Thursday, September 29, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is not local to me, but shows they incubated have made their way to DC, so I am familiar with some of their work.  Apparently the push to do wide ranging interpretations of Shakespeare and showcases of other work have not always been appreciated by some of the older theatergoers.  
2. This is still early speculation, but it looks like with COVID, pushing back quickly, a strategy that works with some other recoveries, may not be the right choice with COVID.
3. You may have heard that Lizzo, who was in town for a concert, stopped by the Library of Congress and checked out a few flutes, even bringing one to her DC arena concert for a bit. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Paper Books and an Epilogue!

Paper ie like books you can hold in your hands are available for both Bored by the Billionaire and Clear as Ice.  I appreciate everyone's patience on the Bored by the Billionaire print version, it took longer than I expected to resolve.  
Here's info about each book and a Bookshop link.  

Bored By the Billionaire - A City Entanglements Novella -  Lulu Williams is bored with dating billionaires. She has just ditched the latest and is on a late night train back to DC when she encounters a handsome stranger. They get kicked out of the quiet car together and agree to go from the train to a hotel room to explore this sexual tension. Lulu figures Aiden will be the perfect palate cleanser. He wasn't supposed to also be an interesting guy who doesn't treat her purse mogul life as a cute hobby, who takes her to museums, and eats fried food from a bag. And he especially wasn't supposed to be a billionaire.
Available at etailers here:

And in print:

Clear as Ice - A City Entanglements Novella -  Sienna is no stranger to social media. When she unwittingly starts something claiming there are no Asian Americans in hockey, and then discovers there is one on her hometown team, she knows it's up to her to make amends. And given her new no dating this year rule, she won't have any trouble keeping things professional. Al is used to people acting like he's the first or only Asian American in hockey. As the Domes' season moves towards the playoffs, he knows how to keep focused just on hockey. Even as Sienna turns out to be more than he expected in so many ways.

Scenes from this were originally posted on my blog for #HockeyFiction. Now the whole story will be available.
Available at etailers here: And in print:

And the bonus epilogue has gone out to newsletter subscribers!  The post is tagged subscriber only, so won't be visible to non-subscribers, but will be available to new subscribers who sign up.  

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Levels Do Not Exist

There's a piece of writing advice, that I find similar to "write every day" kind of annoying.  Because yes, when I write (or edit) every day, each day is so much easier.  I jump write back into the story and go.  But life does not always allow for that.  But I said I was here to talk about another piece of advice.  
That advice is, find some writing partners at the same level as you and work together and all of you will be successful.
So here's a thing.  I understand where this advice comes from.  Having writer friends who will understand what specific publishing things are is a great idea.  There is a temptation sometimes for newbie writers to go hunt down the most successful writer person in their location and be like hi, we should be writer buds.  
And so, that can happen. (Usually not like that though.  Please don't just knock on doors, or cold email or DM random people.)  
But the thing a lot of people skim over, because it doesn't make as cute a narrative, is the following things.  
Let's say newbie writer you attends a writer event, you find 9 other newbie writers and the ten of you decide to form a writer collective of sorts.  It's fab, you all share pages, stories, talk about next steps.  It's super great.  
And then, one of the folks in the group just stops responding.  Various members will reach out but they just don't say anything. 
Another member will immediately get a request from an agent.  The group will be incredibly supportive.  
And then another member will get a request from an agent, and it feels like this is it, obviously this group is blessed.  
A third person will get a request and sign immediately.  They will get put under a tight deadline and they are no longer able to finish reading anyone else's pages because they have to do a huge revision for their agent.  
Everyone will understand.  
A fourth person will win a contest and get connected with an agent and publisher.  They get a pub date.  
There will be discussions of splitting the group into two parts.  It was too large anyway.  Someone will suggest that the four who do or almost have an agent should form their own group.  
And so the five remaining will determine to meet up without those folks.  But now there's one person writing fantasy and four people writing contemporary, so the fantasy person will leave.  
One of the contemporary folks will disappear and someone will hear a rumor that the other group let them join.  
Now in my I swear it's fictional example, the three remain may also get published.  And at least one of those pre-pubbed folks is gonna go on submission and not get a deal.  And one of them will hate publishing so much they quit.  
My point is not don't find writer friends and/or writer partners.  Do it.  It's really helpful.  But one of the things that people don't tell you is - for reasons of illness, bigotry, and/or general life requirements, a lot of people leave publishing. It it true of many industries.  My day job, there are a ton of people who were there my first day, are not there today.  
Some of this is perseverance.  Some of this is stubbornness.  Some of this is luck.  But when people tell you, I formed a group of similarly serious writers and we all got published, it's not that it isn't true.  It's that the people currently in their group are the ones who made it.  So it's sort of self selecting. 
If you look at any debut class of authors, about 4 years out - some of them have stopped publishing, some have changed genres and/or age categories, and some are super strong.  And three of them are probably great friends and all talk about having such good friends.  
I say this not to be depressing.  Because the core of the advice is great.  Find writing friends with similar goals.  Work together on those goals.  But if your group doesn't end up being magic, just like a lot of the rest of publishing, keep going.  

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. First there was a typhoon in Alaska, and the Alaska Community Foundation is collecting donations for those affected. 
Also Hurricane Fiona affected Puerto Rico (among others, I'm sure more will be known as things dry). Someone compiled this list of organizations that are helping
and Haymarket Books is doing a buy one, they'll buy a book for an incarcerated person this week.  .  
2. I was pointed to this post by author Nathan Burgoine which raises some interesting questions about people who want to read romance where day to day realities are not present.  He also reiterates a thing I try, which is I try to be specific about things I disliked or liked but know to be a problem, because it may or may not bother you, or it may be just what you want.  
3. A reporter attempted to recreate the day in "Ferris Bueller's Day off" and documented it

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

"Heathers: The Musical"

Content note: Onstage murder by gun, onstage suicide attempt, onstage hanging, suicidal ideation, mass murder attempt, sexual harassment, bullying, fatphobia, homophobia, toxic masculinity, toxic parenting, swearing.
So here's the thing. I have seen the "Heathers" movie. It was weird and problematic and yet, somewhat compelling at the time. 
"Heathers" calls out a lot of problematic things, but also engages in almost every one of those things. Would it be possible to create a non-problematic musical based on this source material? Probably.
But this musical is not really interested in that. There are more people of color in this musical, and there are songs. That's about it for deep changes. 
For those unaware, there are three Heathers who are part of the popular crew, and Veronica who is tired of being bullied decides to show off her forgery skills to get in with the Heathers. Except being a friend of the Heathers kind of sucks. Spurred on by hot new kid JD, Veronica tries to change things but things spiral out of control. 
I have to imagine if you've never seen the movie, the musical feels a.little discombobulating. Some musicals you listen to the cast album and assume a lot happened between the songs. Not so here. They move quickly from life sucks, being a friend of Heather, this sucks, let's have sex, oh she's dead, and so on. 
To be fair, this show is trading on the stereotypes of high school, it's not really interested in subtleties. 
Now did I watch the whole thing? Absolutely. Do I Iove that there's a weird song about brain freeze? I do. 
And in some ways it's unfair to ask a black comedy to do more than shine a light on the ridiculous things. 
The pro shot was filmed before a live audience, though they are muted except at the end of each song, and, well, during one specific audience interaction. 
Currently available on the Roku Channel, in the US and Canada.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Banned Books Week

