It’s been a busy, busy several days. I’m in London right now, more project stuff. I helping with this so much I can’t even tell you.
I also saw Coriolanus for a second time with friends. I’m glad I had the opportunity, since there’s so much more to pick out on a second round, particularly if you sit in a different part of the theater. Still impressed that Tom Hiddleston has brought such depth to Martius the prideful douchebag. Still want to write Aufidius and Coriolanus slash, but I just couldn’t swing the iambic pentameter. On second viewing, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen’s performance really leaped out at me more. There’s so much she does with just looks and very subtle facial expressions. But everyone in that play is good, we already knew that. (Rochenda Sandall is definitely my favorite part of the ensemble cast.)
One thing that did strike me on this go around was, like in Hamlet, just how much subtle funny there was in the play. What makes those lines funny is entirely the delivery–particularly since the jokes sometimes aren’t as apparent to the people in the audience today as they might have been back when the play was written. The timing and tone of it was all excellent. And it makes me wonder why Shakespeare movies often seem intent on sucking the bits of humor out of the play. It’s a nice relief from the feeling of impending doom inevitably comes with knowing the play is a tragedy.
Oh, and the chairs still steal the show. I wish I could have had my picture taken with one. I was all set to make that incredibly awkward request, but couldn’t track down the right person to ask in the mess of people after the show. Sadness. I also did make the attempt to queue for the stage door after because I was so bereft after being kept from the chairs I thought that might fill the gaping void in my heart. But wait, that would violate my life goal of never actually meeting Tom Hiddleston! Fear not, gentle readers. The queue got cut off somewhere like 5-10 people in front of me. The fabric of space and time is still safe, as we passed quietly by like ships in the night.
London (but probably not Tom Hiddleston. Probably.) has now destroyed my right shoe. There’s a crack across the sole, and it made for an incredibly squishy and uncomfortable walk back to the flat from my dinner with Ingvar. (Ingvar showed me mercy this time and did not ply me with alcohol.) I think instead of buying another set of Pumas (though there is a Puma shop in London, I checked) I’m going to just go whole hog and get a pair of Doc Martens. I honestly think they’ll be more comfortable for all the walking I’m doing anyway. I don’t think the thin soles of Pumas have necessarily made the plantar fasciitis in my right foot worse, but I honestly don’t think it’s helping, either.
So tomorrow, there will be shoes. I am also planning to take the train down to Waterloo station for the sole purpose of taking a ride on the Waterloo & City line, because Ingvar told me that’s the deepest of all the lines (and it literally has only two stations) and that sounded kind of cool. I have a feeling it will be one of those things that sounded much cooler than it will actually turn out to be, but I’ll bring a book and look forward to riding seven thousand escalators up to the surface so I can blinking, step into the sun…
(Join with me now: Because there’s more to see than can every be seen, more to do than can ever be done…)
Also, you should know I have started a new writing project. Its title is simply Tea. And that’s all I’m saying about it for now. I’m just going to boil in my own amusement.
Okay, so a thing happened: WH Smith has taken their site offline after discovering that there’s some grody self-published erotica in its catalog. As of this time, they’re still offline. WH Smith apparently partners with Kobo. Oh and, from the WH Smith holding page:
Our website will become live again once all self published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available. When our website goes back online it will not display any self published material until we are completely confident that inappropriate books can never be shown again.
Now, obviously the UK and US have very different laws in regards to porn, and I honestly have no idea what those differences are. (Though apparently, this isn’t an issue of things being legal or not even? Great.) Nor am I at all interested in writing a bombastic American defense of porn that makes people vomit into their mouths because first amendment and stuff. Not really the topic up for debate here.
What has my attention is that apparently, Kobo has pulled all of their self-published books for now. Not just the erotica ones. No regard for genre. See this post on the Digital Reader. And in the splash zone has been titles by my the small publisher I’m with–so possibly others as well.
I’m currently in the UK, so I get the UK kobo site by default even when I click through on my American Kobo links. Time for fun with screenshots! So here’s The Ugly Tin Orrery;
And I don’t currently exist in general as a searchable author. (Full disclosure: I have never had a reason to look for myself on the Kobo UK site before, so I can’t tell you with 100% certainty that I was searchable before… but the existence of the above “currently unavailable” book is a thing that makes me go hmmmm.)
And while I’m posting screenshots, just for the record I did once exist on the WH Smith site. (Google cache is a magical thing.)
So we’ll see if I’m still around after they bring their website back up.
