Sunday, April 27, 2014
Egregious Word Choices
I love it so hard!
I'm struggling through writing Ursula's book - the third in the trilogy - so the arrival of these made a fine incentive. Also, readers have started telling me how much they like it, how they're excited to read book 2 in November and asking about Ursula's book. Makes me feel like part of a team.
I don't quite recall in which book I first read our word of the week - egregious - but I remember the moment clearly. A woman in the book was described as having an egregious bosom. I had no idea what that meant, so I looked it up. And was only further confused that it turned out to mean remarkable or extraordinary. (Interestingly, the online dictionaries offer a negative connotation as the first meaning and I wonder if this is a more recent migration.)
Being something like 10-12, I didn't understand how a woman's breasts could be described this way. But it bothered me, leaving me feeling both embarrassed and vaguely ashamed, the way the joking male leers can do.
I suppose in some way this was my introduction to the male gaze. I'm almost positive the book was by Piers Anthony. As sister Word Whore Allison Pang has talked about, I stumbled into reading a whole bunch of Anthony's books, largely because I read most any fantasy novel I could lay my hands on. The well meaning librarians back then may have had no idea what lurked behind those colorful, almost cartoonish covers. It took me a long time to understand that he wasn't writing for adolescent girls combing the shelves for fantasy. His fantasies were of another sort entirely - and quite sexist.
That said, I'm glad they weren't censored, that the librarians didn't deny me access. In many ways, those books heavily influenced what I write today. The Xanth books in particular remain bright in my mind, with their tricks and riddles.
And now, here is a big box of my fantasy novel. Chock full of my gaze and my sort of princesses. An amazing review from RT Magazine said:
Andi isn’t your ordinary must-have-a-prince-to-save-me type of princess. She makes wise choices, all to save her people from the harsh realities of battle, and even when faced with horrible options, her course is one of truth, loyalty and love.
They are a remarkable pair, one who celebrate individuality with a partnership that will last for a lifetime.”
If living well is the best revenge, then writing fantasy my way surely must be the best answer I can give.