Category Archives: This Is A Rant

Posts wherein I rant about things, generally random topics, that have nothing to do with anything apart from the fact that they ANGER ME.

Why Can’t Boys Wear Dresses? A Feminist Rant

Dear readers, I have a confession to make – I am a feminist.  I get deeply upset by inequality, but just as much for the constriction of choices of men as for women.

Yesterday I saw a news article trending on my Facebook newsfeed, exclaiming that a young celebrity male has been photographed wearing – wait for it – a DRESS!  Gasp!  Shock!  I should never read comments on online media, it’s not good for my blood pressure, but I did and they were just as horrible as I could have predicted.  Thankfully since then there have been more messages of support, but it’s telling that the first reaction to this “news” (I don’t actually qualify this story as newsworthy) was a wave of homophobic ignorance.

It’s insane that in a time where a woman or girl can wear whatever she wants, be it dresses or trousers, or a princess costume or a pirate outfit, a man or a boy is still constrained by such attitudes.  A young woman is encouraged to enter male-dominated fields like construction, but a young man is still too-often ridiculed for entering female-dominated fields like nursing.

As a feminist I’d like to think of myself as more enlightened than this – and yet recently, when out shopping with my almost-18-month-old son and my mother-in-law, I found my views momentarily challenged.

In one lovely little shop my son became enamoured of a pink music box with spinning fairies.  He was obsessed in that delightfully exhausting toddler fashion, being over-enthusiastic in his playing with it and I realised that I should probably buy it for him a) to pay for it in case he was wrecking it, and b) because he was so enthralled by it.  While considering this, for one moment, I thought something along the lines of “Hm, but is it appropriate?”  The fact that I caught myself asking this was a wake-up call for me, and made me doubly determined that this lovely pink confection was coming home with us.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Pink, spinning fun for the whole family.

Why wouldn’t it be appropriate for a toddler to enjoy something that makes music, and spins around, and causes him to laugh hysterically?  Why would it be more appropriate if it were simply in a different colour, or with spinning pirates or something instead of fairies?  It doesn’t change who he is, at the basic level of chromosomes, because he will always be a male despite the colours of his playthings, or clothing.  It won’t change his sexual orientation.  It won’t in any way affect him, apart from setting a precedent that there are indeed no gender boundaries to constrain him when he’s old enough to make his own choices.

So my son has a pink spinning fairy music box, so what?  So a male celebrity sometimes likes to wear dresses, so what?

We still have a long way to go.

Je suis Charlie

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This blog very rarely delves into important current events, which is perhaps a failing of the author.  This is meant to be a blog about a writer, writing, but a woman who writes is still a woman living in the world.

I have to say something about free speech, because I feel that it’s such an important part of our culture and our lives that it bears defending at times like these, when it seems that we should be thinking about how to prevent a future tragedy like at Charlie Hebdo.  We might be considering that perhaps we should be treading carefully in fear of offence, in case that offence happens to have extremist repercussions.

Never.

Stephane Charbonnier himself, late editor of Charlie Hebdo and a victim of the shooting, had said in an interview, “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”  He had received death threats in the past, but he refused to bow to critics. (BBC News)  This is the only mentality to have in defiance of such tragic and abhorrent events.

Free speech should never be curtailed out of fear.  We are privileged to live in a country where we are given this right, so we mustn’t surrender it willingly.  Offence may be given, but there is no right of a person to live a life free from offence.  Offence is by nature subjective, and it is impossible (even if desirable) to eliminate anything which could possibly give offence.

A world without offence is a world with nothing in it at all.

My 100th Post: The Best Of Blog Tour

This is my 100th post, and so I have decided to try and get 100 views to my blog today!  I have been failing to have much traffic lately, barely a handful of viewers per post, which means that even my dear friends and family may not be reading anymore.  It’s ok, I still love you – but I want you back!

The goal of 100 views is perhaps a too high, since so far the only post of mine which has gotten close to that was my Eurovision post on Conchita Wurst, and that got 90 views that day.  And that was only because of random people who had searched for the busty Polish girls and instead got my post.  Sorry, fellas.

So I’m going to have to try really hard to get people interested in the nonsense I spew forth from my keyboard.  Let’s just consider this post a Best Of Blog tour, in the hopes that at least some of what I write is appealing to the general public.

