Ha! I just realized this has become a thing. Every half a year or so, I log on to this blog and realize it's been half a year since I was last here.
Well, it's good to keep on a schedule.
Speaking of schedules, I am taking some big steps. That's right! I'm thinking about maybe sometime in the future possibly perhaps doing a lot more not only with my writing, but doing more with my outreach on social media, including upping my Instagram and BIG things for my YouTube. Whew! All of which necessitates making a schedule, which is another thing!
Boy, it's lucky I don't have to worry about this blog for another half a year. :D
So upcoming, I have a few things on the burner, such as:
-Changing my YouTube channel name (there'll be an announcement video, so keep an eye out for it like you do all my videos, what, you don't watch my videos, you didn't even know I had a channel, wait who am I again, ok FINE you can find the latest video at the bottom of the page if you haven't seen it yet, but you have, right??)
-Learning how to interview people for said channel. This is a thing I've been meaning to do for some time, but I'm not technically minded, and...computers are hard, ok? Let alone trying to figure out interview questions. And, naturally, while I've been hemming and hawing and putting off learning this, someone else has gotten there and I'm going to look like I'm copying them, story of my life. But I can't fault the dude who does it, he does a good job. You can find the channel I'm talking about here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsJy2QK_rqoJca9sE4X6zSQ
-Getting caught up on channel videos. I have a ton of ideas, only about half of which I can film due to location/casting restrictions at this time, but the other half I should be able to do. When the kids don't have off school. Which, because of nasty winterness, has been happening a lot. So I have to concentrate on getting back on schedule *sigh*.
-Writing! What is this strange thing called writing? Ok, so here's a rundown of my sad sad story of not writing lately: I have to write in the morning, I just can't do it at any other time. I'm fortunate enough to be a stay at home Mom since my third kid was born, and he went to a sitter for the first few years. Unfortunately, his sitter retired at the end of last January, and she was so dang affordable that I couldn't place him anywhere else. Fortunately, I was able to find a preschool that I could afford and get him in at the beginning of last school year. Unfortunately, it's only for a couple of hours in the morning, and I have other things to do. Even if I set that time aside for writing, I'm just not the type who can get anything written in so short a time (and that includes things like travel to and from the school, so...). Yep, not a lot of writing since then. I'm basically counting down until August when the next school year begins with FULL! DAY! KINDERGARTEN! (Confetti, brass band playing Stars and Stripes Forever). Any writing I've been able to do at all has been YouTube scripts. BUT once I get a bit more caught up...
-Continuing the point of the last hyphen (above), which got off on a tangent. *ahem* Writing! I'm developing a story series I'm going to submit to an online publisher and see where that goes. That's...it, really. The entire point I was trying to get to above.
-Play workshops. Maybe. It's been a couple of years since my last one, and my home theatre has undergone a sea change; now the board is comprised of people I mostly don't know. I submitted a request to continue workshops, and possibly expand it to other playwrights (a venture I would take charge of). I'm very excited about the possibility, but I have to wait until they have their meeting and get back to me with their decision. If so, great! If not...I'm not sure. I don't have an "in" with any other local theatres, and with being busy with kids, that could be tricky. But I have a couple of ideas for options, so we'll just wait and see on this one.
Did I mention my channel? :D See, but here's the thing. There's so much I want to do with that. I want it to be like a hub for writer stuff. Anything about writer stuff, I want it to be found there. Big plans! BIG PLANS! I don't quite know how to make them all happen, but pfft, pesky details. I have high hopes and dreams. Maybe, once the kids go to school, I can figure it all out and get the ball rolling.
Here's hoping it doesn't squash me.
(Ha! Squash! As in ball! Ha! See, because squash is a ball game I'll let myself out).
Oh hey, blog. You're still here.
I mostly talk on Twitter these days, to be honest. But sometimes there's something that weighs on you and it's going to take a bit more than a tweet to get it out. And you've got to get it out.
We're all insecure about something or another. For writers that insecurity usually is in regards to, wait for it, their writing (WHAT). Note I'm not talking anxiety or anything like that, that's an entirely different kettle of granola, no, just your basic everyday insecurities. But even those come in varying levels, and some can be very hard to deal with.
Mine is singing.
Not singing generally, but singing in front of other, how shall I put this, what we might call, humans. The only humans, the ONLY humans, I have ever felt comfortable singing in front of are my children, two of whom are getting too old to want to listen to me, which leaves but one. Don't grow, buddy. Don't grow.
See, singing is, for me, more than just your average insecurity. It's deep. SO deep.
The weird thing is, and I think honestly this contributes to it in an even weirder way, that I believe I CAN sing. I believe I'm quite good at it. I just... don't know if other people would feel the same way. And I'm afraid to find out.
