origami penguin

Stickie introductory post

Characters frequently appearing in this drama:

  • I - your humble narrator, sometime writer and poet (preferred pronoun: he/him/his)

  • Janni - spouse and writer (preferred pronoun: she/her/her)

  • Eaglet - nom de internet of our child, formerly known as TBD, not yet a writer (preferred pronoun: they/them/their)

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/632515.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

“To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes.”

I’ve been reading a lot of long erotic fiction this summer,* most of them coming-of-age stories. This is a haphazard list of some I’ve most enjoyed, or at least enjoyed enough to point to people, even with caveats and/or content warnings. Most have a teenage male** protagonist who is, or starts out as, a high-school or university student -- some extend through or beyond college, and a couple start with young adults.

* Continuing tense deliberate, as it’s only this weekend that the weather has finally broken and we’re no longer looking at high temperatures pushing 100F and mountains hazed with wildfire smoke. IOW, we have been stuck in the longest-ass summer ever.
** I’ve not had much luck stumbling across female-centered equivalents that are well-written. I am probably looking in the wrong places. Any assist here welcome.

The final relationship configurations (FR) and content warnings (CW) often contain spoilers. Any story described as having a teenage protagonist can usually be assumed to include underage sex (never with anyone younger than 14), even though I don't tag that as a CW. I especially enjoyed the five marked > .

> Model Student, aroslav/Devon Layne (6 volumes) -- Talented, depressive art student grows into an artist and into a group marriage. The sex is hot and never repetitive, and the core relationship is balanced with all parties involved with each other (the larger polycule isn't--some core members also have outside girlfriends).
FR: open FFFM/F quint
CW: dom/sub, with the sub recovering from abuse by her previous masters; depression; art school

> Opus One, Ryan Sylander (1 volume) — Three first-year conservatory students grow into their musical talents and into their relationship. The inspired musical choices aren’t essential for appreciating the story, but it gains layers if you are familiar with them. I admire the author’s restraint when it comes to relationship choices.
FR: open MFF triad
CW: grieving

> Bec: Life in the Maze, BarBar (4 volumes) -- Preteen/teenage artist comes into her own while trying to sort out which of her problems are caused by an inherited neurological condition, other mental health issues, or having been body-checked into the back wall by sudden adolescence. Bec herself is strong and funny and vulnerable and could carry the story even if it wasn’t pulling its weight. No sex in this one, though there are sexual situations.
FR: n/a
CW: violence; bullying; mental-health issues; creepy-ass hallucinations; descriptions of past abuse and attempted present abuse

> Runaway Train, Jay Cantrell (1 volume) -- Former pro baseball player (who blew out his shoulder in the minors) reconnects with a woman he knew as a kid during an autograph session before her stadium concert, and sparks fly. The music industry threads seem to resolve a little easily, but the relationship ups and downs and sideways jukes of two adults with significant histories behind them is hot and sweet and entertaining.
FR: exclusive MF
CW: violence; past alcohol and drug abuse

> Blizzard, Redsilver (1 volume) -- Maritime architectural draftsman is rewarded for helping a faerie with three college-student girlfriends. I love how the characters methodically work through how the magic spell works, how to live with it, and how to break it -- I strongly suspect the author is influenced by Diana Wynne Jones.
FR: exclusive MFFF quad ("Team Girlfriend!")
CW: magical mind control

Rewind, Don Lockwood (1 volume incomplete, but it stops shortly after the end of a major episode, so it’s not a completely sudden-crash ending) -- A middle-aged New England burnout is reincarnated as his 14-year-old self for a do-over, and this time he actually asks girls out. Oh, and starts that band he used to dream about.
FR: serial monogamy
CW: none

Home for Horny Monsters, Anabelle Hawthorne (4 volumes, still in progress) -- Sensitive, traumatized webmaster inherits a sanctuary for mythical beings that’s been targeted by a local coven. Sex and adventures and growings up ensue.
FR: harem of sexy monsters
CW: sex magic; demonic control

An Ordinary Teenage Sex Life, bluedragon (6 volumes plus many side-stories, am reading v1) -- California teenager has lots of sex while growing up.
FR: unknown because I haven’t finished, but plot flags suggest an eventual open MF as part of a polycule
CW: sibling incest; wretched opening chapter (which honestly you should just skip)

An All-American Teenage Sex Life, Max Geyser (2 volumes, still in progress) -- Midwestern teenage jock has lots of sex while growing up.
FR: sleeping around between between bouts of serial monogamy
CW: major character death

A Well-Lived Life, Michael Louks (10 volumes plus sequel series, on pause mid-v4) -- Midwestern teenage nerd has lots of sex while growing up. This may have the most acute psychological insight of any on this list, aside from Bec. (On pause because the protagonist was making the same mistake yet again and I wanted something fluffier just then.)
FR: again, haven’t finished, but so far it’s been lots of sleeping around without formal polyamory
CW: sibling incest; major character death

