We inhabit a deeply imagined world that exists alongside the real physical world. Even the crudest utterance, or the simplest, contains the fundamental poetry by which we live. This mind fabric, woven of images and illusions, shields us. In a sense, or rather, in all senses, it’s a shock absorber. As harsh as life seems to us now, it would feel even worse — hopelessly, irredeemably harsh — if we didn’t veil it, order it, relate familiar things, create mental cushions. One of the most surprising facts about human beings is that we seem to require a poetic version of life. It’s not just that some of us enjoy reading or writing poetically, or that many people wax poetic in emotional situations, but that all human beings of all ages in all cultures all over the world automatically tell their story in a poetic way, using the elemental poetry concealed in everyday language to solve problems, communicate desires and needs, even talk to themselves. When people invent new words, they do so playfully, metaphorically — computers have viruses, one can surf the internet, a naive person is clueless. In time, people forget the etymology or choose to disregard it. We dine at chic restaurants from porcelain dinner plates without realizing that when the smooth, glistening porcelain was invented in France a long time ago, someone with a sense of humor thought it looked as smooth as the vulva of a pig, which is indeed what porcelain means. When we stand by our scruples, we don’t think of our feet, but the word comes from the Latin scrupulus, a tiny stone that was the smallest unit of weight. Thus a scrupulous person is so sensitive he’s irritated by the smallest stone in his shoe. For the most part, we are all unwitting poets.
Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.
Another Better Book Title submission - “The Babysitters Club,” Ann M. Martin
Among the many things I really love about The Babysitters’ Club: It showed that young women could be excellent businesspeople, and that they could build organizations that were both values-oriented and profitable.
The BSC was my favorite book series as a kid, and those stories still influence the way I think about the world.
One of the wonderful things about these books, I think, besides their endless and rather improbable road trips, is that they’re about middle school girls, and yet only a very small fraction of their time is spent on guys. I mean, yeah, they talk and tease each other and worry about boys, but they also deal with school work, the families they work for, relationships with their parents and siblings and each other. Actually, the first “real book” - i.e. full-length novel - I ever read was Mary Anne Saves the Day, when I was home sick in first grade. And I read them up through the time I was in middle school myself.
On a side note, you haven’t lived until you’ve read BSC fanfiction.
what you fail to realize is that video games shouldn’t cater to females in the first place. It’s largely known that it’s targeted towards the MALE demographic and has been for so many years, so why would they ask for something like that to be handed to them on a goddamn silver platter?
that’s like a guy walking into the women’s department of clothing at a sears and demanding that there be more clothing for men there. Separation of sections be damned.
that’s not how it fucking works
no not really
the game industry is more like walking into a regular department store and seeing that all the clothes are only men’s clothes
and when you ask the cashier where the women’s clothing section is, they wheel out a small rack of cheaply made tutus, g-strings, and high heels all in bright pink
and then when you go “wow really that’s it” you get called an uppity bitch and everybody assumes you want all the focus on you when in reality you’d just like to be considered a worthwhile demographic since you also like to wear clothes, it’s not like you want some ridiculous getup, you just want a solid shirt and pair of pants that fits you alright.
I mean hell you even sort of like men’s clothes and you have no problem wearing them. They suit you well. But it’s very obvious once you throw on a pair of men’s pants that they were not made for you.
Perfect metaphor is perfect.
Diversity (or lack thereof) among New York Times bestsellers:
We chose to look at the most general bestsellers list, Combined Print & E-Book Fiction (adult), and looked at the top ten books for all 52 weeks of 2012. The results were staggering, if not surprising:
Only three out of the 124 authors who appeared on the list during 2012 (less than three percent) are people of color: Sylvia Day, E.L. James, and Tess Gerritson.
See the full study here. Also worth noting that there were no (no!) African American authors on the list and that of the three series by authors of color that made the list, only one contains a main character of color.
The study focuses on 2012 but I’m betting when we get to the end of 2013 it won’t look much different…
Last week, The New York Times released their list of Notable Children’s Books of 2013. And once again, they failed to include a single title written by or about Latinos. In fact, in the last 10 years only one book featuring a Latino protagonist and written by a Latino author – Marcelo in the Real World written by Francisco X. Stork in 2009 – has been included in the annual list.
Have you seen today’s kindle deals? Amazon are offering nine YA books for $2.99 or less today only (12/10):
- Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
- Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Brendon Halpin & Emily Franklin
- Lost by Jaqueline Davies
- Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Transcendence (Transcendence #1) by C.J. Omololu
- Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair by C.C. Payne
- Tempest Rising (Tempest #1) by Tracy Deebs
- Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught
“There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” - JK Rowling
Can we talk about Susan’s fabulous adventures after Narnia? The ones where she wears nylons and elegant blouses when she wants to, and short skirts and bright lipstick when she wants to, and hiking boots and tough jeans and big men’s plaid shirts when she feels like backpacking out into the mountains and remembering what it was to be lost in a world full of terrific beauty— I know her siblings say she stops talking about it, that Susan walks away from the memories of Narnia, but I don’t think she ever really forgot.
I want to read about Susan finishing out boarding school as a grown queen reigning from a teenaged girl’s body. School bullies and peer pressure from children and teachers who treat you like you’re less than sentient wouldn’t have the same impact. C’mon, Susan of the Horn, Susan who bested the DLF at archery, and rode a lion, and won wars, sitting in a school uniform with her eyebrows rising higher and higher as some old goon at the front of the room slams his fist on the lectern.
Susan living through WW2, huddling with her siblings, a young adult (again), a fighting queen and champion marksman kept from the action, until she finally storms out against screaming parents’ wishes and volunteers as a nurse on the front. She keeps a knife or two hidden under her clothes because when it comes down to it, they called her Gentle, but sometimes loving means fighting for what you care for.
