adelynne: (Default)
2009-04-30 11:47 pm
Entry tags:

So, [personal profile] sdn was right. ([personal profile] sdn is always right?)

At Readercon almost two years ago, [ profile] sdn pulled me over after a panel and said "You like Megan Whalen Turner? Megan loves Elizabeth Wein. You should read Elizabeth Wein." (Henceforth: [ profile] eegatland.) Ok, I said.

However, some big things happened in my life between then and, oh, December 2008. It didn't occur to me to bother finding more things to do. Until suddenly, it did. I don't quite remember what set me off, though it might have been a review that specifically discussed Medraut, but I went looking for The Winter Prince with a passion. Upon learning that it was out of print I went about scouring websites until I found a used copy at I eagerly awaited its arrival, and hid away upstairs at my grandmother-in-law's house on Christmas Day reading it.

I'm not a huge fan of Arthurian work. Honestly, it never presented archetypes that I could believe in, that I could root for. Arthur was too simple, a boy scout with his only flaw was allowing himself to be seduced by his sister/aunt. Or something. 'Cause G-d knows he couldn't have been an active participant, there. Guinevere always seemed like a simpering idiot to me. The whole love triangle made me sick - if I can't believe that anyone would want the main object of affection I am really unlikely to buy it. Perhaps needless to say, this book had a lot to do to make me enjoy it.

Reader, I enjoyed it. The idea of a Guinevere (or, as she's known here, Ginevra) who is a talented mapmaker, healer, and fluent in three languages was refreshing. This woman wasn't a symbol of courtly love or whatever, she was a partner for a king and a kind mother figure for Medraut (our Mordred) as well as her own children. In fact, the women in this book were incredibly refreshing. Even Morgause. Especially Morgause.

It is literally impossible to discuss the rest of the series in any kind of detail without spoiling this book. Which is a shame, because the rest of the series is even better. The point of view shifts from Medraut to his half-sister Goewin in the second book, A Coalition of Lions, and the action moves from Britain to the African nation of Aksum (from which Medraut had returned at the start of The Winter Prince). My poor planning and inadequate patience (the second book is also out of print) meant that I read the third book, The Sunbird, second. Telemakos, an Aksumite child we meet in the first chapter of A Coalition of Lions is the main protagonist of The Sunbird and the last two novels - collectively known as "The Mark of Solomon" books. I haven't yet read the last two (a combination of running out of time and money), but I am looking forward to doing so.

It's a fascinating series, partly because it takes its Arthurian origins and moves them. Partly because of the way it deals with duty, loyalty, love, and family. Medraut, in the first book, is widely acknowledged - even by Artos (Arthur, naturally) - as the one who should be left to rule Britain. Goewin - as loyal as she is to her twin, Lleu, who is Artos's acknowledged heir - openly discusses how she does not trust her brother not to plunge the kingdom her father built into ruin. But everyone - including Medraut - also understands his or her part and duty. Goewin is, perhaps, so fascinating in that she is the mirror of Morgause. She is the fiercely intelligent woman who cannot rule because less intelligent men seek to diminish her power. She is wise enough to see the turns that lead down the darker path, but not wise enough to avoid them entirely.

I was expecting to find Medraut a fascinating character - the reading I'd done prior to getting the book led me to expect it. I knew he would be a character to capture my imagination - gifted, tortured, vain and humble, yearning for acceptance and love. But I didn't expect the world that sprang up around him - full of characters that moved like true actors in the story - with their own agendas that were not always convenient and never simple. The story does not end where the book does - it keeps flying, and leaves you, as the reader, trailing in its wake, trying to catch up. Even as the characters move countries and continents, their motivations, their pain and their purpose remain rooted in how they were when we met them. It's fascinating, and a joy to read a story that develops this way.

P.S.: [ profile] eegatland and her kids have been doing a PlayMobil version of The Winter Prince over here.
adelynne: (surprise)
2009-01-28 06:26 pm

The more I try to get out...

I was going to write a post about the awesomeness that is Elizabeth Wein's (aka, [ profile] eegatland) series that starts with The Winter Prince, and how right [ profile] sdn was when she told me to go read it. I even wrote the title in my little Semagic box. But then I had to go home, and I was tired, I was busy, and then OMG Cultural Appropriation! exploded on the internets.

I followed it for a week with my jaw dropped. I haven't commented because, honestly, I don't know what to think. I did run off and ask [ profile] lareinenoire for her opinion, and we had a discussion about how guilty and uncomfortable this whole thing makes us feel. I haven't read everything and I'm actually trying to escape it because it's so painful to watch people yell at each other.

