Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vampire Authors

If you cowrite with someone who is in a relationship with you, you will be best protected if you are with someone who is intellectually and emotionally honest with themselves and with others.

Authors who are not so honest with themselves often become vampire authors, siphoning other's creativity into their work, like a blood transfusion. 

The vampire authors will often drive a spike into your creativity, bigtime and most often will not mean to.  They don't see what they do because to admit their tendancy is to admit that they might be doing someone harm and of course they would never hurt anyone, they are good people.  In fact, how dare anyone imply that they are harmful in their actions?  At that point they will attack anyone who attempts to point out this habitual behaviour of theirs.

They may not even notice when they rewrite history to try to make themselves more creative, more interesting, more 'the real author', the genius, whilst relegating your contributions to the 'they helped' pile, like an actor thanking the 'little people' who helped them gain this attention or that award or some adulation that is desperately craved.  It is very much addictive behaviour.

Most coauthors like that don't realize that this is what they are doing.  Memory is maleable.  They remember things very differently than you do.  After all, they are the talented one who let you put your two cents into the work.   They 'let' you help them and it's only help, not serious work.  This intellectual stance lets them gloss over whatever you do for them, and smother it in a thick sauce of their style; making it theirs.

This is the most insideous form of plagerism there is, because you cannot say 'That was my idea/plot device/character/culture.' without sounding petty and vindictive.  Vampire authors count on people being too nice to say anything.

Of course this behaviour eventually becomes obvious, even to the most die-hard fan, as the vampire author either drains or destroys their co-authors and if they become desperate to get the next creative fix become more obvious in their attempts to dupe the next newbie who draws their attention.

New authors need to be aware that there are other authors out there doing this kind of thing.  Not just authors, artists of all sorts.  But I have seen this behaviour in the writing world.  It is something to be aware of, and to be careful of.  Even peers are sometimes subject to this kind of intellectual vampirism, and it doesn't sparkle.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Permission to be Happy, SIR!

Just as there are very very few world class psychos there are also few world class saints
most people are banality on the hoof. Either banal good, or banal evil.

Banal evil can be petty and merely spite or discouragement while banal good can be petty 'kindnesses'

Banal evil takes more work to spread, while banal good resonates.

Just as evil can be passed around i.e. the boss yells at someone, someone is rude to the bus driver who goes home and snarls at his wife who puts down the kids... every step of the way requires a certain amount of sheer rage and a certain energy.

Happiness, however, is spread much more easily.  If someone gives themselves permission to be happy then it becomes hard to stop.  Happiness is contageous.  Rage needs work.

I'm lazy.  I hearby give myself permission to be happy.

Probably Pointless Rant

I just started reading "The Adventure of English".  Why, why, why do these scholars give us a thin paste of words and needlessly diminish the power of the very language they hope to laud?

It's about a sentence in Old English, part of a poem called "The Dream of the Rood" in which the story of the crucifixion is told from the point of view of the cross itself.  Interesting enough when you imagine the time it was written.

Now the author, Melvin Bragg, confidently translates this sentence: 'Ic waes mip blodi bestemit' as 'I was with blood bedewed.'  Fair enough.  But modern German 'bestemit' is 'bestimmt' is it not?  That turns the sentence in an entirely different and, in my opinion, in a far deeper, more powerful direction.

In modern German, bestimmt means 'imagined', 'conceived of', 'dreamed up', thought of, created.

This turns the line into something like "I was in blood created," or "I was, in blood, dreamed."

Not this namby-pamby 'bedewed'!  'sprinkled' 'misted' or any other gentle little word.

Sigh.  I do not speak Old English, but it looks to me that a knowledge of both its descendants, modern English and modern German, can give a bit more insight to the whole business. 

