Last night I live tweeted a football game.
I think I did really well!
Someone start a letter writing campaign to ESPN, I’m totally ready for that journalism salary.
(Psst it’s a whole thread for those unfamiliar)
Last night I live tweeted a football game.
I think I did really well!
Someone start a letter writing campaign to ESPN, I’m totally ready for that journalism salary.
(Psst it’s a whole thread for those unfamiliar)
Okay folks, this is a thing that was found on Pinterest. It has so many wonderful things so tremendously wrong with it I think I’m going to have to break things down and enumerate them.
I think, for starters, I should be literal and actually break that graphic up.
No. Just … no.
Look, I grok, some folks plan. Some people construct. But this is not the way to present writing to new writers. This is a method (frankly a completely mad looking one at that, but some folks juggle geese) but it’s presented with a tone of absolution.
No. In fact I can think of no successful writer I’ve encountered who has a process like that. So that’s a suggestion it might even actually be a bad method, but no method is good or bad if it works for you. All methods come to “write your story”. That’s the method that matters.
Whether you prepare by complex world building or by trying to wrest the pen from the kitten the only step that matters is “write your first draft”; prior to that is only so much extemporaneous detail.
Personally I shudder at these kinds of lists because, unless you build it through your own trial and error it merely represents a barrier to writing. It’s these things, often quite unpleasant or unfun (for most people) things. Things that, if you feel you must do them before you write likely means you will never write because you’ll be years or eternities at steps 1-8 and “unable” to proceed to 9. To say nothing of the likelihood that such chores would suck the joy out of the creation. I mean … if you’re someone who is glowing at the prospect of using these 9 steps (or any of their infinite variations available on Tumblr, Pinterest, et al) ask yourself “how many people have I met who would agree this sounds great?” Not many? Yeah. You do you, sure, but trust me … statistically this is like inverse Literature Class which has been studied to indicate likely impairs love of reading and of literature. Food for thought.
Surprisingly this part isn’t bad. But it isn’t good, either.
Again with absolutism. This works for an organised, scheduling person. This works for someone who, if they don’t make a literal to-do list that they mark things off of, do nothing without the external motivation of the check mark.
My wife is such a creature. Even she is wont to start cursing at this kind of list. Apparently it goes to far and makes her OCD (or maybe it’s the Anxiety) itch really bad.
Look. Trust me, you don’t have to do anything to be a writer but write.
To reiterate, if it works for you, that’s swell, but no one will revoke your literary license if you don’t.
This is the meat and gravy of the horror of this “infographic”.
Class, this is not a list of questions to ask you publisher. This is a list of questions to ask of a vanity press company that will print your book. In this scenario you, my sweet, are the publisher and the other guy is just someone you’re going to pay to produce (and possibly distribute) your book. How kind.
A publisher of whom you feel the need to ask these questions is a “publisher” you should collect name and url, run away from at full gallop, bolt the doors behind you, and report them to The Authorities.
This one stands apart. While it ignores the option of self-publishing, it is relatively accurate if a touch outdated. For example I can’t recall the last time I saw an agent or publisher for whom stamps and envelopes would come into play. True, the publishing industry is still trying to decide how it feels about the printing press, and a committee is being formed to assess this “moveable type” notion they seem to have discovered that there’s something in the universe called “email” and some more avant-garde ones even use website submission forms. It’s pretty wild.
Seriously, this sort of stuff steams me. It’s never made by a writer. Or if it is, they’re an example of why fanfic or self-publishing have bad names (well, they’re a writer … they wrote … they maybe need things like an editor and/or talent … but they put words on a page b’gum!).
If anyone says anything about writing other than “well, what I do is …” or “have you maybe tried …” preferring instead “you really should …” or “a write must …” just back away slowly and don’t make eye contact. They’re criminally insane or something, I’m sure.
It looks like the amusement is wearing off but I seem to have attracted the attention of some sort of men’s … thingy. For want of a word, movement.
So that’s the Twit I made that got their attention.
