Apr. 12th, 2017

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The Twitter Thread in Defense of HEA in the Romance Genre via Courtney Milan. What happened was a guy decided to treat the comment "Is there any trope more strongly enforced and policed than the HEA trope in the romance genre?" He got crucified, and removed the tweet. Hee Hee.

But it haunted me. I think because I've read a lot of books across various genres, and I'd recently published a book in which a critic stated it wasn't believable because it ended happily. (It sort of did and sort of didn't depending on your point of view. I felt I left it more or less open-ended. But I didn't end it tragically or grimly like most noir writers do, because that appears to an enforced view in noir. I subverted the requirement or trope or whatever you want to call it.)

Anywho...the HEA (Happily Ever After) seen in the romance genre isn't reserved to that genre, and if you've read a broad range of "romances" you'll note that not all romances necessarily end happily. I happen to know of one novella in which the heroine died at the end. And another, in which they are dead, and died rather tragically in the sequel. Also, hello, Tolstoy's Anna Karenia is a romance novel, granted a literary one, but it is somewhat grim. So too are some of Hardy's novels, and the Bronte Sisters. The Victorians didn't like to write "Happily Ever After" for some reason or other. And in a lot of "so-called" literary fiction, the trend seems to be grim endings. I personally seem of the "grim" endings difficult to digest or believe.

Some romance novels are deft critiques of abusive relationships, and the grim ending has the two people still together.

It's a broad genre with lots of subgenres, and has gotten a lot of crap over the years...mainly because it's largely a genre written by women for women. 90% of the writers are women. Whether the romance is LGBTQ or Straight, the writers tend to be mostly women. Women actually can be turned on by m/m romances. I tried to explain that to an Aunt once who assumed only straight men liked same-sex romances about the opposite sex. I said, eh, no, actually, this is true of both straight men and women. Although they don't tend to like romance same-sex stories about their own gender, just the opposite gender. Which I personally find fascinating.

I've also read enough across genres to know they all have their sticking points. The Sci-Fi Genre seems to be obsessed with world-building. Fantasy is obsessed with mythology. Mystery -- somebody has to die. It's rare to have one where no one dies. I wrote one where no one dies -- or there wasn't a murder, mainly because I burned out on murder mysteries in the 1990s and wondered if you could do something different. Noir -- it ends badly.

There's an assumption that you can't learn anything from books for pleasure -- this is not true. You can learn something from everything you read or do, if you are open to it. I've learned that much.
You may not always like the lesson...

The novel that I'm currently reading "A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran" has a rather interesting bit about the ticket to leave act in Victorian England, and the penal system. It's also quite timely -- addressing in a romance novel a topical and controversial issue about jailing people accused of petty crimes with murderers. The same issue was addressed by Victor Hugo in Les Miserables and Charles Dickens. I'd say we don't do that today, but in a way we do with the drug laws. Throwing a man or boy in jail for twenty years for possession of crack cocaine, is a bit harsh, particularly when a college kid caught with a packet of cocaine is slapped on the wrist, or caught dealing LSD.
(I saw this happen in real life, so I am not exaggerating.) Same with marijuana, it's a bit excessive to thrown someone in jail for dealing or smoking weed -- in comparison to someone dealing heroine.
I remember defending three different drug cases in law school -- one was possession of crack cocaine, which had a sentence of 15-20 years, one was for killing people in association with the heroine trade -- 20 years to life, and one was felony bank robbery, which he did to support a cocaine habit, 10-15 years, probation. Think about that. This novel discusses the inequalities of the penal code and how funding and supporting putting more people away or incarceration funds private interests who are using the prisoners as free labor, and/or using prisons as a business investment. Which is also what is happening today in the US. Duran wraps all this socio-political discourse in the pretty guise of a romance novel and it is a historical romance novel with all the trimmings.

The woman definitely has something to say, and has found a way to weave a narrative that could potentially make her readers think outside their comfort zones.

Right now, I'm flirting with Americanha - about two lovers who immigrate from Nigeria, one to the US and one to London, and their differing experiences with immigration and race, it's written by a Nigerian immigrant. But I'm forcing myself to hold off on buying it until I finish some of the books in my queue. I have a tendency to see a book on Amazon, while I'm knee deep in another one and impulse buy it, but not get around to reading it. Resulting in over 300 books in my Kindle that I have not read. I finally read Slaughter-House Five this year. It was sitting in the Kindle for three years before I got around to it. Bought it on sale for 1.99 from Amazon. Also flirting with Dark Matter - a romance about two lovers separated by dimensions, it's a sci-fi novel. And The Circle about a young woman in a Google like tech company that she discovers is up to something nefarious, actually it seems to be about more than that...the movie trailer has made me curious.
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1. Some good quotes online today.

Found on FB, which reminded me of where I'd read about Traflmadorians, prior to Slaughter-House Five.

from The Sirens of Titan:

Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren’t anything like machines. They weren’t dependable. They weren’t efficient. They weren’t predictable. They weren’t durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others.
These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame.
And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn’t high enough.
So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too.
And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn’t really be said to have any purpose at all.
The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else. And they discovered that they weren’t even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, “Tralfamadore."

From a poem by Percy Blyshe Shelley, reminding me why I preferred the Victorian Poets to the Victorian Novelists oops, he's one of the Romantics, and I actually preferred the Romantic Period to the Victorian period in regards to literature. The Victorians took themselves far too seriously, didn't have much of a sense of humor, and a bit of a superiority complex.

Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni
Related Poem Content Details
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
The everlasting universe of things
Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
Now dark—now glittering—now reflecting gloom—
Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
The source of human thought its tribute brings
Of waters—with a sound but half its own,
Such as a feeble brook will oft assume,
In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

You should read the whole thing, it's a powerful poem about our relationship with nature. (Thank you, mai, for the link.)


2. Don't know what to do about this. Apparently you can claim an Open ID and transfer all comments from LJ to DW. Now, I deleted my journal last week -- but I did it after I set up an Open Id account on LJ via dreamwidth and claimed it. I didn't do it for claiming comments, so much as a means of accessing Lj without signing the user agreement, and posting comments on it. I gave up when I realized I couldn't access my own journal through this methodology. I don't know if I inadvertently transferred comments or not.

I imported my LJ to DW when they announced they were moving the servers to Russia. After that I cross posted everything put picture posts, because I couldn't figure out how to post photos to DW. And being an idiot, I didn't force people to comment on DW solely (which is what a lot of my friends did.) I didn't see a reason to import again -- for fear of double posts or double content. And outside of a few additional comments here and there...plus photo posts, nothing major. I don't tend to re-read my journal. I write then forget for the most part. And I don't re-read the correspondence.

Also not a techie. And I don't want to undelete the journal and figure all this out, unless absolutely necessary. And I refuse to sign that user agreement. (Won't bore you again with all the reasons why I deleted and refused to sign. You either get it or you don't at this point.)

I'm thinking of just letting things be. Let the journal stay deleted. Let it be gone. Let go of the past. In a way I want a clean break with it. I saved the fandom stuff. It's just the most recent personal photologues that are gone, which is okay, because I felt a bit exposed by them and am not certain I want that accessible on the internet. Plus they were in locked posts anyhow. And who knows, I may figure out how to repost them.


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