Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Head. Desk. Repeat.

That is just the kind of day it is already being. From discovering why I should never take time off work (how can THAT MANY things go wrong in one day?!), to getting a review from someone who seems to be reading a different fanfic than I'm writing (Hermione apparently "obsesses" over Draco and "treats Ron like a dog")...
And now there's Twitter. It seems Twitter is the great key to social media success and every author should tweet at least twice a day! Except that my life isn't exactly tweet-worthy. It's barely life-worthy. I'm amazed that I manage to come up with a Facebook status every day and a blog post four times a week. I work, I write, that's it.
So my frustration with this day is truly massive. What to do, what to do... I've got it! I'll blog about cats and how well they handle things that start with the letter D! And first up we have my two personal cats (well, mine and the roommate's) and their strange little love-hate-HISS relationship with our pair of overly happy dogs.
Weirdly, if the cats are in their own room and the dogs walk by, or even stick their heads a little ways inside, the cats seldom react. If we pick up the cats and carry them to where the dogs can see them, though, they freak out. And let's not even mention what happens if they get caught on the wrong side of the baby gate!
Astoundingly, neither dog has yet been clawed, though there has been a great deal of hissing and growling, plaintive meowing, and the occasional smack to the muzzle. As long as there's no blood shed on either side, I think we're good, though of course dogs and cats do not get access to one another when we are not home to supervise.
Now on to the fictional counterpart of this relationship, or rather its reversal: the cats and dragons, or lyrror and mazor, of the world of Trycanta. And the reason I mention reversal is that in my household, the dogs are the noisy, rambunctious ones and the cats are quieter and more dignified. On Trycanta, the opposite is most often true.
The dichotomy in speculative fiction between a race which is more reserved and formal than humanity and a race which is earthier and more uninhibited is a long-standing one. Tolkien used it, casting elves in the former role and dwarves (and, in some respects, hobbits) in the latter, and many contemporary authors follow his lead.
On the science fiction side of the spectrum, probably the best known example would be Star Trek. The calm logic of the Vulcans and the fierce warrior attitude of the Klingons, and the ways in which both races interact with human beings, has been one of the longest-standing sources of tension and interest in every Star Trek series.
So, on Trycanta, the mazor have a culture which is guided strongly by custom, with emphasis on the greatest good of the group. The lyrror, by contrast, tend to organize things to please their individual selves and perhaps their own families or tribes. This, understandably, is the source of a great deal of tension between the two races.
The arrival of human beings on Trycanta was something of a tiebreaker between mazor and lyrror, since they had never thought their outlooks could be reconciled. But the humans, to both races' astonishment, observed some customs very strongly while letting others go, as their circumstances, needs, and desires dictated.
So, let's hear from you, readers. What customs, observances, etc. do you tend to hang onto, especially in this later part of the year as the holiday season arrives? Which ones don't you follow, or wish other people wouldn't? (Christmas music... Christmas music EVERYWHERE...) Politely, please, but let your voice be heard!

6 Comments to Head. Desk. Repeat.:

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Dawn on Tuesday, November 05, 2013 11:16 PM
"The dichotomy in speculative fiction between a race which is more reserved and formal than humanity and a race which is earthier and more uninhibited is a long-standing one." I can totally see you writing a race that doesn't care about dignity. After all, wasn't that the entire moral of Be Careful (and maybe also of A Widow in Waiting)? "I left my dignity in an alternate universe, and I'm having more fun without it." I'll be interested to see you writing a race that's dignified and reserved and happy about it. So often authors write those races as 'they intimidate the humans', and leave it there. And I can't remember ever reading about a race that made the humans uncomfortable by being too informal and brash. It should make for interesting reading :) As for holidays: The Good: I love Halloween. I don't like being gross out or scared and I can't eat a lot of candy, which makes loving Halloween kind of awkward, but I still do love it. I like answering the door for trick-or-treaters, I like jack o'lanterns, and I like hearing what people are dressing up as, even though I don't usually dress up myself. Your Ren Faire outfit sounded great, though. I should do that. The Bad: The holiday season you meant? I spend a lot of time trying to figure out answers to questions and statements like yours that are forceful but not rude. 'Tis the season to keep your head down and walk through to January.
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:41 AM
Re holidays: should I apologize? Re other races: yeah, it's going to be fun.

Geoffrey on Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:25 AM
You do more, than Work and Write. I know because you’ve said so. You work, you write, you choir, you church, you cat, you cook, you dog, etc, etc, etc. Not everyone does these things. I do not do all these things. I do not dog, I do not cat, and I rarely cook anymore. I choired once upon a time, back when I could still carry a tune. And I miss these things. I think that’s what I love about the Christmas season the most: the caroling. I think I’m fortunate to live in a part of the country where a preponderance of the population observes the holiday in a spiritual manner (meaning more than just presents), so caroling is a joyful experience for all involved. What I don’t enjoy is the endless parade of sweets that appear on Oct 31 and don’t go away until January. I admit, I do my part in producing and consuming them… I just wish the temptation weren’t so ever-present. And what I hate most of all is the eternal discussion about whether to celebrate, what to celebrate, who’s offended, how not to offend them, and most importantly, how you must not let anyone know you have a belief lest they be offended by it. I enjoy my culture, and the Christmas season in the greatest expression of it, from the shopping to the gift-giving, the nativities, the caroling, the over-eating, the bells, trees and decorations, the materialism, the spiritualism, and most importantly, the family. Some of these things are considered good, others bad, but it’s impossible to sanitize the season and make it “pure”; what would you remove? Black Friday? I wouldn’t object, but remove too much, and the sanitized holiday would be… it wouldn’t have any potency. The PC movement does enough of that already, stripping any references to the religious purpose of the season lest someone be offended. No, I enjoy it all, even the over-abundance of food. Take away any part of it, and the season no longer reflects the culture. I think that’s why I dislike the bickering so much: it’s become a part of the season because it’s a part of the culture; such an ugly part. Well, imma listen to some Handel now, but I’ll leave you with a question first. What do you want for Christmas? And don’t say “World Peace”, or “Reviews”. I’m pretty sure those aren’t coming this year. Even if Santa is one of your readers. We’re talking tangibles here. So tell.
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:45 AM
Well, reviews are always welcome. So are sales. But tangibles... dangly earrings. And popcorn, I like popcorn. Sheet music for fun Broadway shows. My printer died but that's probably going to be my parents' one big gift to me... that the kind of thing you're thinking of?

Moony on Thursday, November 07, 2013 1:08 AM
Dog and cat are now verbs it seems. Regarding holidays, I wish people would stop advertizing for Christmas before Halloween, or even before Thanksgiving, or just ignoring other holidays all together. I am starting to get a little tired of Halloween, because literally about three people out of the hundreds who came to my old house said 'Thank you." Thanksgiving is good, because you get to eat lots and not have to worry about presents or (usually) too much snow. The 'reserved race' reminds me of the Ayorthians(?) in Ella Enchanted. So kind of like East v. West thinking, the individual v. the group.
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, November 07, 2013 12:28 PM
I was thinking a bit that way, yes (East vs. West), but just as a touchpoint. And kids didn't get anything at my house unless they said "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you". I'm bad that way.

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