Every post you read gets me one step closer to 100!  So click away!!  Read, enjoy, or roll your eyes and look at pictures of hilarious animals instead.  Just do it after you click.

So perhaps you’re reading this because you like writing, and that is what this blog is supposed to be about.  Maybe you want to read topical posts like Worldbuilding with my discussion of Ursula Le Guin’s awesomeness or The Mirror of Fantastic Vanity in which I call out Neil Gaiman.

Or maybe you, like myself, struggle with finger-stalling brain-demons and would appreciate Mental Bran Flakes.

Perhaps, instead, you’re only here because I have Facebook press-ganged you into it, or a friend of a friend has posted this link.  In that case, maybe you’d rather read something random and potentially humourous like The Spider and the Flute: a sleep-deprivation-inspired tale of arachnid tragedy about which critics, by which I mean the only person who commented (looking at you, md456), have proclaimed: “I have not felt this sympathetic for a spider since Charlotte’s Web.” Or maybe Hobbies, or “the tale of the boob coaster” where I had an R-rated yarn-craft disaster.

Are you one of my falconry friends?  Or have a passing interest in things raptorial?  How about A Falconry Rant where I bitch about the ignorant masses at my old job as a display falconer, The Austringer’s Lament where I wax lyrically about the hunt, or There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question – No Wait, There is where I give up on people in general as having common sense at all.

Maybe you’ve read all these before because you’re my mother and read everything I ever post (I love you!), or maybe you’ve never read any of them and have a new-found appreciation or concern for my mental state.  Whatever the case, thank you for taking the time to read what I write.

This will also be a test of how far this platform reaches.  I have decided that the avenue of self-publishing is the only way for a new writer to break into the industry currently, as much as I long to one day hold one of my books in solid printed paper.  So without the weight of a traditional publisher behind me I will be needing to do all my own marketing and advertising, and that’s the real reason I created this blog.  An author needs to be in charge of her own online presence and so this kind of self-advertisement, however uncomfortable it makes me, is part of the game.

So read, my pretties, read!

Hipster Collie Approves

Gender and Eurovision: Why We Need More Bearded Ladies

I’ve been quiet the past couple of days because I’ve been busy working on the groundwork of my novel.  And also, watching Eurovision.

Last night was the usual pageantry, the usual exhibition of randomness (why was there a man in a hamster wheel for Ukraine’s entry?  why the trapeze for Azerbaijan?  because EUROVISION, that’s why!) and that’s why we love it.  Lyrics ranged from the trite love song (one in fact called “The Cliched Love Song” to the zany, “I want a mustache” (France’s Twin Twin rocked that particular number) and the downright bizarre:

“Looking for a candidate you have an option only one choice. Sipping my drinks looking around, there is so much beauty, oh yes we can. But yet, self-confidence is a fragile concept, that often fades away in the night. And there it comes, that unwanted guest, there is no place for you tonight “

Thanks for that, Switzerland!  The addition of a whistling refrain really added to it.

So when it came to light that one of the entries was Austria’s popular “bearded lady,” Conchita Wurst, no one really batted an eyelid.  Hey, it’s Eurovision, anything goes!  We’ve had dancing grannies and all sorts.

Quite frankly, a more believable and attractive lady than me, on most mornings.

Quite frankly, a more believable and attractive lady than me, on most mornings.

Although in her native Austria, more than 31,000 people liked an “Anti-Wurst” Facebook page following the decision to select her. In October, the Ministry of Information in Belarus received a petition calling on BTRC, Belarus’ state broadcaster, to edit Wurst’s performance out of its Eurovision broadcast. The petition claimed that the performance would turn Eurovision “into a hotbed of sodomy”. In December, a similar petition surfaced in Russia. [Wikipedia]

But we’re the UK, we’re progressive and accepting of nontraditional gender roles.

And then she won.

Suddenly my Facebook news feed blew up.  People couldn’t just sit on the fence about this one anymore, they had to have an opinion.  I’m sorry to say that I saw more than a few comments on friend’s status updates where people (not friends of mine, I’m happy to say, or they wouldn’t have stayed friends for long) have proclaimed distaste for the “he-she” or that “pick a gender, you can’t be both!”  Thankfully the opinions of my friends themselves were more progressive, and among them some true supporters of Conchita Wurst and her message.

