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Mar. 28th, 2012

What's all the fuss about faeries?

(no subject)

I actually blogged! Quick, before it runs away! http://caitlynpaxson.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/above-18-2/

Jun. 1st, 2011

What's all the fuss about faeries?

(no subject)

Hi everyone! This is just a reminder that skogkatt very kindly syndicated my new wordpress blog for me! This means that if you go Here's today's entry! and click "subscribe", then my entries over at wordpress will show up in your friends feed! Thank you, Julia! You rock!

Apr. 16th, 2011

What's all the fuss about faeries?

New Website!

I've made a website for myself! Nothing fancy, but it will do.

It's on Wordpress. Initially, I thought that I would just link to this blog from the new site and keep writing here. But I find that I prefer the posting format there, so I've decided to officially migrate mt blogging over to Wordpress. I wanted to crosspost from there to Livejournal, but couldn't find a way to do so without taking on paying accounts. If anyone out there has any tips for me, I'll take 'em! But in the meantime, I think I'll post links here to any entries I write on the new blog. I want to keep a presence here, because it feels like home, blog-wise, and I still read my friends page with enthusiastic regularity.

So I hope you'll visit! Here's today's entry!

Edited to update: So! skogkatt very kindly syndicated my new blog for me! This means that if you go here and click "subscribe", then my entries over at wordpress will show up in your friends feed! Thank you, Julia! You rock!

Apr. 12th, 2011

What's all the fuss about faeries?

New Poem!

Work kind of ate my life in March, and while I was away, my poem Firefly Girls went up at Stone Telling!

I hope you'll like it. It was inspired by the wedding of some dear friends that we attended in Massachusetts last summer, and a twilight walk past a field of flickering fireflies.
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Feb. 9th, 2011

What's all the fuss about faeries?

Once I played the harp in a shopping mall fountain and other true stories

Today I am a guest blogger at the Black Gate Magazine Blog! If you're interesting in hearing about how I became a harpist and other odd tales, please check it out. It also includes an interview with the amazing Anita Best, ballad-singer extraordinaire!

Many thanks to csecooney for giving me the opportunity to guest blog!
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Dec. 31st, 2010

What's all the fuss about faeries?

Books Read in 2010

Thanks to alankria for the idea of doing this! I actually managed to sort of keep a list this year, though I'm quite certain it's missing things that I can't remember. I feel like I ought to heave read more... but it has been an insanely busy year. The brief reviews are off the top of my head, without reference. Irresponsible, but fun!

