[syndicated profile] littleredtarot_feed

Posted by Anna Wong

"In a politically volatile time we are all looking for beauty, for comfort, and for a stronger connection to the earth that we can feel in our hands." Tianna Wong presents two crystals for troubled times.

The post The light that grows in the dark: Crystals for emotional fatigue appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Anna Wong

[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

Recently, my husband and I have been talking about taking a step to be more open in our relationship. We had made attempts to do this before, but we sort of jumped in without enough discussion and then had to pull back because if something hadn’t been explicitly outlined for him as being okay, his default was that it was and he would be willing to soldier forward regardless. It was a little more of a “better to seek forgiveness than ask permission” kind of a situation and I kiboshed that because I need boundaries to feel secure. Anyway, we have been talking and talking and talking and someone sparked his interest and so we talked about baby-stepping our way back into this situation with much clearer boundaries and I felt totally okay with it – until recently.

So this woman, I will call her Pandora, came over to our house for dinner and things were fine until she and my husband started to have some weird and ambiguous conversation about an appointment she had the next morning bright and early. This goes on for a while, so finally I was like “Hey! I’m in the room and I feel like you’re having a conversation around me and it is making me uncomfortable! What are you talking about?”, at which point, Pandora goes “Oh well I have a lot of drama going on in my life right now and it is just best that I keep some things vaulted.” Which like, okay, but then also don’t vaguely drama dump in front of me in my living room.
Anyway, she left and then my husband goes “You want to know what that was about?” and I said “yes!” because of course I do when baited with juicy morsels of gossip. Well it turns out that Pandora has been fooling around with this one particular couple when they do MDMA and now has started hooking up with the dude half of the couple without the woman’s knowledge. In fact, the appointment she kept referring to was a six am visit from this dude, who was going to hook up her secretly on his way to work.

For context, this info was dropped on me at close to 2 in the morning and I had work the next day, so I didn’t say anything in the moment, but I spent the whole next day thinking about it and it seriously made me annoyed and upset. Like do I think her morning secret hookup dude takes a large share of the blame for stepping outside his primary relationship as he is the committed person? Yes. But it genuinely bothers me that she was intimate with this woman, knew exactly what the woman’s boundaries were and what the boundaries within the primary relationship were, and then decided to go there anyway. To me, sex isn’t just something that happens, it’s something that you choose to make happen and they chose against the wishes of the other person involved which is sketchy as fuck. That to me shows a huge sign of disrespect and I told my husband that it really made me upset and uncomfortable to bring this person into our lives in an intimate way. My reasoning was that if she is so willing to do this to someone she has had sex with, I don’t see what would stop her from doing the same to me, a casual acquaintance.

At this point, he says that they have had multiple boundary talks and she has assured him this won’t be an issue to which I think my exact response was COME ON, MAN! Also, during this conversation, he insisted on trying to contextualize her decision in her other relationship by saying things like “We have no idea what that other primary relationship is like!” and then he also bomb-dropped that this couple is very close friends with some other very good friends of mine, so I can’t talk to them about this because they could probably figure out who I was talking about via context clues, and he said that I can’t tell Pandora I know because she made him promise not to tell anyone and it would implode his friendship with her if she found out she broke his promise as she would be really embarrassed. I again told him that if she is sneaking around with this dude, whatever the current status of the other primary relationship is, they know it is not kosher and that it actually really bothers me that this early in the game she told him to keep secrets from me which, I think, are important contextually. Also, I seriously can’t help but wonder about not only the emotional healthiness of this situation, but the physical health as well. Like I can’t really imagine a situation where she’s like “Yeah, the guy I am also seeing is sneaking around behind his partner’s back and is kind of a cheating scumbag, but he’s really fucking diligent with condoms!”?

Anyway, I told him I am not comfortable with him taking things any further with her in light of these things and he responded by saying that he feels like she has explained things to him to his satisfaction and that because he has self-control and he is a good judge of character that he thinks that should be satisfactory in in this situation. If I have concerns about this situation, instead of unfairly shutting it down and taking this away from him, I should trust him, or, I am still feeling uncertain, I can have a conversation with her directly about boundaries, however I would have to do so without mentioning I know about her cheating scenario.

