I need to get back working on The Orphan Queen. I go through fallow periods with it, but even when I'm not actively writing, I am usually thinking about it. I have a very clear sense of so much of what is to come, and I think one of the reasons I take breaks now and then is because I know how long it will take me to write all I have planned. I think I end up feeling discouraged not at the amount of work, but that I can't just download the novel out of my brain. I always worry that I'm going to lose something in the process - which is silly, because nine times out of ten I end up writing something I didn't expect, or dramatizing something in a different way than planned, and it's far better than what I had tumbling about in my head prior.
Day 5 - Least Favorite Episode of Favorite Show
Battlestar Galactica - 3x14 - "The Woman King"
I know it had something to do with some crazy doctor where the refugees were living on Galactica, and that the whole episode was rewritten at the last minute because they ended up cutting a long-running subplot, and that Helo is basically The Best and Greatest Character of Our Times throughout, and by the time the episode was over I hated him. And that's pretty much all I remember! But I know it was awful.
Day 5 - A dancing gif
It's hard for me to definitively state what my all-time favorite show is. It differs depending on what I'm watching at any particular moment; when was the last time I did a rewatch; how active I am in a particular fandom; etc. So I have instead simply chosen my all-time favorite episode of television ever, which happens to be from one of my favorite shows.
The X-Files - 5x05 - "The Post-Modern Prometheus"
Day 4 - An angry gif
Cool! Read the meme wrong! So yeah, this show aired last season, whatever. Maybe I'll do another picspam for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is my favorite new show from this season, at some other point.
But today we're talking about Hannibal! Not just my favorite new show, but as far as I'm concerned, the best show on TV right now. If you're at all familiar with the Hannibal Lecter mythos, you know that a story about him is going to be dark, depraved and gruesome. So it may come as a surprise to hear that Hannibal is arguably the most beautiful show at least currently airing, perhaps ever.
That's quite a claim, I know. I have never seen such detail in production design, from the regular sets to location shots; the costuming is absurdly gorgeous; don't even get me started on the cinematography! I have watched many a feature film with not even close to this amount of attention paid to shot selection, framing, color grading, lighting, etc. For instance, Hannibal is often backlit, which causes a sort of angelic glow around him (also known as Rembrandt lighting). It softens the edges of his silhouette, giving him a slightly-otherworldly appearance. But he's often backlit without any kind of key light or fill light. His facial features end up obscured, his expression ambiguous, his eyes dark and unable to be read. The effect is to dehumanize him, but in both positive and negative ways - he is beautiful, and he is terrible. Subconsciously, the viewer is both attracted and repelled. Is there any better way to depict a character like Hannibal Lecter?
I could go on and on about how absolutely perfect this show is. Actually, I will go on a little bit more. Many wonderful, complex female characters - who are all different from one another. I think a lot of shows have heard about having "strong female characters," so they write a couple iterations of the same 2D female character who is played by a physical waif but is shown beating people up. Not so on Hannibal. Bryan Fuller even took a male character from the books and made her a woman to make the gender balance more even. (Speaking of Bryan Fuller's awesomeness: he has vowed to never have a rape storyline. Ever.) It's also a very smart show. They will cut from A to D or sometimes even, like, F, and trust the audience to figure out the steps in between; after years and years of police procedurals, we know how these stories work. So Hannibal cuts out all that stuff and concentrates on everything else: what kind of toll does investigating these kinds of crimes take on people? In the very first episode, Will Graham must make a snap judgment in an incredibly difficult and tense situation. He deals with that decision and its after-effects for the entire rest of the season. It's not just glossed over, and it's certainly not glamorized. As over-the-top as some of the murders and staging can be, there's a huge amount of attention paid to the psychology of murder. Which makes sense, considering the title character...
As for Dr. Lector, what I found perhaps most astonishing is how well Hannibal was able to take a character who was so well-entrenched in the public consciousness, to the point that he wasn't even really scary anymore (who among us hasn't made the fava beans and chianti joke?), and make him so completely brand-new. And yet still the Hannibal Lecter we all have come to know so well. It's a testament not just to the writing, but most especially to Mads Mikkelsen, who is able to do so much just by the tiniest quirk of the corner of his mouth, just a slight tilt to his head, just a knowing look in the background of a shot as other characters speak. He is, quite simply, a revelation.
