For much of this year, I've been torn between my writing and my activism. Especially when you have a chronic pain/fatigue thing plus motherhood plus a whole bunch of other things, sometimes you have to choose. And I love writing, but the activism is so necessary I have been torn. Heart in two places, and that - among other things - was keeping me from getting much writing done. It has been a year of flailing.
But then I realized that I don't actually have to choose. Or, rather, that I can choose both.
The sekrit nonfiction project I've been alluding to is a book about rape culture. Specifically, it is about how we can change rape culture.
Yes. We. You too! Because I wholeheartedly believe that we all want to change this culture - it's just that you may not know how. Not everyone has time to volunteer at their local crisis center. And not everyone has access to the sorts of workshops we do at BARCC and that other crisis centers do. Not everyone has access to the public education models and tools that we use.
Imagine what you could do if only you knew how. Imagine having a resource that helps you effect this sort of societal change in your spare time, no matter how scant that may be - having a resource of suggestions of what to do in conversations, online interactions. How to be a good bystander and break the Someone Else's Problem Field without being intrusive. How to recognize warning signs and slippery slopes and talk to people about them.
You don't have to devote your life to this change to help make it happen. Just be visible; just speak up.
So yeah. I'm choosing both. I'm choosing to do my BARCC public education work through my writing. (And as I write this, I'll be writing a fiction project as well - Cicatrix, which will be so damn demanding and require such perfection that I'll never be able to half-ass anything ever again.)
There is an Erma Bombeck quote I like: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me"."
So yeah. That's where I'm at. I'm currently in heavy research and outlining mode. The main goal of the book will be that public education aspect, giving you the necessary tools, but I'll also be talking quite a lot about what rape culture actually is, so I can sort of dissect it and provide specific ways to target specific aspects of it. I'll be interviewing other people in the field, as well as other survivors. I'll be talking about some of the difficult things people tend not to discuss - because if I'm going to do this, I am damn well going to be thorough. And ballsy. Because that's how I roll.
So, y'know. What I do anyway. But in handy dead-tree form so that everyone gets the benefit of it, not just Boston-local groups who get our presentations.
Because we can change the world, y'all.