Here's this week's wrap up, kids...wherein I go through my Twitter and Facebook feeds to see what the hell I linked to that was nifty.
* A letter to those writers who, upon rejection, say "You will regret this!" And this is totally true. Even if a book goes on to be a best seller, that doesn't mean the agent (or editor) who rejected it will regret their decision. If you're going to be spending hundreds of hours of your time to represent a book (or thousands of dollars, if you're a publisher), you must love it. Rejecting a book doesn't necessarily mean the book is bad or won't sell elsewhere--it often means that the people just didn't love it enough. But your goal as a writer is to find people who will love your work, and if you put the time and effort into honing your craft--and do your research--eventually you'll find someone who loves it.
* No link, but we hired my minion to be official company minion at Mundania Press. Well, okay, so she's the "Executive Assistant." But I still call her the minion. She'll be taking care of all correspondence. I trained her for a few hours Friday, got her email set up, boss made the announcement...and everyone promptly welcomed her by sending a few dozen questions within hours. Poor, poor minion.
* I have a confession to make: I have a weakness for hidden object games. I can't help myself--every so often, I must play them. But I don't like a plain HOG, I like ones with mini-games and logic. Which is why I really enjoyed Natalie Brooks: Mystery at Hillcrest High. Now, this isn't high art. It's a silly game. But it was fun, so I'm rec'ing it.
We've all been having a vampire issue
This one can cause some damage even if he doesn't bite you
But it appears that Bella, once again, needs to be rescued
'Cause Edward Cullen
Gives me the wiggins
So Buffy, can you please just slay him?
I gotta get blogging more. I'm just really lazy and typically post links on Twitter to whatever I'm interested in, rather than do a proper blog post. But anyways, I'm going to try to do a round up post on Sundays of nifty, random stuff.
In Skyla News, I was on limited office hours this week due to really bad wrist pain, which flares up if I don't take enough breaks for several weeks. So...ouch. And in writing news, I've been suffering a whiny case of, "Writing is hard--waaaaah!" so I've pretty much kept to myself. I don't understand why staring blankly at the screen doesn't make words appear...
* I wrote on the MP blog about my author checklist. This is something I've heard a LOT of editors talk about--what type of writers do they want to work with...and who do they REALLY not want around? I came up with nine qualities I've encountered that make me twitchy. I also encourage writers to come up with their checklist for publishers. I think we all have to be clear about what our expectations are for one another to make the best match possible, because really, that's how a book is going to be successful--when both parties are on the same page. I expect someone's going to get bent out of shape over it but, you know, someone's gotta say these things.
Last year I wrote about "grey" rape, and took a slightly different angle with it from a more personal perspective. This year...I don't quite know what I'm going to write about, but expect plenty of posting on this subject during the next few weeks.
What I will do, however, is remind you to buy your copy of Nothing But Red. The proceeds go to Equality Now, and it has work by some amazing people I admire, such as Joss Whedon, Lilith Saintcrow, Ann Aguirre, Elaine Corvidae, Hanne Blank, Ellen Sheeley, and so many other people--just go check out the contributors to see it all. It's an arts anthology--there's fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, art...it's really a fantastic collection. Read Joss's essay that started it all here, check out the foreword, some beautiful and heartbreaking art, and as I find other pieces shared online, I'll link to them in other posts.
(And if you're okay with a bit of a downer, here are my thoughts on the two year anniversary of Du'a Khalil's death.)
And here are a couple of reviews:
Nothing But Red, while sometimes dark and horrifying, is an extremely powerful and exceptional piece of work. Please do not think, though, that every story in this book is violent or that it contains nothing positive or hopeful. There are many contributions that tell of strong women who are determined to get out of their situation, to be free and live. There is hope contained within the pages of this very eloquent book just as I believe that there is hope for women of the world. The fact that this book even exists is, to me, is definite proof of that.
