Archives for posts with tag: Discussion

What turned me onto this book were recommendations from others. When people found out I was interested in writing On Writing came up. More than once, with glowing enthusiasm, and I’m so glad it did.

It’s not a story. It doesn’t have a plot. It’s not fantasy. All of these things made me hesitant and unsure about how much I would enjoy the read; it sat in a pile in my bedroom for too many weeks before the spine was cracked—and even then, only hesitantly. I always figured it would be worthwhile—it was Stephen King for christ’s sake—and although I’d never read him before, I’d always meant to. But a book about writing, something akin to essay writing, doesn’t have the same sort of pull others do.

I was absurdly wrong.

His writing is hilarious. His intelligence burns behind his words. On Writing’s got a comical autobiographical beginning that is punctured with sass, crass, and childhood accidents. Now that I’ve started reading one of his stories I can see how his life pre-writing-career affects his characters and his stories. His grit is bound up in reality and his own personality.

The latter half of the book is dedicated to language. It’s insightful, it’s vague where it should be (good writing doesn’t play by any One’s rules), it’s clear where it can be, and it’s packed with morsels of gold.

An important note: Stephen King is a prolific writer. He has a multitude of books, each of it’s own importance in literature. He does not write spoiler alert before talking about the process, start to finish, of writing of his stories; including the ends of them. Having never read one of his stories, I can now accurately tell you some endings and pivotal plot points in a certain few of his books. The Stand (currently on my bedside table with a bookmark stuck into the 167th page), and Misery, are two that come immediately to mind. He did so with well intended purpose, and the examples gave life to his points. Nevertheless, if you are a fan, and a fan who has not read all 53 of his other novels, I warn you. He only mentioned a small fraction of them, but he did mention some.

I’m not sure I recommend this to non-writers, or at least people who aren’t interested in the craft on some fundamental level.

If you are, however, this is not a book to disregard or overlook. It’s not a bore. Once I started it, I finished it quickly. It’s well written. It’s to the point. It’s intelligent.

And for the aspirant writer—it’s a must read.


This isn’t a comment on the portrayal of sexual violence in the media. This isn’t about the tact of A Game of Thrones. This is, however, a defense of the character Sansa Stark.

I’m not sure we’ve given her enough credit after last week’s episode, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. We being, by and large, the Internet: the fans, the commenter’s, the watchers, (or previous watchers), of the show.

Spoilers ahead.

The ending scene was horrific to watch. It left my stomach in a twist, a feeling that didn’t relax until long after the screen had gone silent. I reiterate: that is not a comment about the integrity of the show. My reaction had nothing to do with that. It had everything to do with the horrific scene. It was brutal. No one has argued that it wasn’t.

Now, let’s rewind. There’s the scene where Sansa is in the tub and Myranda is warning her about Ramsay’s past tendencies. We get a brief view of Sansa’s new and improved character with her line, “And how long have you loved him, Myranda? I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home, and you can’t frighten me.” It’s awesome. I cheered a little when I heard it. She’s so far removed from the little girl who confessed her love for Joffrey and dreamed of having his blonde haired children.

Okay, fast forward to the wedding. Sansa is hesitant, very hesitant, throughout the ceremony. She even takes her time saying the North’s equivalent of “I do.” She doesn’t have to say it. I’m not sure what would have happened if she hadn’t. But Ramsay’s face sure showed he would not have been happy had she declined him. He seemed to think she could have. That makes me think he doesn’t have much power over her. Yet.

Nonetheless, Sansa made a decision. She weighed the information she had. She saw a glimpse of Ramsay’s cruelty towards Theon in the dining room. She was warned. She’s seen the shaking, stuttering, mess Theon has become under Ramsay’s ‘care.’ Sansa knew, to an extent how, awful Ramsay really is. And she made a choice. It was a dreadful decision, but a choice nonetheless.

Remember her hesitation. What was going through her head? Her options, of course.

Okay, fast forward further. At the beginning of that dreadful scene when she starts to tug at her sleeve, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one hoping she was going to pull a knife out of there. The new and improved Sansa Stark would become a murderer, a gruesome choice, but the monster Ramsay Bolton would be stopped from enjoying any more hunts ever again. Yes, it would have been lovely. But then… what? Roose Bolton wouldn’t just let her have Winterfell after she’d killed his son. So, she escapes? How? Could we really expect Theon to just be released from his crippling torment now that Ramsay is gone? That’s a bit ridiculous, don’t you think? Could we expect Bolton to let her run off? No, there’d be hounds, there’d be mounted knights, there’d be a very thorough search sent on her heels. And where would Sansa be able to run to? No, she would have to kill Roose too, and quickly. So she sneaks into his guarded bedroom (Winterfell is full of people who hate the Bolton’s remember) and slits his throat too? Come on. Killing the Bolton’s would never be that easy. That’s part of why we like Game of Thrones isn’t it? It’s realistic because it’s complicated.