Yeah, it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t made it a hashtag but I honestly didn’t really care. I think part of me held out hope it might spark conversation.
The first replies were pretty typical apemen on Twitter fodder so I sassed.
I will provide the context to my introduction to the term too because, frankly, Ursula Vernon has a remarkable way with words (Castle Hangnail is a favourite of mine)
Anyway … I’m probably going to mute the thread soon because I’m getting bored with it. But who knows 🤷♀️ maybe it’ll get fun again.
So I have a Twitter again, for now (possibly longer, the new character count limit makes it less annoying). Anyway I asked a question there and would sincerely love an answer.
The thing is, really, looking over history The United States has spent an awful lot of time being pretty self-righteous about how great it is, but how great was it ever … really?
Let’s start with the beginning:
During the colonial era there was how horribly the colonists and the colonisers themselves treated the natives. Not my definition of greatness, though I suppose at the time European attitudes were grotesquely barbarically and such things were deemed a demonstration on greatness. So, do we look back on what our ancestors called “greatness” and declare ourselves great for it? Or do we look back in shame at such things, vow never to repeat them, and trudge forward in hopes to become better? And if we choose the latter can we, until we’ve become better, call ourselves “great” any longer?
Forward to the Revolutionary War. Now, depends how you want to look at an act of high treason. Arguably it was for a good cause so we’ll let it go, never mind that Canada got its independence more peacefully about a generation later, and possibly losing the lower colonies had some influence on that; I haven’t delved deeply into that chapter of history. So noble origins! This is greatness! The birth of Democr—what? Oh, Athens? Hmmm … Rome?! Oh but … “All men are created eq—” well not slaves, of course not slaves they’re created only ⅗ of a … I said men not women … yes I know about Abigail Adams … okay … fine.
We’ve got freedoms, like “of the press, et al”. Okay, yes, some of those were taken from the Magna Carta. And I guess every other democ—wait even some of the monarchies… what about … oh, some of those too … is it only dictatorships that don’t … mostly? Okay, fine.
Every step of the way the only thing America has been a true societal leader in is: populous uprisings. We seem to have had a profound influence on the French Revolution, for example. That’s a pretty grisly thing to have on the old Collective Karma 😖🤢.
The scary thing is, if the greatness that is desired is being demonstrated by the GOP & Trump policies and actions then the America they want to recreate, the America that was so great in the first place … is Nazi Germany.
Look over a history of Hitler’s rise to power and the founding of the Third Reich. I’m sorry, but the past few years especially but even some of the past decades with regards to general Republican efforts (and more than a few Democratic Party items too, they’re hardly innocent … if nothing else guilty by complacency) all of it is checking off a bullet list of “How to form a fascist empire • By Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer. It’s horrifying.
But how is that Making America Great Again? I mean, I suppose, if you’re a fascist you would want to be punched in the … I mean shot … I’m sorry, to recreate the Germany of the 1930s and early 1940s but that wasn’t America. This would be your idea of Great In The First Place. True, it’s hardly catchy, but why “again”?
And why so shy about answering? I’m hardly the first to ask, though I tend to phrase the question a tad differently, but it’s been asked: Make it Great in what manner? Relative to what era and ideology? Why so reluctant to answer? If you want a return to slavery and a reversal of women’s suffrage just say so. If you’re anxious for fascism then own that.
Admittedly some do. The “alt-right” (henceforth spelled n-a-z-i-s or a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s or p-u-n-c-h-i-n-g-b-a-g-s) do, some directly and others by being opposed to anti-fascist groups. And sure the Republican party primaries are starting to contain a lot of open nazis and the establishment is often praising nazi actions. Trump seems to think that there’s some fine people in the nazi half of The Charlottesville Thing. So I suppose they’re being coyly open about it? Is that a thing?
Anyway, yeah, if there is some actual greatness we’re supposed to be returning to, I’d be interested in knowing it. And if the greatness in question, whether return or aspired, is fascism and it’s subsequent oppression then I’ll thank you to please fuck off to the nearest airless world and take a long walk without a spacesuit.
