As much as I like to claim I’m being a writer, I have grappled with saying anything of my own about Ferguson. Because I have so many goddamned feelings of anger, helplessness, grief, frustration, incredulous disbelief, sadness, and hopelessness. And I simply don’t have the eloquence and patience to cover all my bases and form all of my own brainstuff into anything that would even touch how spot-on this post is. I am in tears. And I’m really grateful someone out there put the right thoughts and words together for me.
Originally posted on I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog:
I am a white person.
I am occasionally a little bit clueless.
I am sometimes a bit racist.
Okay, now, hold on, everybody! I’m not, like, proud of that statement. The only people who are proud of that statement … I actually don’t know anyone who is proud of that statement. White supremacists? Hitler youth? No one wants to be racist. That’s why people begin statements that are usually super racist with the phrase “I don’t want to sound racist, but…”
(Tip: If you start a sentence that way, you are almost always going to say something incredibly racist).
I don’t want to be racist. No one actually wants to be a racist.
But I have been known to say or do clueless, ignorant, or hurtful things before, because of a subconscious prejudice against people who don’t look like me.
Do I enjoy the experience of owning up to that…
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I’m so thankful for my husband, who actually listens to my shit, who respects my boundaries and limitations, who encourages my dreams and endeavors. I’m also thankful that he’s nothing like his parents.
I’m blessed to have clean running water every day, electricity, heat, food, shelter, relative health, my mom, family, dog, and cats. I’m grateful to the marrow of my soul for who I am and my own mind, creativity, and intelligence.
And I’m so very humbled and thankful that I was given the life that I have, that I don’t live in constant fear and unfair judgement for the color of my skin or my sexual orientation. I’m even grateful for the awareness of my own privilege that the internet and social consciousness has granted me.
All that said, I am this goddamned close to finishing off the vodka and scrounging around for that 2-year old half pack of cigarettes I believe is still tucked away on a shelf in my garage. Holy shitballs my inlaws drive me up a wall.
If there is a god out there, please grant me the patience, kindness, and compassion to deal with my husband’s father with grace and friendliness for the next however many days. Because I really just can’t.
A proud, self-proclaimed luddite who sneers at computers and insists people only use the internet and technology for games and porn, but can’t manage to navigate his own way around with a goddamned road map no matter how many road trips he takes. He carries himself around as some kind of old hippie far-left liberal, but he’s literally one of the most racist, sexist, bigoted people I’ve known. (“Hey, it’s just a joke. I can say ‘dago’ and make jokes about Jews and Indians because I don’t really mean it and I think we’re all equal” is a flying crock of shit in my book.) And the condescension about my work just rankles. Every. Single. Goddamned. Time. He’s. Here. It’s always, “so, ya still working on that same piana in your garage? haw haw…” (I don’t tune in my garage, and rarely have big projects longer than a couple weeks, but he seems convinced that my “job” is just one endless hobby project while my husband brings home the bacon.) (he would probably shit a brick to know that even in a bad year, I’m the breadwinner with my
Once, my husband made the mistake of mentioning to him that I write. Yeah, I wanted to punch him for that. Because then I got to hear about “heaving bosom books.”
The worst of it?
I am TERRIBLE at having people in my space for more than a couple hours. I can count on one hand the number of people I can tolerate in my living space. So all of the annoying shit about my FIL gets magnified a hundred times, and I just want to crawl into the closet, and I’m crabby as hell because I feel so put-upon, and then I feel like a horrible, awful person for feeling put-upon and being so ungracious, and then I feel ANGRY and RESENTFUL for having to feel GUILTY about feeling put-upon and crabby about people being in my home.
My husband, god love his soul, says that every one of these experiences is an opportunity to learn about ourselves. That is one of the million reasons why I love him, why I’m glad we stuck it out through the bumps and potholes. I can ramble this crap to him and he understands and appreciates that I’m telling him this so that he knows it’s not him that I’m uncomfortable with. He puts his arms around me to accept me, and to receive the affection he needs. Then he pulls my toes and hands me a hard cider.
- The Harry Potter actor really is a wizard. Of rap:
- From the reddit files, here’s a classic comment thread illustration battle between /u/AWildSketchAppeared and /u/Shitty_Watercolour, in response to a video short that I have to admit still makes me laugh. Reddit isn’t all trolls.
- Of particular relevance to me personally, and totally unsurprising to me, Piano Tuning May Actually Change the Brain. Of course, this might only apply to tuners who tune aurally, as the brain clicks over to this weird puzzle-pattern/listening mode when you’re tuning completely by ear.
- Of course, piano players also have different brains. P.S. – there’s a bit of Valentina Lisitsa in that article. Love her so much.
- And finally, how friggin’ cool is it that NASA has a page dedicated to science fiction space technology terms for writers?
Speaking of writing, who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year? Don’t listen to haters. Don’t read those shitty blogs bitching and moaning about how everyone and their brother is a “writer” now, and how “you’re not REALLY an ‘author‘ unless you are paid to write,” blah blah fucking blah. Chase those words, my friends. Make imaginary people (or cats or aliens or bookends or whatever) dance to your whims. I’ll see you on the other side of it! (Yes, that’s CC-code for “I’m actually working on shit and I’m going to do the NaNo dance, too).
OH SHIT I ALMOST FORGOT!
Sometimes I feel like we need a special badge or icon for those of us authors who solemnly swear we won’t go psycho-apeshit on bloggers/reviewers.
- Books are NOT babies. Once they’re out there, they’re not “you.” By publishing, you have consciously set your stories loose into the world as a product to be consumed, criticized, turned into cage lining, whatever.
- Negative reviews, even of an author rather than their books, does NOT EQUAL BULLYING. To even imply as much is an insult to actual victims of bullying.
- Pseudonyms are okay for anyone. Including bloggers and reviewers.
- Butthurt is a totally normal and human reaction. Internet “stalking” can be argued as a fairly common and human activity, so long as you keep that shit to yourself. This fucked up shit that Kathleen Hale did? NOT OKAY.
- Reviewers do not destroy writing careers. Writers destroy their own writing careers.
Knock it the fuck off. Please.
I became awesome through work, and focus, a tiny bit of talent, and a massive amount of persistence. And let’s not forget about luck. That’s the key point. Without that, nothing happens right in the world. I started out awful. And I ended up awesome for all of those reasons, and anybody can do it, all you have to do is devote your life and your mind and your heart to it, and you’re on your way going in the right direction.
-Neil Diamond, from 10/16/2014 Reddit AMA