Sansa hesitated. She weighed her options. Saying no would severely affect her position at Winterfell, as would killing Ramsay. She was alone, with little help around her. The Starks may still have friends at Winterfell, but that’s hardly a safe bet against the Boltons. So, with her choices in mind, did Sansa run from what little positional power she had?

No, Sansa was playing the game.

I’m not suggesting Sansa chose to be raped. I’m offering that she understood the world she lived in enough to know what she might be putting herself through. And she knew the man she was marrying was not a good one. The marriage night she would undoubtedly have to suffer (though the magnitude of that suffering I think may have come as a shock, Theon bearing witness etc.) was part of the consequences she expected. I think she made a calculated decision. She could have hidden a knife up her sleeve, she probably even thought about it. And I have no doubts that she would have used it. Nope, none at all.

Sansa isn’t just the victim anymore. We just need to give her the time and space to prove it.

Now, if I can step back into the broader plot for a moment. Littlefinger left her in a despicable position. And though I’m sure he didn’t not know the circumstances he left Sansa in, (he is Littlefinger after all) I’m not sure he knew how much it would cost her, and by consequence, what it would cost him.

We all know he’s a creep, most of Westeros does too. I’m not entirely sure Sansa knows it, but whether or not she does, this is surely going to be a serious point of contention. He left her with the Boltons, and with very few options. She needs to get away from Littlefinger, and eventually she will. I think this might be the catalyst to that.

Sansa is becoming an independent thinker, an independent player, and I don’t think Littlefinger realizes it. He might, though, when he comes back and her own planning, her own resources, have had time to take root and his no longer fit in with hers. What’s more, she won’t care.

However it happens, it’s going to be a beautiful moment when she’s an autonomous mastermind of her own. And my point is that it’s coming.

Does it make us up? Like collected molecules or building blocks that we slowly stack together throughout our life?

Sometimes memories slip away into the ever growing distance in time between past and present. They fade, and sometimes diminish in importance as new ones take their place.

Maybe memory is just a collection of ideas, values, and learning’s that we draw on for the rest of our lives. Maybe they’re a whole bunch of different voices, each grown from a different moment in our life, that speak to us in our heads when we make our decisions. These voices would be the aftereffect of experience.

Sometimes, stupidly, we ignore those voices. And we make drastic or impulsive choices. And afterwards we think, why didn’t I think before I did that? But maybe a more accurate statement would be why didn’t I listen to my voices? Or specifically, why didn’t I trust my experiences?

Maybe it’s a drifted off memory from long ago of going on a rollercoaster. Maybe they just aren’t your thing. But in the present your friends are telling you to go on it, and the exhilaration of the moment pushes you to try it again. Despite the fact that there is that nagging voice in the back of your brain reminding you that you don’t like rollercoasters, you go anyways. So you go on one, and you hate it. And you think, I knew I didn’t like rollercoasters, so why did I just do that? Why didn’t I think?

But what would happen if all of those voices were erased. Or at least, a large population of them were. What would happen, if the last five years of your life simply disappeared. Time didn’t, you’re still the age you are now and you still technically experienced every moment of those five years, but they simply appear to you to have never happened. Would you be the same person? What knowledge or life experience would be stripped from your personality?

I’d be the equivalent of a 14-year-old girl, scared of people she didn’t know, and about to start in my second year of university. Not the much more sociable 19 year old who knows how to live on her own, and talk to strangers. (At least ones in safe settings like classrooms)

My point, and my question put simply is: what is memory? And what are we without it?

If we realize that we would lose a huge section of who we are by forgetting those five years, regardless of actual lived experience, then memory is probably a pretty pivotal part of us. A significant chunk of our person.

Knowing that, and knowing that realistically, or at least probably, we’re not about to lose the last five years of our memory, what do we then gain from this knowledge of the importance of memory?

Maybe what it means is that we should focus on making the best memories going forward for the next five. If memories are that important to the person, we should take care in creating and remembering the absolute most incredible, life altering, and mind changing memories from here on out.

In five years, would you like to remember that you spent a lot of that time on the couch? Or that you ate a lot of pasta because it was easy and quick? Or would you like to instead remember concerts and baseball games and karaoke nights and cafés and restaurants, and cooking food for the taste and enjoyment of the meal?

