Unearthing the Roots of My Procrastination

While I rushed to complete the required amount of blog posts in the week before they were due, I found myself wondering why it had taken me the entire semester to finish the assignment, and Dr. McCoy prompted me to think about this even deeper. Why do I procrastinate? Why do I repeatedly box myself into stressful time constraints? Why do I find myself projecting the frustration that this procrastination creates onto the class itself—especially when it’s one like this, that I actually enjoy? If I start with my earliest memories of procrastination, I find that my abilities for time management have not improved very much at all. I’ve always been one to keep my parents and sister waiting when it’s time to go somewhere, and I’ve always been one to put off work to the last possible moment. There are at least three years in a row that I remember finishing summer work for high school English classes in the early morning hours of our first day back. It didn’t only make my work of a lesser quality than I had the ability to provide, but it made me tired for my first day of school, and thus was probably detrimental to first impressions with my new teachers.

Likewise, it seems that I’ve always had trouble sticking with decisions that I’ve made. Much like people who form New Year’s resolutions and find their determination petering out by the end of January, I often find myself second-guessing, and ultimately changing my mind. For example, I came into Geneseo as a biology major and music minor on the pre-veterinary track, hoping to eventually make my way into Cornell. But by the end of my first semester, I found myself wondering whether this was really the path I was meant to be on. From the age of five, I’ve always had an intense love for animals (although I’m pretty allergic to almost all of the furry ones), and I always thought that being a veterinarian was the best way for me to maintain a connection to them while also helping them. By my sophomore year of college, however, I had switched not only my major and left the veterinary track, but I had also switched my minor. While reflecting on all of this, I find myself asking: What caused my change to the English major and to the sociology minor? And what made me give up a lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian? On another note, how do I combat the habitual behavior of poor time management? And what’s the reasoning for my constant procrastination-stress cycle, anyway?

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Collaboration and the Tuners

While analyzing the way that my group accomplished our blog post, I at first thought to compare the experience to use-castes and the ways in which members of different castes make specific contributions to their comms. Upon revisiting the thought, however, I realized that the teamwork and collaboration that took place while crafting our post was more reminiscent of Syl Anagist’s tuners.

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Art as History (LIVE IN ART?????? part 2)

During the work on our collaborative blog post, my group really ruminated on the use of art as a medium for history. Sabrina Bramwell, specifically, had a lot of really good points about stone eaters as both artistic forms, and as retainers of history and knowledge. I thought I might just expand on the presence of art within Jemisin’s trilogy, as well as its relation to stone eaters, because everything truly blew my mind (LIVE IN ART??????).

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Magic Systems: The Restricted Section

Thinking about world-building and the different components necessary to flesh out a story before the actual drafting process begins brought me to the concept of magic systems. In The Broken Earth, orogenes’ magic system relies on energy within the earth or, as we eventually realize, on the “magic” which exists within all living things. But what makes a magic system successful? Is it the scope? Or is it the rules and limitations which inhibit the system?

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Building the Stillness

As someone who has always been interested in reading and writing, the intricacy of Jemisin’s fictional world in The Broken Earth really threw me for a loop. How do you create a world? What makes it actually work? Where do you even start? It just so happens that lately I’ve been watching some author panels at conventions like Comic Con (Nerdy? Maybe so.), and these questions seem to come up quite often. While every author’s mind works differently, and various processes will certainly work for some while not for others, I was really interested in hearing what popular authors had to say. Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Kingkiller Chronicle series, talked about the aspects of fantasy world-building. J. R. R. Tolkien, Rothfuss explains, included rich languages in his creation of Middle Earth because he loved language. That was what interested him. Rothfuss also said in this video (around 23 minutes in) that he himself likes to focus on currency:

“I’m a geek for currency. And so my economy, I actually have it all worked out, and that filters into my books… you’re a geek for something. And if that’s, like, herbology, or, like, the nature of the night sky, or plate tectonics, it’s like, revel in your geekery, roll around in it and make that a part of your world, because that will be really interesting to the people reading because you’re interested in it.”

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Like Mother, Like Daughter

I already spoke about parent-child relationships in this post, but I thought I might talk more in depth about the relationship between Essun and Nassun, since that is what a majority of The Broken Earth’s narrative is built upon on. While we spoke in groups one day, Patrick drew my attention to the parallels between Essun’s stoning of Rennanis and Nassun’s stoning of the Antarctic Fulcrum, and I thought that the similarities between these two places and what Essun and Nassun decided to do to them also illustrated interesting parallels between mother and daughter. The more I considered the series as a whole, the more examples I was able to pick out from the text that exhibited similarities between them. Rennanis and the Antarctic Fulcrum serve as only one example.

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Solarpunk Syl Anagist

I found the idea of Solarpunk to be fascinating when we talked about it in class. It’s a huge contrast to the dystopian and pessimistic themes we often see in popular literature or film. But, that said, I’ve also found a lot of posts and articles that are quick to point out the line that still exists between Solarpunk and utopia, with perfect balance and equality. According to Wikipedia (excuse my choice of source, please), however, a utopia “is inherently contradictory, because societies are not homogeneous, and have desires which conflict and therefore cannot simultaneously be satisfied.” Tumblr user @brazenbotany explains the distinction below:

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“Blockbusting” in the Stillness

In my midterm thinkING essay, I discussed the ways in which Jemisin has drawn upon other areas of my education, like topics from a class I’m currently taking about queer nineteenth-century literature. But, as I’m a sociology minor, the ways that her books drew upon sociological concepts really interested me. Last semester I took a course about race and ethnicity. Since Dr. McCoy told us very early in the semester that The Broken Earth is a giant allegory for racism and its consequences, I’ve been thinking about what I learned from sociology and how it applies. A concept that always seems to come to mind and that I didn’t give myself time enough to flesh out in my essay is “blockbusting.” Here is the definition from blackpast.org (I’ll try to sum up the idea, but the site has a nice outline of the concept and its consequences if you’re interested): “Blockbusting refers to the practice of introducing African American homeowners into previously all white neighborhoods in order to spark rapid white flight and housing price decline.”

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Parental Figures as the Driving Force

Something that both interested and perplexed me while reading Jemisin’s novels was the way in which parenting was portrayed and approached by various characters. Alabaster, for example, comes off as quite aloof when we first learn that his Fulcrum-bred children have been used as node maintainers. He acts very different in Meov with Corundum, however. The way in which adults approach relationships with children does not seem to be static throughout the novels. Instead, it shifts in response to past experience and in response to situation or condition, and it also seems to be a major driving factor for the plot of the books.

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“Death of the Author”: Lovecraft vs. Jemisin

While reading about H.P. Lovecraft and his racist and anti-Semitic beliefs in class, I was struck with the memory of a concept that I learned about in the first literature course that I took at Geneseo. “Death of the Author”  is an essay written by Roland Barthes in the mid-nineteenth century about his concept of the same name. As a short summary of Barthes’s points, he argues that the consumption of art does not need to be tainted or even affected at all by the beliefs and intentions of its creator. Instead, individual readers can exert their own agency over the work. Continue reading ““Death of the Author”: Lovecraft vs. Jemisin”