Living in Texas, I've grown used to the image of the Confederate flag on everything from pickup trucks and beer cozies to dorm rooms, children's lunch boxes and baby jammies and onesies. For years, I've just rolled my eyes, assuming that living in the South meant having to accept the Confederate flag as if it's as innocuous and unavoidable as the roadside Cracker Barrel.
Last week, two things changed my mind about that:
The first was this bluntly cogent statement by my nephew, Jared Sacramento, which he posted on his Facebook page: If you don't IMMEDIATELY recognize why the confederate flag is racist and offensive, then you are completely delusional. "Southern pride"? "Southern heritage"? Why are you proud of your racist ancestors? Why are you proud of the time when America went to war over the right to own and torture people? Why are you proud of the people who kidnapped Africans from their home countries, dragged them here kicking and screaming…
Today we hear from Jerusha Rodgers (aka "The Plot Whisperer") of Rabid Badger Editing in a post prompted by a conversation about agism in publishing, which I see from the perspective of a, um...let's say "experienced" author/book doctor in my 50s and she sees from the perspective of a fresh new face in her mid-20s. Ironically, yes, she had to explain to me about "the struggle is real."
Shortly after graduating, a friend of mine posted the greatest Facebook status ever: “I would love to reenact some the of the fantasies in Fifty Shades of Grey, specifically the one where she gets a full-time job straight out of college.”
With an economy that clings to safety (read: tradition and money) and a workforce and community that strives for advancement (read: cooler, more accessible stuff), applicants whose limited practical experience is backed up by open minds and inherent expertise in the use of technology often get left out of the running. It’s the struggle…
I rarely review YA or New Adult fiction for Joni's List, but this book really entertained me, and I think it's a sure bet if you're trying to get your tween/teenage kids to read this summer.
Howard Pickman has a terrible secret. If anyone finds out, it will mean death for everyone he loves. Even worse, he's the new kid at the most abysmal high school in America. All Howard wants to do is remain anonymous, but being a teenager can be dangerous. He'll have to fight true monsters in order to survive.
A while back I adopted a small policy that triggered big change: "Facebook only while standing." That simple step made me suddenly mindful of the way I'd been unconsciously getting on FB at my desk, in the car, as I lay in bed or sat at the table in a restaurant.
I justify the time I spend on social networks as part of the "platforming" I'm obligated to do as an author and ghostwriter, and I'm more than willing to admit that maybe I'm just not doing it right, but the net gain for me has been very low. It certainly doesn't justify the time it's taken away from reading and writing. Even Mark Coker of Smashwords said this year at LBF that loitering on FB and other social network time-sucks was one of the worst mistakes commonly made by indie and legacy published authors alike. The days when LIKEs converted to book sales have expired. Now we're just nickle and diming ourselves to death.
The only thing I'll really miss is lurking and spy…
Ursula K. Le Guin accepts the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014: "The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words..."
One you may have heard of: Kristin Chenoweth brought me in to collaborate on her hilarious memoir, A Little Bit Wicked, a few years ago, and we've been friends ever since. She's currently blowing the doors off Broadway in On the Twentieth Century and is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. She's also hosting, because...Cheno.
Marianne and I became friends almost 30 years ago when we appeared together in Crimes of the Heart as Babe (MA) and Lenny (me). Marianne started teaching at Grandstreet Theatre School shortly after that. Over the years, she's made GST a safe, welcoming home for thousands of artsy, smart, interesting, misfit, hyper, hipster, creative kids from preschool …
Post a photo of your happy dog or puppy on John Scalzi's Whatever blog before midnight tonight! He's donating a dollar per dog (up to $1000) to Con or Bust,a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.
Oh, this made me miss Manny and Rosie! (And Redbone and Khan.) Over the years, we've been ridiculously blessed in the puppy department.
Last weekend, the Griz and I moved into our new quasi-retirement digs (read Aging Hippie Lakeside Love Grotto), between thunderstorms and flash flood warnings. As water continued to rise just a few hundred yards from our new place, the complex management sent out text messages warning residents to watch for snakes on the property, and in the spirit of encroaching apocalypse, I did something I've never done before: I made my office my first priority.