Pseudo-Feminist Speaks Too Soon

Mere minutes after I shot my mouth off in yesterday’s quick post @trishalynn took to Twitter to prove me wrong.

Her list of non-sexualized heroines…. GO!

  • Barbara Gordon as Oracle
  • Vera Noble, from @trollprincess‘s Heroine Addict novel
  • Violet & Elastic Girl from The Incredibles
  • Jenny Sparks, created by @warrenellis. She was a sexual being, but not sexualized, iirc
  • There’s an female archer out there who is a hero to her people & I think she’s conservative Muslim. Also, Martina Navratilova.
  • Found another, from @shaenongarrity: Kira from The Dark Crystal
Ok, so I don’t know what I’m talking about. But it was a sincere question since I really only could think of one. Characters like Eowyn from Lord of the Rings gave me pause since she is strong on her own but I disqualified her on the grounds of spending most of her time pining over Aragorn before she leaps into the arms of Faramir. But perhaps that isn’t fair. De-sexualizing a character isn’t any good either, she doesn’t have to be a nun to have strength. What are the rules for a Strong Female Character?
The simple answer is probably strength that is all her own, that doesn’t depend on others. So powers of manipulating others doesn’t really count. But then, why not? Angelina Jolie is highly sexualized in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Tomb Raider and she still kicks ass with nothing more than a few krav maga lessons.
So my mistake was trying to make rules about ALL WOMEN when they can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. I’m part of the problem. Apologies.

Fourth Person

Scenes from my moleskine

That’s the end of my first and probably last real attempt to write in first person. I gave it an honest go but my narrator just didn’t know enough and everyone else knows too much. Also, I didn’t like my narrator very much. So fuck him, he’s gone. And so is all the work I’d done so far. Time to start all over again.

Phew.

Proust: I Barely Remembered Thee

Seriously, check out her photostream, it's amazing

photo credit: juliettetang (click photo for more)

I’ve given up reading Proust.

Smart, funny people like him. His is the favorite book of a great many great authors. I wanted to be that kind of snob that made it through all seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things ZZZZZZZZZZZ but I just… I just can’t.

When I’m dreading reading a book and have to convince myself to actually pick it up, when I can barely remember what happened a paragraph ago, when I’ve been trying for weeks and am still only a hundred pages in (and that was a heroic effort) it’s time to quit.

I never really quit a book. I thought I had given up on Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake and The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek for good but I finished them both this year. But actually, with both of those, I was helped along by spoilers. I knew where we were headed so that helped clarify what I was reading, especially since those are both written with a very unique kind of style that is in turns awing and infuriating. I don’t know where In Search of Lost Time is going to end up. I don’t even know where the first volume is going to end up. Probably in a field somewhere, with eighty pages on a daffodil. As my boss sometimes likes to say, “put a pistol in my mouth.”

(He does not, to my knowledge, say that about me.)

But I bought the book, it’s there on the pile, so maybe someday, when I’ve got oodles of time and a LOT of coffee to keep me from falling asleep every two pages, I’ll get back to it. Commenters will probably tell me I’ll read it when I’m more mature. But my dad read that thing and he could barely stand it, it was so dull. I wanted to prove him wrong, but gah, what a slog.

It doesn’t help that I’ve got a lot of awesome stuff lined up on the shelf: I’ve already started An Arrow’s Flight, plus I’ve got The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White (one of my favorites), At Swim Two Boys, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, The Infinities, and more.

What does it take to get you to quit a book? What could you just not get through? Or, because I’m nosy, what are you excited about reading next?

Twin Freaks

Since the story I’m working on is all about small towns and secrets, what better show to watch for research and inspiration than Twin Peaks? Two days ago I’d never seen a frame of it. As of now I’ve finished the first season. Got big plans for the long weekend. I probably won’t leave the house.

It’s got the expected spread of Characters but the standouts and, it seems like, the most unusual, is the Competent Weirdo. Agent Cooper is one. And actually, ditzy Lucy is another one.

Agent Cooper is introduced leaving this rambling and seeming inconsequential dictation while he drives. It’s mostly about trees and pie. It seems like he’s going to be some arrogant outsider who bursts into this small town and disrupts everything. But he winds up loving the place. He fits right in. And, he’s AWESOME.

The other thing is, he’s not a jerk about it. He’s as intuitive as Sherlock Holmes or House (same thing, same thing) but he just waves people off when they’re impressed. He’s goofy and affable. It seems like cheating a little that he gets a lot of his clues from his dreams instead of straight intuition but he still does pick up on body language and physical hints too.

Lucy is awesome too. She’s supposed to be funny and strange and a little stupid but then she’ll write down the incriminating things the idiot kids are saying or she’ll notice background clues in a phone call. I like that she’s complex, and not just one note or a punchline.

AND a style icon!

And stellar doughnut organizer too

I also appreciate that she seems to be the only girl in Twin Peaks who isn’t evil, insane, or involved with a REALLY horrible guy. (Seriously girls, DUMP THEM.)

Most of the characters are pretty well-rounded (crummy boyfriends aside) but these two are my favorites and a trend I’d like to see more of. It’s definitely an inspiring show.