I am going to put my picspam behind a cut, however, because I know Hannibal isn't for everyone. It is an extremely dark and violent show. I've selected a few compositions that I find incredibly beautiful, but they are disturbing, and I don't want to upset anyone who doesn't care for that sort of thing.
Day 3 - An unamused gif
Today we watched a documentary about the Oscars, which was pretty enjoyable, some Nigella, and then the first episode of Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. I vaguely remember watching it as a very wee child, and basically only remember how much I wanted Catherine and Vincent to kiss, so it was pretty fun to revisit that. Tomorrow I plan to get more writing done - I did a smidgen today - and maybe try to catch up a little on my backlog of TV.
The Americans! It's only got one season under its belt, but unlike a lot of first seasons, this was a show that knew what it was right out of the gate. Two undercover Russian agents in Washington D.C. in the early 80s. The Cold War, espionage, cons, costumes. Fake mustaches. And then there's like all this deep stuff about how it's like a ~cold war in their marriage. Perms. A really kicking soundtrack. These people are really attractive, like for real. And it just kept getting better and better, until the season finale, which was legit great television. I am super-excited to see it come back, so now's the perfect time to do a quick 13-episode binge and get caught up - and help keep this awesome show on the air!
Day 2 - A sad gif
This is a tough one, because there are so many shows I have loved and lost due to fickle cancellation, but I am going to go with my dear, departed Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. If you never watched it, you're missing out on one of the most philosophical, meditative, yet action-packed and amazing SF shows to air in the last decade. It picks up from the Terminator mythos following Judgment Day, but then goes on its own unique way, really exploring the nature of what it means to be human, what it means to evolve, and what it means to be loyal. Wonderful acting from a fantastic cast, beautifully shot, and featuring the music of Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary.
Day 1 - A happy gif
( January Writing Progress )
( January New Media )
Finally, I snagged this WIP meme from hearts_blood. Post the first sentence (or several) from every WIP you're currently working on, even if it's very short. Then invite people to ask questions about your WIPs. With any luck, you'll get talking about writing, and the motivation to take that WIP one step closer to completion will appear as if by magic!
( WIP Meme )
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate, bitches. I mean, I love egg nog, but it is intense, and I will just sip on a teeny tiny glass forever. Hot chocolate is perfect.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa only brings the biggest and most expensive present, one for each person, and it only appears Christmas morning. He puts them unwrapped on the couch. Santa don't have time to be wrapping presents! LBR.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored! Colored colored colored! I especially love that the great big single colored lights for on your house have come back; for awhile you could only buy the tiny lights.
( The rest under the cut. )
I don't really remember many picture books. I started off with Berenstain Bears and He-Man/She-Ra books, but beyond that, I don't really remember. (I actually still own all those books, and had them in my bookcase along with all my regular books.) Some of my favorite kids and YA books: Invitation to the Game, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Singularity, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and of course old stand-bys like the Anne of Green Gables books, Little Women, etc. The ones that I linked to are all books I've continued to reread over the years as an adult, and they're all great - I totally recommend them.
20. Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
I'm not at all a fan of the love triangle. AT ALL. It is incredibly difficult to make work, it tends to make the central character, the one torn between two others, into some kind of irresistible Mary Sue (because that character is usually a woman), it overwhelms the plot (or becomes the plot), and it just generally bores me. I hated it in The Hunger Games, it drives me to distraction in the Sookie Stackhouse books (especially when it's not a love triangle but it's instead a love rectangle or pentagon), and I haven't read Twilight so I probably can't complain about it (and wouldn't enjoy the books otherwise, I'm sure), but hey, why not. I'm sure there are books out there with interesting stories about someone caught between two lovers or something, but for the most part? Eh.
21. A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
I just now read Jane Eyre for the first time. I won't say I didn't think I wouldn't like it, but I expected to just read it, and have my "classic I've never read before" book out of the way for this year. And I LOVED IIIIIIIIIIITTTT. So, so good. Even though I knew the basic plot ahead of time, I still found myself reading late into the night so I could see what happened next. And I was just incredibly impressed with the character of Jane, who became a confident, intelligent, completely independent woman who knew her own heart and mind and refused to let anyone, not even the wealthy Mr. Rochester, change that. (If you want to talk about things that are depressing, compare Jane Eyre to Bella Swan. Yeah.) I just finished watching the 2006 BBC miniseries (which was perfect and wonderful and Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens I LOVED THEM YESSSS), will watch the 2011 film this weekend, have the 90s film with Ciaran Hinds (mmmmmmmm) to watch after that, etc. I'm sort of consumed by it atm.
