Sunday, November 15, 2009

The people I've met are the wonders of my world

I want to blog but at the same time I don't. I don't know. I feel a bit like that in general, want to do things but don't. The lack of messenger has just generally made me less likely to get on the computer and stay there all day. But I'm here now so might as well give it a shot. It may even drum up some enthusiasm for actual writing.

Right, first things first, cocktails on Friday were quite enjoyable. Em and R were both working, so I met them at R's place and hung about scaring customers and flailing over my bag...well ok so the latter was me. But yay! Bag! Not to mention the bag is a celebrity in its own right haha. We headed off to dinner at what is fast becoming "our" restaurant. It was as always perfectly lovely. We were just finishing up when Lizzie arrived at Kuletos so we headed up there. We immediately started in on the cocktails, we were celebrating the end of the semester even if we were broke, tired, sore and with no real way to get home dammit! It was good fun. We didn't have quite the turnout we had anticipated since another party had come up, but whatever, we still enjoyed ourselves. I headed off a bit earlier than I would have liked but with the parentals being away, I didn't want to drunkenly try and traipse home after midnight. Curse the lack of public transport near here. But yes, the conclusion is as always: Kamikazes FTW.

Yesterday didn't even put up a pretence of being a day worth acknowledging. I literally spent it watching television, and mostly Nevermind the Buzzcocks at that. I had only ever seen a few random eps that I'd youtube at Abs suggestion, so when I came across 4 seasons worth of it, I decided it was worth perusing. I'm up to the last season I have now, about 8 eps left or something, I don't know. All I do know is that you know you've been watching too much consecutive buzzcocks that when Lee Ryan does actually show up you start laughing the second they just say his name. I also watched Goldfinger which is not nearly as good as I remember it being. Hm.

Meanwhile, my neighbours and the bugs had a conspiracy going to see who could freak me out the most. Seriously, so many weird noises, it's ridiculous. My neighbours have been particularly noisy this weekend, I don't know what they're doing but I really wish they'd stop. Ugh.

I made a point to be more productive today, so I've cleaned the house and I might give Oreo a bath after I have lunch in a second. Then I suppose I should do some more writing. It's not that I don't have ideas to write, once I get going I'm pretty much set, it's just sitting down behind my laptop is really not appealing at the moment. I just don't...want to be here. I feel like I'm missing out on things, completely mundane things it's true like lying in the sun or watching Oreo chase lizards, but I suppose after being trapped inside for virtually the entire year thanks to research and academic nonsense, the thought that I should do this willingly seems preposterous.

It must be said though, my NaNoWriMo novel is fraught with so many technical problems, it's enough to make you weep. It has such an identity crisis, it doesn't know if it's coming or going. There are so many different elements at play in a future that is both progressive yet traditional. There are far too many characters, one-time namedrops that make me feel like I am trying to keep track of the cast of Anna Karenina (but at least their names don't all sound the same which is a luxury Tolstoy never afforded anyone). The tenses are a tangled ball of past and present, and my third-person narrator cannot decided whether it is omniscient or not. Perhaps it is being purposefully obtuse.

What is a bit more worrying at the moment is that I'm set to start Chapter 7 next and nothing has really happened. I'm also almost a third of the way done. I was aiming for about 30 - 35 chapters, but at this rate I'm bound to hit 50,000 at Chapter 20. Why am I making more work for myself?

During all this, I can't help thinking about the Reel challenge. I have bits and pieces written down for that as well, but upon re-watching Goldfinger last night I realised I remembered it a bit differently than it went down. I also want to re-read the book before I actually get to writing it...and it's due the 14th of December. Mum and I may be going away the first weekend of December though, so I'm hoping to finish it all off that weekend. Beach cabin FTW.

It's actually funny to think about it all being done. Cause beyond that there's...well, nothing. I don;t know what I'll do when I get to that point. I have kind of gotten used to having some or other impossible deadline hanging over my head this year.

Rocks fall, everybody dies.

The only other thing I have to say is how tired I am of hearing about New Moon and it's not even out yet. Four separate pieces on it in the Telegraph today. Four. It's not only the fact that I just generally don't like the film franchise (based on the first, I concede I don't know this one will be atrocious, I am just assuming it from the lack of facial expressions), but I just feel that the entire thing is being misconstrued. Mostly I think the way people are interpreting the books are a direct result of the movie(s) which in itself did not do an adequate job of conveying the magic of the books. I do not know what that magic is, it baffles me as much as anyone, but I am not going to deny that there is definitely something about them. I devoured them with a fervour that can possibly only be explained by crack being laced in the pages. Who knows. It doesn't matter anyway. Fair enough, the fans are annoying, most fans of things are annoying. Come footy season, I find the nutters harping on about it just as annoying. I know I myself am no walk in the park when it comes to my ceaseless Doctor Who this and Torchwood that, but at least my fandom doesn't seemingly encompass the entire world and feature on every website, paper, and magazine. Still, I try to be forgiving as everyone is entitled to their fandoms. This was in the telegraph today:

"Basically, the (Twilight) books, especially the fourth, detail a textbook abusive relationship," Hamley said. / Editor Abigail Nathan of Bothersome Words enjoyed the books but has her concerns. "Adults are frequently disturbed by the nature of Bella and Edward's relationship, describing Edward as a stalker and Bella as a victim," she said. "There's an interesting selection of messages, with Bella constantly pushing Edward to sleep with her, and ultimately ending up bruised and battered." / Fantasy author Glenda Lake is also concerned with the way Bella never finds strength within herself and must, indeed, always be saved by Edward. "It harks back to a different age," she said. "Women my age had to fight to escape that kind of thinking." / "To present a heroine who never stands on her own two feet is to present a ghastly role model for today's youth."

