This interview was a bit whiplashy

Dec. 9th, 2016 01:55 pm
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin

Interview in The Guardian with the new President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which may have been the first of the Royal Colleges to have a female President, but then decided that that covered them for the next several decades against any claims of gender bias, and they've only just appointed the second.*

And at one point she's suggesting being very interventionist with patients over obesity**, which made me cringe -

- and also made me go WHUT when later on in the interview:

She has been tremendously influenced by Sir Michael Marmot, who as a leading epidemiology professor at UCL has pioneered research on health inequalities. “Why is it we treat people, only to put them back into the place where they got ill?” she asks. Marmot said that only a third of our health outcomes are attributable to doctors and other medical staff. “Two thirds comes from all the social and epidemiological factors present where somebody is born and lives and where they are educated. It’s absolutely phenomenal.”
Which, you know, might have led her to consider the social etc factors bearing upon 'obesity' - and I note she cites the BMI, which is widely considered a not very useful or reliable gauge.

Of course, one doesn't know to what extent the interview was edited to foreground some things rather than others.

*Thinking about professional cultures, a friend who once worked in a non-medical capacity at that particular Royal College found it had a hideously macho culture and the male bias was not just lingering in dusty corners.

**And over the years of my own career, I had to do with quite a number of women docs who had trained and qualified when the percentage of women admitted to medical school was subject to stringent quotas - I think Regan probably started her medical education just about the point that parity came about - and would say that terrifying virago was quite often an understatement, there was frequently entire internalisation of certain mindsets common to the profession ('There's no knowledge but I knows it').

(no subject)

Dec. 9th, 2016 09:47 am
oursin: hedgehog in santa hat saying bah humbug (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bibliofilen, [personal profile] lsanderson and [personal profile] nineveh_uk!

A gentleman prefer'd to my favour

Dec. 9th, 2016 09:28 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

I am at my desk the morn, somewhat dolefull from the lack of triangle - for sure there are few enough times when my darlings and I may be thus together during the present whirl of Society – but sure discretion is very necessary does suspicion rest upon my house over some entire different matter.

Hector opens the door and shows in my darling Eliza, that is in disguise as some humble creature that goes selling matters from door to door –

Hot-house fruit, says my dearest, I left the basket in the kitchen, and sure I dare not stay too long, for altho’ your kitchen has a good charitable reputation for providing tea and perchance some snack to those that look chill’d as they go about vending, they would shortly send me upon my way.

She comes put her arms around me as I still sit at my desk, somewhat in a shock.

Dearest of C-s, she says, we quite apprehend’d that your note convey’d some warning, and then this morn comes Mr MacD- somewhat in agitation, to say that has been told by Matt Johnson there is some fear that your house is being watcht and 'tis being gone about to find out if 'tis so –

I give a little smile in spite of myself and say, sure Wellington himself might envy my lines of communication. But – I turn and kiss her – 'tis quite the foolishest matter.

I go open to her the very curious inquisition I underwent concerning Mr W- Y-.

My dearest snorts. As if our darling, that has the very nicest taste in literature, would bother with Mr W- Y-.

I confide, says I, that 'tis suppos’d that a pretty featherwit may hear matter that she quite fails to comprehend, that some knowing fellow will understand the inwardness of. But sure I do not think Mr W- Y- would be about telling me his secrets after I reveal’d to him that I had found out his poetickal theft. And, does a lady witness some very ridiculous scene in which he is pursu’d by a swan, a fellow is like to desist from any suit he makes to her, for gentlemen hate to suppose that any lady considers them a figure of fun, and goes titter upon 'em over the tea-cups.

My love comes sit upon my knee and kisses me. Sure we were all in suspicion about Mr W- Y- before this. But indeed, altho’ Josiah is greatly mind’d to the punching of noses, he knows that 'twould not answer in a delicate situation the like of this.

I sigh. So, says I, we must all be most extreme discreet the while, chaste as ice, pure as snow, preserve the immediate jewel of our souls, in order to confound suspicion. 'Tis most exceeding irksome.

O, says my darling wild girl, and I daresay this – sure I will not deem him gentleman – that spoke to you yesterday, supposes Lady B- to be quite the entirest feather-brain?

I know not how 'tis, says I, but indeed I am like to suppose that he thinks that.

My darling kisses me upon the nose very fond. Also I daresay he has no apprehension in general concerning the wits of women.

Indeed not, says I. I daresay he cleaves to the opinion of Lord Chesterfield that they are merely children of a larger growth.

My love finds this thought most amuzing, but then makes a determin’d face, rises from my lap, and says, tho’ she would very much wish to stay, if only to exchange gossip - she hears Lady Z- was lately brought to bed of a fine daughter, and that yestere’en Mr H-'s carriage was seen outside Sir B- W-'s door – she had better be off.

We kiss very warm, and I give her some several kisses to convey to Josiah, and she departs.

I bury my head in my hands, but sure, we are, I am very much like to confide, entire beforehand of Sir R- O-. But I am in some concern that Mr W- Y- is an unknown quantity in the matter that may yet disturb our calculations.

