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2017-06-04 09:59 pm

The question of justice

It's a matter of musing on The Peridan Chronicles. I haven't written much in that for ages, but I'm kind of still, always, living with one foot in that world.

I have been re-reading the Peter Wimsey books (even more enjoyable this time around, which I suspect won't be a surprise to anyone), in which Lord Peter tackles the questions of crime and punishment and the carrying out of justice, and where his duty lies in that area. And I've just come across an old discussion on Lion's Call (the discussions there aren't very lively, and are of a very variant... depth? but this one was definitely one of the deeper ones) about Aravis' scarring towards the end of HHB and the reasons behind it and the whys and hows of its fairness or unfairness.

Somewhere in that discussion, aside from God's justice, which is inevitable, someone mentioned accidents and some things being "the way the world is" possibly being why Lewis would have chosen to have Aslan act directly. It made me wonder about the way God metes out justice in the Bible (I feel woefully under-read in that regard) and remember the story somewhere in the gospels, about a tower falling down on some people, and Jesus emphatically stressing it was not a punishment. I think I heard or read a sermon on that once that was rather striking. Accidents are accidents. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. But also, in this context: Punishments are clear?

Punishments ought to be clear?
 

It brought back to mind the fact that in The Peridan Chronicles, the question of meting out punishment will have to be tackled sooner or later; it's the nature of the beast, so to say, as a story (I would write book, because it definitely has book proportions) that should cover the "progress" of the so-called Golden Age.

As someone had commented on it (it's too late in the evening for me to look it up; was it Heliopause?), it's something the Pevensies would have to face (namely Peter, in that case). It is rather clear that there had to be some rulings of justice, if only because Edmund had to earn his epithet somehow.

I know it was CaraLee (who apparently now goes under a different pen-name, but I shall continue to think of her as CaraLee) I told in a PM that even though it's primarily a learning experience for Methos, there's definitely a thing or two he has to teach the Pevensies.

It brings to mind Methos in "Chivalry", doing what Duncan could not bring himself to do.

There is a sort of natural impulse in me to keep all that out of the picture, to have redeemable villains and to have the irredeemable ones meet a Disney villain end; but all this accumulation of instances has brought it to my attention that it's not entirely a Narnian thing, and it's definitely not a Methos thing, either. He won't shrink from administering the killing blow or allowing someone to administer it, even when it's an old friend that is to be punished and stopped. (He seems to make an exception with Duncan, but then, Duncan is not purposefully villainous, so there's definitely a justified distinction.)
And obviously, Twinkletop has already hinted at that, too: in the Narnian setting, with the Pevensies where they are now, that's probably a trait that's going to be needed.

Leaving all this here mostly as a reminder to myself: there has to be an element of Methos in "Chivalry" in my Peridan and, as I've already quoted to CaraLee, his "Do you really think there's no such thing as evil?".

Now, how to get over the hurdle that's this more or less transitional chapter that's been defying me, and get them all to that point...
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2016-10-12 08:21 am

Could you explain this to me?

Despite the loooooong hiatus, The Peridan Chronicles keep getting subscribers. But that's not the part I need explained. (It's the part where I really should do something about it, no explanations required.)


What puzzles me is the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who read it are apparently into anime. The habit of most readers not to leave any reviews at all does not help.

Seeing as the only anime I've ever seen was Cowboy Bebop, mostly because soundtrack and western-in-space, I'm completely puzzled as to what it is about a Highlander x Chronicles of Narnia crossover that anime fans are apparently drawn to? And what it is about the particular way I go about it that makes them want to stick around?

I can't say I'm not grateful for the readers, but it is just a bit frustrating to keep getting readers I have no apparent common ground with and having no idea what they're expecting to see.
Not that I'm likely to deliver to expectations. More like, you're sticking around and I'm glad you are despite the monumental hiatus, but do we really aim for the same thing here? Could you, maybe, at least tell me?

Also, while we're at it, is there another anime of reasonable length that I might be into?


I think I'm going to stick a version of this into an author's note at FF.net when I finally get around to updating the story.
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2016-04-26 08:01 am
Entry tags:

Marmota ponders fandom and her relationship to it

It has emerged that I expect greater excellency in fanfiction than I do in (most) original works.

(As in, Marmota ponders stuff and comes to an explanation for her confusing intuitive thought processes.)