Really? I am the first person to bitch about the general shittiness of female protagonists in literature - an undertone anyone who saw my short-lived I-hate-the-world post on Sunday will no doubt recognize - but much like the outrage after Breaking Dawn declaring it to be anti-choice, I just don't see it. I think there is an intensity crafted in the books that is so realistic, that you never question the validity of the relationship because it's just...right. That parents think Edward is a stalker and Bella a victim is entirely due to film which failed epically to capture that intensity, and they are played very much like stalker/victim (something that may be remedied by actual facial expressions. Just saying.)

The whole thing is very much in the Romeo and Juliet mould. If Juliet didn't end up battered and bruised, it's because Romeo is not a vampire nor did he have vampire friends. If you mess with things that are out of your league, then you are going to get hurt. Does that make it an abusive relationship? I hardly think so. I also think it's unfair to say Bella always waits on him to rescue her. In the first novel for example, she makes the active decision to go to whathisname to save her mother. It's a trap and ok yes, Edward does charge in and save her, but that's only fair since we're talking vampire/vampire death match. Bella isn't Buffy, she doesn't have slayer ass-kicking skills, but she never even pretends to be. So ok, moot point. Now this is just my interpretation of the whole thing, but I don't think Bella is a passive character. Cinderella is a passive character - everything happens to her, she doesn't actually do anything unless the decision is made for her. Bella makes her own decisions, they may seem small and inconsequential, but they are still very much moments where she exerts her own beliefs. I think the problem comes with Bella being more of a watcher, she's more introspective in watching and reacting to things which is often mistaken for inactivity. It is this quality that eventually dictates her "power" as a vampire, and saves the day I suppose. Cue trumpets.

Alright no, sarcasm aside, my point is I think they're being a bit harsh on the whole thing and as per usual, reading way too much into things. As a cultural studies student, I have had so many moments where I just wanted to scream "Can't a tree just be a tree?" because you know what, everyday people who look at a tree don't sit there and analyse the meaning of the tree or the significance of the place it's growing and how it is a metaphor for colonialisation or the presence of the Other. No, they just see a tree. Girls reading Twilight, they see a love-story. Not a dialogue on the Mormon church or a positive portrayal of abusive relationships or even the suppression of female will. Or are we seriously going to argue that people who are fans of Twilight are going to find themselves in abusive relationships and being forced into situations they don't actually want to be in because Bella is a bad role model? Not only do I not see anything in the books that could lead to such a thing (I'm sure you can find it if you wanted to, if there's one thing I've realised at uni it's that you can find anything in virtually everything), but it's just a classic case of shifting the blame yet again really, isn't it? Society has no accountability. It's so easy to blame school shootings on Marilyn Manson, and violence and crime on videogames. Yet we enforce stricter rules and regulations on these things and it makes no difference, the figures keep going up and we find something else to blame when the real problem is society's inability to take that blame upon itself and do something about it internally.

Although it is tempting, I'm not going to say "it's just a book." As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword and for all intents and purposes, I'm quite firmly of the belief that words as vehicles for meaning are incredibly powerful. I also realise that when you are an obsessive fan of something it permeates your entire being and becomes a part of your life, so in that sense saying "it's just a book" can be quite hurtful and insulting. It's true that it can shape a person, and influence their beliefs and the way in which they view the world. But at the same time, this is teen fiction and a romance written by a first time author, and I think levelling the kind of cultural analysis upon the franchise the way many are doing is actually rather beside the point really. I do not for one second believe fangirls are going to end up meek and complacent in archaic female roles because hey, Edward Cullen or Jacob Black are not going to come along and sweep them off their feet. Real guys aren't like that and won't generate the same response. They know this, it's fantasy. Is that really so damaging?

I must digress now since I'm starving. I don't really know what the point of all this was. Ramble post ahoy!

Music: Hometown Glory - Adele
Mood: Meh


  1. @Abigail Nathan... and yes it would have been a great novel if Bella just went, "Meh, i don't need you" and stormed off. Love is about people needing each other. Edward needs Bella so desperately that he's willing to put his and his famiy's entire existence at risk. He absolutely falls apart when he leaves her. Everyone forgets that. He's just as big a bloody victim as she is. He might be physically stronger but she is emotionally very, very strong.

    As for the stalker bit... anyone who has ever really, really been in love will know that there is an element of obsession involved... there just is.

    And finally... it is a story about a relationship set beyond the parameters of human relationships. Edward gets to be the "perfect man" (not my perfect man, he's way too fucking serious) because he is NOT human. People understand this. Just like Superman gets to be indesctructible because he isn't human. If girls are that impressionable that they can't tell the difference Twilight is the least of our worries!

  2. My philosophy is that a good book is a good book. Too much message and too much commercialism make bad books. Something universal in the characters and the situations they face goes a long way toward making a really good one. For something a little different from all that is bookstands, take a look at my new release, Angela 1: Starting Over. Just click on my name and then follow the link to my website. Thanks!