Stupid Boy, G Younger (9 volumes, last volume in progress) -- Midwestern teenage jock/model/actor has lots of sex while growing up. The story and the protagonist are frankly ridiculous, as in total soap-operatic, but the writing itself is anything but histrionic and the result is wildly entertaining.
FR: a fuckton of sleeping around punctuated by attempts at serial monogamy and formal polyamory
CW: soap-operatic plot; dubcon incidents

Spitfire and Messerschmitt (ch1-42, ch43-end), Gina Marie Wylie (1 volume) -- Texas teenage jock is set up with a spitfire jock girlfriend by his sister, and things expand from there. This was a reread of a deep influence (I find traces of it in most of my erotica) spurred by finding out that it had finally, after over a decade, been completed -- the new material has very wonky pacing, though. (Note that the second link above has all the chapters, but the early ones have been badly bowdlerized, as in passages snipped out without editing any transitions.)
FR: open MFF triad > exclusive MF
CW: sibling incest; violence; major character death

The Outsider & A Flawed Diamond, Jay Cantrell (2 volumes) -- California teenage/young-adult jock recovers, after being exonerated, from spending 18 months in maximum security, with the help of new friends and girlfriends. There’s a six-year time-skip between volumes. The first one and half volumes are excellent, but the second half of aFD can be summed up with “too much baseball, not enough girlfriend.” I actually read all the baseball games, which puts this above just about any writer but Mitsuru Adachi, but they turned out to be mostly skippable.
FR: exclusive MF (characters attempt a few permutations of open clusters and triads that all fail due to character trauma and the protagonist’s preference for monogamy)
CW: attempted rape; prison life; professional baseball


Subject quote from a review of The Village, Robert Ebert. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/759058.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

Where are we again?

So tonight is ... Rosh Hashanah? What the -- ?

It has been a year of feeling disconnected from all the usual markers of the passage of time, with work and school and social cycles all off kilter. I'm not Jewish, but the High Holidays have been a part of my family's observances for more than half my life -- one of three New Years that we observe. This is the first time where it has utterly snuck up upon me unaware of just how much time has passed.

Time (points at wristwatch) is out of joint (points at elbow), to quote Stoppard.

We're also now five weeks into second grade. Again, how'd that happen already? Our three-family pod imploded, but it's much more stable with two, and both the parents and kids are happy with the way things are working (well, aside from having to do remote learning at all). The district is saying things are staying all remote through at least the end of October, and we're glad they're not pushing harder.

And I start a full-time job the day after Yom Kippur. Finally. After months of drawn out interviews and even a couple positions put on hold after final interviews, four hours after an initial interview I had the job offer. It helped I had a heads up from a former coworker, saying she and others had enthusiastically endorsed me when my resume crossed their desks. But still. Whirlwind.

Have a sweet and happy new year, all. L'shana tovah. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/758904.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

CSA share blogging #6

This week, our share had:

1 green bell pepper
3 heads garlic
5 small red onions
3 apples
1 zucchini-sized yellow squash
baggie fresh basil
baggie roasted chilies

Which order deliberately buries the lead at the bottom, because the big takeaway here is IT’S ROASTED CHILE SEASON, BABY.

Had not been planning for that, so have nothing in mind for them yet. Half of one made a nice layer in my lunchtime sandwich, and that may use up more in the days ahead. I was thinking of making a pot of chili this weekend, but roasteds aren’t my first choice for seasoning that. Well, whatever, there’s time. The squash should fry up nicely, and the bell could join it—and if it’s a Thai curry, the basil as well.

Also, we’re now nicely stocked on garlic and onions, yay. I should reach for them more than ginger, now.

---L. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/758748.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

CSA share blogging #5

Oof. I've forgotten about posting this -- gone the same wayside of all posting here. But I did at least have notes for what I meant to post.

Of what remained of the share from three-weeks ago, the canary melon turned out to be green-fleshed, with a texture crisper than honeydew. Most of the slender cukes went into sushi rolls (Janni has been teaching herself to make them) with the leftovers joining a salad.

Two weeks ago, the summer dearth continued (enough of one, there was no share last week). We got:

six small purple potatoes
basket of tomatillos
a couple nopales (prickly pear pads)
a nickel-bag of fresh basil
two very small yellow summer squash
three heads garlic
four yellow peaches

The purple potatoes were exactly what it says on the tin, purple skin and flesh -- and while I'd like to report they had a refreshingly different heirloom variety flavor, as far as I could tell they tasted just the same as light-skinned white potatoes. The basil was quickly used up, including in salads and a Thai curry dish (that included the squash), the peaches were yummed down quickly, and the tomatillos and nopales were traded to the neighbor in exchange for, um, that may have been the cherry tomatoes? I've forgotten already. Ah, well.