When stated that way, it's weird, and pretty unfair of me. But it's a fact. I go to fanfiction to have gaps filled and worldbuilding expanded upon and characterisation retained and deepened. And there are many times when fanfiction works like that; which however doesn't make my expectations any more fair. It amounts to expecting more of one's local amateur sportspeople than one would of the professionals. And I'm intentionally using this example because I think many fans of local amateur sportspeople probably unconsciously do.

Basically, I'm a fan of fandom, the way other people may be fans of TV shows or comic books or maybe book series. (Not individual books and films, that works differently, and is closer to what I enjoy as a fan in the simple sense.*) It makes me wonder how many other people approach it the same way, if maybe unconsciously (as I did). There must be more people feeling similarly; although I think the distinct possibility that a much greater majority of people probably doesn't (why should they?) goes a long way towards explaining why a lot of fanfiction falls short of my expectations. I should keep in mind that the fault is in my expectations, not the work itself.

...

Also, I feel like this is the sort of thought that could start a very interesting conversation on Tumblr. But there's no way I'm entering that cesspool myself. If you have and also think it could, feel free to share over there (but please let me know?).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* I always prefer works that are done and finished over ongoing, probably because any potential disappointment is also done and finished. And that's, um, unfair towards life. :P

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2016-04-06 10:53 am

"... and all the sort of things girls do talk about on such an occasion."

I've just had a thought. And maybe it's wrong and putting too much stock in Lewis and his wording (which is rather unfortunate), but what if that whole sentence actually goes to show that, look, they don't have to be only one or the other, Lucy isn't limited into either being a "lady" or "more like a boy" and Aravis can still enjoy talk of clothes with a likeminded woman?

It might stink of "Aravis arrives to her destination and instantly becomes more womanly", except that Lucy's been there for years, she's the queen of that place (well, the neighbouring place), and she's clearly both. So it's more like, Aravis arrives to her destination and finds out that, phew, it's okay to be the sort of woman she is.

Because, after all, knowing our characters we do know they aren't that one-dimensional. It's kind of like Jill who's heritage of Narnia is both taking up archery and keeping the fine clothes. Or, for that matter, Susan who's a womanly woman but also good at archery and swimming (just not in a battle context).

And maybe it's obvious, but I had to write it down. :-)

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2015-12-17 10:36 pm

All bad things are good for something

Says a Czech proverb.
The little annoying and soul-searching experience from the previous post has just fed into the blasted transitional 19th chapter of The Peridan Chronicles that has been stalling my progress for over a year. Joy!
It's not finished yet, but it's much closer to finishing than it had been for over a year. I think you can expect it before Christmas. And the chapter after it soon after it, most likely, to make up for the long lack of updates to this story. Phew!

In other news, I've watched the Kenneth Brannagh / Emma Thompson version of Much Ado About Nothing, and enjoyed it very much, despite being distracted by the not-really-quite-accurate-for-any-time costumes (that's a trait of mine I'll always have to contend with, I fear) and the fact that I found the Dogberry scenes a bit lacking. In a funny way. Through being too much. I think he and his cohort are made more of a bunch of fools there than I find palatable in film form; it would probably work better on stage. Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson are both a joy to watch, though.
There might be some correspondence between Shakespeare and my bout of Narnianish inspiration. It's certainly an idea that bears further exploration; I have yet to see Branagh's Henry V, which is a shortcoming I should correct as soon as possible.

Oh, and I've read, so far, about a tenth or so of Augustin's Confessions. It's a strange book. It reads weirdly, like he's approaching it all from an angle I cannot penetrate; like I would have had to live at his time to really understand what he's talking about and the issues he's wrestling with and the angle he's going at it from. Or like he has a sort of thinking personality that's very foreign to me. But at the same time, in retrospect, I find that he addresses very timeless issues, which probably accounts for the timeless appeal of the book. Like the ways we relate to fiction and live through the tragedies of fictional characters. Which he disapproves of, I think, on the basis of the pagan-based theatre at his time being immoral. I wonder what he would have made of something like Shakespeare? (Shakespeare can be such a contrary animal.) And the claim Sienkiewicz makes in Quo Vadis via Paul to Petronius that informed Christian art would reach new heights? (I think of Gothic architecture and Tolkien and Lewis and stuff and find myself in tentative agreement with Sienkiewicz.) And fanfiction! He would be horrified at the majority of it.
The way he dismisses fiction, he reminds me of a man I had a conversation with once in the street, over a book of Chesterton's short stories he found in a trash can. (He dismissed it and I snatched it up afterwards. Ha!) I still haven't figured out how to make the case for fiction since then, but I think I believe in it even more strongly now. It's an interesting experience to disagree with such a hallowed book.

