Hope

Looking around at my friends and my communities, I see a lot of grief right now, and a lot of fear. Some of us are pragmatically planning for the worst and putting things in order. But some of us are catastrophizing—borrowing trouble we don't need from a future that is, may I remind you, still unknown and unknowable.

There may be trouble, true. A lot of bad things could happen. But don't assume that they will. Despair is the enemy right now. 

I mean this literally. One of the tools of GamerGate, of the Sad Puppies, and of the white supremacist alt-right is fear and despair. Their goal is to make targets feel isolated and alone, to hurt them until they no longer have the will to fight (or even the will to live.)

Hope for the future is more than just a feel-good placebo. Hope is an act of resistance. Hope is your weapon. And if you're finding it heavy to lift right now, let me remind you of these facts:

  • Over 60 million Americans cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in this election cycle—never forget, she won the popular vote. Don't listen to pundits calling this a major victory that rebukes everything Democrats have ever stood for. It was a squeaker, only lost by the electoral college. There is no mandate.
  • The Voting Rights Act went missing this year and it hit us hard. That means untold numbers of votes weren't cast at all—largely for Clinton. We are not the minority. We are not the minority.
  • All of those millions aren't just shedding a tear and moving on, either. Hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting in the streets in an inspiring expression of their First Amendment right to assembly.
  • There's more. As of this writing, 4.4 million people have signed a Change.org petition asking the Electoral College to intervene and make a different choice. Even if it comes to nothing, again, that's a lot of people, and a lot of determination.
  • Donations are pouring into Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other groups planning to make a stand. We're literally putting our money where our mouths are.
  • The phone lines for US senators and representatives are getting so busy that some callers can't get through, and are even finding full voice mail boxes.
  • And it's already working. Today alone, our action inspired Congress members to strongly condemn the choice of white supremacist Steve Bannon for a job in the White House. Politicians are vowing to fight tooth and nail to protect their contituents.
  • If you're worried about fascism rolling over America while we look the other way? This isn't what that looks like. What we're seeing is action, not disbelieving resignation. And there's no reason to believe it's going to stop—not unless we let the alt-right tell us how to feel and what to believe.
  • Oh, and about that. If you don't think many of the upsetting extremist opinions you're reading are coming from comment factories in Russia? Whoooo boy do I have news for you.

Remember this, my friends. There is still goodness and kindness in the world. Hug your family, your friends, your pets. Smile at a stranger as you pass. Give a few dollars to a homeless person. Remember that love and kindness is what you're fighting to keep, and it's not gone. 

We're going to keep it that way.


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They Were Both...

This fucking election. This darkest timeline. I'm getting ready to fight, but some of us are still trying to pin blame — or to be blunt, to squirm away from having any blame placed upon them.

To that end, I'm seeing a sentiment around on the social medias that both sides were equally bad; that a vote for Trump was a vote for racism, sure. But a vote for Hillary was a vote for drone warfare, and the TPP, and for war in Syria and Russia. What did it matter anyway? They were equally bad, right?

But no, it turns out there is a difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It's the difference between not moving forward as fast as you'd prefer and actively moving backward. In the last decade or so, these beautiful things happened: my gay friends were able to marry one another and start families for the first time. My trans friends started to feel comfortable transitioning openly in public. My friends with a severely disabled child were able to get care for her. My friends who are writers were for the first time able to afford health insurance.  

All of the Federal protections that allowed this blossoming of life and hope are going to be gone in the next year.

I have at least half a dozen close friends with chronic disabilities who are straight-up terrified they might actually and literally die in this next four years due to lack of health coverage. I have trans and gay friends, disabled friends, friends of color, who are terrified of being beaten in the streets by white supremacists. I'm terrified about my own temple and children being targeted by home-grown white supremacists.

That's the difference, and this is what we've lost. I could and would have protested against some of Hillary Clinton's policy. But you can't protest drone warfare or trade deals or pipelines, you can't advocate for single payer, you can't move the ball forward if you're fucking dead.


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NaNoWriMo 2016: Day 1

So this is it. The big day. The STARTING POINT. WRITERS, START YOUR ENGINES!

I'm a NaNo rebel because (as previously mentioned) this year I'm working on an already-started manuscript. As of today, the starting word count is: 8,849. Which means a winning wordcount is... 58,849! Yowwwwwwza.

I'm aiming for 2200 every workday and not 1667 every day, partly because I'm just not an every-single-day kind of writer, but also because I cherish my weekend time with my family. This is, I guess, a difference that comes of writing month after month as a job; there are sacrifices I can't justify making on a whim, because for me it's not a four-week fling. Sometimes I have to do that for external deadlines, so I don't want to bring my intensity level that high on something nobody is waiting on. (Except my agent? Hi, Zoe!)

But this is still going to be pretty intense. I have at least five of those precious 2200-word working days lost to holidays and other obligations, so I'll have to find creative ways around those anyhow; that works out to making up 846 words even on the days off, split over all my days off. Oof. 

But as always, I'm not going to destroy myself with guilt if I don't hit that arbitrary 58,849-word target by Nov. 30. I'm absolutely shooting for it, but my real target is to have this book written at the end of the year, not the end of the month. If this helps push me closer to the end, that's fantastic! 

Starting.... NOW. Let's go! Go go go! We can do the thing!

 


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The Cultures 172: Stretch Goals, Elena Ferrante, Clown Hysteria

It's Monday which means a new episode of The Cultures dropped yesterday! Wooooo!

This is a fun one, because we get a full-on classic crankpants rant from Adrian Hon about Kickstarter stretch goals and why they are complete and utter bullshit. So that's cool! Naomi Alderman talks about that nasty business with Elena Ferrante's private identity being outed because something something "the public is interested so it must be in the public interest." And then I lead my British colleagues through the baffling maze of clown sightings and scares that have plagued the U.S. these many weeks, surely an expression of not-so-repressed anxiety about the American election cycle, which, praise unto god, will be over very soon now.

As always you can get this week's episode on LibSyn or on iTunes. Tune in and let us know what you think!


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The Cultures 171: K-drama, Westworld, and Sous Vide

Alas I missed my Monday morning reminder of Sunday's episode of The Cultures, but hey, better late than never?

This was a fun episode—we all focused on things that we're excited about. I got to talk at length about my K-drama in progress, Queen Seon Duk, and how the translation for it makes a lot of interesting creative choices that make me deeply aware of how invisible and undervalued an art translation usually is. Adrian sold us on the wonders of Westworld, a show that sounds like it was pretty much created for me to enjoy it, though I haven't started watching it yet. And Naomi extolled the virtues of sous vide cookery, which... I don't know, I still think it sounds like food poisoning in just several hours.

As always you can get this week's episode on LibSyn or on iTunes. Hope you enjoy our chat!


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