So, This is Happening, I Guess.

We’re all shaken up.

We white folks are shocked, heartsick, sad, angry, embarrassed, and defensive as fuck, apparently.

I’ve offended people about 50 percent of the time on facebook since it happened. By sharing articles that made my white friends uncomfortable. “We don’t appreciate the divisive tone of this article,” they say.

Well, fuckadoodledoo.

We BRED that divisiveness. First by not seeing the racism and hate. Then, by glossing it over because it made us uncomfortable. Then, by “solving” it through rejection of racists and bigots when we could cull them from our lives. Some of us stepped up and opened discussions amongst our fellow caucasians about the injustices and the ugliness. Some of us have black friends, even. We listened to Macklemore and defended his value, pooh-pooh’ing the whole white savior thing. Because there’s such a thing as “too far left” and “too much political correctness.”

You know what? No, there isn’t. Because this isn’t a left-or-right thing, a political thing – it’s a moral thing. Because political correctness isn’t actually a thing. It’s just a term we’ve put on an effort to be conscious and considerate of others in all their variances. It’s “Not Being An Asshole.” Or hey, maybe something like, “Respecting the Comfort Level of Others.” Or maybe it’s just fucking EMPATHY.

And now white people are getting upset because their “help” isn’t being accepted the right way by those who have for generations been oppressed, abused, marginalized, ridiculed, or flat-out murdered. Oh, you don’t like our safety pin movement! “YOU’RE BEING TOO ANGRY AND DIVISIVE WHEN WE SHOULD BE COMING TOGETHER.”

NO.

NO FUCKING NO.

It is not the responsibility of the oppressed to accept our gestures and platitudes and make nice just because we’re finally opening our eyes to what has been going on for generations. It is OUR responsibility to shut the fuck up and LISTEN to them, to let THEM have the floor, to boost their signal, to be their support and not their white saviors. And if that means swallowing our pride when they tell us where to shove our safety pins and white tears, then so be it. We shut the fuck up and listen and get educated on how we CAN help, how we CAN make them feel safer and more supported. Because you don’t get to dictate another person’s trust.

And those safety pins? Great! Wear them to your hearts’ desires! But don’t stop there. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just with your pin you’ve done some great service, any more than you have actually helped cure breast cancer by wearing a “save the ta-tas” tee shirt. If you really care, really want to help, here’s a good starting list of ideas:

UPDATE. @SunnyMegatron on twitter shared this more comprehensive googledoc of sites, lists, and links on how you can get involved and really help: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bIAbOOmyyuZ6PR2hHor4egYSQRt30p9wnTT41A8sPJY/edit#

Illness Random

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before (likely the last time I had a cold), but I suck at being sick. I don’t know if it’s that I’m already hyperaware/hypersensitive/hypervigilant of every. damned. feeling. in. my. body., or if I’m just a wimp (you can assume the latter). But, yeah. People with more serious and/or chronic illnesses have my deepest respect. I can only hope I never have to woman-up to dealing with anything more serious than an occasional cold/flu/knee problems/shoulder problems/anxiety/depression. You know what I mean, right?

Anyway. In an attempt to beat back this crud enough to actually make some money this week, I am staying home and doing the couch camp.  The dextromethorphan is starting to kick in, and I’m trying to decide whether to put on some music or some Newsroom in the background. I’ve actually been bingeing American Horror Story – OH MY GOD what an awesome show! – but I don’t want to miss any of it in my haze. Although, it could be interesting…. No, too weird.

Speaking of great consumables, this fall is full of so much promise! I just picked up the new Metric album, Pagans in Vegas, as well as the new Vintage Trouble album in anticipation for the small-venue concert we’re seeing in October. There’s The Martian this weekend (!!!!), Agents of SHIELD, Crimson Peak (my heart), even Steve Jobs, which honestly I’m only sold on because Michael Fassbender, Jeff Daniels, and Aaron Sorkin. There’s a new Bill Murray thing which may or may not be awesome, and a ton more I’m sure. It might be the drugs and sinus pressure, but I’m even a little excited about that new Peanuts movie. WHAT.

That new Metric album is pretty neat in headphones.

There’s this cat that I guess belongs to my neighbor. It’s an outside cat, and I’ve watched it for two days now just sport-hunting. I know that cat isn’t hungry. It just looks for squirrels to kill. Kind of psychotic. I’m okay with that. We don’t use our fireplace because it attracts squirrels and it pisses me off and bums me out when they fall down our chimney.

I’m also still the tiniest bit sour about a discovery I made a while back. Basically people on the internet being not who they say they are, and at the same time completely disregarding the fact that the people they’re manipulating and lying to ARE PEOPLE. People with lives and feelings and just – what the hell. Why would you go out of your way to not just make up a whole life and fictional family, but to text me directly about your “cheating husband” who never fucking existed, because you knew I had gone through infidelity in my own marriage? What in the hell kind of bullshit is that? Don’t fucking talk to me.