It's an interesting experience for me as a Czech Protestant who's fairly recently read some texts that are kind of the basis of Czech Protestantism and found myself so much in agreement with them that they were almost... superfluous to me? My sister reported the same experience with such texts; either they are so much the basis of what we grew up in that that happens, or - or it's pretty chilling to think just how bad the Catholic church of the time must have been for them to be necessary.
I think I should read more old texts like that to figure out just how much of my thinking is present there and how much isn't, and why. It's quite illuminating to see what changes with time and place and personality, and what remains constant.

And of course, there's still things one can learn from them.

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2015-12-07 10:46 pm

What hits a nerve. And some unrelated wild cuteness and good news.

To my readers: you don't really have to read this, I guess, it's a bit of an anthill into mountains; I just needed to get this out of the system, because it's hit a nerve on some basic level in ways that surprised me, it's late in the evening, I have no one to share with at the moment and I don't want to end the day with it rattling about in my head.

If you're inclined to self-assessment, though, I guess it could be interesting.

If you don't want to, just jump straight to the cuteness. If I've figured this cut thing out correctly.


Read more... )

 

 

And because I did say I didn't want to end the day on that note, let's end it on this: the first baby wild horse born in the Czech lands (ha!) in centuries. (Okay, technically an Exmooor pony. Which apparently recent research indicates is as close to the original wild horse as it gets.)

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2015-11-04 05:14 pm

Isn't it beautiful? (various reminisces and stuff going on)

Some days ago, my father bought a mocca pot, obstinately ignored the instructions to wash it thoroughly and cook several cups of coffee in it without drinking first ("what a waste"), and then very happily pronounced the resulting coffee as tasting exactly the way it used to. The part that boggles me is that I agree with him.
We never had one in all my memory, and neither had anyone I know. And besides, I started drinking coffee only a few years ago and still don't do that often.
The only explanation I have is that grandma has always had this percolator thing or whatever - I'm really confused about all the manners in which coffee can be prepared and the translation - which father says is basically the same thing with different anatomy (not in those words, those are mine); and I may have occasionally tasted it as a child to see if I still hated it.
I don't hate it anymore. I actually approach it like a treat. I'm slightly puzzled by that, too.

But I'm still enjoying the Yorkshire Tea - that father used to bring from Britain years ago and now ordered online - much more. Much more often. We both have a thing for "common black tea", my father and me - that's what he calls it, with carefully put on British pronunciation. How I loved its blackness when he first brought it; back then, the choice of teas in Czech shops was very dismal indeed. It's got better (even the awful awful cheap Czech brand of tea has got slightly better since it's not Czech anymore, I think; in this particular case, being bought off by an international concern was not a bad thing, because the concern is Indian). But Yorkshire Tea is still a class unto itself which I love with all the calm fierceness I imagine English people might love their tea.

* * *

I wonder what my various not-Czech online acquaintances would think of the relish with which I devour bread with lard, salt and fresh onion these days, another blast from the past. (It started a few days ago with the need to consume vitamins in this autumnal time and being left with onions in the house, but by now it's just an excuse.) The trick is, it has to be processed lard, not that sticky soapy pressed stuff. And Czech or similar bread; it would not work with white bread or bread that is somewhat too sweet in taste.
Years ago, a visiting Irish vegetarian man was horrified by the relish with which I ate a similar combination in a pub. I'm not sure what horrified him more, the fact that it was blatantly meat-based, or the blatant amount of fat a young slip of a girl like me was eating without concern. With fresh onion.
 
* * *
 
I'm sewing a corset. It's my first properly boned Victorian-ish corset (corded Regency stays don't count in this context); I'm making it for my sister, and, partially due to my lack of experience, it's taking far too long. Also, grommets setting is proving highly unpredictable for me, and tiresome. I've made myself a tiny callus on my right thumb. Thank goodness for thimbles.
I have to keep mom updated on the progress, because she bought the materials as a gift for my sister. It's a roundabout gift and repayment in my family; my sister recently gave me money for a theatre performance as payment for the corset. I went to see one of the Cimrman plays with a cousin, who goes to their plays very, very often and this time she suddenly found herself with a spare ticket.

