Reply to this meme by yelling (or any other form of writing) "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.
Just to make it interesting (and to make it INTERACTIVE, dammit) I'll give you the WORD... and then the meaning under a cut...
I did one of those stupid Facebook quizzy things the other day, something that gave you a New Astrology sign which was kind of a meld between the Western and the Chinese astrology characters. I'm Cancer in the traditional astrology listing (and yes, my birthday is JUST around the corner) and I am a Water Rabbit in the Chinese branch, born in the year 1963. So I turned out to be a Cancer Rabbit, which is kind of oogy on the face of it, actually, but never mind that - the reason I bring all this up is the first sentence of my profile which starts out something like this: "Home lover meets home lover..." Apparently these are the two most homebodyish of all the astrology signs anywhere and I got a double whammy of it all.
Hey, is anyone surprised? I am the kind who loves the security of my own four walls. I enjoy travel, hugely, and seeing new places and letting myself be awed and astonished and delighted by sights I've never seen before - but sooner or later I reach a point where I turn and look over my shoulder and sigh and yearn for my own bed.
Heaven?... my armchair by the window, a good book in my hand, a cup of coffee on the table, a cat in my lap, and the door locked against the world. Nothing can touch me here, nothing can harm me. I am safe. I am cradled in my cocoon. I am home.
Anyone who knows me at all well knows that if there was a way to mainline coffee through an IV I would probably sign up on the spot. People who make plans with me instinctively plan for a coffee stop. My husband's marriage proposal included a promise of coffee in bed every morning (although that is probably an act of self-preservation).
At the Glasgow WOrldcon a few years back - bless the Brits, I love them dearly, but they don't GET coffeee - I was sufficiently ill-caffeinated to go into full-blown cold-turkey caffeine withdrawal.
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Alma and I am a coffee addict.
When I first met the Internet, one of my very first points of contact was Usenet - and, specifically, a newsgroup called misc.writing, where I met many good friends I still have to this day, where I met the man I would marry, and which finally broke my heart by going to the dogs in a spectacular fashion. When I finally left that place for good I cast about for a new Usenet home - and found a newsgroup called rec.arts.science.fiction.composition or rasfc. It had the same sense of community which I had and lost in misc.writing; it also had a bunch of writers whose names I recognised, and whose work I admired. SO I settled in.
I've been there for nearly a decade now.
Many of the people for whom I came there no longer frequent the place, and there are one or two denizens who - to put it politely - drive me NUTS. There are a bunch of people whom I've killfiled because they raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels if I don't. But sometimes even the trolls are hilarious - there was one guy who swanned through maintaining that he was a writerly genius and posting samples of such exquisite idiocy that I printed them out and read them to general hilarity to my real-life writing group (it was almost as good as the Eye of Argon....) and who then, when his inadequacies were pointed out, proceeded to analyse all the other writers in the group and provide samples of how HE would have written their stuff. He did me; his rewrite of the opening scene of "Spellspam" ended with an immortal. "OH MY GOD! TERRORISTS!" which so blatantly missed the point of both my story and the genre I was writing in that I shrieked with laughter for days and even now when I want to make a certain kind of point those four words come in mighty handy...
But rasfc has its problems. There are times when I fell less welcome than usual, when nits are being picked at a level that raises my hackles, and where certain avenues of discussion can be treated as verboten. I find myself scanning the group these days rather than paying close attention. I haven't left yet, quite, but if I hit a single speedbump in the road of Usenet which might make access a little more difficult or expensive...rasfc might well be my last Usenet presence, ever.
What I said about coffee, it also applies here. I am an addict. I love the smell, the feel, the weight, the presence of a book. I love losing myself in a good book and only surfacing for air hours later, having spent those hours in some other world, far removed from my own. Reading has been a joy ever since I taught myself to do it when my mother refused to read a childhood favourite to me yet again so I went away and figured out how to do it by myself; our house has ALWAYS been full of books, and I cannot conceive of a home that doesn't have them. In fact, house-hunting in New Zealand years back, we went into a house which was otherwise perfectly fine but which gave me an oogy vibe and I couldn't, at the time, QUITE figure out why - until I realised that *there were no books in the house*. Not one. Not a bookshelf. Not even a Bible on the nightstand. NOTHING. I could not live in a house whose spirit had been rendered that sterile. We did not buy the place.
Currently I have bookshelves in two of the spare bedrooms, in the upstairs corridor (brand new ones, just put in), in the downstairs sitting room, in my study, and in a whole room with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on every wall. I had books, Deck had books, and when we married we combined them; we also didn't stop collecting books that were now OUR books; I swear to God we have 5000 books in this house. We can open a library if we wanted to.
So that covers "literature" in the sense of "things to read". If you meant "literature" as the genre, the kind of story that is regularly published by the New Yorker, I'm afraid I am not "cultured" enough to really enjoy what is essentially (cover your ears if you're squeamish) often no more than literary masturbation. I want my story to have STORY, I want to go away from it feeling as though the main protagonist has grown and changed because of events in that story - a couple thousand words (or even fifty thousand words) of "nothing happened" don't do it for me - angst and navel-gazing may have a place in the story as part of the plot but they should not be the raison-d'etre of the story. Good literature should leave me stirred and excited and yes, perhaps even educated about things I had not known before, at some level. Anything that's much lauded but that is too coldly perfect doesn't do it for me. If I wanted a diamond I'll go buy a real one and wear it on my finger - but a perfect gem is not a story. A story needs a flaw to make it real. A problem. A metamorphosis. A piece of cobweb in a corner where a patient spider spins subplots. The most glittering and the most perfect "literature" language of the world can never hide the fact that it is empty of story - it is, in a reversal of an old trope, a set of clothes without an Emperor.
Oh, YES. When can I go back? [grin]
But I've already DONE this one. For a recap: here, here, here, and here - and, for a partial pictorial record, here.