The Enemscywin Hydra (aka Killing What Vexes Me)

Doom_Tiewaz_and_the_Hydra_1

So, when I get annoyed with something long enough, I tend to personify it in my writing and then do something to it. Usually kill it with morbid glee. As I finally got started on a sequel to Doom and the Warrior, after many years of writer’s block due to the loss of my husband, I was inspired by the annoyance of my work network and the operating system of my work computer. Those who recognize that network and operating system in this critters name will understand.

Alas, the scene that was very cathartic to write will not appear for…a while. I’ve several other books completed and in line to be published over a couple of years. Which is good, because it is still hard to write fantasy since my husband died so I need the buffer time to get this done right.

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Quit yer bitchin’ about Amazon’s taxes

You know, I have been thinking about the whole “OMG Amazon is paying zero taxes!!!11!!” in the news. How many other massive corporations pulling in billions of dollars (or whatever currency in their countries of operation is) are paying zero or next to nothing in taxes because the tax codes LET them do it?
 
Because come on. If you could, you would be doing everything you legally could to pay as little tax as possible, too…so it means that all these massively profitable corporations (and/or their shareholders or other assorted rich tax skippers) are legally getting out of their social obligations to participate in society and pay their shares.
And this is what we let our legislators put in place with the dream that one day, we, too, could pay zero taxes and have millions to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck.
 
Except most of us will never, ever get even as close as McDuck’s kiddie pool vault. But we imagine we just might. I remember my dad once saying “Well, the more I am paying in taxes, it means the more money I am making.”
Now he talks like everyone else like taxes are the evil scourge because that is how they convinced us to cheer when the mega-rich (people and corporations, since corporations are people, too) pay less and cannot connect how we are paying more. One way or another.
I mean, if I become the next Stephen King of J. K. Rowling of the book world, yes, I will likely take every advantage of minimizing my taxes. But I also intend to do what I can to put people to work by hiring them. By paying artists for their works. And yes, some charities will benefit, too. But actually investing in people where I can, because that will have more impact on the economy than charity.
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Writer’s Platform and the Introvert

I grew up in a time before social media. I know, mind boggling, right? But anyway, when I was a kid, I was bullied. A lot. So sharing anything was a risk for painfully mocking ridicule, thus I have no inclination.

Also, I now have a firm belief I am not terribly interesting.

Nor do I want to ‘fake it until I make it’ because I despise lying. Oh, I’ve learned how to lie, but I’d rather be lazy and not.

Nor do I feel like any sort of ‘writing authority’ to start offering how-to lessons to people about writing when I’m a pantser and describing my process and story intentions is probably like listening to my grandson wax poetic with a story and I’m just nodding like the clueless guy listening to his chirpy girlfriend. “Uh huh. Wow. Oh, really? Neat.” No idea, but he’s excited and I adore his imagination I can’t follow without his parents explaining.

So, I understand that people want to get to know authors or other creators/performers/etc and neither you nor I want to see a constant barrage of BUY MY SHIT! Because holy hell, that’s obnoxious, isn’t it? The occasional one doesn’t bother me, but there are some people in my assorted feeds that I might have been interested in but no longer am because it aggravates me.

But…I don’t know how to be honest and interesting. What would anyone want to see from me? Sorry, not taking pictures of my meals. Nor do I wish to be political. And anything that would be the ‘fascinating tidbits about <pick a world>’ I don’t know I could keep up with even weekly for content aside of the fact I am doing three full time jobs (maintaining home, IT-to-non-IT translator, and author.) I’m kinda drowning and this whole concept is like tapping a snail. Just draw right back into my shell and pull the door shut, praying to be ignored again.

Suggestions welcomed.

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The Muse’s Breather (Finally)

tired squirrel

So, in other obsessive writer news, the third book in the Ravenhawk world is done, the second book is with the publisher just so it’s in their hands (I work in tech, my paranoia is justified) and book one is still scheduled for sometime this year.

The muse is finally dialing back the GOTTA WRITE urges which are fun, but not so much when you have other nonsense to contend with, like an oil furnace dying as 2018 gasped its last (after two repair calls had not fixed the issue) and a project at work that is the reason why my hair is so short (harder to pull it out in frustration) and an economy that makes it really difficult for part of my family to be able to get on their feet. My son and daughter love each other, but they do best when they occupy separate buildings.