'Tis an afternoon when I should be about going to a meeting of the orphanage ladies, but as I confide that Lady J- will be among 'em with her powers entire refresht and ready to get 'em well under hand, I am like to suppose that matters are unlike to gang aft agley do I cut, and remain at home, reading by my own fireside and eating the very excellent hothouse grapes that my darling brought the morn in service to her masquerade. 'Tis most extreme agreeable, and Pounce curls up upon my lap, and Dandy lyes across my feet, and I am in the enjoyment of a spell of lazyness such as I seldom have these days.

Comes Hector with a card upon a tray, and says, is My Ladyship at home? 'Tis Lady T- at the door.

I ope my eyes very wide – sure of any callers I might have expect’d, she was most unlikely – and then go remove my feet from under Dandy, lift Pounce from my lap, put down my book, and say, indeed I am at home to Her Ladyship. And please desire tea from Euphemia in the best china.

Hector nods, and comes in Lady T-. I go across the room to greet her, make my curtesy, and convey her into the most comfortable chair.

I know, says she, this is not your afternoon for being at home to callers, but I took the chance that you might not have gone out.

O, says I, there has been such a frenzie of matters lately that I took the opportunity to be idle for a little.

She glances at the book that lyes upon the table beside me, and seeing that 'tis An essay on the natural history of Guiana, says sure she did not expect to find me recreating myself with such a volume.

O, says I, the Marquess of O- has quite the finest collection of works upon the southern Americas and the West Indies (I do not say that I read in hopes of finding somewhat towards a horrid tale or Gothick novel) and has very kindly give me the run of his library.

Comes Celeste with the best tea in the best tea-set, and some exceeding elegant biscuits.

I go pour out as Lady T- says that of course, she hearkens not to those who describe Lady B- as a pretty feather-wit, but did not expect to find me in such deep studies.

I stick out my foot and look at my ankle and say, sure my stockings are still not blue, but I endeavour improve my mind.

This surprizes a laugh from Lady T-.

But indeed, she says, sure I feel myself quite the lady of learning, for I have had a most exceeding civil letter from the Keeper at the British Museum thanking me for presenting a copy of my book.

I am pleas’d to hear it, says I.

And, dear Lady B-, you were of such inestimable assistance to me in bringing the matter to its conclusion I should desire to make you a little gift - she draws a package out of her reticule – I collect how very highly you prais’d this piece when examining my china collection –

'Tis the exquisite Chinese porcelain bowl, that indeed I had some covetousness in my heart concerning.

I cast down my eyes and say, sure Lady T- has never had occasion to hear of the origins of Lady B-'s collection of fine china; 'tis not an edifying tale.

Well, says Lady T- in positively robust tones, one has heard that gentleman that wisht gain favour with Madame C- C- were wont make offerings of china, and her taste in the matter was consider’d most exquisite, but sure, Lady B-, you have such excellent feeling for china, seems a great pity you should not increase your collection.

I am somewhat struck dumb. I look over to my china cabinet. I then mind me that, do I go have more bookshelves put in, 'twould not be unfitting to have some shelves glasst and set aside for new china, and there would be a distinction, so that perchance the general would not suppose that a new piece in Lady B-'s collection signify’d some new favourite.

Why, Lady T-, says I, you present the idea to me so very kind and thoughtfull that indeed I cannot refuse. And this piece is so entire exquisite -

I go wrap it up again and place it in my desk, until I have some place it may fitly be display’d where the cats will not get at it.

Tho’ indeed, says Lady T-, putting down the biscuit she nibbles upon and casting down her eyes, there is a gentlemen I would prefer to your favour –

I sit down and say, indeed?

- o, she continues, I may be his mother but I know he is somewhat of what schoolboys call a muff: yet I think that a lady such as you – that may not be a bluestocking but has a deal of mother-wit – could do him a deal of good.

You mean Lord K-? says I. Alas, I confide he considers me a light-mind’d creature, and does not show any inclination towards me – for I cannot deny, I have a deal of experience in telling whether a fellow does or no. Sure I am quite entire honour’d that you should consider me for the position of daughter-in-law, but I am like to suppose that you would be in hopes of grandchildren, and from certain matters communicat’d to me in consultation with the profession, I am given to understand that increase would be unlikely. (O, I daresay I could get with child once more, but after my ordeal bringing forth my belov’d bundle Flora, should not care take the risque).

She pats my hand.

But, says I, indeed I will look about me for some lady that perchance might better suit (tho’ knowing of his patronage of Mrs O'C-, I am not in very great hopes).

selenak: (LondoGkar)
[personal profile] selenak
Spotted this meme, and did it for one of the few OTPs I actually have: Londo/G'Kar 4eva!

Here are some winter-related questions about your OTP! Enjoy!

1: Who makes the other hot chocolate?

Neither. The correct answer to this question is, of course: Vir!

2: Who knits the other a seasonal sweater?