I used to post about banned books every year, and felt I might have run out of words on it. But in light of unprecedented pushes to censor, challenge, and remove books from various public places over the last year, from libraries, to schools, to bookstores, here I am again.
I am all for thinking critically about the books we choose to consume. I even think books that a factually wrong probably don't need to be readily available. But that's not what's happening. As the books available and read by kids provide access to stories about a wider array of people, a small but vocal group of people are trying to make access to these stories hard. 
Rudine Sims Bishop talked about books being windows, mirrors, and doors, and these folks are trying to limit the number of doors, make the mirrors only mirrors for some people. 
And it sucks. It sucks for teacher, librarians, and booksellers who are already underpaid, underfunded, and busy. 
It sucks for authors who wrote those books (see also underpaid, busy, etc). 
And it sucks for kids. Limiting kid's access to books won't prevent them from becoming who they are, but it may teach them that reading is boring, and/or books are only about one kind of person. 
I was lucky enough at my big age to go to a school where the required reading included authors of color, and non-Christian protagonists. Nothing makes me sadder than talking to kids about the books they are reading and discovering some of them are still getting the exact same or even a more limited required reading list. Some books are classics for sure, but there are so many books, and the idea that they aren't encouraged to read anything from this millennium is not only sad, it's a disservice to them. 
Also, all the arguments are crap. Yeah, I said it. I had to read Shakespeare plays. (Not a complaint!) Which means I read about sex, murder, war, and non-consensual drugging, to name a few things. No one seems to think that's harmful. So how is reading about a kid wanting to star in the school play harmful? (It is not harmful. Also, I am referencing the delightful Melissa here.) And yes Melissa is also about a character finding ways to express to folks their gender identity. But that comes up in Shakespeare too. And again, I notice Shakespeare is not on the top of the challenges list and Melissa is. 
Am I suggesting Shakespeare is bad? Nope. Just that the arguments are flimsy. And look, I did a buddy read with my brother one summer when he had summer reading and told him I super hated the book he had to read. Hated. But we read it and talked about it. 
Any parent who wants to instill values like, don't murder the king when he comes to visit, in their kid, absolutely should. (That's a Shakespeare reference by the way.) But banning books because they reflect people you want to pretend don't exist, is crap. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I was sad to hear of the passing of Henry Fuhrmann, and sad that it was his passing that brought to my attention the work he had done to push for better more inclusive language use.  
2. There were some rule changes in the US Open this year, it will be interesting to see how this does or doesn't change things going forward.
3. As a writer I do think the book industry is fascinating, if not "Project Runway" TV worthy, but folks do try, and with the latest making attempts, Writer Beware has a round up of some prior attempts.   To be clear, there are some delightful book people involved in this latest attempt, I just think the process of writing is hard to document.  Unless you are going for a montage of: writer goes to get snacks, writer has plot problem so takes nap, writer types furiously but the screen reveals a video game on their screen.  

Monday, September 12, 2022

Breaks, Snacks, and Other Things

I have been watching the tennis and one of the things the players are great at, is resting. Between each game they sit, they grab drinks and snacks, they change clothes, and they rest. 
I read a study a while back that breaks are often most effective just before you hit peak productivity. The idea being that resting and/or fueling up before you get to your best streak, gets you a better streak.
Now I realize not all jobs allow you to be like, oh I think now is the best time for me to break. But it's easy to be like if I stay here and keep going, I'll stay in the zone. To treat getting up for a snack or a bathroom break as distractions, instead of things that support your body and mind and help you continue on. 
But as the Tony award winning Broadway show said, take a break. Okay, I realize posting this on a Monday is a little mean, but plan your break today, if it isn't time for it yet.  

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece about Serena William's career pivot is a reflection on career pivots and retirement.  
2. Anne Helen Peterson does a great job of contextualizing the difference in college loan experience that has occurred in just a few short decades.  
3. Julia Roberts echoes what many lovers of romance and rom-coms have been saying, which is that it seems easy, and people devalue the effort.  And also that she's hoping we have more.  

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Imagined Futures

When I first moved into a place that was smaller than the prior place I had lived in, I talked to a few friends about how I expected to live there for a year a two and then would probably move somewhere bigger. So I was going to do a post move cull, having of course done a pre-move cull, but not too much, because when I lived in the next place, I would need that stuff. 
And the first few folks I said this too agreed. And the third looked at me and said, oh I think that's dangerous thinking. 
And I sat with that. So first, I should be clear I have not since moved into a larger place. Is that still on my someday list? Yup. But between job changes and other life changes, it is not currently my highest priority. 
But it's very easy to hang on to things, fancy outfits for when you get invited to an awards ceremony, a kitchen appliance for when you have more time to make that thing. I have a craft box from a craft subscription service that has gone out of business now, but every time I open it I am sure that very soon, but not today, I am going to make that thing. 
And it's very easy to hang on to these imagined future days, days with more money, more time, more space. And look, dreams are good, and I am not saying give up your dreams. 
But sometimes, the things you hang onto, like this craft box, are also looming like a specter. It's taking up physical and mental space I could be dedicating to things I will actually do in the next year. 
And so maybe, it needs to go. 

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Thrilled for both readers and booksellers in Virginia that the case about selling books has been dismissed.  
2. This story on what is a dumpling, is a fascinating look into the variety of wrapped food.  
3. I know and adore many of the people in this story about the robust romance book lover scene in the DC area, so of course I love this story.  Like Parker said, I can remember when you had to go to a chain to get anything with reliable smoochies, I am so pleased at the change.  
Also, you may have heard that the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi has reached a new point.  This post has some organizations helping residents.  

Monday, August 29, 2022

Done is What's Important

I made a list.

I made a list before I went to run errands Saturday, and then I did what I often do, which is go to the stores, not check the list, get home, unpack, relax, and then inevitably realize the thing I forgot to buy because I didn't check the list.

Now sure, I should probably learn to check the list. 

Or accept that the joy of living in a city, in walkable distance of a number of stores, is that, I can and did just get the thing the next day. 

Because yes, process improvement is good, but also there are no grades for optimizing your shopping, and basically, I had planned to take a walk outside and listen to an audiobook anyway, so adding walking in the direction of a store wasn't a big shift. 

