Pirates! Corsaires! Buccaneers!

Oct. 16th, 2017 11:45 pm
chantefable: ([writing] plot bunny)
[personal profile] chantefable
One day I am finally going to write a Generation Kill Age of Sail / Pirates & Corsaires historical AU, and not a small one like the Liberty and Power I wrote for [personal profile] pjvilar.

And when I do, the following things are going to be in it:

1. Gráinne Ní Mháille of Ireland (Elizabethan era), revered lord of land and sea and pirate queen celebrated in the Padraigh Pearse lyrics version of Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile.

2. Lalla Aicha bint Ali ibn Rashid al-Alami (Reconquista era), female Muslim cleric, merchant, pirate queen, prefect of Tétouan and queen of Morocco. Known as Sayyida al Hurra, she controlled all of Western Mediterranean while the Barbarossa brothers controlled the eastern. (Here is an interesting article, The Origins of Amazigh Women’s Power in North Africa.)

3. Jacquotte Delahaye of Saint-Domingue (Golden Age of Piracy), French-Haitian female buccaneer who allegedly faked her own death! and lived as man for years! and led a pirate community of hundreds! and took over an island in the Caribbean and proclaimed it a freebooter republic! Actual Black Sails plot = her life.

4. Ingela Olofsdotter Gathenhielm of Sweden (Great Northern War era), privateer, entrepreneur and shipping queen, running a premium plundering business in the Baltic Sea with her childhood sweetheart (with the blessing of King Charles XII of Sweden, they were legit privateers during the war, i.e. had a legally sanctioned pirate empire).

5. Robert Surcouf of Saint-Malo, Brittany (Napoleonic era), a successful French privateer who famously had the following exchange with a captured British officer:

Officer: "You French fight for money. We English fight for honour."
Surcouf: "Sir, each of us fights for what he lacks the most..."

I don't know how, but I've been burning to use these anecdotes in a story. You are welcome to grab them, the more the merrier!
chantefable: ([bbc] omgstfu)
[personal profile] chantefable
Quote of the day courtesy of Toni Morrison

Fest season is in full swing, and I have several things cooking at once, which is both splendid and terrifying. What about you? Any looming creative deadlines?

With the whole exchange/fest bonanza thing in mind, I have reformatted the Sutcliff Monthly Challenge at [community profile] sutcliff_space. You can now go here and browse 8 quotes to set your creative juices running for Sutcliff fanworks - or non-Sutcliff, you know, the more the merrier, happy if this helps. I'll make a masterpost of historical music and of artworks as well, but later. I was just too lazy to code it prettily right now. :)

Also, I forgot that neat code to see the notes on the bookmarks other people have made for your work. I was sure I had it saved, but I cannot find it. Perhaps you remember, f-list?

Also, I realise I haven't posted recs in a while, as opposed to the previous steady stream. Should anyone care for a particular kind of rec post, drop me a line, I'll see what I can come up with.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Oct. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
chantefable: ([fisher] train of thought)
[personal profile] chantefable
Wednesday reads on a Thursday, here we go.

What I've just finished reading

I was planning to read some poems by Kalidasa, and it really was just a few poems, but those were poems well-chosen, a good read at a good time. Here is one:

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

I also read Queen of Atlantis, a short story by Sarah Rees Brennan (here). From the first paragraphs this story did not grab me and felt like something I wouldn't enjoy, reminding me a bit of Celia Rees' Sovay, but [personal profile] isis posted about it and I decided to keep going - which I am glad for, since it evolved into the kind of thing I enjoy! It is a fantasy/allegorical setting with a very good coming of age arc of choice for the female protagonist. There are some elements of darkness of horror, and there is a tinge of a kinda Scandinavian gloominess. Like a modern and secular Andersen story. (There are no mermaids in this, but water and underwater are the very fabric of the story.) This was good.

What I'm reading right now

Still Cinderella in the South, South African Tales by Arthur Shearly Cripps (1917). Still interesting.

What I plan to read next

I am feeling the urge to read some Publilius Syrus (a Latin writer of Syrian origin, whose style of moral maxims Seneca was a fan of and wanted to emulate). He was a superstar mime writer in his lifetime, and is now remembered for the Sententiae extracted from those. "It is a bad plan that admits of no modification", "A good reputation is more valuable than money", "You should go to a pear tree for pears, not to an elm", etc.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Oct. 4th, 2017 09:30 pm
chantefable: ([fisher] train of thought)
[personal profile] chantefable
What I've just finished reading

I have put D.H. Lawrence on hold - there's only so much poetry by the same author you can read in a row and really get into it. Contrary to my plans to just re-read some Catullus favourites, I went and read Sappho (circa 630-570 BC) in Aaron Poochigian's translation and it was really cool.

What I'm reading right now

Cinderella in the South, South African Tales by Arthur Shearly Cripps (1917). It is sure interesting to read such a book published in New York a hundred years ago, in the middle of World War I, by an outsider to South Africa and its culture - and yet with a... remarkably clear-eyed view of the context of colonialist politics, for the period. Here is an allegorical poem "Africa and her sisters" that Cripps gives as a prologue:

Some fifteen years now I have been her guest,
For all this land's hers, tho' she does not reign.
She's but a ward, at what late age she'll gain
Her freedom and her kingdom, it were best
To risk no surmise rash. E'en now she's drest
Sometimes in skins. Give her ground-nuts and grain,
Cattle and thatch'd hut, then she'll not complain,
She's happier-hearted than her Sisters blest.

Her Sisters blest! Of them what shall I say?
I like them better when they keep away,
And toil in their own lands, not loll in hers.
They use her ill. She's not so old as they.
She drudges for them. But her youth confers
A charm on her they've lost these many years.

There's a very intriguing tone in this book, as if the author might think the white people he describes are rabid racists but he narrates obliquely and with much understatement, effacing his own attitudes from the events as possible. The narrator has period-typical racism from today's perspective, but not to the degree you would expect: the descriptions and the voice are less geared towards exotification and more towards appreciation and admiration of otherness. Some characters are shown as contemptuous and prone to dehumanisation, and this seems to be commonplace among white people, while the narrator is more like... simply, open-mindedly interested in what he sees, without smug self-congratulation? Also, the author clearly actually/hiked/travelled/lived in South Africa in the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century, and there is a quite authentic travelogue vibe. Here is a typical exchange:

"We camped that evening near a Mission. I admired the oblong iron-roofed church there. It wasn't my style of art, but it seemed to me fair of its kind.

'Quite good,' growled my expert friend, and he said no more at the time. He spoke more freely over a last pipe.

'I'm sorry,' he said, 'not to take more interest in this sort of thing. Only, after all, it's African-built, and Europeans could do the thing a bit better, couldn't they? This sort of thing seems rather a wrong line of advance. If I hadn't seen Mabgwe so lately I mightn't mind so much.'

They showed us to a hut, a very clean one. 'That's better; that's ever so much better,' he said. On the wall was a rude frieze in Bushman painting style, but white, not red. I enlightened him as to tsenza work, as to how you could use the cool watery roots like crayons."

See what I mean? There is this duality of external viewpoints of white people about what cultures of the continent are and whether they are worthy of attention and respect, and in the long run, the author makes it pretty clear where his opinions are without saying 'OMG some people are jerks here ISTG'.

What I plan to read next

Finish Cinderella in the South. I want to read some poems by Kalidasa, I'll see what I can find.


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