So Much More Than Pockets

SONY DSCThey tell you to open up like you’re a vintage purse with a sweet little clasp and all it would take is a flick of the fingers to unfasten you, a little tug to open you wide and see all the way to the bottom, lined in pale pink silk, precious and commonplace all at once. They don’t know how many pockets and compartments you really have. They don’t want to see the spare bits of paper, the dried up candy covered in dust and ink, the broken paperclip that jabs at any fingers that stray too deep.

I traded that delicate purse string for a backpack, thick straps of reinforced nylon that promised to carry my baggage without bowing my shoulders. It didn’t work. It all drags you down eventually. And when they tell you to open up and let it out? They have no idea how much you’ve managed to horde over the years. They can’t possibly expect that volume of context spilling out. And what they never realize is that that’s not all of it. There are suitcases full in your darkest closets that even you are afraid to unpack. The skeletons of your dead dreams and expectations for a normal life zipped up inside like thirty years of Halloween spent nursing that one pack of off-brand Twizzlers by the light of a single orange light bulb when, the whole time, you had a haunted house at your disposal.

They don’t really want you to “open up”. They want you to be normal. They want easily identified anxieties that they can discover and cure so they can feel better about themselves. Because it’s not about you. It never was. Maybe if it had been, you’d be carrying a clutch. Just a little beaded bag of mild self-doubt you could take with you for convenience, unpack it for attention, and close it back up whenever the weather was fair. Maybe if it was ever about you, you wouldn’t need anything more than pockets. You’d only ever have to carry your keys. You’d only ever need to step into and out of your own life with the power to let anyone in or lock anyone out.

And you’d only ever let those in who didn’t demand that you… open up.

No Truck With Trolls

troll-online-web-content-twitter-facebook-internet-180x180I think I had my first troll experience on Twitter this past week and I don’t think he was very good at it. Not unless he hacked my phone and released all my private pics without my knowledge (boy, will those viewers be pleased with the 20 pictures I have of things I want to buy for my new house but won’t remember unless I take a picture). I mean, he basically just gave up and blocked me.

Sir, how do you intend to live up to the standard of modern day trolls without at least threatening to defile my dead grandmother?! Honestly, people are so lazy these days.

It was a writer hashtag game tweet that goaded him to respond. The prompt was “parents” in honor of Father’s Day.

It’s from my forever-be-editing WIP which is about a woman who counsels the spirits of the dead to let go of whatever earthly beef they’re holding onto and just like, pass into the beyond already!

Here’s an excerpt from whence the tweeted line came:

“What can I control? I am a specter. I am incorporeal. What more than making the lights blink can I possibly do to rectify this situation with … with my granddaughter and her peers and the generations to come after her who will deal with the same ignorances and prejudices and…” Frustrated, it began to pulse again, its particles straining to hold together until it closed its eyes and sighed. “Nothing. I can control nothing.”

“You can control you,” Catori said simply, quietly, profoundly.

It was a gesture like sitting but instead of lowering itself down onto a surface, Mrs. Wallace’s legs faded and her form descended so that its became level with Catori’s. It had the effect of the woman sitting down across from her without any of the gravity that would have gone with it.

“What if it’s not enough?”

“Then you need to put more faith in the generations of women who come after you,” Catori smiled. “A strong, independent, bold, courageous little girl doesn’t let the world stand in her way. Nor her parents. Nor any of the obstacles that will most assuredly come her way. Will she suffer more for parents who don’t understand or the lack of her strongest advocate?” Catori gestured to the spirit who nodded in recognition. “Yes. Will she become a stronger woman for it? Yes.”

Mrs. Wallace tilted its head, “Then what is there left for me to do? Other than trust my granddaughter, to trust you, dear, to make the world a better place in my absence?”

Catori shook her head consolingly. “Nothing. Trust and move on with the knowledge that whatever your contributions have been, they have not been in vain. And after all of that hard work, all of that vigilance, now you get to rest.”

