Writing About Writing

I’ve been gone for so long–I can hardly believe it! Here’s what happened: I burnt out.

Its common in writers and activists, and I consider myself both. I was working on night shift, and desperately trying to be a “productive” writer, and trying to have a social life and a relationship with my family, the latter two being extremely difficult to do when working night shift. I was so tired, so very tired. Need I mention how exhausting it is to care, and to participate in political activism in the current climate of “fuck everything and everybody, me and mine got ours” in the Republican Party? Something had to give.

Then I moved to day shift. I decided I wanted to transcribe my writing journals onto my laptop–most of my novel(s) draft are in those notebooks. I wanted to see what I had. The problem was, it was too much like my data entry job. I felt like I was working the same job night and day. I hated it–I wanted to get shit done, I wanted to be productive (seeing a pattern here?) and, for some odd reason, I felt like I needed to complete that writing project before I moved to another. The result was obvious–I didn’t write.

I missed it. So very much. But. I’m a stubborn lady.

It was a cycle, a very long and unproductive cycle. Not to mention not very pleasant, eh? I don’t know about you, but when I go for a long period of time without writing, I have a bit of an identity crisis. I do believe I won the argument with what Captain Awkward calls my jerkbrain that I am, indeed, allowed to call myself a writer when I haven’t written anything for a while.

 

And with that, I am ending the cycle of not-writing. I miss seeing my novel come to life on the page in front of me, and I very much miss blogging. I’ve been around, of course, but being a lurker/occasional commenter is not the same as Being a Blogger.

 

What I know I need to do is stop with these arbitrary restrictions I place on myself. The whole “I need to do this, and then I’m allowed to write” was so not helpful. So in addition to a dead blog coming back to life, I’m expanding the number of topics I’m going to be covering here. Don’t ask, I don’t know yet. All I know is, I’m sitting in a booth at Buffalo Wild Wings, writing on a friend’s iPad, because my muse demanded I write.

And you know what? It feels good.

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McConnell Needs to Go in 2014

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” –Senator Mitch McConnell, 23 October 2010

With this statement, Senator McConnell rewrote his own job description from that of a United States Senator representing the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to a hard-nosed ideologue intent on a solitary goal of ending another man’s political career.

Two years and hundreds of filibusters later, the President wins his bid for reelection, by a landslide.

What does Senator “one-term” McConnell have to say about that?

“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives,” McConnell said in a statement. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.” –Senator McConnell

You see what he did there? Senator McConnell is pretending that the record number of filibusters he and his party orchestrated, even on legislation that they agreed with, is a personal failure of President Barack Obama.

The lack of productivity in the Senate for the past four years is a failure of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party, not President Barack Obama.

Take a look at this handy chart, that lays out exactly who has filibustered in the Senate the most, by number and by percentage. At the top of the chart? Republican after Republican, after Republican. If your Senators are on the top half of this list, you should be angry. Very angry.

Filibustering is refusing to debate. It is refusing to vote. It is refusing to allow anyone to debate or vote–per Senate rules, sixty Senators must vote to overrule a single, anonymous Senator who may filibuster a bill, then waltz out of the Chamber, off into the city. A filibuster, under current rules, does not require a Senator to hold the floor. It does not require that one, single Senator to even be in the building.

If one or both of your Senators are on the top half of this list, your hired representatives are refusing to do their jobs.

Just think a second: what would happen if you decided you left an anonymous note on your boss’ desk saying that you didn’t feel like working that day, then walked out? I’d be written up, docked points, and fired.

There hasn’t been balance in Congress since President Obama was elected in 2008, and that’s because the vast majority of the Republican Party has been refusing to do their jobs.

Mitch McConnell is the orchestrator of this collective tantrum, and as a resident of Kentucky, I am angry. Rand Paul, my other Senator, has refused to work over eighty percent of his short time in the Capital. I am very angry. My state has no voice in the Senate. None. Kentucky’s representatives in the Senate anonymously protest, then run off into the city to do whatever it is old white men do in Washington D.C.

