Good morning, y'all. I hope your Monday is a good one so far. Me, I'm in the midst of packing for another week's stint of suitcase living. I'll be teaching at WriteFest 2018 in Houston, and I'm excited to meet my students for the first time tonight. That said, since I've been in Luxembourg and France for the past couple of weeks and not really paying attention to social media, today's link list will probably be short. (It's just as well. I don't have a lot of time before I need to head Houston-ward.) And now...today's video.
Sort of. Starting Monday, I'm teaching a writing workshop in Houston. (That would be WriteFest.) So, I'm only home for a couple of days and then I'm off again. All those years of dreaming I, too, could travel frequently and...now I can see how exhausting that can be. I'm not complaining--not even a little bit. Luxembourg was amazing. So was Belgium and France. The journey through the Ardenne and then Normandy with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman was downright magical. I'm excited about teaching a group of students who are serious about writing and doing it for four days straight. (That's the longest anyone has yet paid me to ramble on about things I'm passionate about.) I'm lucky to have so many amazing friends. And even luckier to be recognized for doing what I love. I truly am.
But wow is my own bed super attractive right now.
It's always something. I'll definitely be posting on Monday. Friday is a maybe. It depends upon how exhausted I am after a week of teaching. Hang in there, dear reader. I'll get back on schedule soon. I promise.
Travel is an amazing privilege and an incredible learning opportunity. I feel blessed. That sounds sappy, but there's really no other word for it. This was the first time I'd ventured onto the European continent. It was also the first time I'd visited a foreign country on my own that I didn't speak the language. I highly recommend doing so if you're a genre writer. Nothing teaches you more about First Contact, being foreign, and exploration in general like wandering off on your own and not being able to ask for the simplest things. Having a smart phone made everything easier. (And I had a wonderful time imagining I was a member of the Federation with a com device connected to the starship--which, in a sense, I was.) I'll never be able to watch a film or tv show where people venture into space an not feel it in my gut. It's terrifying, exciting, and joyful all at once.
This morning I woke up with a song from the film Waitress running in my mind. I'm not sure what to make of that. I suspect it's because I caught the end of it yesterday while Dane and I were having a lazy Sunday. The movie is a bittersweet little thing, if you've never seen it before. I relate to it because I live in the south, love baking pie, and...well...when I was younger I had terrible taste in men. Well worth checking out.
So, I'm heading off for Luxembourg on Wednesday. Hard to believe it's only a couple days away. I'm very much looking forward to it. That said, entries here might get a bit spotty for the next three weeks. I'm traveling for a convention (LUXCON!!!), hanging out in Paris for a week, and then I'll be teaching at Writefest in Houston. This is one of the few times in my life where the writing life is what you see in the movies--minus the hordes of adoring fans. Oh, I have fans. They're just not a horde. ;) Anyway, I enjoy it to the hilt while I can as anyone with a lick of sense would.
That said, here are today's video clips. First, this one explains why, sometimes, it's best to let others have something just for them.
Apparently, a couple of white dudes got rejected by literary agents due to their inability to write characters who don't happen to be exactly like themselves. That alone isn't so bad. It's normal for starting writers to screw up complex aspects of professional fiction writing. It takes years to master the craft well enough to be professionally published, and even then there are vast aspects that still must be studied in order to improve. Writing as an art form isn't easy. I can't emphasize this enough. We all start somewhere, and that somewhere is usually bad. To make things even more difficult, 98% of the time the new writer can't see how bad. (And yes, you can be 'new' even if you've been writing for decades.) Worse, too often it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what is wrong. So, improving and critiquing isn't a simple process. Regardless, mistakes aren't the problem. Mistakes are a good thing. Making mistakes is how humans learn the most thoroughly. Whether or not you're a writer with a professional attitude is all in how you approach your mistakes. In this case, the white male writers in question decided that the agent rejections weren't due to any need for improvement on their part. They blamed a Feminist conspiracy and then, of course, Twitter blew up.
Or, as I call it, Thursday.
Luckily, there were plenty of reality-checkers present. I especially like how one YA author and Twitter-user (thank you so much, @KosokoJackson) described it, "me, trying to figure out how or why a (yt) MAN thought starting a hashtag like #Misandryinpublishing would in anything but a brutal (well-deserved) takedown by the Valkyries of Twitter." The thread did indeed totally get taken over by the Valkyries of Twitter™, and it was a beautiful thing. As for the originators of the thread, that shit is going to sting for the foreseeable future. Hot tip, babies: publishing is a very small community. You better believe word gets around. By making it public, this mistake is going to be mighty difficult to recover from.
Once again, I'm reminded how ridiculous it is that white dudes seem to think they have anonymity on the internet--you know, that place where privacy died. Yes, it's time to stop telling white boys they can do anything or say anything. It's a disservice to them. It builds up their expectations, and society at large programs them into thinking they don't have to work for any of it. This is why so many white males resort to violence, guns, and/or verbal abuse. It's the frustration of socialized expectation.
Meanwhile, the rest of the known universe has to work twice as hard. This shit has to stop. Yes. Yes, white men, you can write about women, POC, QLTBAG persons, and the differently abled. However, you must do your homework. You cannot bullshit your way through. You will be called out on it. Just like the rest of us. Hell, chances are that even after you do your homework you'll get it wrong and be called out. Diversity is a complex topic due to intersectionality. You must learn empathy. And the best way to do that is to read the works of authors who are not like you.
Times are changing. Get with it, or get out of the way.
The second half of the procedure was completed yesterday. Here's to not having migraines for another six to nine months. I'm lucky in that the source of my migraines was easily found: arthritis in the spine. So, that just means I have to watch how I sit and stand, workout and walk more, and get stabbed a lot to cauterize those pesky nerves that don't like being pinched by unhappy joints. No big. Anyway, I was muzzy from the anesthesia yesterday. Thus, no blog. Sorry about that. And now...
And today's video.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.