But here's the thing. I grew up knowing exactly how much bigger my family would have been if there hadn't been a Shoah. My grandmother told stories of her relatives who died at Babi Yar. I knew that my mother hadn't gotten into Kiev Polytechnic, despite having great grades and acing the entrance examinations, because her passport read "Jew" under "Nationality." I knew how hard my parents had to work to get my sister into the best school in the Kiev, because her passport said the same thing. I know why they left the Soviet Union, and part of what weighed into their decision was that their youngest daughter wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, and there was no way that was going to happen there. (She's since decided to become a doctor of a different sort.)

But on the other hand, as Tevye said, is that I have fought against their fear for a long time. I know how much they heard the word "Yid," and I know how they'd seen Jewish women who wound up married to non-Jews treated. And I know how worried they were when I dated a man who wasn't Jewish. And I know how many problems they had with my now-husband, even though they love him as their own son. (A lot can be overlooked when a man decides do convert, but that doesn't mean they didn't have to accept him for himself before that happened.) And, to be honest, I know the prejudice they hold in their hearts regarding people of darker skin tones (not that that stopped them from voting for Obama and telling off their friends who were afraid to do so). It's something they work through every day of their lives, and it's something I find myself working through as well. I still remember yelling at my mother, as a teenager, that "We're in America now! People don't act that way!" I'm pretty sure that didn't help her fears any.

But love? Well, that does help. In undergrad social psychology we learned that what breaks down the barriers, what makes people see each other as people and not as "Other" (a term I really, really hate) is working together. Give people of different cultures and races and backgrounds a task and make sure they have to work side-by-side, and eventually, slowly, these barriers we put up for ourselves tumble.

My parents have lived in America for almost 20 years. And in that time, a lot of things have changed. Their elder daughter went to the university of her dreams because of their choice. Their younger daughter is pursuing a PhD, and this summer she married a man who was willing to change his faith, in part to be with her for the rest of his life. And his family accepted her, and she goes to his grandmother's house for Christmas.
adelynne: (Default)
2008-12-04 05:02 pm
Entry tags:

The Meme I Couldn't Resist

On the twelfth day of Christmas, adelynne sent to me...
Twelve morpheus reading
Eleven movies writing
Ten bookstores a-drawing
Nine atlantis cooking
Eight novels a-gaming
Seven ballads a-reviewing
Six languages editing
Five arthu-u-u-urian legends
Four tori amos
Three firebird books
Two mythical allusions
...and a grammar in a celtic mythology.
Get your own Twelve Days:
adelynne: (Default)
2008-11-20 11:14 am

A Change in State of Mind

Four (just four, no scores) years ago, when I graduated from college, I spent a good three months applying for lab tech jobs, watching Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis), and Firefly on my sister's computer, and otherwise emphatically vegging in her house. I think I may have been what is known as "burned out" - I still remember the feeling of being utterly emptied of any creativity I had at the time.

That feeling is a lot like where I was two weeks ago - utterly exhausted by life and not interested in anything save escaping the constant work, the constant pressure. I was late to get home for Shabbat that week and as I was pulling out of the university the driver in front of me was chatting on with her car full of girlfriends. I honked at her so she would turn onto the only road that leads out of this badly-constructed place, and she decided that flipping me off the rest of the time we shared the road was the way to go. I got home to light candles - late - and as I did so I saw how messy our dining room was. I was hit with such a wave of despair and anger and irrational desire to hit things that I could only manage one thing: I went to bed.

Doyle woke me up a few hours later and we went out for dinner to a mall that has two things that cheer me up immensely - a Borders and a Cheesecake Factory. We didn't really get to explore the Borders before closing, so we went back the next day so I could indulge in some escapism. And that's when, after wandering around and not having anything catch my eye for 15 minutes, I picked up [ profile] blackholly's Ironside, and started reading. I bought the book and finished it at home, a few hours later, curled up in the new reading nook I'd made for myself several months ago but hadn't actually used before. And then I went to the stack of books I've bought and not read, and I picked up [ profile] libba_bray's The Sweet Far Thing. It'd been waiting for some attention for almost a year now, and I felt like I was going back in time - like I was back at my sister's house in August/September 2004, flying through Tithe and A Great and Terrible Beauty and thinking "I could do this. I have a story to tell."

