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I am torn on what to work on this weekend.

[Poll #2059299]

1:20pm Today we have learned an important lesson. Democracy is hard, ranked ballots work better if you provide a way to rank the choices, and then there's this.
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FFN pisses me off, because it doesn't allow me to respond to comments out in public -- and sometimes people have interesting things to say that others might be curious about.

In response to Duj's thoughtful review:

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A note about Cree words specifically: I’m not a native speaker, and much of Mushkegowak n-dialect Cree has been overrun by Plains y-dialect, which I’m a little better with, so I’ve gone with that when in doubt (I'm sorry). A major difference in pronunciation is that the y-dialect ‘s’ is often ‘š’ in n-dialect, which is pronounced something like ‘sh’ -- but I can’t tell you which words it necessarily holds for. Oh, and my grammar is likely bad. If anyone stumbles by who’s better with the language, I would be entirely grateful if you could help me learn more. In exchange, I have some skill with moccasin leatherwork and beading to offer. :)

Name-sharing taboo was, historically, a real thing. If you (especially as a non-indigenous person) asked someone their name, you’d be directed to a third party, who would tell you that person’s name or, most often, a nickname. I am not going to explain more of the reasoning behind this taboo than I have (i.e., I’m invoking a formal refusal). Among contemporary Cree, name-sharing strictures have largely been abandoned.

Two-Jack’s name-story is entirely fictional – I built it around some stylistic motifs I’m familiar with, but it is definitely not authentic; moreover, I westernized the telling by developing a full narrative around the events, to aid in explanation. But Two-Jack’s name doesn’t need to be authentic, or conveyed in authentic form for it to function properly in the context of this narrative – if we take as given that he was already an old man when Snape knew him, we can place his youth smack in the residential school era. The cultural genocide perpetrated in the schools wiped out such traditions, which – after ~150 years of Hudson Bay Company occupation in the Lowlands area – were already somewhat influenced by Europeans. He could certainly have been given a Cree* nickname by his community (and used it to the exclusion of his Anglo name), but it likely would not have been bestowed traditionally, by a mitew/shaman. So: the story I’ve presented you with is not traditional/authentic, but it could still [fictionally] fit with the cultural and historical context of the region. Finally, there is a subtle philosophical point open for contemplation, which is embedded in the fact that this is a name-story told By A White Guy.**

I doubt any authentic records pertaining to specific Cree naming narratives even exist. While HA Norman has produced several compendia of supposed Cree name stories that have some entertainment value, and are being readily assimilated into contemporary indigenous identities, I harbour distinct doubts as to Norman’s legitimacy as either translator or archivist, given his early history of misappropriation, falsehood, and plagiarism in ‘The Wishing Bone Cycle’ (Brightman 1989, Tricksters and Ethnopoetics; I can send you the pdf if you want it). There's a fairly decent chance that Norman invented some stories, slapped some tribal affiliation on them, and said 'This is what these tribes believe.' A lot of people in the white majority take it as truth, and now some indigenous people -- trying to rediscover their heritage -- are starting to, as well. It's in the same class of actions as JK Rowling snaffling skinwalkers, thunderbirds et al., and saying 'This is what was going on.' -- no, indigenous people probably aren't going to buy her version, but how much of the rest of society will continue to ignore living indigenous cultures, in favour of a colonial worldview?

*Or Ojibway (Anishinaabeg). The Lowland communities of York Factory, Shamattawa, Fort Severn and Peawanuck tend to be mixed, with Cree, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Métis members. I've been going with Cree in this story, b/c I'm Cree Métis (mostly Amiskwacīwiyiniwak, but some Maškēkowak filtered the long way through the Red River Valley), and can rationalize to myself that I'm 'appropriating' parts of my own cultural heritage in a respectful manner (and doing my best to research where the tribal-specific traditions differ). Your mileage as to my right/success may vary. We can talk about that.

**There's always background stuff like this going on in the narrative choices, structure, and stylistic devices in my stories. You don't have to bother with it if you don't want to; it doesn't have anything to do with the major plotline of the story -- which is why this note is here on LJ instead of tacked on to the tale. As a reader, I get annoyed with writers who moralize instead of just telling the damn story. So I'm trying to limit myself to being a complete hypocrite over here in the corner instead of out in public.
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I am scribbling away at Quando Omni, although not in strict temporal sequence. A long time ago I mentioned that aspects of this story were political commentary and a response to JK Rowling's treatment of indigenous peoples in her Magic in North America/Ilvermorny essays. Having said that, this reason.com article stresses how residential schools in North America had a fundamentally different cultural context from the British model that the Potterverse nostalgically worships. Too, I'd like to direct your attention to the brilliant, haunting, and provocative new project from Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip): secretpath.ca, which was inspired by the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack.
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Bonjour! In apology for absence and generalized moroseness, here is a picture of the moose who have been visiting our back pond:
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I am removing my fiction from fanfiction.net for now. I have entirely lost patience with the juvenile tactics employed by what are --in all likelihood-- a very small minority of people in the SSHG fandom. This is a case of everyone being punished for the actions of a few, for which I am deeply sorry.

