littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.

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A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

Originally posted on iwantedwings:

Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

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Uni: Week 2

Okay, so I didn’t exactly post for the first week. Brief overview: I went to lectures, and Japanese tutes (tutorials). I spent the week obsessively reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, so I could have it done by this week (btw mission accomplished). The lecture theatre for Victorians to Moderns is weird; the seats are attached to the table, and swing out, and we get actual desks instead of a little slab.

Now that’s out of the way…

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but my other classes are Wonder Worlds (an English Lit class) and Novel Ideas. I didn’t have the book for that, so I basically had to look up the short stories from it online. I found 2/3, at least. My favourite of the two was A Stone Woman. I really like the way AS Byatt constructs the stone woman; I feel I could use the same kind of techniques in fleshing out my vampires’ legends.

So basically, my Novel Idea lecture was talking about each story — two of which I hadn’t yet read — and then I went home and found A Stone Woman, and finished it just in time to make it to the Novel Ideas tute. My tutor is called Melanie, and we had to go around the room stating our name, program, and preferred genre to write.

That wasn’t nearly as bad as my Wonder Worlds or Victorians to Moderns tutes though, which are incidentally taught by the same tutor; an American called Ginna. She asked for name, program and weird fact about yourself. In Wonder Worlds, I skipped over that last one. In Victorians to Moderns, I was a bit more nervous, stumbling and pausing over my introduction and answers. I forgot if I was supposed to say my name. Luckily, I was wearing my Deathly Hallows necklace at the time, so that gave me more freedom to talk about my weird fact:

“It’s from Harry Potter. It’s the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.”

“Have you read all the books?” asked Ginna.

“Yes.”

“Have you read them again?”

“I… come back to them sometimes.” By which I meant, I only use them as references for writing fan fiction. Or going back to passages I particularly like.

“You come back to them sometimes… How about the movies? Have you seen them?”

“Yes, I’ve seen all the books and all the movies. I like wizard rock. Yeah, and… all that.”

Nobody asked me what wizard rock was. Probably, none of them noticed the out-of-the-ordinary reference. But to be fair, while the class was going on, I spotted out of the window a girl in a TARDIS hoodie climbing a flight of stairs, so maybe nerd is commonplace at Uni.

The only time since then I stumbled on my words was when we were calling out modern social issues. I made a string of vaguely-connected sounds, before blowing a raspberry and collapsing on the desk to compose myself before trying again. “Genital mutilation,” I said. According to an opinionated atheist in the class, there are areas where the women perpetuate it, believing they wouldn’t be who they are without it.

Before the lecture for this very class, I also had a little adventure. I was sitting by myself, practising my kanji in my Japanese journal, when this girl comes along asking if she can sit. Even now, I’m not sure her name. “Sure,” I said. But I wasn’t sure whereabouts she wanted to sit, so suddenly I was afraid she meant to sit by me, and I needed to move over.

“It’s okay, I’m not one of those bitches who makes you leave. You were there first,” she assured me, and settled on the table-shaped bench, taking her shoes off and making herself at home.

We talked for a bit, when she asked about my Japanese. After I finished, I started reading Slaughterhouse Five for Novel Ideas. For a while, I settled in, laying down myself. “We’re paying too much not to,” the girl agreed.

But then, my classmate from last week came around, and I came to sit up again to read. He’s a big burly guy, with wavy long hair for a guy. Last week, he’d just started Uncle Tom’s Cabin when I was already on Chapter 8. This week, he confessed he wasn’t finished. I bragged that I was.

Slowly, mystery girl figured out the connection. “You’re in Creative Writing,” she deduced. “Oh, yeah, cause you just said it.”

From the conversations between the three of us, I learned that she was studying Social Work (which she insisted was boring, but that all three of us were creative students and thus “the cool kids”. I concurred), she was 22, her father was something of a writer, and her favourite comedians were Key and Peele. She showed us, the ignorant two, a skit they did. It was actually pretty funny; I was laughing. She was also horrified to find out neither of us does snap chat. I thought of mentioning my sister did it, but decided not to.