No, not Vir, and don't even dare to ask Na'Toth. Londo, being a fashion-conscious Centauri, wouldn't inflict something on himself that either he or G'Kar manufactured. However, he considers scarfs to be an Earth origin article with suitable aesthetics and warming quality for both Narn and Centauri. He therefore ordered several (for himself, G'kar and Vir) and billed the whole thing to Centauri Prime claiming it was expense to promote Human-Centauri trade relations.

3: Who’s family hosts a bigger holiday gathering? What’s the gathering like for your OTP?

G'Kar doesn't have biological family, because they were all killed by Centauri, if you care to ask. And he'd never inflict Londo on those Narn still alive he feels somewhat close to. Londo, otoh, would like to point out that nobody throws bigger (or better) parties than the Centauri, regardless of the occasion. As for his family: on Centauri Prime, there are Timov and his dead friend Ursa's children whom he adopted into House Mollari as promised, on Babylon 5, there's Vir, and though Timov declares him to be madder than usual, he did invite everyone to the Centauri feast of the new year between seasons 4 and 5 - on the station, not wanting to push his luck since his reconciliation with G'Kar was still rather recent. As for what it was like for them: the three way snark between Londo, G'Kar and Timov still sells as a recording, because someone who shall remain nameless had the bright idea to tape, err, crystal-conserve it, making a small fortune of the result. Londo later declared it to be one of the most stimulating nights of his life. Make of that what you will.

4: How would your OTP react to having a snow day?

G'Kar isn't too keen on snow until he's introduced to the concept of snowball fights. A part of him wants to comment that the waste of water is a very Centauri thing to do. The other part is busy throwing snowballs at Londo.

5: Who offers the other one their jacket?

Londo's jackets would not fit G'Kar, and besides, there's a whole pyschological minefield there because during the occupation, the Centauri used to dress their "decorative servants" up somewhat. Otoh, if the two of them were, say, trapped in a cold place together, G'Kar would declare that "if it means your incessant prattling will stop", Londo could have his coat, and upon Londo's refusal would add "the sound your chattering teeth make is even more annoying than the sound of your voice, Mollari, so take the coat!"

6: Who makes a snowman that looks like the other member of your OTP, or do they both do this?

They both do that, long before they become an item, in those climate zones on the station that feature snow. The mocking potential is enormous, after all. "Leave it to you to find a way to get your hands on Londo that doesn't get you in a cell", was Michael Garibaldi's comment.

7: Does your OTP ever have snowball fights?

See above. Of course they do.

8: What gifts would they get each other for the holidays?

Londo has prepared a very special edition of the Book of G'Kar. One with his footnotes and comments on G'Kar's wise utterings. G'Kar observes that since this means Londo actually read his book, Londo already has received a gift. That he happens to have prepared a meal he's cooked himself that can be consumed by Centauri as well is sheer coincidence.

9: How do they spend their winter holiday? Do they even celebrate the same holiday?

On the one hand, no, since the Narn made it a point of pride not to accept Centauri calendar years, and their belief systems are completely different anway. HOWEVER, on Babylon 5 they got into the habit of celebrating their New Year's days when the humans did. It was one of Sinclair's earliest brokered compromises, and it stuck.

10: What sort of seasonal treats does your OTP like to eat?

Since they can never agree on flarn, and human sweets are tricky for Centauri, they stick to fluids, or to be more precise, to the fine holiday brivari enjoyable to both of them.

11: How do they spend New Year’s Eve?

See above. Definitely in a verbose way. Whether Londo's tentacles also get involved, not even Galaxy Gaby knows, though they claim to.


12: Who initiates the New Year’s kiss?

G'Kar. He says it's only to shut Londo up, of course.


13: Who tries to get a secret gift for the other one for Valentine’s Day?

G'Kar found out about this human holiday because it was an excellent opportunity to hit on human women; Londo found out about it when stationed on Earth as part of the Centauri delegation because Mariel always had some beautiful jewelry afterwards that he hadn't paid for. Neither of them would consider this holiday to apply to them... but Delenn, being the fiendish matchmaker she canonically is for these two, sent gifts in their names to the respective other.

14: Would your OTP take a walk together in the snow?

Yes. G'Kar says it's just to ensure nobody other than himself kills Londo Mollari. Londo does it in the happy certainty that snow didn't feature in a single one of his ominous dreams, which means that as long as he strolls through it, he's destiny-free.


15: Which one gets more excited over the first snow of winter?

Londo, because: see above.

Vikings 4.12

Dec. 8th, 2016 06:30 pm
selenak: (Bayeux)
[personal profile] selenak
In which I learn my lesson about not to jinx things on this show.

Read more... )

Haven't ranted thus for a while

Dec. 8th, 2016 09:59 am
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

A fairly interesting article on the revival of the Book of the Month Club - not quoting the massively naff headline - but there was one passage when I was going END TIEMZ B HEER!!!:

[T]he Club is fueled partly by an active presence on social media. Members regularly post photographs of themselves — or their pets — with their purchases. Also popular are “book bentos,” artsy photo displays of club books arranged with objects relating to their themes or subjects.

Y O Y???? In the time it takes to do that, you could be reading.