The Magician’s Book
Interesting analysis of the Narnia books - made me want to write an essay about why I love them.
The Merlin Conspiracy
A  romp through alternate universes written by a master. Gifted from tithenai - thank you!
The Children’s Book
A.S. Byatt takes a leisurely stroll through the world of bohemian Victoriana. If you have a thing for the Pre Raphaelites and aren't put off by Byatt's airy prose, you'll love this like I did.
The Sun and the Moon (1/2)
Scams! Libel! Not narrative enough to get me through the middle!
To say Nothing of the Dog
One of the best books ever. Certainly the best time travel ever. This is a frequent re-read... twice this year, I believe. Maybe three times.
The Doomsday Book
See above. Connie Willis is Queen.
Blackout
Time travel to WWII. While the period is not a pet interest of mine like the periods of the previous two Willis books, this had me hooked. I didn't realize it had a sequel, so the cliff hanger ending made me throw it across the room.
All Clear
The riveting sequel to Blackout. I actually had obsessive dreams where my brain tried to work out how this story was going to shake out which forced me to get up at 4am one morning to just finish the damn thing so I could rest in peace.
Lincoln’s Dreams
Meh. I think maybe my expectations of this were too high.
The Beach
Better than the movie.
The New Dead
Gill borrowed this from a friend and I read it because it was lying around. Decent tales, bur nothing really world-bending.
Wasteland
I was really into apocalypse this week. Some good stuff here, but nothing so good that I can remember it well enough to describe it.
The Magicians
This book doesn't want to be a fantasy novel, but it is. I felt like it was a little too full of contempt for the genre that it was drawing from, and as a devout Narnia fan, I found the harsh reality of Narnia, oh wait, Fillroy, disturbing, and not in a good way. But it was still a fun and memorable read.
Tales from Earthsea
LeGuin is also Queen.
Privilege of the Sword
A charming book that warrants a re-reading at least once a year.
Catherine Called Birdie
Childhood favourite. Comfort food.
Booklife
This made me hyperventilate over all the things I should be doing. Shelved for later.
Clockwork Phoenix 3
C.S.E. Cooney's Braiding the Ghosts was my favourite short story of the year. I even remember it in vivid detail, which is pretty rare because short stories generally filter through my brain like sand through a cheese grater. You can even go and read the story here.
Absolute Death
All of Gaiman's Death stories in one place. What's not to like?
The Child Thief
A very dark spin on Peter Pan, with pretty pictures. I generally like interpretations of Pan, so I enjoyed this, though remember thinking it could use some narrative tweaking. Won't be for everybody.
Lyddie
Another childhood favourite - this copy is from one of those scholastic book fairs. I love YA fiction about girls living in various historical eras.
Scott Pilgrim
Re-read in anticipation of the movie. Prefer the comics.
An Acceptable Time
L'Engle does mystical teen angst with time travel. Have I mentioned I love time travel?
Wee Free Men
I haven't read much Pratchett, but I may read more after enjoying this as much as I did. "Sheep are bags of bones looking for ways to die." So. True.
Pretty Monsters
Favourite short story collection of 2010. Kelly Link does geeky but hip teens better than anyone.
The Pokagons 1683-1983
Research for the next YA novel I'm getting started on.
Moominsummer Madness
Comfort read! I love all the moomin books, but this one, with its floating theatre, is my favourite.
Honey Month
I love that when I read a lot of these, I hear tithenai reading them aloud. Lemon Creamed Honey is my favourite.
Hodd (1/2)
The nitty gritty true tale of Robin Hood. Or something. Too dull to finish.
Kraken (1/2)
I really want to like this. I really am going to finish it eventually.
Shades of Milk and Honey
I enjoy a good Regency romp. It didn't have the depth of Jonathan Strange, which I had heard it compared to - I don't think it benefits from the comparison. That said, the characters were fun to linger with, and I liked the way the magic worked. The ending felt a bit rushed -  it could have been a good bit longer and I would have happily kept reading.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
The brutal and hilarious work of Sherman Alexi, in YA format. I aspire to be this smart a writer.
Edgar Sawtelle
I bought this before I signed with my agent, because it seemed smart to check out her most successful client to date. I don't read a lot of "literary" fiction, and am a bit of a snob about it, but I really enjoyed this. I didn't see the dreary ending coming, even though it's basically a re-telling of Hamlet. I know. Duh, Caitlyn.
Boneshaker
Re-read to prep for Dreadnaught. I like the protagonists a lot, but the grim setting gets a little heavy on a re-read.
Dreadnaught
A ripping good adventure by airship and train. Fluffy, but good fun.
I Capture the Castle
Classic.
How I Live Now
This really needs to be made into a movie. The voice is stellar, and the story gripping and subversive.

What were your favourites this year?
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Dec. 14th, 2010

What's all the fuss about faeries?

(no subject)

So, catvalente is giving away a free ARC of her new novel FAIRYLAND to the person who makes the best LOLFairy. How could I resist? Though Gill claims I don't understand LOL humor, as there are no spelling errors in my entry. And it's kind of obscure. But it amuses me.

Dec. 3rd, 2010

What's all the fuss about faeries?

Poetry

So far 2011 has been an exciting time for poetry sales!