16. Adaptation: What book would you most like to see made into a film? Do you like to read the book first or see the film? Any books you have read after seeing the film version?
I'm torn about wanting the Mars Trilogy turned into movies, and not wanting them to be, because I want to make them myself. But I know that's never going to happen. I'm just afraid that whatever is done with them will never match what I have in my head. Besides those books, I'd love to see Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell on the big screen. I think it would also work as a miniseries. Generally, if the movie's about to come out, I'll watch the movie first. If it's going to be awhile, I might read the book. It depends.
LOTS of books I've read after watching the movie, or the TV show. Most recently, the Game of Thrones series. (So. Good.)
17. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Oh, plenty. As far as "the hardest book to follow," I'd say City of God. I had to rely heavily on internet summaries and the like. It was painful. I kept trying to find the "right" time to read, where my brain would be sharp and I could pay attention. I never found that time. It was one of those books where I would read a paragraph and then realize I had absolutely no idea what I'd just read.
18. Your favourite book series & your favourite book out of that series
I've already mentioned several times my favorite series (Maaaaaars), so to talk about something different: I love the Uplift series by David Brin. It's set in the future, after we've met with all the other alien races in the galaxy. We find out that we're basically the only species to achieve sentience on our own; everyone else is "uplifted," or given help by another species (usually by tinkering with their DNA). The only reason we're not wiped out is because by the time first contact happens, we've uplifted two species ourselves, chimps and dolphins. My favorite book from that series is The Uplift War, the third in the first trilogy of books.
I do! I generally have at least one book I'm reading at any given time that's a reread. Sometime it's a comfort thing, sometimes it's nice to have a book I can pull out of my purse and just open anywhere if I need to randomly have something to do for a few minutes, sometimes a book is so awesome I need to reread it the same way I'd watch an episode of TV or a movie again. Besides my favorite books and authors that I've previously mentioned, I've reread David Brin's Uplift series several times.
14. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I was quite taken with The Monstrumologist. Very scary, very well-written, intensely dark.
15. Do you recommend books to other people? If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?
I...don't. I find that no one ever actually reads books I recommend? So I sorta gave up on that. Every now and then (like, really every now and then), I'll convince someone to try a book I like, but it's so rare that I don't usually bother. I would definitely try to make everyone I know at least read the first 100 pages of Red Mars. Give it a shot!
I'd have to sit down and count, but off the top of my head I would guess Stephen King. Mostly because they're good rereads, and with few exceptions I like them all.
11. Do you own multiple copies of any book? What are they? Why do you have multiple copies?
I do! I have a couple copies of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Mars trilogy, the Hyperion Cantos, and quite a few others. What generally happens is that I'll buy a book at a thrift store or Half-Price Books or the like, because I can't remember the last time I paid full price for a new book, and then later on will find the book in better quality, or hardcover instead of paperback, etc. At some point I'll be able to put all my books into bookcases and will probably get rid of the redundancies, but right now everything's in boxes for the most part and I don't worry about it too much.
12. Book borrowing – do you use the library? Do you prefer to try before you buy? What about lending your books to friends? Are you a good borrower, do you remember to return books?
Do I use the library? Oh, Lord, do I use the library. If I actually bought the amount of media I consume through the library - even at a way discounted price - I'd spend an absolute ton of money. I get books as well as movies and TV, and sometimes music, too. I've bought books from authors I like, or that I've heard good things about, before having read them, but never ever full price. Generally, if it's not less than a few dollars, I don't bother with it.
I was better at remembering to return my books on time when I still had to pay fines. :/
I don't generally lend books out? I just tell people to read books, but assume they can go to a library themselves. I have known some people who don't ever use the library, who only read books they buy at, like, actual bookstores, and I must admit I find this puzzling.
I'm sure I'm not alone with this one, but Gilbert Blythe. Growing up, I very much wanted to be Anne Shirley, and find a Gilbert of my own.