This whole situation bums me the fuck out because I feel like Pandora soiled all of it with her bad relationship mojo. I mean I am not against him seeing someone else – that’s totally fine with someone who is honest and above board with all sexual partners! -I am against this particular boundary breaking person and he keeps harping on the fact that they have an emotional connection and I am taking this away from him even though things haven’t gotten fully physical between them yet.

So I guess my question is – what the fuck do I do here? At the end of our last conversation, I agreed that we would put a pin in things on that front right now, but like, with the way things are now, I cannot imagine what scenario would ever make me feel comfortable enough to pull the pin out. (Maybe if she broke things off with the downlow dude and stopped pulling sketchy shit?) I mean how can I possibly trust this person? I feel seriously backed into a corner here.

Yours sincerely,
Sick Of Dealing With Pandora’s Box

Dear Sick of Dealing,

You feel backed into a corner because you have been backed into a corner.

You confronted the weird behavior at that awful-sounding dinner party, you trusted your (excellent) instincts and gathered your thoughts and then told your husband “Hey, Pandora is telling you who she is, which is someone who does not honor agreements around sex. I am not cool with that!” You have not been vague or unclear or unreasonable. You have been a rock star of boundaries and keen observations about the likelihood of emotional fallout and poor condom diligence.

Is there a version of ethical fun cool open relationships that allows for you to say this?

Look, I deeply dislike Pandora and from what I’ve seen she is a shitty friend, lover, and dinner guest. I wouldn’t trust her to water my plants when I’m out of town or drop a letter in the mail on her way to the bus stop. My strong preference is that she is nowhere near our lives from this moment onward. But clearly you want to fuck this person real bad, so please go get it out of your system with a minimum of fuss, a maximum of safer sex precautions, and zero amount of making me sit through dinner with her ever again or pretending that this is okay with me.

(I imagine you wearing something kind of awesome and dark and voluminous and sweeping dramatically out of the room after delivering this speech. Your eye makeup – if you wear eye makeup – has never looked more perfect than at this moment.)

No?

I like your script better: “COME ON, MAN!”

“BE SERIOUS, BRO.”

Pandora’s “Oh, my private dramatic secret jokes are definitely not designed to make you feel like a weird date-crasher in your own house, teehee, why would you think that?” game at dinner at your place was a classic Mean Girl power move. She cast her and your husband as a sexy team with sexy secrets and you as the one prying into “the vault.” Fun!

Unfortunately for you, your husband the one who is like “Yeah, but her boundaries are good enough for my emotional connection with her my deep desire to have sex with someone I know is probably terrible (but also have you still be cool about this.)” He knew exactly what she was doing with this other couple before that awkward dinner and he still tried to make Pandora happen in your life. He also told you her secret (good, not great, but better than lying more) but now expects you (?) to keep that secret (?) so Pandora won’t be mad at him for telling it(?) and for you (?) to also somehow confront her (?) about her poor boundaries in a way that will make the situation all cool so he can sleep with her?

Am I parsing this correctly? And there was something something about him “being a good judge of character?” Except he brought the “Heyyyyyyyy, I make agreements with people about sex and then break them when it suits me!” lady to your house? And he thinks there is a way forward here?

If you veto Pandora I predict they will either be secretly fucking before the clock strikes August or he will heroically not fuck her while reminding you of his enormous, heroic (so heroic) sacrifice weekly for the rest of 2017. Fun!

I guess my questions are:

  • What’s appealing about trying an open relationship again, right now, with this guy, for you?

That was gonna be a list but actually that’s my whole question. What’s in this whole situation for you? Pandora is clearly looking out for Pandora, so who is looking out for your heart and your comfort level and your health and your right to have informed consent? Who is treating your feelings and (excellent, fully-functioning) instincts with importance and care? Right now it kinda sounds like “Mostly just you” and that sounds…well…the word “lonely” comes to mind.


sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
So, yes, we got home tonight and saw that John McCain waited to take life-saving advantage of the ACA before he voted, along with fifty other Republican senators whose careers I hope will be even shorter-lived than it seems they want their constituents to be, to proceed with killing it and quite a lot of other people. These are highlights of the day I had before that.