Kentucky, we have two more years until Mitch McConnell is up for reelection. And you know what? I’m angry enough that I’d consider running against him myself–but I don’t meet the minimum age requirement, and I won’t meet it in two years, either. So to anyone considering running against Mitch in 2014? Consider this as my letter of interest.

Costume Shopping? Ugh.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I LOVE dressing up.

However, every year, I learn again just how much a pain in the arse costume shopping is. Seriously, just once, I’d like to walk into a costume shop and discover that all the women’s costumes lacked the “sexy” label.

“What’s wrong with dressing sexy?” a male friend asked.

“Nothing,” I responded. “But I’d rather not spend my favorite holiday tucking boobs back in, and tugging the dress down over my butt.”

That, my friends, is the crux of it.

I want to wear an awesome, well-made costume that is work appropriate. But I’d be willing to sacrifice the “well-made” part if it meant I didn’t spend weeks searching multiple stores and dozens of websites to find what I want at a decent price.

This year? I decided I wanted to be Captain Kathryn Janeway, of the Federation starship Voyager.

Once I decided, I was positively giddy with excitement. I’ve got the lipstick, I can manage the bob, and I’ve got a couple of pairs of boots that’ll work. Now! To find the costume itself.

It shouldn’t be too difficult, I told myself. After all, Star Trek has a huge fandom, and certainly there must be cosplay sites that sell the uniforms, right? And mainstream halloween sites should have them too, right?

Snort. Stare.

Now, while I have found this awesome t-shirt that I absolutely will get soonest, I have emphatically not had the easy time I thought I’d have finding the version of the Starfleet uniform that is worn in Voyager.

In fact, the vast majority of Star Trek costumes I’ve found in the women’s department have been variations on this. Lieutenant Uhura’s costume in the original series: the miniskirt dress.

The rest? The uniforms of operations officers and medical staff. And a Klingon woman. Not a command/bridge staff uniform in sight, save for the miniskirt dress. Call me paranoid, but doesn’t that seem funny to you? A little off?

One Million Pissed Off Women Not Safe Space For Differently Abled

Until Tuesday, I was a member of One Million Pissed Off Women, a anti-misogyny, anti-homophobia, and anti-racism group on Facebook. I thought it was a really great group of women, and the page posts a lot of interesting news links and activism opportunities.

Well.

In reaction to North Carolina’s passage of Amendment One, that will enshrine homophobia into the state’s constitution, one of the admins posted a status using an ableist slur referring to the people who voted for the measure. Many of us took exception to this, because hello, comparing people with developmental disabilities to homophobic bigots is not cool.

The admin reacted badly, to say the least, as did many members. The usual defenses were used, “well, they are stupid,” “I’m not discriminating!” “it doesn’t mean [the general accepted definition of the slur], it means this!” The thread quickly degenerated. The admin posted another status, trying to justify her ableism, and frame those of us angry at her bigotry as meanies out to spoil her fun. Needless to say, that thread degenerated quickly as well.

Soon, I no longer recognized the feminist page that I joined months ago. It resembled more a hate-fest on a tea party page. Seriously, it was nasty. Use your own judgment before you click the links–many of the commenters were vile. After posting several comments, I decided to leave the group.

I wasn’t the only one. Others posted of their intention to leave the group.

One poster commented on the page’s wall, saying:

“”Racism, sexism and homophobia are not permitted in this area.” …But saying [slur redacted]–totally acceptable!”

The admin responded thusly: “yep!”

Because of the nature of Facebook, the ugliness will be buried in the group’s timeline…until the next time someone throws out an ableist slur, of course. But differently abled feminists (and decent people in general) should know:

One Million Pissed Off Women is not a welcoming space for us.

 

President Obama Has Evolved

President Obama announced that he is in favor of equal marriage rights yesterday.

You know, I wish I could say that I’m happy, or excited, or even relieved. When I heard the news, my reaction was basically “Really? Finally. Now, where’s my kindle?”

I am glad he’s come out in support of equality. It does make me happy for my LGBT friends, loved ones, and allies.

