2020 started out strangely. Terry and I dozed off around nine o’clock New Year’s Eve but both of us woke back up after two o’clock New Year’s Morning. We both migrated back downstairs and dozed off again for another four or five hours. Ah the exciting life we lead!
I had promised Terry a breakfast of bacon and waffles. I put the bacon in the oven, and forgot to set a timer. Meanwhile, I continued drafting a newsletter for my local book club and lost track of time. I’m not sure how long I was editing, but I did eventually remember the baking bacon before it was reduced to charcoal.
Next I had to rearrange the kitchen counters a bit to make room to mix up a half batch of waffle dough from my King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. In the process of shuffling items around I managed to drop and break a small measuring glass. This event foreshadowed how the rest of my morning evolved. Strike one!
‘And here also is your brooch, Pippin,’ said Aragorn. ‘I have kept it safe, for it is a very precious thing.’ ‘I know,’ said Pippin. ‘It was a wrench to let it go; but what else could I do?’ ‘Nothing else,’ answered Aragorn. ‘One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters. You did rightly.’
Tolkien, J.R.R, The Two Towers, Book Three, Chapter 9 “Flotsam and Jetsam”
I immediately realized I had completely forgotten the return of the brooch to Pippin by Aragorn when they were reunited at the gates of Isengard. If I do decide to write a final draft of my Pippin short story, I will have to adjust it a bit to match the above.
On Saturday, October 12th, I attended my second MiddleMoot, hosted on the campus of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. After the Welcome Address delivered by Robert Steed in the auditorium of Tama Hall, the first session I attended was a fascinating look at the theme of female grief as foresight and subcreation by Jude Bleile (more details forthcoming in a separate post). The following session I selected from the program was entitled “The Journey of FanFiction” presented by Nicole Evans, a fellow member of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City, a librarian, writer and blogger.
Nicole spoke briefly about the history of fanfiction, even citing examples from her adolescence (over 12,000 on one site alone but who’s counting?) and explained the interactive nature of her session. We, the audience, would select five pieces of a story puzzle that we then would assemble creatively into a short fanfiction story. We could then enter our story into a pool to be read and voted on by attendees for a prize to be awarded at the end of the conference.
The five elements we would drew were Character, Object, Setting, Plot and First Lines. The photo below displays my drawing. We had approximately thirty minutes to compose our tales. We were to underline each item as we used it in our story so the readers/judges could confirm we had used all five.
Corey Olsen would write fanfiction using Odo as a character, the Arkenstone for an object, Mordor as a setting, sneaking into the Council of Elrond for a plot and start off with a first line of ‘I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.’
For the last nine years, my blog, Misty Midwest Mossiness, has languished as a ‘free’ site hosted at WordPress.com. That ‘free’ came with a slight headache, which eventually morphed into a migraine. My ability to host for ‘free’ meant being saddled with advertisements, the content of which I could not control.
I took a huge leap this week and dived into the Digital Ocean. I’ve created a couple of droplets, their term for virtual machines hosted in their cloud. I created this new home using one of their prefab Droplets in their Marketplace. I did have to buy a new domain name, mostly because I didn’t want to mess up and re-configure my existing domain name just yet. My new domain name – hennethannun.net – which reflects my ongoing love for all things Tolkien and sunsets. For more information about Henneth Annûn visit this brief article at the TolkienGateway.
I was able to export my blog (overnight) from WordPress.com and import it this morning in just a few minutes. I will leave the old blog in place for the rest of the year and monitor this new blog home to see if this is cost effective and won’t break my pocketbook.
I will be adjusting the look-and-feel of this new blog – rebranded as “Into the West” – over the next few days. Let me know what you think.
Great article to read first thing in the morning. Solidarity in the feminist trenches with wit and humor.
It this statement by the author under attack which rang especially true for me:
Speaking of the difficulties feminists face when trying to get their message across, Ford said: “It’s tedious and exhausting to deal with a daily onslaught of abuse and paranoia from angry men and their terrified cohorts. It’s impossible to have logical conversations with them because they don’t care about facts, only about how they feel about those facts.”
Despite what my husband thinks, I have not over-dosed on science fiction since last Wednesday when the 74th World Science Fiction Convention (commonly referred to as WorldCon) arrived for the second time in Kansas City, Missouri. MidAmeriCon II ended yesterday and of course the highlight of those five days was the Hugo Awards Ceremony held Saturday evening.
In fact, I sincerely hoped when I woke up this morning it wouldn’t be to the harsh reality of a Monday morning workday. Ah, but life is cruel and the alternate dimension I’d enjoyed for five days evaporated into the dreary doldrums of gainful employment. Well, not completely dreary. Perhaps dreaded would be more like it, since I knew I’d be walking into some ‘hot potatoes’ once I strapped myself to my desk.
This time around it’s Modesitt’s thoughts on how the publishing industry has changed over the last forty years. Yes, he’s been cranking out great books since before my eldest son was born.
Over the past few years I’ve been asked how the field of writing has changed since I was first published, a question I suspect comes up because I’ve managed to stay published for a long enough time that I might have some perspective on any possible changes affecting writers, in particular. Some of the changes…
They should kick ass but have other talents; they shouldn’t necessarily kick ass because that’s been done to death; they should have agency; they should move the plot forward; they should be assertive but not obnoxious; they should hold positions of power; they shouldn’t be raped or die to give the hero incentive for his quest.
What I think is missing from some of these discussions is: writing a fully realized character of any gender requires one trait above all others, and that is empathy. When a female character goes off the rails, it is often because the author experienced a failure of imagination; while he could imagine all the emotions a man might feel in a similar situation—and Continue reading “Deconstructing Strong Female Characters”