This poem is from the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from the_vulture, baaing_tree, and Dreamwidth user Primeideal. It also fills the "vengeance" square in my 11-26-13 card for the Origfic Bingo fest. You can read about egregores online.
WARNING: This poem contains violence, mass destruction and casualties. It's not very flattering of religion, but well, consider it canon-typical violence if you've read the Bible.
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- Current Mood: busy
This poem came out of the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Jjhunter. It has been sponsored by baaing_tree. You can read more about the indriso form online. A circle dance is held, but never led: Twixt science and religion, veils run thin, And God holds every atom as they tread.
-- an indriso
How many angels dance upon a pin?
How many iron atoms make a head?
Does God transcend the world, or dwell within?
Each dancer's hand is clasped in its own spin,
A stranger charm than any priests have said.
A circle dance is held, but never led:
Twixt science and religion, veils run thin,
And God holds every atom as they tread.
- Current Mood: busy
Zadie Smith (author of White Teeth and other novels) gave a guest lecture today at the nearby university, and she said some extremely gratifying things—gratifying because they're things I feel but don't hear said much, about writing. The thing I underlined and circled most enthusiastically in my notes was this:
Writing lets you have the one thing that society offers in theory and obliterates in practice: self-determination. When I write, I escape [hard-and-fast roles as wife, mother, teacher, writer, black woman, British citizen]. My solid self disperses. I can be everyone in fiction. Writing is a de-selfing activity.
I can be everyone, in fiction. That is a huge part of why I write. To live these other, different lives. I don’t think of it so much as a de-selfing activity but more as a way of discovering or expressing other selves, but maybe that’s just because I’m borglike in the number of other lives and selves I’d like to incorporate into me.
She also talked about writing as a craft, of being an artisan, of thinking of it like chairmaking. She said writing is saying, “I saw this thing—can I make you see it?”
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It was a wonderful talk.
- Current Music:The Police: Message in a Bottle
At her 1-week doctor's appointment, Theia weighed in at 9 lb., 3 oz., more than regaining her birth weight. She also measured at 21" long. These measurements put her at the 99th percentile for height, the 94th percentile for weight, and the 55th percentile for BMI. In other words, she's right where we would expect and want her to be.
Breastfeeding is going well. She's a hungry little lamprey, feeding about every hour and a half while she's awake, and generally not sleeping much more than three hours before waking up to feed. My breasts have mostly adjusted to the notion, so the starting-nursing discomfort is generally fading away.
Changing poopy diapers on a girl baby remains a special kind of horrifying. Phil went on strike for a few days after there were new developments because she still has some of my hormones circulating through her system.
Sleeping...well, yes, she does a lot of that during the day. I could have guessed from her movement patterns in the womb that she was going to be a night owl (like me, her dad, and her brother), but I wasn't braced for the couple of hours of awake time that she wants to have every night between about 1 AM and 4 AM. This is when she will rest her eyes as long as I'm cuddling her, but no, she has no interest in sleeping in her cradle. She does tend to have a good sleep interval before and after, though. Hopefully, her schedule will readjust as she gets older. During the day, she has a long morning nap and a long afternoon nap, and then smaller naps mixed with short periods of alertness/cuddle time.
Cassius is doing really, really well with having a little sister. There have been only a couple of, "What do you *mean* I can't hurl myself on top of her to cuddle?!" meltdowns. Generally, he's doing great at being gentle (this translates as only petting her head with one finger and not touching her face or pressing on her). He likes to cuddle against my arm and provide commentary while she nurses. He hasn't really exhibited any jealous behavior, but of course, he's been getting attention from both me and Phil--and in the first week, from me and Phil and Grammy Staffin. We'll see how things go next week, once Phil's back to working half-days.
And how am I doing? Pretty well. I didn't take any damage from giving birth (must have rolled a natural twenty), so most of my aches and pains are of the "body trying to reshape itself back to normal" variety. I'm having the usual post-partum bleeding and cramping (though *way* less painful than it was the first time around). There's some lingering soreness around the epidural site; it's getting better. Most of the punched-in-the-solar-plexus feeling has subsided, but my back still starts to ache if I stand for too long. Phil's home to watch the kiddos if I need a nap, so I'm not sleep-deprived (yet) despite Theia's witching hour. Beyond taking care of the kids, not a whole lot else is getting done around the house, but that's kind of to be expected. We're managing. We've gotten some things done, like finally sorting through the ridiculous amount of hand-me-down baby clothing we have. We've been basically living off of Thanksgiving leftovers for the last week and so haven't had to deal with trying to cook with constant child and infant interruptions. I'm down 25 pounds already. Breastfeeding gives me ample time to catch up on all my reading on my Nook, and Netflix streaming on my computer is a good distraction while I'm trying to rock a baby back to sleep at oh-dark-hundred.
I may get a little cabin fever in the next few weeks, but I don't want to take Theia with me and go places just yet, because a) freezing cold, and b) her immune system won't be doing much until she's about 6 weeks old, so we want to keep her away from crowds. And I can't go very long away from her, since I'm her portable feeding system. Sadly, this means I may miss out on most of the holiday festivities.
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In truth, Theia didn't look much like what I expect from a newborn--which is a purplish, squish-faced, goblin-looking creature. She had a lovely round skull and a normal babyface. She was rosy-cheeked and pink all over, except for some purple in her fingers and toes. She was remarkably alert and capable of lifting and turning her head a few minutes after she was born. Unlike most babies, she was born blonde; it'll be interesting to see if that sticks around or falls out like (darker) baby hair usually does. Unusually for a post-due date baby, she was also born with lanugo, a light, downy, almost-invisible coating of fur, er, I mean hair. Some waxy vernix lingered in various crevices, too. She has the steel gray/blue eyes of a newborn, about the same shade as Cassius' were, so I'm guessing she'll probably end up brown-eyed, too. She has inherited Phil's cleft chin, his ridiculous monkeytoes, and perhaps his pianist hands. She has a (possibly temporary) storkbite birthmark at the base of her back. That's right--she was born with a tramp stamp.
