Martyn's Journal

What I want to share with you

It's not all food and fussing, though it mostly is
For a wonder, I didn't cook at all yesterday, if we bar from counting a slice of toast for breakfast.

Instead Karen and Laurie and Katherine and I all drove up to San Francisco, to Andrew's house on Potrero Hill; then we dropped Karen in the FiDi for a business lunch while Andrew played tour guide to the rest of us, taking us for a tramp around parts of the city that had survived the firequake in '06. Also, he may have taken me to a cutlery store (NB: "cutlery" in the US means kitchen knives and the like: serious sharpware. What we Brits call cutlery is flatware or silverware over here) and we may have bought a boning knife each, because knives.

Then we collected Karen again and drove out to the coast, to see the remains of the Sutro Baths and sit in a window corner of the Cliff House and snack and drink and watch waves and windsurfers and pelicans and such. And at last we had to leave, so we set a placeholder there (because there is more of SF to see, and starting again with breakfast at the Cliff House seems not such a terrible idea to me, or to any of us) and went back to Andrew's. Where we schlepped up and down the stairs with stuff while he loaded his truck for camping; and then it was time to drink wine and eat a lovely baked paella and eventually alas come home.

This morning I went to the library to work, and came home to find m'wife and m'cat napping together in her chair, in an expression of ultimate cute. Alas, I woke her; so I made a shrimp'n'spinach salad where I rather brilliantly fried the shrimp in the orange-and-fennel-flavoured oil that I'd poached the fish in a couple of nights ago, and then squeezed in a lemon to deglaze the pan and poured off what resulted and beat it up with a fork and called it dressing for the salad, om nom.

And now I am trying to fuss my way through a final draft of Being Small, only I'm tired and losing weigh. But I do still love this little book, and it does keep surprising me with passages I don't remember, so here, have a darling of the day. Context is for the weak.

"Come and sit," he had said. He might have lost height and breadth, but he still had all the depth he needed. Not in his eyes, they were flat and shimmered only on the surface; not in his voice, which was reedy and hollowed out, sounding like a tracing of what it must have been, another intractable measurement of loss. Everything he had seemed stubbornly to define what he had been, how far he’d fallen and was falling still.

That should have been a weakness, a statement of defeat, and it was not. I didn’t know where it lay, the sense of strength abiding. I felt it, though, and responded in the simplest way, like a dog to a whistle, blindly trusting. Except that I wasn’t blind and I didn’t trust, excepting only that. The prince of darkness is a gentleman; Lucifer must still have had an angel’s air about him as he fell. He never could disguise or deny what he was made of, the very stuff of heaven. I would tread warily here, and commit myself to nothing.

In Seattle
...will friend more people when back home.

Knuckle crack the bone, 21 to win
This morning, the first of two landscaping/hardscaping dudes came out to check the premises. He took some measurements, we went through some catalogs, and he'll get back to me with some estimates once he's run the numbers. I liked him just fine, and I think he's good at what he does; he was my first pick, after all...though my second pick was such a close second that it was almost a coin flip, anyway. (And we'll see what the other dude thinks about matters on Tuesday.)

Not gonna lie, I'm getting pretty excited about it - despite what's bound to be an exorbitant price tag. It's a lot of work, and a lot of materials, but the results are going to be amazing. I've had visions of patios and paver walkways dancing in my head all day.

Which reminds me, Monday I'll take some photos and shoot an email to the historic zoning people, just to cover all my bases.

* * *

I checked the flower baskets today when I went out to do my watering - whereupon I spotted one wee little nest, a tad bigger than my palm. No eggs yet, and the birds wigged out when they saw me messing with the basket. (No, I didn't water it.) They were apparently watching from the dogwood tree nearby.

I can hear them right now, chirping back and forth to one another on the porch. I trust that means they've forgiven me the small intrusion.

* * *

Here's today's progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents' deaths - now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:

    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 1236 (meh)
    Present total word count: 64,874

    Things accomplished in fiction: Read a sinister newspaper article over breakfast, and received an alarming phone call.

    Next up: Courtroom results and fallout. (I know I said that yesterday, but I really mean it for tomorrow.)