- "Cemetery Monologues" will appear in issue 23 of Mythic Delirium, which is hot off the presses:



- "The Tall House of Mr. Fox" will appear in issue 12 of Cabinet des Fees, coming out in January.

- "Firefly Girls" will appear in issue 3 of Stone Telling.

Pretty exciting!
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Oct. 25th, 2010

What's all the fuss about faeries?

Romeo & Juliet at the NAC

Last Friday I was ever so kindly offered a comp to go see Romeo & Juliet at the National Arts Centre. I went, as one does.

Here's the thing. We all know this play. We read it in English class and then some of us read it again outside of class, we played the nurse in high school (except for the shortest and prettiest of us, who might have been cast as Juliet), we watched the movies, we cried, we learned the Queen Mab speech for theatre school auditions (well, maybe that was just me). So if you're going to do it, you have to DO it, or else it's going to feel like Shakespeare 101, and the NAC is better than that.

At least I thought it would be.

They went for a very traditionalist approach, with Renaissance costumes*, a thrust stage, and a fairly standard interpretation of the text. I had no problem with this. I enjoy all these things. What I objected to was the mediocre acting and sloppy staging.

The English Language Theatre produced the play, and their company played the older roles. The younger roles, including the lovers, were given to recent graduates of the National Theatre School. It was a nice idea, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school. The unfortunate part was that the performances were incredibly flat.

You know when an actor brings Shakespeare alive by breaking the iambic rhythm and saying the words the way that a person actually talks? Yeah, that wasn't happening here. It was pentameter all the way, baby, like they were reciting poetry for a high school language arts competition. Also, Mercutio was all pelvic thrusts and bravado, which annoys me. He's the most intelligent and nuanced character in the freaking play, and they made him into a strutting fool!

But the real tragedy here was the complete and utter lack of any chemistry between Romeo and Juliet, complemented by a dearth of any compelling displays of charisma on either of their parts. The whole point of this play is the spontaneous and uncontrollable passion between these two characters. If that chemistry is not visible, then none of it makes any sense. The magic is that when you're that young, your love is all-encompassing and eternal. Every nuance is life and death. Young people respond to the play because they identify with that powerful, all-encompassing emotion. Older people respond to the play because we remember what it was like to love to recklessly and whole-heartedly, before we became jaded or cautious or just plain sensible. Without that passion, the play is nonsense.

The older actors in the play made a much better effort of it, though the screeching, comedic portrayal of the nurse was a bit grating on the nerves. Lady Capulet deserves serious praise for managing to be both compelling and honestly emotional in a production where everyone else seemed to be on automatic pilot. She was the very clear emotional core for me in this production, which was an interesting experience, as I don't think I've ever related to Juliet's mother before.

There were a number of sloppy and just plain bizarre staging concepts. Prop apples dropped abruptly from the catwalk in the first act, and the actors spent the rest of the scene twitching nervously and trying not to step on them. A dress form in Juliet's bedroom was not removed during a scene change, and so it ended up hanging out in the tomb, an awkward witness to the least tragic suicides ever (as my fellow-playgoer commented: I thought they were good when they were dead). And the way that they had people tearing around the stage during the final act, I felt like I was watching a door-slamming farce!

All in all, I left the theatre scratching my head. We were told before the play that the essence of the production was meant to capture the spirit of youth. All I can say is that if that's the spirit of youth, the future is going to be pretty dreary. Except when the apples drop.

*Bitchy costume aside: if you are going to go for traditional, period-looking costumes, and you decide to have the nurse help Juliet out of a dress on stage, then INVEST IN PERIOD CLOSURES so that the third wall is not broken by METAL SNAP BUTTONS glinting in the stage light.
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Oct. 8th, 2010

What's all the fuss about faeries?

TEAM GRIMM!

I occasionally participate in the weekly podcast at The Back Row. This week's topic: The Brothers Grimm, as directed by Terry Gilliam. I love this movie. Most people do not. If you want to hear me get uppity about it, have a listen at The Back Row.

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