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#

Good Morning?

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First hot coffee of the season here in GA.

And no, it’s not the stuff from the can shown in the pic. I’m a freshly-ground 8 O’clock girl, and/or home-roasted espresso girl. The colorful Chock full o’Nuts can is an item appropriately left over from my Father-In-Law who stayed most of the summer with us. THAT was an adventure, let me tell you.

But I won’t tell you – not all of it, anyway. Because while he’s not a bad person, the man gets on my last damned nerve, and it’s not fair to my husband to air out every last grievance about his parents on the internet. At least not the public part of the internet. But let’s just say I am very, very introverted, and FIL is very, very socially inept and pushes his unsolicited opinions and advice on everything and everyone. He also has little understanding or respect for boundaries. I think I’m allowed to say that much. There were some good things about him being here for almost three months: he helped with the bills while I was in my slow work season. He made our back deck somewhat functional, even though I’m pretty sure his “repairs” will ultimately add to the rotting problem in the long run. He cut down a lot of tree limbs and underbrush, some of which we didn’t really want cut down, but hey – it’s Georgia, and it’ll be back threefold next year. He pulled the bridge from our creek that got destroyed by a fallen tree (not his fault). And his stay required us to rearrange a couple of rooms in our house, which turned out to be a slight improvement.

I am glad he’s back on his side of the country and living his best, though – he was sent to us under a severe misdiagnosis. Also a good thing – the docs here at Emory know their shit. The man has heart failure and was sent to us with a terminal, needs-surgery-or-will-die-in-a-month diagnosis. The docs here fixed his meds and he spent the rest of the time doing all of the above crazy-ass shit until we finally told his medical team what he was doing, and they said, “er – yeah. If he’s doing all that stuff he doesn’t need to be here.”

So, that was my summer – creativity squashed by the stress of an obnoxious in-law living in my space at full volume all summer.

Once he left, I think something in me just collapsed, and I fell from jaw-grinding stress into a physical depression. One that I am hopefully starting to come out of, but man, it was rough. Also rough: having depression and ADD while being self-employed. My business has really taken a hit. Which, in turn, becomes a blow to my self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which then feeds my depression, etc. Good times.

This week I am working on pulling it together, though. My driving force is actually my dog:

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This precious bundle of soft, squishy sweetness who owns my heart. She’s perfect, save for some separation anxiety and subsequent piddle issues. I know, non-dog-people – just skip this part. Our carpets were crap before the dog, and OxyClean is a motherfucking godsend. Anyway, I take full responsibility for her accidents. She needs routine, and she hasn’t been getting it, because *I* don’t have any routine. Some days I’m here all day, sometimes I’m gone in the afternoon, other days I’m gone in the mornings, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on or when we’ll be out of bed (again with the depression). And all of our animals – cats included – are bed-potatoes. Seriously, our cats do not wake us up for food. If anything, they stay in bed and suck away all will and motivation to get up. The struggle is so real.

So my October resolution is to get us on a routine, field work or not – up and piddled and coffee/yogurt/back-deck-notebook by 8am.

Today was all luck. I haven’t had enough sleep, really. But I got up anyway. And here in another hour I’ll be in the water, swimming. After that, I might be in the local art studio, practicing with clay. Later today I’ll be working on finishing up this damned Steinway I’ve had in my dining room for too fucking long. And I will also be writing new scenes for two stories.

Yes, I am still a writer, too.

I am so fucking happy October is finally here. Maybe I’ll do a daily or weekly spoop to celebrate. Meanwhile, here’s this:

Spoopy Halloween!

Spoopy Halloween!

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.

 

Update on the Jenny Trout/Excessica thingo

I know I put pieces together and vaguely implied in my last post exactly what Jenny Trout is correcting here. So I feel it’s important to pass the message along, to the tiny little audience that might be bothering to read here.

 

Disappointed and Grateful

Brought to you by the Jenny Trout/Anne Rice/racist-slave-BDSM-hotmess-story/Excessica shitpot.

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At first I was bemused. Sure, there’s always drama somewhere. But haven’t we yet clued in and moved beyond the belief that any one writer and/or reviewer can have the power to “destroy” another writer’s career? I mean, never mind that people are going to read whatever the fuck they want to read, and make their own decisions. I guess if you’re not an all-powerful super-blogger, you’re just a brainwashed sheep that does whatever you’re told. And not that it matters, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who agreed that the original story that triggered this mess was pretty fucked up and racist, but I personally wasn’t willing to go so far as to contact retailers and demand its removal.

I also scratched my head at the thought that blogging a request/suggestion, no matter how scathing, to write to retailers and express opinions about their product, and/or “voting with your dollars,” somehow wasn’t a freedom of speech just as valid as any other. After all, we didn’t scream to protect Chick Fil-A from censorship, punishing those who spoke against them and encouraged others to boycott them for their marriage equality opposition.

The whole thing just seemed – odd. Odd, and a little ridiculous.

