No One Would Buy This

| Saturday, March 26, 2011 | 0 comments |
As everyone probably already knows, yesterday was the 100-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the disaster that killed 146 people and made other people really pay attention to horrendous working conditions and workers' rights in general.

I'm ashamed to say that it's only this past week that I learned anything substantial about the fire and the events surrounding it; all I remembered (prior to reading) was a paragraph in a high school history textbook with a picture of a burned-out building and one 90-minute class that went like this:

There was this thing called the Gilded Age, or something-->Then there was this fire thing-->Labor rights and, uh, stuff-->AWMYGODTHEGREATDEPRESSIONWOE!

(You didn't think the IB program actually did anything, did you?)

I can't quote from Amanda at Pandagon and Nancy Goldstein at the Prospect because I'd have to quote both of them in their entirety, so I just want to mention something that really struck me: we are in a New Gilded Age. I've seen all of the graphs out in the past few weeks that very clearly illustrate the massive wealth gap between a handful of billionaires and everyone else, and a not-small number of said billionaires are working like hell to squeeze more money out of their employees by hacking away at their most basic rights. It's eerie.

The situation in Wisconsin made me (finally) learn about collective bargaining rights and unions in general, and even though I'm reasonably sure that I've got the basics down, I still don't get Scott Walker and his counterparts' logic. There are many factors that I'm certainly overlooking, but from what I've read so far, what I can glean is this:

Scott Walker et. al.'s MASTER PLAN!!1!

1. Severely weaken/eliminate collective bargaining rights
2. Deal a heavy blow to the unions that support our own voting base
3. ???
4. Profit!

Unless a gigantic earth-shattering political upheaval the likes of which the world has never seen is happening in the time it's taking me to write this, ultraconservatives and Tea Partiers tend to aim for the votes of hard-working people in blue collar professions, who are probably already benefitting from their union's actions. These guys are trying to take away the rights of the people whose votes they want.

So... you screw people over, and then expect them to vote for you?


Here's a hypothetical situation I've been pondering: Take Scott Walker & Co., change some surface details, and put them in a novel.

No one would buy that.

Any reader/writer determined to be completely honest with you would give you a kindly-but-condescending "not realistic", "cartoonish", and "no one would ever act like that", and direct you to the Evil Overlord List. Your characters would be designated Villains-Who-are-Motivated-by-a-Desire-to-Do-Evil, an archetype that fell out of favor after the silent film era (George Lucas apparently didn't get the memo).

I suppose my only option is to continue reading in the hope that someday, somehow, I'll be able to make sense of their thought processes.

Something tells me I won't.

Allons-y!, or I Don't Use This Many Parentheses in Actual Writing

| Sunday, March 20, 2011 | 0 comments |
I think I should begin by saying that I've never blogged before, and I'm still not sure how it's going to work out, because of my difficulty with writing as myself.

To elaborate: I'm a YA novelist, three months into contract with the Best Agent in the Known Universe, with a book that will be coming out in the next eighteen-months-to-two-years. (It's a slow business, but hey-- lots of time to finish the trilogy!) I'm considered pretty young (but not a teenager anymore, thank god) in the industry, and whether that could be a selling point is still under debate. So, three weeks after sending off my most recent revised version of the novel that I began in high school but after a million or so drafts finally evolved into its final form early this year (like a Pokemon!) I thought I'd try my hand at this blogging thing, because I have a lot on my mind about lots of things, and, despite the work of sequel-plotting and the boredom of college crap, I actually have time now. Awesome.


I'm going to remain as anonymous as possible, because I want to be able to give honest book reviews and opinions in general without jeopardizing my still-nascent career or alienating any prospective readers. There will be some who will view this as absolute groveling cowardice, but --and I'm being completely honest now! See how it works?-- I don't care, because I've worked damn hard and for a damned long time to get where I am now, and I'm not going to risk screwing it up. So, all revealed information about me and The Book is and will forever be:

Me: I write, read, and spend sixteen hours a week fencing, i.e. figuring out various ways to poke someone else with an electrified metal stick.

The Book: it's a YA creepy fantasy and not about vampires/werewolves/angels/blagh. Or high school. High school's boring.

But back to my initial point: the reason I have a problem writing nonfiction bloggy-type stuff in my own voice is that in fiction I write almost exclusively in the first person, partly because I'm completely useless at third and don't like it much anyway, but mostly because the first person feels much more natural to me, and it's a fun little challenge to figure out how to give an individual first-person voice to each individual character.

But I've never actually written as me.

(I've tried before, but that was only because the therapist in the psychiatric hospital I spent some time in last year "strongly encouraged" it, and I humored her and wrote some crap because I wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as possible.)

But writing with my voice has always felt bizarre to me, almost as if I'm not certain what or how that voice actually is. I hope that blogging (and also raging about things that usually involve ultra right-wing assholes and the toxic culture at large) will help me figure it out.

That, and I've always read feminist blogs with a wistful I wanna do that...

So, here it is: The Blog! Stay tuned for Feminist Musings! Veganism! Writing! Mental Health Issues! Book/Movie Reviews! Badass Fencing Miscellanea! 'N Stuff!

And, when The Book comes out, we'll see whether I can keep on going, or be forced to wink out of blogosphere existence.

I hope it's the former, because I want this to be a freakin' awesome blog, yo.