eat it up with a spoon (TWIR)

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penelope bunce by siminiblocker on tumblr

This week I finished Carry On, may have Thoughts someday. I say that a lot. I’ll try to follow up this time. Maybe I’ll set it up like a FAQ, since a lot of my thoughts are centered around questions/expectations.

A friend passed me a copy of City of Blades last week and I started it and oh my gosh it’s so good and so fascinating and mysterious and Mulaghesh is great. I want to dig into this with a spoon and eat it up, or maybe dissect it and study its parts, or maybe both.

Short things

Okay, not much in the way of short things this week. I did read a bunch of things, just not much of note, I guess? And stuff I immediately lost track of.

Who Pays Writers? | Dissent Magazine – Money and the arts, and the NEA, and grants, and how things were getting better for a shining moment mid-century, and then plummeted again. Because capitalism and our weird hatred for the arts. Writers need money and material security in order to be daring in their art — most writers, at least. I’m sure there are some willing to risk starvation and poverty in order to be experimental and radical, but mostly people want to having a roof and steady food, so they write what is safe to sell, what is a known quantity, what’s been done before. Giving security to those whose voices are different allows them to speak up. It gives them room to breathe while they create, rather than burning out and disappearing. At least, that’s what I think. Anyway. Art: it requires support.

TWIR: Tomatoes are delicious

I feel like I haven’t read much lately. I’ve been working on a project that I’m terribly excited about, so I let it eat up some time that would have otherwise been spent reading.

Also, I spent some time this week watching movies, which is not typical of me. And listening to music, which is. I had to do a lot of both of those, though. Because David Bowie means a lot to me. I wish I could put it into words, but I haven’t found a way. Others have said a lot, and it’s very good, and true, about discovering a place to be an outsider, and about making art, making it forcefully and daringly, being willing to change, and being kind, especially after you’ve found success. I’m sad and also not. I don’t know. I’m left with a lot of wandering thoughts.

Anyway, reading.

I started to read Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand early this week, because I was looking for books about schools of magic that weren’t vaguely medieval, but every character is so unbearable, so insufferably posed and styled and stiff, that I don’t think I can do it. I had such strange hopes for this book, but there’s only so many times I can plod through a description of another mid-nineties college-goth outfit. I’ll give it one more try before the library loan expires.

For some reason I dropped Dune for a while after I got back to Boston. I’m back into it. It’s still good, you guys.

Short things

On Jerks at the Casual Optimist, an excerpt from the book Measure Yourself Against the Earth. My favorite bit: “Regret may be rare and hard to come by, but the general sense that jerkiness is associated with perceived and maybe temporary superiority, rather than with entrenched entitlement, offers at least the chance of asking oneself: Hey, was I being a jerk?”

Spanish Lessons: On Language Loss and Recovery at The Toast. I have a lot of feelings about this. About not knowing the language of your grandparents, and feeling not [heritage] enough. The effects of assimilation echo far down the line. Down here on my end, you try to make your own way, to muddle your way back to that heritage, if you can. But you can’t. There’s a feeling of things lost, things missing, things not had because of whatever circumstances. I’m actually jealous of the writer of that article, because of how much more she had than me. She had Puerto Rico. She’s more real than I am. As though my life is fake, somehow, because it was so dominated by whiteness. All my life, every time there’s a demographic question about race and ethnicity, I pause. Every time, I pause, and I ask myself “Is it lying to mark Hispanic?”

Then I mark it.

The Tomato Thief by Ursula Vernon (Apex) – This is set in the same world as The Jackalope Wives, and I’m so glad. I’m also so glad for this worshipful tone about tomatoes. Just this week I was talking with some friends about how much I love tomatoes, and how that’s the thing I miss about Texas. A good, juicy tomato, sliced onto bread and devoured on a too-warm night. Eating cherry tomatoes straight off the vine. Anyway, The Tomato Thief is a bit of a longer story at 14,000 words, but it’s delicious, with magic and earth and desert.