It is, essentially, to my thinking, the last thing I have. The last thing I can put out there. I'm a fair actress, I'm a good writer (I have my insecurities about both those, no mistake, but not nearly at this level). I've made YouTube videos with my mug on them, front and center, age lines showing and that hits hard. But I put it out there. People know me now. They have seen, and heard, at least to a degree, everything I have to give.
What if they don't like it?
I have nothing left. This is my last chance. My last chance to prove something.
I've been challenging myself lately. It's the hardest thing I've done in a long time, but it's important. I have to do this sometime. Sometime might as well be now. So, I've been joining in a karaoke game on the Twitters. It's themed, so every week you can sing part of a song on that theme. Good clean fun. Or it's supposed to be.
I still can't video myself singing, that's far too much, so I point the camera in the other direction; but even so, once I press record on my phone, I instantly tense up. It takes multiple takes to get anything. Though I concentrate as much as possible on relaxing, just the knowledge that I'm doing this worms into my brain and I find myself tensing up more and more through the song until I'm practically squeaking. Actually, I don't usually get that far; the minute I hit a wrong note I curse at myself and stop recording. Then I attempt to calm down, only to then start the torture over again.
It shouldn't be torture. Like I said, I LOVE to sing. I love it! And I know I can do it... and I think that's the problem.
I'm being a perfectionist.
I know better. Or at least, I know better in nearly every aspect of my life. But I'm expecting too much. That's where the deep (DEEP) insecurity comes in. Because the insecurity won't be satisfied with just doing well. The insecurity wants me to be SPECTACULAR. It wants me to bowl people over. It wants them to go, "WHAT WOW THAT'S YOUR VOICE WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING".
But that hasn't happened.
Logical me goes "Yeah? So? It's hardly the worst. You've gotten some very nice compliments, and besides, isn't the important thing here that you've DONE it?" But that's Logical Me. Logical Me rides in control most of the time, thank Spock. But when it comes to singing, it loses that control. The Insecure Me takes over, the horrid, annoying, Veruca Salt part that stomps and screams "I WANT MORE!" It isn't satisfied. It probably never will be.
Did I mention that part is stupid? It is. I recognize that. I've gotten lovely compliments as I said, mostly along the lines of "what a sweet voice". But Veruca doesn't WANT a sweet voice. Veruca wants an AMAZING voice. When Veruca gets those comments, it goes into a corner and sulks, leaving the rest of me feeling empty and depressed. Last week I was depressed the ENTIRE REST OF THE DAMN DAY BECAUSE I SANG A STUPID SONG.
Did I also mention, this is a really really big insecurity?
I listen to the others who join in. Sometimes there might be a flat note, but they take it in stride. They do it. They sing the damn song and put a smile on their face. And they. Are. Amazing. Every last one. They get accolades and applause gifs and they deserve every bit of it, I give them plenty myself and mean every word I say (well, I rarely say stuff I don't mean). I think for my part though, it contributes to my problem further because I end up going... why can't I do that? Why can't I just sing the damn song? Who cares if I hit a flat note? Who cares if I don't sing it perfectly? Who cares if the neighbors are listening (which I know they were this morning, I heard them moving around which means they certainly heard me belting out "Colors of the Wind" and cursing every time my throat got closed up, which it did because I knew they were listening so AAAARGH)?
I care. I CARE. Not only that, I care so much, I get frustrated and angry and nervous and shaky (really shaky), which makes me more upset and pretty soon I'm not just shaking but crying and yelling at myself, why can't you DO this??
Have I mentioned, this is a really really REALLY big insecurity?
Things that deeply rooted won't be changed overnight. This is going to take a lot of work. But I'm going to keep going. And perhaps, someday I'll sing a song just right and share it with the world and all will be well and the sun will shine bright and cartoon birdies will sing and rainbow unicorns will come to the house and munch on the handy kettle of granola in the corner (so THAT'S what that's for).
Ok, so that's not LIKELY to happen. But you know what IS, at the least, a definite possibility?
I'll sing the damn song.
And I will survive.
There are a lot of writing "rules" floating around on the interwebs. Dos and don'ts, top ten lists, stuff like that. Advice, most of it good or at least well-meant. Problem is, writing advice, as with so much else, is subjective. Not everything applies to everyone.
That said... I'm making a list. :D
It's true, I've learned a few things as I've gone along. They may or may not be dependent on my personal situation; it's hard to tell from my little corner of the world. I'm writing them down here in any case. At least, all the ones I can think of. There are probably a lot more. And there probably will be more in the future. If I'm lucky. Hey, learning is important. Means I'm getting better. I hope.
