Monday, December 30, 2019

It is Monday and Yet

The things with RWA are not better. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing, not even sincere retraction and apology (which not have) was going to magically fix this. But it would have been a start.
Since I was visiting family last week, I realized I wanted to clarify some things from Friday.
-I disagree with the decision regarding Ms. Milan. I have enoyed her books and her advocacy, but that is not why, or not only why. RWA's purpose is to advocate for romance authors. If a publisher can file against an author and have that author sanctioned then RWA is not doing that. It matters too that these were white people getting mad that they were being asked to address racism. 
-As I am a board member with one of my chapters, I am not quitting at the moment. (Totally understand folks who came to a different conclusion.) But yeah, expecting some tough discussions in the coming weeks as we reevaluate things. 
-I had entered the RITA. I have notified RWA that I have withdrawn my entry.
-I decided not to withdraw as a judge (again, totally understand folks who made different decisions). I personally decided I wasn't willing to leave the judging to the folks who aren't mad yet. I am kinda hoping there's not enough entries left and we can all get on to other concerns, but I suspect not enough people are mad yet. Or some folks just left their entry because they uploaded before things went kaboom.
-I wrote about my intention to fix things at the chapter level a bit ago. I wouldn't go so far as to say things are better, but they are not worse. But well, this is worse. This is a lot of failures at once. The organization has survived other debacles before. But as with all errors, it's only survivable if people want to fix it rather than wait for folks to forget.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Things at RWA

I currently hold a leadership position in my chapter, so while I have many thoughts, some of which I shared with the RWA board as myself (rather than as a chapter leader), I am balancing things a bit.
The situation continues to develop, but there is a good round up here:
I have volunteered as a RITA judge this year and took the RWA provided training for such. I completed it with concerns. I typed up a first draft of the letter and then decided to share it in January with RWA's board.
My concerns were (and the official letter I wrote is long and rambling even after I cut it, so I am trying to summarize) that teaching implicit bias absent any discussion of power dynamics or structural bigotry leads people to believe all hurts are equal. 
In my view, this sanctioning of Courtney Milan is exactly an example of that.
Since I sent the letter further concerns have arisen, and well, it is really hard to state what things will look like next week or next month.
RWA is a big ocean liner righting things is always tougher than breaking them. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1.  I enjoyed this look at Lillie and her series bible business.  (Or as the headline puts it more pithy, getting paid to read and track details.)
2. It has been a busy week in the romance world, but earlier in it we learned Johanna Lindsey died.  Cancer sucks. 
3. And Pink Heart Society has a great round up of holiday reads featuring quite a few holidays. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

My Generally Non-Spoilery Star Wars Thoughts

Note: I'm not going to discuss specifics but am going to talk about my take on the overarching message, so totally understand if you want to save this post until after you have seen it.

I cried through a lot of "The Rise of the Skywalker". It may have partly been stress but a lot of this movie, in a totally expected way is about saying goodbye to those who came before and being unsure you can possibly live up to their legacy.
I vaguely remember the seventies. Enough to tell you that, World War II, and the sense that tyranny was a thing that if it happened there, could creep everywhere had faded. I know my great gramdparents and grandparents probably felt a little differently about that. But so "Star Wars" entered pop culture in a place where it felt like a thing we could make silly space movies set a long time ago about. 
And now, well, the idea of creeping fascism taking over seems far more beleivable for some of us. (I realize it was never far for some.) So what we needed from this final trilogy wasn't just the vision of defeat but the message. The idea that some people have more power than others, but that if we choose, we can all be a piece of this. That you may feel unready and unprepared, but guess what? That's adulting! That you are stronger with your friends than without. That sometimes you get help from unexpected places. And that seriously, being rude to your droid will always come back to bite you.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This is a thoughtful reflection on biscuits and making a life in DC.
2. This piece looks at the deeper meaning of link in bio
3. CW: implications of fictional incest
This piece on the Folger's ad where the siblings appeared to have a lot of sexual chemistry is both sillier and more serious than you might expect. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

