In the last fortnight, I’ve written twenty-eight thousand words on Birds of a Feather. It isn’t the reason why I didn’t put a post up last week–medical appointments and my birthday were the reason–but it is the reason why I didn’t work on the post earlier in the week, knowing that I had things going on which would likely stop me from posting. A complete 40k first draft, though, is worth it to me, and the time spent writing meant I didn’t have enough links for last week’s post anyway, so…
In personal news, I am yearning for the chance to have a proper shower. I’ve got stitches right where my thigh and hip meet, which is proving an inconvenient spot for conventional and commercial-but-affordable ways of sealing a wound against water. They should be coming out tomorrow and I’m praying that the wound will be okay to risk getting slightly damp after that. Showering as quickly as possible with my leg poking out is awkward, and not washing my hair every day (to try and limit showering time) is driving me to distraction. I’m sure this will sound quite privileged, but small changes like the amount of oils in my hair bother me. I can feel the oils left by someone else’s hands on my Tangle after they’ve touched it, so I can definitely feel two days’ worth of oil in my hair. Since short hair is a stim toy attached to my body for stimming convenience and I’m always running my hands through it, I badly want it back to its usual daily-washed state.
On the positive side, I have a new bout of lived experience to fuel a few fictional characters. Not that it was necessary, but I suppose there’s something to be said for fresh realism. I’ll now have Tes pacing back and forth because the stitches across hir palm won’t stop itching…
Photo – My Gaming Gear and Unicorn Squishies: In which I show off my gaming box, my Meren of Clan Nel Toth playmat and two unicorn squishies, still trapped in their cling-wrap packaging, watching over proceedings. I started going for viewed-as-feminine colours and decorations for my gaming things as a protest, because I had girls come into my old job afraid to pick out pink card sleeves from fear they’ll be mocked or harassed. Being misgendered because of it wasn’t comfortable, but I do feel there was worth in showing that gaming accessories don’t have to be masculine-coded.
Teaser Post – The Performance Magician: In which I post a scene from the first draft of the aforementioned work. Read this if you want spoilers for Amelia’s feline naming philosophy, more of March’s passive-aggressive renaming of elfish people and creatures, why Darius named his pony after the swordseller in Certain Eldritch Artefacts and hints of how Efe is going to drive Darius into throwing a dictionary at the wall. I will confess that Darius’s irritation at words being used the wrong way is mine, and I am also hypocritical enough to not mind when I do it…
Photo – My Redecorated Notebooks: I was given some rainbow washi tape for my birthday, so I covered a notebook and three scratch pads in stripes of bright washi tape. It was nice having an afternoon to be crafty in a way that isn’t writing.
Ask – Representation Isn’t Connection: In which I talk about one of my pet hates with how representation is understood in progressive spaces, and how confusing a marginalised person’s connection with a character who isn’t good representation with ideal representation itself silences those who currently lack representation and rely instead upon coded characters. There are going to be works and characters that are beyond the boundaries set by the owner of the space, but we need more recognition of how many marginalised people connect with non-ideal grey-area characters, especially mainstream characters, as a response to lack of representation.
Ask – Aros and Hoping For Lack of Romance: In which an anon and I talk about the experience of being aro and praying that a character in a mainstream work doesn’t end up in a romantic relationship. I discovered later that the book I referenced was written by an author who writes category romance works under a pseudonym, and while not all romance stories are amatonormative, that truth does explain why everybody but the (formerly) disabled guy got paired up.
(I am writing The Eagle Court stories as the fantasy version of ten queers in a sharehouse–just with a palace instead of a sharehouse. Birds of a Feather is in large part the beginning of various people–including Paide, Ein and Thereva–coming together to live in their own little inclusive corner of the Eyrie, found family together.)
Ask – Yes, Alloromantics Don’t See Aro Characters: In which an anon reinforces my declaration that you can write a character with “aro” tattooed on their forehead and people who want to romantically ship characters still won’t see it. I also digress into telling alloromantic writers of aro characters that they need to reinforce their character’s aromanticism to alloromantic readers if they wish to be any kind of ally to us.
Ask – Surviving the Pressures of Amatonormativity: This was a hard one for me to answer, because the weight of worrying about the erasure and amatonormativity in works to which we connect is a real and valid thing, especially for neurodiverse folks. One thing I have to keep in mind is that the line between blogger and psychologist or therapist can thin at times, especially for us ND folk who are experienced in the art of therapy and understand the need for validation. While the need for support is perfectly appropriate, there is a limit to what I reassurance I can provide. Dealing with people who come to lean on you when that leaning requires an unethical degree of support from a stranger is a hard thing.