Okay, I feel better.

Dextro messes me up, man. Wheeeeoooooh!

I totally should write some crack. My three main series bunnies have been active in my head a lot lately, but I’m in no condition to seriously tackle them right now. Maybe I should, though. I have this pattern where scene changes sometimes turn into brick walls that I beat myself against and nothing wants to happen until I get the damned sentence right. Usually when said scene change leads me to realize a whole other backstory that ultimately fills out the wolrd much better, but my world keeps expanding and it’s fucking with me.

I gotta stop this blog entry. I’m a mess. Here’s some candy I got from my tumblr feed.

I can't deal with this man's adorable sexiness.

I can’t deal with this man’s adorable sexiness.

 

Vomit

Thoughts and feelings and personal shit. I have ’em.

So hey, why not write a blog. First, though – I could totally use some eyecandy to cheer me up, so if anyone’s actually reading this, make with the hotties, pls kthx.

Thing The 1:

(This one is a lot of rambly bitching and vaguery and probably not very interesting, but it’s helping me to get it out and put it into the internetvoid.)

I’m just so angry right now, over something I let myself get roped into, again. I’m angry that other people are spewing their drama onto me and damaging my calm. I am very, very protective of my mellow. See, I’m a pretty laid-back gal. It took some fucked up occurrences and revelations to reach this point, but for the most part, I’ve hit this sort of zen thing that probably isn’t actually a ‘zen’ thing so much as an understanding I’ve met with Life. Basically, there’s not a whole lot that’s worth emotional strife or negativity. Being kind (not nice, but kind), costs nothing. Everyone has their own shit, and just – just, don’t be an asshole, you know? It’s this kind of outlook that has made me pretty fucking chill about people. It takes a lot to actually piss me off. I sure as hell don’t go looking for it. Maybe there should be an ‘anymore’ at the end of that sentence – I think probably when you’re in your 20s or so, it’s pretty common to grab onto someone or something as a focus for personal angst. Anyway.

So someone is damaging my calm, harshing my mellow, fucking with my zen. And when that actually happens, it really, REALLY pisses me off. Because you don’t fuck with my calm, man.

But what pisses me off MORE than that, is the fact that I fucking asked for it. I was too passive, too much of a goddamned wimp. I failed to say, “no” good and firmly, and this is the payment I get.

This was supposed to be my summer for focusing on ME. For getting myself back into some healthy habits, for restringing my piano, for doing a whole lot of shit that’s been festering in the “to do” pile of my life. And like a fool, I thought I could just take a secondary role in this Thing I got roped into, and it wouldn’t dominate and wreck my mental well-being the way it has.

FAIL.

I think part of why I get so mad when someone succeeds at damaging my calm is that *I* am actually *working* on being calm and kind and mentally balanced. And usually it’s those people who need to be in some kind of therapy and should probably increase their meds and take their own mental and spiritual health a little more seriously that fuck with mine. It’s like the story of my life is that the people who need therapy the most are never the ones that actually go.

GRRRR.

So, there’s that.

Thing The 2

This is the first time a playlist has ever successfully happened for one of my writing projects. It’s weird, but even though I’ve been a musician my entire fucking life (minus five years), I usually find music to be way too distracting for writing. But this time? Hmmmm yummy yummy yummy music stuff.

I don’t want to write about my writing stuff, though, because I’m a little superstitious and I also feel kind of like if you talk about your writing, you’re not writing.

Thing The 3

I forget? Idunno, bunch of piano shit and yeah, I caught the stupid EL James trainwreck and the Kindle KDU author wangst and whatnot. Also, B&N is just a big bucket of embarrassment nowadays, huh?

I need a beach. An ocean to wash away my resentment and frustration.

I’ve seriously come close, twice now, to walking into a QT and purchasing a pack of Kamel Red Lights. Anything you do should have a return – whether it’s money, useful experience/education, or joy. Right now my evenings are largely being wasted on something that is giving me nothing and taking a lot of time and gas and emotional energy. And it’s largely my fault, I guess. So angry. Here’s a couple from my playlist of awesome.

ali

 

Mish to the Mash Update: Rants and Raves

Been a while, I know. I’ve been working on a few large things, both in authorland and pianoland. Which means a lot of head-down working and a long stretch of nothing to show for it for the foreseeable future. I’m a-okay with that. Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end, and the happy part is that I’m actually excited about both writing and pianos again, despite the overwhelming parts.

Apparently, this is the year of Steinway for me. It’ll be interesting. Fingers crossed.

