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 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.
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.
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 :)
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I now have $770 in total pledged money for the Write-a-thon. Only $240 to go. Don’t make me beg, peoples! It all starts next week. How will I be motivated to write if I cannot raise $1000? Don’t make a Tempest cry…
I just need $40/week more. 4 more people at $10/week. Just 4! C’mon.
A bit of most excellent news — yesterday I found out that Strange Horizons will publish my story Until Forgiveness Comes! Yay! SH is one of my favorite magazines and a market I really, really wanted to crack. And that story is, I believe, one of the best I’ve ever written.
Apparently SH sent out a bunch of acceptances yesterday as I saw at least one mentioned on my flist and my fellow Altered Fluidian, Kris Dikeman, also got one. I’m pretty sure AF is taking over markets one by one, as three or four of us have something coming up in Electric Velocipede as well.
I should also say that the story benefited tremendously from critiques from both Altered Fluid and, later, the Black Beans (who took a look at the revision I did for SH, mentioned here). Big thanks, y’all :)
My story will come out in late 2008/early 2009, and I’ll definitely make mention when it does. And next month my Podcastle story comes out. Lots to look forward to.
I’ve been rather busy the past few weeks and I owe many of you many emails. Please forgive me! There’s been a lot of upheaval here at Casa de Tempest the past couple of months and I’m just now getting to the point where I can stop panicking.
I’m taking on several web design projects right now and just (mostly) completed one: DenaLandon.com.
I did the last design of Dena’s site (and it was very pretty, if I say so myself) but we both felt it was time for an update. This time I put her on a WordPress blog so she could make text updates herself and also integrate the blog into the actual site and run away from Blogger forever. I’m quite proud of this one, as it’s the most I’ve had to modify a WP theme and I pulled it off. WordPress as CMS works out pretty well for sites like this.
I also created the images along the top and in the background. They’re all based on the cover art, though I had to fuss with it a bit and work around the title and author name a lot. I haven’t used masks in forever, but rediscovered that function working on this site, nicely paralleling my learning about them for the first time for the original design.
I have three other projects right now and I’m also looking for more design work. If you need a simple (but pretty) website or want me to set up a WordPress blog and maybe tweak a theme for you, drop me an email. I’m going to squeeze in a bunch before the month is up and the Write-a-thon is in full swing.