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S.H. Laine's Speculative Fiction

Mundane Fantasies

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Laine

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November 23rd, 2010

Tuomari Nurmio

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The entertainment of the evening: the concert celebrating Tuomari Nurmio's 30 years of career in suomi-rock (the Finnish variety of rock music). It took me decades to become a fan of Nurmio, but it finally happened a few years back. The first song that I fell in love with was Onnen kerjäläinen and there are other songs as good as that one. I'm quite relaxed and happy at the moment, after watching the show.

October 13th, 2010

Search engines are useless

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Yesterday, I didn't read anything but my own latest story which I was revising. Not exactly a satisfying way of wasting one's time. I tried to find something to read in the Internet, but nothing stroke my fansy. I'm sure there are good reads in there, somewhere, but I seem unable to find them.

The Internet is a vast dump. One knows that anything can be found in there, but there isn't any system that makes it easy to locate the thing one is looking for. Nowadays, search engines are useless. All I get are commercial sites.

Against all odds, I located a book I need to read for a course in the Internet. Apparently, the book isn't available in any library in the capital area of Finland. I don't think I want to buy a copy, at least not before reading some of it. Fortunately, I found a site that provides the content of the book for free. I should read some of it today; a meeting with the study croup is tomorrow. But I don't find myself interested in it. The book is Henri Bergson's Matter and Memory.

I spent the evening in front of the TV. My favorite show NCIS and some other shows and one documentary.

The documentary of the new treatments for Parkinson's decease was very interesting. The most intriguing news was that sport activities seem to protect people from the decease to some extent. It's a good thing my husband is an active person. According to the documentary, the decease is coded in one's genes. My husband's mother died of the decease. I'm concerned.

October 7th, 2010


Yesterday I didn't read fiction.

Instead, I concentrated on Michel Foucault's The Archeology of Knowledge. Even though I'm reading it in Finnish it's a tough cookie. After a week of reading, I'm just 50 pages in. Of course, I have seldom more than 30 minutes for reading during week days and last weekend I had in mind things other than studies. Anyway, Foucault's classic book on discourse analysis is not only on my list of the books I have to read; it's also very interesting.

Because I need to learn the basics of discourse analysis from the book, I'm using the method I call slow-reading. Instead of underlining I write the passages that seem worthy of remembering. The slow process of copying the text from the book to my communicator allows me time to absorb the information. It's an old-fashioned method, but I find it better than any other. I've used this method successfully before.

I also completed the second chapter of my latest story last night. That is the second reason why I didn't read fiction.

The third reason is  Alexander, the movie about Alexander the Great from 2004. What a boring piece! I gave it up after just 30 minutes and went to bed.

October 6th, 2010

Disappointments

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What should the reader do if she finds a story a disappointment?

If I get disappointed with a book, I stop reading it. If it is a book that I've found in a library that's easy, but not so if I've bought it. I get seriously annoyed by the waste of money. I get so annoyed that I'd like to return the book to the store; unfortunately, that's not an option.

In addition to books, I read also stories that are published in the Internet. I only read those that are free of charge. Why am I annoyed if I get disappointed by such stories? I don't lose money on them.

In any case, I lose something. First, I lose some of my rare moments of free time. The sooner I get disappointed the less of the free time will be lost. Mistakes with grammar and lousy style I can detect in no time. More time takes to detect bad construction, hollow characters, often used plots and such things. The most annoying is the disappointment that comes at the end of the story: an ending that doesn't fill you with satisfaction. Second, I lose the expected feeling of fulfillment. The story has awaken my interest, but I'll be left with the unfulfilled curiosity. Some stories are set in interesting environment, but the environment has no impact on the story. At the beginning, some stories give a wrong idea of what is coming. Third, I lose the expected, pleasurable moment, and instead get bored. Some stories tell me background info that I'm not interested in learning at the point of the story it's given. Most likely, this particular mistake occurs at the beginning of the story.

So, often I feel disappointed after reading a story, in part or in the whole. What to do? Stop reading? I couldn't. Reading is my favorite way of relaxing. How to find the golden grain? I haven't found the final answer to that but there's something I could do. I can keep my distance to stories of unprofessional writers. In them, mistakes are more like a rule than an exception. At the moment I haven't given up the free reading possibilities, but I'm considering it.

