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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Tew's Day 
4th-Jan-2011 07:26 am
Over my shoulder - Yendi
Administration
Happy birthday to desperance!

State of the 'Song
World of cranky.

Still Don't Want To Talk About It
You may have noticed that I did not do a lot of writing or submit a lot of writing in 2010. Like almost none. Yes, sort of on purpose.

I am going to talk about this a bit elliptically, and I know that that will probably be annoying to some people, but I am not ready to unpack it more than that yet. I will tell you when I am. So please don't ask.

In late 2009, something happened that pushed a lot of my buttons. I won't call it triggery, because I reserve that word for a specific set of circumstances that this wasn't. But it had a lot to do with this: with being on the young side and female and - you guys, I am not being egotistical here, but sexually attractive* - and being a SF/F writer. Because I walked into the pro-writer thing with the same attitude that I'd walked into cons with before I'd ever thought of submitting a story, and that attitude, in part, involves me being a sexual person. Not trampy, mind. But I will not hide the fact that I have tits. And an ass. Well, I kinda can't hide the ass. But I'm not going to wear a suit to cons, I'm going to wear cute dresses and jeans and t-shirts, and I am a friendly person, and yeah, I bounce when I walk.

And everything was fine until it wasn't and I was in this tangled morass of people I'd respected being sexually inappropriate with me and the spectre of assumptions about me.

The creep factor was high.

You may have noticed that I have been doing more panels about rape culture and parenting than I have about writing. This is because people are much less likely to get sexually aggressive with me when I'm talking about rape. For serious! I mean, I like doing those panels, I'm not saying I'd choose not to. But in a way, they're my armor.

I love the stories in my head, but I have not been wanting to be part of the marketing of them, is what I am saying I guess. I have become acutely uncomfortable with this process. And I need to figure out how to unblock, how to be myself, how to not be creeped out.

So there's that. Later today I'll post the short list of stuff that I did get out there that's eligible for awards because marketing agh okay.

Oh MBTA.
If you read my Twitter, you know that my accomplishments yesterday may include getting a bus driver fired. And definitely include getting a notice posted on MBTA.com that the 73 is back to boarding on the lower busway. (It's been boarding on the upper busway since June due to construction.)

Short version: If you are a bus driver, do not call people morons and assholes for following the MBTA's posted signs (ie, not knowing that boarding had moved because the sign directing us to the upper busway was still there). Do not threaten to strand them. Because one of your passengers may be a bitch with a smartphone. Who knows the Twitter handle of the MBTA's general manager. I mean, there are other reasons to not act like that. But every bus, at this point, probably has a bitch with a smartphone. So that should provide extra incentive.

EDIT: They replaced the incorrect sign at Harvard Square with a prominently-placed sign directing 73 passengers to the lower busway. Never let it be said that Twitter is ineffective at this stuff.

Link Soup
* 109 cats in sweaters.
* Murnkay strikes again.
* Authorities often aware of previous incidents of victimization among children and adolescents.
* Welcome to Haiti's reconstruction hell [TRIGGER WARNING].

Daily Science
Greece's culture ministry says archaeologists on the island of Crete have discovered what may be evidence of one of the world's earliest sea voyages by humans.

Plans
I am having a case of "I don't wanna"; with that + the cold + no ride, I probably won't be at Diesel. I did get a chunk of my home office cleaned yesterday, but I should really pounce on it and get the whole thing taken care of. After work.

* EDIT: Unpacking 'sexually attractive': Because argh do I feel freaking awkward even saying it. And I feel like it'll be taken as an ego thing, and it's not. I don't claim to be physically attractive. I am not a pretty girl; that is not what I do. I base "sexually attractive" not on my interior opinion of myself; I base it objectively on actual data. If the number of people who express a keen interest in having sex with you is greater than x you are sexually attractive. Because these people are wanting to have sex with you. Is all. I dunno, clearly I get all turned around in my head about this and I'd much rather not be looked at.
Comments 
4th-Jan-2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Ah I do not know your twitter handle. Mind if I follow?

I wish I had something useful to say about the not wanting to market your work, but I don't.
4th-Jan-2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
It's Shadesong. :) Follow away!
4th-Jan-2011 01:05 pm (UTC) - Haiti
I read it.

