You’re giving me such sweet nothing ….

A couple things first – I didn’t post last week, because I am sick. Sick, sick, sick. Sickity sick. I came down with the crud HARD from Radcon, starting Tuesday night and lasting until … undertermined. Sore throat and fever that spiked to 101 and bounced up and down for a few days, now has morphed into a gross phlegmy chest cold and I guess we’ll just see where it goes from here. I’m miserable and have done little other than lie on the couch for days. Today I’m back at work, but my brain is fuzzy. However, even with a fuzzy brain, I have something I’d like to rant about. The rant will not be as impassioned as maybe it should be, because I don’t have the energy to spare. But I think it’s important, so Imma give it a try.

Intersectionality – I’ll get there, but I’ll ramble first. Sick, remember.

Last night, against my better judgement, I watched the Oscars. I watched it because, even though it’s racist AF and sexist and really more of a barometer of how inner circle cool kids felt about movies than how the world that watches felt about movies, I like NPH, and I like Twitter, and I like watching things that are being live-tweeted while watching Twitter, and my brain is fuzzy so I said why not. The show was … uneven. NPH kinda didn’t make it work, and I don’t know how much of that was the Academy pulling his jokes and saying no beforehand, and how much was he just was having an off night. But there were a couple of jokes that acknowledged the racism of the Oscars in a way that felt weirdly congratulatory, and a bit that was totally a bit (even though he said it wasn’t a bit) that went on WAAY TOO LONG, NEIL. Also, please don’t ask Octavia Butler to be part of a boring bit that makes it look like she has to do you a favor. Because … that looked weird, too. And there some of the jokes just weren’t really that funny. It’s a hard gig, I know, but he’s been a good host of other shows, so … I don’t know why it was kind of blah. I mean, I do blame him for those iffy jokes that were “we’re totally racist! Haha!” That doesn’t help as much as he might think. There was a sexist one there at the end that I just … blanked out on, because I was tired. Some of the presenters were kind of off, but that’s always true. And why was John Travolta touching women like a weird creepy relative? Can he not do that? Seriously, Scarlet Johansen and Idina Menzel, he was pawing them. Weird.

And, yeah, a really awful racist moment with Sean Penn. I don’t care if the director who won is a pal – that kind of shitty, racist joke is scattershot, and it hurts everyone it barrels into. I already knew Sean Penn was a horrible person, so I guess it’s not a surprise he has racist blind spots and likes to diminish a victorious moment with a racist joke, but it really sucked.

The speeches were actually pretty good this year, for the most part. I have to admit I was kind of tuning in and out, half zonked with this cold, and I paid a bit more attention to Twitter than the show here and there, but it seemed like there were some nice speeches going on, with something to say beyond a list of names. Several people were super cute in their shock and happiness, and I always like that. We had some fun messages going out: Call your parents, love to families and in one instance, one guy’s dog and in another, some donut shop, disease awareness, mental health awareness, and various calls for rights for all. Common and John Legend in particular had a really great, powerful duo of speeches, and they had a great performance of their song, and I loved it. I think they raised some great points, and they took the chance of that platform to make them.

Patricia Arquette had what sounded like a really great moment, where she called for equal wage rights for all women. At least, it sounded like she said/meant all women, although the “all the women who gave birth” moment gave me pause, and the “we’ve worked so hard for everyone else” thing made me side-eye. But it ended strong and I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t misunderstanding what she’d said, as it went by fast, and I’m sick. But it turns out no, she did say those things. And then in her backstage comments, she made it worse. She basically is saying that “women” have “fought for gays and people of color and everyone else,” so now it’s “our turn.” Uh … that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. First of all, there are women in the LGTBQ community, and there are (shocker!) women of color. And there are disabled women, and there are women who are not citizens of this country that our country treats poorly, as well. So in the words of Flavia Dzodan – My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

I don’t have the energy to go into all what intersectionality means. Read Dzodan’s essay, read this essay by Jarune Uwujaren and Jamie Utt, read and do your homework about intersectionality. I’m still doing mine – it’s important work, and it’s important to understand it. But the TL:DR version of all of this is – feminism should not only have white, middle-class, cishet women in it. And the needs of women of color, of disabled women, of transwomen, of lesbian women, need to be included in the fight, because oppression doesn’t take turns as to which part of you it’s oppressing. If you are more than one thing, then oppression hits you at all points of awful, not just one at a time. And I’m sorry, Patricia, I really like your work, but you are not being inclusive and your words are actively making things worse.

