This blog is the continuing dialog between two faces of rilla (most of the time!) Rant and rave with us. Leave a comment. Click on the 'nickname' button if you don't have a Google ID already.
NOTE: All my photos and posts are copyrighted and may not be used by anyone, elsewhere without my permission.

My Pic Of The Day

My Pic Of The Day
San Francisco Cable Car

Saturday, July 28, 2007

25 -- Laini's Leading Lady

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: Today I am interviewing, children’s author, rilla, about a book for young adults she recently read – Faeries of Dreamdark- Blackbringer by writer and artist, Oregon dweller, Laini Taylor.
rilla: Wow, you sound good. Very professional – I think…
Rilla: Ahem. Thank you. So, rilla, what attracted you to Laini Taylor’s book other than the color of her hair?
rilla: Well, I first read about Laini’s book in a rave review on the blog of Fuse#8.
Rilla: I mean – magenta? Really…what exactly would possess…?
rilla: I love magenta.
Rilla: Magenta? For hair…? You’re not thinking what I think you’re…?
rilla: Are you going to ask me a real question …?
Rilla: Sorry?
rilla: A real question about Laini’s book?
Rilla: Umm…OK…ummm…


Rilla: Will you STOP tapping on my head.
rilla: Can we get the REAL interviewer in here please. This apprentice is wasting my time…?
Rilla: I AM the real interviewer.
Rilla: Wait, wait, I have one…Why would anyone in their right mind read fantasy?
rilla: Sheesh. I’ll just take it from here …
Blackbringer is a tale of an unraveling world – a world that was woven as a dream tapestry by the Djinn masters, where mistakes in the form of devils were locked up in bottles by the faery champion of old, Bellatrix.

So, a thousand years later, why are the bottles coming uncorked and the tapestry failing? Magpie Windwitch, alone of faeries, knows of the devastation caused to the world by a new, undreamed of species, humans. Immune to the ancient spells they are busily opening bottles in the hope of finding a magical being to grant them their wishes. Magpie must follow in their messy footsteps trying to undo the damage. But now they have gone too far.

Someone has opened the one bottle sealed by the Djinn king, Magruwen, himself. The faeries have forgotten the wisdom and lore of their kind in the long peace. They have no idea what the Magruwen thought important enough to leave his mark on. Magpie and her band of cheroot-smoking, gypsy-caravan-toting, play-acting crows must fight an evil that will settle for no less than world annihilation. Before she can defeat it, she must discover what it is, and most importantly, who she is herself. An immense task for a tiny lass – will she manage before it is too late?

Rilla: So does she?
rilla: Does she what?
Rilla: Save the world?
rilla: Read the book.
Rilla: What’s the point of getting you to review it if you won’t tell me how it ends?
rilla: The point is to get you to READ THE BOOK. I recommend it. The magnitude of Laini’s vision transported me into a colorful world of tattooed faeries and nose-picking imps, cursing crows and dastardly devils, and one small, tough faery who won’t take no for an answer. It is a powerful and imaginative creation-myth that brings home to us the destructive nature of our species and the unraveling of our own tapestry or ecosystem. Yet, it gives us the hope that the courage of a few determined individuals, no matter how small, can stop the devastation and begin the healing process. As a reader I was captivated – as a writer I was inspired to follow my own muse the way Laini has done to such effect. Dreams, she insists, are everything.
Rilla: Faeries and dreams, huh? Sounds a bit frou-frou to me.
rilla: It isn’t. The villains are frighteningly real, the tension mounts throughout, the story is every bit as thrilling as you would want. And it proves that strong female protagonists can come in all sizes even ones no larger than will fit comfortably on the back of a crow.

In short, Laini’s book reminded me once again why I LOVE fantasy…

Some of my favorite lines:
“It was an evil bramble, taller than tiptoes and dense as a mermaid’s braid…”
“Batch moved on, a pendulum of drool swinging from his lower lip.”
“It was a formless thing, unfixed, the edges of it bleeding into the night like watercolors on wet paper.”
“In the southern reaches of the great wood, Magpie and the crows sat around a fire with a clan of hedge imps, trading wind songs for scamper ballads and sipping spiced wine.”