1. [personal profile] spatch met me after my doctor's appointment this afternoon; we walked up the Esplanade to Back Bay (willows, cormorants, a blue reflected hollow in the overcast rippling in the river's wind-waves; I climbed a tree and developed a hole in my sock) and had dinner at the Cornish Pasty Co., where the chicken tikka masala pasty was approximately half the size of a human head and the toffee pudding with crème anglais arrived in a crucible. These are both endorsements. We had not planned on a book-gathering trip, but first there were the book sale carts at the West End Branch of the BPL and then there was Rodney's. I now appear to own Jack Weatherford's The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (2010), Jean Potts' Home Is the Prisoner (1960), Derek Jarman: A Portrait (1996) edited by Roger Wollen, and Cicely Mary Barker's The Lord of the Rushie River (1938), which I freely admit I bought because "Traveller's Joy" appears in the text as a folk song. The clouds had broken up by the time we were walking back over the Harvard Bridge and the Charles was full of white and pink sails, including a small flotilla circling one another and then crocodiling back to the MIT boathouse. Rob took a couple of pictures of me on the Esplanade. I am not all right with photographs of myself right now, so I am trying to make a point of them.

And the gunner we had was apparently mad. )

2. [personal profile] yhlee and [personal profile] telophase have developed a hexarchate Tarot. Specifically, a jeng-zai deck of the era of Machineries of Empire. You can ask it things. There are no illustrations as yet, but I ran two spreads from different factions and even allowing for the pattern-making capacity of the human brain it gave me scarily decent readings both times. Fair warning: it comes from a dystopia. I'm not sure it knows how to advise on light matters.

3. Courtesy of Michael Matheson: from the archives of Robot Hugs, Gender Rolls. I'm not sure why we don't seem to own any dice, but fortunately the internet provides. I got non-binary femme-type dandy. I . . . can really live with that, actually.

We bought food for the cats. We bought ice cream for ourselves. I guess tomorrow I make a lot more calls.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:30 pm
skygiants: Anthy from Revolutionary Girl Utena holding a red rose (i'm the witch)
[personal profile] skygiants
[personal profile] jothra went to a library sale last week and asked if I had any requests: "Weird 70s Gothics? Trixie, Belden?"

"WEIRD 70S GOTHICS PLEASE," I said, and Jo duly carried out her commission so well that I don't know if anybody's ever going to top it:



Portrait in Jig-Saw is apparently so obscure it doesn't even have a Goodreads page, which, having read it, I can honestly now say is kind of a shame.

Our Heroine's name is Alixander David Somerlaid MacDonald (I KNOW), otherwise known as Alisdair; she is a Strictly Sheltered Heiress who has been raised in a Freezing Castle in Complete Isolation and Solitude with only occasional visits from her father until she comes of age on her 21st birthday.

...for the record, the year is 1973.

My legit favorite part about these spoilers is that the entire plot relies on an alternate universe where the world's most famous postmodern novelist is a Thai princess, I want to live in THAT universe! )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
At Readercon, I said that my Twitter usage was basically "open, see if Ursula Vernon has live-tweeted more of reading Swiss Family Robinson, close," and that remains true. But I promised to provide links to various people, and having opened tonight to see that a reading is in progress, I should follow through.

So:

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855253438623625217 (April 20)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855601923155689472 (April 21)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855972038800023552 (April 22)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/857428575955419136 (April 26)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861402977675902977 (May 7)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861776626996129793 or https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861805896590143488 and scroll up, it isn't threading properly) (May 8)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/864320654379798530 (May 25)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/868292932406784000 (May 26)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/871216625730674688 (June 4)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/872294427045318656 (June 6)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/878827410568990720 (June 24)

and, now in progress:

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/890028466393010177

Enjoy. (I will update this post as needed, to have everything in one place.)
havocthecat: belly dancers with zils in a circle (hobbies belly dance)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Sometimes you look at a belly dance clothing vendor, admiring the beautiful clothing and considering a purchase because you need a new pair of pants (well, "need" is such a strong word, but "budgeting for a vanity purchase" is longer), but you notice some things:

You say to yourself, "Huh. All those models are really, really, REALLY thin."

REALLY thin.

You notice there are a couple of pictures of slender non-model dancers, and that's pretty cool, and a troupe of slender-to-average non-model dancers, and that's also cool.

Then you keep scrolling down and see that picture of the one non-model dancer wearing their clothes who might be considered larger-than-average has been cut off at the chest. You pause. You click. You see she's got a belly.

