Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Still Not a Feminist

I've refused to identify as a feminist, even when Mark Ruffalo called me names.

A Friend posted an article about a normal (as in not overly political or activist-ish) dad who reared feminist daughters by encouraging them to follow their dreams, ignore stereotypes and be independent. OK. That could be my dad. Maybe by that definition, I'm a feminist.

Another Friend on another post pointed out that there are more flavors of feminism than we see on the news (most of which I call "femiNazis" because that's the kind of bias I have) and posted a quiz/survey she endorsed as helping fill out those flavors. I respect this Friend, so I clicked on the quiz just to see what kind of feminist I might be. And lost interest within seconds.

The last question I remember was along the lines of are animals rights a feminist issue. *insert blank stare* Animal rights? Some people think that female animals are more oppressed/abused/neglected than male animals? Or do they mean women do/should care more about animal rights than men? I don't remember the other questions, but they were equally ridiculous to me, and I returned to Farmville.

Which leads to my conclusion that I simply have no lens in my worldview arsenal that highlights "women's issues." I don't look at any given scenario and think "that woman is being oppressed." I do often think "wow, she made some bad choices," or "that is an abusive situation," but that's as far as my feminism goes. I don't believe woman are oppressed more because they're women. I believe everyone has it bad because of sin. Women may experience the consequences differently than men, but I don't find that offensive.

I do find it offensive when "women" are lumped in with "diversity," as in a business is required to have a "diverse" workforce with "minorities," including "women." I'm not able to land and maintain a job on my own merits? I'm hired as a concession to social engineering?

Maybe that's my blind spot regarding feminism. Maybe I couldn't possibly have gotten a job before the whole "equal rights" thing because a man wouldn't give it to me. Seems reality changed that perspective in World War I (or II, I really can't remember when the Rosie the Riveter era happened - probably because I'm not a feminist), making necessity the mother of equal rights, not feminism.

Frankly, I'm tired of the subject. Unless some new evidence comes to light, I consider this matter closed. I am not a feminist. Bully to those who are. Glad you've found your cause.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Finish What You Start

I'm sure I've said this before, but experience is teaching me how true it is.

Finish what you start writing.

It doesn't matter if it's a lousy first draft with terrible characterization and a sappy ending. What's important is that it's equally lousy throughout.

If you don't finish, then you get a hunchback of Notre Dame kind of monster where parts are extremely overworked and polished, and parts are spindly and lousy, and parts are just missing, and who wants to attach garbage to fine jewelry? It's paralyzing.

Nope. Better to puke the whole mess out at the start and work on cleanup later when you can stand to look at it again.

That's not really the best analogy, since most people don't make sculpture out of vomit, but it's the best I can do this morning.

Finish what you start.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


A tiny garden spider took up residence in my bathroom several weeks ago. No idea where she came from. One morning, she was there in the corner, sitting in her invisible web. It was cold outside, and she had caught two ants, so I let her be.

She later caught another spider. She was earning her keep, and staying close to her web, so I let her be.

In the last week or so, she has caught nothing. The ants aren't coming inside anymore. I worried about her. A spider has to eat to live and spin webs. The longer she went without food, the less likely she became to be able to do anything about it. I should move her outside.

But she's a house spider. She doesn't know The Big World. She isn't prepared for temperature extremes or thunderstorms or birds or bigger spiders.

What spider is prepared? Spiders know only what God programmed them to know: survival. They do what they can because it's all they have.

This morning, I caught her (very carefully, because a spider can get trapped in her own web) and took her out to the compost pile, where I hope ants are plentiful enough even for a starving arachnid, and there is some shelter from rain until she gets established. I hope she does well. I hope she grows and meets a mate and has a sack full of baby spiders. I have no way of knowing, but I choose to hope, even though my heart says I waited too long and her best hope is to be eaten quickly.