Recommended Musical Accompaniment: Afro-Celts: Volume II and Solas
Recommended drink: Spiced Wine…preferably red and from Oregon
Recommended food: Fondue…cheese to be melted on a stick held over a campfire or over the more upmarket version of the campfire…the backyard grill…whichever way…it must be under the stars and moon followed by copious amounts of chocolate.

Laini Taylor's Blog -- Grow Wings

Monday, July 23, 2007

24 -- Sister Watch

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Rilla: The Lives of Others
rilla: Pardon? Others? What’s wrong with our life?
Rilla: It’s the title of a movie…
rilla: Oh. What about it?
Rilla: Saw it last night. Where were you?
rilla: Watching Ratatouille.
Rilla: The animated movie? By Pixar??
rilla: That’s the one.
Rilla: Well at least we were on the same continent.
rilla: Huh?
Rilla: I was in Germany, you were in France.
rilla: Yeah, but I was in heaven and you must have been in…
Rilla: …hell a.k.a. East Germany, before the wall came down. What a story. The fear…the corruption…bugged apartments…big brother watching you even when you make love…your loved ones ratting on you to save their own skins... government sponsored terror at its best.
rilla: Well thank goodness they don’t have that anymore.
Rilla: Too bad that we do.
rilla: What do you mean we do? Government wiretapping is illegal here. That was amply proven by Nixon’s resignation.
Rilla: Which fairy wonderland do you live in? Oh, I forgot. Last night you were dreaming of rats who are chefs and the gourmet food they create. Well wake up, honey, and smell the coffee. On this continent, the president has declared that he is above the law and can wiretap whomever he wants to just because he is the president. Sounds so like what I saw in the movie last night…maybe we’re not there yet, but if we don’t watch out…we sure will be. What a ghastly world it was.

rilla: Mm…makes you wonder. How does an entire country relinquish its rights and allow itself to be dehumanized, abused and raped by its own government…the people who are supposed to be serving the public’s best interests?
Rilla: It’s a slippery slope and we’re on it. Starts off with good intentions…the justification for the GDR was protection of their own revolution, of their people. It ended up with persecution of anyone who spoke out against the government, labeling any intellectual an unpatriotic traitor and throwing them in a cell with no right to representation. In this country it is in the name of protection against a shadowy terrorist threat, that we are willingly allowing our government to rise above the law. Routinely, those who speak out against the government are labeled unpatriotic and undemocratic. We’ve even ratified a law that allows the government to label people and throw them into jail with no right to a fair trial. Sounds frighteningly similar. Either way, we the people are the ones terrorized, doesn’t really matter if it’s by foreign terrorists or homegrown ones…
rilla: See…now that’s why I watch fantasy. I stay away from horror whether it is fiction or non…
Rilla: Escape! How’s that going to help you? If you run away, who’s going to protect your rights, huh?
rilla: How’s watching distressing movies going to help?
Rilla: I actually enjoyed that ‘distressing’ movie very much. I believe that seeing such movies will remind us what can happen if we are not constantly vigilant, watching for abuses of power at every level of government. One other thing in the movie really bugged me though…
rilla: Pun intended?
Rilla: Why is it constantly depicted that the woman is the ‘weak’ one who can’t hold up in the face of oppression. Women, who at great cost to themselves, gave birth to humanity, and ever since have stood in the face of all kinds of oppression, discrimination, subjugation and death to protect their families. I mean really, I’m a little tired of the same scenario – the poor damsel in distress, all the time, either needs rescuing or puts her dear innocent mate in harm’s way. Reality versus fantasy, again. Is that what we think of our sacrificing mothers?
rilla: Started right there at the beginning with Eve…makes for a good story, IF you are male …
Rilla: How about your movie? You obviously enjoyed it.
rilla: Oh. Yeah! Baby! Good food, fabulous animation, great aspirations…a rat who doesn’t conform to rattiness but dreams big and conquers the gastronomic world against all Health Inspectors’ efforts. But, yeah, even in this movie, come to think of it, the supporting actress at first deserts her beau when he reveals he’s being led by a rat. Actually, when was the last time an animated movie had a genuine strong female lead protagonist?
Rilla: You mean the movies by Pixar?
rilla: Well, let’s look at Pixar movies…Toy Story – male lead, no real females to mention, A Bug’s Life – male lead, Toy Story 2 – male lead but interesting female supporting role, Monster’s Inc. – cute little girl, but monster leads are male, The Incredibles – more evenly distributed, but the Father is still the lead, Cars – definitely male lead, Finding Nemo – The only female character, Dory, is the most interesting, yet, she has a supporting role, and now Ratatouille – two male leads, one somewhat interesting supporting female… If an alien species knew nothing about us and only watched our movies, they’d come to the conclusion that our world has very few women…
Rilla: ...well, it seems to be what we believe as well, otherwise why would we, the majority, be so dominated by a minority? That's the reality... but coming back to virtual reality, of all the animated movies you’ve seen lately, have there been any female leads at all?
rilla: Hm…Shrek, no, Shrek 2, no, Shrek 3, no, Ice Age, no, Ice Age 2, no, Over the Hedge, no, even the next Pixar movie, Wall-E, is about a MALE robot! I can’t think of a female lead in the newer animated movies…can you? Pocahontas, Ariel, Anastasia, Mulan…where, oh, where have you gone?