She’ll apply to a women’s college on the East Coast, because she fell in love with America when her parents took her there before the war. She goes in majoring in Literature (her ability to decipher High Diction in historical texts is uncanny), but checks out every book she can on history, philosophy, political science. She sneaks into the boys’ school across town and borrows their books too. She was once responsible for a kingdom, roads and taxes and widows and crops and war. She grew from child to woman with that mantle of duty wrapped around her shoulders. Now, tossed here on this mundane land, forever forbidden from her true kingdom, Susan finds that she can give up Narnia but she cannot give up that responsibility. She looks around and thinks I could do this better.
I want Susan sneaking out to drink at pubs with the girls, her friends giggling at the boys checking them out from across the way, until Susan walks over (with her nylons, with her lipstick, with her sovereignty written out in whatever language she damn well pleases) and beats them all at pool. Susan studying for tests and bemoaning Aristotle and trading a boy with freckles all over his nose shooting lessons so that he will teach her calculus. Susan kissing boys and writing home to Lucy and kissing girls and helping smuggle birth control to the ladies in her dorm because Susan Pevensie is a queen and she understands the right of a woman to rule over her own body.
Susan losing them all to a train crash, Edmund and Peter and Lucy, Jill and Eustace, and Lucy and Lucy and Lucy, who Susan’s always felt the most responsible for. Because this is a girl who breathes responsibility, the little mother to her three siblings until a wardrobe whisked them away and she became High Queen to a whole land, ruled it for more than a decade, then came back centuries later as a legend. What it must do to you, to be a legend in the body of a young girl, to have that weight on your shoulders and have a lion tell you that you have to let it go. What is must do to you, to be left alone to decide whether to bury your family in separate ceremonies, or all at once, the same way they died, all at once and without you. What it must do to you, to stand there in black, with your nylons, and your lipstick, and feel responsible for these people who you will never be able to explain yourself to and who you can never save.
Maybe she dreams sometimes they made it back to Narnia after all. Peter is a king again. Lucy walks with Aslan and all the dryads dance. Maybe Susan dreams that she went with them— the train jerks, a bright light, a roar calling you home.
Maybe she doesn’t.
Susan grows older and grows up. Sometimes she hears Lucy’s horrified voice in her head, “Nylons? Lipstick, Susan? Who wants to grow up?” and Susan thinks, “Well you never did, Luce.” Susan finishes her degree, stays in America (England looks too much like Narnia, too much like her siblings, and too little, all at once). She starts writing for the local paper under the pseudonym Frank Tumnus, because she wants to write about politics and social policy and be listened to, because the name would have made Edmund laugh.
She writes as Susan Pevensie, too, about nylons and lipstick, how to give a winning smiles and throw parties, because she knows there is a kind of power there and she respects it. She won wars with war sometimes, in Narnia, but sometimes she stopped them before they began.
Peter had always looked disapprovingly on the care with which Susan applied her makeup back home in England, called it vanity. And even then, Susan would smile at him, say “I use what weapons I have at hand,” and not explain any more than that. The boy ruled at her side for more than a decade. He should know better.
Vain is not the proper word. This is about power. But maybe Peter wouldn’t have liked the word “ambition” any more than “vanity.”
Susan is a young woman in the 50s and 60s. Frank Tumnus has quite the following now. He’s written a few books, controversial, incendiary. Susan gets wrapped up in the civil rights movement, because of course she would. It’s not her first war. All the same, she almost misses the White Witch. Greed is a cleaner villain than senseless hate. She gets on the Freedom Rider bus, mails Mr. Tumnus articles back home whenever there’s a chance, those rare occasions they’re not locked up or immediately threatened. She is older now than she ever was in Narnia. Susan dreams about Telemarines killing fauns.
Time rolls on. Maybe she falls in love with a young activist or an old cynic. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe Frank Tumnus, controversial in the moment, brilliant in retrospect, gets offered an honorary title from a prestigious university. She declines and publishes an editorial revealing her identity. Her paper fires her. Three others mail her job offers.
When Vietnam rolls around, she protests in the streets. Susan understands the costs of war. She has lived through not just the brutal wars of one life, but two.
Maybe she has children now. Maybe she tells them stories about a magical place and a magical lion, the stories Lucy and Edmund brought home about how if you sail long enough you reach the place where the seas fall off the edge of the world. But maybe she tells them about Cinderella instead, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, except Rapunzel cuts off her own hair and uses it to climb down the tower and escape. The damsel uses what tools she has at hand.
A lion told her to walk away, and she did. He forbade her magic, he forbade her her own kingdom, so she made her own.
Susan Pevensie did not lose faith. She found it.
I would read the HELL out of this story.
This is amazing.
- The total economic impact of the Toronto Public Library on the city of Toronto is $1 billion.
- For every dollar invested in Toronto Public Library, Torontonians receive $5.63 of value.
- For those who use the library, the average value of services accessed is as much as $500.
- On average, one open hour at any one of the library’s 98 branches generates $2,515 in benefits for the city of Toronto. The average cost of one open hour is $653, so the average benefit is almost 4 times the average cost.
- Beyond tangible benefits outlined in the report, the library delivers value to Toronto’s communities and residents in ways that are not easily quantifiable but nonetheless support Toronto’s economy, increase its competitiveness and prosperity and contribute to the city’s livability and quality of life.
An infographic on today’s exciting announcement of the value of the Toronto Public Library to the city’s economy. This research was conducted by the Martin Prosperity Institute, and their full report titled "So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library on the City of Toronto" can be read here.
A regular client turned good friend was sexually assaulted and asked me if I would go with her to the police station to make the report. Here is what happened.
Things to note:
1. There may be some triggers around sexual assault, victim blaming, and incompetent police officers.