In Pursuit of a Photo

I watched a bride hold her dress hem out of the puddles and was reminded of this story. My friend got married and I was one of the bridesmaids. It was one of those years that seems to happen at least oncebin everyone's life where a number of weddings and such occurred. I think I ended the year having attended seven weddings.
But this wedding, the women got ready in my friend and her soon to be husband's house. We went off and got our hair done together in a salon that was not really set up for quite that many bridemeaids to descend at once. And then we all came back to the house for the pictures.
The day was sunny so we took a bunch outside on the front lawn. There was a wooden porch swing and the photographer suggested the bride sit so we could all cluster around her. 
She did. The photographer determined the photos done and headed to the church. We headed back inside to grab our things before going to the church ourselves. The bride was ahead of me and her sister going back inside. I had a great view of the dirt smudged across the back pf her dress. My plan was to get inside, grab a paper towel and let the bride know. Her sister foiled my plan by gasping and saying something to the effect of "Oh no, your dress!".
My friend tried to look, but it is hard to see the back of your own dress. She looked at me. "How bad is it?"
"It's fixable," I said.
We did go to work inside. My friend said, as we carefully blotted her dress, "I knew I shouldn't sit on the swing."
So all of this is to say, if its rainy and puddles outside and your photographer wants to take pictures of your floor length dress, you can say no. Alternatively, I have taken pictures in the freezing cold, pretending I wasn't could ting the seconds until my coat went back on. 
I know folks who find the damage their dress incurred on the big day, mementoes. So, you do you. But you don't have to sit on the swing.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. Neil Gaiman solicited ideas of warmth and home and wrote a poem to be knitted into a scarf in honor of refugees.  The poem is indeed warm. 
2. I fell down a TikTok hole earlier this year.  This makeup tutorial chatting about genocide, was apparently an attempt to combat censorship.  Either way, it cuaght my attention and gave me hope, gen Zers know how to work around the system too.  A useful skill.  
3. Since it's Gingerbread House Day, it's the perfect day to take a look at Gingertown, a competition for architectural teams to make ginger delights. This year included a Venice theme. 

Monday, December 09, 2019

You Don't Know What's on That Phone

So I recently had an experience where someone made a particylar point prior to a theater performance to tell me and only me, like the person leaned forward across another patron to tell me, that the performance was starting soon and my phone should be away.
I would like to make the following points. 
The sign this person held actually said phones should be silenced and my phone already was.
The reason the sign said phones should be silenced and not off or away is because this theater has an app that provides closed captioning. You can download the app on your phone and use it to help enjoy the show.
Similarly I have seen museum tours, and more info QR codes in places. Also, someone's phone did ring during that performance. It wasn't mine.
But back to the point, there are an increasing number of scenarios that in places where you previously managed ght have expected phones to be away, phones can be used to enhance and expand the experience one is participating in.
It's boring and silly to assume people on their phones are not participating in the experience around them.
Also, even if they are, so what? I care about the person who's phone ringtone interrupted things, but for all I know that was a really important call.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This deep dive into the idea of authenticity in food is fascinating. 
2. I am still making my way through City Paper's People Issue, but it contains a bookseller, so I am in.  
3. It's Book Concierge season at NPR, and there is access to past year's data too.  So.  Many.  Books.  

Monday, December 02, 2019

"Dear Jack, Dear Louise" at Arena Stage

Content warnings: offstage war sounds, period appropriate use of the word crazy

The show takes place during World War II, as the titular Jack and Louise begin corresponding and, well, the fact that there are two actors for ninety minutes, coupled with the program note that the playwright was inspired by his parents wartime letters, I suspect it will not surpise you to learn it goes well.
Epistolary stories are a tricky thing to pull off in live theater. The two actors are speaking almost exclusively to each other throughout the show, and yet not looking at each other. They look out at the audience. 
I normally think in most shows, it doesn't much matter which side you sit on. For the entire first act and most of thr second, I was on the Louise side. Louise is the passionate firecracker who wishes to be a Broadway star. Jack is a doctor stationed initially in Medford*, Oregon and then later elsewhere. Jack is shy, although when his family gets wind that their suggested correspondence might be going well, they invite Louise for a visit and he manages to stage manage good family behavior as much as possible from afar.
They are unable to meet due primarily war reasons, so must rely on letters and occaisional relays of info from other folks they have in common.
I mention that I was on the Louise side because it meant I was able to see more subtleties in the actress Amelia Pedlow's performance. Probably folks on the Jack side (Jake Epstein) caught more of his.
I was caught up and cheered and worried for them even though, I had read the program and had suspicions of the outcome.