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There needs to be another good thing in the world today, so this is an experiment in creativity, work, appreciation, and reward.

This is a LionessElise writing challenge based on the piece "Moon in a Rocking Chair", which is a pendant of sterling silver and opal. (NOTE: you will probably have to scroll down to view the pendant at that link, so scroll down past the "similar items" there.)

Here are the directions:

1. Go look at the piece as linked above.

2. Write something short (500 words or less) inspired by your viewing of the piece.

3. Send your submission to jenettsilver@gmail.com using the subject line "LIONESS CHALLENGE: Moon in a Rocking Chair" before or on March 5, 2019. Please pay attention to submission guidelines about limits on length. Submissions over 500 words will be discarded by Jenett before the proper length entries are anonymized and sent on to the judge/judges, who will include (but might not be limited to) me.

The winner will receive the pendant "Moon in a Rocking Chair" and bragging rights. The winner retains all copyright to their work(s). If the winner posts the winning piece somewhere linkable, I will be happy to link to it if the winner provides me with a link.

The Lioness reserves the right to award other prizes if it seems like a good idea at the time.

Thank you, and good luck.
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To the Self-Described Young Up and Coming Poet Who Tried to Steal Rachel McKibbens' Poetry

You were aiming for a prize but
You tried to lift something
You cannot lift
Something that took seven years to write. Or forty-two to survive.

You tried to lift something
That was the languaging of someone else’s survival.
Something that took seven years to write. Or forty-two to survive.
You cannot call it your own, though.

That was the languaging of someone else’s survival:
Ink and blood.
You cannot call it your own, though
You did pay someone to push ink through a needle into your arm,

Ink and blood,
Marking you forever.
You did pay someone to push ink through a needle into your arm,
Something to be remembered,

Marking you forever
As a thief. A thief of words, a would-be thief of memory and blood.
Something to be remembered,
Though not the way you expected.

As a thief, a thief of words, a would-be thief of memory and blood,
You are almost as small as your broke-down regurgitated poetry.
Though not the way you expected,
This has undoubtedly been educational for you.

You are almost as small as your broke-down regurgitated poetry.
You tried to steal a real poet’s truth, but her truth is bigger.
This has undoubtedly been educational for you.
You can’t carry off that kind of truth.

You tried to steal a real poet’s truth, and her truth is bigger.
You were aiming for a prize but
You can’t carry off the kind of truth
You cannot lift.
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Dear Yuletide Author,

Thank you for signing up for Yuletide! I look forward to whatever you write for me.

THIS LETTER IS (still) UNDER CONSTRUCTION (sorry!). More info to come.

Also, see general notes at the end.

Aviation Pioneers (RPF) - Amelia Earhart, Pauline Gower, Amy Johnson - Big bonus points for including Bessie Coleman, whether in person or through references to her.

The Lion in Winter (1968) - Richard "the Lionheart" of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine - I'm all for the snarky dialogue and quick comebacks... and the relationship stuff underneath.

The Wicked + The Divine - Laura Wilson | Persephone, Baphomet, Baal - Big bonus points for getting Lucifer in there too. I'm hoping for angst, insight, and a wild ride. Set it anytime and anywhere you like.

General notes on all fics:

- I prefer kindness to cruelty. Particularly in authors. :) Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say I prefer courage of the heart to cruelty. Bad stuff can happen to characters if the story needs that, though right now I'd rather read things that aren't in the major #MeToo categories, please, because it's been extra-stressful recently, but please don't give me pain with no courage afterwards.

- I like characters who learn things and get better at stuff.

- If something's got no plot, I can still enjoy it if it is written with love for the character. Vignettes and drabbles are fine.

- I've got nothing against well-written smut -- heck, I've written smut, and I try to do it well, and admire the many people who are better at it than I am -- but what really floats my boat is communication between characters.

Argh. This feels incoherent, but it's what I got. Sorry, dear writer! Um, maybe go look at my AO3 stories and bookmarks, because those will say more about what I like than anything I can manage to put together here. And thank you again for signing up and for writing something for me!

(There. I may add a few notes yet, but at least this exists now.)
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1. Have you ever experienced a hurricane firsthand?


