fictional: (academic)
So, I think about fanfiction a lot, y'all may have noticed. And serial fiction. And the whole act of making fiction "real". What is it in a narrative that makes us think -- after the door is shut, after the windows are pushed down, after the covers are closed -- that the story goes on, before the first page, and after the last?

If you think of a single-author book as a window, or a doorway, you realize that even through you can only see a small portion of the world (i.e. what's framed by the aperture), there must be so much more just out of frame. If there isn't this sense, then the story is flat, two dimensional -- it doesn't encourage wandering. But in a good story, you don't think that the small, squared off picture is all that's real. Because if the thing is three-dimensional, it has solidity. You can pick it up and turn it around. It still exists when you look at it from another side.

Think about mythforms. Superheros. They all exist and the more people use them, carve another perspective onto them, the more solid they actually get.

From Henry James's preface to Portrait of a Lady (a little wordy; James never used one word where fifty would do) :

The house of fiction has in short not one window, but a million-- a number of possible windows not to be reckoned, rather; every one of which has been pierced, or is still pierceable, in its vast front, by the need of the individual vision and by the pressure of the individual will. These apertures, of dissimilar shape and size, hang so, all together, over the human scene that we might have expected of them a greater sameness of report than we find. They are but windows at the best, mere holes in a dead wall, disconnected, perched aloft; they are not hinged doors opening straight upon life. But they have this mark of their own that at each of them stands a figure with a pair of eyes, or at least with a field-glass, which forms, again and again, for observation, a unique instrument, insuring to the person making use of it an impression distinct from every other. He and his neighbours are watching the same show, but one seeing more where the other sees less, one seeing black where the other sees white, one seeing big where the other sees small, one seeing coarse where the other sees fine. And so on, and so on; there is fortunately no saying on what, for the particular pair of eyes, the window may NOT open; "fortunately" by reason, precisely, of this incalculability of range. The spreading field, the human scene, is the "choice of subject"; the pierced aperture, either broad or balconied or slit-like and low-browed, is the "literary form"; but they are, singly or together, as nothing without the posted presence of the watcher--without, in other words, the consciousness of the artist.

Now, apply this not just to fiction in general, but to a single story. Isn't this the act of fanfic? To make things real?

D. and I argue about this all the time. He thinks that contradictory/differing versions make things less real. I think they make them more so -- just like multiple eye witness accounts differ, if they're true. When they're identical -- that's when you begin to think people are lying.

What d'you think?

I wonder about this a lot.

On a not entirely unrelated note, remember the Paul Cornell thing? Here is my version, the lovely [ profile] magnetgirl's version, the dulcet tones of [ profile] rm's recap...and Paul Cornell's account of same.

Kind of funny, no? We loom so large in our own minds. For everyone else, we're all just sidekicks and extras. Sometimes we're the cool best friend, or the romantic interest. But protagonists? We're all our own. As it should be.

I almost called my thesis "Windows on the World" but then decided the WTC/9-11 allusion was not quite... what I was going for. Fucking terrorists.
fictional: (academic)
...a sad commentary on the current state of my brain, forsooth. But thank goodness for [ profile] kayliemalinza who kept me in the loop!

I will say that getting an email which begins:

Fellow Doctor Who scholars,

We have a book deal.

Cambridge Scholars Publishing has accepted my proposal and is in the process of generating and mailing a book contract. So — if you’ve been putting off reworking that conference manuscript, now is the time.

is pretty squeeful. Like. YAY. =D

I've heard mixed things about Cambridge Scholars Press; founded by some scholars at Cambridge, some seem to think it has semi-vanity press associations because of its name; but others seem to think it's simply a young press, trying hard to establish itself in the humanities. But... I checked out their website, and they seem respectable.

Anyway. This means I have to expand that paper, yo. *laughs* I'll just add it to the list! At this rate, I'll sleep when I'm dead.


ETA: The abstract for the paper is here, f-locked, if you're interested. The paper's called When Worlds Continue: The Doctor's Adventures in Fandom and Metatextuality.
fictional: (academic)
So. If you looked up procrastination in the dictionary, you would NOT therein find a picture of me, because I would've thought, eh, tomorrow's soon enough to send it in, no?


I have vowed to not sleep before finishing this paper. It is on Doctor Who. WHY CAN I NOT CONCENTRATE FOR MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME? WHY???

In the last two days, I have a) not done anything fun, and b) also not done anything productive. I have, however, read the ridiculous lj comms about lifestyle master/slaves, read the NY Times, written some fanfic, read the Guardian, read post secret, refreshed LJ 14 squintillion times, drank a whole lot of red bull.

