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Selfies and voting: more American than Apple pie

 

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Let me pop this selfie, for a moment. Because I’m an American woman and today is a big voting day in North Carolina (and Ohio and Florida)

Along with anywhere between 30-40% of the voting public, I am unaffiliated.
I had a hard time deciding the best strategy behind my vote. In NC, unaffiliated voters can decide which primary to vote in. Do I vote Democrat? Or, do I ask for a Republican ballot and vote for Rubio (the lesser of three very scary evils)? One vote for Rubio is one less vote for Trump and this election might be the most important of my life.
In the end, I voted with my conscious – I voted in the Democratic primary for the candidate I think is most likely to be able to affect change according to my belief system. Both candidates are appealing but my vote was more practical than philosophical. If you thought Obama had a hard time getting anything done, this next Democratic president could be worse off (I mean, Trump’s rise to conservative power does not bode well for bi-partisanship) and we need someone with experience and political clout. If we’re lucky, both Sanders and Clinton will be working together in the next administration.
So, besides voting, the next most quintessentially American thing I can do today is post a selfie. Not because I’m an attention-seeking jerk (I mean, I am, but that isn’t my motivation today) but because:
  • TODAY , it is important to remember that women have only been able to vote in this country for the last 96 years. But, this change took decades to enact. The first national suffrage organizations were established in 1869. The broader movement for women’s rights started in 1840. And, remember, this mostly meant white women had access to voting.
  • If you are a woman, remember – there are places TODAY that do not allow women the right to vote.
  • The civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s brought renewed voting rights for disenfranchised black citizens. But, TODAY, we are still seeing voter disenfranchisement with vote ID laws and gerrymandering. If you think I’m wrong, explain Trump to me. (Don’t really. I don’t want to hear it.)
  • If you think Nazi Germany was another lifetime, you are wrong. Symbols of Nazism are banned but Angela Merkel, president of Germany, is seeing a bitter fight from the far-conservative right. This is happening TODAY. Germany has the strongest economy in the European Union. They have the highest success in manufacturing.
  • This isn’t the Old Guard, either. The state of the European Union is important to us.
  • That anger doesn’t live in a vacuum. It is happening here, now. On American soil. The rise of Neo-Nazism in Europe is spurred by the same issues of American White Supremacy. And, it is terrifying because we’ve seen how this ends. Someone is going to get hurt. People have already gotten hurt but we will suffer large scale pain unless we shut this down.
So if you are an unaffiliated voter, check your state laws. Maybe unaffiliated voters – moderate people who want to do the right thing – can be strategic and vote with their conscious.
Today is a good day to start.
Other than setting off fireworks, it is the most American thing you could do.
Of course, if you have fireworks, you should definitely set those off, too.

New rant…err…tips article at The Review Review

I have a new tips article published over at The Review Review and it is a little rant-y.

Rant-ish.

Full of ire, you might say.

But what writer doesn’t feel a little stymied from time to time? If you aren’t frustrated with the publishing process, you probably aren’t doing it right. Or, you are a genius. In which case, get lost.

Read my rant here: A Snake Eating its Own Tail and Other Paradoxes of Publishing

 

 

 

New story published at Coup D’Etat

My newest short story, “Take A Little Girl, Tap Her On The Shoulder” will be published in the Winter 2016 issue of Boston University’s newest literary magazine, Coup D’Etat.

I’m thrilled this story has found such a lovely home. Copies will be available for purchase in January!

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It Doesn’t Get Easier, You Just Get Stronger – Tips Article at The Review Review

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Yes, this is what I actually look like when I run. Tobacco Road Half Marathon.

A few years ago, I ran a community 5K with a couple of my friends. I came in last out of all of us even though my one friend wasn’t feeling very well that day. He beat me by a lot. Later, he found out he had the swine flu.

So, literally a dude with swine flu runs faster than me. But, you know what? At least I ran it.

And, even when I get rejection after rejection, at least I’m writing and putting myself out there. I have a new tips article at The Review Review that speaks to both runners and writers.

It Doesn’t Get Easier, You Just Get Stronger: Thoughts on Writing

This one is for the slow runners, the slow writers, the people who maybe don’t even know how amazing they are just for making the effort. This one is for the fast runners, the celebrated writers, the people who give us something to strive for. We are all writers and we are awesome for it.

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New Tips Article Published at The Review Review

In Stardust, Neil Gaiman wrote, “There once was a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.” For writers, our truest heart’s desire is for someone to read our work and feel moved by it. We want them to connect with what we’ve written as if we were speaking for them in some way. This is what magic is made of – our thoughts, written down and given to others who make those thoughts their own.

Our second truest heart’s desire, of course, is to be brilliant, get published and watch the fame and money roll in. With that in mind, my newest tips article is up at The Review Review and I couldn’t be happier ever after about it!

Publishing In Small Journals: The Un-Fairy Tale

Go ahead – kiss a few frogs. Show the world your magic by finding the right publication for your writing. Smite the dragon of…

…oh, ok, ok. Enough with the puns.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Neil Gaiman, Coraline

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“Places Still On Fire” Honored in the Stoneslide Corrective’s 2015 Short Story Contest

Thank you to the Stoneslide Corrective for honoring my short story “Places Still On Fire” alongside so many other amazing stories in their 2015 Fancy Pants* Short Story Contest.