We waited a couple of hours in the recovery room while sensation slowly returned to my southward parts. During this time, Theia displayed excellent nursing instincts. We got some food, too--three cheers for Pizza Luce delivery! Then we moved to the resting room and eventually managed to get certain amounts of sleep, setting my cellphone alarm to go off every three hours to wake Theia up to nurse. Our doctor would have let us go the next day, but the pediatrician wanted us to stick around until Wednesday morning to make sure that Theia wouldn't come down with anything. This made my doctor snort, since she'd given me five doses of penicillin during labor (I was group-B strep positive). We did fine, we waited around, and everything was good.
I know I shouldn't be surprised by how different two newborns can be, but I am. Cassius wouldn't nurse for the first several days, and even then it was difficult; Theia latched on right after birth and has been feeding like a champ ever since. Swaddling was the best way to get Cassius calmed down and sleeping; Theia doesn't tolerate having her arms at her sides. Cassius was a projectile vomiter; so far Theia limits herself to ladylike hiccups. Cassius couldn't move his head for what seemed like a very long time; we already have to take extra precautions because Theia can lift her head and move her body surprisingly (hazardously!) well.
The current eook I am reading ma extensive edutubg, but it us a fairly
ebgrossing stir, despite tat. Not a ad little Dystopian ebook.
Tired all day, ut they let me finish watching Buffy te Vampire Slayer on FX
thus morning. I did surorise Seth and the others though. I have een taking
the ibitiative in my ohsucal therao, and started in on te upper body stuff
while,watching television. I fidget abyway, si it is anoutket for tat
kibetic energy. We also started in on stamiba exercises fir the lower bidy
(after Buff, of course).
Take nothing for granted. If you are un a nedical facilit, and must fillow
a specific food pkan, do not assume that your doctors coordibate their
efforts abd sare ibformation. Chances are that, unless ou put forth te
effort abd ibsist on it, or maje some effort to collect abd coordibate it,
no one else will, either. Ou are te pritaginist. This neans iu ave to keep
teack. No one else will. Ades, sometimes you cannot even trust te ones who
do, if yiu know wat I mean.
Your heakth, your responsibility. Ceck. Got it.
Nothing else to report today. Phone fixed, but no calks. Television fixed,
but very little in. DirecTV sucks.
Goid night, folks.
There are still a few verses in the linkback poem, "The Trains Must Run on Time," which you can reveal by linking to this post or a favorite poem from this session.
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- Current Mood: busy
- Current Mood: frustrated
As a judge, I start reading novels the moment the entries start piling up (four is a pile). Year-long, I seldom let the stack get above four. This means that all those early works have more time between them. It means that I don't see the borrowings from other books quite as clearly, and can judge each book on how well it works, as itself. This is important, because almost every novel written is massively derivative. That's how we read them. It's one of the reasons some novels are loved by so many people. Shared narratives are important.
When I read more than four of them in a week, however, it's much harder to put that shared narrative in the proper context of how the novel succeeds for itself. It's much easier to prefer a book because of its unique features rather than because of its sublime writing or utterly amazing characterisation or because it says something so very important and in such a lucid manner.
The sensible publishers know that there are award judges like me who read early and would rather spend the time on a book, and get their book in as soon as they can. Most publishers, however, seem to prefer a sprint at the end of the year. This meant that I've read fourteen books since Monday, and half of them were for the Aurealis awards. This then means that I have to take much stronger precautions to enable me to see each work as it is. So far, this is working, but just now I switched on my academic brain by mistake and did a thorough analysis of an author's work in the context of his other work, and had to stop and take a breath and realise just how bad an idea this was. That novel will score significantly higher now I've switched my academic brain off, for its strengths are now not being sublimated by me putting the single book in the context of every other published writing that author has ever produced.
Why am I stating all this, even though it's bleedingly obvious?
I'm stating it because I still don't have at least 20% of the works nominated for YA. I finish my reading on 31 December, if I can, for the December-January period is usually quite solid in work terms. This year it's even more so. This means that those books that get sent on 27 December because the publisher forgot the deadline will not even get the coffee breaks that I am using today to give myself distance, or the anime breaks I used yesterday.
Publishers and authors - it's in your interest to get your books in when they're published, not five minutes before the deadline, because the judges are, alas, human. We all have different timetables, too. You don't know how busy we will be in those last few weeks. All you can know for certain is that if the books are with us early, then early readers such as myself will juggle our reading to give each and every book the best chance of a fair reading. This gets harder to do in circumstances like this year's, when there are a lot of late nominations.
My gut feeling is that we'll see a record number of young adult books this year. Many of them are quite long (though none match the 900+ page novel I read on Monday for research). They take time to read, even for someone who reads quite quickly. This means there's less time to stop and contemplate than is ideal, for there are more books and the average page length is a bit higher than usual. I'm going to read every single word of every one of them, but the ones I got to luxuriate over and that were given a chance to resonate, were the ones submitted earlier.
I'm hoping that the missing dozen or so books arrive in the next week, for that way I'll be able to give them more time and thought.
And now, I have just a half a book to finish and then I get lunchtime and library and chiro. I've already packed the Aurealis book I shall read on the bus.