It’s been two days and I still … well … I’d be lying if I say I can’t actually believe it, I don’t have the greatest opinion of the American populous with regards to sanity and intellect (sorry, but well, George Bush Jr was president for eight years and people actually voted for him; and let’s not get started on Nathan Deal‘s reelection to Georgia’s governorship in 2014) … but idiomatically speaking I can’t actually believe that Donald J Trump is president-elect of The United State of America.
I’ve never been so glad I live in New England; Massachusetts specifically. I can’t imagine the terror that so many others in this country must feel right now. Or more to the point I can’t imagine how they’re managing given the horror I feel and I’m relatively safe.
I can’t express how terrifying it is to know that a Republican lead congress is going to have that as their president and Mike Pence of Indiana for the vice presidency. We just took a giant step back to the 1950s. 60+ years of progress are, largely, out the window. If you’re not a heteronormative cisgender white male nor able to pass, you’re pretty frankly and thoroughly fucked. heteronormative cisgender white women are slightly less bad off, especially if they’re both pretty and a decent housewife, but everyone else in this country are utterly fucked.
You say it can’t be that bad, he still has to contend with the constitution and blah, blah, blah.
Yesterday I felt a level of depression I haven’t in ages. It left me, for a large part of the day, feeling physically ill – like sick to my stomach. Today I’m either in a better place, thankfully and slightly mysteriously, or I’m too emotionally exhausted and slipped into a sort of … neutrality … to recharge; I’m not actually sure which.
This planet is in too precarious a position with regards to the climate and pollution to survive four years with this setup selecting who’s running the EPA and deciding things like energy bills.
The economy isn’t ready for this.
We’re not touching what America calls a health care system – unfortunately congress and Trump are going to molest the hell out of it.
NOW I regret deleting my Twitter … though it hasn’t actually disappeared, I may log in. I’ve a few choice quips to throw out there.
I mean, don’t come in with any more “protecting the women and children” crap when trying to ban transgender people from using the correct bathroom when we have a president-elect with how many rape accusations, who boasted about committing sexual assault, and who is going to trial soon for child rape.
No. If I can I think I will leave the country. I don’t think I’d be able to though; doubt I could talk any country into seeing a transgender lesbian in Trump’s USA as a refugee seeking asylum, at least not until after he’s rounding up people to wear little pink triangles …
If you follow me and you voted for him … why? how? What could he possibly have offered that was worth sacrificing the safety and rights of your neighbours, friends, and family? Of the safety and rights, even simple human dignity of countless millions of this country’s people? If you can answer that, with a straight face, and sincerely … please do. Otherwise, please fucking piss off and go to Hell.
Yeah, normally I’m rather more inclined to be well spoken, polite, maybe a bit more … sweet? I can’t. I’m terrified, I’m depressed, I’m disgusted, I’m mortified, I’m not going to go find a thesaurus to continue this paragraph and I can’t think clearly enough to keep it going right now.
The world, and this country both need a lot of prayers … and a lot of outright protest, petitioning possibly open rebellion; you know, action, because the gods help us (please!) but I’m disinclined to reckon they’re going to do much good since they didn’t do anything to stop this in the first place.
I don’t use it. I find it even more useless than Facebook … which is saying something since Facebook’s psychotic algorithms for deciding what to actually show you in your feed (because the things that you’ve followed can’t possibly be the answer to such a nuanced and complicated question) drive me insane usually.
I’ve got a private, personal Facebook. It’s for cat pictures and the like. Twitter wasn’t even that useful. I don’t have a personal Twitter, and as of this morning I’ve quit having a professional one. That’s that much less SPAM in my email, that many fewer notifications for which I give less than no damns about showing up on my phone, and that many fewer potential security holes in my personal data.
