I wrote another review!

Here’s a sample.

Elisa is chosen by God, marked for an act of service for His people.

But she’s also the youngest of two princesses, overweight, and has never done anything remarkable. She’s sure she never will. And now, on her sixteenth birthday, she’s becoming the secret wife of the king from a neighbouring country– which is on the verge of war with a terrifying enemy.

Read more…

I had strong feelings about this book, and I had fun writing this review. Head over to Scape to see what I said! And there is also new short fiction and other awesomeness there to see. 😀

Go! Read!

Advertisements

And now on a more serious note

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for all of eight months, because it will probably end in me being yelled at, but I keep THINKING about it and maybe if I write it I can let it go.

Okay.

I am quite concerned about social justice in media. I started noticing the stories that were being told through advertising, and then through TV and movies, and then through books. As of now, the sociological aspects and effects of narrative are something I am passionately interested in, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. So I follow a lot of parts of the internet who tend to talk about these things. Very good. However, there are some trends I have noticed, which concern me. I’m gonna talk about my subjective experience in reference to both trends, cause hey— that’s how I noticed them. I am ever so observant.

The first trend is to devalue someone else’s pain.

In one discussion I was scrolling past, I noticed that someone was telling another person that no one who is white could ever understand the pain of body image issues of someone who is not white and because of this, no one who is white should ever participate in a conversation about body image with someone who is not white, and no one who is white should ever bring their experience to the table in a discussion of body image. This would make the discussion about white people (again), which is something we are trying to get away from as the default.

I don’t think this approach, to say that no one with privilege is allowed to talk, is unreservedly helpful.

The point of the “you are not allowed to talk” was because of white privilege. The effect of the “you are not allowed to talk” was to say that if you are white, your pain is not significant enough to be given time on this social justice and equality blog.

So yes, I am white, and I also have an eating disorder, and being told that I was not invited to participate in a discussion of body image did not exactly make me feel as though I wanted to hang around on the rest of the site. I wanted to get out, where I wasn’t told that because I had privilege my experience was invalid.

And yes, I am aware that me not being welcomed is kind of the point. The discussion wasn’t about me, it was about the particular pain of someone who is told that their skin colour doesn’t let them be beautiful, ever.

It also made me feel that my pain was insignificant and invalid and stupid and I was being an idiot again, look, see, the media tells me I’m almost pretty, I’m almost there, I can be pretty, I just need to stop whining and try harder… etc, etc. It’s a litany I’ve heard before.

I am well aware that the media tells me I’m almost pretty. I am white, and tall, and thin, and have an oval face, and I have thick curly hair. I’m also well aware of every single one of my flaws, (which I am not going to list because this post is not intended to be sixteen pages long) because I am a recovering anorexic who struggles with depression, and when you’re not quite good enough, being 98% of the way there just means you failed by a closer margin.

I think my pain is considerable. I think it is a valid hurt. I think the fact that I literally cannot think of a single part or aspect of my body that I like without an undercurrent of seething hatred and inadequacy, is not something that is invalid.

I am not saying that my pain is worse than that of others. I know it isn’t. I just think the comparison of pain is something that shouldn’t be the immediate response of any discussion.

Oh, you get to talk because you lost three family members, but you only lost one so you have to shut up. You were only sexually assaulted, not raped, so you can’t talk. You’re not poor enough to participate in the discussion of poverty. (None of those examples happened to me, but I’ve seen them all happen to others.)

Isn’t the point of this to stop more pain, not to tell someone that they don’t quite qualify for the pain olympics? Can’t I say that the system has wounded me too and I am so, so sorry for the pain it has caused you, let’s fix it, instead of just apologizing for the damage ‘my system’ caused?

Can this suffering be worth something in your eyes?

Okay so that’s the first thing. The other thing is just this. It hurts to hear that your story is not worth telling. It hurts to be told by omission, that you can never lead a tale, you can just be the love interest, or the spunky side-kick, or the honourable enemy. (Let’s be honest, that way of telling SUCKS. Many people have written about how much it sucks, and they have written it much better than I ever could.) But it also hurts to be told outright that your story is overdone, or boring, or cliche.

And I’m totally guilty of doing this, when I look at a story and go “ugh, not another boy coming of age book, how stupid, I’m skipping that.” I hadn’t realized it until I heard someone saying about YA “My god, I hope the future of YA isn’t straight, white, middle-class and female, we’ve got enough of that.” I was unexpectedly wounded, because hey, I’m straight, white, middle-class and female, and I had just been told that my story wasn’t worth telling. I got their point, but I was still hurt.

And I do not think the person mean to hurt? They meant that they wanted more of other things, which I agree with. More poor people, more rich people, more people who live in different places and times, more people with different hair and skin and eyes and languages and cultures, more approaches to gender and sexuality, more interests, more education levels. More of everything. I want the world in my reading to be complex and rich, not some middle of the road distilled version of “normal.” So when we’re saying that what we want is more of everything, I think it would be helpful to define that as MORE of this, as opposed to “Less of that, we hates it, it’s icky.” Say we want this also, not that never. Because isn’t the point to include, not exclude?