Mystery girl is actually the reason I wore my Deathly Hallows necklace to tute next day; she had a Deathly Hallows tattoo on her neck, and I never mentioned my matching necklace, so I wanted to at least show someone. Paul, (that was the other student’s name), did notice. Apparently we’re in the same tute class, and he’s every bit as sociable as mystery girl. Although he surely doesn’t have tatts and piercings like she does.

Eventually, she left with her own classmates, off to Building C where her lecture (at the same time as ours) was. It was only then that Paul realised neither of us caught her name. I’d been thinking of asking her before. Just another thing I held back.


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This site is not dead

#1434. To be honest, I forgot about this blog for a while. I’ve just spent this past half-year at Uni, daily writing my series, and writing fan fiction at my other site (no, you can’t read it).

To be honest, I’ve been thinking of coming back here for ages, but I didn’t know what to write. Even if I don’t write fiction here, I can always try to write about my life. For example, I could catch you up on what I’ve done at Uni.

I just recently got my results back – two passes and two distinctions for my intro classes. In about a couple of weeks, I’ll be back at Uni, but not before Open Day hosts Quidditch, music, a chai tea tent, and free food. I’ll be going to that, by the way.

So okay, just so you know, I’m going to commit myself now to write at least one post about Uni a week in the new semester, and one flash fiction.

In case you were interested, last semester I studied: Communication and Thought (a very basic course that all students have to take), Communication Theory and Practise, Introduction to Creative Writing, and Japanese A.

My two distinctions were in Intro to CW and Japanese. Next year, I need to try harder, though. There’s a GO program that I need better grades than a pass to get into (I’d be going to Japan).


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The Second World War Two

The two women were talking with such familiarity that it was hard to believe they were speaking another language.

“Do you know what they’re saying,” Matt asked, nodding his head towards the two gossiping Indians.

“I don’t speak Indian, I’m afraid. But I do speak Japanese.”

“You speak Jap?” he said, as though he’d been dragged out of time from the second world war. “Me and my brother have one. If I bring you along, can you translate some of the things he’s been saying?”

“Sure. Yeah, sure, maybe. I mean, I don’t really know; I only speak basic Japanese, so I’d only really be able to understand so much of what he’s saying…”

“Well okay,” he said. “I guess that’s close enough. Come with me.”

I followed him, and met up with his brother. “This girl says she speaks Jap. She might be able to translate our perps words.”

Sam looked at her. “Okay, but don’t get freaked out by what you see in there. It’s all for a higher purpose…”

When the boys walked me in, the room was dank, dripping, black and darkest grey, rotting. The Japanese man was tied to a chair in the middle with rope, his face bleeding and eyes piercing. Under him, there was a huge pentagram in what I considered to be his blood.

Shocked, I moved forward towards him emphatically. “Doshita no?” What happened?

Bitterly, he spat out a response. All I heard was, “Anata no tomodachi wa…” before a string of words punctuated by anger spewed from his mouth.

“What did he say?” asked Matt.

I turned back to him. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “All I caught was, ‘your friends’…”

“Yeah, right, okay…”

I turned back to the man. “Anata wa… nani ga hoshii desu ka?” What do you want?

He spoke again. He repeated ‘your friends’, but one other word stuck out particularly. “Shinu?” I cried.

“Shinu!” he repeated adamantly.

“What’d he say?”

“He wants you dead,” I repeated, still staring at shock at him before I turned to Matt.

“That’s it, he’s dead –“

I spread my hands out, protecting the Japanese man. This was not World War Two, and this man was not evil.

“Get out of the way, Emily,” said Matt.

“No,” I said. “You brought me in here to translate his words, and that’s what I plan to do. You really wanna go ahead and kill him just because he wants you dead? Look at him! You’ve obviously tied him up and tortured him, what do you expect from him? You wanted information, right?”

“She’s right,” said Sam.

“I don’t give a damn!” cried Matt. “She can’t tell us anything anyway, so barely speaks it! Get out of the way, Emily. I promise you he deserves it!”

“She was able to tell us he wants us dead,” said Sam. “Maybe she still has some use.”

Matt looked between Emily and Sam resentfully. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll give it one more shot. But that’s it, alright?”

“Got it,” said Sam.