08. The last book you acquired, and how (begged, bought, borrowed?)
I had to think about this one for awhile. Nearly all the books I read come from the library, and that's not really "acquiring" them, I don't think. I was trying to remember the last book I actually bought, and whether it was from the library booksale cart or from a thrift store, when I remembered that the last book I acquired was actually given to me. nhpw gave me a copy of the novelization of In the Beginning, a Babylon 5 movie, which I'm quite excited about! I'm not sure when I'm going to get around to reading it, as should be evident from the next question.
09. Your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next.
I rarely read a single book at a time. I generally have a book in each location where I tend to read. So I have a work book (two, actually), a kitchen table book, a purse book, a bed book, and a bathroom book (exactly - we all do it!). I'm currently reading:
Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans, by Malachi Martin
Marvel 1602, by Neil Gaiman
The Story of Civilization Volume I: Our Oriental Heritage, by Will Durant
Insomnia, by Stephen King
The Valley of Fear, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin
ETA: Also, The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather. I'm currently reading so many books I can't keep them straight.
I consider a book one I'm currently reading if I've opened it up in the last two weeks. There are other books I'm not finished with lying around here and there, but I haven't looked at them in awhile. (I will never finish my sister's college Art History textbook, for example. I read a chapter approximately every eight months.)
You can see my last reads in my last new media post, though I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle since then. Up next are the aforementioned In the Beginning, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore, The Demonologist and The Devil in Connecticut by Gerald Brittle, The Uninvited by Steven LaChance, and the next A Song of Fire and Ice book. (A Feast of Crows?) I also have a couple series I'm working on but I keep getting distracted by other books: the Master and Commander series, a hard SF series I need to finish up, the Chelsea Quinn Yarbro vampire books; I need to catch up on the True Blood series (I think I'm three behind now that the new one's come out), and I have some books I've bought that I'll eventually read (Neal Stephenson's Anathem for one.) And of course my Latin books. Yeah...
I actually still have a lot of my books from childhood, and back when I had an actual bookcase and not just a lot of boxes here and there, I had them out with all my other books. He-Man and Duck Tales were the big two. If you want to talk about actual, like, books I've purchased myself, then probably the Anne of Green Gables series.
05. A book you acquired in some interesting way.
I have about a dozen books on ancient Egypt. A co-worker of my Dad's had them, and was either weeding his book collection or was no longer into Egypt, and my dad mentioned that I love Egypt, so he gave them to me. The coolest one is really, really old. It's like, turn of the 20th century or so - before the discovery of Tutankhamen. There's just a brief paragraph in his entry, and a lot of question marks - it's pretty cool.
06. A book with a story for you, that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time).
The first thing that popped into my head was Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos, which I read the summer I lived by myself in Austin. I was just taking a History of Italian Art class that ended after one month (we had it every day like in high school - it was kinda neat), and I interned at Austin City Limits twice a week. It was so hot I rarely left my apartment, and I ended up getting kind of depressed because I just sat in the same two rooms nearly every day. I did read this series for the first time that summer, though. There's a monster in the first two books called the Shrike, and that thing CREEPED ME OUT. There were one or two nights where I woke up and was sure someone (or something?) was in my apartment, as one does.
• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can get to know you better.
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions.
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions.
beyondthepen gave me:
1. What's the story behind your user name?
I'm afraid this isn't a very interesting story. When we first got the internet in my house when I was 13, we didn't know that everyone could have their own email account. So we just had the one for a few months until the light bulbs went off. My dad came up with it - his middle name is Wayne, and as a kid one of his mom's nicknames for him had been Who-Who. (I have no idea.) So the account was waynewho. I would distinguish emails sent from me after my signature with some description of how I felt. So there'd be Happy!WayneWho, or Excited!WayneWho, or IDon'tWantToDoHomework!WayneWho. One day I wrote KungFu!WayneWho. And...I don't know, it stuck for some reason. And when I made my first email account for myself, that's what I went with, and it's been my online user name for just about everything ever since.