And honestly, really not sure how to balance hoping that Ravenhawk is the book that might just let me consider flipping the bird to the current job, (or at least give me the feeling that I am not trapped there due to finances. Wouldn’t that just be a novel effing concept?) and trying to be realistic about the whole thing. Granted, realistically, there is always the chance (risk?) that this is the story that makes me a quote-quote real author. You know, the kind that being an author is their main job? (There are always the downsides to success in an entertainment/media arena. That’s why I add ‘risk’ to the thing.)

“Being realistic” for me has always been self-denigrating. I am not that good. No one will like it. People only want vapid stories like Twilight or its perverted fanfic success, Fifty Shades. It has been believing that I will be the next breakout success and being smacked with the ‘reality’ that no one (okay, okay, a real small number of people) knows or cares I exist, thus reality is that, etched in granite. Like a tombstone. “Here lies Lexy’s hopes and dreams. They never had the chance to live.”

So, since ‘middle ground’ is not a place I frequently occupy, I simply ignore the future and focused on the next story, or editing the previous or most recent. But this time, the muse isn’t having it. She is exhausted after kicking out three full novels and about 4 accompanying short stories since April 2018, along with a full time job with a hellish commute, and dealing with all the joys of home ownership while staring down the half-century birthday trudging up the road.

What does this mean? Oh, that probably within the next two to three weeks, she will wake up with “I HAZ IDEAZ!” I should probably figure out a napping muse hobby until then.

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Progress! Closing in on 53k words

 

Book 3 for the Ravenhawk world is progressing nicely. As a pantser, or the more PC term, ‘discovery writer,’ I can’t plan a story to save my life. I have tried. I frequently fall into the trap of ‘the right way’ to write. This used to require my late husband to prod me out of the resulting funk. (Sometimes the prod was a proverbial boot to the ass because gods, I can be a stubborn bitch.)

It took me near three years to incorporate his prodding into my own psyche. Not that it is bad, mind you, but I do not think it is optimal. It required changing writing genres (man, I miss my fantasy) and a channeling a whole lot of anger and frustration into my murder-kitten Ravenhawk. (No, she isn’t a murderer. Exactly. But she gets to do what an aversion to prison fashion and nagging (excessively concerned) adult children keep me from doing.)

So. Why am I on book 3 when book 1 is incubating and will only hatch in 2019? Because inevitably, I will encounter a revelation in a subsequent story that must be addressed/corrected in the previous one. I am confident book 2 is now solid at this point for book 3. And then there will be book 4, which will likely solidify book 3. Overlap writing. It’s how I roll.

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Coming in 2019…

A book! But not just any book. My book! To be a tad more specific…

Ravenhawk

…will be arriving in all her tetchy techy glory sometime in 2019. More details when I have them. 🙂

 

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What is identity?

First, to preface this thought piece, yes, I am a heterosexual white. I am also something that American White Supremacists hate: a woman and a pagan. I do not hate other races because I am perfectly secure in my skin color and am not threatened by any other shades of flesh. I am secure in my gender and sexuality and am not threatened by any other genders and the only sexuality I am offended by is the one that does not take ‘No’ for an answer. I am content with my faith and not threatened by anyone else’s but those that show such intolerance they feel justified in doing harm to others simply because of it.

The rise of hate, the normalization of violence towards the ‘different’ and ‘others’ makes me sick. You can feel or think or believe whatever you want, no matter how abhorrent it is. But there is no place for taking action on it where it brings actual harm to others, or facilitates actual harm to others. This is why I disagree with someone like a bakery that doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Being offended does not hurt you, but it does harm the couple who has to hunt for someone else to provide what they seek. But I agree with services like hotels or transportation services or financial services from denying known violent (and likely terrorist) groups their facilities and services, because it would be aiding and propagating the violence on others.

I served this country in the Army because I believed that it wasn’t right that only men could potentially be forced into military service. I didn’t whine about it, though. It didn’t seem like writing my congressman would be more than a waste of paper, ink and postage (because the internet and email wasn’t the ubiquitous thing it is now.) I chose to step up and serve. And my oath, to me, was to every member of this country. I do not say ‘except for White Supremacists’ because there is no exception to make. White Supremacists have chosen to exclude themselves because they are no longer Americans in my eyes. They are vile traitors who seek to take this country for themselves and turn it into the horror they envision.