As a palate-cleanser, here is some shelf-porn that seriously presses my button to ring my bell: 16 Floor-to-Ceiling Bookshelves That Will Make Your Jaw Drop. This pretty much gets it (though who are those philistines who have objets d'art in space where they could fit MOAR BOOX?), unlike the various poncey interior design notions I have ranted about over the years, where clearly the persons designing them never read a book and treat the whole question as one of aesthetics.

[Links via [personal profile] umadoshi]

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Sure I must be about visiting Dolly Mutton, for I am entire certain that the woman that went insult me after the play was Molly Binns and I am in considerable concern over what may be done about her has the Earl cast her off, or made trouble for her. Dolly I daresay will know more of the business and whether there is some remedy that might be put on hand.

I sigh. 'Tis sure a tangl’d web, tho’ the deceit that was first practis’d was that of Lord N-, the wretch.

I turn back to making up a packet to send to New South Wales, for the dear Admiral has put me in the way of certain fellow-officers of his that will be able arrange for messages to be convey’d there with quite unusual expedition. So I put together my own letter for dear Abby, that I miss so much, a letter from Miss N- to her sister, a communication from Mrs Atkins in hopes that it may reach her husband thro’ the kind offices of the T-s, and some other letters from sympathizers and members of the scientifick set.

I have seal’d this up all very proper to be took to the Admiral’s old shipmate that now occupies some place at the Admiralty, and am about to ring for Hector to give it to Timothy, when comes in Hector with a card on a tray and the expression I last saw when a dead rat was discover’d in the wainscoting, or mayhap when Mr E- call’d to solicit my interest in his intentions for Julius.

I look at the card, that is of one Mr R- O-, that is no-one I know: and then it comes to mind that the Contessa mention’d him to me as a fellow to be wary of.

Why, thinks I, I will trust the dear Contessa’s instincts in such matters, and tell Hector that he may admit the gentleman but that there is no necessity to bother Euphemia. Hector and I look at one another in entire mutual understanding.

I put away any sign that I have been about writing and go place my embroidery upon a low table, very prominent. 'Tis time to enact the feather-wit once more, methinks.

Comes in Mr R- O-, that is a gentleman approaching middle years, with a face that is one that would be easily forgot, dresst in a fashion to match these looks – 'tis not so out of style as to be not’d, nor is it in the crack of the mode.

I look at him in bewilderment, for sure one might well be in some confusion as to whether or not one had met him.

I do not think, sir, says I, that I have your acquaintance? I hope 'tis not incivil in me, but indeed one meets so many people, I know not how one may remember them all, I add, simpering somewhat.

Mr R- O- says that indeed, he has not formerly had the pleasure, and makes a leg, but he intrudes upon me in the hope that I have some intelligence of the whereabouts of Mr W- Y-.

Why, says I, I have not been in company with him this while – tho’, I say, as one that wishes be helpfull, saw him in the pit at the theatre within the past se’ennight. Indeed, says I, in somewhat injur’d tones, has not come read me his poems these several months.

He was in the habit of reading you his poems?

La, says I with somewhat of a pout, I would not say 'twas a habit.

And do you remember anything of the poems he read?

O, says I with a titter, I did not comprehend 'em in the least, but seem’d give him pleasure to read 'em to me.

When would you say you were last in company with Mr W- Y-?

I frown, and go count upon my fingers, and bite my lip in the effort of recollection, and say, was't not at Lord P-‘s house-party, when he was fright’d by a swan? And then say, no, of course, he was at the house-party at Sir V- P-'s, but left us early –

Was’t not on that occasion he had some quarrel with the late Mr D- K-?

I frown prettily and say, I confide he did, but, sure, Mr D- K- was a very quarrelsome fellow over matters to do with the shoot, had words very general with the other gentlemen there.

I look at him and blink slowly several times, and go tilt my head on one side with an expression of puzzlement. But no! I cry, sure 'twas give out that 'twas an apoplexy.

And he has never given you anything to keep for him?

O no, says I, and then, o, he gave me a book of his poems that came out last year – was there not some scandal about 'em?

Do you have the book?

I bite my lip and look thoughtfull and go over to my bookshelves and spend some while running my fingers along 'em and squinting and at length pulling out the slender volume and handing it to Mr R- O-, that ruffles thro’ the pages, many of which remain uncut. He pokes about it a little as if it might conceal some message.

At length he says, but you have not seen him since?

O, says I, perchance at some rout or ball but I do not think we have converst since Sir V-P-'s house-party.

Only, says Mr R- O-, to the great anxiety of his friends he seems to have vanisht -

Say you so! I exclaim.

- and we go about among his acquaintance to see whether any knows where he has gone. Do you hear anything to the matter, Lady B-, I should be most extreme gratefull could you inform me. A message to my club will ever find me.

Why, says I, I should be entire delight’d to relieve his friends’ anxieties over him – have I not heard that his behaviour of late has been strange and wild, even for a poet? - but he is at present quite the stranger to me.

I gaze at Mr R- O- in the fashion of one that would desire be helpfull but apprehends not quite how she might go be so.