I don't usually consider myself a perfectionist, but I will sometimes find myself berating myself for not doing things efficiently and yes, efficiency is great. But here, the only one inconvenienced - if we could even call it that - was me. I still went for a walk. I still listened to my audiobook. And I got two more things purchased that I needed. The end result was fine. So who cares? 

One could argue, this many words later, that clearly I do. But part of what I've been trying to remind myself, is that sometimes optimization and efficiency can just take a break already. Done is what's important. And it got done.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story of talking pop culture between math questions via fax with his dad in the 1990's is fascinating. 2. An airline put together an all Black female crew - down to the maintenance techs, in honor of Bessie Coleman. 3. There's surfing happening in Hawai'i this week around the annual waterfest, and there are dog surfers, or surfurs, as this conversation suggests.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

New Release - 7 Things About Clear as Ice

1. Sibling relationships are fascinating, and Sienna was so much fun when I wrote Repeated Burn, that I knew she would need her own story.   
2. I talk about this in the acknowledgments too, but yes, I did start teasing a hockey story and then discover my sports superstitions meant I couldn't work on it in season, and so it has been a longer wait than I planned, I appreciate the patience of readers who have now waited a bit for this. Even though obviously this is a fictional hockey league that should have no bearing on any pro sports things happening.  
Also, because some excerpts were posted to my blog, and I wanted to make sure people knew that, Bookbub and I are currently in negotiations about whether this is a new release.  There are lots of words that I never posted, but I understand that Bookbub wishes to be cautious   
3. Raven and Marcus show up here from Repeated Burn, and there are some references to Maya, Lulu's coworker from Bored by the Billionaire.
4. I wish I could tell you that I planned to write a very slow burn to follow the speedy hookup, catch feelings later story depicted in Bored by the Billionaire.  Oh wait, let's absolutely say I planned that as intentional contrast.  (I promise there is some burn at the end.)  But it turns out that the life of a pro-athlete is really busy.  Who knew?  (Everyone.  I know.) 
5. I always end up having to research things for stories, for this one I learned more about hockey (there are things I wondered about as a fan but didn't need to know), volleyball, goalies styles, injuries, and travel.  
6. This story was written during a pandemic but exists outside of it.  Or before it.  Also, there will be an epilogue posted next month to the newsletter for folks who want to see a little more of Marcus, Raven, Lulu, Aiden, Sienna, and Al.  
7. And here's the cover copy: 
Sienna is no stranger to social media.  When she unwittingly starts something claiming there are no Asian Americans in hockey, and then discovers there is one on her hometown team, she knows it's up to her to make amends.  And given her new no dating this year rule, she won't have any trouble keeping things professional.
Al is used to people acting like he's the first or only Asian American in hockey. As the Domes' season moves towards the playoffs, he knows how to keep focused just on hockey.  Even as Sienna turns out to be more than he expected in so many ways.  
Available at multiple etailers: 
Print books are in progress.  

Monday, August 22, 2022

Bookstore Romance Day

I watched quite a few of the Bookstore Romance Day panels this past weekend (after an early morning stop at the bookstore) and then somewhat coincidentally gathered with some other romance peeps for brunch, which is to say, I listened and chatted about romance books a lot this weekend. Also my TBR got even bigger even though several of the panels I attended I had read a book by everyone on the panel. Wild.
For all of the things we need to fix in the world and therefore also in publishing, there are some great books, some books that made people happy, made them hungry, made them curious, and/or made them feel cozy. Books are so great. Stories are so great.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Substack is well - doing stuff again.  This time letting go an editor who edited a piece that criticized Substack.  Which is interesting, given Substack's people are allowed to write terrible things on our platform because no one is forced to read anything they don't want to stance.   
2. This excerpt from The Grieving Brain is great, because it gets right to why grieving is such an odd process, it's relearning the world. 
3, How a cat drawing helped these two people fall in love. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Joy is Resistance*

Authors I know and adore have had their books banned, challenged, and issued warning labels. 
I've spoken before about how of course every book is not for every reader, and yes I agree that there are books that contain harmful ideas that should not go unchallenged. (The ideas that is.) 
I want people to be able to find books about people like them and people not like them. I have read books this year that made me furious, but I assume someone else found something great in them.
Certainly books that contain bad facts are not necessary to make widely available, just like one assumes kids today have a more recent science book than I did, because we keep learning new things. 
I read Akwaeke Emezi's Bitter this weekend, and it's story about a teen who has spent so much of her life just trying to survive and recognizing that this imperfect world is going to need so much work to fix and couldn't she just stay in her room, was just what I needed after a wild news week that included an author and a man who founded a group to protect authors being attacked on stage. Emezi did an interview with We Need Diverse Books about Bitter, that I found interesting.  
*The title is referencing Ralph Henry Reese's quoting poet Toi Dericotte in the Guardian article. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Excited to learn DC has a new bookstore, focusing on queer books.  
2. One of the things that fascinated me when I watched "Being Serena" was watching her talk with her coach about how weight fluctuations happen when you're breastfeeding and him being like, well, maybe you stop. And thinking how little information we have about returning to sports as a top tier athlete.  Serena Williams has made tennis better.  I hope the various things she has planned for a post tennis life, are as fulfilling as she wishes. 
3. I had heard about RAGBRAI from friends, and the pie stops, but this piece about the multi-day bike trip is lovely. 

Monday, August 08, 2022

Epilogues, Teasers, and Ending

I was chatting with someone about bookish things, and we shared cliffhangers that had made us mad, endings that had made us quit series, and so on.  
A romance writer friend of mine had once said that for her the sweet spot in romance novels was to end right as you were assured okay, they love each other, they got this, but that readers wanted to live in that moment and she felt this was why epilogues were popular in romance.
Now of course, could you do one more chapter where they are just happy? Sure?  But I think some readers will worry.  So the framing of an epilogue says, look, no more shenanigans, here they are just happy.  Except that sometimes the epilogue also hints at what's come.  The roommate calls and confesses they are pregnant, unexpectedly married, in the hospital, just enough so you go oooh, what happened to roommate?
Now have I read books that did not do this?  Of course.  Am I mad at some of them even though, yes, if you promise me the amnesia will be resolved in book 3 I will grudgingly wait.  Sometimes.  And sometimes that hint was too much and the next book wasn't out yet and I quit.  
In some ways I think this is what Marvel has been trying with these post credits scenes.  Something that doesn't fit in the movie, but gives you a few more moments with the characters and a hint at what's to come. 
And of course season finales, particularly in the days when TV shows had a guaranteed next season, often tried this too.  Raising something that you could talk and speculate about for three months, but didn't make you so mad you quit.  I actually don't think I ever quit because of a season finale, although the cumulative realization that "Grey's Anatomy" was going to kill off everyone once a season grew to be too much for me.  
Kristine Rusch did a post earlier this year about the importance of endings, and one thing rewatching and even re-reading things has often shown me, is that many times, the parts I remember most are near the end.  Now sure I read that more recently, but like giant plot lines will be a surprise to me, but the ending, stuck in my mind forever.  

