virginia poe, illuminated

February 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm (reviews, this and that, writing) (, , , )

My dear friend S.J. Chambers, independent Poe scholar and all-around-neat-person, whose name you should recognize from her flash fiction “How a Blog was Born,” the Honorable Mention in my Bloggiversary Contest, and, more importantly, from various sundry locations around the internet (check S.J.’s website for a full listing of her fiction, poetry, and non-fiction), has a work of fiction over at MungBeing Magazine!

Stories like S.J.’s “Of Parallel and Parcel” are always of interest to me as both a reader and a writer of historical fiction. My personal take on the genre is this: there are holes in history, gaps where the curious mind wonders why? Those, for me, are some the best places to begin a story, especially if said historical fiction veers into the realms of science fiction/fantasy. S.J.’s story plays it mostly straight, with subtle hints of the fantastic affecting the internal motivations of the main character, in a narrative that treats a figure often overlooked beyond the rather cursory dude, Poe totes married his cousin! one often gets in high school.

S.J.’s love for Poe and Poe-related matters comes through passionately in her writing, in both the framing of the piece and the actual content. It’s worth your time. Go check it out!

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a mashup i would watch

February 8, 2010 at 10:00 am (this and that) (, )

I know, I know, but I fucking love Gone with the Wind. I also love vampires, so maybe I just love glamorized, inherently exploitive relationships, especially when they’re costume dramas, OK?

Big ups to whoever made this.

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pink my vulva

January 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm (thinking, this and that) (, , , , )

I had a lot of stuff in the queue to blog about today, including, but not limited to: some musings brewing about the recent debate over the alleged (in some people’s minds) knife fight going on between genre writers/editors and literary fiction writers/editors; my utter failure to keep off the internet though I had very much intended to do so; my delight over my switch to Scrivener; the news that Merriam-Webster’s has been pulled from some crazy fucking county in CA because it contains the definition of oral sex; the vastly depressing depths ex-vegans will sink to in order to discredit current vegans because. . . OK, actually, I can’t figure out a reason for such behavior, because vegansim isn’t anything like the Quiverfull movement or something that stands to be “discredited” after “insiders” break out and resume their normal lives as. . . as, uh, I guess as meat eaters.

But! I must burn those bridges; I will crush the ideas, drive them before me, and hear the lamentations of their women, because there is something more important out there: someone on the internet tried out the product called, horrifyingly, My New Pink Button, the temporary genital dye that I first heard about over on the PPK, but sourced back to Jezebel. For those of you still woefully blissfully unaware of “My New Pink Button,” it is, according to the instructions that come with it, “an Adult Novelty Cosmetic product and its use is to promote beauty of a woman’s genital area by restoring natural color.” Before hearing about this I always thought the color a woman’s genital area was by nature was its natural color, but as always, silly me.

Says SJ of “I, Asshole” (not S.J. Chambers, who I have mentioned on this blog in slightly different contexts than genital dye):

An overpowering sweet smell rose out of the vial as I sprinkled the powder. The ingredients say it is made from about every fruit that has been trendy for the past ten years, and includes cinnamon. There is also an ominous warning in the instructions that “for some, a slight ‘irritating’ feeling may occur upon application and last for about a minute.” An irritating feeling? Like the cosmetics industry telling me I should be self-conscious about yet another body part? Oh, wait, a different kind of irritating.

I heartily recommend reading about her experience trying a product which fills a insecurity-based market most women likely have never even considered because it is insane. I think (because I am a nerd) I appreciate most her posting the instructions so everyone can note the poor spelling and questionable grammar in them. See the instructions here. My personal favorite “bit” (heh) is right there in the introductory paragraph:

Occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood. A common concern amongst women about their Labia Minora (inside vaginal lips) and genital area, is the color loss and color change due to age, health and many other factors. When the question is put to the female population about what color is most appealing to the eye, for their Labia Minora, the answer is “Pink”.