White women don’t get to tell people – many of whom are already doing the work of fighting for everyone’s rights, by the flipping way – that they are doing it wrong and they should stop it and follow their (our) extremely problematic lead. It’s not OK to tell women who are Black that they need to stop fighting for equal rights for Black people, so that they can support you because you’re a woman? What? How does that even follow? Yes, equal rights for all women. By the way, Black women are paid less than White women. Yes, White women are paid less than White Men. If you add in other intersectional oppressions, then the person makes less than that. So a disabled transwoman of color is making even less for the same job – did Ms. Arquette acknowledge that in her speech? No. Did she even think of it at all? We need to recognize that our privileges make us blind to some things, and try to make it better if we screw up. This was a screw-up that angered and injured a lot of women, intentional or not. I hope she works to make it better.

For my part, I will continue to do my homework and learn how to be a better ally to women who don’t fit into the white middle class mold. And I say equal rights for all women – every single last intersectional one of them.


Title is from “Sweet Nothing” which it turns out is by some guy named Clavin Harris, but Florence from Florence and the Machine sings it, so … did I mention I’m sick?

… but I ain’t up for my baby tonight …

I had vague plans on writing something clever for this blog this week. I was going to write up a ranty post about certain 80s song lyrics – which I might still do in the future – but I have lost my oomph for that post, and it’s just sitting there. I also thought about a post regarding the fun, ridiculous, fou-pants ride of a movie that is “Jupiter Ascending,” but there are so many posts about it already, and you can find much more fun and clever and gleeful info about it at various locations, that I decided not to. (As @cleolinda says, “Everything Happens So Much.” And others “This movie is absolute garbage and I love it and I want to see it again.” My main thoughts are: it’s beautiful, lost in enormous amounts of unexplained or inexplicable backstory, it mixes a nefarious marriage/property plot of Edwardian Empire manners with SF tropes and consequences not as well as it might have, and I will own it and watch the pretty pretty often and with glee.)

I pondered posting up something about how the sequel writing is going, but I feel like I don’t have a lot to tell you at present, other than I’m writing, and it’s going, and I’m alternately a genius and a hack, and it’s February …. Yeah. I could tell you that rehearsal season for this summer’s show has begun, and I’m working out harder, and I’m sore, and we just learned some kick-ass choreo to “Too Darn Hot” for the Broadway set, but – there, I just did. That takes care of that. (Kick. Ass. So Much Fun. And Ow.)

So I guess for this post I’m just going to tell y’all that I’m going to Radcon this weekend (starting tomorrow) in the Tri-Cities, and I’m going to hang out and be writerly and have fun and not buy too much jewelry or books and eat (sometimes decent) food. I shall endeavor to work out once, and dance some (if there’s a dance anywhere that’s any good – i.e. no smoke and some music I like at least sometimes … but that oil smoke is a big dance killer, and I wish it would go out of style, and that plus angry trance music is all Radcon dances have been these last few years) and spend time with friends and  write (!) some more. FINISHING THE ROUGH DRAFT OMG I REALLY WANT TO BE DONE WITH IT.

So that’s your postum (Postum, the Postal Adhesive! Tastes kinda like coffee!) for this week. I shall type up some sort of contemplative fuzzies on the con when I get back. Writers gonna write, y’all. Peace out.

