Saturday Feature: If We Were Having Coffee…

Image from Death to the Stock Photo
Image from Death to the Stock Photo

I’d tell you that it’s been a long time since I’ve been this happy to sit in silence. Little Jedi and Sam are off gallivanting about the city, getting haircuts and who knows what else. They’re on Magazine Street, so anything could happen. I’d tell you that this week there’ve been workers about, digging up the water mains and replacing them on our street. Sure, this needs to be done—and I’m awfully glad that the city is working on it (we’re always fighting the water–approximately half of the city is at or below sea level). But it’s effing loud, and so the silence is soothing.

****

I’d tell you that Little Jedi and I went to visit USM on Thursday, while we were in town. I’d tell you that we looked around the library’s display of Herbert Randall’s photographs of Freedom Summer. I’d tell you that we talked, in simple terms about how white and black people in this country were separated by space and laws, and about how it’s only been 50 years since the historic movement ended that legalized segregation. And I’d tell you that I got a little weepy as I watched him try to comprehend why, exactly, this was ever a thing. Little Jedi is a sensitive fellow–he once had a nightmare that he turned into a dinosaur andΒ everyone ran away fromΒ him because he was so big and scary, but he just wanted to play. I’d tell you that this scares me because the world chews up and spits out sensitive boys, but that I’m also happy to have an emotionally aware and empathetic boy. I’d tell you that I hope he stays that way—and that I’m glad we had the chance to look at Randall’s photos and talk about them.

****

I’d tell you that for the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve been having very strange dreams. My dreams are generally strange, to be honest—but these have beenΒ more vivid than is usual. I intend to start a dream journal, as some of these would probably make good stories if the dream-logic were cleaned up a bit.

****

I’d tell you that you should make your way here to participate in a blogging challenge/contest that fellow blogger The Artistic Christian is holding. Choose a film adaptation of a novel and write a post that compares the two by next week; winner receives a $15 Fandango gift card. I’ll be chiming in, though I haven’t yet made an official decision on what I’ll be discussing.

****

I’d tell you that I’m fed up with the culture of maturity and assertions that adults should be embarrassed if they read children’s literature. I’d probably rant about how most people who hold those opinions miss the inherent complexity of a genre meant to entertain as well as to teach future generations, written by adults for children–ostensibly so, anyway, with the added complication that adults have to produce, market, and purchase the books. I’d tell you that the pejorative way we think about children is a real problem, and I’d probably point you to yesterday’s feminist Friday thread for some good commentary on that. And I’d unequivocally state that I think whatever keeps people reading is good, as reading enhances empathy, expands vocabulary, and encourages critical thinking.

****

I’d tell you that I’ve started the second season of Orange is the New Black, and that I’m still absolutely fascinated by it. I’d tell you that it’s nothing like the book, when it comes down to it, but that it’s an enjoyable show in its own way. I’d tell you that I’m quite excited to see the rest of the season, and I’d admit to be more excited to see Lori Petti and Laverne Cox than any of the other actresses. πŸ™‚

****

And then I’d ask what you’re thinking. πŸ™‚

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  1. The dream journal was the first step toward the lucid dreaming for me. I kept one off and on for years. Probably should still be keeping one.

    And thanks to this thread, I now know why you’ve been on a tear about the YA snobbery. Had no idea about that Slate article. Don’t have much time to browse Slate, or to read what people are saying about Slate on FB.

    And that Little Jedi dream is just too much. Poor little dude.

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      1. Thinking, after that Write On Sisters post, I may do one about the Slate article myself.

        The lucid dreaming took years of mental exercises for me. I seem to have them in spurts. Sometimes two or three in a two-week period, then none for a month or two.That’s another post I’ve been itching to write for awhile, but haven’t found the time for it.

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        1. yes. and I tend to do it more when I’ve been physically active for some reason.

          since you’re here, just posted a barn-burner about that Slate article at the writing blog for you. it’s a little dry in the middle, but I think you’ll enjoy the snark at the end.

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  2. That’s so sweet about the dinosaurs!

    I don’t believe in guilty pleasures anymore. I do what I want because I want to. If people think adults can’t or shouldn’t find something to engage with in children’s media, they’re wrong, and you’re absolutely right that pejorative thinking about children is a problem.

