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4/30 Some letting go

Today my niece came and took away my collection of beads.

Many colorful tubes of glass seed beads on display
DarkEm's Bead Shoppe

I collected them in the Nineties and did some rather good art with a tiny portion of them. It was kind of a relief (a sad relief) to let them go, and with them all the zillions of brilliant creative ideas I once had that prompted me to spend most of my disposable income for four years buying them all in the first place. It was time.

After admiring the newly cleared space in my living room, I took a long walk in the last of the strange January sunshine, and saw this yard art:

A garden path made of used circular saw blades laid out in a pattern
Oh, the symbolism.

In unrelated news, I understand some important American sportsball event is happening tomorrow, AND that there's a major holiday coming up. I figured both out by going to the big store:

masses of red, pink, and purple heart-shaped Mylar balloons above the checkstands at a big supermarket
Mylar does it good. Wo wo wo wo.

So, Go Team! Balloons Are All You Need! Hello February, goodbye, my beady beads, and farewell to the winter that never was.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2015 09:48 am (UTC)
What a beautiful collection of beads! Congratulations on acknowledging to yourself that in fact you are not going to use all that extra time you now have to create wonderful things with them. The nearest I've come to that is to accept that I am never going to read several weighty works of literature which I had always said I would read when I retired. I've accepted that the reality is that I don't actually want to read them, and it doesn't matter if I don't.

I know what game is coming up, but I don't know the holiday. OK, from looking at the balloons I've just worked it out (because I didn't think pink and red were the colours of the teams at the game).

Are there any spring bulbs coming up in those gardens?
Feb. 1st, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
You know, I hadn't thought about the unread books as part of this process, but you're absolutely right. There are so many "shoulds" in life! I don't need to volunteer for them. What are some of the titles or ranges of literature that you've let go?

Me, I've had some defiance to overcome in that regard. I'm still not quite comfortable disliking literary fiction without being defiant and snarky about it. My self-image (and my image in the eyes of other people) as a smart, literate, cosmopolitan person is terribly at odds with the reality of some of my plebeian tastes and preferences. It's internalized snobbery and classism of the most insidious sort, and it's a real relief to let it go. I like what I like, I get to spend my time the way I want to spend it, and little by little I'm getting to where I don't feel the need to apologize for any of it, or to judge anyone else's preferences.

And yes! There are little bright-green swordpoints poking up out of the beds everywhere. And the daphne is about to bloom.
Feb. 1st, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
I have let go of:

-- all the classics which I haven't yet read, unless I come across one which appeals to me specifically. I know I'll never read Moby Dick, for example!

-- modern literary fiction: too much like hard work for not much pleasure (generalising wildly). So many books seem to feature people being nasty to each other, often without any apparent point or resolution. I've decided that I'd rather read romance, with a guaranteed happy ending, and I avoid any which look to angsty. I'm also enjoying classic crime novels, and some modern ones (I think they call them cozies, with no gore and psychology or other nastiness). And I'm enjoying m/m romances and crime novels; perhaps because it's a relatively new genre there are some friendly communities and optimistic writing. I also love historical romances and historical spy stories. And I also read non-fiction history, about the late-Georgian and Regency periods in particular.

I'm reading for pleasure, in other words! But I do understand your position: I have a literary background and reputation (I can't lay claim to cosmopolitan!) and I'm sure that the fact that I could read on my Kindle with no-one being the wiser was an important factor in "allowing" me to read m/m and romance generally.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 01:31 am (UTC)
"The classics I haven't read yet" and "modern literary fiction" are, yes, the two main categories of surrender for me, too. I love what you say here about reading romances and crime fiction. I think the big turning point in my adult reading life came when ebooks and fanfiction entered my life--together, literally in the same weekend in 1999. Marriage made in heaven.

I've never been without some form of e-reader from that day to this, and the freedom from book-cover-judgment on the bus (not to mention all the other advantages of ebooks) has played no small part in my deep dive into reading for sheer, unexamined pleasure and fun.

Mind you, that's how I read as a kid. Not hot slash fic, of course, but fantasies and mysteries and adventures. I enjoyed the "serious reading" I did as a young adult and a student, too, but any classic or modern literary masterpiece that I didn't manage to read by the time I'd recovered from college is unlikely to make it onto my Kindle app in the future. It is really good to have decided that!
Feb. 2nd, 2015 09:58 am (UTC)
Yay! Freedom! Stumbling across slash fanfic changed my life, too.
Feb. 3rd, 2015 06:12 am (UTC)
Care to share your slash-discovery story?

Mine was at an ebook conference in San Francisco. We had a roundtable on discovering free content, which stayed mostly within the safe and legal realms of Project Gutenberg. Back in the hotel room, one of the con-goers said, "Now let me tell you about the good stuff." She had what seemed like a huge collection of long fanfic on (as I recall back then) a CD. It was Voyager and X-Files fic, and amongst the X-Files was a Mulder/Krycek story. I was hooked, and it's been Buffy, Firefly, Smallville, Supernatural, and Teen Wolf ever since.
Feb. 3rd, 2015 11:00 am (UTC)
I really struggle to remember how it began! I think the earliest slash I read was Generation Kill, and it must have been accidental since I never saw Generation Kill and had never even heard of it (I'm not sure it ever aired in the UK). I suspect someone on LJ referred to a story and gave a link, but I'm not sure because that's an eggs and chicken story; I only know many of my friends on LJ because I found their stories in lists of recs by others who liked Gen Kill slash. I was very taken by a couple of the characters who were very well developed in canon (I learnt) and in the fanfic. I still enjoy Gen Kill fanfic although there are few new stories these days.

