Featured Post

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

05 February 2017

Margaret Atwood warned us about the 53% of white women who voted for Trump

I was invited to participate in Evanston's Writer's Resist event on January 15th and this is an edited version of what I read. I'm still new to the live lit scene, but will occasionally post what I read. Sometimes things are best left at the event.

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been shorthand for the collective backlash to women’s progress, especially in regards to reproductive autonomy for quite some time. Safe to say most know the plot without having had read the book. A tale of a post-democratic former-USA taken over by an ultra conservative Christian theocracy where fertile white women are forced to reproduce for the “worthy” ruling class. A few weeks ago I was struck by the faint memory that the book does not conclude in escape or the reestablishment of democracy, rather it ends with an academic talk pondering the veracity of the story we had just consumed. This fact hit me in the gut as I have been considering how we will document the resistance during the Trump administration.

In the last chapter entitled, “Historical Notes on the Handmaid’s Tale” Atwood reveals where she got inspiration for not just the plot but the costumes and even a brutal public hanging of a handmaid at the hands of fellow handmaids — the group of handmaids pull on the rope that hangs the doomed handmaid up on the stage — immediately afterward they tear a man apart with their bare hands. Atwood often gets asked how she comes up with all the ideas in her books. Her response? She doesn’t. She just looks around the world. Atwood, through the character Professor Pieixoto, reminds us how easy it can be to slide into a state of fear that leads to a theocracy.
As we know from the study of history, no new system cam impose itself upon a previos one without incorporating many of the elements to be found in the latter...Gilead firmly rooted in the pre-Gilead period, and racist fears provided some of the emotional fuel that allowed the Gilead takeover to succeed as well as it did. (page 305) 
Gilead was, although undoubtedly patriarchal in form, occasionally matriarchal in content, like some sectors of the social fabric that gave rise to it....the best and most cost-effective way to control women for reproductive and other purposes was through women themselves. For this there were many historical precedents; in fact...in the case of Gilead, there were many women willing to serve as Aunts, either because of a genuine belief in what they called "traditional values," or for the benefits they might thereby acquire. When power is scarce, a little of it is tempting." (page 308)
As I reread those passages it was as if Atwood was responding to the 53% of white women who favored Trump at the polls. The fact that the Clinton campaign embraced the historic nature of a possible win in 2016 versus 2008 gave too many people confidence that women as a whole would act in concert to shatter the glass ceiling of the presidency. Yet even the one book that feminists have waved around as a warning sign for years told us not to expect women to stand in union against totalitarian regimes. Because as Atwood states, they never have.

In the end, after reading these dozen pages over and over I have come to the conclusion that we cannot assume allegiances. We must be better at identifying those of the oppressed who wish to find solace in oppressing others. We need to identify in ourselves when we allow our biases to lead us to condemning a brother or sister out of fear. We must remain vigilant of allowing that fear to push us to serve the incoming administration.

We must document whatever horrors emerge from this administration and hold accomplices accountable. we must write our own history. Especially in the time of Trumpism, facts are opinions unless said by the person you trust. Writers must resist whether it is in our pen & paper diaries, blogs, Instagram feeds or nationally syndicated columns. Just resist.

Postscript...Hulu is running a minseries based on the book this spring and I couldn't not share the trailer here.

07 February 2016

Whirlwind Wrap-up


It's been quite a few weeks for me. Let this gif speak for me:

I feel like I forgot something and well, that's how much of a whirlwind the first few weeks of 2016 has been. For transparency sake, it hasn't all been ups, but for privacy sake, the downs are communicated in person. Over bourbon.  Or cupcakes. 

03 November 2015

Happy Pub Day, Love Her Love Her Not!

It is finally real. The anthology, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, is officially published!

When Joanne Bamberger invited me to submit an essay to the anthology I was still smarting from leaving a doctoral program. But I dove in and edited an essay that I had written for The Broad Side. While I resemble many other writers in dreading the revision process, it was quite healing to have something to focus my brain on. And the theme of the anthology certainly summarizes my feelings about Hillary. She is complicated and tests my progressive feminist ethics. But I know there won't ever be a perfect candidate. I try to weight her flaws with her strengths.

