The Night Before #NaNoWriMo~

I’ve been radio silent this week because life has been insane–between a mountain of grading, getting back in the saddle for this new grad school class, freaking out about my evaluation, and dealing with a new crush (I know, I know), I just haven’t had much time to sleep, let alone blog.

And, of course, there has been that whole prepping-for-NaNoWriMo thing.

NaNoWriMo, for those of you who are still uninitiated, is my favorite name for November, and it stands for National Novel Writing Month. During 30 glorious (and often excruciating) days, writers all over the world attempt to write at least 50,000 words on a project of their choosing. As insane as it sounds, it’s something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time–and something that I have continuously sabotaged for myself.

Here are some of my excuses for the past, oh, ten years of NaNoWriMo failure:

  • I don’t have time for this because of work/school/life/the universe. (Uh, who does, really?)
  • My idea isn’t going anywhere.
  • I got too far behind to catch up.
  • I forgot to keep up with it.
  • What I had wasn’t good enough to keep going.
  • I can’t do this.
  • I got distracted.
  • I wrote X amount of words, just not on the project!

The truth is that, every time I have decided to begin working on a NaNoWriMo project, I have punked out using one of those excuses–so I haven’t even really given it an honest try (except for kind of doing so in 2012, but shhhh). But that all changes this year!

This year, I have a novel that I am thrilled to begin writing. I wrote the hook for it a few months ago, started doing some world-building and research, and then let it marinate–and now that I’ve started outlining it, the book won’t shut up. Several of you have already heard about this book because I can’t shut up about it either–I keep flailing on Twitter and telling everyone who will listen… including my stylist when she was doing my hair on Wednesday. (She loves the idea and signed up to beta read.) This book is so ready to exist that I’ve literally had to force myself to not write it before NaNoWriMo started so that I could give it all my energy this month.

I have also been working really hard to prepare so I can meet the previous years’ setbacks head on without faltering. I spent a lot of time going over Nick Thacker‘s Guide to Writing Fiction to make sure I had my structure right and I could outline, and then I buckled down and outlined most of my novel. I just signed up for Timothy Pike’s 12-Month Author Challenge to make sure my commitment doesn’t end on December 1, and I’ve already started going through some of the materials. I have researched places and people, written down the rules for my magical world, and reread lots of book for inspiration. I’m ready to go–are you?

Ready to come along on this adventure? You can follow me, my book, and my word count over at NaNoWrimo–and/or you can stay tuned here for (at least) weekly updates. Encouragement, kudos, and coffee are greatly appreciated.

How to Boycott Me, I Mean, REALLY Boycott Me

In today’s episode of “John Scalzi is a motherfucking boss: Look at him school you,” there’s this.

Whatever

So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet…

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Why I wrote Player vs. Player: @FeliciaDay @FemFreq @Spacekatgal @ChrisWarcraft

This is a fascinating (and terrifying) look at the way misogyny in gaming culture has escalated over the past year. Over the past 8+ years of playing World of Warcraft, I have experienced all sorts of different reactions to the fact that I’m a gamer… I can’t imagine being as visible as any of these women and thus increasing the negative reactions exponentially. Being a woman of color who is also a feminist and a gamer is not an easy task at any given time, but it’s getting harder and scarier in times like these–and gaming is my outlet. It’s my free space… I just want it to be a safe space too. By denouncing this movement as the misogyny that it is, and keeping in mind that misogyny is a real threat to women everywhere, I hope we can work together to make the gaming community a place where women don’t have to hide and be silent because they’re afraid.

The fiction of Amelia C. Gormley

I’m gonna get my bona fides–or lack thereof–out of the way up front.

I’m a gamer. I’m a feminist.