So what’s gotten people so hot under the collar?

With the rise in drag-queen normality, with such shows as RuPaul’s Drag Race, the ignorant public have started to get used to seeing men in drag.  But only if the illusion is complete.  If Conchita Wurst had no beard, I think there wouldn’t have been an outcry.  But her choice to display her beard alongside her crystals, her fabulous sweeping gown, beautiful long hair – this is what makes the common Joe/Jocinda Public uncomfortable.  They need the illusion to be completely man or woman.

Personally, I love the transgression of her appearance.  It’s brave and purposefully jarring.  Her very name shows her disdain of what people might think.  From her Wikipedia page:

While in German, Wurst means ‘sausage,’ the performer compares the choice of last name to the common German expression ‘Das ist mir doch alles Wurst,’ which translates as ‘it’s all the same to me,’ and ‘I don’t care,’ stating that the name emerged from the first meaning of the expression and added, “It doesn’t really matter where one comes from, and what one looks like.”

And indeed it shouldn’t matter what one looks like, how one chooses to present oneself, what gender, or lack thereof, one identifies with.  The fact is that Conchita Wurst sang beautifully.  “Rise Like a Phoenix” was evocative of old-movie glamour, with the class and style of a Bond film’s opening credits.  It was big, it was dramatic, and it was Eurovision.

However, what no one has really commented on, apart from the vulgar odd joke, is Poland’s entry: My Słowianie (We Are Slavic) by Donatan and Cleo.  It depicted several provocatively-dressed busty women as traditional milkmaids, churning butter suggestively with their tits hanging out.  If you’re going to get upset about gender issues and turning Eurovision into a “hotbed” of something, there’s a whole host of things to get outraged about there!

But no, the average ignorant viewer is used to seeing women being objectified; rampant sluttery is old news.  Drag queens with beards, now that’s what they don’t like to see!  Just think of the children!  They’ll grow up thinking that gender isn’t binary, while they swan around in their hotpants and flutter their fake eyelashes at the opposite sex.  Gasp, shock, horror, etc.

Really makes you despair for the human race, doesn’t it?  Personally, I think we need more people like Conchita Wurst, she’s a true role model.  In her own words:

“This is about an important message, it’s call for tolerance for everything that seems different.”

Amen, sister.

The Mirror of Fantastic Vanity

A writer who can only write himself into his stories is not, in my view, a writer.  Rather, he is a fantasist putting his own daydreams onto paper for vain purposes, either to relive those fantasies or to self-aggrandise.

Sadly some of my favourite authors fall into this category of the vainglorious daydreamer.  Neil Gaiman, though I think he’s a masterful storyteller, always seems to tell the same story of a man trying to find the fantastic and escape the ordinary.  This man is almost always a middle-aged Englishman of dry wit and awkwardness.

A new favourite, Jodi Taylor of The Chronicles of St Mary’s Series, writes a new take on an old genre, time travelling, and it’s a lot of fun to read.  It has a heroine full of verve, humour and sarcasm, a ginger woman of short stature who loves history, chocolate and tea.  Then I read the author’s bio, and she very much is her main character, minus the actual time travelling.

When I notice the similarities between author and protagonist, it sadly ruins the wonder of the book for me.  I no longer think how creative and inspired the author is, instead I think how sad and boring their lives must be to require escapism on the level of writing themselves into the narrative.  It also brings their writing down, in my estimation, from professional to amateurish.  Mainly because of the sheer number of bad fan fiction and other types of literary works are now viewable, thanks to the internet, where aspiring writers show off their craft by misguidedly depositing themselves into their favourite TV shows, films and franchises.  It is the mark of a desperate soul, clinging to the hope that by writing such a thing they can make its wonders transpire.

I know this, because I did it.  In high school I was forever escaping the doldrums of whatever tedious subject I was supposed to be paying attention to, usually Pre-Calculus or another mathematical discipline, and instead would let my gaze drift out the window.  I was lucky that our school had a nice view of a lake which surrounded it on three sides, which inspired many daydreams.  I’d often imagine the plight of some unearthly creature which, only after my dramatic exit from the classroom via a conveniently open window, could lead to some far-ranging adventure.  These adventures would later be scrawled, illegibly for the most part, across the pages of my notebooks in place of the school work I should have been doing.