I hope that you will pick up this anthology and read all of our hemming and hawing over Hillary. I am proud to share space with these fabulous thinkers:

KJ Dell'Antonia, The New York Times
Amy Ferris, Marrying George Clooney
Nancy Giles, CBS Sunday Morning
Froma Harrop, Creators Syndicate
Sally Kohn, CNN
Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Fortune
Mary C. Curtis, The Washington Post & The Root
Lisa M. Maatz, American Association of University Women
Suzi Parker, The Daily Beast & The Economist
Deb Rox, BlogHer.com
Emily Zanotti, The American Spectator
Lezlie Bishop, Author, Talking to the Wall
Anne Born, Author, A Marshmallow on the Bus
Kim Cottrell, Author, A Healthy Stepmother blog
Patricia DeGennaro, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute
Estelle Erasmus, Redbook & Marie Claire
Jaime Franchi, Morey Publishing
Jolie Hunsinger, Veterinarian
Helen Jonsen, Forbes Media & Working Mother Media
Faiqa Khan, Hey, That's My Hummus! podcast
Rebekah Kuschmider, Author, Stay at Home Pundit blog
Jennifer Hall Lee, Filmmaker, "Feminist: Stories from Women's Liberation"
Linda Lowen, Host of "Take Care" on WRVO Radio
Lisa Solod, Author, Desire: Women Write About Wanting
Lisen Stromberg, Author, Work Pause Thrive (forthcoming)
Aliza Worthington, Author, The Worthington Post blog

Events will be held across the country. Subscribe to my newsletter to find out when we have one in Chicago. And you can purchase your copy from IndieBound or Powells to support VLF!

Thanks Joanne!

01 November 2015

NaBloPoMo 2015 Day 1

As you know I was considering joining in on NaNoWriMo, alas I didn't have time to really map out a novel and just as I was about to toss in the towel, Blogher reminded me of NaBloPoMo! Instead of working towards writing a novel, I shall reacquaint myself with my love of blogging.

Since it is November 1st, it is also the first day of the Pagan year. An appropriate day for me to restart this blog as more than just reviews and my experiment with sponsored posts. Although I do hope to fill this month by finally posting some of the reviews I've been meaning to write the past few months.

It is also Dia de los Muertos and I've been spending my free time today looking for my grandparents on Ancestry.com. So far I've only been able to find my maternal grandmother, her parents and siblings. I don't know if I needed to sign up for the free 14-day trial in order to get some better hits. I'd love to hear from others who have used Ancestry to find more about their families, especially if you come from a more rural family. I feel as if I can't find much on my dad's side because he grew up in the mountains of Durango. My mom's family has been in the San Antonio area since at least the early 1900s. I had been told it was longer than that, but it looks like my maternal great grandparents were both born in Mexico according to US Census records. At the moment this small dig was enough. Enough to make me curious for more, but also enough to know just a bit more that I am ok...for now.

So here's to a new year and a renewed commitment to writing. Let's see how this turns out.

28 October 2015

Thinking of doing NaNoWriMo? I am.

NaNoWriMo is upon us once again and the deadline to write 50,000 doesn’t seem any less of a challenge. This is especially so for moms who may have to juggle jobs with children. How can we stick to the schedule of writing 1667 words each day for 31 consecutive days, while remaining creative? 

The only reason I am seriously considering it this year is that Ella will be participating through school. The whole 7th grade is participating! If I'm gonna be bugging her about her 1667 words a day, why not join her?

But how? The Internet is full of advice about how to undertake NaNoWriMo successfully. But no one yet has asked the writers who do it each year for their best strategies and tips for staying committed to the very end. Until now, that is.

Fortunately, Stop Procrastinating, the productivity website, has surveyed 2000 NaNoWriMo writers ahead of this year’s challenge to find out what kept them going until the very end.