Enough digression. Here we go, all the things I've learned (that I can remember right now)!
1: Put. Your Ego. Aside
This one's tricky for a lot of writers. It's also the most important.
I do NOT mean to imply that writers are egotists. Far, far from it. Most writers I have been fortunate enough to know are models of self-effacement and even low self-esteem.
It's our work. Our work comes from some dark corner of our minds that we're not completely familiar with, but it's still ours. We love every single piece like it's our baby. Our characters and their exploits are so near and dear to our hearts that it's hard to take criticism.
This can be good. That fierce love and pride is what can cause us to fight for our work, to get the courage to put it out there in the first place, because we know more than anyone the possibilities and deservingness of our stories.
It's also what causes us to fight for our work past the point of reasonableness. "It's so good the way it is" is what keeps us from making those hefty edits that are so necessary. Yes, it probably is good. But then again, it's not. And you know it. Put your ego aside. Do the hard part. Your story will thank you.
2: Kill Your Darlings
Which leads me to my next point, and it's a popular one. To be honest, I'd only ever heard the phrase and thought it meant killing off your characters, which nearly every good (and bad, and mediocre) writer does anyway. Just recently, I found out it meant cutting out your favorite parts/lines of the story, if that's what you have to do. Well, duh. Doesn't every good (and bad, and mediocre) writer do that???
No. They don't. Which is not a good thing.
That line? You know the one. The one that's just SO GOOD and you can't bear to cut it... but it just doesn't seem to fit in the story... but it's SO GOOD and you can't bear to cut it?
No, really. Cut it.
You don't have to throw it to the four winds, to drift into the bottomless chasm of empty nothingness (and stuff); just stick it on a separate doc. Or file. Hold on to it, and refer back to it every now and again. You may find a home for it in another story. In fact, this is more than likely.
3. Edit, Edit, Edit
Another related note, but killing your darlings is only one aspect of good editing. I'm talking the nuts and bolts; fixing typos, adjusting sentence structure, even changing words. Editing is so important, and it's amazing how many writers neglect it.
I've read a lot of indie writers' work lately, much of it self-published. The work is largely unedited, and I mean obviously so. It's tough. Indie writers are often paycheck-to-paycheck sort of folks who can't afford to hire an editor.
But here's the thing. The work I've read... well... none of it's bad. Not really. The stories are amazing. Even if they aren't wholly original, the author's voice is. There is so much potential.
The problem is, the stories are nearly unreadable. I end up wasting valuable time in hopping about in the story to try and find another reference to a certain passage, in order to try and make sense of it; or in deciphering what I think an exceptionally bad typo is supposed to mean. Editing is the final touch. Editing brings clarity. I stick with it because I can see the story beneath and I want to support my fellow writers and give them a chance. Your average reader isn't going to do that.
Do them a favor. Make it clear. Don't just carve the statue; smooth it out when you're done. In return, they may just want to keep reading.
Ok, this was supposed to be my editing day, and boy does my play need it. I’m on a deadline; submittal by the end of August or it’s out of the running for another year. BUT a) at least I’m halfway there, and B) I kind of can’t concentrate. B is bigger because it’s far more important.
I’m one of those people who has always been comforted by the fact white supremacists (or Nazis; either way, call them what they are, always call them what they are) are fringe. That they’re not the majority by a long shot. That the majority is made up chiefly by older folk, so hope comes with the newest generations.
But that’s not entirely the case.
All the above is true, but only to a point. Let’s break it down:
Older folk? Yes, there are a lot of older folks. But there were far more younger folks involved than I expected or cared to see (far more folks involved than I care to see generally, even one is more than I care to see).
Fringe? Yes. Yes, they are still a fringe. It was horrifying to see hundreds gathered together like that, but remember they came from all over. They weren’t just from that area. So there still aren't that many, they're spread out. But the other thing to realize is that there are more than you think. According to the current stats provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 917 hate groups operating in the U.S.
And those are just the people who feel free to be open about it.
Now. I don’t want to dwell on the bad stuff. That’s not the point of this post. It’s important to know all the above. Information is important. Information is key. White supremacy is a cancer. And the first step to eradicating cancer or any disease is knowledge.
So what do we do about it?
I’m don’t have all the answers. I may not have any answers. But one thing was painfully obvious from the march.
They want to make us angry. More than that; they want us to get fired up and attack. They want to make us be like them.
Just that. No.
But how can we stay calm; or at least, calm enough to put our anger to work constructively? How can we when we see those pictures, hear those eyewitness accounts? That car driving into that crowd. I never knew Heather Heyer, but I can guaran-damn-tee she didn’t want to be a martyr. All those injured. The crowd turning and beating on the group of young kids by the campus statue (late teens to college age, yes, I call that KIDS) simply because the crowd was large and the group was small. Those kids had more guts than any member of the crowd.
