Saturday, November 29, 2014

Time for a little lift from Richard Curtis

Courtesy of a song I love from a movie I love, despite its flaws.

Starting a holiday season with love is a good thing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Support the artists whose work you love

As we head into the season of gift-buying, consider allocating some of your budget to artists whose works you love.  Many of them are probably doing just fine, some may even be incredibly wealthy, but it's just as likely that many of them are barely making ends meet.  Art, in whatever forms one practices it, rarely pays all that well.

I once had a client and friend say that he and his colleagues were wondering why I was still working at PT and with them when I was clearly making millions from my novels.  I assured him that if I was making millions from my novels, I would be writing full-time, but instead my sales are a couple of orders of magnitude lower.

I'm fortunate, though, to have a great job at a great company that treats me well.  Many artists are hustling all the time to make their art, and if you love their work, you should support them.

Consider, for example, Stephen Kellogg, a musician whose work I quite love.  I don't know him at all, though I've been to a few of his shows.  Perhaps he is making money hand over fist; I hope so.  The facts that he's doing a PledgeMusic drive to fund his next albums and that he's playing in the back room of Cat's Cradle this coming Tuesday suggest that he's working hard to make a good living.  If you like his music, support him.  Buy his CDs, or pick up some merch.  Come to the show Tuesday night; I'll be there. 

Or check out the work of Jain Faries, who works in fabric and found objects and other areas that rarely excite me, but who manages to produce strange, wonderful creations.  I do know Jain--she's part of my extended family--but that knowledge does not affect my opinion of her art.  She's working all day each day right now at a craft show in Greensboro, hustling with many other artists.  As far as I'm concerned, her work deserves to be in fine galleries drawing big bucks, but that's not how it's worked out for her, at least not so far. 

Aaron Vandemark, the chef and owner of Panciuto, one of my favorite restaurants, is another artist who deserves your support.  (Yes, if you haven't been paying attention to food, chefs are artists, too.)  As near as I can tell, Aaron and Panciuto are doing just fine, but at the risk of making it harder for me and my friends to get reservations, I would love more people to know and enjoy his delicious creations.  (Disclosure:  I know Aaron a tiny bit, but it's not like we hang out together.) 

I could go on and on with examples, but you get the point.  If you love an artist and want her/him to keep creating great works, support her/him as you plan your holiday spending. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you celebrate this holiday, I hope the celebration is good.

If you don't celebrate it, I still hope your day is good.

I am thankful for all the good I've experienced so far in my life, and most of all, I am thankful for my family, biological and extended, and for all the people who have loved me or been my friend or bought my books.

Thank you, all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On the eve of Thanksgiving

with so much bad in the news, despair and anger are tempting companions.  Fortunately, Louis Armstrong and some footage from Good Morning, Vietnam are always ready to remind us that this world is also indeed a wonderful one.

Peace out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A bit of trivia about my fiction

My first sale was at a low word rate (I've forgotten how much) to a semi-pro, feminist, SF/F magazine, Pandora.  The story, "Back Again", appeared in the ninth issue of that magazine.

No one has ever reprinted it.

Another reason some small press should do a lovely collection of all my short fiction. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

An oldie for a gentle rainy night

Ah, I sometimes miss Annie Lennox's voice and performances.

This song is just right for a gentle, rainy fall night.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

College rape prevention training should start with men

(Trigger warning:  this post is entirely about rape and rape culture.)

A recent NPR story discussed the challenges colleges are facing in doing rape-prevention training for women.  I'm not writing this to comment on that story; you can find plenty of such commentary online.  No, I'm here to point out that if we really want to stop rape and rid ourselves of rape culture, we must start by training the source of the problem:  men. 

Let's be clear:  rape is a male problem.  The victims of rape are never, repeat never, at fault.  The men who rape them are.  Period. 

Thus, if we want to stop rape, let's train men not to rape. 

Let's train them to understand, really and completely understand, that no means no.  Let's explain over and over again that no consent means no, that drunk or stoned or unconscious people cannot give consent and so you should not have sex with them.  Let's review the criminal penalties.  Let's talk about the damage these acts do, the lifetimes of trauma they leave their victims to handle.  Let's ask them to visualize how they would feel about their mothers or their sisters or their girlfriends--or themselves--being taken sexually against their will.  Let's explain that rape is never funny, that it's never cute, that it's not a good word, that we should never ever ever do it or condone it.

Have all the discussions you want about rape-prevention training for college women, but while you're at it, train every incoming college male that only they can stop rape, that it is their responsibility to behave better and never to descend to this depth. 

Rape is a male problem.  If we want to stop it, we have to stop men from doing it.  Maybe training would help. 


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