2. Have you ever experienced outside heat over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celcius)?

Yes, although it doesn't often happen in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

3. When and where was the coldest temperature you have ever experienced?

In February of 1996 it was -32 degrees Fahrenheit (-35 Celsius) here in the Twin Cities. Pretty sure I was colder than that during my first year of college (also Twin Cities, in 1977/1978), when the wind chill was something like sixty below for a week, but I can't find info on the actual temperature.

4. Is your household prepared for a possible power outage of two to seven days?

Not very well, though we would manage. (I think there was a three day one a while back, which was inconvenient but not dire, because it was summertime.) I wish we had better insulation and a generator. Or that fuel cell technology was sufficiently advanced that we could get and use those to power things here. As it is, we'd probably charge phones off of various batteries including computers, and eat everything that defrosting would spoil.

"Can we have a generator?" is already on my list for housefixing wishes. I know so many people whose medications need cold storage.

5. Do you have a go bag?

Yes. And I added a couple of Lifestraws to it this year. My medications cycle through it: once a month, the week's worth of meds there goes into the daily pillbox and I put fresh meds in the go bag. I'm only good for a week, though, which I'm not thrilled about.

Note to self: check batteries in go bag stuff and everywhere else in the house.

(And I have completely forgotten how to do DW html, but I got this from TheFridayFive on here.)

(Note to self: refresh memory on html and linky stuff here.)
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Went back to the eye doc the day before yesterday for followup on the scary thing. All healed up. Yay!

Whew. I was more worried than I was letting on, and it's really good to get this good news.
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The sudden appearance of a surprising new thing in one's vision warrants investigation.

Summary: my eye should recover with a minimum of fuss. Yay, good outcome. )


Jan. 17th, 2017 12:51 pm
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In another venue, someone asked what kept me going in difficult conversations about stuff that is hurting people and needs changing. Looking at my response to her, I realized I had just written a kind of thank you note. So here, this is for all the people who challenged me to do better.

"What helps me do that is remembering all the times I've been wrong on something and how long it took sometimes for people to get through to me. The ones who changed me profoundly were the ones who did not just pat me on the head for meaning well and give me all sorts of unearned slack, but who instead challenged me to think, to listen, to ponder what other people contributed and why they might think and feel that way, and to look at whether my reflex defense of a particular status quo was costing us in ways we rarely acknowledged. They made me uncomfortable and sometimes I got mad and thrashed around a lot and behaved in ways I wince about now, but their honesty and their insistence that if I applied myself, I could get up to speed on dealing with this stuff and start participating at a much deeper level, changed my life. I am forever grateful to them. Even the ones I was "chewing up nails and spitting out tacks" about back then. Maybe especially them, in fact. It's not the ones who put up with me who taught me. It's the ones who expected better of me, and left the invitation open for me to do the work and join the larger conversation."
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I was poking through some old entries looking for a thing, and instead found this. It's from when Mike and I were visiting Jim and Harriet for the holidays, as was our wont, and it makes me smile. It's also the last Christmas Mike and Jim got to celebrate together, so it's a bittersweet smile, but a smile nonetheless.

These are written snapshots of the day, in chronological order:

The needleworked pillows around this house delight me. I'm not sure whether my hosts made or acquired them, but they're just the thing. The one I can see from where I am sitting says "No one is safe with a writer in the room." One of the ones downstairs says, "Love thy editor."

There was the Hallelujah Chorus again today, but this time it was with kazoos.

People gave me amazing presents, which I just want to sit and read and read, but at the same time, the bead boxes are calling me. This is why I can be found at the kitchen table with Mary P., designing shinies and sparklies.

Mike is taking a nap. I went up to see him just now and used the usual is-your-sugar-low? metric: I said, "Say something complicated." It works remarkably well. Today I got back a declaration of love with side commentary explaining that while this wasn't really complicated in its own right, it was at the top of his mind. We agreed that the side commentary hit or exceeded the complicated mark, and I was much reassured, so I kissed him and told him I was going to go on-line for a few minutes, but that he was welcome to come join Mary and me at the table soon.

Jim with a brand new lightsaber is a sight simultaneously endearing and terrifying. Heh.