    I’ve only barely started Orange is the New Black, but it’s really got a remarkable tone. Very interesting.

    ___

    Well, let’s see. I’m really frustrated with my dumb novel. It was cooperating so well for months and now it’s just sitting there, taunting me. I MUST get these new scenes added or I have no basis to continue with the next scene where I left off, and I must do it as quickly as possible before I lose my everlovin’ mind.

    I’m thinking about #YesAllWomen and wondering why I don’t have a story, and about yesterday’s discussion and where to go from here.

    I’m thinking about representation and how to talk about it — what angles I can use and where I actually have something to say. For instance, one of my pet ambitions is to eventually run an LGBT+ history museum and show people how LGBT+ people have existed throughout history, because people don’t understand. I’m considering ways to do related things with my blog and with women’s issues. (Item #1 is to recommend media, because that’s my thing. πŸ™‚ )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t really thought about the guilty pleasures angle, but that’s a good point. It’s just another way of policing cultural norms. We’re supposed to “grow out of” this stuff—and if we don’t, we should feel guilty. But that’s silly, especially given the complexities of literature in general.

      I liked the first season of OITNB, but it took me a few episodes to decide that. I really, really dislike Piper and Larry–and I wasn’t sure how well I liked that distinctive tone that you mention, at least at first. But I liked it more and more as time went on, and the new season is proving to be very good so far.

      I haven’t been doing as well at writing as I’ve wanted to lately, either. Of course I’m working totally on nonfiction at this point, but it’s slow, slow going. I can’t get my groove again.

      And I’m definitely still thinking about yesterday’s discussion.

      Love the ideas you’re floating around re: representation and LGBT+, especially doing some of that on your blog. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Guilty pleasures relates to adult media too… I happen to think “famous-because-famous” reality TV shows are awful and unhelpful, but some of my coworkers watch them. I’d rather engage with those people and find out why they’re so invested, and hopefully have them reciprocate, instead of just berating them for liking what they do. When it comes to children’s media, I can’t fathom why people treat it with such disdain. I guess I shouldn’t find it so surprising, when people treat media in general with disdain even though it’s so important.

        OitNB is a weird show. I’m trying to describe it but it’s just odd. On the one hand it’s oddly soothing to me, but on the other hand it makes me uncomfortable. It’s definitely relevant to discussions of diversity, either way.

        Thanks. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure where I want to go other than media representations. A comment I made on Rose’s blog (I’m so inspiring I inspire even myself…) has me contemplating some kind of writer/creator how-to or discussion posts aimed at helping creators include better representation and encouraging them to do so. There’s only so much I’d be able to do on that personally, though.

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        1. Sure–I mean, I think it can relate to anything, from too much sugar to soda to what we read and watch. In the media respect, terming something as a guilty pleasure is a marker that is often placed based on gender, class, age, and racial lines, I think.

          OITNB is doing a pretty good job of throwing all of those divisions right into play and questioning our ways of representing it. Totally while I’m still watching. πŸ™‚

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  3. uh-oh. I must have missed a memo because I hadn’t heard it was frowned upon for grown-ups to read books intended for children. I’m currently reading one – called Ultra by David Carroll – about a young boy who enters an ultra-marathon (100 mile run).
    Who are these grumpy mean-spirited people anyway? … and why do they care what I read?

    Thanks for the coffee, but it’s Saturday afternoon and time for an adult beverage. Yard work is exhausting and I totally deserve this πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the academy, there’s a rather divided attitude about whether children’s literature is worth studying. And Slate just posted an article that judges adults who read YA literature rather harshly—I’m seeing it passed around with all sorts of snobbery. I wondering, to, why they care what people read so long as they are reading at all.

      And re: adult beverage, totally get that! Someone suggested a “if we were having cocktails” last week, and that might be a good idea this time of day! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just read the article and the condescending comment of ‘transparently trashy’.

        Quite frankly, I would be delighted to be the author of these “trashy novels without any literary value”.

        I would be laughing at the naysayers and their sanctimonious self-righteousness all the way to the bank πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d tell you that I love the quiet too. No t.v… aaahhh….

    I’d tell you that I love talking with my kids, and no matter how old they get I never tire of it.