My life is so glamorous.

Comfort me with apples. Or you know, encouragement.

I beg of you.

...Maybe I should take a bath.
fictional: (tardis)
So, there's this conference. Film and Science: Fictions, Documentaries and Beyond. I had wanted to go to this conference anyway. Then, I noticed they were...uh...having a Doctor Who area.


*crickets chirping*

It was clear I had to send them something. I ended up writing the abstract on the subway. People looked over my shoulder as I wrote things about ourobourouses (ouroborii???) and the Doctor, and gave me weird (very weird) glances. The paper ended up being entitled, "When Worlds Continue: The Doctor's Adventures in Fandom and Metatexuality." The idea was something about which I was am ridiculously excited, and am just dying to write. But I really felt like I couldn't, in all conscience, write the damn thing (even if it is apropos to my dissertation topic, it's not actually part of it) unless it had, well, a venue.

AND NOW IT DOES. Oh god, I'm so excited. I'm seriously so thrilled. I can't figure out if it's that I get to write about something I care so much for right now, or if it's because it's one of the first few national conferences I've been accepted to, w/o you know, being an advisee of the organization president.

It's probably silly. But I can't help it! So um. Yeah. I'll just be over here kvelling in the corner.

Thanks, Doc. You really made my night ;-)


Sep. 14th, 2007 03:29 pm
fictional: (Default)
I got rejected from the Folger this time around.

Because I suck.*

Feel free to chime in with contradictions that will run headfirst into the wall of my deficient self-image...and crumble and die there. :-)

*I don't exactly understand why; I feel I'm a much better candidate this time around, and I got accepted last time....
fictional: (friday night lights)
Okay, so it all went well. Very, very well. And I heard all the words I like to hear - which I can still hear ringing through my head - i.e. "dazzling" "virtuoso performance" etc etc. (It makes a nice change from the usual matter that runs through my head, let me tell you.)

It is nice. Thank you all for your support through the Summer of Crazy(tm). I couldn't have done it without you & I promise to screw my head back on by next week, and resume normal friend behaviour.

fictional: (Default)
Dude. Orals in 2 and 1/2 hours.


See y'all on the flip side.
fictional: (Default)
dear world,

I am crazed. I just wanted to stop by and say hi before they cart me away. I am preparing for my 2nd qualifying exams right now. I feel manifestly unready to the point where I can no longer sleep or study profitably. There has been so much going on that I wanted to blog about but...No, I'm lying now. Sadly all I really want to do is loll in my bed, drink pineapple cranberry juice and chocolate. Maybe some roast lamb.

Instead. It is the salt mines. But I thought I'd reach out and wave a virtual hand. Limply.

What can I tell you about? The 19th century novel and the girls' book? Rennaissance Utopias? Lady Mary Wroth's family tree? The relationship of fanfiction to Derrida's Archive Fever? Framing devices in Scott Westerfield's Peeps?

Your eyes are closing aren't they? Well, no matter. Mine too. Except when I lie down. Then my heart starts beating so fast, I think it's going to burst out of my chest.

Let's try a less alarming topic.

I managed to see both the Shakespeare in the Parks this summer.

Romeo & Juliet - truly excellent. Fantastic performances, especially Romeo (a part I've never been too fond of) and Lord Capulet (a part I was never particularly moved by either, but was awe-inspiring. Incidentally, upon examining the playbill I discovered the actor to have won an Oscar, a Tony and a Pulitzer. That must be the ultimate trifecta of feathers in one's cap.) And a Set to Die For -literally and figuratively. There was a pool of water in the center of the stage, (which rotated!) and poor Juliet spent most of the second act shivering in it. She looked so cold. But beautiful! And a bridge across it that moved into pieces, so that the actors moving it became part of the set itself. The wind howled against the mikes in just the right parts, till it seemed like the Gods of the Park themselves were playing for us. It was awesome.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Terrible. There was atonal singing of various portions. They'd erected some manner of picket fence to separate the stage from the park. (For a production of Dream! I ask you!) The play finished with Puck's monologue handed over to the entire cast, who all stood forward and sang it in this horrible off key melody, and looked entirely too much like the cast of Les Miz. Fairies were played by insufficiently rehearsed children (very young) who's attention kept wandering. Costumes and setting were unclear. However, there was a cool tree in the middle of the stage, an awesome fairy contortionist & rope artist, Puck was good when allowed to be so, the four lovers had moments of sheer excellence, and I was unexpectedly wowed by Theseus and Hippolita. (This was clearly the summer for oddly awesome elder character performances.) I really felt like the actors were done a serious disservice by the director of this play. On the other hand, I heard he slipped through the trap door and broke a rib, punctured a lung, so perhaps that explains some of it. Though not all. Not the singing. I almost disgraced myself by hysterical giggles. It was truly terrifying.