Sir R- O- smiles at me as one might at a child that goes recite to company: because 'tis a pretty sight and not because the recitation has any merit. He makes me a leg and says he dares say he will not need to trouble me further in the matter.

I dip him a curtesy and ring for Hector to show him out.

After this has been accomplisht, comes Hector with an expression as if an entire hecatomb of rats has been discover’d in the wainscotting. Fellow askt me, he said, when did Mr W- Y- last call, as if could not trust Your Ladyship’s word.

La, says I, he suppos’d me a silly creature that scarce knows what day o’ week 'tis.

Hector and I look at one another. I wonder, says I, might you go have a word with Matt Johnson about fellows that might come watch out to see are there other fellows set to spy upon the house.

Hector nods and says 'tis a prudent thought.

Sure I should greatly like to get word to Sandy and convoke over this matter, but 'twould look somewhat particular to send for him at once. I also bite my lip and determine that much as I should desire the company of my dearest loves that is already promist for the e’en, 'twould be entire imprudent.

I daresay, says I, that there is a certain number of notes pass to and from 'twixt Euphemia and Seraphine upon culinary matters and this proposal concerning preserves and pickles. Hector concedes that 'tis so. Suppose, says I, that Euphemia went write somewhat to Seraphine, sure I might convey a note to Mrs F- thereby? Hector nods and says that indeed he minds that Euphemia was saying she runs very low on certain spices, would be extreme gratefull could Seraphine lend her a pinch or two until she may restock.

I sigh and say sure 'tis a somewhat arduous matter for Timothy, but does he take this packet to the Admiralty, he might then go on with her message to R- House?

'Twill do him good, says Hector somewhat severe, at present does naught but laze around cleaning the boots very desultory. I fear he relishes young Nell’s admiration over-much.

I go to my desk and scribble a little note for my darling Eliza, that I confide will appear entire innocuous, for 'tis a question as to what she purposes wear for the ball, as I shall not be seeing her until that very e’en; but will, I am in hopes, be taken at its true meaning by my loves.

That matter seen to, I find myself in some disposition to pace up and down, but go sit at my pretty desk and address myself to certain tangl’d matters in the philanthropick set, for 'twill sure distract my mind.

This business accomplisht, I go ride a little in the Park upon my lovely Jezzie-girl, in hopes it may clear my head somewhat.

'Twould be entire too much to hope that Milord might be riding there as well and thus might I find opportunity to convey some intelligence to R- House. But do I collect aright there is some matter goes forward in the Lords, that he must be about.

Comes up to me Reynaldo di S-, that says, he dares say I must have heard the news, that Lady Z- has gone bear a very fine daughter: and then goes sigh very deep, and say, sure she displays a most beautiful maternal character in her devotion to her children.

I say that indeed many women have the greatest love for their children whatever they may feel towards the father.

And he hopes that may prove some consolation to her –

Consolation? says I.

- for altho’ my heart remains entire in her hands, I am persuad’d that 'tis my duty to the cause to go rouse Herr P-'s adherents in the Americas and stiffen their resolve, and mayhap make new converts.

O, says I, 'tis a very noble thing you purpose.

Wednesday still has the ick

Dec. 7th, 2016 06:56 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Age of Scandal - and with additional fat-shaming of Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark! No, underwhelmed entirely by this.

Lead Me Not - rather slow, though the setup did rather require that everything moved very tentatively. I wanted more about the twin sister - even if that was a really terrible idea for getting her twin brother to come to terms with his sexual orientation, there was enough there that it seemed like there might be a story.

Latest episode of Tremontaine.

Tanith Lee, Greyglass (2011) - what was really great about this - characteristically late mode Lee - was the way she does the unheimlich in the ordinary and the banal - barely needs any supernatural element, and could be put down to 'all in the mind'?

Anne Charnock, A Calculated Life (2013) - this was, I think, a freebie or a special offer that someone or other recommended. Very good. Small detail work. One or two slightly info-dumpy places, but mostly it's done very subtly. Melodrama eschewed.

On the go

Marjorie Senechal, I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science (2012): I think this was a freebie in the category of Academic Press 'we can't/won't pay you for giving us a report on this ms/book proposal/encyclopedia article, but you can have £/$XXX-worth of our books!' I'm finding it slightly irksome - there's a certain amount of rather consciously fine, or intended to be fine writing (a touch creative-writing class) + a fair amount of 'my research I show u it'. Also, has various instances of getting it wrong ('First Division' in UK prisons c. 1917 didn't mean you were a nob, it meant a certain class of offence not of common criminality, one of the suffragette issues was about trying to get suffragette prisoners into First Division), missing the point, and infelicitous word choices (I don't think 'home-schooling' has the right connotations for 'educated by governesses in the days when girls often weren't sent to schools anyway'). And had that thing where, although author has found out a lot (see 'my research I show u it') I suspect I know enough about quite a lot of the cast of characters to a) wince and b) know more - e.g. 'How could she not mention that Bertrand Russell's elder brother was banged up for bigamy after a trial by his peers, i.e. the House of Lords?' (and I bet he didn't serve that sentence in the First Division) and 'given all the other peripheral matter you mention, surely is worthy of note that Elizabeth von Arnim was Katherine Mansfield's cousin?'.

