At the end of the day, I just want to read some fic, or write some fic. This is not the only way to do it, but AO3 has been at the heart of a lot of my best fic-related experiences lately. So, yeah, I support 'em, warts and all, for this reason:
(Yes, it's annual fundraising time for the Organization for Transformative Works.)
"Con or Bust helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. It will be taking requests for assistance attending cons in April, May, and June from February 15-25, 2013. For now, this post is where to find out more about requesting assistance."
Cho here: The Con or Bust auction is a win-win situation all around. If you're a bidder/buyer, you can walk away with some deeply cool stuff, like autographed books or vintage fannish posters (I got an original U.K. teaser poster for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" one year ...). If you're a fan of color (and that includes aspiring authors/artists etc.), you can apply to get financial support to attend a convention, with all the associated opportunities to network, talk to publishers, and do all the usual con-type stuff (GOH speeches, coffeeklatches, author panels, special film showings, art shows, the dealers' room, fannish live performances, etc.).
It's been a bad couple of weeks to be a geek woman, what with the Readercon Creeper (see linkspam) and before that hit, the CNN article about how good-looking young women in skimpy costumes aren't really geeks (see Scalzi's blog, which has a link to the original piece).
Among the comments on the Scalzi "Who Gets to Be a Geek" piece was something that crystalized for me some uneasy feelings I'd been having myself about the recent co-evolution of geekdom in general and the women who are part of it. One commenter stated:
Speaking personally: I used to think that geek culture was one of the few places that I, as a non-femme fat chick, would find acceptance. It was exciting to know that I didn’t have to look like a bikini model in order to make friends and potentially find partners. Unfortunately, now that there really ARE bikini models running around in my spaces, I’m feeling more and more marginalized. My one refuge from my culture’s violent reinforcement of body standards is evaporating, and it’s upsetting.
I don't want to feel as this commenter does. But in my heart, I sometimes feel that way, even though I know it's wrong.( Cut for long navel-gazing stuffs ... definitely at the Teal Deer level )
These are the last few days for the con_or_bust auction, "which helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF conventions." It closes Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
An index of what's offered for sale is available too. You could get cool stuff ranging from trinkets like these origami cicada magnets (a set of 3 to the top 10 bidders) or signed copies of books, like this one of Jo Walton's Among Others (nominated for the 2011 Nebula Award!) or a lovely hand-knitted hat to delicious home-made chocolate truffles in your choice of flavors!
Go forth and bid!
I have joined the Organization for Transformative Works because, given that I now have 90 stories on AO3 (under my writing account), I figured it was time to put my money where my authorial voice was.
On November 16, the polls will open for the election of two new members to the OTW Board. Many of us here on DW have been posting our opinions about the candidates and indicating our choices (each voting member may select up to four candidates).
I am still mulling over most of the choices. A couple of my major issues for this election are (1) the high incidence of burnout among the volunteers and (2) the divide between the larger fandoms (mostly Western canons, especially television shows, popular movies, and a scattering of recent best-selling books, such as Harry Potter) and the smaller fandoms (such as most manga, manhwa, Bollywood and other non-Western films, non-Western literature, classical and most YA literature, and others). As should be clear, this large vs. small division corresponds quite closely with the divide between Western vs non-Western fandoms.
Regarding the burnout issue: I experienced this first hand, both in my own case and in the case of others, when I was involved in tag wrangling. I believe that the board needs members who have not only had experience with this issue but who have some ideas about remedies for it.
Regarding the issue of smaller vs. larger fandoms and how easy it is for the needs and wants of the smaller fandoms to be buried: I saw this during my tag wrangling work as well, where getting the names of non-Western fandoms and their characters to be handled well was a constant struggle. There was also the server name contest incident, opinions on which are being used as a litmus test for the various candidates' level of awareness of the tensions regarding the diversity situation. In my early fan days - literally decades ago - I was very much in the Western fandoms group: my fandoms were primarily Tolkien and Star Trek:TOS. But recently, I've become a huge fan of manga, and I'm seeing parts of the other side. For example, it's often a struggle for me to participate in multi-fandom challenges, because there are so few fans, comparatively, in the fandoms that give me joy.
I also feel that the simple majority represented by the larger fandoms leads to a lot of injustice and pain. As fans, we are often marginalized by the outside/mundane world. To have the same ugly situations re-enacted within a fannish organization that's supposed to be welcoming - "our own," as AO3's name states clearly - is particularly miserable. Yes, that's how a simple majority works - but we are supposed to be intelligent and creative, aren't we? Can't other solutions be devised, to make all of us feel welcome at the party?