Beautifully crafted, NOTHING BUT RED brings home, with stunning clarity, the fact that anybody who believes that violence against women is something that only happens in certain countries, amongst people of certain religions, or is a thing of the past, is sadly mistaken. This could be YOUR mother, YOUR sister, YOUR daughter, friend or niece. This could be YOU. The words and images captured in these pages will not fail to stir you to your very soul. The writing is raw, poignant and heartfelt. The images are haunting. Reading this book left me feeling frightened, horrified, saddened, disgusted, bewildered and enraged. It also left me with a burning desire to be a part of the solution, to help assure that "honor killings" and other atrocities become a thing of the past. Most importantly, it left me with a feeling of hope. Hope that because of the passion and conviction of the talented women and men who contributed to NOTHING BUT RED, things can change.
Off to Take Back the Night rally and march tonight. I found out yesterday that I'm about to be so broke I can't make rent, but I'll still see if I can scrape together a donation for the local shelter that's hosting it.
First, the very awesome Jim Hines posted this link to some foolproof sexual assault prevention tips. If you're female, you've probably received an email before from someone giving you all kinds of advice on how not to get yourself raped. Well, that link has the best advice ever.
And here's a video--an oldie but a goodie, and I've been having one of those days where I needed to hear it again. Here it is, in case you do too.
Keep in mind that I'm in a pissy mood so if you want to jump in and argue with me today about feminism, you'll be deleted because I'm tired of constantly having to fucking fight with people over something basic like my expectation that I shouldn't have to worry about being sexually assaulted all the fucking time.
And, finally, 'cause I also needed to re-read this:
Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women. And the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who is confronted with it.
We need equality. Kinda now.
ETA: Please note this entry is called, "Stuff I needed to hear." Not, "Stuff you need to argue with." If you don't like it, please don't read my blog. It's that simple. I am a feminist. I discuss feminist issues here. If that's a problem for you, it's best to take blog reading elsewhere.
I've wanted one for a good long while. Like, the past dozen years or so. Certain persons always criticized me for wanting to get one, but certain persons are no longer a part of my life, so I figured fuck them. Kinda like why I dyed my hair blonde.
I've always had very clear feelings about body art. I've never felt it's about aesthetics, but rather a tattoo should be a representation of who you are in a certain point in life. A permanent mark on the body is something, well, sacred. For me, it should be chosen with great care. (If you don't feel that way, that's cool--I'm all about choices and people can get whatever body modification for whatever reason they want.)
Here is what I got done Wednesday night:
This is a veve, or religious symbol, representing the Vodou loa Erzulie Dantor.
She represents the infinite strength of women. During the Haitian slave revolution, it's said she was stabbed seven times, but she pulled the swords out and kept on fighting. She represents women who have been victimized, but refuse to be victims.
She is often called by women in domestic violence situations, or who have been betrayed by a lover. Emergencies, lost causes--she can be invoked at the last moment when it seems hope is gone. Erzulie Dantor is someone who doesn't give up and shows defiance in the face of adversity even when it seems all is lost.
Also, she vomits blood on her enemies, which is infinitely cool.
WARNING: This is a rant of MY opinion MY blog on MY website. Any comment that isn't "I 100% agree with you"--which I'd love to hear, btw--is getting deleted because right now, this isn't a place for discussion--it's a place for me to vent.
Also, you're more then welcome to disagree with my politics and dislike me for them. I realize most writers try not to alienate readers (and potential ones) by expressing their views of "touchy" issues.
But I'm not one of those writers. I see no reason for my voice to be silent on something that's important to me, and if you don't like that, then don't be a fan.
Today is the two year anniversary of the death by public stoning (or "honour killing") of Du'a Khalil Aswad. Had she lived to today, she'd be nineteen years old.
Du'a was Iraqi (from Kurdistan), and an adherent to the Yazidi faith. She fell in love with a Muslim boy. Her tribe found out, and, you see, this crime "dishonoured" them. Her parents hid her and planned to get her out of the country. Honour or not, they didn't want their daughter to die.
She was found, dragged outside into a mob of hundreds (if not thousands) of men, stripped of her clothing, and then beaten and stoned to death.
This event was filmed by multiple people, from the front row, with camera phones. This girl's brutal murder ended up on YouTube about a month after her death.