Anyway, I'm in the handsewing finishing stage, and I'd started (re-)reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, and was bemoaning the impossibility of sewing and reading at the same time. Because that would be the perfect thing to keep me going.
The obvious answer is, of course, audiobooks. There does not seem to have been a Czech audiobook of Night Watch published yet, but I found an amateur reading on a file-sharing site. The reader's doing voices and everything. It took me a while to get used to the voices and emphases being different than I imagined, but goodness it's good for an amateur job. Death's voice is run through an echo effect and it's perfect. It's so good they should just recruit the reader and make it official.
He's done Guards! Guards! and Wyrd Sisters as well; I think for a while, my reading vs sewing dilemma is solved neatly.

(I wonder how it works when I do have those books, just not in audio form. Okay, and Guards! Guards! is just barely glued back into book form by now.)

* * *

My father came to my room to share the excitement over the Latvian writing he's found on batteries he bought earlier today:
"'Nemest uguni.' Isn't it beautiful?"
I agreed that it was, and he left to look up the case of "uguns" used in a Latvian grammar.

It is beautiful, in an ordinary beautiful language way.

(It means "Do not throw into a fire." The case seems to be mixed up. Father still doesn't realise just how good with language he is.)
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2015-08-09 01:01 pm

Some old beauty for Sunday

Well. The snow helps; we've been having hot and dry weather for way longer than is natural.

But the main reason I'm sharing this song (this instrumental arrangement) is because it's an old, old favourite. We've had an LP of this Polish band all my life, we used to love it as children, I still love it, even in its faded scratched LP-into-computer state; and now this clearer version... yeah. It's perfect.


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2015-07-14 12:01 am

NFE '15: Take 1 + Thoughts on my request

So I signed up for the Narnia Fic Exchange proper this year, and have received my assignment, and now pondering commences.

Elizabeth Culmer has the problem of obviously her worldbuilding and characters threatening to give her away as the writer. I don't have that problem; I've barely published anything and most of my worldbuilding is happening in the background so far (although I did already have to drop Twinkletop from my remix). My problem is that I almost immediately got a vague idea of a direction to pursue which would have spoiled one of many future plot points for The Peridan Chronicles.

The good news is, trying to come up with a way to write around that seems to have started a flurry of ideas including a hint of a plot (always the greatest problem for me!), so, yay.

Also, some hopefully interesting female characters (as of now, still nameless) have walked in, and some potentially interesting discussions and a theme are forming, so, more yay.

Now I'm becoming worried if I'll have enough time to write the beast this idea is quickly growing into.

-------------------------------------------------------

During my annual attempt to bring some order to my mess of stuff, I found some old, old pictures I made inspired by Narnia. Maybe. Because through them, I remembered one of the sources for my version of Narnia, the cozy country of small Talking Beasts and Birds and the undertaking of practical projects: a series of lavishly illustrated books by Tony Wolf.

We used to borrow them from the library; I only have the third one, which also has the dwarfs/gnomes and introduces giants. I feel like it's the last one that might pass for Narnianish; the next one has fairies and the sort of magic wand magic that I never truly liked in a deep liking way. Even then, while definitely daydreaming about both, I instinctively liked the Deep Magic of worldbuilding more than the willful magic of power, I guess? It was the former that found its way into pictures. And I was more fascinated by the clever things the animals and the gnomes built and made than the things the fairies could conjure.
Seeing as Czech fairies are more like the Narnian Naiads and Dryads than these wee magical beings, I guess it's no wonder I related to the Narnian sort more... and in the Tony Wolf books, to the three mouse sisters. They sewed and wove, and wasn't that just fabulous, making things with their... paws?
Also, there's the weird genderised thing going on between the all-male gnomes and the all-female fairies; I never gave it much thought, but I liked the mixed up animals better than either. The Czech default genders may have had a hand in it again, because I'm finding the venerable Rat was definitely meant to be male, and who knows about the turtle or otter.