But. I started thinking about ‘white identity’ after reading a meme that explained why there could be ‘black pride’ but not ‘white pride.’ And I agree that most black people cannot trace their heritage because of our stupid ancestors’ need to own people. They have every right to be proud of their color because that is exactly all the identity we had left them. While we utterly destroyed most Native American society, most still have their tribal identities. (Side note, really wish we could start doing better by them. They are beautiful, fascinating people.) Most Asians that were brought over here held their historical ancestry.

And yes. Most white people can trace their lineage back to their immigrant ancestors. But here is the thing. If the DNA analyzing sorts expand their databases to be able to give black people the ability to discover exactly where they came from…would it really mean anything to them?

I mean, sure. They could finally say where their ancestors originally came from. I’ve had my DNA tested and it’s cool knowing the mix of starting points I came from. Even found out that I’ve got a good percentage of Neanderthal in me.

But here’s the thing though.

I do not feel anything for most of my heritage. Most of it are only places on a map. The cultures are not mine because I have never lived it, celebrated it, nothing. Ironically, the one that I loved learning about the most — Irish — I apparently have the least genetic traces of it. I am mostly German and *vague handwave* Eastern European. (There a lot of different pockets of identity to that. Much smaller than *vague handwave* African continent, but still vague. Vagueness kinda sucks.)

So, let’s go closer to home. I was born in Pennsylvania in “Pennsylvania Dutch Country.” The PA Dutch are also known as “PA Germans.” These are people who were early settlers of this area from Germany and didn’t wander much farther. You know who are PA Dutch now? Amish. You know what I am not? That’s right. Amish. I wouldn’t even want to be it because frankly, I love technology. Sure, we have some things like foods, hex signs, and a few words or phrases that linger, but pretty much the not-Amish PA Dutch aren’t terribly different from others.

Born in Pennsylvania. What does that mean? There are different regional identities within my state. There are the coal mining regions. The steel factory regions. The urban. The rural. Eastern. Central. Western. South Central. The things that make them unique are more nuanced, thus harder to claim as an identity or show pride. Which just reflects the difficulty in trying to show pride as an American because every region is different and if you move from somewhere else to join it, I’m pretty sure that most do not claim to be that identity because they were not born and raised as it. If I moved to Ireland or Germany or *hand wave* Eastern Europe, I am pretty sure even if I got citizenship there, I would not feel like and Irishman, or German, or *hand wave* Eastern European.

So, back to the question. What is identity?

Identity is connection. It is community. It is feeling a part of something. I suspect that if we really dug down, most of these people who fall into the White Supremacist groups do not feel like they belong anywhere. Not even with their families. Black Americans, as terrible as it is, have one unifying aspect they all share: their ancestors were slaves and they can look at other black people and know they share that heritage.

White Americans…don’t have that sense of community because of shared history. We can only tell it by things. Geeks can pick each other out pretty easily. We have conventions to gather at, even. Sports people can find each other if they’re wearing their team’s logo, or go to the games, but not everyone can get to their team’s games even locally, and then there is simply watching sports; you can’t share the event if you and your friends have different work schedules that precludes that moment.

My grandmother was Ukrainian. My grandfather was Slovak. They were first generation immigrants. In their effort to assimilate into this country, they stopped speaking the language when my mother was a very young child. They didn’t do anything to hold that identity. My mother had a few words and phrases they used, but otherwise, she is not Ukrainian. I know that my grandmother was from there, but I do not even  have those few words or anything. I do not identify as Ukrainian, I only had them as ancestors.

I am not excusing the violence and hatred of the White Supremacist movement or their ideology. But I am saying that maybe the reason it exists at all is because we Americans are losing our sense of identity. Our sense of community. Some of us find communities elsewhere that are not harmful. Some get lost in addictions to drugs or alcohol or other unhealthy things. And some fall into hate and misguided belief systems.

We can’t ostracize people completely. This would be akin to backing something into a corner. If you give no way out, they aren’t going to change and they are going to fight back. Especially because we are Americans and it is in our national heritage to never give up, never surrender. But we need to make it okay to be able to change or Charlottesville will not be the pinnacle of the hate and conflict in this country, it will be a point in continuing escalation.

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