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; replied to an email interview; met with the landscaping dude; cleaned the whole house even mopping the relevant floors; refilled all the bird feeders and watered all the new stuff except for the bird-occupied flower basket; started a load of laundry.

    Other: Cleaning the whole house eats up a fair amount of brain CPU, thus the lower word count today. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 98,267

RAINN on Rape Culture

Will Shetterly wrote a blog post asking if I had addressed “RAINN’s refutation of ‘rape culture’” yet. I’m writing this less to respond to Shetterly and more because I think there’s some good conversation to be had around RAINN’s recommendations. But I should warn folks that by invoking his name and linking to his blog post, I’m basically guaranteeing that Mr. Shetterly will show up in the comments. To Will and anyone else, please remember that trolling, refusing to respect boundaries, and general dickishness will get you booted.

The Rape Abuse Incest  National Network (RAINN) released 16 pages of recommendations to the federal government. In his blog post, Will chooses to quote a TIME Magazine article by Caroline Kitchens about “Rape Culture Hysteria” that references a few select paragraphs from RAINN’s recommendations. Kitchens claims that by blaming rape culture, we “implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence.” She talks about the “thought police of the feminist blogosphere,” and how the concept of rape culture poisons the minds of young women and creates a hostile world for young men.

I’m glad to know Mr. Shetterly is looking for good, objective reporting to validate his crusade against those he dubs “social justice warriors.”

Let’s look at the primary source and talk about what RAINN’s recommendations actually said, shall we?

The paper opens with a discussion of how rape is alarmingly underreported on college campuses. Rape culture is mentioned on page two:

“In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.”

I absolutely agree that it’s important to hold rapists accountable for their choice to rape. I’ve been saying and emphasizing and teaching that for decades. I think it’s absurd to claim an individual has no responsibility for their crime … but it’s equally absurd to claim that crime occurs in a cultural vacuum, or that these two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Most of the time, when I see rapists being excused with little more than a wrist-slapping for “cultural” reasons, it’s judges and police blaming victims, or the old “boys will be boys” attitude that minimizes the severity of the crime and the responsibility of the rapist. Which is exactly what so many conversations about rape culture try to point out.

RAINN says it’s important to remember that the rapist is responsible for the choice to commit rape. I agree. They do not say that the concept of rape culture is invalid, only that it shouldn’t overshadow the need to hold individuals responsible for their crimes.

RAINN recommends a three-tiered approach to reducing rape on college campuses:

  1. Bystander intervention education: empowering community members to act in response to acts of sexual violence.
  2. Risk-reduction messaging: empowering members of the community to take steps to increase their personal safety.
  3. General education to promote understanding of the law, particularly as it relates to the ability to consent.

Bystander intervention includes educating people about what rape is, helping them see beyond rape myths and victim-blaming narratives, sharing the research that explains how the majority of rapes are committed not by strangers, but by people the victim knows, and so on. (Strangely enough, a lot of the points I made in a blog post about rape culture a few years back.)

RAINN acknowledges the difficulty in separating risk-reduction from victim-blaming. Personally, I have very little problem with a risk-reduction approach. I do have a problem when that’s the only approach, which seems to happen all too often. When people focus solely on what women/victims can and must do to reduce rape, then we put the responsibility on them. If your only idea about reducing rape is to tell women what to do differently, you’re the one who doesn’t understand that rapists are responsible for their decision to rape.

I’ve been pushing for education for ages, including education about the laws. And for improvement in those laws, based in part on a better understanding and definition of consent. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a very poor understanding of consent. We encourage things like getting prospective sexual partners drunk, pursuing reluctant or uninterested partners, and the myth that you should just magically know what your partner wants. (It’s almost like we have an entire culture that doesn’t really get how consent works.)

On the legal side of things, RAINN stresses that college advisory boards aren’t in a position to be deciding rape cases. I agree. I worked as part of a student justice program at Michigan State University. Rape cases went to the police. We tended to work with things more on the level of catcalling from the street, trying to intervene with behaviors and attitudes before they escalated to more serious crimes. The goal was early intervention and prevention.

But there’s also a culture (oh look, there’s that word again) of secrecy around sexual assault and abuse, and I certainly understand that many institutions do try to bury rape reports and pretend it’s not a problem for them. Steubenville is a good, well-known example.

