Friday Five


  1. Today’s Andrew’s first opening in Lausanne. Yesterday was his first in Zurich. I’m looking forward to seeing his work at scale in a gallery setting. Our living room doesn’t offer quite the same experience. He’s working in interactive theatre and for Zurich created an interactive light space, and for Lausanne an interactive sound scape. Where and how people move triggers responses from the environment, both visual and aural. Think interactive, physical composition rather than choreography.
  2. Earlier this week, Charlie Jane Anders wrote a post for io9  on how to tell whether a first draft of a novel isn’t worth salvaging. I liked her practical questions and tests, but I loved her phrase “practice novel.” Although a novel might not work, writing it isn’t a waste of time. You can reflect, learn, and try again. I appreciated the reminder.
  3. Last year I pointed to an essay that a friend wrote on ferality. When I’m in insane writing mode (when Andrew is away and I let dishes and laundry pile up and scavenge for food so I don’t need to leave my work for more than a few minutes at a time), I say I’m going feral. I live like a wild, undomesticated thing, completely immersed in words. Well, here is another feral essay, this time by Annie Dillard, called Living Like Weasels, that I absolutely adore. My goodness, her prose.
  4. Speaking of ferality, here’s a charming story of a fox who steals a cell phone and sends a text message. Click through to the video to see the actual theft.
  5. Finally, Malinda Lo wrote two excellent blog posts about gay couples in Kristin Cashore’s novels: Heteronormativity, fantasy, and Bitterblue Part 1 and Part 2. Kristin has written about how learning about disability politics changed the way she portrayed a disabled character from Graceling to Bitterblue, and Malinda Lo shows a similar evolution in the portrayal of gay couples. She also provides a terrific explanation of social norms and assumptions as a part of world-building. Kristin mentioned that one of the challenges of writing Bitterblue was that she had created an impossible physical geography in Graceling — she had to make Katsa’s journey from one place to another challenging, so she threw all sorts of physical barriers in the way. In Bitterblue, she wanted characters to move between regions more easily, but she was initially trapped by her geography until she found a workaround. These various reflections underscored two ideas: 1) world-building encompasses far more than setting or cultural rules and includes contemporary sensibilities and assumptions, and 2) the world evolves along with the writer, both physically and conceptually.  You aren’t trapped by either your words or your worlds.
© 2016 Anindita Basu Sempere. 
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