taennyn: a girl sitting in front of a field of fallen leaves (i am no raven)
Today is my brother's birthday. My moderately extroverted, diagnosed-just-before-teens autism-spectrum brother. Who has always been big for his age--there's a record of a midwife exclaiming 'Oh my god we're delivering a toddler' during his birth.

I was picked on for three years during grade school for failure to fit into an established pecking order (I joined a group of kids who'd been together since preschool in grade 4, having come out of a largely unstructured Montessori school. It didn't go well).

My brother . . I don't even know. I don't think he was bullied much during the elementary years, by the sheer power of our parents vetting his teachers every year to make sure they presented enough authority for him to be okay in their space.

(No, we didn't know he was spectrum then. But when a big toddler is winning the dominance fight with a Montessori teacher, it's time to take that kid out of a Montessori setting and give him some damn structure. Which worked so well our parents really did fight the school districts to make sure they could observe classrooms before their son was in them.)

I know that by high school he was being picked on, at least a bit, and was definitely being taken advantage of: there was more than one party at our parents' house when they were out of the country. I don't know how much he noticed, or if it bothered him. He's still friendly with people from his high school.

I own no purple.

The idea, I think, is good, but wearing mourning once a year for the children we've lost won't save more. Even if there's over a million people doing it. There are millions more who have no idea, or don't care, or are maybe even threatened by it. We're that kind of ape.

I think we can do better.

Let's change the culture that says 'oh, it's just kids being kids'. It's not. It's training that says 'It is okay to hurt people who aren't like me. It is okay to hate people who are out of the closet/brown/white/fat/thin/look like they're not as miserable as me/rich/poor/smell funny/ten thousand other things that boil down to "not me". No one will stop me.'

It's going to be a lot of work. It's going to suck. Schools will need to spend time and money and training--including colleges for teachers and administrators. Parents will need to learn how to fight the school, how to fight other parents, how to fight themselves. Because parents have been bullies and bullied, too.

And this shit leaves scars.

But the words 'bullied relentlessly for two years' need to stop appearing in kids' obituaries.

Wear the purple. Speak the words. Donate to support groups--and if anyone can tell me where to give money to train teachers not to let this go, please, please do.

If you'd like to link this post elsewhere, please do.
taennyn: (amber mala)
[livejournal.com profile] dormouse_in_tea was kind enough to devote some of her packing space for Conflikt this year to a slightly-belated birthday gift to me. Namely, damn near the full run of Dorothy L. Sayers' Peter Wimsey novels.

I did my best to read them in order, as Sayers was quite good at keeping her threads up through multiple books, and the more one knew about the past the more affecting the current work was.

I saved Busman's Honeymoon for last, in more than one sense--I didn't want it to end. But wow, did it measure up (and cemented my desire to learn to at least read French, as several passages and various internal quotations went completely by my head as interestingly accented noise). I read it as a treat within the last few days, utterly delighted by the sheer depth of characterization and the sense of uncertainty in the principal characters. I wholeheartedly recommend the whole series . . but stop at Honeymoon.

The post-humous collaboration Thrones, Dominations, while chronologically last in the sequence, isn't really one of 'em. (I bought it yesterday in a used bookstore, figuring I was only out three dollars if it wasn't up to scratch and hey, a hope of seeing Lord Wimsey in action again, and finished it twenty minutes ago.)

Ms. Paton Walsh, while obviously a fan, does not . . Hmn. How to describe it.

She cannot 'piffle'. Read more... )

And I've run out of thought train, so I will post.

*: I've discovered that there's about a three day window on really fresh mozzarella cheese packed in water before the taste profile completely shifts and my brain reclasses it from 'desireable' to 'not food'.
taennyn: (not your typical liberal)
Basic context: my parents still live in the island I grew up on, and someone mailed in a gun-related threat against the local high school. My father wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, effectively going O.o; at the whole idea, and a very coherent seventeen year old student of the high school wrote a reply letter, which also got published. I described it in another conversation as 'my father appears to have run nose first into an erudite seventeen year old'.