At times, I'm so exasperated with the story of an unprofessional writer that I leave feedback. Seldom, the writer has reacted to the feedback in an appropriate manner. Many of them, maybe most of them, seem to have seriously weak self-esteem and non-existing tolerance of critique.

Among the writers and their readers, the commonly held opinion seems to be that their drivels shouldn't be critiqued: they are not professionals. Ridiculous. Why do these people put their drivels on public arena if they aren't ready to receive the reactions of their audience?

Another commonly held opinion seems to be that one shouldn't read a story if one doesn't like it. I already told the reader why it isn't always possible to spot a lousy story until the end or close to it.

I wonder where these attitudes that spread in the Internet come from?

Pettymyksiä

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Mitä pitäisi lukijan tehdä, kun pettyy lukemaansa juttuun?

Kun petyn kirjaan, se jää lukematta. Kirjastosta lainattua kirjaa en epäröi jättää silleen, mutta entä kun olen ostanut kirjan? Harmittaa vähän vietävästi turha rahanmeno. Harmittaa niin paljon, että tekisi mieli palauttaa kirja kauppaan. Ikävä, ettei niin voi tehdä.

Luen myös juttuja netissä, mutta vain ilmaiseksi luettavissa olevia. Miksi minua harmittaa, kun petyn lukiessani sellaista juttua? Eihän siinä ole rahaa mennyt hukkaan.

Jotakin menetän kuitenkin. Ensinnäkin menetän niukkaa vapaa-aikaani. Sitä vähemmän aikaa kuluu hukkaan, mitä nopeammin petyn juttuun. Kielivirheet ja surkean kirjoitustyylin huomaa nopeasti. Hitaammin havaitsen huonosti hallitun rakenteen, ontot henkilöt, tavanomaisen juonen yms. asiat. Kaikkein harmittavin on pettymys, joka tulee aivan jutun lopussa: loppuratkaisu, joka ei tyydytä. Toiseksi menetän odottamani tyydytyksen tunteen. Juttu on herättänyt mielenkiintoni, mutta uteliaisuuteni jää tyydyttämättä. Joskus juttu on sijoitettu kiinnostavaan ympäristöön, mutta ympäristö ei vaikuta juttuun mitenkään. Joskus jutun alussa saan väärän käsityksen siitä, mitä juttu oikeasti käsittelee. Kolmanneksi menetän odottamani viihtyisän hetken, ja sitävastoin pitkästyn. Joissakin jutuissa kerrotaan aivan liian paljon taustatietoa, joka ei kiinnosta siinä kohdassa tekstiä hiukkaakaan. Tavallisesti tämä virhe esiintyy jutun alussa.

Eli minulla on usein pettynyt olo luettuani osittain tai kokonaan jonkun jutun. Mikä neuvoksi? Lopettaako lukeminen? En pystyisi siihen. Kertomuksien lukeminen on tärkein rentoutumiskeinoni. Miten erottaa jyvät akanoista? En ole löytänyt tyhjentävää vastausta tähän kysymykseen, mutta erään asian voin tehdä. Voin pysytellä kaukana harrastajakirjoittajien jutuista. Niissä virheet ovat ennemminkin sääntö kuin poikkeus. Vielä en ole luopunut näistä ilmaisista lukuhetkistä, mutta harkitsen sitä.

Olen ajoittain niin kärmeissäni luettuani pettymyksen aiheuttaneen harrastajakirjoittajan jutun, että otan yhteyttä asianomaiseen ihmiseen ja kerron hänelle mielipiteeni. Hyvin harva kirjoittaja on reagoinut palautteeseeni asiallisesti. Useilla, etten sanoisi useimmilla, heistä vaikuttaisi olevan surkean heikko itsetunto ja olematon kritiikinsietokyky.

Yleinen mielipide näyttää heidän ja heidän lukijoidensa parissa olevan, ettei heidän tekeleitään saa arvostella, koska he ovat harrastelijoita. Naurettava käsitys. Miksi ihmeessä he tuovat tekeleensä julkiselle areenalle, elleivät he ole valmiit ottamaan vastaan yleisön reaktioita?