Mob rule does not give you courage. It amplifies your cowardice.
Those kids were raised to be kind. They were raised to understand that differences do not equal fear.
Your upbringing is far from the only factor to who you become (and you are continually becoming, the process never ends). But it’s a good place to start.
(Quick note here, this post is about improving the world generally, and about how to start. There is more to it, much more that we can do, particularly in this case. This is just. A. Start.)
One way I’m doubling down, doing something about this, is to teach my kids. The older two fairly well understand the basic concepts of equality and kindness; but it never hurts to remind them, and frame it in as many different ways as possible. I don’t tell them all the news. They’re kids; they don’t need to worry about it. But I do tell them some (only tell, I never show video or photo if it’s disturbing), because I want them to understand how complicated the world can be, and how humans do not always do the right thing (and that things don't get any easier when you get older). I will be telling them about Charlottesville. I will be teaching them about white supremacists. I will be underlining how hate and fear so easily turn to evil. How mobs amplify that too.
Just because other people are doing it…
My youngest is too little to understand. But he’s not too young to learn. Three is typically an age where the child becomes more aware of themselves as a “self”; here’s where things like jealousy and selfishness start to come out. I’m going to take the time to explain to him, simply, how things like sharing are good.
This one is a special case because he’s my stereotypical “boy”; any sport with a ball, getting outside, running and playing, all in his wheelhouse. He also likes guns. And fighting.
I haven’t anything against that to a point. Even as a grown-up, there may come a time when you need to fight. There may even come a time when you need a gun, though I sincerely hope not in either case. But both of those are far from the only ways to solve a conflict. So, a) I’ll concentrate on teaching him other ways to fix problems, and b) also redirect his attention to a different, more peaceful, game (the easier of the two options with a three year old, but the first option will have its time soon enough).
I’ll teach these things to my kids; and I’ll live it myself. We all of us make judgments based on appearance. All of us. It’s hard-wired into our tiny monkey brains. But we don’t have to be ruled by it.
Recognize each other’s differences, and appreciate them. The world would be such a boring place if we were all the same. Spread acceptance. Spread niceness. Here are some ideas. Feel free to add:
And that’s pretty much it. Yes, some people are just plain jerks. But most people aren’t. And the kinder we treat each other, the more we will see that.
People are complicated. We are capable of great depths of hatred and evil. But we are also capable of dizzying heights of kindness and altruism.
They’ve sunk into those depths. It’s time for the rest of us to climb.
Here's a little story I wrote... hm... about three hours ago. :D Not my usual turnaround time, by any means, I assure you. But there I am, a smidgen of time to write, sitting and wondering where the ideas are.
...And then I'm wondering WHERE the ideas ARE...
Long story short (very short, as you'll see below), I figured it out, and wrote it down. Enjoy! I hope.
I fly free. I dance. I play. I answer to no-one. I am mine.
I live nowhere and everywhere. Everything that ever was, and ever shall be. The cosmos is my playground. I speed through that which is not known, light and laughing.
My brothers and sisters pass by, a shower of color unseen. “Come with us!” They call. I rush to join the crowd. Games, races, hide-and-seek. My turn. I choose my hiding place well. They will not find me.
It will not find me.
But suddenly—oh, how quick does fortune turn! Disappear one by one, gone, gone, gone. They are being taken. Fear is not mine to know; yet I stay, and remain a secret. It will not find me. It will not have me--
No. No, I push back. I struggle. I resist. I scratch. I claw.
The prison is built around me, raw, undefined, yet innate and impenetrable. There is no use. The creator has caught me at last.
Scream sound, new and always. I have become. I am.
The fight is done. I sink to the ground that appears beneath. Hard dirt; I breathe it in. My surroundings mist. They will become, too. In time.
But now the world quivers and reels. Swift as this new consciousness takes hold, it slips away. Terror grips me; I battle once more, harder, this sweetness, this addiction, this life I had never wanted but cannot do without. It is for nothing. Slide away it will and it does, for so the creator wishes. My only comfort that I shall reawaken, someday.
When I am ready.
I haven't been on here in a while. It's not my blog, it's me. The election hit me hard and didn't feel like posting for a while, and then... I didn't feel like posting for a while anyway. This is hard!
I won't post about news stuff here. Many others are covering that far better than I, and it's not hard to find. But one issue has been hitting me hard for quite some time. It's not election related, or at least wasn't until recently. It's about the refugee crisis, particularly in regards to Syria. I've been following that with an ever-sinking heart, and most recently read about the little boy found lying in the street (there's a video too, but...no. Oh, gods, NO). Eight years old. Legs blown off by a bomb. Crying for his father.