She's not fat. She's not plus-sized. Just larger-than-average. With a beautiful stomach, but one that's a little bit bigger than any of the other pictures that are actually visible on the site.

There aren't any plus-sized belly dancers on this site either. AT ALL. Which is weird. Because there are plenty of plus-sized belly dancers who are happy to buy dance wear. Especially custom-made dance wear.

That's when you realize that this clothing vendor doesn't want lardasses like you sullying their goods with your impure body.

So you close the tab and remember the name of the vendor, because you won't sully their bank account with your fat-stained money either.

(Edit: I don't have to add an "ALL body types are beautiful" disclaimer, do I? Or mention that the issue isn't that there are thin models, but that the one person on the largest size of the bell curve was CUT OFF below her chest in the picture. Let's face it, belly dance is a hobby where most of your customers aren't going to be model-thin.)

This is question #1000.

Jul. 25th, 2017 01:54 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

I know people have been anticipating what I will answer for reader question 1,000. Thanks for the emailed suggestions and the hype, it’s awesome that people are excited! Milestones are cool!

It’s also way too much pressure and I’ve started answering people privately the past week or so because it’s like “Well, this is a great question, but is it QUESTION NUMBER ONE THOUSAND?” “Shouldn’t QUESTION ONE THOUSAND sort of sum up everything I think about conflict and awkwardness?” (Answer: No, that’s a book. A book that I am trying to figure out the shape of. A book that will happen.)

So, here is question #1000. It’s a placeholder. I choked. I’m sorry. What I’ve got is that writer’s block trick of “okay if you don’t know how to write the next thing, try writing a next thing and figure out where it all fits later.”

I’ve got some It Came From The Search Terms to knock out this week and then we’ll be back sometime with #1001, which will be a normal question with normal significance and normal amount of (pretty damn interesting!) interestingness.


spiralsheep: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (spiralsheep Ram Raider mpfc)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Mr Tummyness goes for a walk.

Mr Tummyness the Faun stumped by a wish tree

postable  Mr Tummyness the Faun with the skeletal petals of winter

- BBC News online feed pull quote, lol: "A 12ft-long python found on the Norfolk Broads has still not been found." Perhaps it's not a python but a news ouroboros? ;-)

- Small political victories making me happy right left now:

1. In the UK the inquest into the death of Sarah Reed #sayhername found that her death in custody was preventable and the result of systemic racism and disablism. The inquest explicitly stated that Sarah Reed should NOT have been in prison, in addition to listing many forms of abusive maltreatment Sarah Reed was subjected to including the deliberate withholding of medication by prison staff. It doesn't give Sarah Reed her life back but this accurate and comprehensive inquest will help her family, especially her mother, and might even ripple outwards to help every Black disabled woman currently being abused by systemic racism and disablism (including by disabled white racists who volubly deny racism exists, and play at respectability politics, while inflicting their racism and the deadly results on Black disabled people).

2. In Poland justice activist Zofia Romaszewska, and mass street protests by ordinary Polish people, persuaded President Andrzej Duda to veto an attempt by the (democratically elected) fascist government of Poland to take control of the judiciary. The EU also protested and threatened sanctions, which is important because that might slow the power grab by fascists in Hungary and the further spread of overt fascism in Europe (which still has too much power and influence over the rest of the world).

3. All those gifs of Sean Spicer stealing a mini-fridge from the White House were 'king lolarious and, no, it's not a *distraction* because people can have fun while simultaneously caring about the srs bznz of resisting fascism.
sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
[personal profile] sovay
There is now a Blu-Ray of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953). And it's region-free.

Well, I'm delighted.

(I have to thank Cine Outsider for the tip-off; I had no idea until I was scrolling down as I do about every month or so and then what? I still have dreams of seeing an actual print someday. The film was shot in Technicolor. It may have been chopped to pieces by Columbia, but what's left should still look good. Besides, I have always had the sneaking suspicion that even the most faithful digital transfer cannot properly reproduce the full effect of Dr. Terwilliker's hat.)

Munich Meetup, July 27

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:54 am
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

From Fia, your host:

Hi Captain Awkward!