I realised that other TV shows could have slash fanfic and Googled them. I also found AO3 and discovered fanfic based on books, although I haven't found many really good stories based on books. Ironically, I discovered some TV shows via fanfic (e.g. NCIS).

At around the same time I found Shadow of the Templar, which was about half-written then, and devoured it. I regard that as a step because as far as I know the characters are original i.e. not based on any film, TV, or book. I was amazed that something so good was available free and online. I wish I could remember how I realised that there were actual published slash books i.e. m/m. I know I bought my first ones in print rather than as ebooks. To the best of my recollection they were books by Josh Lanyon, who is still my favourite m/m author. I discovered reader review sites and other review sites, and the rest is history.

None of it would have been possible without the Internet, and while I can't remember exactly how it happened I realise that it's a complex network of following links, bookmarking sites, seeing further links, etc.. And of course once I bought a Kindle my m/m reading expanded considerably, partly because it was so easy to order and immediately read the next book in a series, partly because of the sample feature (crucial when the book is not in bookshops and so cannot be checked there), and partly because many of the books are only available as ebooks.
Feb. 4th, 2015 12:53 am (UTC)
Generation Kill! I never saw it and never read any fic, but boy oh boy was it talked about. I actually got into Supernatural the show after reading SPN fic, and I recently watched the first two seasons of Scandal because of a Teen Wolf AU transposed to the Scandal-verse.

I love how the hard line between "legit" and "self-published" has been eroded by ebooks and the internet. Yes, sure, 99% of everything is crap, etc., but then Web 2.0 came along and solved that problem with ratings systems and rec lists and communities and archives. It's a wonderful world!

Have you read or heard of S.U. Pacat's Captive Prince trilogy? It began, I believe, as an original but fannish-feeling novel posted on LJ, and morphed into two self-published Kindle books, which were picked up by a big publisher and are in the process of going "legit."

No idea what your cup of tea might be, but this is set in a kind of alternate universe, not a fantasy per se, but a sorta-kinda-Graeco-Roman-to-Medieval world with horses and swords (and no magic), with slavery and and a compelling-if-unlikely all-non-heterosexual culture. Good world-building, and a super-steamy slow-burn m/m relationship. Looks like the first two volumes are out and the third is on its way. Just thought I'd pass that along...
Feb. 5th, 2015 08:16 am (UTC)
I recently watched the first two seasons of Scandal

Did you enjoy it? I'm a fan and I especially love the first two seasons!
Feb. 5th, 2015 08:53 am (UTC)
I did! I watched the first two seasons in a massive binge over a few weeks, and was deeply engaged. They began to lose me early in S3, I think mostly because the relationship between President Grant and Olivia Pope was becoming pretty hard for me to believe, so I dropped off.

A few people have said that it's worth powering through S3 to get to the current season, and I might get back to it. I think binge-watching a show that was conceived and produced to be seen over an eight-month season can concentrate questionable plot points that might be forgivable when you wait weeks between episodes. What do you think? Worth continuing?
Feb. 6th, 2015 03:17 am (UTC)
I think I was leaning towards the Olitz ship myself and part of what put me off was how seemingly evil he was becoming. But I'll take your advice and give S3 another shot!
Feb. 6th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)

Lisa Kudrow's awesome speech. Watch only if you don't mind spoilers!
Feb. 6th, 2015 04:05 am (UTC)
Oh! Yes, I saw that episode, and that take-down was fantastic. I loved how all the other women were grinning while the reporter sweated.

I remember thinking at the time, "I only wish a woman didn't have to have seven years of active military service to make that speech sound acceptable in a man's world, but still...zing!
Feb. 1st, 2015 10:03 pm (UTC)
I have shelves and shelves of gardening books that I really should let go. The odds of me hopping back out there are practically nil.

I'm alone today because of football. Thank god, a superbowl part missed! I hope Mr. R enjoys himself because I plan on sandwiches for dinner and snugging up on the couch with my kindle.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: Hello!!!

I am so glad I mentioned this subject, because helenajust above pointed out the similarities between me giving away my beads and her admitting she's never gonna read those literary classics on the Great Books Guilt list, and I was all, wow, that's so true! I could let that go too!

And now here's you saying, yup, gardening's the same way--and it is for me, too! That's so cool! Something else I can surrender. It was a lovely pastime of my younger days, but I lost interest, and that interest isn't coming back. (And if it does? Well, the garden's still out there, at least for now--and all that gardening info in those books of yours is online.)

Have you enjoyed your Superbowl Sunday Solitude?
Feb. 1st, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
Those balloons will definitely not still be inflated by the 14th. Plus, there's a helium shortage and we should probably be conserving it for MRI machines (it is used as a coolant), geez.

That's a lot of beads, wow. How many Manhattans did your niece give you for them?
Feb. 2nd, 2015 01:40 am (UTC)
LOL! It took about three seconds for the cocktail to disappear from my mind and the historical reference-coin to drop.

I didn't know that about a helium shortage. Isn't there a lot of helium in the sun? Could we start a pipeline? I'm sure Mercury and Venus wouldn't mind it running through their backyards.
Feb. 6th, 2015 01:43 am (UTC)
As much as I still love Scandal ( and I totally ship Olitz ), I have to say that it's now not as good as the first two seasons. Still good, mind you, just not as good. Cyrus' storyline is still worth continuing with the show ( if you don't ship the President with Olivia that is ). And Lisa Kudrow appeared as a guest in a number of episodes in, if I'm not mistaken, season 3 and her character is TOTALLY awesome. You should see her going against the President with Olivia as her campaign manager. That was really, really brilliant. So yeah, do continue watching it!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )



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