And I really am aware that what I am saying is essentially a tone argument. But hey, if I didn’t think tone was important, I wouldn’t spend revise and revise and revise to try and get the tone of a story right. How you say a thing does matter.

So, yes. Can we try to be lovely to one another? Or am I just being a jerk by writing this? Y/N/LET ME EXPLAIN HOW YOU ARE WRONG?

P.S. Readercon update coming someday. Soon. I mean soon.

Dude it’s summer and national holidays are scarily soon.

So this summer my main job has been writing a medical textbook for personal support workers. I’m learning lots.

Anyways, it is trucking right along, and I am average about 1,500 words a day, and today I did a rather brutal edit and cut 6,800 words. This could have made the story harderbetterfasterstronger, or I may have just doomed myself.

WHO CAN TELL? AT THIS HOUR, I CAN’T.

I just wanted to share the comfortable terror that is invading my life right now. And announce that I will be at Readercon this year, and it is only 3 weeks away! HURRAH.

Yo, is this racist?

No really, I have a question. 

I’m brainstorming world building for a book I’m gonna write, and I’m having LOTS of fun. Working out food shipments and gravity generation and all kinds of stuff. However, it seems both boring and inaccurate to assume that SOCIETY OF THE FUTURE would be primarily drawn from my own culture. Particularly because, y’know, I come from an island in the North Atlantic. People eat fried bread dough and fried bologna for breakfast, with molasses on both. SO I wanted to take a bunch of other cultures and make a melting pot of awesome, basically. 

AND then I was wondering whether it would just come across as rude and appropriation-ist if I have this stew of elements from cultures that aren’t mine. If I have, Asian and European and American ELEMENTS, but not a careful homage to any culture. 

I figured I should ask this now, before I get a bunch of it all nailed down in words. 

My motivating theme for the book is THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME, and you know, racist grossness is not exactly awesome. 

P.S. The world has kitchen gardens and chopsticks and awesome collars and kids with wings and magnetic trains and quarantine zones and DEATH and grapefruits (maybe) and biometric scanners and embassy blocks and spy trains and secret thieves writing and NO KISSING and amnesia (yes, this is my amnesia story (I figured I’d go all the way and try so make a novel out of my one story.)) and friends and con boys and oxygen rationing and incense. And possibly faith, too. Also, a girl named Pax who has a sideline as the personification of Justice. 

I HAVE FOUND A THING FOR YOU.

So, you know how I was talking in my last blog post about how darn useful critiquing is, as a reader and a writer? And how everyone should do it? (Well, I may not have said everyone, but it was implied, right?) I have found a position which will allow you to do almost exactly that!

The magazine I review books for, (first review forthcoming soon,) has a volunteer slush reader position open. It’s a YA spec fic magazine, so young adult fantasy, science fiction, horror and any mixture therein. And as a slush reader you’d read 5-10 stories a week, give brief feedback about whether it works or not, and why, and get an excellent add-on to put on your resume.

So, stats;

  • unpaid
  • 2 hours a week
  • excellent on your resume
  • USEFUL FOR WRITING

You want to apply, yes? Yes. Here is the link.

LINK TO APPLICATION INFORMATION.

I always reserve the rights to take my own survey results and run into the sunset with them, giggling maniacally.

So remember that survey I did before vacation, when I thought I was going to accomplish things? Yeah. I tried to forget too, but it’s still hanging around.

So here are the results!


  • The most popular options, with five votes each are;
    •  Sleep. More sleep
    • Work on a short story and send it out for sale. I don’t care what story it is, just send it out! Are you a professional or not?,
  • Close behind, with four votes each;
    •  Work on Expendables
    • Eat all the things.
  • With three votes was;
    • Work on Karma Police! I know that story has a soul in there somewhere…
  • There was still some popularity behind these options, each with two votes;
    • Write that story you said you were working on 4 months ago, the one about the wings and the plants that eat people.
    • Write that story with the first line “The snake in my bed was expected, but the boy underneath it was a surprise.”
    • Write more reviews! I don’t have NEARLY enough snark in my life!,
    • Forget writing, READ ALL THE THINGS,
    • Write something new and creative! I’m sure there’s a shred of creativity in there somewhere!,
    • Learn to play mine craft.
  • With a single vote each, some people felt I should use my time in;
    • I think you should dye your hair a cool colour. Like Orange. Yeah.,
    • Learn to play Halo.
    • Forget writing, learn to play the drums.
    • Forget writing, learn to knit. Like a boss.
    • Dedicate your time to producing a truly excellent tumblr.
  • And finally, there were two write-in votes.
    • Enjoy the simple things in life – crisp winter air, a hot shower, a steaming cup of coffee/tea or cider, a warm bed, the smile of a friend, the laughter of a child, curling up with a good book that no one has told you to read, helping someone do something simple, music that calms your soul…
    • Psanky eggs!!!

As you can see, I have not achieved everything on that list. Not quite.

The good news is that now my “school vacation” extends until September! I can totally manage to get another few things crossed off the list by then! Like dying my hair and/or eating all the things!