duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
"The most important thing is habit, not will. If you feel you need will to get to the keyboard, you are in the wrong business. All that energy will leave nothing to work with. You have to make it like brushing your teeth, mundane, regular, boring even. It's not a thing of effort, of want, of steely, heroic determination. (I wonder who pushed the meme that writing is heroic; it must have been a writer, trying to get laid.) You have to do it numbly, as you brush your teeth. No theater, no drama, no sacrifice, no 'It is a far far better thing I do' crap. You do it because it's time. If you are ordering yourself, burning ergs, issuing sweat, breathing raggedly through nasal channels that feel like Navajo pottery, you're doing something wrong. Ever consider law? We definitely need more lawyers."

--Stephen Hunter (via Advice to Writers).


Thank you to all of you who sent your best wishes concerning Jo/e. He's out of the hospital now, feeling fine. The exploratory surgery revealed absolutely no problems with his heart. He's still having periodic chest pains, so he's going to be exploring with his doctor what are causing those.


What I've been up to )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




*


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
Jo/e is in the hospital again, due to chest pains. He's going to have exploratory surgery done on him tomorrow, so I'm going to have to delay posting this week's online fiction.
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
Clip 1, near the beginning of the movie. Clip 2, with no major spoilers but not safe for work.

I watched this British movie - which I had never heard of before I happened upon a fanvid of it - for three reasons:

1) It features miners. I researched miners last year for an upcoming story.

2) It's set in Britain in 1984-85. I lived in Britain in 1982.

3) It features the gay and lesbian community (as it was called in those days) in 1984-85. I joined the gay and lesbian community on October 2, 1985.

I know the exact date I joined because, on the evening of the day that I walked (with great trepidation) into the quarters of the University of Maryland's gay and lesbian student club, I ended up sitting with the other members of the club in front of the student union, holding a vigil in honor of the passing of Rock Hudson. The next morning, my picture - along with the pictures of other vigil-holders who had given their permission - was on the front page of the university paper.

I mentioned this incident a few years ago to a college-aged reader, and she asked, "Who was Rock Hudson?" Boy, did that make me feel old. "Pride" made me feel young again, because it begins with a wet-behind-the-ears college student being swept into the gay and lesbian community at a time of police hostility, gay bashing, and AIDS.

Based on my own experiences, I'd say that the movie captures perfectly the blend of darkness and joy that was the gay and lesbian community in 1984-85. But this is not your typical gay pride movie. Miners, remember? This is about a meeting of two very different cultures, and the most extraordinary thing about this comedy-drama is that it's based on a true story.

The story is beautifully told: very funny and very moving at the same time. "Heartwarming" is a much overused word to describe films like this, but the word is applicable in this case.

What I most appreciate about this movie is its restraint and its diversity. The original story that the movie is inspired by featured violence, yet only some profanity and some brief mentions of sexuality propelled the movie into an R rating; otherwise, the movie would have deserved a PG rating. As for diversity, we aren't presented with a stereotypical group of gays and lesbians, or a stereotypical group of miners and miners' wives; instead, what we encounter are a wide variety of people, each with their own story. This gives the film added depth.

This is the best movie I've seen for several years. I highly recommend it.

Historical resources for after you've seen the movie (because the website has a major spoiler on the home page).

June 2017

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