cardi, corgi

Good grief, Marylin Manson was RIGHT!!!

Despite being in not the greatest of health, I went to Centre Parcs this weekend with my DH, and some long-standing friends. I figured that going to the Spa & steaming my ‘tubes’ with scented herbs might be a good thing. (And I’m reliably informed I was/am not infectious! Yep, I can brew these buggers all on my own!)

Anyhoo, on the Sunday I went to the “Subtropical Swimming Paradise” – aka a very large swimming pool with flumes and jungley plants. Very nice it was too… and, as writers are known to do, I people-watched.

Rarely does such an opportunity to observe people in very few clothes arise. And it suddenly occurred to me just how… erm… ‘unbeautiful’ people are - we are. We are pale – unhealthy shades of ghostly white to spammy pink – we are bruised and scarred. We are hairy (where hair was never intended to be). We are flabby and droopy, with stretch-marks and varicose veins. We are (increasingly) self-mutilated with crap tattoos that will look just like un-identifiable black splats in a mere couple of years, and belly piercings which were never intended to be on a size 20 woman.

Actually, it made me smile for a while; people are glorious in their humanity, their vulnerability, their downright ugliness. And no one seemed to care – well, no one was allowing their self-consciousness to manifest itself in more that the occasional tug at their knicker elastic…

But then I got to thinking (as you do) I am not the type of woman who reads ‘woman’s magazines’ [shudder] or cares about who so-called ‘celebrities’ are (a fact my hairdresser finds quite amusing as I flick through ‘OK’ or ‘Hello’ saying – “and who is that then?”) I pour scorn on the size zero models – have even been known to growl stuff like, “have a cookie, why don’t you?” at the tv, BUT even I was mildly surprised by the reality of so many human beings in one place. I realised just how insidious the cult of the ‘Beautiful People’ truly is (thanks MM!) when actually, something like 95% of British women suffer from self-loathing because we have come to accept the buff, tanned (orange), coiffed people we see in all aspects of the media as some kind of real default setting. (And why aren’t these statistics available about men?)

And then, I started wondering – am I guilty of only writing beautiful people?

After all, Fantasy does seem to demand such archetypes – at least, on the face of it. In fact, when I thought about it, I realized that in the written form we at least have the luxury of only sketching the picture lightly – the reader fills in the rest. I HOPE that my ‘heroes’ are admirable mainly because of the people they are, the actions they take, the stories they tell. But of course, I’m not adverse to them being beautiful – hell, this is Fantasy after all! I might think more carefully in future though about my beautiful/ugly ratio…

[btw, ‘Talisker’ was “a ging-er”]
[[Scots slang: ‘g’ = as in ‘give’]]

Oh, btw, I recommend watching Channel 4’s excellent “How to Look Good Naked” for a brilliant reality-check on this subject. No surgery to turn the participants into plastic Barbie dolls. Real people, real women. We like.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful
cardi, corgi

Cat Deely... American Idol...WHY??????

Okay - she tells you what you are about to see - and then... you see it. And then she.... erm re-caps what you've just seen.

I don't think she's even really in the US. She's in a studio in Surrey somewhere.
It makes the whole show about 20 - 30 mins longer....


{Don't even get me started on the never-ending credits on 'Lost' - or the credits with the scene/character names in the SAME FONT in 'Heroes' (although, kudos, I love the show) because I'm ever so slightly tiddled..., really, I am.

  • Current Mood
    drunk drunk
cardi, corgi

You’re really growing on me… (cross-posted with the Write Fantastic)

You’re really growing on me…

Do you remember in the olden days ;-) when you’d buy an album by some band or other (in my case, Queen, Rush or Thin Lizzy) and you would play it repeatedly? If anyone asked you what you thought of it, you might say, “it’s really growing on me,” because there are some tracks which require more concentrated listening to appreciate, and perhaps when you first played the record, you would be focussing on the ‘hits’ that you already knew. Of course, if you were listening on vinyl there would be none of this cavalier shuffling through tracks as we do now – no, you would wait patiently through the tracks you didn’t love quite so much, to get to the one you did (you could lift the stylus but that wasn’t good for it, for some arcane reason!)