NSA Watch
Read C. K. Kelly Martin's (a fellow blogger) article on harrassment of women on the web.
The Tall Poppy Syndrome

Thursday, July 19, 2007

23 -- The Real Truth About Fantasy

NOTE: This blog is a continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first edition. Click here to read: 1 -- Introduction

Weigh in on the debate...leave a comment...see the SCORE so far.

rilla: Just don’t understand how so many people who write for children can say they don’t like fantasy…
Rilla: I hate fantasy…
rilla: You don’t count.
Rilla: Excuse me?
rilla: I said…you don’t count…
Rilla: Well, really, and how do you figure that?
rilla: You ARE fantasy…just a figment of my imagination…poof… and you’re gone!
Rilla: Umm…I’m still here…
rilla: POOF…GONE!
Rilla: Try abracadabra…
rilla: Still here? Oh all right…hang around then…do you like fiction?
Rilla: Of course I like fiction…
rilla: But you don’t like fantasy?
rilla: OK…I get the point…what do you not like about fantasy?
: Only the hard facts for me…reality…that’s what I like… none of this airy-fairy…
rilla: Did you say reality?...hard facts?
Rilla: You heard me.
rilla: But you like fiction…
Rilla: Is there an echo in here?
rilla: Help me out …you want hard facts and reality from fiction…can I point out the problem with your logic? Reality, fact, is the antonym for fiction …and speaking of’s a very fine line between creating an imaginary character – your standard, normal fiction – and giving her wings and letting her fly a teensy bit farther.
Rilla: Not big on flying,either.
rilla: Huh, a hundred years ago, the idea of flying would have been in the realm of fantasy…
Rilla: Now you’re talking science fiction…not my style.
rilla: Ever stopped to think that what you consider ‘normal’ fiction today includes planes and phones and cell phones and computers and…
Rilla: So? That’s what’s real…none of this winged stuff.
rilla: If you’d lived a hundred years ago, you’d turn your nose up at today’s fiction because it’d be science fiction…but, since you do read today’s fiction, and like it at that, technically, that makes you a fan of science fiction…
Rilla: OK…OK…science fiction’s all right, I guess. Still. I like my fiction to be real.
rilla: So how do you define fantasy then?
Rilla: I like the world I’m reading about to be real…all the rules should be what I’m familiar with…change the rules and you enter the realm of fantasy…
rilla: You mentioned reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Rilla: Yes, now that’s real.
rilla: Real?
Rilla: Real scary.
rilla: But it’s an imaginary world where all the rules are different…sounds like fantasy to me…
Rilla: The setting’s real…Cambridge…
rilla: You didn’t say anything about setting…you mentioned rules…Take my trilogy for example…it’s set in what is now known as Sydney and Australia…a setting you’re familiar with…just as familiar with as Cambridge…haven’t you ever enjoyed a book set in a location you don’t know anything about?
Rilla: No, no, it’s not the setting…I love new settings…it’s the rules, just because they are unfamiliar and different, doesn’t make it fantasy…
rilla: What does make it fantasy then…?
Rilla: The rules in fantasy are not only different…they don’t have to be consistent…that’s what makes for the problem…
rilla: I see…so the rules don’t have to be real…just consistent…
Rilla: Yes…consistency is the key…real structure…
rilla: I was just reading what Wikipedia has to say about fantasy and I quote: “Within a given work, the elements must not only obey rules, but for plot reasons, must also contain limits…or the story would become unstructured.” In other words, good fantasy has both rules and structure…
Rilla: I still don’t like it…give me an unknown setting with unfamiliar rules and I’ll enjoy it AS LONG AS IT IS REAL!
rilla: Real fiction.
Rilla: Yes.
rilla: So you want your fiction to be just that…fiction.
Rilla: That’s what I said.
rilla: You’re just proving my point…
Rilla: What point?
rilla: ALL fiction IS fantasy!