2. What is your all-time favorite TV series?
I always want to knee-jerk this with The X-Files, which was the most important show of my childhood and adolescence bar none. But, to be totally honest, it's been ten years at least since I've been super-fannish about the show, since I've done a lot of rewatching, etc. I still love it, and it's still really important, but I can't really say it's my all-time favorite anymore. I'll have to go with Battlestar Galactica. A flawed show, yes, but when it was good it was better than anything else on TV. And I'm also one of the few weirdos who loved how it ended. I still pop in an episode on nights when I need to just love something.
3. What "awkward childhood/teenage" faze do you regret the most? Or, it not regret, laugh about the most?
In elementary school, I wasn't particularly popular but didn't know it. In sixth grade, I realized that my friends were only my friends during softball practice or on the weekends, never at school; I became super self-conscious about it. That isn't the faze I regret - it's the next two years of middle school, when I really changed who I was in an attempt to fit in more. I lied about my test scores, blew off homework, talked about things I had no interest in - for those two years it was like I was playing a part when I went to school, playing some better, cooler version of myself. Thankfully I never actually did anything dumb, and I got over it by the time I went to high school.
4. Would you rather live in a urban or rural setting? Why?
Definitely rural, though not so rural I don't have access to, like, stores and movie theaters. I'd like to be a little more rural than I am now. I just like open spaces, and not being crowded, and not having lights and noise at night; I like nature. I spent four years living in LA and I hated it, and the lack of anything that grew on its own was one big reason why.
5. Name 3 things that are within arm's reach of you right now.
I'm at work, so this will be super-boring. A packet of instant oatmeal, a Tron bookmark, and a tape dispenser.
My dad read to me every night, and my earliest memory of that was when we lived in what we call "the old house." The attic had been finished into two bedrooms, and mine had a window that overlooked the street. Every night, my dad would read a book to me, and then we'd sit in front of the window and play an absolutely stellar and very complicated game called "I think I see a car coming." (It was a tremendous day when I figured out how my dad always won - the bastard knew to look for the headlights!)
What books did my dad read me? He-Man books, AWWWW YEAHHHH. That's how I learned to read. He would read them and read them, and then start reading them with the wrong words, which I found endlessly entertaining. I would correct him, and he'd tell me I was wrong, that He-Man was in fact fighting the Poo-Poo Monsters, and I would have to point out the actual word and what it said.
03. Your favourite book aged 9 ½, or 13 ¾, whichever you remember best.
I can't remember with anything approaching that level of specificity, but one of my favorite books in elementary school was My Teacher is an Alien, by Bruce Coville; as far as middle school goes, that's when I started reading adult fiction, so I'd say probably The Stand by Stephen King, or maybe The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. (LOL, one of my mom's favorite stories was the day my 6th grade language arts teacher called her to let her know that I was reading Interview With a Vampire and maybe she and my dad would want to have a talk with me about what was acceptable reading material, and my mom told her that my dad had given me that book to read. She said there was literally twenty solid seconds of silence from the teacher before she meekly hung up.)
01. A fictional character you identify with and why.
I was in high school the first time I read the Mars Trilogy, and the series impacted me in a lot of different ways - it made me think about history as something living, as culture and government and society as something we create while we live in it, about conservation and environmentalism and how those aren't always the same thing. But one thing that immediately struck me the most, and has stayed with me the most over the years, is my huge and undying love for Sax Russell. He's my favorite fictional character from any medium - books, TV, film - for a variety of reasons. One big thing that I identify with him is the way he is a very logical, pragmatic person who is also very emotional, even if no one else realizes it. I'd spent quite a few years by that point trying to make myself more popular, believing that I had to be Miss Bubbles and Butterflies and tamp down those parts of myself that were too cold or rational or unfeeling if people were going to like me. I can't honestly say that I had some kind of eureka! moment after reading the books that made me decide to be myself, but this was definitely one of the steps along the way.
( New May Media )
1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload) 5(ish) songs you love that begin with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.
tictactardis gave me the letter W, so here you go:
1. The Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"
2. Bush - "Watching the Cables Sleep"
3. John Williams - "Welcome to Jurassic Park"
4. Janelle Monáe - "Wondaland"
5. Gogol Bordello - "Wonderlust King"
( New March Media )
Now for fun meme time!
The Five Questions Meme
How this meme works:
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed. Feel free to ask me questions back, if you like. Also, if you'd rather just answer questions in the comments and not repost, that's fine by me.
( My questions and answers. )