May 2007, Joss Whedon penned an emotional essay condemning violence against women around the globe (you can read it here). This lead to the creation of the anthology Nothing But Red and I encourage you to get yourself a copy--the proceeds go to Equality Now.
I avoided writing this today because I just had no idea what to say.
It's been two years, and it's such a fight to get anyone to care about anything. We even found during the process of putting together the anthology, enthusiasm waned. Volunteers disappeared. When it came time to launch we received a lot of support, but not the same level as when Joss wrote that essay to start it all--it was old news, I guess. Or maybe it's because the whole thing is just so upsetting and frustrating, it's easier to be apathetic.
This girl is still dead. So are hundreds, if not thousands of other girls killed for "honour" since Du'a's death.
I think what bothers me the most about the apathy is that so many people seem to think this happens "over there" with those "other" people.
I watched multiple videos of Du'a's murder. I felt I had to--I organized the antho, and I felt it was my duty to really confront this ugliness. And what still stays with me is the sound. A mob of men chanting for her death. That sound fucking terrifies me because it's so eerily familiar. Ever walk down a street a night when there are a group of men standing around? Ever walk past them to hear them calling after you, sometimes following you? It's the same sound. Different language. Different words. But the sound is the same.
That sound makes me feel powerless. Now, I'm an alpha female, and I'm confident that I can usually take care of myself. I very rarely feel like I don't have power.
But that sound is bigger than me. That sound can hurt me--it's the sound of something I can't do anything about.
I always say I can't imagine what Du'a went through in the twenty odd minutes of beating we see in that video, but I think I can, to be honest. When she's on the ground, struggling to stand, pleading for help...she knew. She heard that sound and she knew she didn't have any power.
Misogyny and violence against women isn't an "other" thing. It doesn't just happen "over there." We are confronted by brutality every day in North America. Visit any womens' shelter to know how true this is.
We're all, rightfully, upset right now about the law passed in Afghanistan that legalizes rape and various limitations on women's rights. Yeah...it's bad...but you know what? Up until 1976, marital law was legal in every state in the U.S. Only some states currently have no legal distinction between martial rape and stranger rape. In Canada, it wasn't until 1983 that we had actual reform of rape laws. The attitude that a man can't rape his wife (ahem, or common law spouse) is disturbingly common in our own culture, whether the act is illegal or not.
So yeah. I really have nothing to say today. I'm just so fucking exhausted. Nothing is different. Nothing changes. The good folks at ICAHK are still fighting the good fight. Most people are still apathetic. I'm still writing stupid little urban fantasy books because I don't have the guts, or energy, to dedicate my life to activism. Du'a is still dead.
I used the image to your left as my Facebook profile picture. I notice fewer of my acquaintances who used it last year did this year. So maybe some have forgotten her. I haven't. She reminds me that I have more power over my life than she did, but that it's still not enough to change anything for the better.
Sorry to be a downer this evening, kids, but I can't put a positive spin on anything tonight.
So a brief commercial for the news popped up on Global TV a short while ago. There was mention of the prime minister criticizing the new law passed in Afghanistan that severely limits womens' rights.
The newcaster then describes it as a bill that, "would legalize forced sex within marriage."
You know...I'm *pretty* sure we have a word for the phrase "forced sex"...let me think...yeah, yeah we do...
It's called rape.
I find it extremely disappointing that media outlets so often refuse to use the word "rape" when that's what they're fucking talking about. I really feel that this contributes to rape culture. We need to separate the act of sex (which is a good thing) from the act of rape (which is a bad thing). We can better do this by calling "forced sex" or "non-consensual sex" rape because that's what it is.
Today was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the U.S., and in a short while there will be the anniversary of the Morgentaler decision here in Canada.
I'm going through some medical issues right now that are reproductive health related, and I just wanted to repeat how incredibly important it is that women have complete control over their bodies to make their own decisions. Whether they want children or not, when they have those children, and can they afford proper health care are issues that we all STILL need to be fighting for today.
Please, women everywhere, know your options and have yourself checked over so that you know you don't have any health problems. If you're in a position where you don't know what you can afford, ASK. There may be help or other options for you. But please, please, take care of yourself and always make informed decisions regarding your body.