Nanowrimo and Poetry Thoughts

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Woman writing letter at desk (c.1940s). Henry Clive (Australian, 1882-1960).

I have decided to do Nanowrimo again this year, as I do every year. Even though I haven’t ever managed to hit the word count, Nanowrimo has helped me generate some good bases for stories or write a good stack of poems. I just seem to write short stories better than novels, but novels are what people want. And yes, I’ll miss a week, but I’m going to attend a few of the write-ins in the area and maybe meet some new folks.

Anyway, I have an idea and a name “Ephemeroptera”. It’s a horror story. That’s about all I’ll say for now.

Yes, I still plan to do the Tanka Challenge. I want to finish my first batch of 100 linked poems. I’ve done 83 so far. The Tanka Challenge should finish the batch. Hyakushu (100 poem linked sequence) is way more challenging than stand-alone tanka, and honestly, it’s been hard to tap into my inner elegant courtier when surrounded by the ugliness of our current government. Every day brings a new horror. But I’ve been reading a biography of the poet Fujiwara no Sadaie (Teika), as well as a biography of the poet Shinkei, who lived about 150 years after Teika. I also have access to some poetic treatises written by both these poets, as well as one from a disciple of Shotetsu.

What interests me about both of these men is that they lived during turbulent times. Teika lived and wrote during the end of the Heian period and the beginning of the Kamakura period. Shinkei lost his home during the Onin Wars. Yet they produced some of the most stirring poetry of the Japanese middle ages. I want to read their poems and their thoughts and see how they did what they did, and whether it can be accomplished in English.

This project will take time, since there is a wealth of source material available (in English!), but it’s an avenue I would like to explore.

Goodbye, Facebook

Hiroshige cat
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival, No. 101 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 11th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum

For those of you who know me in real life, or who I have met in the various SCA Japanese communities on Facebook, I made the decision to delete my Facebook page today.

This decision has been a long time coming. I’ve taken a couple of “vacations” from FB in the past year, and I found my productivity goes way up during those times. I’ve never been comfortable about FB’s cavalier attitudes towards privacy, but lately, the atmosphere there has gotten toxic. I’m not talking about any one person or group of people–it’s all the ads, and the fact that I can’t control my newsfeed as I want. I kept telling myself that I stayed on Facebook to keep in contact with my family, but in the last couple of weeks, one of my cousins landed in the hospital and I had no idea until my mother mentioned it on the phone.

The whole Russian scandal is just icing on the cake. It bothered me that Facebook was getting rich on ads by selling my personal information, and it made me feel so helpless. Then I realized that there was something I could do: refuse to participate in their business model!

A lot of SCA things are coordinated on Facebook, and maybe I will miss out on some things by leaving FB. I’ll just have to learn to work around it. Time is a precious commodity, and I don’t want to waste it on something that I don’t like or believe in.

Ah, I feel so free!

Pre-Modern Japanese Text Bibliography

Stumbled on an awesome find today. It’s a list of Pre-modern Japanese texts and what translations (if any) have been done. Dated 2013, but it looks like they are trying to keep it updated. So if you are trying to track down a particular early Japanese primary source, this can tell you if it has been translated and where you can find said translation.

You can find it here: Pre-modern Japanese Texts and Translations.

Note: It is a bibliography, so the translations are not hosted. They try to link to articles and such, but how this helps is finding out if some of these primary sources have been translated into English (or other western languages) and finding out where those translations can be found.

Composing and Designing a Japanese SCA Scroll

The Queen’s Prize Tournament for Calontir was this past weekend, and my entry was the process behind how I did the Calon Cross scroll for Saito Takauji. Here is a link to the documentation: Composing and Designing a Japanese SCA Scroll.

Award Scroll for Saito Takauji

It was an exciting and emotional day. One of my friends, Giraude Benet, was asked to join the Order of the Laurel. Another friend, Ysabel de la Oya, won the Queen’s Prize, and a third friend was awarded the Golden Calon Swan (an AOA-level arts award) that was from another design of mine. I got very good feedback on my entry, and got to see several other fascinating entries as well.

Photo credit: Vilhelm Lich (Edward Hauschild)