I’m not sorry to have got rid of it. I’m sure none of you were all that ardently following me on social media, and it seemed silly to “keep a social media presence” when I don’t use social media, do not follow social media … noticing a pattern here? Seriously, if the iOS News app thingy had an option for “funny things George Takei has shared”, I’d have virtually no excuse to have a private Facebook; the remaining reasons being that’s where my high school reunion is usually planned and some family event things tend to get announced.
Tumblr may be next on the list, but as it’s sort of a blogging platform more than it’s a social media platform I am more inclined to keep it – makes a somewhat handy mirror of my blog … until I recall that it only posts excerpts with a link back to here … okay Tumblr may go some time soon too. Who knows, I usually forget I have it and am not 100% sure I even know the password anymore so it’s obviously far less intrusive and obnoxious so can stay just because it’s forgettable.
I’ve commented on this quite a lot myself.
I don’t believe that a great many bits of “self-publishing wisdom” are anything but nonsense.
I’ll admit, I’ve a photographic memory, so I don’t have to hear of something multiple times to remember it. And hearing about something multiple times doesn’t make me read it. I’ve heard of Name of the Wind several times. My wife has a copy and has informed me repeatedly that I really ought to read it. I haven’t yet. I intend to because aspects and quotes from it seem interesting, and I’ve found Pat Rothfuss to have a rather charming and engaging way with words that I hope translates into his fiction (not everyone’s does; I rather like John Scalzi‘s blogposts more than his fiction, for example).
I strongly suspect that, in reality, most people select a book because
A) Someone whose tastes in books they respect recommends it. This is why I read about half of what my wife recommends to me: she has peculiar tastes that sometimes overlap mine. I give her time to tell me enough about them first. I don’t know why she so rarely reads what I recommend as she is wont to loving anything I finally convince her to.
B) They notice it because it’s interesting looking. AKA: Browsing. Neat cover art, catchy title, whatever. It calls to them. I suspect that, unless the person has disposable income to actually impulse by us$10+ that this works better in libraries, or bookstores conducive to sitting down and finding out if you like a book first (yay ebooks and the sample thing!!)
C) They saw the movie/tv series. Hey, it’s why I read Game of Thrones. Now, I need to get around to reading the second book … though it’s been a few years since I read the first or watched the first season … as in … did I ever watch series 4? I know I haven’t 5 and 6 and what are they on now? It was back then I read it.
D) They love the author. I love Terry Pratchett and search for his books when I’m eager for something to read. I have other authors with books I love that I approach with caution because they have books I do not love. Spider Robinson, J R R Tolkien (I really don’t like LotR that much, except for Fellowship of the Ring), and others.
E) I forget. I’ve been ill and my head aches so I’m going to just stop writing, format this, and go have some coffee. Don’t forget to read Ms Haddock’s blogpost which inspired this, excerpt is below and there is linkage to the rest … which is about 3-5x the excerpt … no, seriously, it’s a little long.
What I’ve Been Reading And How It Disproves Some Common Self-Pubbing Wisdom
(Damn, am I good at short and pithy titles or what?)
Long story short, I live in a place that is not exactly conducive to either reading or writing. To somewhat mitigate the negative effect this has on my sanity, I’ve been spending a couple of afternoons a week at the library.
Now, was my OCD still completely out of control, I have no doubt what I’d be doing is working my way through my over 1400 book long “to read” list on Goodreads. Since my OCD is more-or-less managed right now though, instead I’ve been wandering pretty aimlessly through the library and reading whatever grabs my interest at the time.
So, here’s a list of books I’ve either read or at least read a significant portion of in the past few weeks (There’ve been others I’ve tossed aside after a chapter, usually non-fiction that was blatantly stupid or dry enough that the subject matter would have to be something I found very interesting for me to push past it to read the damned thing.) (Goodreads links included, in case any of my readers may wish to find out more about any of these.):
So the book signing in Hadley, MA took place on Sunday as per schedule.
First off, I must say a huge thank you to the Hadley Barnes & Noble folks. They were very friendly, wonderful, and I feel did their best in the face of whatever is going on in B&N’s HQ these days.