The report then goes on to talk about:

  • The need for more education for everyone about rape
  • The need for the legal system to respond more seriously to rape cases
  • The need to provide support services to victims
  • The need for more research

In RAINN’s 16-page report, we find a single mention of “rape culture,” which is part of a paragraph stating that rape culture shouldn’t be used as a way to remove responsibility from the rapist. Sorry, Will. I see no “refutation of rape culture” here, just a call for a balanced approach, one which I generally support and agree with.

I get that Mr. Shetterly is mostly just interested in scoring points against those he deems “social justice warriors.” My advice to him would be that if your knowledge and understanding of rape is such that you believe “saying no usually works” to prevent it, maybe you should try talking listening to rape survivors and learning more about the topic before you try to have this kind of conversation.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


My tweets
Read more...Collapse )

Interesting blog posts about writing – w/e April 18th, 2014

Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Take the Money and Run: Kerry Jacobson, "Book Publicist" (Victoria Strauss)

The Art of Creating Memorable Villains Whatever Your Genre (Lisa Alber)

What FROZEN Teaches Us About Storytelling & Publishing (Stina Lindenblatt)

12 Keys to Connecting with Readers (Rachelle Gardner)

How To Break Up With Your First Draft (Christine J. Schmidt)

I Hate Nice (Mary Kole)

Eight Steps to an Agent, a Publisher, and a Two-Book Deal (Donna Galanti)

A ‘Logic Model’ for Author Success (Sharon Bially)

How to Think Like a Businessperson–Even If You Don’t Want to (Janet Kobobel Grant)

The Ten Worst Pieces of Writing Advice You Will Ever Hear (and Probably Already Have) (Susan DeFreitas)

The Complete Guide to Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests (Jane Friedman)

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2013, and last week’s list.

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time).  Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

My tweets

We're back, baby!
I think I friended everyone who commented on my previous post. It's all very 2002, isn't it? Still the best way to get lots of comments on LJ is to bring up the subject of LJ friends. If I've forgotten you, feel free to remind me again.

Meanwhile, over at the Australian podcast The Writer and the Critic, there is an extensive discussion of Love is the Law, about which I would have much to say if I were the sort of person who responded to reviews of my own work. Interesting stuff, check it out.

Finally, as mentioned previously, I am flying to Norwescon today. I've not checked the time, but I may be back at the airport when the Hugo nominations are announced on Sunday. (Yes, a press announcement on Easter Sunday. Go Team Fandom!) So I'll say something about it now: remember, that whatever you choose to do, you give tacit permission for anyone else, and indeed, everyone else in the world to do.

LiveJournal not affected by Heartbleed
theljstaff wrote in news

Dear users,

As you might have heard, a major vulnerability in SSL (the secure channel used for HTTPS) has been detected recently. As many as two thirds of internet sites were affected, including social networks and major web sites.

We are happy to confirm that LiveJournal is not vulnerable and has not been affected at all.

Meanwhile, in the past 12 months we have been working hard to deploy many security features to protect user data.

Nevertheless, even though LiveJournal was not affected by the Heartbleed bug, changing your password is still a good idea, especially if you use similar passwords on other sites whose data may have been compromised. If you haven't changed your password in the last year, we recommend that you do so now.

that heart-breaking moment in Winter Soldier

I’m seeing a lot of mention going around about that heartbreaking moment in Winter Soldier, and everybody I’ve seen commenting on it says they thought they were the only one who was crushed when it turned out to be what it was instead of what it looked like.

I want everybody to know that it wasn’t just you. It was all of us. It was certainly all of us women, anyway; I’m not sure I’ve seen any guys commenting on it. But every single woman I know seems to have been seized with an inutterable and terrible joy in that moment, a full-spirited OH MY GOD *YES*! that turned into “…oh. Oh. Oh. Well, that’s okay too, but…”

So, yeah. It wasn’t just you. It was all of us. And boy, does that say a lot about our culture, our expectations, and our hopes.

(The actual scene is named/described/whatever behind the cut, but I’d kind of like to see how many people know what I’m talking about just from what I’ve said before the cut. :))

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

You are viewing martyn44