Am I a hardcore gamer? I imagine by most definitions, the answer would be no. I don’t have time for it; I have a son to raise and books to write. I drift in and out of gaming when something catches my attention. Whenever I’ve tried to be a hardcore gamer–for a while my husband and I had an arrangement for me to be able to take Friday evenings off from parenting starting at 7 PM so I could raid with my guild–it never worked out. 7 PM for me was 10PM for many of my guildies, so they wanted to start raiding at 5:30 PM, just when I was eating dinner with my husband and son. I always felt guilty because either I was letting my guildies down or I…

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PSA on Depression (As I Live With It)

I know, I know, I’m basically turning into a depression-and-Judaism-blog… but that is my life, y’all. They’re both part of me and they both affect my daily life and neither one is something that I ashamed of.

ANYWAY.

Today’s rant is brought to you by the fact that my final project for my grad class was on supporting students with depression, which I wrote while struggling with a rough episode this past week–and which put me in contract with way too many moments of people shrugging off my struggle because “it’s not that big of deal.” Protip: don’t tell someone who has depression that they’re just “feeling a little depressed” and they’re going to be fine–feeling depressed and having depression are not the same thing, and I’m pretty sure I know more about my mental health than you do.

You guys, I have had it. I am so fucking tired of people invalidating my depression because they have feelings too or whatever. If I was struggling going up the stairs because of a physical disability, you wouldn’t say that “stairs are difficult for everyone” because you would understand that there is a difference–and it’s the same for those of use who have invisible disabilities, who are mentally ill. You also wouldn’t ask that person what could cause them difficulty with the stairs because you know that it’s their disability–so I don’t see why it’s okay to interrogate someone with a mood disorder and ask them what they have to be angry/sad/upset about. Likewise, if I am in pain due to an injury or physical disability, you wouldn’t tell me to suck it up and deal with it, or to realize that I can’t change the pain so I should just focus on what I can change, like my outfit–those two things are as unrelated as external factors are to me having an episode.

TL;DR: People with disabilities, invisible or otherwise, experience life differently–in a way that is neither better nor worse than you do. It’s just different. And no, we’re not expecting you to understand what our life is like because many times we don’t quite understand what “normal” life is like. All that we ask is that you recognize that you don’t know what our lives are like, and therefore you do not get to judge us based on what you would do if you were “in our position” because you’re not and you haven’t been and you don’t know.

Want to try to understand? You can start by playing a game that helps you experience the headspace of someone with depression. There are plenty of fact sheets on the Internet–here’s one I like. Hyperbole and a Half wrote two awesome posts that look at depression’s effects both internally and socially. Christine Miserandino explains invisible disabilities’ effects through spoon theory, and post-secondary students with invisible disabilities talk about them in this video. If you want to help your classmate/employee/colleague/student, THANK YOU–here’s some accommodations. I’ve also written about life with depression extensively in my own tag. Oh, and here’s a short story I wrote about depression during my worst episode back when I was a college senior.

Words Meant to Be Spoken.

My students are practicing spoken word by writing emotion poems following a specific formula and focused on only one emotion. They challenged me to write one of my own and, unexpectedly enough, it flowed.

It’s not great, and this blog is probably the only place it will ever go–but it’s honest enough that I want to remember myself as I am in this moment: raw and a little broken, eyes on the horizon.

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Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

(Or, as well call it in Puerto Rico, el día de la raza.)

Just dropping by to remind everyone that Christopher Columbus was basically a dick and also totally clueless, as Matt Inman from The Oatmeal has so brilliantly chronicled. However, while I do think my homeboy Fray Bartolomé de las Casas needs some more recognition for being one of the first proponents of universal human rights (after he got over his whole “bring the African slaves so you leave the indigenous people alone” thing), I don’t think that lionizing another white dude is the answer.

So here’s my suggestion: let’s do like Berkeley and Seattle and Minneapolis (and maybe other places I haven’t heard of) and spend today celebrating indigenous people and their cultures. Let’s spend today talking about the Americas as the mass of countries that they are. (I recommend Aurora Levins Morales’ poem “Child of the Americas” as a primer–my students love it!)

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, y’all.