It was a period of my youthful writing which showed great imagination and promise, but it was not good writing.  Only later, with experience and the distance of time which lets one be objective and critical, I realised that these stories were only interesting to me.  Or rather, to the me who wrote them at the time, long outgrown.  I was holding a mirror up to myself and manipulating the image to what I wish I had been and what I wish I had been able to do.  The result was only exciting in comparison to the original image, my own awkward, shy and nerdy self, and in reference to my own desires and fantasies.  An objective third party, critiquing me to the standard of all the beloved novels I have always held my own work against, would likely not give a hoot about the dramatic adventures of how I found a wounded unicorn, or magical crow, or fallen angel, and then helped restore a kingdom, or found a sacred object, with its help.

Yet, unfortunately, such is the stuff of many a published work.  There’s a lot of nonsense out there, and plenty of people who enjoy it.  It’s just not for me.

I strive to write real characters from my own imagining in such a way as to hold a mirror up to the reader, and wider world, instead of to my own face.  The novels I dream of writing have something important to say on a wider scale than simple escapism for the writer as she writes.  A novel which avoids sermonising, but has a moral undercurrent, that deals with issues that are at once modern and ancient, everlasting; gender, the Other, mankind’s delicate balance with the natural world.  I want to make my readers think, holding that mirror to their own eyes and wondering if they can change themselves, or change the world.

Ultimately, whether the protagonist of a story has some superficial resemblance to the author writing it is a small facet of the novel as a whole.  Or maybe the author can protest, “Well yes, she may have ginger hair and like chocolate and history like I do, but she’s much sassier than I am so isn’t really me at all!”  But for me, once the fourth wall of the story is broken, and I see the author in the story, it stops being real for me.  I stop believing in it, and that ruins everything.

A Falconry Rant

At least once a day in the busy season, if not twice or more, I’ll overhear a particular comment as members of the public drift by to see the birds at our mews.  It’s usually some variation of, “Oh, now this I don’t like to see.”  And inevitably followed by some dramatic statement about how, “They’re chained to their perches, and not allowed to fly!   How cruel!”

Now usually I’m just out of eyesight of these people, and to address their comments directly is often impossible, or at the very least a bit creepy as I burst from the weigh room going, “Well, about that!”  So I generally go up to the fence and cheerfully ask if anyone has any questions.  Inevitably, the sort of person who’s vocal enough about their views to have made a comment in the first place will also be vocal about the perceived cruelty they’ve judged, in their ignorance, to be in front of them.  Their subtlety ranges from the careful: “How long do the birds sit out here like this?” to the blunt: “Isn’t it cruel to leave them on their perches all day?”

My current tactic has been a sort of upbeat, hyper-education in which I smile widely (this would be their cue to run), and start in about a wild raptor’s day-to-day life.  How catching prey uses so much energy that they need to conserve it for the chase.  The concept that they don’t spend their whole day swooping and diving just for the heck of it often comes as a surprise to these misinformed members of the public, unsurprisingly.

I tell them how our birds do get to fly, every day, in safe and controlled conditions.  To let all of our birds loose at once would result in a very messy end!  And that ones’ domestic dog needs a lead for its, and other dogs’, safety, so how is it very different?

I then go on to relate anecdotes about the time our Barn Owl, Louise, picked her knots and was free on the lawn one day – and promptly put herself in her mews to sleep.  Since they do fly free each day, if they didn’t like their living conditions they would just fly away!

Then I invite them to tell me if they’ve seen any wild birds of prey, and inevitably they’ll have seen a buzzard.  Who hasn’t?  I tell them how buzzards have become so lazy that they will often sit, for hours, on fenceposts by the sides of busy roads to wait for road kill, so that they don’t even have to put themselves through the bother of actually catching their own prey at all.

Sometimes they hear one of our birds shouting, and make an off-hand comment, “Oh he’s not happy.”  As if they know this after a five-minute observation of raptor behaviour.  I laugh, not cruelly at their expense, rather as a chuckle of long-sufferance from many, many hours of listening to all the screams, hoots and warbles that is the background music to my days.  I translate the call they’ve commented on, and then go on to talk about that bird’s personality, and relate stories of its hijinks.  They all have hijinks, it’s not hard to think of amusing ones to tell.

