Monthly Archives: April 2012

Responses

I’ve found myself dashing off detailed responses to everything I read once I’m done with it.  Well, not everything.  Usually when I’m reading at work or a doctors office or wherever I don’t feel the need to respond to it, and even if I did I wouldn’t exactly be given the time.  But just about anything I read at home, on my days off or in the hour or so between when I say I’m going to bed and when I actually fall asleep, I have this unrelenting desire to force someone to listen to my opinions on what I just read.  The fact that a blank notebook can’t actually “hear” me or “appreciate” what I’m saying doesn’t matter – I just want an audience!  It reminds me of being in college, where some professors forced you to keep a journal or just write a response paper week after week after week.  I hated that shit.  If you disliked a book or story they liked, and you trashed it in your response, you got a lower grade for not “understanding” as well as they wanted you too.  I’m the first to admit I will trash the shit out of something because I don’t get it–fuck you, The Sound and The Fury–but sometimes I was right.  We shouldn’t have been reading Twilight in a college Adolescent Lit class.  But that’s old news.  The important news is that now that I no longer have to worry about whether or not someone else will agree with me, I’m writing left right and center.  All the damn time.  About anything at all I want.  My writers block is gone!  Hurrah!

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Bret Easton Ellis, You Terrify Me

I’m having SUCH trouble finishing American Psycho.  It’s the single most horrifying book I think I’ve ever read, and I spent a year reading nothing but Stephen King.  I’m pretty OK with violence in my books, but holy crap man my teeth hurt just THINKING about some of those scenes.  But, similar to Toni Morrison, once you pick it up, you cannot put it down.  I will sit for five full minutes, staring at the book on a table like it’s a snake.  I know it’s terrible, and going to attack me on all fronts once I pick it up, but holy shit I can’t help myself.  I want to know what happens next.   I want those horrifying words to sing in my bones and reaffirm to myself that myself and my friends are not the worst humanity has to offer.  So I do…and then I finish my lunch break with the same look in my eyes I imagine the survivors of the Inquisition had.

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Women in Wheel

One of the things I love about Jordan is how strong and well drawn his female characters are.  Unlike most of the other fantasy epics I read, with the men the main characters and the women just window dressing, the women in Jordan’s world are just as much a part of the action as the men.  The men assume the women need physical protection;  the main women at least don’t need that protection, thanks to their access to the One Power.  Each woman chafes against the limits this protection puts on her, in her own special way.

Egwene and Nynaeve were raised with that sense of protection; Egwene plans for this protection and how to work around it, Nynaeve allows herself to ignore it, but when her efforts to do so are thwarted, her temper rises to the surface.  It’s reflective of their larger personalities: Egwene is political, watching everyone around her and making her own plans based on what she sees.  Nynaeve, on the other hand, generally assumes things will go the way she wants and expects them to, but when other people mess up their plans, she becomes infuriated.  Elayne was also raised expecting a certain level of protection, but she assumes all desires to protect her come from her rank as future queen rather than her female status.  The queens of Andor have a reputation of bravery and strength, and she assumes that is what people expect of her.  When men–or people in general, when she becomes pregnant–try to protect her due to her femaleness, rather than her rank, she is shocked and angry.  Aviendha wasn’t raised with that type of protectiveness at all, and is legitimately taken aback by it.  She was a warrior before crossing the Dragonwall, and to her, the idea that she needs physical protection is incomprehensible.

Well, I went on a bit of a rant.  I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately–I might go more in-depth on these thoughts later on. I’m too obsessed with this series lately.

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