writing, and they could very well be cutting their teeth on this very story.  …In fairness.  Learning how to craft a character who has mostly been written can be hard: if the writer screws it up, it’s apparent.  Trying to write about subject matter in a show that is foreign to the writer is also hard: I am not a forensic scientist, I could not knowledgeably write CSI or Law & Order fan fiction.

But recently, I’ve been turning into a huge NCIS junkie.  I’ve got it bad, baby.  I’m getting motivated to write fan fiction again (ha! as if I had time for that! I crack myself up).

I think about my iconic fan fiction authors: they were about my age when they came into fame for their writing – they were writerly, they were educated, they were professionals.  And I just want to be that: to be notable in fan fiction communities for producing real quality work, for creating semi-canon fiction for a show that I love.  I’m just having such a hard time reconciling my fandom for the show, my feelings about the writing, my constraints for time, my value for the product.  I want, no matter what the outcome, to at least feel confident with the decision I make.

I’m “writing it out” because I genuinely don’t know what to do.

NaBloPoMo’09: Musty Book

So, as the start of the next phase in relocating my office to the basement, the plan is to remodel both the office side and the living side of the basement.  Part of this means that there needs to be paneling put up over the cinder-block-and-plaster walls.  This also means that the bookshelves in the living section need to be emptied, and pulled away from the walls.  So, my phase is that I started moving the books.

I cannot believe how many of the books survived the move from our house in the Heights to out here. But apparently, my father was insistent that all of the books get packed up.

I am so glad that he got a barn that he can tinker in: it keeps him out of Goodwill and from buying nickel- and dime-priced paperback books from the ’60s and bringing them home.  There have to be hundreds upon hundreds of paperback novels alone.  Do not let me forget to mention the hardbound books, either: we have a copy of The Hunter’s Encyclopedia from 1968.

My father does not hunt.  He has never hunted.  We have no need for this book. Or tattered copies of diet books and encyclopedias from the 60s-80s; or travel guides for the Soviet Union (oh yes, I did not mis-type).

What frustrates me about it is that it’s just so much stuff that we have to dispose of.  And I’m not really excited about giving it back to Goodwill; I don’t want to try and sell useless copies of Agatha Christie novels on the internet; and even though they are useless, it seems pretty abhorrent to use them as fuel for the firepit.

It was certainly a testimony to getting a Kindle, or thinking twice about buying another object that gets used and just sits.  This is a huge reason why I love the library: first of all, free; second, I can figure out if I really want a book before I buy it.

It also speaks volumes about how amazing the interenet is for free information.  I certainly believe that guide manuals and books are extremely important to have in a hard copy if necessary.  But I also believe that if you’re just a lay person trying to get a snippet of information, the internet is going to be your new best friend.  Hell, even Wikipedia is a good jumping-off point.

(Aside: does it make me sad about the internet over books? Yes and no.  Books are irreplaceable, but my father’s avid “collecting” of books is testimony to how useful the digital age is for information.)

I’m not looking forward to the next steps of this project, which includes picking out which books need to get pitched, trying to find a book-recycling program, and re-assembling the bookshelves.