I am ashamed that my country's much-vaunted liberties are a lie. I knew they were a lie from the beginning, but as a child of the Sixties I once thought we were on the road to becoming our better selves. Now I know that we have sold the pretense of those better selves to the Koch Brothers, to Nestle water miners, to frackers, to elected representatives who refuse to work for their paychecks but hold up the process until they can retire to consult for rich multinationals, and to the murderers who serve them.
And this is all I can say. Because I am white, because I am middle class, the gun isn't pointed at me.
What does it take? What does it take for a government--local, state, national--to look at what's going on and say, "You know--this is fucked."
Up until this week I didn't notice it was April, you see, so I was working along like the virtuous writer I'm supposed to be. Well, trying to. I knew it was April, but I didn't know, because in previous years April has been a month during which I sit in the draft from the open window, sniffing green things, listening to birdies, and being mildly comatose.
I can't write during April. Spring oozes over me like honeyed balm. I don't even struggle. But I was fine up until two days ago, when it hit me like a pop in the kisser.
IT'S APRIL!!!! IT'S SPRING!!!! THERE'S BIRDIES!!!!!! THERE'S LITTLE FLOWERS!!!!! For the first time in three months I can go outside without a coat and have air that doesn't freeze in my lungs! I'M NOT DEPRESSED!!!! LOOK OUTSIDE!!!! I'm . . . drooling.
Deadline? What does it mean, deadline?
2) No egregious name-calling or bullying. No personal, ad hominem attacks. If you feel like an argument has escalated past the point of civility, bring it to the attention of Tammy or her assistant (jaeholderman). Bullies will be blocked from posting.
3) No use of any pejorative slurs allowed in any context EXCEPT when you are quoting something or explaining about its usage in culture. Talking ABOUT them is all right, but USING them to talk is not. If someone is using a pejorative slur to address you and does not desist, please bring it to the attention of Tammy or her assistant (jaeholderman). PERPETRATORS WILL BE BLOCKED. Tammy's playground, Tammy's rules.
4) No racist, sexist, cissexist, transmisogynistic, homophobic, ableist nastiness will be allowed. These are some, but not all, of the categories of bigotry that exist in the world. None of them are welcome. Think about your words: are they at the expense of a minority group or a vulnerable community of people? Are you being mean for the sake of it or to make an ill-formed joke? Have some courtesy to those around you; you have no idea who else is reading the comments and can be potentially harmed by your words.
(On this same note: If the author or her assistant said something along these lines, feel free to publicly or privately call us out. It has happened in the past. We are not exceptions to this rule.)
With regard to certain derogatory terms directed at women (addition by Tamora Pierce)
Some of you who know me from other, previous blogs, know that I have a bit of a bug up my butt with regard to words such as b***h, c**t, ho, split-tail, whore, ho-bag, and other foul terms used to denigrate women. I find these words even more appalling when used by women to refer to other women. My feeling is that while women may think they are reclaiming these words when they use them in a joking fashion with one another, the women who are not feminists and any men who overhear will assume that it is okay for them to use them. I am certain that the men in particular will not be using them in a reclaiming way. The use of these terms on this site is a warning offense. After two warnings, it is a banning offense, as are repeated uses of the terms mentioned in the paragraph above. Everyone should feel comfortable here. My playground, my rules.
Back to your regularly scheduled terms and statements:
If someone calls you out: Take a moment to breathe and think about why someone would say that to you before reacting. Most of the time, you’ve used oppressive language or said something that, regardless of intent, is harmful, ignorant, or cruel. Do NOT turn it into a personal attack about people's level of sensitivity or their insistence on "political correctness". We have done this. It is stupid and ends badly for everyone.
In summary, while this is Tammy's House, it should also be a safe space for all of her fans. If you upset that, your ass will be kicked to the curb.
[These guidelines, with very limited changes, were borrowed from Mark Reads' Site Rules (with permission). His page also has links to Social Justice 101 and Derailing for Dummies, which have all the information a person could want about not being an asshole and common forms of assholery as displayed by groups in power.]
But I suppose that's an amorphous way to start, so I'll lead off with something innocuous. What are you reading? (Oh, yes, no just posting a title and author name and that's it. You have to say something about the book and how you feel about it.)
At the moment I'm re-reading Joyce Carol Oates's BIG MOUTH AND UGLY GIRL on my bedside table. It's about a hard-going, arrogant sports girl and a mouthy, fun-loving guy who makes the wrong joke in school, and people turn him in, saying he's going to shoot the place up. Out of the entire school, including his "friends," she's the only one who defends him, because she knows what she heard. Now he wants to be friends--he has no one else--but she's terrified of friendships. I wish JCO would go back to writing for teenagers. I don't like her adult stuff.
For my downstairs book, I was totally and utterly traumatized yesterday by Mira Grant's "The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell." I've read some of Grant's work as Seanan McGuire--SPARROW HILL ROAD and the first VELVETEEN book being my favorites--and I thought this had all the signs of being a very funny book.
When my assistant came into the room to say goodnight I wailed with terror--I hadn't heard her come in. I was getting cramps from clutching my Nook, because I could not put it down, even though I could see things weren't getting any better. By the end I was like a football sock after the end of a game that had gone into overtime: limp, wrung out, and useless. I had never been so frightened by a writer in my life, not even by Stephen King. The kids were all fourth grade and younger, and if they got the slightest scratch and were over a certain weight . . . Okay, I'm getting flashback. If you want the hideous experience, you can read it. I'm going to read the second Velveteen book. (She's a former teen superhero who's now negotiating adulthood with her new, more super, former cohorts.)
I'll never think of first grade the same. Never.