Toinen yleinen käsitys on, ettei kenenkään pitäisi lukea juttua, jos ei siitä pidä. Kerroin jo edellä, ettei ole aina mahdollista olla lukematta suurta osaa jutusta tai jopa koko juttua, josta ei pidä.

Mistä nämä internetissä leviävät, idioottimaiset käsitykset oikein ovat syntyneet?


August 2nd, 2010

Months of trouble

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My last post was just before I opened my shop. I'm still in business, but the months have been a struggle. The first three months were quite like I imagined them to be, but from July 2009 everything went downhill.

From July 2009 to June 2010, in Finland, the business in general has been very unpredictable. The customers have been very careful, and new business like mine were not received well.

Apparel adjustments and repairs have been my lifeline; the orders for new garments have been remarkably rare.

It's looking a bit brighter at the moment. What the next Fall will bring, we shall see.

November 20th, 2008

Still alive

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I'm still alive, and my business is coming together better than I hoped for.

I've found the perfect place: a good location, two big windows facing the street, easy access from the street even for a person in a wheel-chair, enough room for a workshop as well as for a showroom, and above all the rent is a bargain.

I'll be having the grand opening on the 1st of February, 2009. Wish me luck!

I wish I had time for writing, but at least until Christmas that wish won't come true.

July 4th, 2008

Business

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It's been awhile since I updated my LJ, but I had a good reason why I had to keep away. I've been occupied with
something that has taken nearly all my energy and almost all my time, too. Also my writing projects have been put on the back burner for the time being.

Yesterday, I started a business of my own. The process of making this decision has depleted my mental reserves. I'm exhausted and scared but, also, relieved. 

Some time ago, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to get a job in which I can use all my faculties and skills I needed to create that job for myself. So, I did. That sentence wasn't hard to write, but it hides a very hard process of decision making.

The process started one Friday night in April when I was in my cups, prattling the night away with a friend of mine. She told me about her difficulties in finding clothes she likes. She expressed a wish that I were a boutique keeper in our town; she believed that she would get what she wants from me. As the closing time of the restaurant drew nigh, we had gotten a bit carried away with the idea. Next morning I woke up with an aching head and the idea of a business of my own firmly lodged in my mind.

Ever since that morning, I've been ferreting out ideas, rejecting them, and ferreting out some more. I've been hunting for information. I've been hunting for a place for my business. I've been hunting for money. And above all, I've been fretting.

Emotionally, It's been a roller coaster ride. At first, my friend was supposed to partner me in the business; she backtracked on her commitment. At that, the butterflies in my stomach got even more frenzied. One moment, I was excited by a find of a perfect material for my collection of knitwear, the next I was devastated because I failed in getting a loan. I've had doubts, and I've found my nerve again, several times of each.

At last, the most energy consuming part of the project is behind me; I've reached the decision of becoming a businesswoman. The firm exists. Since I need to get the confirmation from the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland that the suggested name of the firm is available, there's no point in revealing that bit of information just yet.

The next phase of the project, the building up the shop and manufacturing the products, will take time and effort, but it'll be less demanding on my psyche. And, of course, I still need to get the loan.

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April 1st, 2008

About fanfiction

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My first language is not English, and therefore, I never thought that I could write a book in English. For me, fanfiction changed that. When I applied to English Department of University of Helsinki I did not quite trust my language skills, and so I started to write fanfiction. I found the system of betas to be very useful as I tried to improve my writing skills. My grammar improved, I learned new words, I grew more confident in my usage of English. It was a great learning experience. I still write a fanfic every now and then.

I've found quite a number of authors that forbid people from using their works as inspiration for fanfiction. 

Follow this link to my blog to find out my thoughts about fanfiction, derivative works and transformative works.

March 13th, 2008

Nitwit of all the nitwits

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It's been a week since I finished my first novel. I haven't even looked at the printed copy of it yet. I know that it would be a bad idea, and, actually, I haven't felt any desire to work on it. I haven't forgotten the manuscript, though.

Click here to find out why...

 
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