Bedewed, be damned!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Long Car Trip: Annoy Your Partner and Children and – perhaps – Induce a Cardiac Incident In Yourself, Part 1

Most long car trips offer the serious practitioner of sullenness, many opportunities to exercise the art of rage, the craft of surly silences, the multiple techniques of inducing acid indigestion in all passengers and can play every opportunity to create and spread misery in a grim cloud over any car’s passenger compartment.  These can all be achieved and maintained, by careful husbandry, for hours if not for days.
For the neophyte chaos architect we shall offer a series of suggestions for you to sneer at and pick apart, even while gleaning finer nuanced control of the possible misery to be inflicted to all and sundry around you.
First of all, put off all preparations that should be done in advance to the last possible moment, preferably requiring the packed car to be driven in widening circles in search of a parking space close to a passport or other government office.  Through rush hour traffic in a large city.  This allows for maximum amount of back-biting and recrimination between the adults responsible for the road trip in the first place.
.  You can never say “I told you so” often enough.
. Judicious use of “You always” and “I never” will set things nicely boiling.
Try to delay packing the car early so that you can bellow at, rant or fume quietly at everyone else running around trying to get ready to leave, and ensuring that all critical document pick-ups will be as late in the day and as stressful as possible.  Try to be late enough that the children in the car, or better yet everyone, must all stop for a bathroom break in the middle of the traffic snarled hunt for a parking space.
Absolutely refuse to stop at either convenience stores or fast food restaurants, claiming that you don’t want to be forced to buy anything to use their washrooms.  Make everybody wait till you’re all in the office building in question.  This way small children may more easily be lost, requiring a massive man-hunt by building security.
Now, if by some miracle all documents are safely picked up, signed, counter-signed, stamped, sealed and all official and everyone has gained their various forms of relief, there is no need to relax just yet.  A detailed critique of everyone’s bad behaviour in public is always possible on the walk back to the car.  If you delay things long enough you might be fortunate enough to receive a parking ticket before you manage to actually start on the long trip you were supposed to have started at some ungodly hour this morning.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Annoying High Pitched Whine

How many times have I stood, patting shoulders or holding hands, chatting about the weather, something, anything to get some drama queen to shut up?  All the while knowing that the last time I broke a bone, I was driving with it for a week?

What ever happened to 'suck it up, buttercup?'


Not that I blame anybody for getting hurt, or expressing how much it hurts, but yelling about it is going to just make it worse for yourself and for everyone trying to help you.  Like I tell my son... "less grunting and groaning about how hard it is and more work please."

I guess nobody teaches that any more.  You can make things hurt worse by whimpering.  Really.  Brain chemistry works that way.  You get less access to those lovely endorphins.  Really.  Whining, moaning, whingeing and complaining hurts you more than everyone forced to listen to you.  Really.

So if you get hurt, get it looked at -- but go for that hit of endorphins and all the lovely products of your adrenals and shut off the annoying high-pitched whine.

P.S.  I have access to a doctor and a health-care system.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What is this BFF stuff on Twitter?

It was barfalacious!  So much 'roses and sunshine and all my friends are just so 'squeeeeeeeeeee'.'

Look.  I can fangirl with the best of them but repeating the same tropes of  'I love all my friends THIIIIIISSSSSS much' tends to make me think you're protesting too much people.  Love and jollies in a hundred and forty characters and not TO the friends in question but to billions of random strangers?  Um.

That seems a little like kindergarden to me.  I suppose Twitter is in it's virtual infancy I suppose.

Maybe it's acceptable in small doses.  I just went away until the calorie storm was over or I would have needed insulin to not go into sugar shock.

There, there, kiddies I hope you had fun.  Catch y'all later when you've grown up again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hello and Fuck Off!

Backhouse Rat is intended to be a forum for my bitchiness, snide comments and generally curmudgeon.  If that's not spelled right then fuck you, go read something else if you are offended.  Let's see you spell curmudgeon!

In the traditional Chinese Horoscope I'm a Rat.  A Metal Rat to be exact so I'm going to try and come up with something I think is cool.  If you don't... fine.

You know I'm even being nice with this title. It could have been "Crazy as a Shithouse Rat".

I intend to pull no punches here.

You've been warned.

I'll draw blood if you are easily wounded... so... we'll see.