Ch-ch-ch-changes

Still don’t know what I was waiting for…

Oh, Bowie.

Lovely friends and readers, an announcement: She Who Sleeps as you know it now is coming to an end.

Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I promise.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I want to come at the blogging thing a different way and this site and WordPress in general don’t really lend themselves to that. This has always been a personal blog, so it’s a place to write about personal things and musings. But, the thing is, this is starting to feel repetitive and not very interesting. And if I feel that way, most of you almost certainly do.

The other piece is that WordPress just…isn’t where it’s at anymore.It’s still great for websites, but not for blogs. We’re all just a lot less visible here now.  And as with Livejournal before it, it’s time for me to move on.

So we’re going to try something different.

Actually a couple different things.

First and foremost, my goal is to finally get off my ass and make myself  a goddamn author/editor website. So writing updates and announcements will go there. I will post the URL here when there’s something to see.

Secondly, I’ll still be blogging, just with less frequency and over at Medium. It’ll be more of a short-essay style rather than a personal blog and on more of a weekly or biweekly basis. I..e, I’m not going to be trying to write anything when I don’t feel like I have something to say. And it’ll give me more time to polish what I do put out there.

I may also do something really radical, like occasionally use my Tumblr as a blog. (She said, and laughed.)

But, for a while at least, I will keep track of everything I do here. So Medium posts will be linked, project updates will happen on occasion, etc. In other words, I’m not lighting a match and throwing it behind me. I’m just trying to get myself out of the funk of doing the same shit for too long.

If you want to keep up with my day-to-day adventures, Twitter is always the best bet.

And sincerely: thank you all for following along over the years. I truly appreciate it.

Lotsa love,

Julia

 

Cheerful Tuesday Post Time

Ahaha. Yeah, right. We all wish, huh?

I mean, we can take our pick of pure shittiness, can’t we? Another, another state-sanctioned murder of an unarmed black man. On the heels of a state-sanctioned murder of a black child. The possible future proxy of our nation’s highest office comparing displaced and suffering human beings to poisoned candy. And the dissolution of one of our nation’s most popular power couple.

Yeah, one of those things clearly doesn’t belong here.

And yet, today, thoroughly mixed in with the intermittent mention of actual news is extensive coverage of yes, the fact that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced.

Now, if that’s what you personally want to focus on today, I can’t really stop you. I’m confused by you, but I can’t stop you. But surely even the most dedicated fan of #Brangelina must find it slightly strange that they’re getting the same news coverage from CNN and The Washington Post as they are from E! News and TMZ.

What the fuck. Just…what the fuck.

Is it any wonder that we’re on the brink of maybe electing a deranged sentient troll doll to run our country?

Disclaimer: there are good journalists who cover important stories. I’m routinely impressed by many of our local and regional journalists. But on a national level? Clicks trump the truth. Revenue trumps integrity. And yes, I’m using that word for a reason. I don’t feel like being subtle right now.

Mind you, many of these of the same people bleat about first amendment rights when protesters don’t want them around. Freedom of the press.

But how can the press be free when it’s already been bought and paid for?* When “journalistic objectivity” has somehow come to mean weighing the opinions of climate change deniers and virtually all our scientists as equal? When the ravings of a bloated orange megalomaniac are given the same shrift as the slightly misguided but actually completely normal cybersecurity practices of a veteran public servant? When comedians** are doing an immeasurably job of representing this insanity than the people whose job it is to actually represent this insanity?

It’s true, a lot of institutions are failing us right now, from those apathetic fucks in congress to our embarrassingly underfunded education system. But looking back, if things go as badly as they can, I think we’ll see all the ways in which the media failed us especially hard.

Of course, nothing happens if we don’t demand change. So here’s a thought: don’t click. Don’t give views to bullshit journalism. And if you have an independent news source that you trust and want to reward? Toss some dollars their way. And as always, vote. Because if we want to dismantle the corporations who not only own our media outlets but also most of everything else, we have to vote for the people they don’t want. Top to bottom of the ballot.

Just a thought.

*An example: CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting System, which is owned by Time Warner, which also owns HBO and Warner Brothers and is somehow still smaller than Disney, which is how terrifyingly big Disney is.

**In related news, I really miss The Nightly Show.

Family

(The first from the backlog of posts I meant to write in August.)

Several weeks back, my parents hosted what has become an annual event the past three years: the crab feast.

(Often mistakenly called crab fest by guests–but crab fest in Maryland is a whole other thing.)

They do this instead of hosting a Christmas party or a barbecue. It’s about what it sounds like: steamed Maryland blue crabs, beer, and a metric ton of potluck dishes. And about fifty/sixty of our nearest and dearest.

Aunts, uncles, cousins. Neighbors. Childhood friends. High school friends. College friends. Former coworkers. Members of my sister’s now-disbanded Rocky Horror shadow cast troupe. Everyone’s significant others. Family of friends. This year, dogs. 

It rained this year, not so much that it spoiled things but it did mean everyone spent a lot more time inside. It was the best kind of chaos.

You would think, maybe, that that many different people wouldn’t get along or least would fail to socialize and intermingle. No so. Pretty much everyone talked to everyone. And it wasn’t always small talk. Politics. Science. Religion.

And as far as I can tell, everyone had a good time.

I’ve written before that I think limiting the idea of family to people related to you by blood and marriage is pretty archaic. Families are jumbled, constructed things. They are what we make them, especially as we get older. 

