Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2012, pt.28: Fiona Lehn

The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2012 
by Fiona Lehn

2012 brought much turmoil and change in my life, and I found myself reaching for both old comforts and new inspirations to carry me through.

In The Time of Gods, the 2012 release by American singer-songwriter Dar Williams, contains songs written from the perspectives of both gods and humen. The album contrasts Williams’ touching personal experiences as she approaches middle age with bleak and beautiful glimpses of the world through the eyes of immortal gods, some of whom possess the power to exact vengeance on those who wrong them, and others who can simply witness the world in which humans dwell. An inspiring and joyful piece of work from one of the world’s finest contemporary songwriters.

James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, by Julie Phillips (2006), portrays one of science fiction’s most decorated and acclaimed writers as a complex, passionate, and talented artist in a way that makes it impossible for the reader to remain indifferent. (I’m in love with Sheldon now. You will be too. Trust me.) An amazing life, documented with meticulous care.

Pink’s 2012 release, “The Truth About Love”, contains both insightful revelations and hilariously shameful confessions, all related to her evolving definition of love. This is a feminist work, through and through. Pink redefines the word “slut” to include both males and females who enjoy casual sex in “Slut Like You”; she examines the power dynamics between male and female in “Try”; (by the way, if you haven’t seen the compelling video for this song yet, wait no more. It’s an adapted Apache dance—beautiful and passionate—some of Pink’s best work ever.) she stops the show with “Walk of Shame.” Honest, humorous, raw— I have enjoyed watching this artist evolve and highly recommend her latest work to anyone who wants to hear quality pop music that takes risks and focuses on more than selling units.

Quiet! The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain (2012). Being an avid introvert, I choose solitude over socializing at least 50% of the time. While I have always acknowledged and enforced my need for solitude, I have lost friends and endured prejudice because of it. Cain not only understands the difficulties introverts experience in an extrovert-dominant world, she actually advocates for introverts! For anyone who has an inscrutable introvert in her/his life, for educators and policy makers, Cain’s work is the stuff revolutions are made of.

Onward, then, towards our own revolutions. All the best in 2013!

Fiona Lehn made her first professional sale of fiction in 2008 when “The Assignment of Runner ETI” won third place in the Writers of the Future contest. From 1993 to 2006, she co-produced several CDs of her original songs and performed across the U.S. From 2007 to 2011, Lehn served on the editorial collective of Room, Canada's oldest feminist literary magazine. Though Fiona grew up in Stockton, CA and is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, she lives now in Vancouver, BC as a Canadian citizen. Aqueduct Press published her novella The Last Letter as a volume in its Conversation Pieces series in 2011.

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