I wish I didn't care so much about spiders and wasps and flies and earthworms and crows and - well, you get the idea. I wish I didn't believe from my heart that all life comes from God and is therefore precious and deserving of respect and kindness. I wish I was OK with nature's cruelty, and didn't believe it is only a result of The Curse that Adam and Eve and every human since brought down on creation.

If wishes were fishes, we'd all eat steak.

God's blessing, little spider. By His grace, we'll meet again, and you can tell me your adventures in The Big World.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I Am Not a Feminist

With the release of Daughter of Anasca, this suddenly seems important to say. DoA has many capable female characters, so it's tempting to think I'm all about woman power.

I'm not. I'm about people power.

I don't think woman are oppressed any more than anybody else. I don't think we need special laws, or special interests, or special salaries, or whatever. I think every person is responsible for himself (yes, I even still use the masculine as a generic pronoun because that's how English works). I hate things like that test - whatever it's called, starts with "B" - that women dreamed up to quantify how much time women spend talking to each other about "not men" in movies. Every time I see a reference to that sort of nonsense, I want to put on an extra bra in protest. Stop telling me I'm oppressed. I'm not.

If I'm anything, I'm a female male chauvinist, because I do believe whenever possible, men should be "in charge." I find it sad that we live in a culture that thrives on emasculating men. This is a worldview issue for me, created not only by my family of origin, but my training and education. I wish more men would step up and stop letting the women do all the work.  

I didn't write DoA as a book about oppressed women overcoming society's unfairness, although I understand if some readers take that away. I wrote about two girls and two boys growing up. I put Cahnar and Spidraax in there because boys grow up, too, and they also have trouble doing it. 

That's all I have to say about that. Today, anyway. Breakfast is calling.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Procrastination or Inspiration?

With the release of Daughter of Anasca and my current Farmville fast, I have no excuse not to be writing. My official WIP is Dangling Justice, the prequel to Star of Justice.

However, I just read a not-good book by a best-selling author about psychics in New Orleans, and it left me with a strong urge to write something better. I haven't felt an urge like this since college, when I listened to secular music and got writing ideas all day long.

TT: I've tried listening to secular music nowadays, but the stuff is so coarse and inappropriate, I don't want to write any stories it might inspire. 

The prequel to Dangling Justice, and the story that really started it all, is Past Ties. This idea also sparked 20 years ago, like Daughter of Anasca, and could be considered the first story I ever "finished." It was about 50K words and ended on a cliff-hanger, but I'd never written anything that long before with a continuous timeline.

Past Ties is more sci fi than fantasy, set in future Kansas and involving time travel, psychics and cyborgs, inspired by Arnold Schwartzenegger's Total Recall, Jon Larroquette's Second Sight, and a campy B movie called Jack's Back starring James Spader as identical twins (that remains unavailable on DVD, even though I check Amazon every year). Originally it was set on Mars and Earth. I ultimately scrapped it because a) it was melodramatic crap that served mostly to boost my word count to the magic one million, and b) because I didn't want to do the loads of research necessary for all that egghead stuff.

Anyway, I've realized a couple things. One, I write space opera, not sci fi. I don't claim to prognosticate the future or even accurately describe current scientific possibilities. All I want to do is suggest that certain things might be possible, and hopefully not be too wrong. Two, and I give credit to Kessie Carroll's guest post on NAF for this, I don't have to write a brick to tell this story. It might make a fine novella. I did have plans to write two other books to complete the story, so three novellas might first be ebooks and eventually, a combined print novel.

Finally, and most importantly, Past Ties makes Dangling Justice make sense. It introduces the main characters in their own element and explains why they end up causing so much trouble in Ah'rahk in the first place.

So, there's a good chance Past Ties will appear as an offering to the reading public. It may be the death blow to any future non-fantasy writing attempts on my part, but it might not. I do know a few die hard geeks I suspect would be happy to provide some balance on the science. Or mock the compost out of it. 

I'm transferring the file to Scrivener. I'm determined to let go immediately of every 20 year old word that doesn't fit in my new idea of what this story could be. I will accept the challenge. I will Spock my own fiver.

Applaud the jellyfish.