I’m Not Posting Today

Because the only things I can think of to talk about are the fact that I made a Patreon and all the craptastic garbage fire of sexual assault exposes going on both in media and social media rn, and I’m not peppy enough for a sales pitch, and I’m way too ragey to write anything useful on the other.

Enough is enough. Be kind to people. Believe survivors. Everyone deserves respect. This is not complicated.

#EpicWorldFail.

What It REALLY Means To Be Trilingual

IDK, I think this is just going to be slam poetry month, ‘kay? ‘Kay. Anyway, this one’s lovely, and touches on a topic that fascinates me both as an English teacher and as a trained linguist. We tend to have this view that anyone who can’t speak ‘proper’ English is lower, defective in some way. But this erases the totally glorious truth, which is that NO ONE speaks English ‘properly’, because what do you even MEAN by English? American? British? Australian? Singaporean? East coast Australia or West coast Australia? Texan or Alaskan? Southern British or northern British? Etc. Like, linguistically speaking, there is NO One True English.

This kind of attitude also totally ignores the fact that different variations of English, even when they ‘mangle’ the original words/grammar/whatever, still have really strict rules themselves. I am, for example, totally fluent in internet English, which is a totally different dialect to spoken east-coast Australian English; while it might superficially seem like phrases such as ‘It me!’ are just being blatantly ungrammatical, actually there’s a new set of grammar rules at play which mean that while it’s totes fab to say ‘It me!’ (or ‘totes fab’), it’s NOT grammatical in internet-English to say ‘It amazing!’ (at this point; internet English even more so than any other variant, dialect, pigeon, etc, changes FAST).

There is no One True English. People who speak other variants aren’t dumb, they’re just using a different grammar system. And unless we’re all supposed to go back to speaking Old English (Wes þū hāl!), well, grammar systems change with time and geography. That’s just Language. So we can rail about the ‘declining standards of English due to the internet/migrants/texting/whatever’, or we can celebrate the awesome creativity of the human mind, and appreciate different styles of grammar. I think you know which side I’m on 😉 😀 hehe.

Anyway, rant over, enjoy the vid, and your soon-coming weekend!! <3

Why Artists MUST Be Paid

Writers deserve to be paid. Artists deserve to be paid.

The reason is this: If you don’t pay people to make art, only those who can afford to will make it. Only those who have sufficient income to allow them leisure time, time spent not actively pursuing ways to ensure the survival of their family, will make art. Which is fine, until you realise that it’s playing into the very trap we modernly denounce history for: it’s privileging privilege. The reason we don’t know a whole lot about the lower classes of a lot of historical societies, not first hand at any rate, is not because these people weren’t educated/literate and thus able to write down accounts of their lives. That’s part of it, sure, but written literature is only one of a handful of ways of learning about a people.

Art is another. And art, historically speaking, was almost exclusively made by those in a position privileged enough to allow them the time to make it. No, these artists were certainly not always upper class; but when they were not, they usually operated under some sort of patronage system. The rich may not have physically, mentally made the art, but they sure as heck paid for it and dictated what was to be made. There are good reasons why Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Richard III, and others are they way they are, and every one of those reasons is political. He was paid by the rich to entertain them; you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, not if you want to keep having a face. (Ha ha).

So. This is why we must pay our artists, and pay them well enough to live: that people from all walks of life may make their art. All walks, not just the privileged.

And if you can’t see why that is important, well… Eh, that’s a whole other post.

Fact: Gender Stereotypes are Stupid.

Son is 3 years and a double handful of weeks old. He never stops moving, loves throwing balls, kicking balls, catching balls; driving cars, trucks, buses, trains; makes dinosaur noises and squeals like a pig; would live in a sandpit if he could convince adults this was remotely plausible; and his current favourite colour is pink. Pink castle stickers, pink pencils, pink counters when we attempt to play Connect 4.

Gender stereotypes are the stupidest things in the world.

You Can’t Just Cut And Paste!

Urgh. Doing the last little bit of research for #FGU (more properly known as From The Ground Up: Building A World That Works) and I’ve been doing a bit of comparative work with some of the other worldbuilding books that are out there – and trust me, there are surprisingly few, which is why I decided to write this book in the first place. And not only are worldbuilding books actually far less common than you’d believe, every single one I’ve found so far suffers from one of two flaws.

Either it’s too technical and dense and only helpful if you’re the kind of worldbuilder who wants to know EXACTLY HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE to walk to those mountains over there on the horizon and what formula you can use to calculate it,

OR it assumes that worldbuilding is entirely a matter of chance. Pick one from column A, one from column B, two from column C, throw them together and you have a world.

Um, NO. Please. For the love of logic and sanity, NO.

See, what most people don’t realise is that worldbuilding, culture-building, is an inherently logical process. There are REASONS why tropical cuisines involve spices, why no society is born with a democracy, why populations with high tech usually have low birth rates, why population centres get spaced out the way they do – heck, even why elephant-sized mice are impossible. REASONS. Worldbuilding is LOGICAL.

And if you try to sell a book that claims otherwise, that claims you can just pick a climate and pick a style of government and pick a type of art and pick a type of economy and throw them all together and it’ll work fine   – and worse, if you try to claim that food, architecture, weapons, clothing and tools are just decorations – look, worse case scenario I’ll sit here weeping and gnashing my teeth at you, really, but PLEASE. JUST DON’T.

You guys, this is not the way populations work. It’s not the way worlds work. There’s a very specific chain of logic that leads literally from the plate tectonics of your world all the way up to what kind of food different populations will eat, how many children they will have, what their attitudes towards old people will be, how long they will be expected to work for, and so forth. Seriously.

And if you don’t believe me, just wait until From The Ground Up comes out. I defy you to read it and NOT recognise the truth: Worldbuilding is inherently logical. You can’t just throw it together piecemeal and expect it to make sense >.<

/rant. O:)

Reading Young Adult

So I meant to post this like a month ago when it was a Hot Topic, but we all know I’m less than timely when it comes to blogging, so meh. Better late than never. With the context that a top news site released an article essentially degrading adult readers of Young Adult (YA) fiction, the internet exploded – especially Twitter, where a lot of authors hang out. Shannon Hale, a well-known YA author, had a particularly lucid analysis of the situation, which I storified below for ease of access. I especially like what she had to say about caring about the teenage mindset and caring for teens in general; as a high school teacher, it hopefully goes without saying that I value teens and believe in the importance of nurturing them, validating their experiences, and helping them to process the world around them through increasingly-adult lenses. I don’t love all YA books; I don’t love all the books in any genre. But I do read a heck of a lot of YA (about 50/50 with adult novels in any given year), and it’s not because I’m mentally deficient, or wish to return to my teen years (heavens no, I’m good, thanks).

Anyway. Shannon Hale on adults reading YA. Hurrah.