Generally by this point, the people who first saw rows of “chained” birds (where are the chains, I ask you?) forced to sit on perches all day now start to see the relaxed postures, the raised legs and preening.  The veil of outrage has lifted and their powers of observation start to return.  Sometimes they leave soon after, before I force more education into their closed minds, but other times they stick around and watch indulgently for a while.

There’s always the odd person who will never agree with us, because obviously they would know better than the people who make caring for birds of prey their life’s work.  Sure, we can agree to disagree.  Or rather, I can agree that you’re willfully ignoring the facts just to suit your self-righteous outrage.  Enjoy that.

But thankfully most people are happy to be informed otherwise, and I invite them to watch our birds flying free and see how the bond between falconer and bird works.  How impossible it would be to do what I do if I thought there was any cruelty to it.  We all come to this work from a love of these birds, and admiring their wild cousins, and we want to ensure their lives are just as good.  More so, since there’s no fear of starvation or an injury that wouldn’t be treated.

So when you say you “don’t like to see this”, I tell you to first try and actually understand what’s in front of you.  Ask us questions, and listen to our answers.  If you’re still outraged, well then please leave and maybe we won’t mind if you never come back!

Reality, Schmeality

I just finished reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods yesterday, and it’s a little bit shocking I never read it sooner.  But it made me think about why I don’t like setting my own novels in the real world, even if that world is being turned into something fantastic.

First of all, I think my inherent laziness couldn”t handle the amount of research involved in dealing with real places and real things!  It’s absolutely terrible of me to admit this, but it’s so much easier just making things up as I go along.  At least I’m honest about it!

But second, and more importantly, since I mentally inhabit the worlds I write in, I simply have no interest in reinhabiting the real world.  Reality be damned, I want fantasy.  If I could honestly enter the realms of my favourite novels, I’d be there right now.  I want unspoilt landscapes, pre-industrial settlements, wind-powered sea voyages, horses as the state-of-the-art mode of transportation, battles with swords and arrows, leather and chain mail, falconry and hunting, subsistence farming, minstrels and lutes, cloaks and capes as practical outerwear choices, mead and ale, poultices and tinctures, mysterious old women living in the woods, sage old men living in the mountains, animal companions, hijinks, adventure and quests.  No, you can keep your internal combustion engines, your technological advances, medical breakthroughs, kevlar, machine guns, international stock market, breakfast cereals, personal hygiene, internal plumbing, higher education and mass produced everything.  No thanks, 2012, I don’t want it.  Give me 1012.

Back in the real world, that’s honestly why I live on a farming estate away from large population centres, why I own chickens and make a living in falconry.  I’m trying to close my eyes, put my fingers in my ears, and go “LA LA LA LA LA!!” to the modern world.  That’s not to say I want to go joining any Amish-style communes; I freely admit that many of the things I listed above, such as personal hygiene, indoor plumbing, and medical breakthroughs (and let’s face it, I do love my breakfast cereals), are sensible and I’m rather grateful for their existence.  But if, and it’s a big if, I could trade it for living in a fantasy world – I so very would.

And on that note, I’m determined to inhabit one of the worlds of my own making today and spend a serious amount of time on Cobault.  I’ve been lazy and full of excuses lately but today I have nothing else planned and will just have to be strong-willed and withstand the lure of laziness, the internet, and inane television programmes.  Now if only I really lived in a fantasy world, I wouldn’t have these readily-available distractions!  But I’m fairly sure I’d find something else to occupy myself, like hiding subliminal naughty words in my needlepoint, and doing that thing when you lift the body of a chicken but its head stays perfectly still.  Yeah I’d be doing that.

NaNoWriMo Week One and Being Disillusioned By Favourite Novels

I’ve been remiss in posting once more, but this time I don’t feel so guilty!  Because I was working fairly constantly, in what free time I had I needed to decide between either writing this NaNo novel or writing about writing this NaNo novel.  I don’t think I’d be much of a writer if I’d chosen to do the latter over the former!