It's weird how a one-two punch can happen twice. It took me longer to finish TSFT than AGaTB, and I still have many thoughts on it - and it actually makes me want to write fanfic, which is not an event that happens very often. I'll save that for another post (gotta have a reason). But last night I opened the file I keep Glamour in and started scanning it. I read through the notes [ profile] lodessa and [ profile] hamsterwoman left on my journal last summer. And I started thinking about how I could fix it.

I'm still too far from "there yet." I worked another 12 hour day on Tuesday, I've not really had much success in waking up and going into work earlier so I can leave earlier (though I've now moved it back about 30 minutes). I have yet to write a single word. But today I picked up another book from my overwhelmingly large "to read" pile and put it in my backpack. Gotta start somewhere.
adelynne: (geeking)
2008-11-12 10:08 pm
Entry tags:

Obligatory Squee!!

So my paid account expired and my Jaime Lannister icon is unreachable. But that won't stop me from linking to this post by GRRM telling one and all HBO has given the production order for The Game of Thrones pilot.

That news almost makes up for my 12-hour work day yesterday (and today mostly takes care of what's left).
adelynne: (bored now)
2008-10-28 10:00 am
Entry tags:

Almost There...

I'm almost at the point where I'm ready to start reading again.

I've been woefully under my typical reading pace for the better part of the past year. I can count the number of books I've read on one hand. (Biological papers, especially those pertaining to my thesis proposal number in the hundreds. But they're not exactly stress relief.) I find myself yearning for the time and energy to curl up with a good book. It's sad that I need time and energy for such a thing.

But the light is on the horizon, and that's good. The election - which has taken up my weekends that were not otherwise devoted to prior commitments - will be over one way or another in a week. My work is finally getting to the point where I'm multitasking in an organized manner, where I have three answers to "how are things going" instead of one. And even better, some things are actually going rather well. I'll be on a paper as a middle author before the end of the year, and I'll have some of my own stuff to talk about at my first departmental seminar in February. So, all good.

And I'm starting to sense that, much like tree sap after a long winter, my creative thoughts are starting to flow. I've actually had time to think about the novels in the past month. Not write or edit, but thinking itself is progress I was afraid I wouldn't make.

Now if I could just get to those thank you notes...
adelynne: (geeking)
2008-10-22 05:26 pm
Entry tags:

It's mainstream now?

You know, I'm not that old a fogey (in fact, I'm something of a young fogey), but I can honestly say that I remember that time *cough*10yearsago*cough* when I was a wee mite reading the Master_Apprentice yahoo group (which I was led to by [ profile] toshieri) and noting the very strong worded arguments that declared RPS as Off Limits (tm). And of course the whole fic slash thing was all very subversive.

Which is all to say that I think, having come across Ana Marie Cox making an RPS reference in Time magazine's Swampland blog it's somehow become the Cool Thing without my noticing.

Of course, given that my head has been solely in front of my lab bench for the better part of the year - when it wasn't in front of my TV, my thesis proposal, or my wedding plans (ah, that delicious week of freedom in Hawaii...) - it's not that surprising that I have failed to notice something.
adelynne: (Default)
2008-07-15 10:44 am
Entry tags:

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Past Year

I wish I were kidding.

Well, for one thing, I am now PhD Candidate Adelynne. Or something like that. In any case, no more classes, no more TAing, no more anything save research until I get the PhD. You'd think this change in status would relax me. You would be horribly mistaken. I know science and I are a good fit because I am genuinely excited about it once more. I'm happy with my thesis project, I'm relatively productive despite all the upheaval, and I'm generally happy with my work life. It took most of the year to get here, but that's all right. The important part is not to lose sight of it as I begin the horrible slog toward the thesis.

Another thing? I'm married now. Yup, signed a contract, exchanged rings, Doyle stepped on a glass and everything. I don't have too many pictures yet, but I'll try to post some when our photographer gets back to us with the proofs.

We went to Hawaii for the honeymoon. It was exactly what was needed - an all-inclusive package where we didn't have to plan anything, but saw a great deal and even had some beach time to get sunburned. There are pictures of that, too, but my paid account expired, so I'm looking for space to post them in. We returned just in time for my birthday, but were still just too burned out and jetlaged to do much at all. So we went out for Margaritas and spent the 4th of July weekend trying to catch up on sleep. Then I spent the past week trying to catch up on work. It's all been very slow and surreal since.
adelynne: (doctor (to be) del)
2008-05-06 11:07 am
Entry tags:


Apparently what writers say about novels holds true for propositions as well. Writing one proposition only teaches you how to write that proposition.

