It’s uncanny

There seems to be an uncanny valley effect with houses too – the more work we do to get the new house cleaned and repaired, the more we realise just how much there is still to do…
On the upside, the skies here are breathtaking; as I write, the clouds overhead are rolling and swirling dramatically in the light of the lowering sun, and last night when we went outside after nightfall – well, I had never seen so many stars in my entire life.

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Making worlds

Some people are obsessive worldbuilders, needing to know every last detail before they start actually writing their story. I’m pretty much the opposite, the anti-worldbuilder if you will. Unfortunately, I’ve reached the point where I’m going to start having continuity error if I don’t keep track of things. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and make a map.

Getting ready to go

The car is stocked up with all of our camping gear, and tomorrow we’re going to head down to spend the night in our own home for the first time.

I’m expecting to come back with many interesting notes; we’re not quite sure of the condition of the roof, plumbing or electrical systems, and a couple of the windows need replacing, so it should be an educational weekend.

Best case scenario, we get the windows fixed and change the locks and sleep on an inflatable sofa-bed in the sitting room.  Worst case, we can’t find the supplies we need this weekend and sleep in a tent in the garden.

I also found half a bottle of a batch of mead from 2007 – it started out pretty raw and harsh so I packed it all away to mature after bottling.  When I tasted it about three years ago it was almost like a very dry white wine with a hint of honey and a sting in the tail.  If I’m feeling brave I may sample it and see if there’s been any more improvement or if I have some sort of mead-vinegar on my hands.  (Is that even a thing?)

‘Strong Women’ characters

I haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet.  I want to, but having read so much about it already I fear that at this point I’m more motivated to see it as some sort of statement than just to enjoy the movie.  Which is fine, I guess, except that the whole point of the statement I would be making is that it’s perfectly normal and good to have a movie featuring lots of women and nothing to make a big deal about.  So basically, making a big deal of the fact that it’s not a big deal.  Got it.

Purely co-incidentally, I watched Tank Girl last night for possibly the first time since the actual 90’s.  It’s an awesome movie.  There’s plenty of female characters; good, evil, and middling, and there are also plenty of male characters of all kinds.  The main character is (obviously) a woman, and while it has a healthy helping of ‘sexy’ shots, there’s also many where she’s awkward, undignified, and particularly unladylike.

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By the time it ended I was left wondering what had gone wrong since then.  It was made (say it quietly) over twenty years ago.  Think for a moment about how much has changed since then.  In the mid nineties, the internet was barely a thing for many people, and although what would come to be called the ‘first smartphone’ had just been released, it looked like the item you see to the right.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment before I get to the next point.

Growing up, I heard all the time that the ‘battle of the sexes’ was over; equality had been achieved, nothing to see here, you can now get on with your lives like real human beings.  It was only when I left home, got a job, and had to deal with people who had been around a bit longer that I realised that this was not the world I had been promised.

I’m still not entirely clear on whether it simply stalled, or actually reversed direction.  I think I was in my twenties before I discovered that society can (and often does) move in the direction opposite to the one that I had learned to call progress.  There are currents that are actively trying to separate gender roles, to reduce individual expression, and to limit personal freedoms.  I found that profoundly disturbing, and I still do.

I know my younger, more militant self would be appalled by the extent to which I’ve kowtowed to social norms.  These days, I wear a wedding ring, and most of my clothes come from the ‘ladies’ department.  The blatant activism has been worn out of me, a little piece at a time.  But there’s still a spark that wants to make a difference, and bend the world into the shape I was promised it would be.  It’s not much of a statement, but I guess I’ll start by going to the cinema.

 

Living in the past, with WordPress

Status

Quick update – looks like the theme I had (Twenty Eleven) is the only one that does more or less what I want out of the box. So after an afternoon of back and forth I decided to make do with this theme for the moment and make the best out of it.

Mostly I’ve tweaked the layout to be a bit more sensible and consistent, and added some pictures so it looks more lived-in around here. May as well get settled in.

 

© Gloria Hanlon 2016 All Rights Reserved

This theme is sick!

Yeah, radical, man!  … or something.

Being unwell today and stuck at home, it seems like a good opportunity for me to try out some new themes for my blog, now that it’s settled down a bit and I have a better idea of what I’m looking for in a theme.

Although it’s possible to preview themes on your own content before applying them, as far as I can tell, there’s no way of editing the pages within a theme preview; you need to go ahead and apply it to then be able to see what page templates are available and so forth.

With these things in mind, there may be some radical (see what I did there?) fluctuations in the appearance of this site for a little while as I test things out.  If you happen to load one of the variations that involves two very large panels with my slightly demented photo grinning back out at you – well, you have my sincerest apologies.
© Gloria Hanlon 2016 All Rights Reserved

Image credit GNOME icon artists 2008

How to learn?

I was always a bright student, not a good one.

I learned by incorporating new information into the existing web of what I knew, so that once I understood something I was unlikely to forget it again.  Hence I was able to mask my undiagnosed ADHD and my complete lack of study skills successfully enough by piecing together the parts of lessons I had been paying attention to, and making educated guesses.  I didn’t get brilliant marks, but I didn’t fail either.

I never had any particular strength of will, but I could fake it by putting myself into a situation where it was easier to follow through than to give in.  I can also draw on my reserves of stubbornness and bloody-mindedness at a pinch; they can look like willpower and perseverance if you don’t know what’s going on under the surface.

I seem to have missed many of the ‘meta’ lessons which I should have learned at school – I have no strategies for dealing with the frustration of not understanding something, or for persevering when things become difficult and it would be easier to lie down and quit.  I never learned to ask for help in a gracious way; by the time I have to admit to myself that I need to lean on someone else, I’m pretty much going to be a prickly and messy ball of nerves.

I would very much like to retrofit a ‘good character’ on to myself.

Clearly my failure to learn these techniques means that I am a bad person.  This is continually being driven home to me by the sort of writing exercises which attribute strength of will, determination, perseverance, self control and the like to the hero, whereas the villain, or even worse, the comic relief is vacillating and racked with self-doubt.

So the question remains – how to learn?

 

© Gloria Hanlon 2016 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit Michael Anderson 2013

Fear and Frustration

I had a whole post planned today about the nature of frustration, and where it comes from, but I may be a little too close to the experience to write about it just now.

Instead, I’ve decided to share with you a new story.  It’s a story which has its roots in fear, and in frustration, and helplessness.

It’s called The Artist.

 

© Gloria Hanlon 2016 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit Michael Anderson 2013