It’s been going pretty well, though!  I’m not sure how much of what I’ve written these past few days are going to remain in the final editing stage, but this is exactly the kind of splurgey writing NaNo was made for.  When I get stuck about what to write, I include a chapter purely about a rant I’ve been thinking of for the past few months, or a list of technical terms and explanations.  It definitely fills up the wordcount that way!

And wordcount is such a big deal in NaNoWriMo, I get obsessed with checking mine and then if I hear that someone else has written some exponentially higher number than mine, even if I’m surpassing the daily goal every day, I get stupidly competitive.  Sometimes it’s good because it forces me to write more, but other times it just annoys me.  Which is why when I go on the forums on the website, which I do only rarely, I choose to go to the “writers in distress” board because I can crow (to myself, mind you) about how much further I’ve gotten than other people!  Isn’t that terrible?  I’m shocked, myself!

I’m finding it a bit difficult to write in one respect, which is that I have forgotten a lot of the more interesting stories I had from my first few weeks volunteering!  I’ve resorted to reading my own blog and even tried to search through old chats on gmail to see what I’ve told people as it happened!  I’m sure it’ll come back to me, and if not I’ll just take authorial liberties with the truth.  No one else will ever know, anyways!  Except that I’ve just told the internet…

Oh well.

The other thing I’ve been doing in my limited spare time has been rereading a fantasy trilogy I’ve loved since I was a teenager.  This is part of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series, namely the Vanyel story arc.  Some of you will perhaps know which books I mean, but most of you will be like, eh whatever.  Regardless, I was obsessed with the whole series as I reached age 12 or so, and then continued to be obsessed well into my university years.

Only now I’m becoming disillusioned.

The problem is mainly to do with how Mercedes Lackey writes and not the characters themselves so much.  Firstly, it sounds really pedantic of me, but can she write anything without obscene use of italics?  It’s like every single sentence has about five points of emphasisSheesh.

And at the points in the story we find ourselves in generally, the characters seem to almost always be at the point of melodrama about any given situation, even if the situation is one that happened well before the narrative began and one could assume that the characters had resolved themselves to it before now.  But no, everyone must be overwrought at all times.  I suppose the argument could be made for this being a ploy to keep the reader interested, but I just get irritated.  I’m like, “hey this happened years ago, get over it already.”  But no one ever listens to me in these novels.  Surprisingly enough.

I think I loved that as a teenager because when you’re at that stage in your life, every situation is at the point of melodrama, and everyone must be overwrought at all times.  But perhaps I am a bit more sensible these days.  Only a bit.

Also, in this series there’s a very rare condition, i can’t think of a better word to use to describe it than that, when two people are so much in love that they’re called “lifebonded” and it means that they’re soulmates and generally it’s a big deal.  It’s oh so rare, but wait – everyone is freaking lifebonded!  Come on now.  It gets to the point when, as soon as you meet another couple and suddenly they realise they’re lifebonded, you’re no longer like “aww true love” but merely “pfft not another one.”  I don’t think this is what Ms. Lackey intended.

And then, just when you think you’re on saccharin overload, you then get to the part where Ms. Lackey decides to put her characters through torture and death – often literally.  She doesn’t hold back in that respect, and sometimes it has the desired effect of shocking the reader but when she piles up the bodies you start to get inured to it.

So basically I don’t like these novels so well as I used to, but I still enjoy rereading them.  As I said, it’s mainly to do with how she writes but the characters themselves are still my old friends.  And it’s nice to visit every once in a while.

But honestly could they be anymore melodramatic??

A Reading Rant: Twilight – this time, it’s personal!

Goodness me, it’s been exactly one month since my last post!  I don’t know where the time goes, honestly!  Mainly it seems I get bitten by carnivorous birds in my current occupation of choice, which perhaps makes the time fly faster – after all I am having fun, various bites and scratches notwithstanding!

But today I wish to talk about what I’m currently reading.  Prepare to gasp in disappointed astonishment, because not only am I reading said books, I’m actually rereading them.  And what are these illustrious tomes?

The Twilight books.

“Aaaagh!” I hear you cry.  Or maybe it’s just my shamed subconscious.  Either way.

You know the big problem I have with these books?  They’re not bad enough.  No, seriously, hear me out.  You start reading them, and they’re actually alright.  You get into them, and suddenly you’ve finished book one.  And it’s sneaky, the way its awfulness seeps into your awareness.  You don’t realise it right away, although granted the prose is fairly juvenile and blah, it’s nothing too different from other generic pick-it-up-in-the-supermarket-read-it-on-an-airplane kinds of books.