So I'm rather reading it with my little nitcomb in my hand, in my hand.

Up next

Not sure.

Tales of Yuletide Past

Dec. 7th, 2016 01:41 pm
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
Looking back to see whether or how I developed in terms of writing Yuletide tales.

2009:

My first year of writing, after being an avid annual reader of this ficathon. You had and have to offer several fandoms you can write in so you can be matched, and I threw in Ovid's Metamorphoses on impulse and as an afterthought. (Knowing my Greek myths and my Ovid, this was something I knew I didn't have to do much research for.) Wouldn't you know it, this was what I was assigned, and most satisfying it proved to write, too. Mind you, I was also initiated in the experience of Yuletide panic, when after the default date my recipient showed up as ungifted despite me having posted the story weeks before, but after some mails, this was cleared up. The recipient was happy and wrote lovely feedback, and so all in all, I had a great first time Yuletide experience.

Spinning Fate

2010:

In that year, DS9 was allowed back as a Yuletide fandom, so I listed it among my offers and promptly got assigned to a DS9 request. Which challenged me to write a version of Dax I hadn't written before, Ezri, a pairing I hadn't written before (Worf/Jadzia Dax), and a pov I'd never written before (Worf, who in my previous DS9 stories had only shown up in cameos). Just goes to show you can get challenged out of your comfort zone even in a fandom you think you've done all in already. Experiences like this are exactly why I sign up for ficathons.

Let It Be

2011:

Another year of a DS9 assignment. The lesson learned in this Yuletide was that even in a relatively big (for Yuletide) fandom, like DS9, popularity is by no means guaranteed. This story - about Odo and Quark, and the beginning of Odo's time on Terok Nor - got not as many readers as Let it Be had done, and was somewhat overshadowed by the other DS9 stories posted this year. Readers, I experienced writerly jealousy in a fanfic context for the first time. Also a Yuletide rite of passage!

Collaborators

2012:

The first year in which I wrote a treat in addition to my assignment. My assigned fandom was Sunset Boulevard, and the new Yuletide experience that year was that the original prompt had been very general, and by the time the recipient's letter was up, she'd forgotten she had requested Sunset Boulevard and wrote more detailed thoughts only to fandoms I had zero ideas about. Panic! However, contacting the mods resulted in Sunset Boulevard being talked about in her letter, which allowed me to write the Norma and Max backstory I'd been wondering about for eons, which in turn to my great relief resulted in a happy recipient who wrote lovely comments to every chapter of the story:

Lebenswerk

By now, I had enough of a certainty of how long it would take me to write a Yuletide story to write a treat as well, and even write it first. It was a story [personal profile] naraht and self had been daring each other to write for eons, about Alma Cogan. I still feel a bit guilty about writing RPF (though not guilty enough not to do it, obviously), but Alma Cogan has been dead for decades, which was liberating enough for me to this for Yuletide. I had been a bit concerned [profile] narah and I would be the only ones interested in the result, but this turned out not to be the case, which made me a happy writer.

Such an easy game

2013:

The year of the siblings! I ended up to write both my assignment and my treat about sibling relationships, which I was aware of, though I only noticed during the beta process I even had both pairs of siblings drink hot chocolate together in the comfort part of h/c. What can I say? It seemed to fit them. The assignment was in Breaking Bad, and in addition to everything else told me another Yuletide lesson, which was: better not request exactly the story you want to write yourself, or it will be a really weird emotional experience later. In this case, I had asked for a story about Skyler and her sister Marie for Breaking Bad, which I got, and had offered Breaking Bad with Skyler and Marie as characters, and guess which prompt I got.

Blood Ties

My other siblings tale of the year was another classic movie fanfiction, this time for The Godfather, and allowed me to explore the female pov of this very male-heavy tale, and a character whom both canon and fandom seemed to dislike a lot, Connie Corleone. This resulted in what is so far my most widely read Yuletide story, which I certainly hadn't expected. Cue beaming author!

Fuit Quondam


2014:

I had a new fandom to offer this year, The Americans, which I did get assigned to. Which was also the first time I offered to write for an unfinished canon. Now obviously I've done this often before, but not for Yuletide. It's one thing to dash off a story inspired by an episode which might not even be beta-read because it feels that urgent, and another to write for the most attention-getting of ficathons with months of preparation. The shared risk is that you could get jossed completely within said months. Luckily, this hasn't happened to me (yet); also, I got a prompt that allowed me to explore a guest character and his relationship to one of our main characters I had been wondering about for a while. Result:

Like the Fellow says

Meanwhile, doing shared Mary Renault book readings and debating with other readers had resulted in joking about possible film versions for some of the novels in question. This was also the year Disney released Saving Mr. Banks, their take on the clash between P.L Travers, author of the Mary Poppins novels, and Walt Disney, who between clashes bond a bit over Daddy issues. All of which led me to kid around with [personal profile] naraht about Hitchcock filming Renault, and them bonding over Mommy issues. Some jokes remain jokes; some just refuse to go away and want to be turned into actual stories. And thus I ended up writing the tale of Mary Renault clashing with not one but both Hitchcocks, Alfred and Alma, and reluctanctly bonding over mother issues:

Saving Mrs. Fleming


2015:

As with DS9, I ended up writing in the same fandom for two years in a row, which is why I haven't offered to write The Americans this year. (As opposed to DS9, nobody else wrote any Americans stories in the last two Yuletides, which, woe, because I do love the show a lot, and it's not Star Trek, it needs a building audience.) My 2015 prompt was a general one about the two main characters ("just fuck me up in the feels"), and thus I ended up writing casefic for Philip and Elizabeth, a story that I hoped would feel like a missing episode and tackle various s3 issues - the Soviet war in Afghanistan, our antiheroes' stressed relationship with each other and with their handler. The Americans reading Yuletiders responded very posivitely - except for the recipient, who didn't respond at all. Which was when I realised how lucky I'd been with my recipients from various ficathons, including Yuletide, until then. It's very frustrating if a person you've written a story for can't even be bothered with a "thanks for writing for me" note.

Zinc Man

The treat I wrote in 2015 was for my first book Yuletide fandom since Ovid, Ancient history as interpreted in Jo Graham's novel Hand of Isis. Which is slightly different than writing historical fiction based on whatever your own research has produced; you work with already established interpretations of characters, though of course there's still room for additional interpretation, especially since the novel is a first person pov, which means another character from their own pov can see things differently. Moreover, it was a chance to tackle Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who, depending on whether the work of fiction is pro-Augustus or pro-Cleopatra, usually ends up in a minor supporting role as either Sam Gamgee in the wrong canon or a soulless minion, despite having been the Empire's second most powerful man in his lifetime. And I could write Julia, Augustus' daughter, in what was arguably the happiest time of her life instead of filtered through her later tragedy. It turned out to be a very satisfying writing experience indeed.

Alexandria Leaving


This year: three stories in three different fandoms, though two of them are sort of related, about which I'll chatter on post reveal.
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

So, I receive a little note from Mrs O- B-, desiring my advice, and go call upon her one forenoon.

Charley is with her when I go into their parlour, and I say I hear she is to be wisht happy, to which she says with a great smile and a deal of blushes, indeed she is. But, she hopes that Lady B- -

I sigh a little and say, sure people will make a deal out of nothing at all. I confide that Lord A- thinks of me in the capacity of an older sister - mayhap even an aunt - that could advize him on matters of courtship -

But, 'tis put about that Lord R- -

O, poo, says I, gentlemen will go take jealous pets over naught at all, even without there is an Iago steps between to make trouble. Sure 'tis not the first time His Lordship has fallen into such a fit – even tho’ we are such very old friends.

I go kiss her and say, sure she will make an entire charming viscountess.

Now, says her mother, run along, for I hear Mr G- D- being admitt’d to take your lesson.

Once Charley is gone, she turns to me and says, such a match! Sure we never suppos’d – indeed he seems a fine young fellow, but not too young. Do sit down, Lady B-.

She rings for tea.

'Tis very good of you to come, she says. Mr O- B- says you quite set his mind at rest over Lord A-‘s character, but there are questions I doubt a man would think to ask. Will he be a kindly husband, do you think?

Indeed, says I, I think he will show exceeding well. Has been no wild womanizer - o, perchance an opera-dancer or so, or even an opera singer - but as you will know he is in a very good set of fellows. But I daresay Mr B- will be settling somewhat upon Charley in trust, in case.

'Tis only prudent, says Mrs B-, fellows may fall into wild speculation, or be deceiv’d by suppos’d friends, and then 'tis as well that there is something reserv’d to the wife.

But, dear Lady B-, she says, after tea has come and she has pour’d out, I am somewhat at a loss as how we should go on now. Mr B- has been about making the announcement, and there will be a deal of matters of lawyers –

I say that I daresay they already have their own men of law, but my legal affairs are in the hands of Mr Q- of Lincoln’s Inn, a most excellent fellow.

- but her concerns are, should they give a ball? Would it be the proper thing to do?

I go think for a moment and sip my tea. Alas, says I, 'twould be a difficult matter to go arrange a ball now the Season is so well under way. All the crack musicians that play for dancing will already be commission’d to one or another. And I am not sure where you might hold it – I confide this mansion, tho’ exceeding fine, does not have a ballroom?

She shakes her head.

No, says I, not a ball, I would propose a fine musick party, where you might also have a little dancing. 'Twould be entire fitting and I confide that Mr G- D- and his friends would be entire delight’d to perform, and I have particular interest with Titus

Oh, cries Mrs O- B-, that was looking somewhat daunt’d at the prospect of a ball, what a very fine idea, His Lordship being such a connoisseur that first not’d Charley when she sang at M- House. 'Twould entirely answer.

And as far as balls go for putting the matter about, is’t not barely a se’ennight to the R- House ball?

But, says Mrs O- B-, this difficulty 'twixt Lord A- and Viscount R- -

Sure, says I, I confide that 'twill come to an entire reconciliation before then. (Sure I have contriv’d matters much less promising.) There will like be a display of entire amity.