It helps my focus that the internet is so full of shit lately, I’ll say that much. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe stepping away from the internet and all its commentary and bitchery has made me less tolerant of it. I don’t know. What I do know is that, for me anyway, there are bigger things to advocate for and against than author bullies and problematic fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great thing that so many people (myself included) have been educated and changed for the better with regards to racism, bigotry, sexism, and just general human kindness and understanding. But lately, the few times poke my head in on the blogs and tumblrs I usually follow, I get this feeling of stale disgust.

The two main issues I personally have are:

a) We’re really still whinging about GoodReads meanies? I swear to christ, some of these authors and their boohooing need to spend three active years immersed in a large and critical fandom, be put through the wringer multiple times on fanficrants and fandomfail, and have to submit their work to sites like Petulant Poetess. When you put your shit out there, whether as an author, blogger, musician, artist, whatever – you are putting a product out that is no longer in your hands. And when it’s in the proverbial hands of a consumer (reader, listener, whatever), they have any and every right to respond however the fuck they want. Also? That fact is NOT “victim blaming.” Your publicly sold/posted material isn’t akin to “wearing too short of a skirt,” and blog trolls are NOT “rapists.” Jesus fucking christ. That was easily one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a month, and no, I’m not going to link where I saw it.

b) Fictional characters are fictional. And frankly, as a reader, I don’t want to read about or watch perfect people who never say, think, or do anything problematic. While I think it’s important and valuable to point out the problematic shit, the characters and stories are not the author. Just as a story is no longer “our baby” when it goes out to readers, the story a reader gets isn’t the author. That said, I’ve seen both reviewers and authors lose sight of that. All I can say is: if/when I publish a story with some sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or slut-shaming character flaws, when that criticism comes, I will be happy to agree that said characterization is problematic, and that’s kind of the point. No one is perfect – even the best, most socially conscious hero or heroine would be fucking boring and unrealistic as fuck if they didn’t have their idiot moments. And said idiotic moments absolutely should be criticized, not celebrated.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, RAVES.

OMG, y’all. The Martian by Andy Weir. Can I tell you about this? I discovered Andy Weir, not from the bestseller hype, but from a tumblr meme that spoke to my agnostic self. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual jpeg that went with it, but it was basically his short story, The Egg. Go ahead, read it.

…right?

Anyway, I was so blown away, I looked into his other stuff and nabbed The Martian. Funny enough, I haven’t actually finished reading it. Because it’s so damned good, I don’t want it to end. So I keep stopping myself and setting it aside. Seriously. Just read the first page, and you’ll see.

More exciting, it’s being made into a movie for release this fall, with a slew of awesome actors, and I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT OMG OMG OMG. Seriously, THAT CAST. and THAT STORY. GUH.

Speaking of Jeff Daniels, the husband and I just recently finished binge watching The Newsroom. More fantastic writing and acting. And yeah, yeah, typical middle aged white male hero, blah blah see point #2 up there.

I also finally broke into Orange is the New Black, which again – fantastic writing and acting. So many monologues, and they’re all good.

Game of Thrones? What is that? I don’t want to go there. We’re still watching it. I’m not happy about several obvious turns it’s taken, but no one is. It’s all been said, and whatever – DRAGONS.

Okay, that’s about all I have to throw into the void for now. Time to get back to job estimates and time travel. ❤

thankful

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 job hobby.).

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.

 

Jesus Christ, THIS again.

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.

That Review Thing. (for like, the 132nd time)

Oh, look – an actual blog post!

Yep, I’ve let myself just drift away from blogs and social internetting from an authorial standpoint. Today’s commentary on Dear Author about Online Reviewing has me thinking and blog-writing, however.

See – and I may have mentioned this before – I’ve gotten burned out on the whole book blog circuit. Both writing blogs and book review blogs, and blogs that discuss everything in between. Hell, I’m still burned-out. It’s depressing as fuck for me to peek in and see the same shit, different month. And it only appears to be getting worse. Whether it’s plagiarism, the debate between trad-publishing and self-publishing, buying reviews, author-reader/reviewer-interaction, or plain butthurt-authors-behaving-badly, it all just brings me down. I have better things to spend my energy on, like writing. Or hell, just looking at pretty men.

But I guess it begs to be said again, at least here, since this is the only place I have control over:

Review whatever the fuck you want. Snark all you want. Did I get butthurt about the one DNF review of The Switch I saw? Sure, but on my own time and in private. As a writer, once you publish, it’s no longer your baby. It’s a product that is on the proverbial shelves, and if someone wants to just line a birdcage with it, then that’s their right.

Seriously, I don’t get where these authors have the time to spend campaigning the review circuit. I wish I were that independently wealthy.

And for what it’s worth, I also agree about piracy. Please, advertise my books, spread my name around via word of mouth for free. It’s not like I’d be making enough money to pay mortgage from those books, anyway. But if my name shows up on enough file sharing sites, maybe someday I’ll be well-known enough to see some actual income. Or at least gain enough traffic to show to a trad publisher when I shop out my Big Damned Novels.