It is shit like that article that makes me believe they should just put me in charge or rebuilding countries because I have some very simple solutions.
4th-Jan-2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
And everything was fine until it wasn't and I was in this tangled morass of people I'd respected being sexually inappropriate with me and the spectre of assumptions about me.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I don't do Cons any more. I'm sorry that it hasn't changed in 20+ years.
4th-Jan-2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
To be fair, that's not *every* con - but there are situations that crop up at many.
4th-Jan-2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
That firing of the bus driver? Totally legit. :-) FOR GREAT JUSTICE!
4th-Jan-2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
SRSLY. As I said in my letter, there's no way any of us could have been expected to know about the switch - but even if we could conceivably have known, no one should be treated like that.
4th-Jan-2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Ugh. In a way, I kind of get where you're coming from. There are a lot of pagan men (and some women) who don't understand that not every young female pagan is poly and promiscuous and cuddly with every random pagan person. Direct words plus shielding is what I use. It... helps. Some people are thicker than others.

I know you've spoken of trying both the subtle and direct approaches with these types of folks. Have you tried shielding at cons to put off this type of inappropriate behavior?

In the meantime, I hope you find your full joy again.
4th-Jan-2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
Heart and strength.
4th-Jan-2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
I am sorry you have had to deal with yuck. But at least now I understand a little better why the writing talk has stopped, because I miss it.

I am a little bit angry at the environment and people who have stifled you this way.
4th-Jan-2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
What manner of writing talk would you especially like? I take requests from marvelous jaguars!
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4th-Jan-2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
I've never quite understood why some people think it is OK to act out sexually (especially in ways they would never otherwise do in public or with someone they don't know well) just because the object of their attention is a sexual being or writes or performs in ways that include sexual content. And I'm at a loss for words when attempting to come up with an appropriate insulting moniker - nothing quite matches the smack upside the head that's bobbing through my head at the moment.

People need to get a grip and learn not to leer. It's especially true of the poly community (and how people not of the community view the community). I may be "available," in the sense that my having a boyfriend does not render me unavailable. But I am not a slab of meat to be openly leered upon. We are sentient beings deserving of respect. So keep the leering in check.

Hang in there.
4th-Jan-2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
The actual poly community here (Boston's pretty organized) is pretty good about that; I've only rarely experienced inappropriate stuff from within the community itself. I did position myself right away upon moving to Boston as "poly, friendly, not looking for dates thank you", which helped, and people here are good at taking "no thank you" and not flipping out. (People in Atlanta were really very the opposite.)

The crap mostly comes from outside the community, where poly girl occasionally in a corset apparently scans as indiscriminate slut. And being friendly and not backing away making the sign of the cross apparently scans as "do me now".
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
4th-Jan-2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Because one of your passengers may be a bitch with a smartphone. Who knows the Twitter handle of the MBTA's general manager.

just another reason you inspire me :)
4th-Jan-2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
I am not a pretty girl
I said these exact words recently and had a pile of people argue with me. So... I won't argue with you. But I will say that I disagree with your self-assessment. And I get the distinction you're making in your head.
4th-Jan-2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
I've actually been sitting on a post about desirability/attractiveness for similar reasons. And I feel you on the anger-laser thing. I have been trying to back off the vitriol and misanthropy writing, and found myself backing off on everything else as well.
4th-Jan-2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
I know, right? And that "I know, right?" can be applied to so many things. Nyargh.
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4th-Jan-2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
In an odd twist of serendipity the next post on my fl after yours began with this quote:

"The bullet is already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can’t be helped."

- "Bullet in the Brain", Tobias Wolff

I'm trusting that your comet's tail will eventually be out there in the marble hall of commerce. We, the readers, wish it so.
4th-Jan-2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I'd like to sit with you. But you know what I'm about where you're concerned.
4th-Jan-2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
When I was a bus rider, I was a frequent complainer about one bus driver, until he wasn't there anymore. I was e-mailing my complaints from my phone, except for ocassionally when I called.

And you can't just drop a variable like that in conversation and not come back and define it, at least roughly. What's X? And is there a conversion factor based on which of those people are actually sleeping with you vs those who want to do so?
5th-Jan-2011 12:05 am (UTC)
It's funny, because I find that cons are one of the few places where I can dress the way the bit of my soul that says "you have amazing tits, put them on display so that everyone can envy that boyfriend of yours" wants me to dress. Usually, since I have the neon sign over my head that says "with the big broad guy standing next to her and he doesn't share," I only get flirted with (which the attention slut in me enjoys) and not skeeved out. But I know that my experience at cons (hanging with tech crew which is run by the big broad guy that is my boyfriend and going to the panels I want and knitting at them) is not everyone's experience.

Taking a con virgin to Arisia this year. What are you reading? Will probably stop in.
5th-Jan-2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
Heh, I'm on sound crew myself sometimes.

Being a poly girl who is taller and broader in the shoulder than many of the men, I have "shouldered" my way into a few conversations for the express purpose of deflecting / deflating certain creeps.
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