On various journals and in some of the candidates' statements, I've seen it implied that somehow a Board composed of like-minded members is the best way to solve problems, because only like-minded people are going to be able to work together. I believe that is completely untrue, and that given the nature of some of the issues facing OTW, it is in fact vital to have a Board that reflects diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and experiences.
I will also note that I feel strongly that there is a huge difference between, on the one hand, expressing one's own feelings forcefully and passionately about issues, and on the other, impugning another person's reputation and sanity. The first is both understandable and commendable; the second is offensive.
At this point, I still have two candidates to pick. But in the meantime, I have decided that I will definitely be voting for Julia Beck and Nikisha Sanders.
1. I know your favorite pairing, but who is your favorite Saiyuki character (including Gaiden)?
Gojyo, hands down. He's a very comfortable fit for me as a point-of-view character - that desperate longing to belong and be loved, the fact that he's stuck always between two worlds. And his off-handed swearing and willingness to call people (even himself) on bullshit make me smile. Also, the fact that he doesn't have a special magical talent - except to always be the last man standing, and drag the others to safety.
2. How did you get into manga to begin with?
The Mr. was looking through the SF&F section of a bookstore near his office and getting increasingly disgusted with the selection. So he glanced at the manga section next over and asked the young store clerk what he'd recommend for someone who liked fantasy. He came home that night with the first volumes of Samurai Deeper Kyo. The rest is as blogged here on LJ!
3. If money and language barriers were no object, and you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live?
I'm living right where I want to live, pretty much! I grew up around here, and it fits me quite well. I love the varied population, the fact that we have so many great museums and restaurants from all cultures, the fact that I can buy Shabbat candles and sushi rice at the regular grocery, that no one blinks twice if I say that I'm leaving work early Friday because of Yom Kippur. The lush softness of the landscape, loud with birds and bright with flowers and butterflies, full of glens and dells with little streams flowing through, is a part of my heart. But if money were no object, I'd fix up the house. (I like to visit other places, but this is home.)
4. What was your first fandom, and how/when/why did you get into it?
Hee, what a question! It's a tie somewhere between Star Trek: the original series and LOTR. I found Star Trek on TV (to the disgust of my very girly best friend of the time, who preferred Lost in Space), and was given LOTR by my parents. By my early teens I had all of the meta-stuff that was available for both (David Gerrold's The Making of Star Trek, for example). I attended one of the last of the big NYC Star Trek conventions when I was 16. And in college, I had a card file of Elvish vocabulary and later reconstructed proto-Elvish for my historical linguistics teacher.
5. What's a favorite quote of yours? (I'm assuming there's no one favorite and what it might be might change over time.)
For a while now, it's been the Philip Pullman quote that I used as the title of my writing LJ: "'Thou shalt not' is soon forgotten, but 'Once upon a time' lasts forever."
Samurai Deeper Kyo vol. 37/38!
And Del Rey included Kamijyo-sensei's pencil-only postscript, which I had seen online and in the Japanese original that telophase snagged for me! I am very, very pleased!
Also, I found 20th Century Boys vol. 9 and Bamboo Blade vol. 5.
(I had a very nice and yet very awkward conversation at the Borders manga section with an androgynous teen who was over 6 gangly feet tall, clad in jeans, a black camisole, strappy red suede fingerless gauntlets, black-and-red head wrap, and long dangly crystal-red-and-black earrings. I think the awkwardness was simply because we were both shy.)
Some posts that I enjoyed and admired included:
- kate_nepveu's analysis of the legalities surrounding fanfiction, with case citations.
- yuki-onna's discussion of the nature of human creativity and the need to tell stories.
- nihilistic-kid's dissection of the claim (made by GRRM) that H.P. Lovecraft lost years off his life because he shared his fictional universe (also includes some discussion of the often-mentioned MZB case, in the comments)
Must remember to blog yuki-onna's The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden one of these days.
The article is from Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol 3 (2009). You will likely recognize some of the dialog participants.
I was sitting pretty for several days with the top bid on emungere's fic writing offer in the livelongnmarry auction, but the rest of the usual suspects have suddenly shown up in force, and I'm teetering on the edge of what I can afford.
But it's all good for the cause! I think I'll leave it alone for a couple of days and see what happens.
> sniffles quietly <