What? I would love to get my red pen out and deal with this mess, but I’ll settle for publicly pondering why ‘labia’ is capitalized in every instance, what the sentence “Occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood” means (Since childhood what? Teasing on the playground about labia color? Since childhood viewing of pornography featuring waxed ladies with pink pussies? SINCE WHAT?!?), and why the author in question decided to treat commas as if they were punctuation’s equivalent of salt, to be sprinkled at random over a text. But let’s get to the true reason why this product was developed– it’s right there in the instructions; in fact, it follows the quoted paragraph above. While I will not deny that perhaps “occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her Labia since childhood” (Who’s to say? I’m sure someone is worried about that), the makers of My New Pink Button have got ladies in the corner– even if you’re not yet “self-conscious of your Labia since childhood” you damn well should be, because:

[Pink] is also the majority response amongst males for what is appealing to the eye of their sexual partner.

So, ignoring that the grammar of sentence could be implying both that men want or maybe think women want their sexual partners to have conjunctivitis (just touch your eyes after being on a bus, people, you don’t need to shell out thirty dollars for that!), let’s talk about what the author is trying to tell ladies: that “males” want pink pussy lips (research source: the titles of some porn flicks at the local video store, maybe), so women better pony up for some of that there twat dye.

There’s a site called Topless Robot that I visit occasionally. The only reason I mention it here is because one of the tags the author uses is “things that make me drink.” Frankly, the fact that My New Pink Button exists should be enough to make me drink, but I’m too jaded. The atrocious grammar in the instructions for My New Pink Button, however. . . well, let’s just say it’s been a while since I considered going on a bender before lunchtime.

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back to it

January 14, 2010 at 12:01 am (reading, this and that, writing) ()

Huzzah! The contest is now over, the entries published, and I can now get back to my regularly scheduled nothing-much around here.

Things have been good around my neck of the woods, but as usual, once I felt like “yeah! I’m truckin with the novel!” I got seriously, unhappily stuck. Thems the breaks. I really want to get back on track, it sucks. Oh well. Something will trigger me sooner or later!

I did however bang out a short story earlier this week. I’m not sure if I like it. It is kind of gross and kind of weird and kind of about morally bankrupt people and. . . well, that’s not usually my thing. I can’t decide if I’m going to submit it to the venue I wrote it specifically for. We’ll see.

I’m thinking about applying to go to Clarion.

I’ve been making kimchi at home. Somewhere along the line I stopped doing homemaker-ish things and I kind of miss it. I’m trying to do more stuff like that, and kimchi is fun and delicious. Mine is too salty, I need to do something about that in the future. The past two days I’ve also been making awesome smellywater to humidify my home, as my husband’s yoga guru (I’m really not sure what the heck she is, he goes to her for yoga and massage and also apparently for little bottles of nose-oil and recipes for a turmeric-based sinus tea that has now stained my pots, my cutting board, and my mugs) suggested some of his sinus troubles might be related to a dry home. The smellywater (it’s not really potpourri since it’s not dry, I guess?) is just water in my crockpot, into which I throw lemon peels, cloves, rose petals, rosemary, and some essential oils, mostly rosemary and eucalyptus. So my house now smells like that, when it doesn’t smell like catfood (though yesterday Jesse came over when the cat-food smell was strong and asked me what the “tasty smell” was. This is not slander, this happened).

Other than that, meh. Stuck on the novel! It’s making me mad.

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contest update

January 4, 2010 at 2:57 pm (reading, this and that, writing) (, , )

Wowza: my friends, blog-readers, and friends/blog-readers can fucking write. Not the most erudite way of putting that, but it is a sentiment as blunt as it is true.

I had nine entries for the contest, eight of which were considered, and after much deliberation we have a winner and a runner-up! I will reiterate this with the official post/publication of the winners (and after I send out all the congratulations/sincerely difficult rejections), but the gap between first and second place was so tiny as to be statistically negligent– I had to read both several times to determine whose story reigned supreme. It was also pretty tough to pull those two out of the pack as they were all very, very good. I wish I could publish them all but seriously, all the authors involved should consider submitting their work to flash-fiction markets because they were quality. I actually hesitate to publish the winners on my blog because I have no idea if that would make them “reprints” if the authors in question wanted to do anything with them later. . . but I am selfish and the stories are awesome so up they go once everything is said and done.

