Tuesday 26 February 2013

This and That and What?

Warning!  I'm totally going to be serious for a minute here.  I don't usually do this, but I'm proud, and I want to share. I'll keep it short. Not many words are required, really. As always: My blog, my rules!  (Having a blog is turning me into a power mad dictator. A power mad caffeinated dictator. FEAR ME!)

Yesterday I was featured in an article in the Globe and Mail on women and science-fiction.  I count Madeline and Nina among my friends, and I was stoked to share page time with them.  I'm in good company!

The comments of course became sexist and stupid on the Globe and Mail. You have to sign in to sound like an idiot on this site, so that's why there were only five comments. Stupidity requiring effort often gets tossed to the wayside.  Let us now all be grateful for the small blessing that is a user account.

Regardless of the stupidity of random comments, I did notice that not one person on Facebook or any of the groups I belong to (which pretty much cover SF/F in Canada) made a stupid sexist remark. No one even refuted Madeline's comment on how a low-cut dress is at times the only thing that gets her noticed on otherwise all-male panels (I've been there, sister). And let's pay attention to that lack of comment, instead.

It shows that at least in this community, we're acknowledging the existence of sexism/wrongful gender perceptions.  And acknowledgment is a great place to be and to move forward from (keywords: move forward from).

I love this community, flaws and all. Thank you for being so supportive!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Stop Moping. Celebrate, Instead!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my single friends, and those in couples or multiples!  This is where I tell single people not to mope.  Because I'm also single, and I feel you're propagating poor messaging on the state of being single. 

Valentine's Day seems to be used as a Klingon pain stick by some single folk who think they're unworthy of celebration on this Chaucer-defined "day of love" (and chocolate). 

Give yourself more credit!  Seriously.  Love the company you keep, every hour of every day, and you won't mind this society-imposed label of "singlehood."  (Cue dramatic music.)

Contrary to what I may project at times, I love a good romance.  I love the whirlwind of it all, the surprises, the making out...  but I don't hinge all of my life's decisions on whether or not a worthy mate happens to be around, available and interested.  I love romance, but I hate, and I mean *hate* pretty much everything about how it's portrayed in popular media.  It's so... trite and dull, for the most part.

And, more than that, I'm not a fan of how society (and marketing) tends to label someone who's single as someone who's "incomplete."  Think about it.  You've used the phrases too - I hear them on a regular basis:
  • "Oh, you're so nice, I'm sure you'll find someone!"
    • Roomy, who is also single, enjoys answering that it's because she's single that she's so nice.
  • "I don't understand why you're still single."
    • Um, sometimes, we choose to be alone and happy instead of in a relationship with somebody.  Just like I choose to write books and I choose to tell stories. Seems simple enough.
  • "Are you married?  No? Ooooh, sorry..."
    • ... sorry about what?  I'm not.  But go ahead.  What the heck.
What that does, essentially, is put "singlehood" into a category that should be viewed with horror and perhaps even reviled.  Fear the singles!  Or worse: Pity them. 

Singlehood does itself no favours on days like today by whining.  Moping.  "Oh, I'm alllll alone today on Valentine's Day, I'm soooooo saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddd...." 

That's worse.  For crying out loud, didn't your mama teach you some independence? (I argue my maman taught me a bit too much, but it's worked out okay.)

Don't fear being single. Don't hate it.  Heck, embrace it! Be kind to yourself as you would be with a lover.  Enjoy the routine that's yours and yours alone. Wine and dine yourself, even.

I've been single for a few years, now.  I've been on a few dates, most of which were unsuccessful.  Last year, I decided I'd go on one date a month, until I got tired of having to punch boys.  I have a wicked right hook, and apparently ill luck with meeting strangers. 

Then, among the writing, travelling and just generally being alive, I forgot that being in a couple was such a "necessary" trait.  I forget it.  I honestly do.  It's not something I'm actively seeking, though I like to at least think I'm open to it (some people may disagree with me). 

But boy am I reminded of it daily.  By well-intentioned friends, co-workers, strangers on busses - it seems no one is above saying "I'm in a couple, I'm awesome!"

Well, okay, that's your reality, and everyone should think they're awesome.  My reality is this: I like myself, and I think I'm awesome!  And I have sooo many friends who are AWESOME that it makes me ridiculously happy. On days like today, when we celebrate love, I want to celebrate all of them.  Allll of them.  My family, my friends, my writing buddies, my Facebook friends, casual acquaintances, the Bridgehead dude who pours my coffee in the mornings.... I want to celebrate them all for making each day, every day a little bit more awesome and filled with caffeine, laughter and love.

I'm single and I have no problem with it.  At all. If you're single, I hope you don't, either.  Because you have so much of yourself to give, to share, and people like me?  We love you for it.  So very much.  I want to hug you all, but I can't. You're there, I'm here. 

Celebrate the chocolate!  Watch a horror movie (my fave activity on this day!)  Wine and dine yourself at home by candlelight.  Send yourself some flowers. Do something *for you.* For your family. For your friends. 

But don't wallow.  Don't put yourself down.  Enough people do that on a regular basis, so show yourself how much you care about yourself today.  If it's a day of love we're supposed to be celebrating (marketing, whatever), then remember that you can only control what you give, not what you get.  So give some loving instead of some moping.

It's the little things that make all the difference.  Make that difference for yourself.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Workshop this Weekend

Edit: The workshop is from 10 to 5, NOT 9 to 5. Cheers!

On Sunday will be the full day workshop on Editing your Fiction, given by Derek K√ľnsken and myself, and all proceeds will go to the local sci-fi con, CAN-CON.  For those of you who don't yet know, CAN-CON is hosting the Aurora Awards this year, so it's a particularly important (and expensive) year. In 2012, other members of my writing group, the East Block Irregulars, gave workshops to help fundraise for the con.  This year, I'm happy to be in the ring with them.

For those of you who were wondering what the heck we'd talk about for a fullll day, here's some insight:
  • Derek will go on about accepting that first drafts are shit and editing will make them shine.  I shall support his point, perhaps make fun of some of them, and then add a few more. 
  • Structural edits
  • Character arcs
  • My favourite: adding tension!
  • Language edits
  • All with some exercises and practical examples!
I'm pushing for Derek and I to play good cop/bad cop when it comes to editing, but I think we're both pretty bad cop about this, so that's a no go. The reason we're intense about this, however, is that we both feel strongly edits make manuscripts shine AND publishable.  They're a good set of skills to learn and then master.

I believe there's still some room in the workshop, so don't miss out! We'll be at the University of Ottawa from 10-5 on Sunday, and it's only $40 for the whole day.  And did I mention that it's all going to support CAN-CON?  To register, contact Elizabeth at can.spec.lit@gmail.com

I can't wait for this. I love playing bad cop.  Fear me!