Even the first three books don't quite fit in with Narnia: the animals tend to be smaller rather than larger, the dwarfs are different... But in introducing a number of various fairly realistic-looking species beyond what Lewis bothered with, and thinking about a different sort of implications for such a world, I think the books jumpstarted my interest in the lives of the smaller inhabitants of Narnia - and, for that matter, Spare Oom as well. :-)
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2015-06-28 10:22 am

Remix Madness, take 1

Take 1 as in, my initial thoughts on it. :-)

I've made three claims; two stories down, one to go.

Someone made a claim on my prompt overnight - yes, indeed, I've been sitting like a stupid watchdog on it. The claim's made me giddily happy, even though there's no story yet.

The whole exercise, especially thinking about a "safe story" for the prompt, has also made me realise that in the recent months (not sure how long), I've adopted a much more cavalier attitude towards my creations than I'd had for the rest of my life before.
Read more... )


So now that I was looking at my stories, I realised I did not feel all that attached to any of them to prevent them from being remixed. I guess this means, if I ever publish any original work, I may be less bothered by fandom. :D
marmota_b: Photo of a purple flower against sunlight, shining through (End of August)
2015-05-05 05:53 pm

Things nearly left behind

I'm in the final stages of moving from one flat when at school to another. My family had been occupying the old one for over ten years, it turns out; my sisters before me. We kept finding Things. Little sentimental mementoes and practical things completely forgotten about because they were part of the landscape. A little ceramics whale I made years ago in art class. Four extension cords; I nearly forgot one. The dust pan and brush, and the bin. Father's tools. He even had a pair of jeans left behind in the wardrobe. The curtains in the kitchen window were about five shades of grey darker at the bottom than they were on top.
We have to move out because the house is a little over a hundred years old and apparently the electrical wiring in the flat hasn't been changed since it was first put in, or something. And there's a persistent gas leak. And the bath is in the kitchen, which was fun while we were there, kind of, except that there was no door, just a curtain, so, you know, the new tennants will no doubt want a more modern approach to in-house hygiene.
The old little green sink in the toilet that I'm so fond of and refused to have replaced got a stamp of approval from a member of the reviewing committee (there was my aunt, whose house it is, the young lady who helps oversee the house for her, and the man in charge of the upcoming renovation). It made me a little warm inside. Hopefully the new tennants will like it, too.

The new flat is somewhat smaller, which means now there's stuff everywhere, before I figure out where it all goes. And I kind of hate the bed; I slept on the floor in the old flat, because it turns out I like my sleeping surfaces really hard. So for now, I sleep on the floor again, which of course doesn't help the situation with stuff everywhere. And there are zero nails in the walls and we're not allowed to put in new ones, which is rubbish, especially because I have several pictures and a mirror.
BUT
There's a river at one side, and forested hills on the other side, and gardens everywhere, including right in front of the balcony that my room opens into. (The neighbours have chicken even, which is so much right, and I've heard a woodpecker and seen a jay.) And even though there's a fairly frequented road right in front of the house, it's still a considerable step up from the old place where there's one of the busiest streets, right next to a busy crossroads, and trams going underneath your window every ten minutes or so; and if your forgot your laptop open overnight, it would be covered in dust in the morning.
Also, internet. Right now, I'm sitting in the old flat with the mobile connection, which has been rendered mostly obsolete with the move.
So it's mostly a win.

All the moving and all the school stuff, though, means there hasn't been much fanfiction writing in the past months. I can't move on with The Peridan Chronicles, even though I want to. I'm stuck on a chapter that needs primarily stylistics, and an ethical/spiritual debate, and such like, which requires more thinking than I have mental capacity for for the time being. I figured out the stuff with the Polynesian heritage for Telmarines I mentioned before (it makes so much sense for this character I had had a vague idea for), and that's about it when it comes to inspiration for it.
There hasn't even been any sewing (aside from darning a sock recently), which tends to be my go-to activity when I'm intellectually depleted.

In other news, though, I wrote two limericks in the creative writing course, one as my regular assignment and one instead of a critique because the critique was to point out the rhyming scheme; so I feel rather accomplished in that regard. Me and poetry don't normally get on.


So I'm sitting in the old flat, writing a post to make sense of it. To put a thick line behind it. Something along those lines. I'll miss the green sink, but the green chairs went with me. On the bus. In three consecutive journeys over the weekend. My sister joked that the drivers on the line would come to believe there was a green-chair-wielding ghost haunting them.


This should not fit, but the mood does.