(I'm guessing on the threat based on the letters)

Dad asked if I'd be interested in replying to the student's letter, as he felt him writing back would be 'picking on her'. I wrote a reply to him, but prefaced it with "I'm not entirely sure I want to get involved. She's obviously invested time, thought and energy into her reply to you, and me replying would just as obviously not be as completely thought out."

That said, and my reply to him written, I can't really stop thinking about it.

Read more... )

All of this can really be boiled down to: pat answers to the world's problems don't work. This is frustrating.
taennyn: a girl sitting in front of a field of fallen leaves (Default)
Roger Zelazny, in his collaborative book A Visual Guide to Castle Amber (and yes, I own it, why do you ask? I also own all ten Amber books, not the omnibus.) described a madman in the basement, a man named Roger, who claimed to have written Corwin's chronicles, and to have begun Merlin's. Florimel pitied him, spoke of what must have driven a man from Shadow to take refuge in such madnesses, but all I could think about was that Mr. Zelazny's muses were so powerful, so real, that they hadn't even noticed him Writing. They took him for a mad scribe who happily lives in feverish dreams, and locked him in a dungeon his own imagination had made.

And herein speaketh the Peanut Gallery )

Robert Heinlein got away with publishing his musespace. Read The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Number of the Beast (especially the end), or Time Enough For Love if you don't believe me. As Doctor Lafe Hubert so aptly put it, sufficiently advanced technology is impossible to tell from magic. Jacob Burroughs' space-time twister results in the same thing as an Amberite's Pattern or Trump Cards--a meeting and meshing of realities and times that render official timelines moot. If there is any better definition of a musespace, I'd love to hear it.

Herein find my personal madnesses )

I first read the Amber series when I was twelve. It ate my brain, very nearly literally: here was war, and hope, and reverence, bitter feuds and something like redemption. Sown across a multitude of realities, so vast that even an immortal could be surprised when wandering through . . . and best of all, a set of rules for traveling between realities. I am utterly unsurprised that the majority of the loudest Singers in my head are Amberite, or know of them and use their cards.

Oh, here there be dragons, all right. Manticores, wyverns, centaurs, Fae and kitsune as well. The mapmakers were right: there are lands unknown, and creatures not yet seen, adventures yet to Sing of, and peoples to ally with, to feud with, or to love. We should know--Sebastian du Lac, Prince Eric of Amber's eldest surviving son, is most famous for his maps.

*bows politely* Thank you for the attention, I shall be hiding off over here now, wondering what in blazes possessed me . . .
taennyn: (i've seen better days)
Now, as an admittedly weird human being, I find it rather self-evident that if I am informed (and invited) to a small concert in a coffeehouse, I should
A. Purchase something from the host, to encourage them to continue featuring artists I like
B. Donate to the artist, to encourage them to play, and
C. Listen to the music being played for my benefit.

Most of the other members of the audience seemed to grasp A. Or maybe they just felt like drinking lattes. I would certainly be unsurprised.

Regarding B . . . In a group of over thirty-five people (a rough estimate, it was probably closer to forty five later), with a suggested donation of $4, I counted maybe $20 in the jar at the end of the night.

One of the artists is trying to raise enough money to produce a CD. If everyone in the audience had donated just the recommended amount, that would have been between $140 and $180 dollars for both artists, split two ways, leaving around eighty bucks towards his effort. That's eighty dollars he would not have to beg or borrow.

Regarding C. You gits. I don't care if you haven't seen each other in two weeks (even if you act like it's been somewhere over two years), you don't start squeaking in the middle of a concert when someone comes in the door. Nor do you move out of the artist's line-of-sight and start gossiping over your coffee. Or just talking.

Oh, and to the two blondes (bottle, unless I am much mistaken) in the back corner: the only thing that kept me from getting up and killing you both was that your screams would have been louder than your gossip. You do not come to concerts to catch up on the last four months of your lives, especially in small, live concerts without the benefit of a sound system. You were three feet from the door. Go. Outside. If. It. Will. Not. Wait. One. Hour.

And this was supposed to be a word-of-mouth campaign spread through friends. The vast majority of the audience was between 17 and 20, right in the age group of the two artists playing, and well over half of them could not bring themselves to stay quiet for two hours and respect the energy and effort two people were expending on their behalf.

No wonder the world despairs of my generation.

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