    I’d tell you that hormones make me have extremely weird and vivd dreams, and say that you might find it interesting to mark them on the calendar. If you know what I mean.

    I’d tell you that I think adult literature could go a long way by adding some of the beautiful illustrations in children’s books. And that one of the best things about my book club is that we explore a lot of different types of literature.

    I’d tell you thanks for stopping by my blog, and I’m glad you did so I could check out Part Time Monster. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that you stopped by!

      Now that you mention it, I’m almost certain that hormones have something to do with the weird dreams. I think it’s also, at least this week, because I’m half awake from all the noise the workers are making early in the morning—that seems to be when they’ve been strangest, that last hour or so of sleep between 7 and 8.

      I wasn’t even thinking of illustrations, but that’s a good point. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, please let’s have more illustrations in YA and adult books! I only see that occasionally and it’s so much fun and adds to the experience! The two I can think of right off the bat are The God Engines by John Scalzi and Lips Touch by Laini Taylor, both very good.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh.All the noise. I’m glad it’s quiet now!

    Awwwwwwwwww…poor dinosaur Little Jedi…that would make a good story too! (But, I am reassured when I hear about children who can’t even comprehend why segregation was a thing.)

    I don’t keep a dream journal anymore because I usually just end up fumbling around for it, but I write a lot of my dreams down in emails to myself or things like that once I get up.

    Oh. My. Goodness. I am fed up with the culture of maturity as well, and I think that’s going to be all I say on the topic or else will be a very long rant.

    I haven’t watched Orange Is The New Black, but I found an old medical drama called Three Rivers that is suprising me.

    Hmmm… I’m mostly thinking about how to frame a post about introducing characters with disabilities and/or introducing disability in a story because Gene’O and Hannah have expressed an interest and…I…have…no…idea.(Yet.) So, I’m trying to pick apart by own writing and figure out how to discuss something that I do without ever thinking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I hadn’t really thought of writing that story…But it actually could be a very good story. I wish I could draw, as it would probably make an excellent illustrated story.

      I can generally hold dreams in my head for an hour or two after I wake up, and I’ve been mulling these over, but I’ve noticed that by the evening, I’ve forgotten all except that they were weird with a few snatches of detail here and there. I would like to keep better track of them, though.

      OITNB is good, but it’s got its problems. For the most part I really like the book-to-show changes that they’ve made.

      And I’ve seen that conversation that you guys are having—really interesting stuff. Wish I could weigh in on it more!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking it would make a good illustrated story too. Hannah’s got a character who’s about five and is part dinosaur. Makes me think of him.

        I tend to type them somewhere pretty quick after I get up. It sounds like a dream journal would be a good idea for you.

        I’ve heard some good things about that show. I’ll have to check it out one of these days.

        It’s really interesting for me to see how other people conceptualize these things. I think it will help me figure out how to frame the topic better in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If only I could draw! I’ll have to hire someone to draw wonderful pictures. πŸ™‚ But it was such an adorable dream that yes, it might need to be something else.

          My dreams were weird again today, but they’re also out front again, still working on the water mains and being loud enough to affect my subconscious, I suppose. Tomorrow I think I’ll start writing these dreams down–I’ve already mostly forgotten today’s. Something about being forced to land on the moon without any astronaut training.

          I kept up with that conversation with interest—you’re right, it’s helpful to figure out how others’ conceptualize things like that, too.

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        2. I can draw a little, but not enough to illustrate a story like that.

          I don’t remember what I dreamed last night, and tomorrow I have to get up early because we had contractors coming, but I hope that you have some interesting wants to write down.

          I’m hoping to draw some more people into conversations like that in the future. It’ll be fun to see how things unfold.

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        3. πŸ™‚ Nothing interesting enough to write down today, but I’ve a feeling that if I just wait a day or two, it’ll happen.

          I’m quite interested in those discussions, as well. I’m interested in seeing how your new ones go. πŸ™‚

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        4. Just spent my morning trying to explain the social relevance of hashtags and why saying things like “a hashtag isn’t a movement” actually defeats the intended purpose of things like #yesallwomen and #bringbackourgirls. I’ve got something else brewing now I think you’ll appreciate.

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        5. Oh, that sounds promising. I find online activism to be really interesting—and useful. And I’m interested in how others’ view it, though I don’t understand the backlash against it.

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