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1.  I went on a bit of a deep dive into the lawsuit about the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, but this post goes over the highlights of why singing songs for free on Tiktok and performing a live event where you charge money changes things.  It both is and is not about the money.  
2. Apparently this has been going on for a while, but Chuck E Cheese has a nom de kitchen if you will, that appears on delivery apps for people who may just want an Italian pizza of sorts. 
3. And speaking of older news resurfacing, here is the interview with the bartender from those wild bartending videos, where she demonstrated drinks making with no tools.  

Monday, August 01, 2022

Moments of Beauty

My friend and I had outdoor lunch plans on Saturday.  Those of you in the area will know that much of the week leading up to Saturday was either quite toasty, very humid, or raining.  There was little in between.  
I turned off the fan for a few hours at one point because I vacillate between enjoying the white noise of the fan and thinking that sometimes that fan seems very loud and I would like it to shush.  (The fan is not the problem here, I am aware.)  I made it just a few hours before I remembered that turning it off always meant it took much longer for things to get back to not feeling wilted because while it often feels like the fan is doing very little, it take more for it to get back to that point when it can't do it's thing.  
But I digress.  Saturday - the weather folks promised - would fall into that sweet spot, warm enough even for me, not rainy.  I put on sunscreen and bug spray, and decided to be bold and leave the rain gear at home.  And it was delightful.  I ate food someone else made delicious, I chatted with a friend, we people watched trying to figure out what kind of gathering was happening the next door over.  (It involved a tiara and presents.)
We went and got delightful drinks and sat outside in a slightly different location and chatted more.  The sky was gorgeously blue with clouds.  And we said goodbye and it was just a delight.  
May a beautiful day be in your future if Saturday, for whatever reason, wasn't one for you. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I'm seeing some misinformation about monkeypox out there on the interwebs.  Prep4All has an explainer with suggestions for government action you can reach out to electeds with, if you wish.  Note: There are some photos, you can scroll past and read the very good info if the photos are not what you need right now.  
1. This post about the similarities between kissing and fight scenes is delightful.  I confess. I tend to skim fight scenes because a lot of them are just about who's alive at the end, but good scenes, as the post notes, change the characters and therefore cannot be skimmed without losing something.  
3. Teen Vogue talked to Olivia Julianna about how a congressperson trying to dunk on her helped her raised funds for abortion, and how watching wrestling helped get her ready for this moment.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Heat Advisory

It was really hot here this weekend. Not unusual for July. And honestly not as hot as it can be, but, even for my heat loving self, it was hot enough. I had errands to run and outdoor dinner plans on Saturday. And then Sunday I woke up, showered, and promptly took a nap.
Someone had noted that cultures accustomed to heat often assumed longer breaks and even midday naps were part of the deal. 
Yes, of course, I live somewhere where seasons have always been part of the deal, so the housing is built with that in mind. I also snicker a bit to think of things, like back in the day, the dude that "founded" Silver Spring was looking for somewhere an easy horse ride from downtown DC, but a little cooler. 
One of the things that productivity culture will have you forgetting, is that rest is not a reward, it's survival. 
Staying cool and not dying, is sometimes enough multitasking. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I am not much on the clock app these days, but enjoyed this interview with the stars of the "Retirement House" talking about their different journeys to being in this TikTok show.  
2. Jia Tolentino writes thoughtfully about the varied ways that abortion might be considered sacred
3. As I am close to several French Bulldog owners, this minor drama over a Frenchie meetup in New York amused me.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

7 Things from WriteOnCon

[Disclaimer, I am on staff at WriteonCon.]
1. Everyone is really tired.  I say this not just because I spent a huge amount of non-sleep time reading, listening and watching stuff.  People in publishing have been talking about long hours and low pay for a long time.  It's true everywhere, not just in publishing, but adding in the paper shortage and supply chain means a lot of people are really tired.  It means everything is taking longer.  Books are getting delayed, and it means new clients and unsigned projects are sitting much longer.  
2. Cycles are short in publishing.  People are talking about this feels very 2010, not fresh enough for the current market, or well, this was back in 2015, so now things have changed.  Obviously the pandemic has created a clear dividing line, But things are hard, things will change, it just isn't always clear when and where the shift will happen.
3.  In some ways this is a continuation of the prior point, but there are people with books coming out this year, who entered publishing through a route that no longer exists.  It doesn't mean no new books or new authors are being acquired, but it's a clear example of how things shift, but the bookshelves don't always reflect that shift for another few seasons.    
4. There are no shortcuts. I mean sure, be ready and prepared to be a huge success.  But also be ready for that not to be. Or for people to call you an overnight success six books later.  
5 .  Listening to a lot of thoughts about writing is great.  The most important takeaway is always going to be - there are a lot of approaches.  Understanding why people suggest one, is often more important than immediately adopting it.  (Unless it viscerally sounds great.  Do those things.  But also, it means there isn't a formula but also that all the things you're doing are good.  
6. I default to the marathon example a lot, which is hilarious to my runner friends.  But everyone had to learn to write in school, and most everyone had to run around in gym class in school, but everyone assumes being a writer is easy and no one assumes you could just run a marathon tomorrow.  
7.  There are so many people who love books, love reading and readers, and are excited to find and share more stories.  My TBR grew three sizes.  

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Three Interesting Things (Plus)

The world got to me last week and while I remembered I needed to put together a post, it just never happened.  
1. This is hyper local, as they say, but local restaurant Bad Saint announced their closure this week.  The Washingtonian piece has been updated to include comment from one of the owners.  It includes the note that Bad Saint's tiny space, which made getting in so coveted for a while, also made it something that was tough to manage in an airborne pandemic. I look forward to whatever they do next.  After they rest. 
2. I understand that unusual immigration situations are no less worthy than run of the mill ones, but this story of a woman who had been living in the UK, but went to Jamaica in 2020 to get married, got stuck there, got pregnant, had hyperemisis gravidarum, so couldn't travel while pregnant, had her baby, and now is being told her baby isn't allowed in the UK, is just wild.  (She's allowed back. Just not her months old baby.)  Of course, I said it's wild, but yes, this is basically our system here too.  
3. This interview with the woman who won many of the categories in the County Fair is cute.   
4. This partially illustrated explainer about planning travel in a pandemic era, talks through some important considerations, like do you have the space and funds to isolate if you get sick. 
Also, over on the newsletter, the second quarter reading roundup happened.   

