June 8th, 2009

catwoman and holly

my themes, such as they are

[info] - personalmusesfool has an interesting post, in part about comfort zones that fan writers have. She says:

I write the stories I write because they are the stories I want to read. Fandom has a huge appetite for stories that are nearly identical - first times, aliens made them do it, h/c, etc. - and I think that's as much on the writing end as on the reading end. I do know that my stories tend to be repetitive - I like to examine the same themes from minutely different angles, and I'll keep doing so until something else interests me. I wouldn't recommend reading them all in a row.


Food for thought. I know fandom loves the same stories over and over and over again (when I was active in DCU writing, "Kon helps Tim relax" stories arguably made up about half the fandom), but I'm not sure if I could say that about myself or not. It's been pointed out to me that I've written about parents and children a number of times, but I don't know if there's any real thematic component to that. That said, Robert Heinlein said (in "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction," OF WORLDS BEYOND, Fantasy Press, 1947) that there are only three stories: boy-meets-girl, The Little Tailor (i.e., a character's rise or fall, or both; think SCARFACE and MILK for a couple of disparate examples in film) and the-man-who-learned-better. The specifics vary from story to story and from fandom to fandom, but in general I would say that the story I write over and over and over is "the-man-who-learned-better." My stories tend to be about characters learning things: about themselves, about the world, about what to do or be, with the result that they wind up in a different place then they started out in.

I don't repeat specifics much; at least, I try not to. I think that my tendency to not write romantic pairings probably helps, but I think I'd feel kind of awkward doing boy-meets-girl or boy-meets-boy if I kept writing first times about the same pairing. It brings to mind Tom Lehrer's patter about folk songs: "finding singing fifty verses of 'On Top of Old Smokey' twice as enjoyable as singing twenty-five," and whatnot. :)

I dunno. How would you guys peg me? And how would you peg yourselves? Make it a meme if you want; I think this is a neat question, and I'd like to see more people answer it.
plane

APED: "the bright and shining towers of dubai"

If you haven't read Johann Hari's article "The Dark Side of Dubai," you really should. It's harrowing.

The pearl of all the Arab world, the very best they've got,
with silhouettes of cranes against the sky,
it's a land of milk and honey, and they're happy with their lot:
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

Sheikh Maktoum saw the future Sheikh Mohammed brought to be,
a wonderment planned to delight the eye,
the money from the oil fields used to build for all to see
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

It's wealthy. Education's free, and so's your doctor's care,
and the stores are full of wonders you can buy,
and above it all, to show the world how rich it is, how fair,
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

And the people in those towers glow, and smile with perfect teeth,
adorned in jewelry, gowns, and in black tie,
across town from a man who sleeps uneasily beneath
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

He'd come here from Bangladesh, to work, and he'd been thrilled:
he'd even paid out money to apply;
he'd sold his land, and gone in debt, and left his home to build
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

And then they took his passport, and then they cut his pay,
and all his dreams began to go awry,
and he works for fourteen hours in the sun to build each day
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

His water's salt. The room is hot. The food they serve is slop,
and he's beaten down if he should dare defy,
and at work each day he eyes the edge, and thinks about that drop
from the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

The truth about those towers would make your blood run chilled,
a charge the Sheikh would angrily deny --
but tell that to the man who wakes and numbly goes to build
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.

The pearl of all the Arab world, the very best they've got,
with silhouettes of cranes against the sky,
a town that's built on hope and dreams, and slavery and blood,
the bright and shining towers of Dubai.