Feb. 28th, 2013

gillpolack: (Default)
It's funny how many holes one's mind has. Mine has more than most, I suspect. I had a whisper of a story out last year. It was so short that if you breathe then it's over, but it most certainly did appear, albeit only in the context of Conflux and CSFG.

This morning I sacrificed six vials of blood to the Deity of Testing, to see if this pain can be sorted, to find out if the fact that I am middle-aged can be sorted, to see if I'm diabetic (except that was another vial and it was a different shape and did not contain blood) and to work out other things. I don't know what the other things are, for the vast list of hormonal material being tested piqued my amusement. Also my interest. Why was I tested for any of this when perimenopause first manifested, a decade ago?

Since I came back from the testing-place (which is just four doors from my doctor - and by 'four doors' I mean doorways within a building) I have pottered much and frittered away time, for what I'm doing today is tax and I hurt. It's the weather and the PMT and the fact that it's acid-in-the-veins-day (this month I have a 60 hour day, I think) and the sad fact that I have no deadlines to force me to do things. The only one I had today (for my teaching on Saturday) I have met. This means that it's 2.30 pm, and I've only done 3 hours work. But I've done a remarkable job of feeling sorry for myself.

Half the problem is the weather. It's in a constant state of significant change. It will settle later today, or I shall have words with it.

Nothing's actually wrong at my end of things. I just hurt. And obviously, if I can't remember my own publications, I'm not going to drown my sorrows in something workishly interesting. I potter around with my taxes (which will take a long while at this rate), and I restore bits of my place to its pre-fixing-up normalcy, and I prepare a bit of dinner here and a bit there (for I have friends dropping in), and I wash dishes, and I do email or teaching prep (Saturday's is a workshop that has fairly intensive prep for me, so all I've done is the first segment, but that includes the handouts, so I'm 1/3 through) and I do more bits and pieces.

It's not even a wasted day. It just feels like it, for I can't tick things off my list. Maybe it would help if I did a list for March. The only item unfinished on my February list is taxes. This would be why I had planned to spend today breaking the back of them.

Coffee, that is my answer. And a wall-list for March. And just keep on starting and stopping until the first part of the job is done. To music. I shall give myself three hours for these things.
gillpolack: (Default)
Those of you who've done my history and world-building courses may have noticed me talking about how our cultural inwardness and ethnocentricities place unintended curbs on our story-telling. Here's another approach (not done for writers, but for rather more basic research reasons), using anthropology and psychology: http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/#.US6kCBaVnHt.twitter

The bottom line is that not all stories are about us, or should be about us. The bottom line for this research (if one extrapolates for writers) is that US story models (which are very popular in genre writing) represent something very interesting indeed, but not as representative of wider humanity as many believe. There are more ways of telling stories out there than we think, and more choices characters can make.

What's really interesting is that the psychology of this research seems to suggest that we create our own societies (they were specifically talking about economies) from material familiar to many spec fic writers.

Some of you know (hopefully very few) that my initial research interest (many, many years ago) was how speakers of the vernacular wrote about history and the past ie how they structured their worldview using their literature and how that fed into itself and created a strong sense of self in time. I was influenced by ethnohistory in my approach, for Greg Dening taught me in Honours year, and his is the sort of teaching that never gets shaken off. The article didn't surprise me, then, for these researchers and I had some overlap in how we approached the study of humanity. I love it that a complex, porous place where disciplines are merging is developing and, with the merge, our understanding of humanity blossoms.

What I love particularly, is that fiction writers have the power to read and learn from the scholars working in this complex, porous place and take the blossoming and bring the new understanding into the community, with interpretations of the different ways of seeing and doing and thinking that present books and characters that move us from the US end of interpretable existence* into wider fields. More blossoms can bloom, for the understanding will spread.

There's been lots of talk of how science fits into speculative fiction, but this type of study is just as important for any genre that claims "We're the one that asks 'What if?"



*Please, do this! The finding that so much of our understanding of humanity is based on studies of US undergrads, frankly, terrified me. What worried me, additionally, was that I wasn't at all surprised. Credible sources and their cost both count in some disciplines.

ETA: Sorry - the first paragraph faded mysteriously, but I've put it back. My TV is currently doing the same. It's all very odd.

May 2013

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