Just wanted to notify you about a meetup in Munich that we planned for Thursday the 27th of July at 6:30 pm.
We are going to meet at the same place like last time. The PotAsia Ost. It is in Berg an Laim, Baumkirchnerstr. 21. More details and map here: https://www.potasia.de.
To quote forum member Mercy for directions: “From Tram 19, Haltestelle Baumkirchnerstr. From the corner of Kreillerstr. and Baumkirchnerstr., walk past the Aumüller bakery and it’s about halfway down the block, across the street from the Maibaum.
From U2 Josephsburg, take the exit for Kreillerstr, turn left, and walk a long block to Baumkirchnerstr. From there the directions are the same.”
I will bring my Pusheenicorn so people will be able to identify the table.
If somebody needs to get in touch, there’s the “Munich?” thread on
the forums or you can contact me by email on fianakiara@web.de.
Thanks so much and have a nice day! 🙂
Have a nice day yourselves, Munich!

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Jul. 24th, 2017 06:46 pm
jjhunter: a person who waves their hand over a castle tower changes size depending on your perspective (perspective matters)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!

Dice & pages

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:47 pm
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
[personal profile] schneefink
During work I keep coming up with things I want to post about, and then when I'm home I'm too lazy and/or tired, similarly often on weekends. No vacation for me until September, most likely, but I told myself to pay attention and take a mental health day if I need it. I haven't been sick yet so I wouldn't feel bad about it.

D&D )

I recently found a book again that I'd searched for for years: "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I was prepared to be disappointed, but to my happy surprise I still like it a lot. It's harsher than I remembered, especially in regards to the cost of striving for power. The surprising reveal at the end made me look at much of it in a different way and made me like it even more. Yay trope subversion. Spoiler )
I liked Antonya and many of the other characters, and rereading the book now there are several scenes that I now much better understand the id buttons they pushed (esp. Kerrick & Morgan.) Also, something I'd forgotten about which was a nice surprise, queer people exist and are, while not completely normal, not a big deal.

Politics, because it's unavoidable: The current situation in Poland is scary, it shows how easily things like that can happen. That the protests appear to have had some success is encouraging but not more than a silver lining.
There are so many countries were democracy is under attack…
In Austria I'm trying to focus on the push-back against the surveillance program, but I'm scared about the new government after the next election. The outcome seems almost certain and it would be a bad one imo, but as we've recently seen in the UK a lot can change during an election campaign, so we'll see.
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
[personal profile] sovay
So I had a completely miserable night with a lot of pain and zero sleep and only managed to nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon and woke up to grey rain and some potential medical news I'm going to want a serious double-check on, but as I made my intermittent rounds of other people's Tumblrs I saw that [personal profile] selkie had just tagged me for a gifset of twenty-year-old Jeremy Brett as some kind of uncredited beautiful student in Noel Langley's Svengali (1954) and that does help, thank you.

Redesign

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:11 am
ashtoreth: (lioness that snarls)
[personal profile] ashtoreth
 What can I say about this year?

It's been moderately better than last year, but still with creative and energetic lulls that seem more depressing than normal.

And cruel.

I finally had ideas, motivation, and time when what did I discover... Photobucket is full of bullshit and fuckery, and wants to charge ransom prices to 3rd party host images. You know, I could go with $40 a year. $400, uh, no, not happening.

Fortunately, a beautiful friend has gifted me space at Pan Historia to get my account there back to normal. I'll be wrangling things there to my satisfaction and rippling down through the DW accounts.

So, please pardon the blood, dust, sweat, and tears. I'm redesigning while the boys in the lab work on combustible lemons.


(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:48 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon reminds us that the 2017-18 school year is coming, and [tumblr.com profile] positivelypt has a post up with links to wishlists for underserved classrooms. You can check out the list, give, and reblog here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.


Help For Free:

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] globalsextrendsproject, who are working on an independent research projected aimed at establishing whether there are global trends in stimuli for sexual arousal and the content of sexual fantasies. You can read more and reblog here or fill out the form here. I took a quick breeze through the form and it's primarily short-answer rather than multiple choice, once you get past the demographic stuff.


Activism:

[tumblr.com profile] stabulous has a post up about Welcome Blanket, a project initiated by the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago and anti-Trump craftivists. They are asking people to send handmade blankets to be exhibited at the Smart and afterwards distributed to refugees and immigrants arriving in the US. The hope is to create 3200 blankets to equal the length of the wall Trump wants to build across the US-Mexico border. You can read more at the link above, and find out how to participate at the official site, which includes activism resources whether you want to actually send in a blanket or not.