I was useless for the rest of the night. I was shaking, I was so upset. And half the reason I was upset was not the tragedy itself (that was the other half). I was wondering, where are all the posts? Where is the outrage on behalf of these people, these human beings who never asked for this, who, even if they attempt to escape this atrocity are met with coldness?
It inspired me. I wish I could do more, but I can't manage to pack up and volunteer, and right now I don't even have any money to send. So, I'm a writer. I started thinking about it, and this popped into my head. I don't normally write poetry, but, well... rather than blather on any further, here is what I came up with. Enjoy. Or don't. Either way, I had to get this out. Thank you for listening.
A mute shell, dust-haired
He sits in a daze.
The world's heart breaks
This angel, new symbol
Of suffering, pain
Pouring out what should be
A permanent stain
Until the news is not new
It's been done before
And he's Nobody's Child
He lies in the street
Looking up at the sky
Legs that might have been his
Rush on by.
"Pick me up, Daddy!"
He cries to the air.
The world again looks in
For a moment of care.
What a poor little man.
Family torn apart
Mother and sister dead?
I'll give him a "heart".
That should just about
Even the score.
And he's Nobody's Child
They sit in their new "home"
For that's what it's called
Poles strapped to canvas
Too quickly installed
Winter is coming
No blankets to give
Little water, little food
All they ask is to live.
In a strange country
With its own problems, own poor
And they're Nobody's Children
Why do they have to come here at all?
Why did they try to escape, to leave?
Why don't they stay and try to repair
Their own problems, so they'll have none to grieve?
It's not up to us
We're not like them
We live in a place good and true.
Yes, we're the smart ones
Bad luck for them
It sucks...but what can you do?
My child sits within that daze
My child lies upon that street
My children sit inside that "home"
Hoping desperately for heat.
Your children trapped within those
Borders wishing for escape.
Your children cling to flimsy rafts,
The only chance they can take.
A tiny twinge of circumstance,
Situations are reversed.
Would they agree to help us
If we needed it the worst?
The world belongs to all of us
We live and love the same
All actions have their consequences
This is not a game.
The stakes are high and very real
And no-one's keeping score.
These are Everyone's Children.
So there's been an uproar on Twitter lately (when ISN'T there an uproar on Twitter?) regarding a certain book. Many have added their two cents regarding this issue, so I'll keep this brief. But I do feel the urge to speak up. Quietly. In my head. Writer, after all.
(Disclaimer: I have NOT looked into this with heavy scrutiny. Even just the hint of conflict tends to leave me freaking out. If you want to learn more, check #TheContinent on Twitter. Please! Do! It's important to be well-informed).
Here's what I do know:
The book in question has come under recent fire, accused of having racist depictions of certain characters. This has, predictably, sparked a hailstorm of criticism from parties on both sides, and also from somewhere in-between. Many people are pointing out this is the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to publishing and, well, life. Many others are pointing out that the accusations may be unfounded or blown out of proportion, given that many accusers have not in fact read the book.
Here's what else I know:
The post originally accusing the author posted portions of a private message, which itself was the original way in which the subject was broached from accuser to author. The public post did not contain the author's original name, so there was there the distinct possibility that she would not know about the accusations, and resulting storm, until it inevitably got around to her through grapevine activity, by which time it had already done quite a lot of damage. She even received death threats (well, "suggestions" that she commit suicide. Which, you know, is a TOTALLY huge difference [yes, that is my sarcastic voice]). She has, for the time being, retired from Twitter.
Now. Here's my take:
I am not defending this work. I fall into the camp of "read the book, draw your own conclusions", yes, BUT. If more than one person (and, also yes, it was more than one person who had actually read the book making said accusations at the end of the day) finds evidence of racism in your work, then there's obviously SOMETHING there. Therefore, although I still recommend reading it (and honestly this firestorm makes me more likely to read it than before because I'm curious now) I am most assuredly not defending the work.
Racism is a horrible, lurking, ever-present parasite in our society. It does exist, if not as overtly as once before; though at times it seems to be held back only by paper-thin walls. It exists in the publishing industry as much as anywhere else. Therefore, it can certainly exist in writers' works.
I do believe, and respect, the woman who posted the initial accusation. She was moved by frustration with this continued state of affairs in the publishing industry enough to make her post about it, so even if she could have done it in a better way, her heart was in the right place. Although I haven't seen it myself, it's pretty much a certainty that she has gotten her share of the anger going around. This is NOT right. Incendiary topics tend to bring out anger, leading to ugliness shielded by the anonymity of online. But hatred begets anger begets hatred begets anger... deep breaths, people. Deep breaths. Let's get some coffee. Sit on comfy sofas. Discuss this incredibly important topic like it most certainly should be discussed. Give it the attention and respect it deserves. And give people the respect you wish to receive in return.