(I just need a draft by tonight. *sob*)

Carry on.
adelynne: (Default)
2008-03-13 10:10 pm
Entry tags:

Seeking Charity Advice

One day I'll make a post not related to my wedding. Maybe it'll be about my research or something. Today is not that day.

We decided - at the very beginning of this wedding process - that we absolutely hate those little bells and bubbles people give out as favors. It became just one more chatchka to clutter your space and make you feel bad about throwing it away.

But we do believe - as all good little Jews should, I suppose - in healing the world through acts of goodness and charity, and that a joyous occasion is a perfect time to give to those less fortunate. So we made a list of worthy causes. We're going to pick five and let our guests choose the charity their "favor" money goes toward.

My very first choice was a campaign to legalize gay marriage. It was going to be Mass Equality, but seeing as the vote to put the gay marriage ban amendment on the ballot in 2008 failed - effectively killing it in MA - I've been wondering if there's a more national campaign, or another one people could recommend?
adelynne: (bat romance)
2008-02-14 01:13 pm
Entry tags:


Doyle & I are a bit stuck on picking out a song for our first dance. We've tried asking around, but haven't met with much result. So, friendslist, would you be kind enough to suggest some ideas?

A few notes:
1. Much as I'd like it, I simply can't do justice to a tango in the wedding dress I've ordered.
2. The guests will be seated and most likely have eaten a bit prior to the actual dance. There's no need to keep it short, though too long is probably bad, too.
3. Nothing where you're dancing like you're back in middle school, please. Something where you can actually move and use the dance floor is preferred. A waltz would probably be best.

The song that has appealed to us most in sentiment is Dar Williams's "You Rise and Meet the Day," but it's not very dance-able. We're really not into the traditional sappy love song.

So, thoughts?
adelynne: (Default)
2007-10-18 11:51 pm
Entry tags:

You haven't seen me for a while.

...And you probably won't much after this entry, either.

I'm kind of stuck mid-stream, fighting the current to stay afloat at the moment. I'm TAing a general biology lab, doing full time research, and taking a class. It's come to a full-on collision tonight, where I'm sitting and watching the Red Sox when I should be either (a) finishing my homework or (b) grading 24 lab report re-writes. Neither option is very appealing.

I think I finished Night Watch a month or so back, but other than that I've not read a single short story, book, or summary paragraph that wasn't tied to science. I'm ready to go bonkers, because I miss it, but I don't have the energy to juggle one more thing.

Needless to say, my own writing has gone the way of the dodo. Maybe during my annual New Years vacation I'll get something, but my next group meeting is the week after. It just sucks.

I am having a great time teaching, by the way. And just looking at the vast improvements in the re-writes I got today, I have the feeling I'm making a difference and at least some of these kids are learning something.

I took [ profile] rosefox's advice and told them that just because they want to be scientists or doctors doesn't mean they don't need to know how to write well. And then I gave them a list of the 5 most common grammatical errors I saw and told them if they happen in the next version they hand in, it's an automatic 0 for grammar points.)

But yeah, if you don't see me around a lot, that's why. I do miss being able to keep up, though.
adelynne: (geeking)
2007-09-05 10:54 am
Entry tags:

7 Quirky Things Meme

I got tagged by [ profile] hamsterwoman last week. Perhaps it's a quirk that it took me so long to come up with quirks.

1) List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself
2) Tag seven people to do the same.
3) Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you want to tag whoever wants to do it.

In no particular order save how they came to me. )

Now I tag [ profile] buymeaclue, [ profile] fuyu_no_fuhei, [ profile] grailquestion, [ profile] lareinenoire, [ profile] mrsix, [ profile] lunaratu, and [ profile] solnishka.
adelynne: (Default)
2007-08-21 01:43 pm
Entry tags:

*checks* Yup, still here.

It's been a wild and crazy summer. Lots of work, no play. New apartment though, and planning the wedding has definitely gotten easier, but now I'm ready for a vacation from my vacations.

I haven't given up posting the novel - just given up for now. I'm seriously wiped beyond belief by all this RL stuff, and something had to go. We unpacked our SF&F books Sunday night (and cataloged them via LibraryThing), and I realised that I haven't touched them since Readercon or so. There's Night Watch, but I should have finished it by now. (I finished the 2nd novella and stopped because I was pissed at being interrupted so often.) I might finish it this week, as I'm off to a conference for my actual research tomorrow.