Thanks to everyone who participated! Expect some great fiction on this blog soon.

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traveling, news, contest stuff, good books, etc.

December 29, 2009 at 11:01 am (this and that) (, , , , , )

I am currently in the throes of the annual trans-Florida cross-state family-visit whirlwind holiday extravaganza, and thus kind of didn’t do a Bloggiversary post as I had intended. Then again I didn’t do anything for my 100th post either, so whatever. Regardless! The contest is long closed, and the 8 official entries and one completely, utterly disqualified entry (from Jesse, who else?) are archived for reading when I get back to my home base in Boulder on the 31st. I should be announcing soon after that, such is the beauty of flash fiction.

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oh my.

December 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm (this and that) (, , )

So, Christmas. I will do a writeup tomorrow, and discuss more thoroughly the awesome (corset, wii, books, omg) but I just needed to post something immediately. For my Christmas present my homeslice Jesse commissioned an artist who goes by Moody Ferret to do what she does, which is to say draw up lush pictures of an anthropomorphic stoat named Neil, and I have to say. . .  you know what? There is nothing I can say that will do justice to this gift.

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last reminder

December 23, 2009 at 1:30 pm (this and that, writing) (, , )

The bloggiversary giveaway extravaganza is shutting down the day after Christmas, so be sure to get your entries in to paperfruitcontest at gmail dot com before midnight Mountain Time on Dec. 26th! Remember, the prizes are a signed edition of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart and a two-volume edition of the early work of Philip K Dick. Do you want to miss out? No. Also if you sent in an entry and did not get back an awesome “thank you for submitting” email, your entry has not been received.

I am busy and caffeinated and thus am signing off, likely until after Christmas.

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down to the wire, and newspile

December 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm (editing, this and that, writing) (, )

Counting today, there are only ten days left for the entire internet to submit to the Paper Fruit Bloggiversary Contest! So far I’ve got five very fine submissions and counting, so the competition is getting stiff. Remember to email your submission to paperfruitcontest at gmail dot com before December 26th! I am going to visit my family in Florida on the 27th so while flying cross-country and then driving cross-state I will be reading the submissions and will announce winners around the New Year after I return.

In other news, here is a list of search-terms WordPress is telling me that people have used to find my blog:

animals looking cute

“gpa for my master’s

penis toes (this is most certainly my personal favorite)

atop write

finnegans wake tallahassee

vinegar spray bottle

russian colonel hat

Also of note: I received my very first personal rejection letter today! While being rejected nearly always sucks, it was cool that the editor of the magazine chose to comment on my story. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the criticism– take it as something I should “fix,” or just chalk it up to personal preference– but still!

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apparently GQ wrote me a birthday present. . .

December 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm (thinking, this and that) (, , )

. . . and I didn’t even know. On October 27th, GQ’s Andrew Corsell published this article entitled “The Bitch is Back,” about Ayn Rand and a segment of her devoted followers (the author calls them ARAs, or Ayn Rand Assholes, a pretty fair assessment). While the author’s relentless usage of the male pronoun gave me an attack of the feminist vapors, the article as a whole is amazing and worth reading. A sample, since I just yesterday noticed the “quote” function in WordPress:

GODDAMN, the experience of being 19 years old and reading Ayn Rand! The crystal-shivering-at-the-breaking-pitch intensity of it! Not just for that 19-year-old, but for everybody unfortunate enough to be caught in his psychic blast radius. Is “experience” even the right word for The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged? Ayn Rand’s idolization of Mickey Spillane and cigarettes and capitalism—an experience? Her tentacular contempt for Shakespeare and Beethoven and Karl Marx and facial hair and government and “subnormal” children and the poor and the Baby Jesus and the U.N. and homosexuals and “simpering” social workers and French Impressionism and a thousand other things the flesh is heir to: experience?

Lord. It’s only funny because it’s true.

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