Which also applies to the writer who has been accused. Yes, to her! Consider. Writers, by our nature, are good at considering other people's thoughts and feelings. Just imagine: what if this had happened to you? It could. Oh, sorry, what's that? You don't have racist qualities in your works?
Are you sure?
Because she clearly didn't think she did either.
We as writers tend to get very close to our works. We know them so well; worked so long, so hard, on them; they're our babies. We know the characters like we know ourselves. If someone even slightly, EVEN SLIGHTLY, doesn't understand them, we get instantly defensive (and kind of weepy).
Chances are good, when this author received a message out of the blue stating "your book is racist", this is how she felt: Of course that's not true! Those are strong characters! I know them, I love them, there's no way they're caricatures in any way! Well, it's just one person's opinion. Not everybody's going to like my book. And that's ok, they're entitled to their opinion.
That was her mistake. Because racism is a very heavy accusation. It's one of those rare exceptions where you can't just go "that's your opinion and I appreciate it". Ideally, we should use any criticism of our work as an excuse to look at it with a critical eye ourselves; and racism, or anything of that nature, is deserving of our serious consideration.
It's a lesson for us all. I've been looking at my own work recently with an eye toward diversity, and I don't like what I see. The good thing: I write plays; for which the characters, other than genders and sexes, can pretty much look like however unless it's important to the plot in some way, which it usually isn't. Also, I write short stories; but even then, I don't get into description a lot. So go ahead and cast my works however you want to! Make Hermione black! Then again: make her white. If you don't specify her race in the first place you're not "making" her anything.
But in my head, it's different. On careful consideration, I'm finding that I tend to think of these characters as, generally, white. It was a shock to me to realize that, but it's true and I need to acknowledge and deal with it. Even worse, white males! Gleeps! White males are fine, but overwhelmingly so?? Really, me? So I've been directing a beady eye at such depictions. They may just be in my head; but that's not to say it might not bleed through in the work. (Honestly, I do lay a certain amount of blame on the media. I watch a lot of TV and movies [waaaaay too much] and diversity is creeping along, and things are getting better, but your leads are still going to be white males a lot of percent of the time. These things can be insidious. They creep into your head and your imagination, and you may not notice them right away; you simply write what you "see"). As aforementioned: a lesson for us all.
So, yes, that was her mistake. And that's the key word: mistake. She made a mistake. A very serious mistake; but a mistake. And mistakes can be learned from.
Anger will give you some temporary relief, but it won't fix the situation. All it will do is drive a fellow writer further into the depths of insecurity that each of us harbors. We know what it's like there. Why would we willingly pull out our torches and pitchforks? It feels all wrong, in a way like a witch hunt; you burn the scapegoat at the stake, you feel better, soon you need another. Which there probably will be. Racism needs to be acknowledged, yes: but not like this. There's already been enough anger, enough violence. Let's stop know. Let's stop here.
How about forgiveness for a change? Forgiveness, and help. Let's work with her to get her through this, so that this doesn't happen again. Let's help her spot those problems in her work, specifically instead of generally; and let's understand that it may in fact be too late for this work (it's due out in May 2017, and delaying it or no is in the hands of the publishers at this point). Let's hope she learns from this (after this uproar, I have no doubt that she will); let's welcome her back in to the community, and help her make her next work all the better for those lessons learned. Instead of sitting around yelling and complaining, let's make change happen. Let's work together to make it happen.
For further thoughts on the subject, I refer you to the following:
Kaelan Rhywiol, regarding marginalized writers and how this furor may make them feel: http://kaelanrhywiol.wordpress.com
S. Hunter Nisbet, regarding the sorry state of the publishing industry and how this is more than just one writer's fault: http://SHunterNisbet.com
And last but certainly not least, Misa Sugiura with the first of two parts, regarding the best steps the accused writer can take to acknowledge her error and move on: http://misa-sugiura-sgrn.squarespace.com/blog/
(And to repeat, check out the hashtag #TheContinent on Twitter; and formulate your own opinion.)
Got my Royalty Report today. I wasn't expecting anything; after all, it's a Christmas play, and this report is for January through June. But apparently, somehow, there was a payment that didn't end up on the last report and now it's on this one...
Long story short, someone else performed my play! :D
(And, another instance that just shows I should keep on top of this because it was in the next state over and I totally could have made the trip to see it. D'oh).