Anyone in the US want to check and see if I still exist on Kobo there? I’m curious due to some comments on the Digital Reader post. ETA: A couple people have let me know that I’m still available on Kobo in the US, so that’s a relief. Thank you!
I don’t write rapey incest bestiality erotica. I don’t write erotica at all. I write Steampunk, and the steamiest that’s ever gotten is two women kissing. (Shock! Scandal!) No, really. I’m also not self-published. All of my ebooks are published through Musa Publishing. (Always time for a little self-promotion, eh?)
Now, if I’ve ever gotten any sales from Kobo UK or WH Smith isn’t something I can tell you, since I think those go under the Smashwords umbrella on my statements. But frankly, it’s in the interest of any writer to want their titles available in as many places as humanly possible, just in case some reader will stumble across them and fall in love. Will the “non-objectionable” books get brought back eventually? I hope so. But there’s been no word from Kobo thus far. And why is “self-published” in general being equated with incestuous dog-raping erotica?
(And of course this doesn’t even touch on the idea of books that are “objectionable” being blanket removed from catalogs and how deeply it disturbs my little American soul.)
One of the reasons I find this all really disturbing is that it’s a reminder of one of the creepier major drawbacks of ebooks: It’s laughably easy to make them vanish. And to do so in a massive blanket that drags up a ton of people who are unrelated to whatever “problem” this supposedly will fix. Particularly for ebooks (we can’t even get dead tree copies of our own work to hump around in a suitcase and sell if it comes to that) we are incredibly dependent on these websites, and have no defense at all when it comes to our titles being removed.
And apparently being with a publisher isn’t an automatic defense either. So that’s fun.
I wanted to get this out there because I think it’s important, and I hadn’t even heard of the issue until someone mentioned it on a mailing list of which I’m a member. I think this is a thing that really deserves more attention, because there are so many issues to be unpacked in it and I’m just not capable right now because it’s three in the morning and seriously I only got up to pee and that was like an hour again and fuck my life, hahaha, etc. But anyway. I swear I’m going back to bed for real now. BELIEVE ME.
Yes. Not only am I surrounded by delicious biscuits and all the milky tea I can drink, yesterday I went to Stratford. And saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Hamlet. (And also went to Shakespeare’s birthplace, which was cool too.) Then today I went to the Newark Park House, which is just ridiculously beautiful.
Ready for some pictures?
More under the cut.
It was another day for tourist things, this time closer to home, in Bristol. We started out at the Avon Gorge, so I could look at the pretty rocks.
For full entry and pictures, you'll have to look at Wordpress, sorry. Since I posted all the pictures into the entry with the Picasa extension. Bleh.
We did a lot of touristy things today, in Wales. We started with Tintern Abbey – we tried to see it in 2011, but it was raining. And raining. And raining some more. In Wales, I know. Who would have thought?
Tintern Abbey is an absolutely beautiful ruin. The scale is fantastic. Being able to look up through the roof into blue sky defines tranquility, and somehow seems right despite the fact that the building was obviously never intended to look like that. Ruins are always presented visually as creepy, but Tintern was nothing of the sort. I think it’s because of the lawns that carpet the area, grass and flowers growing up between the bases of columns that have long since fallen. Tintern looks comfortable in its ruin, and welcoming. It’s a place that wants you to come have a picnic and sun yourself in the grass. It’s beautiful.
(It’s also made from sandstone, and I had a fun time boring everyone by pointing out structures in the eroded stonework.)
Tintern in the rain had its own beauty, though.
It’s just so quiet. The day we went about a year and a half ago, it was just us there. And you could hear the rain, every drop of it, pattering onto the grass and stone. I liked it then as well.
Anyway, after Tintern Abbey we went on to Cheptow Castle, which is another ruin. I honestly don’t have that much to say about Cheptow, other than it sure is a castle. There were more people there, laying in the grass and throwing frisbees. There is something odd about seeing that, as an American. It seems weird to see people playing so casually around something so ancient – the castle’s nearly 800 years old.
Of course that has nothing on our last stop for the day, the Roman Fortress at Caer Leon. Where a lively football/rugby match (they were kind of playing by rugby rules but using a football? Yeah, I don’t know) was happening in the middle of the ruins of a nearly 2000 year old amphitheater.
But the more I think about it the more I like it. What made history in the first place was always the people. Putting something behind glass means that you can look at it, and enjoy it perhaps for the sake of art, but it becomes a thing without life, simply preserved. It feels only right that in the same place humans laughed and played 2000 years ago, we’re there, bringing life to the stones that stand.
(For more pictures, here’s my Picasa Album for today.)