Title is from “Too Darn Hot,” which is in turn from “Kiss Me Kate,” a Cole Porter musical that is a lot dirtier than I remembered when I watched it again, and also incredibly, horrifically sexist. But it has fun dance numbers! Also I want to be the dancer who slides out screaming for the Fosse bit in that Tom Dick and Harry dance number. That’s totally me, fruging and all.

And I tried to remember, but I said “What’s a flower?”

February can be a tough month. There’s no real reason for it – it’s a short month, and it’s ostensibly no worse than the month before it, winter-wise. (In the southern hemisphere, it might even be a pleasant summery time? I would have to ask how February feels to the southern hemisphere folks.) Here on the winter-side of the planet, somehow, February feels darker. It feels harder. It seems like more friends are lost, more pets die, more bits of ourselves get waylaid and relationships go sour in February than any other. It might not be true, but it feels true. Dar Williams even has a song about it that is apropos (titled “February,” of course.) “And February was so long, that it lasted into March…” Of course, Dar Williams is quite good at verses to describe that kind of winter-esque depression. From “After All” comes the lyric “… a winter machine that you go through and then you take a breath and winter starts again, and everyone else is spring-bound.” Dar Williams grew up somewhere with snow, I think. Somewhere in the northern hemisphere, where February lasts into March, and it feels like it will never end, and it’s taking your sanity with it.

So that’s the month we’ve started, and the goal is to make it through without dropping into that winter machine, without forgetting what crocuses are (although here in the PNW they’re already blooming, so it’s easier) and holding onto the thought that every few days the sunset is just that little bit later, the sunrise is just that little bit earlier, and light can shine through if you let it. That’s the (figurative) month I’m in with my writing: not that I’m depressed by it, but that I’m stuck in the middle of this middle with a lot of writing before and behind me, and the end isn’t in sight yet. I know there must be a path to it somewhere, just keep searching. I have to keep looking for the light.

Sometimes in the middle – the muddle in the middle, as so many call it – you (I) can feel like there’s only the slog, there’s none of the joy, the excitement that there was in the start. All that’s left is plot holes and lost threads and a bunch of boring scenes that don’t push forward the way you want and mostly seems to be people standing around musing about things. Why do I even need this scene again – but then there is a reason, maybe not a good one, but a reason. So you keep writing it, only to bang your head on the keyboard like a Muppet five minutes later and cry “I’ll never get it! Never! Never! Never!” and wish you were only writing “Mary Had a Bicycle” like that Muppet dude. Where’s Kermit to redirect when you need him? This happens with distressing frequency when I’m stomping around in the middle of the story, skipping around to all points of the plot, retroactively fixing plot holes I just kicked into things and hoping desperately that it’s not too obvious I did so. Please to ignore the spackle. It’s February in the middle, freezing halfway down in the ice, blaming the text for the freezing and forgetting.

I am hardly the only writer to be stuck here, pushing through despite feeling like all the words are stupid, and all the scenes unsalvageable. It’s a known phenomenon, and everyone has their own ways of coping. My way, at this time, is to push away from the boring scenes, jump into the next scene, find some fire to warm the blizzard.  I write myself notes and questions that need answering, and then I ask other people for help – smart people, who know something about my story, and might have some ideas. It helps me feel less alone and frozen, and it’s kind of like a night out for the writing brain. Sparking ideas from other people’s ideas makes the process jump ahead a little.

Of course, the only way through February is through – slogging forward. But you can be kind to yourself in the slog. Remember that it doesn’t last forever. You don’t have to say the mean words to yourself, because you know they don’t help. You can say the cheering words; the ones that give hope and comfort, the ones that motivate you to try again. Words you need to store up for those times, so you can apply them as salve to your winter-writing wounds. February can feel long and cruel, and the middle, too, but you don’t have to stay there. Work your way out of it, little by little: find your way to spring-bound. I’m looking forward to the flowers.

This blog brought to you by all the banging around in the plot, more questions than answers, and listening maybe obsessively to Dar Williams albums. Thank you, Dar, for being the perfect amount of angsty/wry.