Weigh in on the DEBATE...
Where do you draw the line in the sand?
Leave a comment: Do you a) Love Fantasy b) Hate Fantasy c) Indifferent d) None of the Above...

The Score so far:
Love Fantasy -- Four -- rilla, LynNerd, Laini Taylor, TBS
Hate Fantasy -- One -- Rilla
Indifferent -- Three -- Sha-do, Fog-gi, C.K.
None of the Above -- One -- LindaBudz

Wikipedia's definition of fantasy
Read about The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Monday, July 16, 2007

c4 -- Back to the Floor Board

Sha-Do: What’s she doing?

Fog-Gi: I’ve no idea.

Sha-Do: It’s not time for her mid-morning nap.

Fog-Gi: Nor her mid-afternoon nap.

Sha-Do: Can’t be her early evening nap either.

Fog-Gi: But she’s lying down.

Sha-Do: On the floor.

Fog-Gi: She never takes a nap on the floor.

Sha-Do: And look at that grimace on her face.

Fog-Gi: Hmm…she doesn’t notice us.

Sha-Do: Hey, what if I jump up on the banister…

Fog-Gi: …nothing.

Sha-Do: OK, what if I get up on the couch…

Fog-Gi: …nothing.

Sha-Do: So what if…

Fog-Gi: Wait a minute. You’re having all the fun…it’s my turn…

Sha-Do: What are you going to do?

Fog-Gi: I know… the kitchen counter…

Sha-Do: …nothing! Hey this is cool.

Fog-Gi: Way cool!

Sha-Do: What do you think happened?

Fog-Gi: No idea… why don’t you research what might have caused her to writhe like that on the floor and then we can do it again…

Sha-Do: …and again…at will. OK, let me see…

Fog-Gi: How about the cupboard. I’m going to try that.

Sha-Do: Hmm…what did she do differently…hmm…

Fog-Gi: I’m inside and I’ve got all the plastic bags out…scrunch…scrounch…

Sha-Do: Let’s see…how long has she been down there?

Fog-Gi: Hee hee, look at me, I’m stretched out on the coffee table.

Sha-Do: Since the morning I’d say…so maybe something she did yesterday?

Fog-Gi: Wheeeee…I’m half way to the ceiling climbing up the window screen…

Sha-Do: The guests were still here yesterday, they all barbecued outside while we were locked up in the bedroom…

Fog-Gi: Hey, hey, hey…I’m all the way up the curtain…

Sha-Do: Hmm…hang on a sec…I’m doing all the hard work. Get down here and help me.

Fog-Gi: Wheeeeeee…I’m sailing through the air…

Sha-Do: Stop that and help me figure this out or else…


Fog-Gi: OUCH! Mrrrowwww.

Sha-Do: You prize idiot! You’ve broken the vase. Now look what you’ve done, she’s getting up from the floor.

Fog-Gi: Not moving very fast…and with one hand on her back…she…how’s she…ha ha ha

Sha-Do: Oh no, oh no, she’s reaching for the water spraygun…

Fog-Gi: Guess she can use that with one hand…MEEEEEEOOOOWWW!

Sha-Do: Serves you right! HEY! She’s coming after me too…! MRROWWW!

Fog-Gi: OK…OK…she’s crumpled onto the floor again.

Sha-Do: Guess we should take this game out of her sight.

Fog-Gi: What can we do?

Sha-Do: I know…let’s play on the computer…she hasn’t been there in days…

Fog-Gi: Cool idea…she can’t see us up here…

Sha-Do: Hello all you peeps in blogland…

Fog-Gi: Rilla can’t come to the computer right now…

Sha-Do: She’s stuck on the floor with an icepack on her back…

Fog-Gi: Yup! And you’re stuck with us!