Monday, July 11, 2022

Tips for Virtual Conference Attendees

I'm working behind the scenes at WriteOnCon, so am incredibly biased towards that conference, but here's some things I find help make virtual attendance go well. I do live alone, which does help.
Things to do before:
Charge all the things. Even if your are planning to move no more than 2 inches from the outlet, during conference just do it. Don't forget any and all earbuds or headsets that need charging.
Plan food. Your choices may well be, much delivery. But plan ahead. Anything that's going to require timing, like throwing something in the oven or hit yes please on delivery, plan when. Consult the schedule. Plan for snacks, and drinks. 
Consult the schedule. Do any necessary time zone math. Figure out breaks, food, bio, etc. If it's a packed schedule, try to pick one block you might skip. You don't have to.
Is everything live? Are the live things being recorded?
Set up any browser caption plugins if they aren't already.  Even if your hearing is great, the choice to read but not listen may be useful.  

Day(s) of: Dive in. If the schedule is jam packed, remind yourself to move, even if it's just wiggling your shoulders. Have drinks and snacks nearby. 
Listen with the ear gear of your choice. The ear gear will let you stand or stretch or move just a little bit over for some sessions.  
Pay attention to your body. 
Turn on things like captioning so that if your ears object, you can maybe just watch for a session. 
Eat a food. 
Do one session oriented differently. Even if you are on the floor of a tiny coat closet, just shift over a bit. Move the chair, move yourself a little. Staring at the same distance is tiring. Changing it up, or even closing your eyes and listening for a bit can help. 
Stretch. Often. 
Drink things.  Often.  
Remember that there is no prize for attending and reading and listening to all the things the fastest.  And sometimes, even if you don't take that break, just spending few minutes thinking about some of the stuff is great.  
Also, have fun!  

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Recreating the Mood

I often try to prewrite the blog posts, or at least most of one so that I'm not doing it over breakfast before the rest of the day takes me away.  Sometimes I discard it, no longer feeling the mood I was in when I wrote it, or feeling that current events have meant something else might be called for.
And some days, I cannot find the pre-written post, and I wonder if I wrote it, or if it really was as great as it seems like in my head.  (Words I cannot find often seem better.) 
I watched and listened to "In the Heights" over the weekend.  While it is not set over July 4th, it involves summer heat and fireworks, so it seems appropriate.  I also watched a lot of tennis taking place in the UK.  
But in the song "Carnival del Barrio", an ensemble number, many of the characters are deciding between hope and despair.  Gentrification is happening to their neighborhood.  Change is coming and it's not great. The electricity is out with no word on when it will be back.  But, as several of the characters suggest they can wallow or dance.  (People in musicals always end up choosing dance.  Shocking, I know.)
Of course this sad/happy dichotomy, this dance don't dance, is a staple of musicals.  But it resonates because I think we have all been on both sides.  Some days it just seems like everything sucks and also is sweaty.  And some days you want to dance, even if only metaphorically,  
Change is happening.  Neither wallowing nor dancing will fix that.  But getting ready to face the change, to push for change, that we can do.  

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1.  This long piece addressed some of the work being done to broaden traditional publishing
2. I am not working in employer benefits these days, but it doesn't mean I wasn't curious about how employers could cover abortion - or any other medical procedure an employee needed to go out of state for, this piece addressed some of the logistics if you are benefits admin curious.  
3. Sometimes something that could be stunt. protest, or prank just captures attention, and this tale of a radio station that played a single song yesterday was fascinating.  

Monday, June 27, 2022

This Is Us

The book America, that the Daily Show under Jon Stewart put together had asterisks and footnotes. Because there are lots of times throughout US history that they say everyone should have something, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, free speech, and so on, but, by everyone they meant like rich white dudes, or dudes with property, not the people who had been declared property of course. Growing up and living in DC it becomes clear a little more easily the asterisks. 
Our local laws are regularly challenged by Congressional folks for funsies. We have been repeatedly denied access to Congressional representation, and yet, still required to pay federal taxes, a particular thing that is true nowhere else in the US. 
People try to attack our city because of those nationally elected folks, and yet they go home, and all the various surveillance set up to track them, tracks us. 
But it just means more work to be done. Just looking at Supreme Court precedents alone, we have had many terrible ones. There are ones I consider terrible still in place. And others that were later changed. It's sometimes exhausting to daunting to discover things, rights, even back on the to do list, when they seemed done. 
But well, history books show us that terrible decisions can get fixed. They just kind of skate over all the work. It's a lot of work. But the good news is there are a lot of us. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Over on the Newsletter

Hey folks, I know today is a day. 
In news that has very little to do with current events, the next scene in the "How May I Help You? story I am serializing went out to newsletter folks earlier today. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Some local residents started a plant coop for folks interested in finding native plants.  
2. I am very very biased about this, but I enjoyed author Andie J. Christopher's post on how dating apps feel like a variation on diet culture
3. The ship that locals had been talking about for so long, it inspired "The Goonies" among other things, has been located

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Thinking a Lot About Clothes

I am doing the 100 day challenge. This is not really promo, I like the dress and the company offering this so far, but there are variations of this (10 x 10, project 333, etc) that I have been meaning to try for a while. 
There are various studies that most of us wear a small portion of our closet. That we tend to machine wash more frequently than we need to. And that honestly, most people don't remember what you wore yesterday anyway. 
One of the things trying to wear the same dress for 100 days has shown me is how lazy I've gotten about spot cleaning. Or hanging up stuff that I wore that day. 
I also have reached a point in my life where I have plenty of clothes that fit, but I don't wear.
Or I do, but then they go in the laundry and the laundry piles up and I forget they exist. I hate getting rid of things that work, but also if I have more things than I can keep track of, then it isn't really helpful. 
I'm still in the early days of this, and so may find as I run out of leggings, and scarves, and necklaces to accessorize with, my interest in this wanes. Okay, I won't actually run out of scarves. But we shall see. 
I think whether you do this officially or just on you're own, there's something to the ease of knowing just what I'll be wearing tomorrow. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

"Good Luck to You, Leo Grande"

I had a chance to see an early screening of "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande".
Early in the movie it occurred to me that Nancy, the character Emma Thompson is playing, is reminiscent of the character she plays in "Love Actually", where textually she seems very buttoned up and yet because it is Emma Thompson you see the hidden depths there too. In fact, in my humble opinion, if you consider this basically a bonus chapter to "Love Actually" you might enjoy it more.
This is not to say the movie doesn't stand on its own. But it does operate in the way of many what I call conversation plays. Plays that introduce you to a slice of a few characters lives and then the idea is you and your friends all get to talk about what it means. This is an excellent way to entertain oneself. 
Also, because it's on streaming and I know some folks might pause, it seems worth noting, in a choice that I'm sure is intended to have meaning on multiple levels, the amount of each character we see physically grows larger, so if at the end of the first encounter you think, hmm, your patience, in that sense at least, will be rewarded.
Content note: While the consent for sexual situations is firmly positive throughout, there is an incident of boundary crossing that occurs.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. A Hawaiian chef won a James Beard Award!  As did the local DC Dish CIty Podcast!
2. Before he was a Tony winner, DC Theater Arts talked to Marylander Myles Frost
3. Can I resist a man stops for lone kitten and discovers 13 story?  No, I cannot. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Bad Descriptions of Tony Nominees

All due respect to the delightful nominees, summarizing them shortly and badly amuses me. 
Clyde's, by Lynn Nottage - Sandwiches are important. 
Hangmen, by Martin McDonagh - It's tough being a hangman. 
The Lehman Trilogy, by Stefano Massini and Ben Power - Jobs are in jeopardy at the auto plant. 
The Minutes, by Tracy Letts - Banking is tough when there's a financial crisis. 
Skeleton Crew, by Dominique Morisseau - Local government, am I right?