Given what's happening in my personal life (family member's cancer), I don't need the compounding misery of having to wade through anonymous commentary -- sure, FFN allows you to set Anon reviews to 'moderated' -- but that still means I have to look at it in order to delete it before it automatically posts. And frankly, I don't need a spoonful of racism or rape threats with my morning coffee. Nor do I want to have to ask a friend to do this for me. This shouldn't be necessary at all.

To be clear, I'm not asking for readers to be kind (I like constructive criticism -- a lot). I just need a cessation of this relentless attack upon my fanwork. This is the kind of behaviour that makes fandoms toxic: If it's ok to assault me like this, who's to say it won't be another author next week? When these behaviours are allowed to set roots, a precedent is established that is hard to ever recover from. Harassing creators (whether you personally like them/their work or not!) is a strategy that will reduce a fandom to ashes and rubble over time.
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with respect to Lies and Red Ink. The second part, clocking in at 2162 words of continuing crimes against pornography, will go online in ~20 minutes. You will probably have to hold your nose while reading.

ETA: Ok, it's up in the usual places. And it's really, for sure done this time.

ETA II (for the sake of meta): I just responded to [livejournal.com profile] lenaa1987 privately over at FFN (reviews take forever to load, so my apologies for what seems a delay in responding). Anyway, I mentioned something there that I think is pertinent to share with everyone, namely:

"And yes, that last [line]... I have to admit I'm tempted [to write more], but what I wanted to create with those words was a door opening to any possibilities a reader can imagine. And I think that if I do anything more with this piece, as its author, I will be shutting someone's doors. It's one of the things I dislike most about JKR, that she won't leave space open for others to imagine possibilities in her work. I needed this piece to close in a way that breathes inspiration."

As a random, meaningless aside, I was listening to Kintsukoroi by Hey Rosetta! during my walks while conceiving this piece. The lyrics of the song relate not at all to any part of what I wrote, which is typical of how I enjoy music while considering things I'll write.
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Lies and Red Ink is now up at AO3 and FFN. It IS weird, so it's ok if you think it's weird.

In summary: Written because [livejournal.com profile] traverse and I were joking on Livejournal that Snape must have a fetish for grading papers, given the amount of homework he assigns. Having said that, sorry, this is decidedly not what you might have hoped for. Morally gray, graphic (rating for a reason), Hogwarts pre-DH; one-shot.
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Ok. I've finished with the quantum physics bafflegabbing (which I won't assault you with -- but I needed to finish working it all out so that it was consistent in my own head). Big reveal? Magic can't exist, even if you start playing with Tegmarkian consciousness constructs. But you knew that, because... uh, no one can do magic? Anyway, I've finally got all the pieces of something that I can work with that's at least internally consistent. In my outline for this, I expect I was planning to armwave past this point (or, well, I know I was, b/c I wrote myself a note to that effect), but in actually writing it, I became terrified that I would postulate something and thus create screwball consequences down the line in the story's logic structure. So to my way of thinking that required a fully-fleshed, coherent understanding of the entire system.

Yeah. I just wrote a precis on how magic works in JKR's Harry Potter series. A different thesis than the one I was using for Smart Girls (but I like it so much I may eventually use parts of it there, too). And now the challenge is going to be to avoid burdening all of you with the details -- because, in SF parlance, no one wants to know how the hyperdrive works, they just want to see what's at the end of the journey.

Anyway! Having now done all this brainwork, and being fully cognizant of the giant gaping holes where my system can't work in reality, I'm exceedingly heartened to see this:



-- because at least I don't have intractable plotholes.

Quando Omni ticker:


21741 / 100000 words. 22% done!
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The [livejournal.com profile] severus_snape reveals are up; do have a look at all the lovely things people generated. My own contribution is not to everyone's taste, of course -- while I usually strive to reward both casual and analytical readers, the former definitely got short shrift this time.

Regardless, I am exceedingly grateful to those of you who have decided to interact with my work. Thank you for your kindness -- your words really have meant the world to me; I cherish your comments deeply, and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your thoughts and responses to my work. For those who didn't care for it, and have presumably withheld an opinion in deference to the expected positive nature of the fest, please know that I very much welcome your criticism and thoughts. I would like to grow as a writer, and would appreciate furthering my understanding of where I am going wrong.

If you're just now considering giving it a try, I'd suggest getting into a nice, calm frame of mind first. Try this:

... or you could even just open this playlist in a second tab and turn it down low.


Standard distribution note after the jump:

Philosophy of Fanworks (AKA standard distribution note): )


If it's something you'd like to do, I'm happy to chat in the comments here about what I think I wrote -- although what you think you read is certainly just as valid, and perhaps more so. Again, thank you for choosing to interact with my work. ETA: Warning, don't click into the comments if you don't want my ideas intruding into your perceptions.

As I mentioned above, I both welcome and delight in constructive criticism -- how else would a person grow? More importantly, though, I am a firm proponent of the belief that the reader/viewer is an intrinsic participant in any work of art or fiction -- there is a kind of alchemy that occurs when you take someone's words into your head, when a scene blossoms up, having precipitated through the lenses of your own experiences, the emotions that you bring to bear upon any topic. That's not there in the text -- it's in you, the Reader. I consider all Storytellers (artists, authors, musicians alike) to be involved in an intimate dialogue with their audience, and the success of any Story depends upon the audience's willing collaboration.
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