Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

Over 1,000 words today on chapter 1.  I completed a difficult exposition-heavy scene and am satisfied with the expositionyness of it.  Tomorrow I take my girls to the temple of Nebt-hut and they get to talk to a goddess and possibly throw down!

I’ll probably finish by Saturday.  Friday if I shirk work, which I should not do…

I’m amazed at the ease of writing this chapter now that I know exactly what happens.  Let’s hope this trend continues for the next six weeks.  That, of course, depends on me knowing what happens in 5 other chapters, which could prove an issue.

In other news, one of my stories was rejected the other day and I’ve completely run out of markets for it.  It’s a difficult match because it’s around 11,000 words and not many markets take stuff that long.  It’s one of my older stories and there’s not much hope of making it shorter, so I suppose I’ll just have to trunk it or put it up on the blog or something.  It makes me sad, as I absolutely love this story… sigh.

Jonathan Strahan Apologizes

I’ll crosspost this on FSF blog when I get a chance unless someone else beats me to it.  I feel that this deserves just as much attention as the issue that caused it:

The truth is that under the pressure of needing to deliver and of my other work, I overlooked gender balance as an issue in the closing couple months of preparing Eclipse Two for publication. There is no doubt in my mind that I should have paid more attention to this, and it is something I sincerely regret.

[…]

Writers dropped out as always happens (and this is no reflection on them), and I wasn’t paying attention to gender balance. More women happened to drop out than men, and when I went to solicit stories close to the deadline I went to writers I felt I could impose on, that I had a relationship with, and they were all male. I should have been more aware, and made sure I maintained the kind of balance I’d started out with. I didn’t, and I regret that.

[…]

Know also that I genuinely understand why there has been anger and frustration about the TOC for E2. I wish had done a better job of maintaining gender neutrality in E2, and I will continue to try and do so, in this series, and in my other work going forward.

Read the full post here (it’s worth it).

Now, there are probably many discussions we could have about whether Strahan is sincere or not and other related subjects, but I am going to choose, for now, to accept what he says at face value.  I reserve the right to change my mind should the future belie his stated commitment, but I will hope for the best.

Um, Thanks

I just realized a bit ago that lately I’ve been asking you fine folks for a lot of money for fundraising.  Between the IAF auction and the Write-a-thon and the SH fundraiser, all in the past two months.  Hopefully I won’t be involved in any fundraising for a while as I sort out other stuff.  But I wanted to just say to everyone: Thank you.  Thanks for giving money or support or time to these various projects.    Thanks for spreading the word.  Thanks for being great friends.  I really, really appreciate it.

Strange Horizons Fundraiser

No even though I recently sold a story to Strange Horizons, I somehow forgot to mention that they are in the midst of a fundraiser.  So I shall mention it now.

Strange Horizons is one of the awesomest genre magazines around today.  They publish great fiction, they have an editorial vision and philosophy that appeal to me as a reader and a writer, and they make it all happen with donations from the community.

I think you should donate!  The money you give supports fiction, non-fiction, and a group of editors who strongly believe in presenting a diversity of voices in the genre.

You can donate any amount you want, but if you’re the type who enjoys getting stuff at different membership levels, SH has that, too.  $25 will get you a membership card (designed by Jeremy Tolbert, who is awesome), $50, $100, $250, and $500 will get you other, cooler stuff.  Go check it out.

Then donate!

Write-a-thon Begins!

Write-a-thon Begins!

I’m not the only person who was so busy yesterday that I forgot to mention that the Write-a-thon started.  I was actually at a writing retreat since last Thursday and we came back down from the mountains yesterday.  Still, I got a decent start on the first chapter of the novel and some ideas to use for the upcoming ones.

It’s only Tuesday and I’m sure I’ll make this week’s goal!  That’s an excellent start.

The Clarion West kids have probably finished up their first crit session by now.  I’m so jealous!  Good luck guys and gals and others.  I hope CW is as awesome as it was my year.

In other Write-a-thon news, I now have $820 in pledged money.  Yay!  However, I am $180 short of my goal.  It is NOT too late to get in on this.  Even if you can only afford $5/week, that is still very helpful.  Join the ranks of the generous people who sponsored me!  Just email: sponsorkt, which is a gmail address.

And on a related note, Sunday was Octavia Butler’s birthday.  It coincided this year with the arrival of the new CW class, and I know Leslie, Neile, and Kate (amongst many others) are missing her particularly now.

Part of why I am so motivated to raise money in this write-a-thon is because half of it goes to the Butler Memorial Scholarship.  It’s one way I honor Octavia’s memory — by helping writers of color attend Clarion and Clarion West, something that made a big difference in her life, and mine, too.

And last, I’ll show you a small snippet of the chapter I’m working on:

All of the shrines and [temples] in –ward were built along the wall that separated the City from the outside. It was so high and so thick that the citizens rarely heard sounds from the greater world. Every [god] had a small house here, but the houses of Nebt-hut, Anpuu and Heqat stood above them all, Nebt-hut’s columns reaching almost the height of the wall.

The girls waited impatiently for their mother to catch up before walking on to the [temple] of Heqat. They made to rush into the birthing room, but Tian called them back.

“You have to be clean before you can go in. To keep Akana and the baby safe.”

While they washed their hands, arms, and feet, their mother dressed them in blue Heqat shifts that smelled of myrrh and chamomile. She prepared herself, slipping on a jeweled headband that marked her as high [priestess].