Best Musical
Girl From The North Country - Two strangers show up and everything changes. 
MJ - It's about this guy, you may have heard of him, Michael Jackson.
Mr. Saturday Night - What if this old guy was still funny? 
Paradise Square - The Civil War makes it hard to be friends. 
SIX: The Musical - What if all your exes went on the same reality show?
A Strange Loop - Writing is so hard, and sometimes the muse choir is no help. 

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo Suggestions

Quick technical note, I've included some things that in my humble opinion are more women's fiction with strong romantic elements, but are currently being marketed as rom-coms. 
Also, there are some I currently don't have any suggestions for, so I skipped them.  I'll report back if I discover more in my reading this summer. And some of these are listed in multiple categories, if they fit. 
Second Chance: If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis
Amnesia - I know my giant list isn't only romance, but there's a lot of romance. 
Food on the cover: Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau, D'Vaugn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins, Battle Royale by Lucy Parker
Bicycle: Soulstar by C. L. Polk
Superpower: Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn, Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee
Mistaken Identity: The Stand In by Lily Chu
Dance: Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram, Alexis Daria's Dance Off series
Made Up Country: If HQ Presents are your jam, there are many fictional countries. 
High Tea: The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley
College dorm: She Gets the Girl by Rachel Lippincott and Alyson Derrick, Loveboat Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen, Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Steampunk: Soulstar by C. L. Polk
Work Rivals: Today Tonight and Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon, The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese, Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jaladdin, The Spy in 3B by Nana Malone, also many reality show romances are going to qualify here.
Property Inheritance: Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon, The Hate Project by Kris Ripper 
Animal Shelter: Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish 
Ghost: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I had not noticed the great tampon shortage, but it is apparently a thing.  
2. I find Margaret Cho fascinating, so enjoyed this chat with her
3. Embroidery that looks like vegetables

Monday, June 06, 2022

A Note for the Just Vote Crew

Hello there! As I write this, just dropped off a mail in ballot yesterday because its primary time in DC. (Fellow DC-ans, June 21st is the official day.) I have donated to voter mobilization. I have been known to ask my local friends what ward they are in and if they know what candidates they have to choose from. I'm a big believer in voting. 
I live in DC. Electeds I voted for* crafted the gun legislation that the Supreme Court struck down when they decided guns were basically people. Or better than people. I'm pretty sure the legalese boils down to that.
So my city council can make new laws, but my member of Congress doesn't get to vote. So if I somehow believed voting was the only way for me to push for change, I'd be pretty darn depressed right now. 
But, I believe in letting my feelings and wishes known to a large variety of people in power on a regular basis. 
I believe in pushing for things like more money towards initiatives that build better communities, like violence interruption, like jobs, and housing, and addiction care. 
And I also try to be regularly loud about my support for restricting guns. Whatever choices we make, reducing guns in this country is going to be a long process. But I'm for it. I'm old enough to remember when we had gun legislation in DC, when we had a federal assault weapon ban. Yes, there was still crime. But well, it didn't used to be more dangerous to be a school kid than a cop. And to be clear, I am in favor of less dead people all around here. 

*Okay, like technically, the initial law was crafted when I was a wee thing, but it got struck down after I had been of hating she for some time, so if we had wanted to change it, the option existed. 

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1, Michael Waters review of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington talks wonderfully about how Washington the government and Washington the city contain overlapping but distinct groups and how the power to enact change often comes from people no longer in the government.   
2. A. S. King spoke to School Library Journal about her interest in writing YA, and using fiction to be a truth teller
3. L. Morgan Lee's discussion about her Tony nomination and the journey she and the cast of "A Strange Loop" have been through is just wonderful.  

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Rest is Part of the Work

I remember this one minister was always talking about protests in her sermons.  And yes, she would mention that marching and writing to Congress weren't the only ways to work for change, to hopefully push the world into a better place.  But, a decade or so later, I understand wanting to rally people all the time even if the pollen is kicking my butt right now, and the idea of marching makes me want to take a nap.  
Someone asked after the 2016 election, why folks were protesting, unless they had concerns about the election itself.  And I had noted that sometimes the point of protest is to demonstrate that we are going to keep pushing.  
I have marched for things, I have written to my council member about things, I have donated to things, there are lots of ways to push the world a bit.  Many of them won't get to the ideal result in my lifetime but pushing is important.  
But even I, who abhor most official forms of exercise, know you can't only push.  Sometimes you have to rest.  And resting, is not just so you can push more later.  Rest is also important because the things you enjoy and do to rest and relax, are what give you the energy to keep making this world a better place.  
So if your happy place was cuddling with people and/or pets, reading, eating delicious things, or just pondering the clouds a bit, I hope you found some space for rest.  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I always love E. Alex Jung's profiles, and this one with Melanie Lynskey is fascinating.  Note: There is frank discussion of disordered eating, and mention of a sexual predator.  
2. This use of conference call lines as a pirate radio for Hmong Americans is interesting. 
3. I was pointed to this Teju Cole poem, Live Update.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Tropes and Problematic Execution

One of the things I find tough to remember to think about once you are an experienced reader of a genre is things that were always problems but that you are used to. 
I was reading a book and our delightful female main character ran into a scruffy looking dude right around when she and her long term dude broke up. 
Now as an experienced media consumer, you might go, ah yes, that person you trip over right as the clearly not good enough for you person exits the story is your new love interest. Yay for you.
And of course, our character is upset, she misjudges, because it would be weird for her to be like hello hotness while still wiping off tears. 
But you the reader know, this is the one, and since you the reader are presumably in a better emotional state, you don't judge new person for their scruffiness, and you forgive main character.
Except a main character who only remembers someone looked scruffy one time, and fails to think about how we all have sweatpants days or whatever, well, if this so-called mistaken identity continues on for too long, even the tropetastic-ness cannot save it, because the main character is now just judgey.
I do sometimes think rom-com patterns exacerbate this. Some rom-coms really traffic in embarrassing the heroine a lot to prove she deserves to have things go her way. And so, through that lens, you can sort of see how you could get to a place where a character stumbling over her next beloved but not seeing him because he's not dressed in a manner she feels a person should be, seems funny. 
But the trope doesn't require that. That's just bad execution of the trope. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story about what losing access to a grocery store on a day that might be the only day that week people have to go shopping is one of the things that attacks on underserved neighbors exacerbates. 
2. I confess, I have been limiting my reading on the congregation members in Laguna Woods who managed to detain a shooter.because the story makes me incredibly emotional.  LAist has this piece about the man who was killed stopping the shooter.  
3. And the Journal of Popular Romance Studies has a special open access issue on Black Romance.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