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You’re All Different: A look at fiction and society

Recently I was thinking about a documentary I once saw. It was about Merlin, that wizard of myth originally created by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Towards the end of that documentary, it talked about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It said that the two famous authors used to meet in a pub and talk about Merlin; and that characters in both their writings had a character based on him, the one Aslan, and the other Sauron.

I have since wondered whether the documentary got it wrong, and they were really talking about God. I know at least one of them was a Christian man, and by assumption, so is the other. But that thought didn’t sit well with me, so for a while, I pretended it really was Merlin.

I realise, though, that the reason Merlin sits better with me is because I know he isn’t real, and I’m also assuming other people do too. After all, I watched the documentary; I know he isn’t real. But the fact is, other people won’t have seen it. If those people suddenly started saying that Merlin really was the one who created Stonehenge — Geoffrey’s most famous tale, and one he invented to give Merlin some credibility — it would piss me off. Because I know full well (from another documentary) that Stonehenge was actually created in the late Stone Age by early man.

Another popular story about Stonehenge was that aliens helped. That one pisses me off even more; what does it say about how man sees himself? Do we think we’re capable of nothing? Stonehenge was a great human achievement, and far from the last. And we did it all by ourselves.

But I digress: what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t think people believe in Merlin, but they do still believe in God. And that worries me, because stories have power, especially stories people think are true but aren’t. I write stories myself, but I would never try to pass them off as the truth. And yet, at the very least, the writers of the bible have done just that, in order to persuade — manipulate — people to act and think a certain way. They use fear of hell at the very least to inform this.

What pisses me off about God is that it gives people an excuse not to think for themselves. Like those stories of Merlin or aliens, it gives people something to alleviate either responsibility or pressure, and makes them complacent. Perhaps they want to relax, and maybe that’s understandable, but it pushes down our potential, it takes away from us what we could do, it takes away from us self-belief and puts it into something else, so we become little more than sheep or cattle, following a grand master. And I’m not okay with that.

I’ll admit once I thought I was worthless, when I was a kid I even imagined a God and thus believed it. And then when I was a teenager, I continued to struggle. But the point is, I wasn’t worthless. And the fact that we have to make up ridiculous stories just to cope with ourselves or our lives is insulting to me.

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian put it best:

Brian: You’re all individuals!

Crowd: Yes, we are all individuals.

Brian: You’re all different!

Crowd: Yes, we are all different.

Crowd Member 1: I’m not.

Crowd Member 2: Ssh!

Brian: You’ve got to work it out for yourselves! Otherwise–

Brian’s mother ushers him from the window.

Crowd: Ooh, that wasn’t a minute.

Brian’s Mother: Oh, yes it was!

Crowd: Oh, no it wasn’t!

Brian’s Mother: Now, stop that! And go away!


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Preparing for Uni: Japanese

I have been watching the University website for updates on what to read and how to prepare for my classes. At the moment, I’ve been particularly looking at Japanese. The University has a Facebook page for students of Japan and Japanese, and sometimes people post links to cultural things.

Here’s one.

These are particularly interesting. The last one particular grabbed me, because it’s a phrase I’ve heard before on Facebook, if in a different context: Hate Speech.

In this case, it’s a buzzword that started when anti-Korean protests in a Korean section of Tokyo happened sometime last year. Either way, it’s a particularly important phrase for a number of things, and as I’ve seen on Facebook, important to know the difference between it and Free Speech.

Here’s another one.

Here’s another Facebook link I found. I already do some of these, but there is probably a wider range of music I could listen to, and making notes on things is something I didn’t think of.

There are also tips for those living in Japan. These are things I would probably have thought of anyway, as I often eavesdrop on people when I’m bored anyway, and the same goes for reading signs. In fact, once when I still lived in the Sydney suburbs, when I used to catch the train into Parramatta, there were a few Japanese people who lived even closer to the bus stop, who came out and started to talk in Japanese. They even took the same bus!

The problem was, the only word I actually caught was ”かぞく” (kazoku), which means family. But I knew it was definitely Japanese, because one of the girls had a luggage tag that said so.

Another time on the bus, I met a girl who was studying Japanese too, because she had the same textbook as me.

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