The erstwhile troupe performing on this occasion was the Drama department of Lewis Cass High School in Walton, Indiana. A high school! The kids these days with their spirit and their moxie and their "Let's put on a show"! I immediately googled it and found a few articles. Here's one from the Pharos-Tribune (http://www.pharostribune.com/news/local_news/article_7bf4144a-c300-595c-bff1-37ec3bb2084e.html)
A review from the school paper, the King's Courier (http://lckingscourier.net/8471/ae/the-family-fruitcake/)
And, another offering from the school paper, a "come-see-our-show" bit written by one of the young ladies in it (http://lckingscourier.net/8430/features/a-nutty-family-play/).
Yes, I have full links. Weebly is still giving me problems on creating hyperlinks. SIgh.
So at least I can get the jist from the articles how it went. There were a few changes, which with a 20 member cast and a lot of wackiness I think is par for the course. Scott became Sarah; the triplets became twins; Christine Carter became a man. There were a few other changes which I potentially love: David Dodson's problems also involved wigs and possibly a rubber chicken? I would have liked to have seen that in action! Emma and Pat Jr. rolling in the auditorium aisles? DEFINITELY would have loved to have seen that!
Other changes I question: Ripley and Francie fighting over the remote to a Hallmark movie... when did that happen? That's definitely not something they'd do. And Luke reading a Bible verse after he comes out from under the table...that DEFINITELY did not happen. I'm not necessarily okay with that. I kept this secular for a reason; because there are more than enough Christmas plays out there that deal with the religious end (and of course it's, in modern times, a holiday with a religious bent, ain't no denying that!). I am not myself religious; and thusly my personal family doesn't concentrate on the religious end. I know we're not alone; so I wanted something for both the religious families and those who aren't so much to enjoy.
The meat of the play was kept intact, from what I can discern. A play is a collaborative process by its very nature, and everyone has something to offer. So most of the changes I can be cool with. I just wonder at a purportedly non-religious high school putting in a Bible verse. If it had something to do with the character, ok. But... it didn't.
Okay, that's enough about that. I don't want to crab on one thing, I want to concentrate on the good stuff, and there is plenty of that. From the articles, it looks like everyone had a great time, and did a great job, and I am so excited about it all! I couldn't resist checking out the FB HS Drama page. They've got pictures! I snagged one! Thanks, all you guys and gals! This is only the third time someone has performed this; but even if it was the two hundred and fifty-third (fingers crossed) I would still be over the moon. Hopefully I'll have another one for you guys in due time. ;)
It's an honor just to be nominated. :D
Errin nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which means I get to answer a bunch of questions and then pass them on to the next unfortunate soul MWAHAHAHAHA!
What is your Favorite Movie/Book Quote?
There are a few, like there probably are for many. One of my current favorites is Boromir's line from LOTR (movies; I don't read the books, but that's a subject for another post), and no, it's not anything to do with skateboarding into Mordor, which would have been badass.
This line I find applicable in daily life, sadly so often:
"Yes, there is weakness. There is frailty, but there is courage also; and honor, to be found in men. But you do not see that."
I know so many people who say things like "people suck" or "humans are jerks", or stronger language, usually after reading comments sections. I don't get it. People are amazing! Look at the people who rush to give you virtua hugs after posting a mopey comment like that! Yes, they can be jerks, but they can be sweeties also! (Note: Waiting on the "One Does Not Simply Shred Into Mordor" meme).
If You Could Wake Up and Suddenly Be Amazing at Any New Skill, What Would it Be?
Ernnnnnh. I'd like to be amazing at something, but to me it's not worth anything if I haven't put in the work to get there. If I could somehow wake up and magically have ten years' experience under my belt, well that's different. Still, a tough question, as there's a lot. Right now I'd say piano. And coding. I've tried my hand at both, and check in with them sporadically, but I still haven't learned chords, or really remember CSS... like, at all. :( Ooh, and martial arts. :D
If You Could Live Anywhere in the World, Where Would it Be?
I don't know about live; but I'd like to visit a crudload of places. Tops on that list is the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic. Saw it on Rick Steves, I think, and fell in lurrrrrrrrve.
Plotter or Pantser?
(For those who don't know, this means, do you take the time to outline your books before you write, or do you "fly by the seat of your pants", as it were).
I NEVER outline. Stories never ever ever go where you want them to anyway, so I don't see the need to waste time; and for me it erases the fun of jumping in and seeing where the story takes you. I love being surprised. And if I'm surprised, hopefully that'll increase the possibility of my audience's being surprised/intrigued.
Do You Believe in Aliens?