On Faux Compliments

I know, I know, this poorly prepped for media parent is clearly vying for fame and I should just ignore her. 
And yet. As a mixed race person, who, by the way is part native Hawaiian, having people tell you weird things that in their brain is clearly a compliment but actually is just not, well it can be hard to explain. 
So, to the teen who is Black and white (but not Hawaiian) who's mom went on TV to say that school taught him to see himself as Black and to see that there is racism in the world, I am sorry. And then she said, on TV mind you, that you don't even look Black, you look Hawaiian. 
I am sorry. 
Because let's unpack what happened here. This parent decided that it was a problem that her child identified as his actual race. And in order to support her feeling that he should not consider himself Black, she stated that he doesn't look Black. 
A. If he is Black, then he looks Black. 
I realize a lot of people are confused by this. But people not looking the way you expect is not a failure of their appearance, it is a failure of your imagination.
B. People can be Black and Hawaiian. Just like they can be Black and white. 
And look, I know there are some people thinking, well, she just meant she thinks he's handsome like Jason Momoa or Keanu Reeves. And, even if she did mean that, the way to compliment someone is not so say they look like something they are not. Because if you actually appreciated what they were, you wouldn't need to change it to compliment them. 
Happy AAPI Heritage Month folks!

Monday, May 16, 2022

I Wish This Wasn't Normal

Mass shootings occur pretty regularly in the US, the thing that fluctuates is the ones where we are sure the victims did not deserve it. So grocery store shootings, church shootings, and the like get treated as special. To be clear, I would like the number of people killed by guns to be zero. 
But I am aware we remember to talk about gun violence sometimes, and ignore it others.
One of the mass shootings this weekend involved a Civil Rights activist who had, among other things, taken the time to write about gun violence last year. 
If the news has angered, enraged, or saddened you, consider looping into local violence interruption efforts and looking at what kind of support they need. Sometimes it's money, sometimes it's letters written to local electeds to tell them you support such efforts. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Hat Tip to NapMinistry for pointing me to this post on trauma drive, and how motivational slow down can be a good sign.  I am aware that there is a current cultural excess in the use of the word trauma, and yet, I do think pandemic living means more of us are experiencing it than not.  
2. This post about digital privacy is aimed at if Roe v. Wade falls, but as is noted, the consequences for many of current reproductive law are already here.  
3. I am really intrigued by the Smithsonian's announcement that they will return unethically looted items, and look forward to seeing how they and other museums form such policies.  

Monday, May 09, 2022

Reading Mad

Sometimes I know a book is not for me, and yet I keep reading. Sometimes I want to see if the story pulls itself away from the ditch my brain has shoved it into, but the reality is that happens rarely. Not because I am mean or terrible or even prescient. Okay, I'm a little bit prescient. Because not about the world, just about stories. 
So sometimes my brain is like nope, and I'm like no, we judged too fast and my brain is right because the signs of a thing I will not like are already there. 
But sometimes I keep reading anyway. And it occurred to me that sometimes reading is escape, but sometimes the escape I need is to be mad at something terrible. So reading a book I know is going to make me mad feels like control. It's making me mad, but I knew it was going to make me mad, and so I am mad because of this and only this. *Ignores the entire rest of the world* 
And I am not a professional psychologist, but just like folks exploring their sexuality often focus on celebrities because you get to gush and squee and yet it is entirely expected for this person to never call you, never show up, never speak directly to you. So you have signed on to a one sided relationship.
And similarly me reading a book that is making me mad lets me be mad, and then put the book away. And sometimes that is what I need. 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Three Interesting Things

2. I am not a librarian, but Anne Helen Petersen's talk to librarians about work these days may resonate for folks in a lot of fields right now. 
3. Jackie Lau compiled a list of Asian Romance authors with books in $5 and under range. 
Also, I created a Bookshop list of some Hawaiian authors writing in a range of categories (includes me). 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Be Gentle

I spent the last week trying to be very gentle with myself.  I'm coming up on some anniversaries of things, and heading into parental holiday season, and well, it is both a lot, and it is fine.
This is often a transitional time for folks.  On the northern hemisphere, while it is still spring, signs of summer are beginning to appear. School kids and teachers are eyeing summer plans, and those of us in jobs that don't automatically shift for reasons are still aware that time is shifting.  
Businesses often do quarterly reporting, evaluating how things are going, and schools often do too.  So as humans, we are trained to look out for these changes, and re-evaluate what it means.  
Pandemic rules are different of course, but most of us have more non-pandemic traditions embedded within us, than not.  (Shout out to my pandemic born cousin, who has only ever known a life where his parents telecommuted. It's a good life, kid.)
For folks who make five year plans, the plans are likely a little dented, even if you've rewritten them a few times.  
So, be gentle.  Progress isn't the only measure of success, sometimes survival really is an achievement. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I hope this open letter to the person who emailed to correct this person's grammar was as satisfying to read as it was to write.  (Note: WaPo link.)
2. Continuing my trend of reading about TV that I'm not watching, this chat with costume designers for three shows featuring characters underrepresented in historical dramas. 
3. Montgomery County teens won a CSPAN documentary contest

Monday, April 25, 2022

This Post Will Not Self Destruct....

But in light of recent Twitter news, I'm going to deactivate the account this was pushing Twitter links to. It coincides with me thinking I probably need to be scarce on social media for a bit anyway. I will still be here and on the newsletter. And I'm not sure I'll be able to successfully break, but I'm gonna try.