“Now we can go in.”

Kamisi took Miu’s hand and they entered quietly, the atmosphere of the room transforming their excitement into reverence. They were about to witness their first birth.

Hey, I’m Famous!

While checking out Gothamist I saw their post about the Mermaid Parade today. Upon seeing the post’s picture, I thought “Hey, that looks just like the shot I took at last year’s parade.” Turns out, it is! It is a great picture and the mermaid in question had a great costume, so I’m quite pleased. I’ve wondered a few times if any of the pictures I put in the gothamist pool made it into posts I missed. I’m glad I got to see this one :)

2007 Mermaid Parade

It’s sad that I am not at the parade this year, but Nora and I are at a writing retreat this weekend. Ah well, maybe there will be another one next year…

A scenario for you

A scenario for you

If a white person calls me a nigger, that’s pretty racist, right?  I mean, if someone is willing to use that particular word against me, that’s not a mistake, that’s not an oops, that’s not a slip of the tongue.  That’s a pretty clear cut situation.

Okay.  Now let’s say that “Bob” calls me a nigger and I go: “You racist! OMG.”  Would you expect rational people to then say, “But Tempest, Bob is really nice.  In the past, I’ve never heard him call anyone a nigger before.  He didn’t call Jamal a nigger last week.  And he marched on Washington with Martin Luther King!”

No, you wouldn’t expect that, would you?  And even if that did happen, wouldn’t your reaction be, “The dude called her a nigger you idiot.  It doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do before this moment, that is some fucked up racist shit.”

Maybe Bob doesn’t always have racist tendencies.  Maybe Bob has an unconscious bias.  Maybe Bob was having a bad day, was drunk, just had a fight with his wife, whatever.  That still does not negate the fact that, in that moment, Bob pulled out some racism and hurled it at me.  And we don’t need to see Bob do it 10 more times over the course of several days, weeks, years, etc. to be able to peg that instance as A Bad Thing.

Right?  Right.

So, why is it then that whenever the gender bias thing comes up, people say “Well, you can’t judge on just this one instance” or “Statistically you need more data”?  No.  No, you really don’t.  Because it doesn’t matter what happened before.  If someone does something that smacks of sexism in one point in time, that is a problem at that point in time.  We don’t need statistics to tell us that the one instance was wrong.  More data can show a pattern, sure, and that makes things worse.  But the absence of a pattern does not make things better.  Because the wrong thing was still done.  Plain and simple.

We seem to have gotten to a point in this community where sexism and gender bias is a nebulous, hard to pin down thing that people don’t want to admit exists or require extraordinary evidence before they’ll admit it exists in one place.  Even when it’s as blatant as Bob calling me a nigger.  (As proof, I cite the Harlan Ellison boob grab incident.)  It’s not really a problem, some say.  It’s not a problem until you can prove it over the course of five volumes, others say.  It’s just you people looking to fight about something and then you’ll forget about it later, still others say.

No, people.  You need to stop.  Because, as with many prejudices, it is not okay to ignore the individual instances of wrongness until you can prove some sort of pattern.  Because each time it comes up, some yahoo will always claim it as an individual instance.  Take it from a person who has had to deal with both large scale and individual level prejudices all of her life: You do not win by ignoring the small stuff just as you do not win by only worrying about the small stuff and ignoring the bigger problem.  You win by pointing out and eliminating both.

So the next time you feel the need to say something about how it’s “just one anthology” or “just one year’s worth of a magazine” or “Just” anything, stop and eat a cookie.  Better yet, knit.  It’ll keep your fingers busy.

Those Who Forget The Lessons Of History…

Okay, I know I wrote this over a year ago, but have certain people forgotten about it already?  Refresher course:

“I didn’t know (or care) if [the people who submitted to my markets] were black, white, purple, or polka-dot” (Resnick) or “I don’t choose stories based on race or culture or gender, I just choose the best stories” (an editor friend).

I really, really hate this excuse – for several reasons. The first of which is that it gives the appearance of being reasonable, thereby shutting down further discussion or debate. In writing, only the story should matter, not the writer! It also assumes that the submission pile represents an adequate and accurate cross-section of writers and stories. Therefore, by picking the best, the editor is automatically being fair.

The appearance of fairness, though, is false.

“I just choose the best stories” isn’t valid anymore, people.  It is not.  Stop saying it.  No, really.

Today @ Fantasy

Today @ Fantasy

Over the next few weeks we’re rolling out some new features at Fantasy Magazine. One that we’re very excited about is Puppet Strings, a cousin to our Author Spotlights. Once or twice a month a Fantasy author will give you a sneak peek into the magic behind their fiction–be it the inspiration, the writing process, the research, or whatever else. Then for the next five days the author will answer questions and participate in discussion about their story.

Our first author is Darja Malcolm-Clarke, author of His One True Bride.  She talks about the background behind her inspiration, which is wide ranging and very interesting:

I love the idea that a spontaneous, violent physical reaction is the only possible response to being separated from the divine after it being so close (whatever form He or She might take, and through whatever belief system). That is how I imagine being in contact with the divine must be: it undoes you. There’s no going back.

Read it here. Also, Darja will answer questions about her Puppet Strings post and discuss His One True Bride until Sunday evening.  So go and discuss, question, poke, and be impressed.