It doesn’t ring hollow to me, as it has for some. I don’t believe this will negatively affect his reelection chances. Nor does it strike me as a political gambit, as it has for some.

I just feel as if he should have done this years ago. At the very least, he should have done this before North Carolina voted on Amendment One.

So, President Obama is in favor of marriage equality for LGBT Americans. Good. Now let’s get to work.

Blog Note: Hello!

I’m back!

The past several weeks have been exhausting. After several days in a row of going through the day fully intending to post, but not, I decided to take a break. I even stopped obsessively checking my Stats page! (For those who don’t blog, this is a very Big Deal.) I hadn’t planned on making today The Day, but after mentally composing about five posts, I realized that I’ve missed writing, and decided to sit down and tap these posts out before I lose them.

Here’s what’s been going on:

In a stroke of very good luck, things got very busy at work soon after my accident, and so I have had the opportunity to work overtime. For the past few weeks, an eight-hour work day has been a rare and strangely short thing. This has contributed to my exhaustion in a big way, hence my absence.Things still haven’t slowed down, so I plan on taking advantage of the extra cash every chance I can get. That will mean I won’t immediately be posting at my normal pace.

Physically, all of my injuries have healed. My bruises are long gone. My ribs–I’m pretty sure I actually broke, or at least cracked a couple–are feeling much better. Once the swelling went down, I realized I’d also broken a finger. ’twas a shock to me–I’ve been able to use it 100% the entire time. But its healed, albeit awkwardly. (I think. It doesn’t smart like hell when I knock against something, so I’ll take it.)

The huge weight that was hanging over my shoulders–money–has largely lifted. I worked my tailbone off, and thanks to Papa Beemer feeding me, and a coworker giving me rides to and from work, I was able to buy a new (to me) car. It’s not as old as Trouble (as my old car was affectionately dubbed), but it has its own quirks. I can handle those. As for my other financial woes, I will use my overtime cash to slowly pay those off. In a couple of months, I will have Trouble paid off as well. The worry from this was wearing me out–it feels wonderful to have that gone.

I wish I could say I’ve been using the time I would have been writing to sleep–but no. If you follow me on Twitter (if you don’t, you should.) you know that I’m a Trekkie. I’ve been making my way through Star Trek: Voyager. Since I wasn’t writing, of course I had time to watch more Voyager! More Captain Janeway!  So I did. I finished the series a few days ago, and I’ve felt stranded (te he) ever since. Then did I sleep? Pshaw. Of course not. (I will never learn.) Naturally, I’ve been reading. And I’ve read some very good books, people, let me tell you. Look for a post or two on those soon.

I have a new project in the works! If you remember, last summer I helped put on the Hello Summer Festival. I had a lot of fun, and the festival was a success. Jared approached me again a couple of weeks ago, and asked for my help for another project. It’s much bigger, and much more ambitious–a fall festival, with music, activities, more local art. The festival is in the very early planning stages now, but it’s going to be awesome. We’re hoping to make the festival a fundraiser for an AIDS prevention organization (I won’t say which one yet, since we haven’t confirmed anything). I’ll be taking a bigger role this year, it looks like. I’m really excited about this–so look for posts in the future as the festival begins to take form.

So. What have you been up to lately?

 

Feminism: It’s a Way of Life

Tonight, at work, a supervisor from another department came over and was chatting with us. He kept referring to us as “girls.”

Oi, I thought.

Finally after the third, fourth, or fifth time, I responded:

“Girls?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Ladies. Is that better?”

“Yes. Thank you.”

And that was that.

At “lunch,” another coworker and I were trying to figure out where to eat. He suggested Wendy’s or McDonald’s.

“I can’t eat at McDonald’s.”

So we went to Wendy’s.

I’ve been boycotting McDonald’s ever since the company blamed an employee for being sexually assaulted.

Every day, I live out my principles. Sometimes I fuck up. But I’m always aware, and I always try to do better. And I’m not an anomaly.

Feminism is not a girl’s club. It’s not about hate, or bitterness. It’s a value system.