Project Grief

I've been reading The Grieving Brain, so my thoughts are more focused than usual on the lens of grief. But we were talking in one of my creator groups about that point where you the creator think everything is terrible and really this making things was a bad plan and someone should have stopped you phase. I referenced an old Gaiman post about that:
And similarly Yarn Harlot had a post about the feeling of coming to the end of a yarn project.
And I think in both cases, it's grief. Maybe not explicitly or exclusively. But part of what The Grieving Brain talks about is that part of the work of grief is your brain adjusting to the difference between what was and what is.
And that happens when you make things. The difference isn't necessarily bad, but in the execution things shift and change. 
I do also think some of it is anticipatory decision making. Like once I'm finished what next? And even if the answer is editing or blocking or finding the next project, it requires shifting gears. 
And so while you can trash it. Or stop. Or go write something else. You can also keep going. Partly because it is easier to evaluate a finished project. And this is not to say finish everything no matter what. If the sweater clearly will not fit, then stop. 
But also, some of this feeling bad is an expected part of the process as you realign your expectations with reality. The feelings are still there, and still valid. They just don't always mean stop.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. As someone who has consumed a lot of Amy's Kitchen products, I was saddened by this story about the labor conditions.  I hope the workers are able to get their conditions improved.  
2. These striking strippers have been doing theme nights for their strikes, and one of them was OSHA violations at the club.  It's a combo of pretty and horrifying.
3. This 90 year-old lei maker is showing up once again for the Merrie Monarch craft fair. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Life Lessons

I remember back in the day, as a newly minted adult asking my mom for advice on doing my taxes.  She said, well, you'll get a bunch of things that say tax information, and just use those.  At the time this advice seemed, well, lacking.  
But, as I was trying to solve a missing document housed online, as an experienced tax filing person, I mostly kinda look for all the forms that arrive that say tax information. 
So, thanks, Mom.  
Of course many of the things and trappings of adulthood are bureaucratic and sometimes byzantine, as well as shrouded in secrecy.  
I never had to take a personal finance class in school, but a friend of mine did and she said learning things like budgeting, and just getting used to terms and processes was helpful.  
My parents were firmly of the we are adults and some of the things we do are not your business camp, and so some things, like figuring out how to turn on or off utilities, or file taxes seemed like mysterious processes that I was on my own to figure out.  
Some days it feels like adulthood is the long process of figuring out which of the things your family did were normal, and which wasn't.  And deciding which were weird for good reasons, and which weren't. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Xochitl Gonzalez wrote about the feeling when it's your neighborhood that gets attacked
2. Sylvia Bell's interview with Serena Williams focused on her finding more comfort as she makes ever more plans. 
3. I found this look at how Ijeoma Olua and her family approached building and filling a house after their rental burned down really lovely.   
Also, if you are or know a teen who could do with electronic access to some Banned Books, Brooklyn Public Library has an offer for that. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Progress Markers

I remember going on a tour at a rug factory, and they showed us to a woman hand weaving a rug, and asked her how long each rug took.  They took between one and two years. Walking away I said something foolish to the effect that, I could never work on something where your progress was so infinitesimal, that you were dedicating over a year to doing one thing.  I know.  I was young.  
Because so many projects unfurl over long stretches of time.  This is why we have all these things like word counters, and task lists, why we get into micro-tasking, and breaking tasks into smaller parts.  
It's true of social justice - where sometimes there are great leaps forward, and often slides back, and the periods in between where many people think nothing is happening, even though people are pushing each day. 
I thought of this as I worked on a knitted on border on a shawl.  For those unfamiliar, knitting on a border, basically means after knitting the shawl, you knit a border on sideways, along the longest edge.  So the rows are shorter than the shawl, but now you have to repeat that over and over, and you start to wonder why you decided to do this, haven't you been doing this forever, or maybe that's just me.  
And so I plunked a bunch of stitch markers along the length, so that I could pause and cheer each time I made it to one.  It's still the same number of stitches and rows, but it helps make my progress a little more concrete.  And sometimes being able to see those markers along the way, help me keep going. 

Friday, April 08, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story of systemic gaps that led to a delay in family members being notified after an unhoused person was found dead is the kind of deep local dive that alt-weeklies spend time on.  It coming out the week the Washington City Paper announced an end to paper and a reduction in staff is sort of a sad reminder of the losses when local coverage contracts.
2. I am not a Ward 3 resident, and so have not paid much attention to the various candidates, but this teen running for city council seems to have some great ideas.
3. And now there is BINGOAT, goat bingo

Monday, April 04, 2022

Changing Benefits

I used to have a job that paid for my internet. It's worth noting that I was hired as an in person employee, the company made the decision that the rent on my office was too high, and so made us telecommuters and paid for our internet.
And then a few years later they decided to stop. They argued that everyone had internet anyway. Never mind that our telecommuting policy said that you should not be using said internet for anything other than work during the work day, should have any household member stream movies or other bandwidth hogs on a different internet or on non-work hours. 
The telecommuting policy also required a certain level of speed. 
And yes, I had internet before they paid for it. But I had internet that worked for watching a movie or doing whatever, but not necessarily for being in use for 40-80 hours a week of work. 
And let's note that the pay raises we received that year, were, for me at least, low enough that losing the free internet basically meant a net loss of pay that year. 
I thought of this as I was sent a job posting recently that wanted to hire people for a six week contract. The workers needed to have prior industry experience, pass a grammar and typing test, have their own computer, have their own internet of a certain speed, but they would get to telecommute. And yes, the salary was above minimum wage, but probably not once you include equipment and utility costs.
I talk a lot about telecommuting in part because of things like this. Telecommuting has pros and cons, but one of the biggest cons to my mind is the assumption that my space, that I pay rent on, my internet, that I pay, my desk, that I bought, my computer, that I bought, my accessories, that I bought, are all things I don't deserve to be compensated for when the employer wants me to use them for their convenience. 
That I should not just be grateful to be paid, even though the startup costs are all mine. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. My non voting member of Congress spoke about how a DC judge is up for Supreme Court justice, and DC does not get to vote on that
2. And I happened on to this delightful fictional restaurant review this week. 
3. Was pointed this week to this story from earlier in the pandemic when people wanted really cool books for their video chat backdrops

Monday, March 28, 2022

Greedy for Plots

This past weekend, for a variety of reasons, I binged a bunch of short fiction.
Even when I'm reading anthologies, I tend to bounce in and out, getting a little long fiction in there too, resetting a bit. 
And this weekend, I decided to be indulgent. To just keep glomming the next, pausing only to track the titles as I went leaving my brain a glorious mismash of ghosts, and kisses, and spaceships. 
It felt very decadent. And yet why? I mean of course there is privilege involved in being unneeded for two days. But why should just reading feel so decadent? I think there are all these little things set up to make us feel guilty about not doing. One of the things I like about tracking reading is that it makes reading look more productive. Reading doesn't have to be productive and reading fast or slow is not a value judgement. One could certainly argue that metrics encourage people to read more when processing what you have read can also be useful. Certainly the faster I burn through stories the more likely I am to look back and go, I think that one was in space? Or something?
But I find even when the details are fuzzy, I remember the feelings: happy, sad, confused, elated, scared, triumphant, resolved, and much more.
And how fun is that, to go all these places and feel all these things, from my couch.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I felt this piece about "Licorice Pizza" delved into the issues of using racism to use as a punchline about a character isn't a neutral decision.
2. This piece looked at several people around the world and whether they were or were not still telecommuting. 
3. I'm always fascinated when people find some ancient seeds and manage to grow an ancient date palm.  (Yes this is from two years ago, but pandemic years.)