Tomorrow I'll post about today's share, if I remember.

---L. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/758431.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

“There are twelve scrolls of army rolls / And scroll after scroll has father’s name.”

The seasons, they roll on.

Eaglet starts second grade next week, remote learning only for the foreseeable future, beginning two weeks late. We’re podding with some friends: a boy we bubbled with for play-dates for a few weeks, earlier this summer, and twin girls (one of whom has been engaged to the boy since kindergarten). We’re hoping learning together will provide enough social to make the format easier for Eaglet to deal with, compared to this spring, and that the teachers have gotten enough experience and coaching that they’re better. Certainly, the thrice weekly park play-dates (with a different friend) and weekly pool play-dates (with Eaglet's oldest friend) over the last month has helped Eaglet a LOT, even with social distancing (which for the kids amounts to, no actual rough-housing).

Academics, I’m not worried about, much — a summer of dealing with video game messages has made Eaglet a more confident reader, though they are still a reluctant reader of books. Math skills seem to have remained steady and deductive skills improved, though it may seem that way because they’re also getting better at expressing themselves. A fair amount of Chinese has been forgotten, though, despite twice-weekly tutoring, and the school is not offering immersion remotely, only lessons.

As for myself, my quarantine hair has gotten to that awkward stage where it's too long to stay neat — parted in the middle, it frizzes out above my temples — but too short to usefully tie back. Also, the fiction writing part of my brain has woken from its years-long coma -- I've polished a couple old stories and now reworking three old trunk novels in parallel. This has put translating (and Chinese lessons in general) on the sideline, alas.

Roll on, seasons, roll thundering on.


Subject quote from Ballad of Mulan, Anonymous tr. mine. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/758226.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

“back they rang to sing in Byzantium; / the streets repeat the sound of the Throne”

For Poetry Monday, a late and distinctly Modernist poem by the artist formerly known as the brother of the more famous Jack:

Symbols, William Yeats

A storm beaten old watch-tower,
A blind hermit rings the hour.
All-destroying sword-blade still
Carried by the wandering fool.
Gold-sewn silk on the sword-blade,
Beauty and fool together laid.


Subject quote from The Vision of the Empire, Charles Williams. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/757837.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
La!, celebration, frivolity, joy, dancing

“i’m queen watevra wa’nabi / the least evil queen in history”

Questions I had not expected I would ever have to answer, but should have #57: “Daddy, do I have a bee on my head?”


Conversation while I told the myth of Iphis and Ianthe, at the point where they had fallen in love:

Me: One thing about the ancient Greeks, they were jerks about the idea of boys marrying boys or girls marrying girls.
Eaglet: *winces* (softly) Uh oh.
Me: (silently) *mental fist pump* We’re doing something right here.
(aloud) I know, right?


For the first few weeks of getting an allowance, two years ago, Eaglet spent everything as soon as they got it, but quickly realized that the better toys were worth saving up, and since then had always kept a decent balance so they’d always be able to buy on the spur of the moment. Two months ago, however, we allowed spending on in-game purchases (“I’m not going anywhere I can spend it anyway!”) and it’s back to zeroing it out as soon as possible. Mainly this is used for Roblox avatar decorations and Minecraft adventure packs.


Subject quote from Not Evil, The Lego Movie 2 soundtrack. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/757713.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
canyon, mesquite, saguaro, desert

CSA share blogging #5

Of last week's share, the parsley went into a pasta sauce, the honeydew was yum with the limes, and the jalapeños are … waiting … for us to remember them … and do something … Slice 'em up and pickle? I don't really like jalapeño flavor all that much, compared to the anaheims and poblanos that are regional staples.

This week, we remain in what they call summer dearth:
1 canary melon
5 small red potatoes
2 ears sweet corn
basket of okra
3 yellow peaches
2 heads of garlic
2 slender cucumbers

Corn and potatoes were immediately dinnered, and the okra was traded (we all hate the stuff) with the neighbor for a can of tuna. The remaining peach is in the fruit bowl, and the garlic and cukes are in their respective storage areas. The melon is chillin' in the fridge, probably for tonight.

On the home front, we've lost a whole round of cherry tomatoes to birds -- need to put up netting -- and two cantaloupes the size of softwalls continue to ripen. We planted tepary beans (a desert-adapted native heritage species) in the plots where the corn was, and they sprouted this week, just in time for the resumption of thunderstorms. Not sure there's enough for a full meal's crop, but we'll see how it goes.

---L. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/757364.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

“deep / As life or as death, revealed and transfigured, may shine on the soul through sleep”

For Poetry Monday, another MacNeice, this one written in London in 1944:

Prayer Before Birth, Louis MacNeice

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.


Subject quote from A Channel Crossing, Algernon Swinburne. Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/757009.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.