Even in context, it’s still a pretty assertive feminist stance (when you’re an ineffectual Twitter troll) but I still wasn’t… trying to make a statement. I was playing a hashtag game.

This is why I try to only follow back writers. But you can’t control who you follows you, eh? Some rando who likes to pick fights with lady tweeters when they get a little too uppity about their right to exist and to contribute to a public conversation can just… read everything you write, in or out of context, and reply something like (I wish I had screenshotted it but I’ve never been trolled before so I didn’t know the protocol),

Yes, but is it fair to unleash that kind of girl on unsuspecting men?!

What? What are you…? What does that even…? “Unleash”? I’m “unleashing” a confident girl on the world and it’s not fair because men who can’t imagine confidence in a girl can’t handle it? “Unleash” like she’s rabid and fanatical and I had to hold her back until I found my target?

“Go, little bold girl! Go get the disenfranchised white man who had a tiny bit of his privilege taken away by your very existence! SIC HIM!”

Strong girls need to be restrained! The world can’t handle them! It’s not fair! How dare you suggest it in fiction?!? All the female types might get ideas!

How is it fair to unleash her, he asks. I can’t even. What a piece of garbage.

I replied, “Unfollow me.”

He blocked me.

And now he has NO IDEA what I am capable of unleashing. MUAHAHAHAHA!

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Unleash the white man’s hell, little one.

 

Can I Call This Post “I Climaxed Too Soon”?

I mentioned in my last post the SheShouldRun.org Incubator which, by the way, I’m finding to be enormously helpful in finding my own strengths and ways for me to take on more of a leadership role in my work and life RIGHT NOW, even without running for office. I also mentioned how it’s helping me discover more about the character of my main WIP, a story I am having all sorts of trouble finishing.

Thank you writing prompts, I’ve found the reason why:

8342270705d0e6ce4441738ddcf2c0e3Almost all of the 56,000 words I’ve written so far have been Rising Action. I thought I had written a climax but it only addresses half of the conflict, the personal portion. It doesn’t address the social part of the conflict at all!

And here I am trying to END the story. Silly.

So now I’m in this weird place where I know there’s a ton more to be written and I have a bit of an idea of what’s going to happen but I haven’t really set up an adequate amount of foreshadowing, so there’s also a whole bunch of editing I’ll have to do, and now that NaNoWriMo is over, I don’t have quite the motivation to keep up with my word count.

Also, my son is transitioning to afternoon naps so writing time is now dubious and not entirely guaranteed every day.

Meanwhile, I’ve got this completed first draft on hold from October which I’d rather be working on.

So… maybe… it wouldn’t hurt if I took a break from my Nano WIP and went back to the completed story? NaNoWriMo isn’t even looking for a “revision promise” until January. And I’m the boss of me.

Friends, fellow writers, people who have expressed interest in reading this WIP, here is my official notice of project switching. I’m going back to my campground/coming of age story. Starting………. NOW.

 

 

One of Those Writing Prompts

I’m just not that type of girl, that rollin’ down my stockings all slow and tantalizing, wearing high heels and nothing else kind of texting you at midnight type of girl, that more bang for you buck, more cushion for the pushin’ kind of super girl, popping off my buttons to get it off faster. I’m not that type of look at me, be impressed, keepin’ my lipstick fresh and my hairstyle tight kind of girl who answers personal ads or swipes in either direction because I don’t want the kind of boy who wants any of that. I want the kind of boy who don’t need to Be A Man to be a man with me, none of that no calling til she wants it bad, putting her up on a pedestal only to knock her down kind of boy who can’t be a friend, who can’t be a partner, who can’t get beyond power dynamics in sex or love and see me as a woman, a person, an equal. I’m not the type of girl who puts up with nonsense or narcissism or sexism. I don’t play games of who wears the pants and who bakes the pies, who takes out the trash and who cares for the children. What type of girl am I? I am a woman and don’t you forget it.