Now, it being very late evening, I am sitting in the kitchen with Mike and Mary and Lese (oh, dear, I do not know how to spell her, but she is very cool and an artist). They are watching movies, in a multiplexed channel-flipping sort of way, while I make a necklace-crown. (Swarovski, greens and grays.) Lese has informed me that I am not allowed to say that I can't draw; we have compromised, and I may say that I have not yet been able to draw well. (Except for botanical illustration, and a very, very few portraits. And a tornado, once, but that was something else again.)

(I'm going to add more snapsnots as the day goes on, if there's time. If there aren't any more snapshots here, you may picture me under a heap of ribbons, snoozing blissfully.)
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Does this thingie still work? (It's more likely to be tea than coffee, and it's a fifty-fifty shot that it's tisane and not actual tea, but hey.)

Buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com
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(Originally posted on May 31st, 2016, on LJ.)

A while back, Sumana Harihareswara asked if I might write a bit of Hamilton filk for use in a charitable endeavour. I wrote two. Sumana, with help from K. Tempest Bradford, performed them at the Tiptree auction this past weekend at WisCon 40. People have been requesting lyrics, so here they are:

The King George filk

You say
My fiction depicts you in stereotypical ways
You cry
On my books and you hurl dirty looks when you see me go by
Why so shrill?
For decades we made an arrangement that suited me fine
Now you’re up in my grill
Remember that if there’s a narrative here, it’s mine
Just keep calm, settle down
You’re so unattractive with that frown
Things take time; change starts small
Just be grateful you’re on-screen at all
Shows get axed, books get canned
I don’t really think you understand
Just how far I will go
To avoid the need to change a thing, and to protect the status quo.

Da da da da da et cetera

The Washington and Hamilton filk
(from Right Hand Man, starting right after "Knight takes rook, but look" -- note that this is the original version; in performance, Sumana and Tempest divided the Mulligan and Company parts between them as well as Hamilton and Washington)

We are all here
It’s grand
Look at what we
Got planned

We got a con that really cooks
Ayo, we’re gonna talk about good books


Book, book, book, book, book!
Book, book, book, book, book!

There’s Midnight Robbers and Hominids like what Nalo does


Justine has Razorhurst, Rosa, and gets a lotta buzz


It’s not a myst’ry why Winged Hist’ries is a favorite
A Stranger in Olondria?
Yo, stop and savor it!


We got Nalo and Justine and Sofia, and…


You’re at WisCon and we’re happy to see ya and…


Take another look and…


Stop and buy another book and…


Hardcover, paperback, or on your Kindle or your Nook!
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Given recent events, it's time for me to get the rest of my useful stuff off of LiveJournal and over here. Wish me luck, eh?

I did an import four years ago, so I have all my older stuff, but there are a few things in the gap that I'll be bringing over one at a time. You might want to mute me for a bit, unless you're up for seeing things from the past go flickering by. The public ones will probably be nattering about art, filk lyrics, and so forth.

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When I commented on a tweet where Terri Windling had mentioned Hammerschoi, saying that Hammershoi and the other artists who studied with or knew the Krøyers were an interesting bunch, she asked me where to learn more about them. After a quick search of my library, I realized I own almost nothing written about them, so I set off to find some links.

I started with Marie Krøyer and Anna Ancher, as those are two artists of the bunch who particularly interested me when I was in Denmark and nearby countries and going to art museums. Well, staying at Skagen and then finding out painters had loved the light there was a huge part of sparking my initial interest, which was strengthened when I found out my sister loves the work of the Krøyers too. And yet, as you'll see, saying "the work of the Krøyers" isn't the straightforward phrase it appears to be, as these people had complicated lives, in work and love and all things. They and their friends and acquaintances left palimpsests of a sort in their work, which fascinate and puzzle and tantalize. Juan and I are still remarking on what the painter of "The Scream" made of the Evening School bunch when he was around them. (Also what commentary on Munch's observations of the social and romantic life of the Skagen artists might be made regarding the painting, which discussion came from seeing a great many of the associated artists' work together, probably at the Hirschsprungske Samling and other Copenhagen museums on our trip there. Sadly, the museum at Skagen was closed when we were there, or I would have found out more about them earlier.)

The Skagen painters were not just painters; sculptors, writers, and composers were part of the flock that gathered in Skagen every summer.