But, then it came to light. This isn’t really about censorship at all, is it? It’s about mean girls and cliques, and wanting to punish those who step out of line, give them a taste of their own medicine, whatever.

And that’s disappointing.

If that one slave story was actually removed from retailers due to people reporting it for racist content (and I honestly don’t know, as I wasn’t following that closely), that’s just… NOT the end of a career. At least, not any career that had a hope of being successful in the first place. Hell, if anything, I’d bet a cup of coffee and a pastry that all this hoo-hah has probably given that author more attention than they’d ever had, resulting in a spike of sales. But I could be wrong.

The turnabout, blackballing the blogger-author author Jenny Trout from the Bad Boys Next Door anthology, served no purpose other than powerplay and reindeer games. And while it ultimately affected 11 other authors, I am hopeful that it’s Excessica (and their queen writer) that will suffer for it. Probably not, but in the spirit of my utter disgust, I can hope. Those authors who voluntarily pulled their stories from the anthology? I’ll happily go buy their stuff from other publishers. And I’m going to round out my Jenny Trout / Abigail Barnette library, now.

The Gratitude part of this post is again: I am really so grateful to be a nobody. This has served as a warning against certain social media voices. It has reminded and encouraged me to just focus even more on story-writing, and to avoid e-publishers like Excessica and Ellora’s Cave like the bloody plague, both as a reader and an author. I’ll take obscurity over that shittiness, thanks.

As for Anne Rice, the cow who hates fanfic but makes money writing Jesus fanfic herself, who lauds STGRB yet sends her ‘minions’ to do the exact same? Well, that’s really all you can say about her, isn’t it? Pretty much sums up her whole hypocrisy right there. My tinhat is piqued that it was really Rice’s fans that pushed this thing to its current position, though.

But this is all just, like, my opinion, man.

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Blogging vs. Online Journaling

If anyone who actually reads this hasn’t noticed already, I’m pretty lousy at blogging. Which is both surprising and unsurprising to me. It’s surprising because I was always pretty prolific back in ye ol’ days of Live Journal. Unsurprising because, well, blogging isn’t really journaling. At least, successful blogging isn’t. The way I see it, that is.

I struggle with blogging much the same way I always dragged my feet when it came to essay assignments in school. If it’s not something that really sparks an interest to me personally, I don’t really want to do it.

That’s normal, though.

There’s plenty out there that interests me that I could blog about. But the other kicker is that I’m this weird combination of strongly-opinionated and extremely non-confrontational. Also, I don’t like saying or doing anything unless I know I am “right.” Ferguson? Oh hell yes I have opinions and thoughts. Feminism? Absolutely. Anti-vaccers? Yup. The evils of organized religion, including Christianity? Pretty sure my blood pressure is increasing, here.

But my opinions and feelings are the kind of strong that’s raw and sloppy. And trying to structure all that into something that is coherent and “right,” and on a regular, blog-schedule kind of basis? Fuck that. I embrace the fail where that’s concerned.

So I guess what you’re getting at this point is an occasional (jesus fucking christ I can NEVER SPELL THAT WORD RIGHT THE FIRST TIME), random journal post.

I’ve been having a spell of weird and highly entertaining dreams lately. A few nights ago I dreamed I saw an advertisement for “Genghis Khan On Ice,” a musical icecapades-esque spectacular. The costumes were gorgeous, but the performers were singing this upbeat, very rhythmic song in complete jibberish. Someone make this happen.

I also dreamed that I was explaining the difference between most Time Travel stories and the one I’m currently working on. This is more relevant as an actual topic than just, “hey! weird dream no one cares about!”

It just seems that, especially in the romance genre, time travel is used almost exclusively to drop a current-day hero or heroine into a completely different era, or vice versa. And hey, I’m not complaining – some of my favorites follow that trope. But I don’t often see time travel played with in the sense of actively changing a timeline, and the consequences of that. I also don’t see shorter distances traveled in TT. The time traveled is always very far removed from the main character’s origin-time. I guess that might be easier to write, less potential for tangles and troubles. But why play it safe? Let me know if you have read some unconventional time travels, and recommend me some books, if you’re out there. I did enjoy No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper. It had a badass heroine, magic, science, and consequences, but it was still a huge time jump. (I really do recommend it, though!)

Today I’m boiling a can of condensed milk, as a second attempt at making dulce de leche. The first one tasted a bit cheesy, maybe because it was an old can, or maybe because I boiled it for too long. Or, maybe because I might not actually love dulce de leche. I’m also going to attempt homemade marshmallows some time soon. And maybe macarons, even though I’ve never even tasted them. Also, jambalaya in the crock pot. I gotta get over my fear of cooking shrimp.

People, waffle-makers are for waffles. I’ve tried all the damned hacks, and you know what I got? Sure, I got waffle-cinnabons, but I also got a HUGE FUCKING MESS that I frankly don’t have time to clean out of my waffle iron. That said, I’m toying with the idea of making waffle croissants. Because I don’t care about going to IHOP.

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.