Reply – Don’t Tell Me “A-Spec” Is an Autistic Word: In which someone made the mistake of telling me that the autistic community decided it was appropriation to use “a-spec” in reference to the shared ace-spec and aro-spec community. In fairness, I think it likely that this person hadn’t looked at enough of my blog to realise that I am autistic, even though my blog is somewhat known for being run by an autistic aro. I was angry enough that fairness wasn’t a factor in my response. In fact, I was so furious that the original version had several creative uses of my favourite four-letter word.
Post: Thank You For Not Hating Me: In which I talk about my approach to blogging and activism, why I try to avoid outright ranting on my Tumblr blogs and how this results in people sending me anon hate messages when I am nothing but the angry rant. None of this is disconnected from the fact that, as an autistic, I am not allowed to have emotions that are inconvenient or uncomfortable for other people, so I talk about that, too. It is a little absurd to write a post thanking my followers for their lack of anon hatred, but it is equally absurd for this to be an uncommon thing. I’ll break if I think about it too much, so I’ll try and save it for a story instead.
Review – K-Mart Liquid Pencil Pouch: In which I review a liquid-filled pencil case. I’ll admit that having the one figure turned around the wrong way really annoys me, but I was too busy looking for Tangles and talking to a friend to notice. I do like the case, although the cold-retaining property of the gel inside is a little bit too good!
Review – Lincraft Floam Putty: In which I implore you not to get this because it’s a sticky nightmare. Unless you want a nice, round plastic container, but I’m pretty sure you can find something similar at a dollar shop…
Post – Using Stim Toys: In which I feel obliged to mention that stim toys are meant to be used, and, for many toys, that can mean used until worn out or used to destruction. I do feel that there’s a pressure to make sure we don’t break or wear out or toys, but many of them are meant to be used this way, and this means nothing about our lack of carefulness or consideration.
Review – Mini Play-Doh Set: In which I begin discussing a variety of birthday presents gifted me by @ambiguouspieces. Friends who give stim toys for birthdays are the best friends. I love how small these tubs are!
(Also, if you have Tumblr and can view the post inside the app, I’d recommend doing so. Tumblr, for some arcane reason, blurs photos on desktop view when there’s multiple photos on a photo post. The glare on the first photo makes this even worse than usual.)
Review – Giant Mango Squishy: I honestly adore this squishy. It’s huge, smooth to touch, nicely rounded and has a subtle opalescent finish over the bright orange. It looks simple and uninteresting, but it’s very nice to stim with.
Review – Duck Cake Squishy: This is a little keychain or bag-charm-sized squishy, made from a melty-soft foam. It’s very nice to squish, and I do recommend it for folks after a bright, cheap squishy. I have a loose collection of duck squishies, plushes and bath toys, so people in the know give me ducks. I should take a photo of my new bath duck display…
Review – Smooshos Unicorn Squishes: Another photo and review of the two My Little Pony-styled squishies referenced above, combining the awesome of pony figurines and the softness of squishies into a pair of colourful 80s-styled awesome. We’re starting to get (slightly unseasonable) warmer spring days here, so I ran around the backyard taking photos of the unicorn squishies against assorted plants and weeds.
Birds of a Feather: It’s no longer a collection of three interconnected stories! I now have a novella (heading close to short novel territory) about Paide, Ein and Switch moving from the revelations of their first stories to acting on said revelations and forging connections with each other. Paide gets new attendants, has an awkward conversation with Zaishne and begins to realise the position into which he’s put Thereva; Switch manages to claim the royals’ attention and gives them a blistering speech about privilege before becoming an advisor; and Ein, after a panicked experience with the Marches, outwits the chancellor, secures Eishne as ally and points out a few home truths Paide didn’t consider when negotiating his surrender in Arsh. Meanwhile, everybody comes to realise that Thereva is the one person who’s gone beyond planning to preparation and it may benefit them to listen to her.
The first stories for each character are about realisation; this novella is about more-than-theoretical politics including vows, arrest attempts, spies, the peculiarities of Ihrne’s religious-legal system and the emergence of several antagonistic characters. At the moment, it’s still unwieldy and more conversation-heavy than my intent, but that’s what redrafting is for, and I like the shift to seeing Ihrne’s political situation and the conflicts it brings on scene instead of forming the background.
The good thing is that once Switch’s story and Birds of a Feather are finished, I’ll have enough material to do a print-on-demand edition!