Binjas – FTW!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned China Miéville before – here, in fact – a new speculative fiction love for me. Since picking up The Scar, I’ve read Perdido Street Station, Looking for Jake (short stories) and now Un Lun Dun. And The Kraken is sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to finish Middlemarch.

Un Lun Dun (UnLondon) is an ‘other-London’ in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland,  Neverwhere (and various other stories, none of which I can recall right now) where there’s a whole other city/place below/between/just-out-of-reach of the real city, where freaks or aliens or whatever live, and everything is just a bit different than the city most people live in.

Miéville grabs with glee this license to mess with the world.  He is a meticulous world-builder, and never misses an opportunity to add a bit of crazy fun to every situation the intrepid heroes are faced with. He gives us things like upside down cars that are used as boats (which are called ‘car’ but with the word upside-down on the page, it sounds something like ‘rack,’ but the best way to pronounce is ‘turn your head upside-down, then say car’), trash is alive (and can be pets), librarians are explorers, houses are made from defunct technology, and giraffes are the scariest animals.  And – my personal favorite – the binjas.  Seriously. Trash cans (bins in the UK) which are actually ninjas. They keep their weapons inside their cans and have the perfect camouflage. Binjas. Freaking. Awesome. The illustrations are also done by Miéville, quite the talented guy.

Miéville wrote this book aimed at a YA audience, so – at least in the beginning – it doesn’t have much depth. But stick with it, it will be worth your while. There’s  a video interview (which you can see here, sexy & smart – woohoo) where he talks about the book -why and how and stuff.  This book interrogates the quest model so common in sci-fi books (whether for kids or adults) and pokes some fun at it as well. The best thing about this book? It’s fun.  He’s clearly having a blast writing it, and it is fun to read it.

If you love sci-fi/fantasy books, and you’re looking for a light read that isn’t boring and lame – or you’re looking for a way to ease into the dark craziness of Miéville – read this next.

Random Thoughts, not by Jack Handy

I am feeling love. I’m receiving this love from art. Art=love, I think. And art & love are connection. And eating is connection. With the earth, with people, with the other living things on the earth.

And yoga is connecting with your self, connecting your whole self. Loving your whole self. And that is an art. It feels like art. Because the connection is creation. and creation is art/love.

So many words to express a different, tiny permutation of the same huge THING. Some call it God. I’m going to call it Love.

When you Love something (love, the verb) you feel connected to it. It’s when you feel you’ve lost connection that you feel unloved.

Whoever grew your food gave of themselves to the plant, which produced that food. So that person, that farmer, is loving you, connected to you.

And whoever wrote that song and sang it (or only sang it) – painted, sculpted, drew, glued, knitted, sewed, ad glorious infinitum – is reaching out for connection, looking for love. And you hearing that song and loving it, feeling connected to it, are accepting that love.

“In My Mind” Music Video from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

Money is a poor medium for the transmission of love. Hard to see the love (though it is often there) in the greenback, or the numbers on the screen. Not much love felt while shopping at WalMart, but New Seasons is full of people with love to share.

This is why the crayon-drawn card from the 4-year-old, with horrific spelling and a dog that looks like a circle, is more prized than the pretty Hallmark w/the singing frog. The love is the only thing clear in the hand-made card, unobscured by glossy paper and microchips.

Twitter seems a strange place to be collecting such love, but it has increased the love I’m receiving by leaps and bounds.

It becomes art when a stranger can recognize the love in a song or painting or poem or quilt.

I want to turn my money into love. That’s what I’ve been doing lately without being conscious of it. Lots of donations at Christmas. And after. And buying Art & supporting artists that have been spraying love all around them.