Speaking of truly terrifying: You may have already seen this terrifying account of someone's sojourn in one of these behaviour modification boot camps. If not, I encourage you to go over and take a look. It's truly horrifying. I think of watching But I'm a Cheerleader, and I kind of want to cry. That movie was funny, and sweet - but stuff like [ profile] shoiryu talks about actually happens, and not just as ground for dark comedy.

Okay. On a less earth-shattering note: were you aware of the incredible amalgamation of bacon & chocolate. Is anyone willing to go test it out for me? *bats eyelashes*

I think I'm going to try to go to bed now. Sweet dreams. I'll be thinking of you when my heart throbs. Promise.
fictional: (Default)
i have approx. 2 paragraphs left to go, and they're just not coming out. :-( :-(
on the other hand, with all the procrastination that i HATE MYSELF FOR FOREVER AND EVER BECAUSE I SUCK MORE THAN HUMANS HAVE EVER SUCKED BEFORE at least i never worry about whether my stuff is good before i get it back bc I'M JUST SO THRILLED TO SEE THE END OF IT.

this is not a good plan for life. must revise.

ETA: finished. word count, right. page count, short. wtf??? whatever, don't care. off to school now.

ETA the second: actually do care, am simply too frazzled to fix. Whatever.

ETA son of ETA: my kingdom for a stapler.
fictional: (Default)
Had my first classics class today (or yesterday, technically).
It was profitable, and interesting...if fairly exhausting (and I have the pages of notes to prove it.) Problem was that it completely defined my academic bipolarity.
The two professors for this class are of the old school...meaning that they very firmly believe that there are right and wrong answers to every question, and that such answers can always be determined, that some theories are just plain wrong, and the phrase 'it's all relative' is anathema to them. Ambiguity and uncertainty are modern inventions - that did not exist in the ancient world, or even the early modern one. Scholastic rigor is their watchword. With it, with their fund of knowledge, they believe they possess the right keys to unlock the texts, that if operated correctly, everything will fall into a magnetic pattern, and the whole view of the text will suddenly become clear. Their job then, is to impart these keys to us, after which we will be rigorous enough to see them for ourselves. Their tool box for key-construction is a deep understanding of the history, philosophy, languages and science of a time - not for them, the mushy paths of touchy-feely all encompassing deconstructionism.

Fair enough. Mostly I even agree. I just have a serious problem with believing that any masterpiece of literature can be explained in such a simple way. There are so many variables involved in an epic, or a novel, so many strains. And people are complicated; they are so rarely saying just one thing. And there are moments of serendipity throughout history - people are rooted in their own time, but that doesn't mean that's where they always stay. I don't think complexity, or polyphony is a completely modern invention.

I worry about this. How can you be a relativist and an absolutist at the same time? It's somewhat akin to the way in which I feel that I should believe in democracy, and yet am an intellectual elitist all at the exact same time - it's not that I'm in the middle ground, it's that I believe both things at the same time.

Oh well. At least I discovered that apparently in the whole course of the 19th century novel, there is no occurrence of the name Basil not being an artist. Surely, I thought there must have been some Basil somewhere that was a cook or something. But no. Just artists.*

I love the Regency.

*[This is apparently because Basil = king (as in Basilica = kingdom of Heaven); for the Romantics, the kingdom of Heaven had been deposed by the Kingdom of Art.]
fictional: (Default)
I just finished my last paper of this semester. It is approximately 7:30am - I have been awake forever, and I am sad. Not because the paper is done, but I just re-read it and didn't like it. I'm hoping that this is just late night - early morning heebie jeebies -
but that part of me that just generally believes I suck in every bad way imaginable - is refusing to shut the fuck up. So okay.

I've got a resolve on to work harder - and looking back at this semester, I can see all the ways that I could have - mostly involving doing work when I say I'm going to, and not just reading fanfic, or day-dreaming instead. But in other ways, I feel like I gave up so many things I wanted to do, so I could study, or work, or whatever. And then instead, I just frittered away my time.

No more. I have so many things I want to do. Two people have taken up residence in my head, and I'm so happy to have them, and eventually I hope they'll say some stuff to me that screams to be written down, and I will stop what I'm doing and do just that. There'll never be a better time to start then now.


fictional: (Default)

August 2009

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