Do you say so, she says.

And do you require any recommendation to modistes &C, I am quite entire at your service. But I am like to suppose that one that will be a fine advisor to Miss B- on this change of station would be Her Grace of M-.

What an excellent young woman she is, says Mrs O- B-. Sure an excellent example, even are there no matters of stepsons for Charley.

We part with most exceeding good feeling.

In the afternoon there is a meeting concerning the optickal dispensary, that concludes most unwont’d expeditious, I am like to suppose because several are kept homebound by colds. So I have a little time to go ride my sweet Jezebel in the Park at the fashionable hour.

There is a deal of company about, and there are several show sign of wishing to engage me in conversation, but I have my eyes open for other matters.

I observe Milord, that goes ride with several of the empty-head’d wastrel set.

I also observe that Lord A- comes driving his phaeton with Charley B- beside him.

One may perceive that this all becomes of most great interest to the passing company.

I go trot over to 'em, and make most effusive civil to 'em both, until comes up Milord with the fribble-set, and goes remark that he has seen the announcement, congratulates Lord A-, and wishes Miss B- exceeding happy.

Adds that he makes up a theatre-party in his box this e’en: he dares say Lord A- is not free to join 'em? ‘Tis wretch’d short notice.

Why, says Lord A-, it so perchances that Miss B- is engag’d for this e’en, 'tis a longstanding arrangement, so I am quite entire at loose ends. He turns to her and takes her hand and hopes that she will not mind does he go to the play with this sorry set of fellows?

Oh, says Charley, 'tis not as tho’ you might come to this ladies’ gathering (for Viola has took to having occasional little very select soirées for the young women in her set. I daresay Charley will be most immense delight’d to be the first among 'em to take, since the match 'twixt Lady Anna and the Marquess of O- still, to common knowledge, hangs in the balance): indeed I am glad that you will be entertain’d.

Milord says they will ensure that Lord A- is deliver’d to his club betimes and does not go revel the night away. He then turns to me and says, Lady B-, sure one knows how much in demand you are, I suppose there can be no likelyhood that you might join our party?

I give my head a little toss, as one who minds how causelessly jealous His Lordship has show’d these several months, and look pondering, and then smile and say, sure it perchances that I have no pressing engagements this e’en (I had hop’d to spend it at writing at my novel, but consider that 'tis entire necessary to play out this comedy).

Milord looks at me positive languishing and says that 'twould be most delightfull could I come.

O, says I, smiting him lightly with my riding crop, sure I know what 'tis: you want one of Euphemia’s pique-niques.

The fribble set all laugh very obliging.

So the matter is conclud’d, we take our leave of Lord A- and Miss B-, and ride off in company in considerable amity. There is a deal of discussion of the R- House ball and some several solicitations to me to save dances, which is sure very gratifying.

When I return home, I desire Euphemia to make up a pique-nique, and then go consult with Docket upon dress. I am therefore array’d very elegant and wearing my rubies, and supply’d with a fine basket, when I depart for the theatre.

As I step into the box Milord takes my hand, kisses it, and conducts me to the seat right at the front, next to himself. We exchange whisper’d conversation that onlookers may go suppose intimacies.

The empty-head’d wastrels go twit Lord A- upon his impending marriage quite in traditional form, and also make some jests upon Danvers D-.

Miss R- is on stage in the night’s play, and shows her condition less than many women that are as far along in increase as she must be. Sure I cannot forget how huge I grew even tho’ Flora was such a small infant. I hope she does not go tight-lacing herself, 'tis deem’d most deleterious for women that go with child, and Mr H- will scold very harsh any ladies under his care do they undertake it.

The play is not very good, and leaves my mind quite free to roam. I mind that I must go convoke with Mr H- on whether his friends in Sussex might supply the Marquess’ cellar. I think that matters begin come round for him somewhat in his practice as the body-snatching scandal becomes old stale news, tho’ sure 'twas not the first and I daresay will not be the last.

I look about the audience. The M- box appears to have been given over to some country cousins. As 'tis not a new play I do not see Mr P-, looking critickal, with Mrs O'C-, or the N-s. Sandy, that has already publisht as Deacon Brodie his adverse thoughts, goes meet with some of his philosophickal acquaintance the e’en.

During a pause in the performance there is some disturbance in the pit - several in our box put up their quizzing glasses. O, says young Lord V-, 'tis that tiresome fellow Mr W- Y-, what shocking poor ton he displays of late. One hears is being blackball’d at several clubs where he us’d to have the entrée.

As we leave the theatre I am very much surround’d by the fribble set, and indeed, of a sudden they quite form a protective phalanx about me. Milord says, there is some woman there shouts out filth about Lady B-, and indeed, I think has an intention to throw some at you.

Lord A- says, has the air of a somewhat superannuat’d Covent Garden Miss. I daresay she runs mad.

Lord V- and Danvers D-, that have gone to see may they apprehend her, say she has vanisht into the crowd.

I shiver a little, but indeed, strikes chill coming from the warmth inside.

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