Anyhow, there is so much I don't know about these people, but here, have a tiny start on a list of...

Dramatis Personae:

Marie Triepcke Krøyer Alfvén -- When women wanting to study art were refused entry to the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts, she did something about it. And that was just the beginning. There's an overview (part 1 and part 2) at the National Museum of Women in the Arts' website, as well as info on other artists mentioned her.) Husband also painted, and things didn't work out so well between these two.

Anna Brøndum Ancher -- Grew up in Skagen, the only member of the Skagen Painters group to do so, if I recall correctly. Her talent was recognizable from an early age. (Some info at NMWA.) Well known as a great Danish artist. (Here is Girl in the Kitchen 1883-1886.) Husband also painted, which worked out a bit better for Anna than a similar situation had worked out for her friend Marie, above.

I must go have food and then do some work, so I'll leave this here for now and hope to add to it later. Please do recommend sources I might like if you know them! What little I know is from looking at the work in person, and from a book on the pieces in the Hirschsprungske Samling which I cannot find at the moment.

Here's a link to an Facebook group about the work of the Skagen painters, for those who do the Book of Face: https://www.facebook.com/skagenpainters/

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 Do not be taken aback, please, if various access and permissions and such have recently changed, or if they change several times in the next day or seven. I'm trying some things out here with access and reading list and how much energy I have and how guilty I feel for not keeping up with things, as well as with figuring out what helps me get things done. If I dropped you from access, it doesn't mean I don't like you, OK?

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 In the course of reshelving various treasures, I came across a bit of printed-out electronic correspondence from my dear Mr. Ford. One line was, "I love you. In any language or subset thereof."

He said that he loved me, and he said it often.

He was such a Mike. 

I was so lucky. And I still am.

Thanks for listening.
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 "The poet and essayist Frederick Turner noted that, despite the current techno-bleat about artificial realities, the technology to store human personality has been mature for a long, long time. We call it Art. Whenever the Ninth is played, or Huckleberry Finn is read, or Falstaff catechizes, Beethoven and Twain and Shakespeare are recreated. It is something less than having them across the dinner table from you, to be sure, but it is also something a good deal greater than death."

-- "One More from the Back of the Hall," John M. Ford, 2001
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For various reasons, I am moved to reprint this piece I wrote way back. It originally appeared in Xanadu 3, from Jane Yolen and Martin H. Greenberg, Tor Books.

CN: survivor of family violence story )

(c) 1995 Elise Matthesen. All rights reserved.  (Contact me at lionesselise at gmail dot com to ask about reprints; I'm often pretty amiable about it. Permission is hereby granted to make one copy for personal use, if you find the story helpful.)

elisem: (elf hill)
John Brantner's house was at 2550 Dupont. When he lived there, it was painted red with white trim. I was one of a number of people who used to go every other Sunday to sing with him. He was a fascinating and brilliant person, and a man of great heart.

One of the singers, Minnesota composer Sherry Wohlers Ladig, composed a round in honor of John and his regular a capella singing parties. She called it "Dupont," after the custom of giving such songs place-names for the tunes. If I recall correctly, the words were:

Let us sing a round together; in all seasons willing are we
Every other Sunday to meet with friends and raise our voices in harmony
Who's the master of the measure? In this house who keeps the key?
John Brantner, John Brantner, John Brantner, John B.

The thing is, John refused to sing his own name over and over in the last line of the round. I think he said it was too egotistical. So he rewrote that last line, and he would sing "All sing soundly, all sing roundly; soundly, roundly is the key."

For this, we called him the Obstinato. He would reply with that wonderful great honking laugh of his.

I miss him so much. His like shall not be seen again.
elisem: (elf hill)
"Power works through management and control. It draws you into its field and forces you to play by its rules, giving you forced choices within the confines of the only options made available to you. It sustains itself by opening up impossibly tiny spaces for inclusion, disciplining you until you are made to fit, while leaving the structures of exclusion intact. It operates under the facade of acceptance, masking the refusal, the resistance. Inclusion in these instances exists only to reinforce and diversify the never-changing norm."

-- from http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/after-cadaanstudies/


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Elise Matthesen

February 2019

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