We may not be able to ensure an accurate or lengthy log of memories. But we can make them as memorable as possible, and hope that we won’t suffer a random bout of amnesia that will steal these precious experiences from us. We all focus on the amount of time we’re given, but what’s time without memory?

We’re all a product of our own experiences in that they become our memories. And it’s memories that we should have forever. Whereas experiences are quick and fleeting. Some of us have had 10, 20, 40, or 80 years to accumulate those experiences. I would like, in my life, to focus on creating those personality-inspiring memories.

I may not understand what memory is, or perhaps how it affects me day to day. But maybe all I need to know is to not waste the chance to make a great one. And I guess that’s as good an answer as I’m going to get.

The article above, about black vs white feminism, is inherently racist.
Racism is defined as “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to an other.” This explains that lumping any set of characteristics on any group of human beings based on their race, is racism.

The quote from the article, “[Black women] are admonished by our smoother, safer, softer sisters [white woman] for holding the fight back with the suffocating scent of our lavender menace and the stings of our fists,” is subjecting specific traits, i.e., passivity and ignorance, on white feminists because they are white. That, by definition, is racism.

I’m not here to advocate white rights or to victimize white people. I am not a white rights activist or a black rights activist. I am here, rather, to defend against racism in an equally unracist manner. I am an anti-racist whatever the colour. To eliminate racism you cannot use it. Therefore, I will base my argument against racism in an unracist way.

It seems to be surprising that even as a white woman I understand what racism is. Let me explain: I understand what it means to be blamed because of my skin colour, or to be judged to have select traits because of my eye colour, or my hair colour, or my gender. A blonde haired blue-eyed white girl can understand racism. She may not have the same experience as a dark haired African American, but she can understand it. This is not to say that we all do or will come to that understanding by ourselves. But ignorance is not a quality of colour.

I’m not equating one persons subjection to anyone else’s. I’m not here to compare. I am here to point out that racism is a large and credible issue in modern society, and we can’t ignore it or pretend it’s going to get better on it’s own. But what this article should be doing is fighting against the issue of racism, and not attacking white people or white feminists specifically because they are white. That is racist. And by being so, it only adds to the issue.

The human race has one thing that no other species does: ration. We can understand points of views or direct experiences outside of our own. It’s called empathy, and it has a powerful impact.

Instead of pushing away white feminists who are trying to identify with and support others’ struggles against discrimination, why don’t we help them understand where it’s believed they’re failing in doing so, or are incorrect in how they are attempting to do so, without blaming them. We can’t forget that white feminists are not the issue. Some may partake in racism, unknowingly or not (as some black feminists do), and as everyone partakes in some form of ignorance to a varying degree. The issue of racism or passivity isn’t inherent to skin colour, however it is to ignorance.

Fighting racism requires discussion. It requires cooperation and a true understanding of what racism and equality are.

The article states that, “I balk at Black women turning their violent words against fellow black women,” but the only relation I see between these two groups is the word “black.” This is a racist oversight on the part of the author. What if a fellow black women is uneducated or ignorant on a realm of oppression? Or more specifically, racism? If you are willing to subject angry words on fellow white women for making the same mistake, in order to not act in a racist manner, you must be equally willing to subject fellow black women to that same anger in order to hope to correct that behaviour.

On a similar note, I read “We must use violence, both physically and in the vehemence of our words, because we are more desperate.” Why must we use violence? What about Ghandi? When he was getting bludgeoned within inches of his life was he not desperate?

When has deciding that violence is the only answer ever been the best option? Look at the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Is bombing the other getting either country closer to peace? Is violence helping quell the anger, the desperation, and the hatred shared by both sides?

I am offended when I read that white feminists are inadequate at fighting for other women’s rights simply because they are white. They may not have undergone the same discrimination as a black feminist, but they have undergone discrimination. It seems ridiculous to define one feminist from the other by ways of race if that is what we’re trying to eliminate as a defining factor. To eliminate racism, you must first reject your own racism.

I am sure that not every white feminist is inherently ignorant on the issues of black feminism. I am positive that there are lesbian white feminists out there that are equally relatable to black lesbian feminists, as there are in reversal. Don’t write every white feminist off because they are white. Racism is racism.

By distinguishing yourself as different and unique in your intersectionality, you are creating your own individualism. Celebrate that, use it’s unique perspective as driving grounds for your beliefs.

Don’t use it as a tool for discrimination on one side or another.