Which brings me to the full detailed version. Again: local store awesome; corporate to blame.
Honestly, I rather expected something like this. I mean B&N was virtually the only bookstore around in the part of Georgia I moved from so it was the place that got people like Steve Harvey … and few people showed up because few people knew about it. I now know why Terry Brooks‘ appearance that same day in South Hadley, was at a little place called Odyssey Bookshop. Big name authors often are very expressive about wanting to support the small mom & pop sort of stores. Which, I believe, is definitely a big part of it. But it’s also that I believe the smaller stores have a better means of reaching people and bringing folks in.
A small bookshop actually is more likely to have regulars engaged both in face-to-face conversations as well as social media interactions. Your smaller bookshop is more likely to have the customer walk in for a copy of Wintersmith and wind up staying to chit chat for 3 hours while browsing around for 2. Watch folks at a big chain store, they walk in, pause at the display of the latest from Stephen King, then make a beeline for what they’re there for, spend a few minutes finding it on the shelf, a couple more minutes looking around that same few feet to see if there’s anything else by that author they want to grab, then back to the cash register. If they stay, it’s to drink coffee and use the free wifi. The small shoppe is almost always in a location with a lot of passerby foot traffic and so puts out a chalkboard sign that is colourful and attention getting so all those window shoppers and bankers-off-to-lunch pass and see it. B&N is starting to trend itself into malls, but there’s no chalkboard signs. B&N isn’t likely to take out an ad in the paper. Small shoppe knows that most subscriptions doesn’t equal most readers, they know the little (usually free, so ads cost a little more, but it’s worth it) local indie paper (i.e. The Metro Spirit in the CSRA) is the way to go and put in a good sized ad there. The little shoppe also knows that an investment in a few minutes with a desktop publishing software, a printer, and a few dozen sheets of paper taken around to the local coffee shops and other places with a bulletin board … or adhered to a few strategic lampposts …
Really; never blame the local personification of the chain store. They’re following corporate dictates which nearly never make the slightest sense and trying to run on a very restricted and controlled budget. It’s the folks in HQ who deserve a great big “Are you one drugs?” response.
That title actually makes sense, just keep with me here.
SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!
That feels better.
For the more articulate point.
These people are supposedly all about protecting families, especially children. Yet they are bound and determined to kill … untold hundreds, thousands, millions? of them. And I wish it were hyperbole, but it’s not. Literal death by violent attack, by suicide, or figurative death of spirit.
LGBTQIA… I think the Tumblr crowd has it up to 47 letters borrowing from Icelandic and Cyrillic these days, but these kids need to know what’s up.
Pre-school, kindergarden … as early as possible. I Am Jazz needs to be part of elementary curriculums and in every library across the world. There needs to be sexuality ones too, frankly.
Kids need to know that a transgender person isn’t this:
But rather, is this:
That the little boys don’t have to date/marry the little girls, and vice versa.
Kids are neither blank slates, nor do they exist and grow up in a vacuum, in a bubble, unless you force them into it (citation: look up the history of David Willis sometime … simple version: Joyce is, basically, him). They’ll have heard of homosexuality and transsexualism. And some versions are more hurtful than others.
Imagine, if you will, a child who knows there are “men” who “want to be women” who “get it cut off” … but that’s it. That’s all she knows of the medical advances of transgender treatment. Now, when she’s 8 and the fact that she has testes is starting to withdraw her into clinical degrees of shyness and self-consciousness she doesn’t know that, really, yes, she could be the girl she is and isn’t forced to be a boy. If she doesn’t know this, then she grows up, puberty has it’s horrible way, and … well this story can go one of two ways. For me, not so badly. I was blessed to look so feminine that even when I was trying so desperately to be male that I grew a big bloody Grizzly Freaking Adams beard people did double-takes when they’d see me in the men’s room but no one has ever given me a second glance in the ladies’. Or there are those for whom a mix of financial woes and biological ones … look a bit more like Martin dressed up as Shanaynay (hey, I grew up in the 80s and 90s and haven’t really watched much TV since 2002, what did you expect for a reference?).