Apparently I'm in the minority here, but no. Do I think it's possible? Yes. Do I believe it? No. Yes, the universe is huge. But the possibility of life arising anywhere is so incredibly slim in the first place. And it already happened here, so that decreases the possibility of it cropping up elsewhere. And finally, even if there is life somewhere out there, the possibility of us making contact, in a way that we can understand no less, within our collective lifetimes is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-lotta-o's slim that I don't honestly see the point in wondering about it too much. Life here is what we need to be concentrating on, IMHO. :D
Someone Insults Your Favorite Movie/Book/TV Series, You...?
Eh. They're entitled to their opinion. ...Which is wrong. Wrongwrongwrongwrongetywrong. But they're entitled to it, just the same. I'm no stranger to unpopular opinions, at least in the geekyverse, so I don't think I'm one to pass judgment on others.
Vampire or Werewolf?
Yeah. I'm sick of both. I'm just. Ugh. How do these things stay so freaking popular? Especially lately! Werewolves in particular don't have a lot of complexity to their mythos, and vampires have been done to death (HAH). Not to mention zombies DONOTGETMESTARTEDONZOMBIES
If You Were King/Queen for a Day, What Would You Do?
Watch my back. :D
What Would Your Superhero Name Be?
I put this question to my kids, and they came up with "SuperMom"!
Which is why you never ask your kids. I'd love to say something like "Captain Awesome" or "The Awesominator" or "The Awesome Saucier", but in reality it's probably more like "The Awesome Pedant Well Maybe Not Awesome Necessarily Let's Just Say Somewhat Cool Which Might Still Be Inaccurate".
If You Could Have Dinner With Any Historical Figure (Dead or Alive), Who Would it Be?
Hey, cool! I answered this question already this week. Not a historical figure per se, but she should be. This week, I was also interviewed by the fantasticoness Aila Stephens, so I'll just link to the interview here... No. Not here. Weebly's acting up. Sigh. Okay, here's the website link: http://ailastephens.wordpress.com.
What is the Meaning of Live, the Universe, and Everything?
I could say 42, but that's kind of obvious. Cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Which I can't have, or if I do, it has to be organic, since I'm apparently allergic to synthetic hormones and it's this whole thing. So the universe hates me. Thanks a lot, universe.
That was fun! Ok, so now I'm supposed to single out peeps to answer questions of my own, but it looks like the entire internet has gotten there first and I'm the last to know. So I'll just make these up and anyone can have a go if they're feeling it:
1. Are you good at growing plants? If so, what is the secret of your strange magic?
2. Cheese or Pepperoni?
3. What is your favored zombie-killing weapon?
4. Yo Gabba Gabba: innocuous kids' show or harbinger of the apocalypse?
5. What is the stupidest thing you've ever heard someone say? (This includes yourself. Yes, you have to be honest).
6. What is the air-speed velocity of the unladen swallow?
7. Which do you consider Tchaikovsky's greatest work? And none of this "I prefer Stravinsky" jazz crap, ya hippie.
8. Grover or Elmo?
9. Is there a spoon?
10. What's the greatest insult you've ever hurled at someone? (Three weeks afterward, in your head, totally counts).
11. Is life but a dream? And, if so, why would we want to spend the entire thing rowing a boat?
I didn't know you.
I should have. I had plenty of opportunities, plenty of chances. Could have sent a message. Could have dropped a "Hi" on your wall. Could have picked up the phone, for god's sake.
I thought about it. I did. Plenty of times. I thought, we're family. That means something. I should let you know I'm there for you, whatever you need, I'll help. I thought, definitely, I should get in touch. Maybe you won't respond, but I should at least try.
But I never did. Talked myself out of it. Said, no, they won't want to talk to you, they barely know you. Just let them go on as they are, they'll be fine.
But you weren't fine.
Now it's too late.
The chance is gone. I can't get it back. You definitely can't either. Just. Gone.
I'll miss you. You'll never know how much. We may not have known each other, but we were family. That means something. I say it twice because it's worth repeating, again and again. Blood. A part of the same.
I can't even be there to see you off. Can't afford it. Ha, what does the world care if they don't get paid? Perhaps it doesn't matter. Either way, you're gone. It would have been better if I'd bothered with the trip before all this, huh? But that's the thing. I'd have liked to have made the gesture, even if it is too late. To be there with the rest of your family. To fully show how much you mattered to all of us, and to get some small comfort out of seeing how many others show up to pay their respects (judging by the state of your Facebook wall, that will be no small number).
But no matter where I am, I'm thinking of you. You have taught me a lesson I wish I never had to learn. I'd trade it all to have you back. Too soon. You didn't have your chance. Everyone deserves that chance.
I'll move on. But not completely. Never completely. Because now there is a hole in my life. It sounds stupid until you experience it, because that's what it is. This is a new reality. I'll adjust.
But not yet.
I didn't know you. But I'll miss you.
Writer, dancer, actress, mother, me.