Now of course we have the luxury of things such as iTunes – you can listen to 30-second samples before you buy. If I go to a record store I can listen at a ‘listening post’ – but these are so designed that you are guaranteed not to stand there for long (in the same way as Macdonald’s is designed for a maximum sit-down time of about 20 minutes) in fact, the music posts don’t even have a seat under them.

Music has become a fast moving commodity on MTV and other music channels; the whole nature of the industry has changed. While this undeniably has benefits, it has become all about instant gratification – I can download any album that suddenly flashes through my mind.

So, my point is: what has become of the ‘growers’ - the music that demanded slightly more from its listeners? It’s still out there right – because people are still buying and downloading whole albums – for now – but the time is upon us whereby people can pick and chose their favourite tracks. You can buy single tracks on iTunes. Soon, every track might have to be an instant ‘hook’ or overblown hyped sensation. It’s not simply a case of giving the consumer what they want, it will change/is changing the market… which ultimately changes the habits and expectations of each generation of consumers. Sad.

The same scenario is playing itself out in the book-trade – instant hit, instant gratification (“What, you want a career?”) – and what is happening on the business end of the trade filters right down into what we writers are allowed to turn in. I’m sure I’m not the only one of the WF who has had to defend a certain scene that “goes to character” because an editor feels it is slowing the action. In Fantasy the market expectation now is pace and action – character-building must be done on the fly, otherwise we risk being seen as self-indulgent.

I am sure this does not come from the readers and fans – sure, they might love a fast paced story but I know SFF readers love their characterisation. The end result of this treating genre fiction as a transient commodity is that certain books – potentially excellent books – will never be published for the genre readers. I sincerely believe that Stephen Donaldson could not get the Thomas Covenant books published in today’s market were he an unknown. Too verbose, too intricate – never mind that it’s a fabulous classic. I recently read Daniel Keynes ‘Flowers for Algernon’ again & remarked to my DH that it would never be published now, for those same reasons (and also, that with the distance of time, it no longer reads as SF – but that’s a different point!)

But take heart, dear reader – excellent fiction still finds its way, whatever the market tries to dictate, it’s just even more of a struggle. And for now there are still brilliant and caring editors out there, some of whom have shaped the genre over decades, still willing to stick their neck out for fiction they believe in…

… But as to the next generation of editors – ah, there’s the rub – I can see them all, sitting behind their desk, constantly flicking the wheel on their 40gb iPod in the restless search for a good tune…

Deborah J. Miller
  • Current Mood
    grumpy grumpy
cardi, corgi

Well, hello world! Again!

Okay - I'm still feeling my way gingerly around the LJ system. I intend to blog here as well as MYSpace from now on because I have been invited to join a rather special community - shhhh! Top Secret! More on this when I'm de-classified!

In the meantime, just to get me started on LJ - here's a cheating cross-post from my MS blog... It's about something I've called "Spikus" (pron: spike-oos)But I have the senaking suspicion that this phenomenon has already been observed and named something far more inspiring, by someone else! If not - dibs on my recording of an emerging Modern Artform!!!!

SPIKUS! Are they really Modern Art?

We all get them - Spam emails which have no apparent purpose whatsoever and consist of blocks of seemingly random words. Occasionally, the juxtaposition of these random words is, well... interesting!

Take the one I just received today. It's title line was:

Patent Light Nail Maker...

Darcy has not made him just to you!

if from no better motive, that he should not have been too proudcommunicate;

and her fear, if she once entered on the subject,

of being hurried into repeating . . .

Now, I'm guessing it's garbled Jane Austin but, I think it has a kind of charm of its own!

Ladies and gentlemen - I give you the SPIKU! [Spam+Haiku]

Anyone else had any good acts of random Spiku lately?

  • Current Music
    Theme tune of Neighbours!
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