Life is good - I don't mean to sound down, which I'm not. Just very hectic and in need of a couple more vacation days in a week. I'm hoping settling down to a routine once classes start up again will help.
adelynne: (dragon reading)
2007-08-01 03:34 pm
Entry tags:

Dear Internet,

Has anyone heard of Good Reads? What are its pluses and minuses as concerns Library Thing?

Thanks so much!
adelynne: (geeking)
2007-07-25 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

My mind bends in funny ways

There's been a lot going on in the real world - moving, traveling, etc. Not much of an update, except hopefully something that will prove amusing.

I have, of course, read HP7. But before I did, we went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time in a long while. And so, when Doyle & I were driving through New York, an image swam up before me. Of Snape standing over Dumbledore's body, looking at Harry and saying "Oh don't be upset! It was a mercy killing!"

You're welcome.
adelynne: (geeking)
2007-07-11 03:03 pm

Speaking of needing a "WTF" icon...

What's with all the zombies lately?

When I was young it was unicorns. When I hung out with large quantities of gamers, it was vampires. In college it was dragons.

Now it's zombies. What's so enticing about rotting flesh-eaters, anyway? Am I the only one who doesn't get it?
adelynne: (bored now)
2007-07-11 02:23 pm
Entry tags:


I'm bored with my icons. I'm also possibly bored at work, or maybe it's just that I don't feel well and so don't feel like working. Either way, I'm missing a lot of what [ profile] lodessa described as "situational icons" (i.e.: "WTF?" or something about being excited). Definitely would like an icon to express some portion of my con-going experiences. More's the pity, then, that I'm stumped as to how to go about creating these.

Ideas, oh wise Internets?
adelynne: (Default)
2007-07-09 09:25 am

I need a con icon...

Readercon was great, though much less with the panels and much more with the social this year. Bought many, many books just the same.

Gave Friday-morning brunch ride to an overcrowded car, including [ profile] maureenmcq and her lovely husband only to return in time for her kaffeklatch. Stayed after for [ profile] blackholly's, had a fabulous time and also met Laura Anne Gilman. Saw [ profile] mroctober, who reminded me that I do need to write up my thoughts on Vintage and So Fey (and, for that matter, Megan Whalen Turner and the love I bear for her). Also [ profile] sdn who, upon learning of my love for MWT told me "Here's Elizabeth Weir. Megan loves Elizabeth's writing. You should read." (I totally will.) Caught [ profile] matociquala in the lobby, and she told me of the hotel's hot tub and a fabulous Korean BBQ place two miles away from the hotel, then caught her kaffeklatch. Went to fabulous Korean BBQ place with my "con family" of [ profile] grailquestion, [ profile] lunaratu, [ profile] rosefox, [ profile] sinboy, and [ profile] yuki_onna, along with [ profile] megmccarron and a lovely person named Liz whose LJ I do not know.

Somewhere in there was also dessert at Finale for my birthday, drinking beer on Saturday night while falling asleep to [ profile] yuki_onna's rather strong opinions on Neil Gaiman, a girly shopping trip to the mall with [ profile] grailquestion and [ profile] lunaratu, and seeing [ profile] fuyu_no_fuhei, though too briefly.

I went to more readings than I did panels, and I am now searching somewhat desprately for the anthology from which Theodora Goss read her story despite acquiring ridiculous (and I mean ridiculous) quantities of anthologies this weekend. Caught a bit of the Interfictions readings - everything Interfictions was scheduled opposite something else I was also interested in. The reading was Sunday "morning" (noon, actually) when I'd gotten so burned out on con I just drove in late.

Despite it all, I did miss [ profile] ellen_kushner and her guitar. [ profile] yuki_onna's commentary on that was great: "And I now know all the lyrics to 'Beeswing,' too!" There's always next year, I hope.

Now I'm at work, desperately trying to remember how I do that. I hope I shall be able to overcome my desire to flee editing my book and post more this week.
adelynne: (tea addict)
2007-06-09 09:23 am

Travelogue (with pictures!)

We're ba-ack! And to give you a taste of our (very busy) journey, here are some photos with commentary.

Cambridge )

Oxford )

Bath )

London )

We finished our trip by having another tea by Kew Gardens (the entry to the Gardens themselves was too expensive for the amount of time we'd be able to spend in them) at the Original Maids of Honour, which are indeed made of delicious. So delicious, we brought some back across the Pond. No pictures of those, though.

Now we've returned, and are still slightly jetlagged. But it was a wonderful vacation, and we've both decided we'd like to do it again - for longer, with friends, when my back is recovered - someday.