News To Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Creative Commons, which is offering grants of up to USD$1000 for small projects ("Salons, campaigns, translations, e-books, printing, collaborations, and more") which grow the global commons. They want help increasing discovery, collaboration, and advocacy towards their mission. You can read more and apply for a grant here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] dr-kara's new comic available on ComixOlogy, [Super]Natural Attraction! Kara is well-known to me as a groovy artist who does cool stuff so while I haven't read this yet I wholeheartedly recommend her work. She has a rebloggable post about it here and you can buy and read it here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
[personal profile] sovay
I do not think after all that I have read Nicholas Stuart Gray's The Apple-Stone (1965); I think I have just read a lot of E. Nesbit, Mary Norton, and Edward Eager, all of whom are obviously in the DNA of a novel about five children—the English narrator and his two sisters plus their Scottish cousins who are known collectively as "the Clans"—who find a strange, ancient, sentient power that brings magic into their lives for about a week and then moves on, leaving mostly memories and just a few things changed for good.

"One touch from me animates the inanimate," boasts the Apple-Stone, the "small, bright, golden ball, about the size of a marble" that assisted in the birth of the universe and gave rise to the myth of the Golden Apples of the Sun; the children find it on the highest bough in the orchard, like a Sappho fragment come to life, and they make enlightening, foolish, dangerous, and kind use of it over the next twelve chapters until it returns to the earth to sleep and restore its power and find another apple tree to bloom from, decades or centuries hence. Most of their adventures have a comic slant, as when they animate the decrepit hearthrug to settle a bet over what kind of animal it came from and never find out because they spend the day having confused their "Lambie" with an actual escaped leopard prowling the moors, or have to play detectives for a lost glove weeping bitterly over being separated from its beloved right hand ("I'm deeply attached to it. I love it"), or create an intelligent, talkative, opera-loving sheep about twice the size of a Great Dane for reasons that make sense at the time. Sometimes the comedy turns spooky, as when they accidentally animate a feather boa and get Quetzalcoatl, who not unreasonably expects a sacrifice for incarnating when called, or an episode with a formerly model rocket triggers an international incident and science fiction, or the narrator discovers an unexpected and unwanted affinity for night flight on a witch's broom. An interlude with an effigy of a Crusader constitutes the kind of history lesson that would fit right into Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), as some of the children have their romantic illusions punctured and some come away with an interest in astrology and medicinal plants. And the two weirdest, most numinous chapters are the reason I can't be one hundred percent sure that I didn't read this book a long, long time ago: the life and death of the Bonfire Night guy that is partly the sad, passionate ghost of Guy Fawkes and partly a pyromaniac patchwork of the five children whose castoffs and imagination gave it form (as it explains in one of its more lucid moments, "Everyone is a mixture, you know, and I'm more so than most") and the introduction of new magic when the weeping gargoyle off a nearby church turns out to be the stone-trapped form of a medieval demon named "Little Tom," a wild, ragged, not quite human child in tricksterish and forlorn search of a witch to be familiar to. Both of them gave me the same half-echo as Eleanor Farjeon's The Silver Curlew (1953), again without any of the language coming back to me. I might run it by my mother to see if she remembers bringing it home when I was small. On the other hand, it might just be that I know [personal profile] ashlyme and [personal profile] nineweaving.

The Apple-Stone is the second book I've read by Gray and The Seventh Swan (1962) almost doesn't count, since I know I read it in elementary school and all I can remember is that it upset me more than the original fairy tale, which I suspect means I should re-read it. I like this one a lot, non-magical parts included. We learn early on that the parents of the English family are the puppeteers behind the popular TV show Ben and Bet Bun and absolutely none of their children think once of bringing the Buns or the Foxies to life because they find the whole thing desperately embarrassing. (The Clans' parents are rocket scientists and the narrator envies them deeply. "We're fond of our Mum and Dad, and hope they may grow out of it in time.") The children as a group are a believable, likeable mix of traits and alliances, differentiated well beyond obvious tags like Jo's academic crazes or Nigel's artistic talent or Douglas' belligerence or Jemima's imperiousness or Jeremy's daydreaming. They fight almost constantly with one another—the Clans especially, being composed of one Campbell and one Macdonald, are engaged in the kind of dramatic ongoing feud that is half performance art and half really blowing off steam—but close ranks immediately against outsiders, even supernatural ones:

"But I must tell you straight, gentles, that I can't do much of the true Black Art," said the gargoyle. "I'm not one of the great ones. I was never aught but a very little 'un. Horrid tricks I can manage," it added, boastfully, "like makin' folks squint, or muddling their minds, or twisting their tongues so that they stammers and stutters—"

"I c-can do that without your help!" snapped Nigel, going red.

