Sunday, July 29, 2012

Girl shouldn't equal victim. Neither should author

I was raised in small-town West Texas, Baptist church, with traditional gender roles strongly reinforced.  When I look back now, I am mostly ashamed and somewhat astonished as to how blind I was, not only to the injustice of female subjugation, but to the fact the situation existed.  I believed sincerely that if a woman was raped, she must have done something at least partially to be responsible, even if it was "putting herself into the situation."  I also believed a lot worse things that I have since gotten over.

My own experience was unequivocally rape, in that the rapist dove through my bedroom window at three in the morning, but I still blamed myself for not keeping a weapon in the bedroom, for not realizing how vulnerable the apartment was, especially since I'd been previously robbed twice.

It's taken me a long time to realize how wrong I was, and that while "accepting responsibility" made me feel like I could have controlled the situation, (and therefore it was less scary), it was a coping mechanism, and not a healthy one.

The recent incidents at Readercon have brought this into sharp focus, because everything Elizabeth Bear says in her masterly summation is true. And it scares me.

I recently published an electronic monograph on medieval pigments. One of the people who bought my book subscribes to a form of extremist politics I personally find abhorrent. We chatted amiably enough about the book, but I never want to meet him in person, and yet I can't bring myself to remove him from my Facebook, because I feel it would be "unprofessional" as an author.  Another person who I have tried very hard to never, ever have any further contact with, because he squicks me out, is physically intimidating, and is known to have a drinking problem, has contacted me over the book material. And I was polite and hated myself for being polite.

Amazingly enough, one of the aspects of being an author that I never, EVER considered, was the fact that your readers will want to meet you, hang out with you, talk to you. And that I might really be disturbed by this.

I'm not sure yet how to deal with this. But I will deal with it. Because I want to be an author. And because I will not let fear of anything dictate how I live my life.  Back to work.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday Letter for my daughter (on Saturday)

Thursday evening, teething began.  There was no sleep.  There was screaming on the hour every hour until about 5 a.m.  Needless to say, Mommy was toast. You were miserable, and unhappy, and nothing made it better.

Friday morning, you woke up ready to play. I'm not sure how, or why, but you felt rested enough to play with Daddy while Mommy tried to sleep.

Daddy, trying to clean the kitchen and do something nice for Mommy, put you in the hover-tank walker thing, so you could go zooming around the house.  Somehow during this process you stole a fork out of the dishwasher, and came running down the hall to the bedroom to show Mommy that Daddy had failed as a guardian.

The danger of you stabbing yourself in the eye with said fork was enough to resurrect Mommy, who promptly took your fork away, LEAVING YOU IN THE BEDROOM, while she went stomping back to the kitchen to go explain to Daddy that forks were not approved baby toys.

While Mommy was castigating Daddy, you came giggling back into the kitchen, waving a second fork.

I would really, REALLY like to know where you got the second fork.