Lesbian and gay … life’s getting better. Not great, no, but better for them. It’s no longer Hollywood Montrose everywhere you look for gay and lesbians are nowhere to be seen. Bi … somehow bi confuses some people, but all of the bi people I know seem to have a firm enough grasp on it I honestly don’t know if from their point of view it was bad and isn’t that people, in looking around for something to put down, haven’t started making it bad for them. I’ll leave this one alone because I can’t make heads nor tails out of what the hell happened with bi, or if it’s just another place where I’ve always lived in remarkably accepting circles.
Seriously, kids need to know this is okay. Because we’ve been doing the opposite for a long time and these kids suffer for it. The transkids … let’s just think of those statistics. Too many Leelah Alcorns. Kids need to know that, if they’re not feeling anything whatsoever for the opposite sex and are noticing how attractive their own sex is … this is a Thing and it’s not a Bad Thing and that maybe they shouldn’t try to force themselves into a relationship or a life of loneliness over it.
Seriously. Don’t come around talking about the sanctity of the family, and protecting children and all that other complete and total bullshit that every last one of these psychopathic, sociopathic, deranged assholes start spouting every time this matter comes up when you’re encouraging the kinds of environments that drive these kids to suicide, to madness, to self-hatred, and more. Don’t talk that kind of idiocy while applauding parents who disown their children. Don’t stick up for “morally righteous families” like the bloody Duggars.
These kids need to know about the world around them. The real world around them. They need protected, not … not whatever you call nearly a dozen US states suing President Obama and the Department of Education over their transgender guidance. Of states that ban discussion of LGB+ matters even in secondary school. Well, honestly, most of those states support “abstinence only sex ed” which has its own laundry list of stupidity.
In case it isn’t abundantly clear by this point, this is something I’m a bit passionate about. It’s a place where I’m looking around at my country, and at the world, being complete twats about something that shouldn’t be any sort of issue or controversy except that some loud mouthed jerks seem to get their flippin’ jollies off by finding someone they can get away with making the lives of miserable; by oppression if preference is offered.
Would I feel this way if I were neither lesbian nor trans? YES, I’m pretty well positive I would given that I felt this way even when I didn’t understand that I was … I mean when you spend the better part of three decades convinced you’re a straight man you maybe get a broader perspective on your own “what if” scenarios. I was as impassioned about it then as now, just with less … insight … given my own determined efforts to avoid seeing it on a personal level. But that too. How common was, and all too often still is, the story of someone not realising their gender or sexuality until adulthood? Until failed marriages and a life of serious depression? Thankfully less and less. The world is blessedly shifting toward a higher balance of Jazz Jennginses than Caitlyn Jenners.
Yeah, people are possibly going to want to say something harsh about “passing privilege”. All I’ll say about it is: yes it’s a matter now thanks to idiotic nonsense like HB2 in North Carolina, but by and large it’s something that just has to be considered moot. If someone with a full face of beard, wearing jeans and a flannel, can stand in the gents’ and have guys walk in and double check the door to make sure they went into the right one … it’s no use. Someone is going to mistake Barbie for a man and Thor for a woman because there’s just no telling what criterion people are going to use to decide a person’s gender visually. There are cis women with beards, and cis men with breasts. It happens. Yeah, it definitely makes life easier when people are less inclined to get it wrong, believe me, I understand and know that. But let’s stop talking about “passing privilege” and maybe focus on understanding and acceptance altogether from BOTH sides. There are, after all, some gender non-conforming people who bend gender to a breaking point and while that’s fine, let’s try to remember that you’re going to confuse people – give them a break – just as they should at least be civil enough not to start beating the shit out of you and screaming just because there’s a person in the ladies’ with facial hair doing nothing more than washing her hands.
I’m going to be late for work if I don’t force myself to stop venting and get dressed.