Crab feast is our family reunion. Sure, not everyone makes it and sometimes that’s the only opportunity you get to see certain people in a given year. But then, that’s how reunions work. That’s how families work.

I have to give credit for a lot of this to my parents. Anyone you bring around, they welcome. Anyone you bring around enough, they adopt. The family keeps getting bigger. And it’s multigenerational and multiracial and queer and straight and genderqueer and interfaith and areligious and multipartisan. 

And crazily, it still works.

(The crabs help, too.)

Workshop: Final Thoughts

We had our last day of workshop on Sunday. I have to say: it blew by. I can’t believe we’re done. On the other side of it, though: it was a pretty excellent experience.

Not that I didn’t begin with any reservations. In fact, I had a moderate case of buyer’s remorse that first week. It had been 4+ years since I’d been in a workshop. I wasn’t sure about my ability to pull off science fiction. And it was a new format: everything conducted via the writing website, Wet.Ink, and over video chat.

(We did have our fair share of technical difficulties, by the way, but it worked out.)

With a year’s worth of teaching composition under my belt, I think I had forgotten a bit what it’s like to talk about writing with people who all actually want to be writing. Which is to say: awesome. The enthusiasm and advice of my teacher and classmates was great. It was a much gentler approach than MFA workshop, largely due to the quick pace (we were turning in first drafts except for the final portfolio). But I didn’t mind that; I don’t think MFA needs to be as harsh it is sometimes. And I include some of my own past critiques in that.

But obviously a major point of this particular exercise was to get back to writing fiction and I am so happy to say it worked. I got three complete stories and three WIPs out of just six weeks of writing. I revised two for portfolio. And I’m in the process of sending stuff out for the first time in a while.

I will say: I forgot how jittery submissions make me. As I think I’ve said in the past–the key is to have other projects to work on and to have a solid handful of pieces out at a time. That way you can’t obsess about one market’s response so much. I’m not to the handful of pieces point, but I do have other projects.

Because that’s the other positive effect of this experience. I feel motivated. Energetic. I want to finish the stories I started this summer; I also want to start working on the enormous backlog  I’ve built up over the last couple years of relative stagnation. I’m still trying to avoid the submissions deadline-driven approach, although you can’t really avoid thinking about them altogether. I do think I can find ways to cultivate and maintain space, which will help.

Lastly, it’s always unspeakably nice to make new writer friends. I’m hoping we can find ways to keep our little group in touch. Writing’s a lonely enough endeavor on its own. We should add people to our support systems whenever we can. (And return that support!)

tl;dr: Loved my workshop, excited to be writing again, will probably never love sending out submissions, and people can be pretty cool.

Misjudgments and returns

And we’re back!

Not a planned hiatus by any stretch, but August was kind of a dreadful month. Very good on some days, but mostly a dull blur.

They can’t all be winners, I suppose.

It’s pretty much my own fault, too. You know when your brain and body are sending you signals that you need a rest? That you should take it easy?

Usually a good idea to listen to those signals. Self-care, self-care, self-care, right?

Except I didn’t. Some of that was circumstantial, but it was also me. I thought it wasn’t a big deal.

A lot of it was just not getting enough sleep and being kind of wound up in the weeks previous, which is hard on the immune system, and then not giving myself any time to rebound. And that is how you end up with a virus. Sometimes you end up with two viruses. (Well, one was a relapse, but I’m counting it.)

And then you can’t do much except sleep and drink a ton of tea and wait to get well again.

(I did watch the Olympics. More on that soon.)

That’s what I’ve been doing the last few weeks. Not having the energy to do much of anything, which is depressing on top of everything else. So I’ve been sad. And grumpy. Because honestly, who likes being sick?

I mean, I missed two baseball games. And a play. A play, you guys. And baseball.

On top of that, lately there have been some challenging personal life type things that don’t belong in blogs. Suffice it to say, I’ve been in kind of a weird place and I’m only just now leaving.

In some respects, September is about getting back to it. But it’s also about doing things a little differently. Taking better care. Making better choices. And focusing on what I need.

And getting out of my damn house. Tomorrow I’m going somewhere and doing something for the first time in about three weeks. Thank zombie!Jesus.

But yeah, blogging will happen again, not every day but a few times a week at least. Other projects will also resume and I’ll talk about them in due course. This is mostly just say, yup, we’re back.

What have you all been up to?

Achievement Unlocked

31 blogs in 31 days. And only a few of them were skimpy. I admit to being pleased with myself.

I did not achieve as much consistency with some of my other projects but that is why we keep on keeping on. And what I did manage every day is encouraging. This coming month, I am excited to have more time to devote to independent projects with my essay done and class about to be over. 

I wish it were cooler so that I spend more time outdoors, which is always a goal. After this past week, I need to work back to healthier sleep habits, too. Funny how staying up until 3am reading Rousseau messes with your brain.

But yeah, I’m envisioning an August that builds well on my progress.

More yoga, more writing. More reading.  As always. Less thinking about politics. More activism hopefully. More time with friends.

(Although I’m still not quite in the mood to drive.)

Less blogging, I think. I’m proud of my 31 posts, but I’m capable of higher quality when posting less often. So we’ll probably go back to something like three blogs per week. Maybe more long form stuff, too. That’ll be nicer for you all, too, I imagine.

On that note: thanks for reading this month!

July Round-Up

I’m going to reflect on how the month went tomorrow, but for today, have a list of all 29 (to be 30) posts in July: