Today is Father’s Day here in the US. That wonderful day the industrial greeting card-making complex ruthlessly lobbied for until President Lyndon Johnson finally caved in 1966, issuing a Presidential proclamation to give the holiday some semblance of legitimacy.
(Later, in 1972, President Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon, another Hallmark toady (he glommed onto them after Gerber dropped him), signed Father’s Day into law. Dark days indeed.)
So, I have done an awful lot of drinking this weekend.
Not necessarily the best sentence to start a post with, but here we are anyway.
(Disclaimer: This blog post reflects the opinions of the author, not of Turtleduck Press as a whole.)
This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article arguing that YA fiction has become too dark. It’s too violent, the author writes. It deals with situations and behaviours that could negatively influence young minds (she gives the example of self-harm, arguing that if a teen reads about it, s/he may want to try it – say what?). It’s too explicit. It uses too much “foul language”. The vampire trend is only another example of this depravity.
The blogosphere and Twitterverse (at #yasaves) exploded with rebuttals as readers and writers of YA weighed in. Today’s teenagers are already facing these issues. Statistics. More. Anecdotally, I know young people who struggle with mood disorders, with whether to come out to their parents, with the extreme pressures placed on them in today’s world. And I don’t know that many young people. Turtleduck Press’s own KD Sarge works in a school, and she sees a lot more than I do. Books aren’t putting ideas in their little heads, but giving them tools to deal with their realities. Books tell them that they are not alone, that #ItGetsBetter. Laurie Halse Anderson says it better.
I agree with these arguments. I believe in the importance of talking/writing/reading about self-harm, rape, abuse, bullying, …
I forgot I was blogging at Turtleduck Press today.
Part of that is the long weekend (Memorial Day here in the U.S.) and the end of the school year. Both together have thrown off my sense of time.
Part of it is how I just can’t seem to keep numbers straight in my head. One month I was absolutely certain I was to blog on the 28th and my fellow Turtleduckers had to hold me back. Nearing our fifth wedding anniversary, I argued the exact date with my husband for an hour, till I went and got our marriage certificate and found that we were both wrong.
The biggest part, though, is that my brain was elsewhere. I’m working on a final before-approvals edit of His Faithful Squire (coming August 1st; I’m so excited!), the sort-of sequel to Knight Errant, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on a luxury cruise ship in deep space far in the future. I’m also working on an excerpt from a book that took place when Taro was twelve, to post as our July free fiction offering. That book was written some fifteen years ago and the excerpt requires a lot of work and some time spent on a planet embroiled in civil war. Also, I’m writing a short story (growing into a novella, sigh) for a group challenge on Goodreads. The story is quite a stretch for me—it’s …
It started with a dream.
A few nights ago, I dreamed I self-published my current novel-in-progress (which is going through its final revision), Pirouette, as a duology.
When I woke up I totally dismissed it, but then I began mulling it over. See, when I began publishing with Turtleduck Press, it was for my poetry only. I was going to write a third chapbook and publish it through TDP. Then I discovered that poetry is a hard sell. Not a lot of people are into it, and while publishing my two chapbooks has been very rewarding, I’m not sure I want to invest more time into writing another poetry chapbook that may essentially disappear into oblivion.
I was laid off from my job a couple of years ago. It … was not a fantastic moment in my life. My wife was pregnant and I was numb and hurt (and angry) by the way the downsizing was handled. But while it felt like the end of the world when it happened, there were some silver linings.
I had the good fortune to attend the Pike’s Peak Writers’ Conference the weekend of April 28th through May 1st.
I’ve never been to one before, but Ian expressed interest in attending one, and as he picked one that happened to be in my home state, I tagged along.
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition (Twitter) which occurred just outside of Toronto.
(Steampunk in a nutshell is a revival of Victorian-era sensibilities, often with a rebellious (“punk”) edge. It manifests itself in fashion, music, and machinery, as well as in fiction.)
Unfortunately, I was only able to go on Sunday, so this is not a comprehensive review. From what I was able to see, the convention was well attended, the programming excellent, the dealers many and varied, the guests well dressed and very friendly.
I’ve always preferred to color outside the lines. No matter how awesome the box, I’m not good at staying inside it. I can’t march to anyone else’s drum. (Can’t really march at all, but anyway.) Perhaps it’s no surprise I’m awful at cramming my writing into a genre.
As a reader, I find genre highly useful. I know what I’m getting when I grab a space opera, a military SF, a cozy mystery, a Big Fat Fantasy. I want some surprises, of course, but I also want to know what I’m getting into. That what I’m picking up is the sort of book I’m going to enjoy.
That’s as a reader. As a writer…I have a serious genre-problem. I can’t help it—I like to cross lines. At the Alamo, I’d have been doomed for certain.
I play a game with myself at work. My bosses play a classic rock station on the radio, and I try to identify as many songs and artists as I can. What’s scary is that I’ve been able to identify almost all of them.
What’s interesting is that they evoke so many memories for me.
For instance, any song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons brings up memories of my childhood at our old house. It’s summer. Dad’s working on one of his cars. Mom’s in the kitchen cooking. My sister and I are in the living room dancing to Dad’s Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tape (yes, this was before CDs and DVDs). I remember vividly “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Sherry.” There are many more.