Been awhile huh?

Ahh school has gotten to me, but holidays have now started. I’m justing posting this as a quick reminder that I’m still alive, and ready to resume blogging! 🙂

Well, I don’t have anything much to say, but I’m currently doing quite an interesting experiment. I’m trolling some very old (as in they probably don’t remember me) school friends on ask.fm. They’re from a lower socio economic background, and I’m very interested in how they think. This has led me onto the accounts of several muslim Australians, and I’m truly amazed at their sense of community. It actually makes me feel rather left out. They have nicknames, slang and lingo for things. They’re civillised (most of the time), witty, snarky and extremely self conscious. They have a sense of belonging, and are not completely guided by their religion, as mainstream media might have you believe.

I’ll keep you all updated as well, if you’re interested.

**Note: by ‘trolling’ i mean asking them questions, reading some of their other answers. Maybe I push their buttons a little bit, but I am in no way offensive, nor rude.

Top Ten Children’s and Young Adult Books About Trees, Woods, or Forests by Holly Mueller

Nostalgia come at me.

Nerdy Book Club

I participated this year for the first time in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge, started by Two Writing Teachers.  It was an amazing experience.  I personalized the challenge by writing about childhood memories because my fifth graders were writing memoirs.  In one memory, I wrote about my love of trees and playing in the woods when I was young.  I connected the memory to several books that featured trees, woods, or forests.  An idea for a Nerdy Book Club post was born!  Trees often symbolize life, knowledge, or spirituality.  Forests in fairy tales are usually dark, magical, mysterious places where journeys and quests take place in order to show transformations.  Trees in stories (and real life) are rarely just trees.  They take on meanings of all kinds.  Here are my top ten children’s and young adult books with trees, woods, or forests as a central element.

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YouTube Sexual Abuse Allegations

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Recently, and also not quite recently, many people have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by members of this quite diverse and close knit community. But where is the line drawn? Where does freedom of speech turn into slander? All these YouTubers, creators, who have been accused come from and live in countries which utilise the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty. This is not being applied in the current situation, which I feel is growing rapidly out of control. Yes, people have been accused, and yes, some have confirmed the validity of these accusations, but others have not. How can we, as a community, remain wary of these allegations, and acknowledge them, while justifiably giving the recipient the benefit of the doubt, as we, in an ideal democratic nation, should?

I do believe in ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and while creating a concerned and comforting environment for those who come forward is important, we should also remain wary of believing these allegations absolutely. In fact, in many of these allegations, the creator in question is yet to respond in person.

While I do believe in freedom of speech, and being able to report these kinds of things, there is a great danger in doing so. It is difficult, in court, to prove the accused’s guilt. There are many ways that they could get out of it. They didn’t intend for things to turn out as they did. It wasn’t a situation they perceived to be dangerous or intimidating.

You must carefully consider all legal options before you publicly accuse or denounce someone. If the person in question is found innocent, they can very well (justifiably) sue you for slander. In the case of these YouTubers, whose careers have effectively, and quite clearly, been shortened by such allegations, this would be detrimental, and would almost certainly result in monetary compensation to said creator.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone, justice can be served outside the courtroom, and people can be held accountable by people, not only by the law. BUT people don’t seem to understand that they can be held accountable for the things they say and do. Great weight is placed upon these allegations, and there doesn’t seem to be a balance.

I’ve thought about this a lot, and I really can’t figure out what would be the best option for people to take. I’m (clearly) not a legal professional.

What do you think?

On Women Writers and Sustainable Publishing

Interesting read. Still have pretty far to go. Check it out.

Longreads

Cheri Lucas Rowlands | Longreads | Oct. 2 2014 | 10 minutes (2,399 words)

Three years ago, Sarah Menkedick launched Vela Magazine in response to the byline gender gap in the publishing industry, and to create a space that highlights excellent nonfiction written by women. Last week, Menkedick and her team of editors launched a Kickstarter campaign to grow Vela as a sustainable publication for high-quality, long-form nonfiction, to pay their contributors a competitive rate, and to continue to ensure that women writers are as recognized and read as their male counterparts. Menkedick chatted with Longreads about her own path as a writer, the writer’s decision to work for free, building a sustainable online publication, and the importance of featuring diverse voices in women’s nonfiction.

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Let’s talk about Vela’s origins. You created Vela in 2011 as a space for women writers in response to the byline gender gap — yet it’s…

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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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I like this.

Do I like it a lot? No.

It’s interesting, it’s funny, and it’s touching. It’s also filed under ‘children’s literature’ which I believe to be a gross mistake, as the content is hardly suitable for those we deem ‘children.’

So far, though, I quite like it. It hasn’t impressed me, it isn’t new or unique, but it’s neat enough. I particularly like the way the protagonist, Todd, is written in crude slang. It makes me feel as if I’m reading his unfiltered thoughts, and such a realistic portrayal is refreshing. It can get a bit annoying though, and there are several contradiction which show a predilection towards the more clinical and grammatically correct which undermine this device.

I’m nearly finished, and I hope that this one ends well, so as to compel me to pick up the next book. Otherwise, this trilogy will have to be filed under ‘unfinished,’ just like the ill-fated ‘Hunger Games’ (have mercy!)

Lolita

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Lolita. Lo-lee-ta. A book which promotes rape culture and demotes the rights of women everywhere.

I disagree.

Pedophilia is a psychological, mental illness. The people who engage in such acts can, if we are to be objective to the brink of inhuman, be seen as victims also. Humbert Humbert cannot help his attraction. He could prevent it, yes. He could distance himself from the source of his desire, yes. But he’s not that strong, and though strength is something to be praised, we should not condemn those who lack it. We should help them. Humbert Humbert is not a psychopath. He’s calculating and manipulative, but he does feel that he is doing something wrong, and spends a long time trying to bury his secret, sinful thoughts. Of course, that just makes them more prevalent, keeps them pushing harder to surface at the forefront of his mind.

Am I getting too carried away with the story?

Sorry.

With Lolita it is interesting to see a protagonist whose vile acts upon a child are painted in order to evoke sympathy from the reader. I feel sorry for Humbert Humbert. I feel disgusted as well.We are not meant to be on either one side. We can appreciate the societal pressures placed upon Humbert Humbert, and we can discern the callous way in which he pursues his desire. We also see glimpses of victim blaming. (“She seduced me.”) A twelve year old cannot consent to anything, even in the 1950s (when Lolita was written) so you should immediately dispel that notion from your mind, dear reader. At least I hope you do, because that just promotes rape culture, and it did not begin with book, it began with you.

The writing has been praised by many, many critics who can overlook the controversial content. Anyone reading this with half a brain can realize the ingenuity of the writing. It’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Here are some of my favourite examples:

“My father was a gentle, easy-going person, a salad of racial genes: a Swiss citizen, of mixed French and Austrian descent, with a dash of the Danube in his veins.”

” My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic,
lightning) when I was three…”

There are a lot more hilarious, wonderful prose. I only flipped open my book to the first few pages (lazy-I-am).

A very good, at times difficult read. You would be best stowing it away after an hour or two, just to mull over it. This is definitely a book you should think over a bit.