*I added the “Fancy Pants” part. That isn’t what the contest is called. Although, it does have a nice ring to it. 

http://stoneslidecorrective.com/2015/09/stoneslide-story-contest-2015-the-results/

The Stoneslide Corrective has a history of publishing compelling and razor sharp literary fiction and satire. Congratulations to the winners and other honorees! I feel like I am standing alongside some pretty impressive writers.

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Tips Article Published at The Review Review

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Have you checked out The Review Review?

If you are a writer and you submit your work to literary journals The Review Review is a must-read. I have it bookmarked and when I need to feel energized about the eternal slog of submitting my work, I read one of their articles. Or, if I am curious about a journal and I want to read a well-written review – I always check them out at The Review Review first.

I love them so much, I wrote something for them.

Up The Dizzy Hill: How Submitting Your Work Will Make You Feel Like Barfing

I hope you read it and feel a little energized.

Show Time, Synergy

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The recent dust up over the new Jem & The Holograms movie hit a nerve with me. I didn’t even know that nerve existed in my body, but there it was, throbbing. If you are in your thirties, can still recite the theme song to Jem & The Holograms (come on, it isn’t even that long), maybe you know what I’m talking about. Or, maybe you haven’t been heartbroken yet. Here you go.

What is the big deal, you ask? Art moves. Art is fluid, right? Art changes with the times. So what if there is no Synergy? So what if there are no Misfits? So what if Jerrica is a total whine-baby dud teenager instead of an up-and-coming young business woman at the helm of a music label?

Screw you, that isn’t art. That is Starbucks slopping some caramel sauce in a latte and telling the world its a caramel machiato. Which, fine, maybe that caramel latte is delicious, I don’t know (I do know, dammit, it is pretty good) but that doesn’t make it a machiato.

I’m getting off track. I have nerve pain here.

The whole reason for resurrecting popular 80’s cartoons into live action movies today is to capitalize on parents’ emotional ties to their childhood. This is why there are nine hundred Transformers and G.I. Joe movies (also because boys are more interesting to money makers than girls but that is another rant for another day). Because parents buy movie tickets and merchandise for their kids if they have an emotional tie to the product. Ingenious! I don’t even mind the manipulation.

I want to buy my kid a Strawberry Shortcake not because she is the coolest doll on the market but because I can give my kid a little strawberry scented piece of my own childhood. And, OK, if you want to slut up Strawberry Shortcake a little to compete with Bratz dolls, whatever.

But, you don’t rewrite Jem & The Holograms. You don’t water that down.

What they’ve done is taken a plucky, capable young woman executive of a small music label – which is a pretty cool premise – and made her a passive, easily manipulated teenage girl. Maybe the thinking here is that girls need to relate to a character to get them to see movies.

All teenage girls are blond, passive, clumsy and easily manipulated, right?

But, why not show a complex character with a duality to her personality? Give us a complicated group of punk rock girls as the antagonists and make us root for them equally. Show us how a bunch of women can be creative and strong. And, give us a little high tech wonder to make it interesting because girls like technology, too. Do they honestly think teenage girls wouldn’t relate to that?

When I was in second grade, I could not fathom anything cooler than Jem & The Holograms. I hadn’t really been introduced to Debbie Gibson yet – that juggernaut was coming. I knew if I just showed the world how talented I was, I could probably end up with an A.I. magic machine that threw holograms over my body and made me something special. I don’t think I expected too much. Hell, I’m still working that goal.

So, I wrote a one woman play that featured Jem, The Holograms, one of The Misfits – Stormer, natch, and Cookie Monster (my teacher loved chocolate chip cookies and I knew my audience, I’m no dummy). A tambourine was definitely involved. It was critically acclaimed – my best friend at the time said it was great.

I asked my teacher, Mrs. Fisher, if I could perform it on stage in the gymnasium of my elementary school. She was a very kind, indulgent woman but she told me no, maybe I could just perform it in front of the class. I was crestfallen. Would the record executives at Starlight even see me in the classroom?

At the end of the day, Mrs. Fisher made time for my show and introduced me to the class. I may be no dummy but I’m also no performer. I froze, it’s true. But, Jerrica had Synergy to help her along. All I had was a tambourine. I stood in front of the class and they waited. And, waited. Finally, some bitch named Jamie popped up, grabbed my tambourine and sang a song about Mrs. Fisher eating the Cookie Monster and it was awful. She was horrible. When she was finished, that bitch handed the tambourine BACK TO ME and we both sat down.

Later, I told my cousins that I couldn’t perform the play the way I’d intended because I’d written it for the stage, not the front of a classroom.

Jem was important to me from about 1985 – 1988 when it was on television. It was important to me afterward in ways I couldn’t calculate because it urged me to be creative and it showed me role models that were funny and goofy and problematic – and they were creative women. To this day, Stormer is still one of my favorites because she was bad but she was good, too. The Misfits were a really talented band – just as talented as The Holograms. For a seven year old to understand and root for that dichotomy is really interesting.

In second grade, I wrote a script that was somehow more authentic to the original vision of Jem & The Holograms than Hollywood has been able to put together. And, mine had Cookie Monster in it. So, Hollywood, when the time comes to shop around She-Ra scripts, you know where you can find me.

That would be truly outrageous.

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“Places Still On Fire” Shortlisted At The Masters Review!

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I am so thrilled that my short story “Places Still On Fire” has been shortlisted for

The Masters Review Volume IV!

See the official announcement here. 

Guest editor Kevin Brockmeier (!!!) will make his final decision by the end of May.

I’m honestly thrilled to know that even if my story is not selected, it will be read by Kevin Brockmeier. That feels like a victory.

Note: Picture taken from http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/maps.htm