But then you think about it.  And really think about it.  And you get mad.  How dare this book be so sneaky!  Here you were, thinking you might be having a reasonably sensible journey through the life of a clumsy teenaged girl with a vampire boyfriend – but wait!

It’s trying to pull one over on you.

This girl Bella is not just clumsy, she’s childishly inept.  We’re told she can’t even walk in a straight line down a level surface without falling over – that’s not endearing, that’s bordering on handicapped.

And her vampire boyfriend?  Well he’s attracted to her – in the sense that she’s his “brand of cocaine” – but he tries to resist her and is generally a bit mean at first.  But then, just gives up and decides “eh, fuck it.”  How romantic!  But oh, wait – in a matter of days he’s declaring his undying love.

Is this supposed to be the ideal romance?  Teenagers making suicide pacts (or rather trying to talk each other out of suicide pacts in what sounds falsely oneupmanshipy to me “No I love you more, because I want to die if you die, but I don’t want you to die if I die!!”), is this what this generation of teens is supposed to idealise?  Romeo and Juliet is frequently mentioned, but is this a model to follow?

Nonsense.

And because Bella is so inept, Edward spends his whole time quite literally lifting her off her dainty little sprained ankles in case she happens to quite literally trip on something and impale herself.  He stops her from driving herself around, because he can do it better.  Ignores her wishes when he believes he knows what’s best for her.  Sleeps with her every night, in the most innocent of ways, so she doesn’t ever have to be weepy and alone.   Oh, and he constantly denys her sexual gratification.

This is something which pisses me off.  Bella is turned into a sex-crazed, uncontrollable she-monster, which Edward has to constantly peel off his angelic body in order to maintain his “control” of himself.  So we end up being a bit embarassed for her, constantly throwing herself at her boyfriend and being held at a distance like some over-enthusiastic groupie.

Bah, I get so irritated – it’s all so wildly imbalanced.  So basically I hate it, but I keep reading these goddamned books.  Something in me masochistically enjoys being irritated, and creating arguments in my head which I then share on the internet for all of you to enjoy.

Or ignore – either way.

In other news, I’ve still been writing!  Not terribly much, and not the Kelpie story I posted a snippet of, but something else I’m waiting to see what happens with.  I find I need to write a little vignette of these new ideas and then let them germinate for a while.  If I start writing too quickly I can find myself too far down a false lead and needing to backpedal in a disheartening fashion.  So both of these ideas are just growing and maturing and eventually I’ll write more of them.

What Is The World Coming To – Part 38 of 194

A news article came to my attention via Twitter, entitled “Parents: English Teacher Writes Racy Novels”.  Read it and wonder, as I am right now, what the world is coming to.

Unless you’re someone who agrees with the angle taken in this article, in which case I would ask that you vacate my blog now.  Your kind is not welcome here.

What’s next?  We’ll start requiring all teachers, or anyone in contact with our children on a regular basis, to be practicing celibates?  Because if they have sex  and their students know they have sex, then it makes it all kinds of awkward sitting in their classrooms.  Right?  Is that not the next logical step in this parade of foolishness?

What gets me is this quote:

Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. “She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author,” Stepp said.

Now I might just begin to understand the point if perhaps the adult novels in question are paedophillic in nature.  There might be grounds for debate there.  But barring that, what teachers do in their own time is their own business.  This woman shouldn’t have to choose between being a teacher or an author, she should be free to be both.  And parents can just go fuck themselves.

Oh, but they can’t – just think of the children!

This makes me sick.  It reminds me unpleasantly of a commercial I saw yesterday for a police hotline parents and guardians can phone if they have suspicions about someone who interacts with their children.  Let’s all suspect everyone we know of hiding a secret, child-abusing past!  I can see this going well.

It’s not true that there are more paedophiles now than there used to be in the “good old days”.  It’s better reported, surely.  But to think we need to immediately assume the worst in all adults interacting with children is outrageous.  And to ingrain an unfounded fear of adults in positions of responsibility in those children is simply shameful.

There’s being safe, and there’s being ridiculous.