"And I'm muddleheaded enough for everyone," I said, quickly.

"No, you're not!" said Jo, fiercely. "And Nigel only stutters when he's away from his home." Then she turned on the gargoyle. "You'll do no horrid tricks, do you hear? We're not sorcerers. We brought you here to help you."

The creature was still changing during all of this . . . Its hair was long and black, and tangled. Its ears were still pointed, though not as huge and batlike as before. It gave us a scornful grin, and said, "Many sorcerers don't care to admit to it."


If you have not read this novel, you can probably tell by now if you're going to like it. The Nesbit it reminds me of most is The Enchanted Castle (1907), but it feels like itself and it feels like its own time, which is equally important. I am actively sad that the near-fine UK first edition I saw at Readercon cost sticker shock—the library copy I just finished reading is the American first edition and the illustrations really didn't work for me. (I'm sorry, Charles Keeping! Your work for Alan Garner, Mollie Hunter, and Rosemary Sutcliff was great!) Maybe sometime I'll get lucky at the Strand. In any case, the text is what matters most and that I recommend. It is good at the strangeness of things that are not human and it never risks making even the cute ones twee. It's good at children's priorities and the ways that not being an adult doesn't mean not seeing the world. I didn't quote much of a descriptive passage, but I like its language. Anyone with other favorite novels by Nicholas Stuart Gray, please let me know.

In which there is the June Book, 1976

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:49 am
spiralsheep: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society (Sewing Circle Terrorist Society)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
60. June Book, 1976, annual, comic, girls own. (3/5)

• 2-8 & 25-31 Mam'selle X and Operation Danger comic: sabotage and steam engines in occupied France.

• 9-11 Strangest Stories Ever Told (aka The Storyteller &c.) comic: our heroine befriends a tree that is subsequently involved in a fatal accident, made into a sledge, before the sentient and now also mobile tree saves the girl's life, "It's made from Philippa, darling, that's why! Daddy was very clever and sawed strips of wood off her to make it." Randomly set in Canada. SO EXOTIC!

• 12-15 Lucky's Living Doll comic: there are two episodes of this long-running comedy in this annual. Tina, the "living doll", looks after a mum and her baby after they miss the last bus and decide to stay the night in the mysterious invisible stranger's house instead of walking and/or hitching which would be much safer in the real world!

• 16 Just Joking comic: a page of single panel cartoons. I'm planning to post this image whenever anyone mentions "white feminism" from now on. :-D

Is this an uninhabited island? From the June Book annual 1976

Contents and two more scans. )

Everyone make their best dead faces

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:55 am
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
I did not make it to the last day of Necon due to circumstances falling through, but fortunately [personal profile] handful_ofdust was flying back to Toronto from Boston, so I took the time-honored Sunday combination of very slow buses, trains, and shuttles out to Logan Airport and had a splendid time hanging out for two hours before her flight, even if I still miss being able to walk people to their gates and wave them off onto the plane. We had dinner and talked about everything from neurodiversity to Orson Krennic, Imperial Poseur; I came away richer by a binder of DVDs (through which [personal profile] spatch is happily poring as we speak: "We could watch Moana! You know you've also got Deathgasm? Ooh, Night of the Comet. Logan, that's good") and a Gemma-made necklace of amethyst, pearls, gold and amber glass beads, and a frosted-glass pendant that used to be an earring. Coming back, I foolishly thought it would be faster to cut over to the Orange Line at Downtown Crossing and that is how I spent forty-five minutes asleep in a sitting position on a bench at Sullivan Station because there were no buses and I was very tired. The air was cool and smelled like the sea. The cats came and curled up with me in the last of the sunlight when I got home. Worth it.

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