There’s no doubt that writers face many obstacles during November, from distractions, lack of time and creativity and fatigue. Some may even be tempted t give up entirely.

But the survey found that writers use a number of strategies to keep going. From learning to write just about any where, from a moving taxi to the toilet, to taking a very philosophical approach to their writing – it’s an opportunity for many to let their creativity out rather than produce a fully formed novel. Managing expectations and focusing on enjoyment are critical.

Stop Procrastinating has pulled all the results of their survey together in the infographic below.  

Now to figure out what I will write about! 

24 February 2013

EVENT: The Op-Ed Project in Chicago - April 6th

One of the questions I get asked most frequently from students or aspiring writers (which I still consider myself) is what was my plan. The only plan I've ever had after undergrad was to work on feminist issues and find a way to get my voice heard. Yes, once back in the early days of the internet, when newspapers still flourished (or appeared to be) I dreamed of having a newspaper column. Nowadays I have this blog, a few others where I am welcomed, but also op-eds. Op-ed writing is a science and an art. Which of course means someone needs to teach you the tricks. Lucky for us Chicagoans, The Op-Ed Project has settled in Chicago for long term. The next training session is coming up and if your dream is to have someone hear your voice, then you must go. I plan on stopping by the end of the seminar and sticking around for the cocktail hour (For me that means a beer & snacks).  I hope to see you there!


DATE:: April 6, 2013 (Saturday)

TIME:: Seminar: 10 AM – 5 PM

Cocktail Hour: 5:30 – 7 PM

Medill School at Northwestern University
105 West Adams, Suite 200
Chicago, Illinois 60603


Super Early Bird (ends March 6): $325

Early Bird (ends March 27): $375

Regular: $425

See their Pay in Words Scholarship option here.


17 September 2012

Checking in...Here's what's up

As one can tell by the radio silence on this blog, the fall semester has begun.

I started blogging as a way to get all the thoughts in my head out into the universe. Now that I'm back in class, the kid's in school (well, not right now, but soon I hope!), soccer season has begun (we won the first game 6-0, second game 5-0) and a zillion other things, not to mention work, I just don't have the time to always get here to let the words out. It doesn't mean I don't have them. I swear I'm thinking up blog posts all day long. Eleven years of this and you start to think in blog posts. I wonder if columnists do the same thing? I just don't have the time to sit down and write the way I want.

Derby Lite in BitchSummer was quite productive for my writing though. I did find time to write up a short piece for the Bitch List on Derby Lite. It's in the current issue, Elemental.

I also reviewed Jessica Valenti's book, Why Have Kids?, for Ms. Magazine and that issue should be out soon. I'll write more about my thoughts once the review is out.

Lastly, I reviewed Practicing Feminist Motherhood for the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement journal. Once that is published, I'll link here and at Goodreads.

I also read some great background stuff for my PhD program.

I did take some time for vacation, but as I enter week four of the semester, vacation seems a million years ago. Oh, the peace of the Northwest, why did you leave me so quickly?
Well back to the grind.

19 July 2010

I'm a 2010 Blogher Voices of the Year Finalist!

Back when I thought that I would be going to Blogher 2010, I submitted a bunch of posts for the Blogher Voice of the Year contest. Yes, it's a contest. People read the entries, people vote and only a few get to read their post to the conference. Anywho, I didn't win, but I am a finalist. And as such will be celebrated at the Blogher 2010 Gala and Art Auction. So yeah for not winning!

My not-quite-winning post was one that I wrote for Girl w/Pen on the balance between human life and scientific discoveries/guidelines in light of the new mammogram guidelines.

I'm happy that my writing was honored, giddy that it was something on Girl w/Pen and fucking off the wall that it was in the Geeky/Nerdy category. I'm disappointed that I won't be there for the Gala, but I couldn't do both Bloger and Netroots. A grrl on a budget has to make choices.

04 January 2010

URGENT: Music and Mothers entry needed for Encyclopedia on Motherhood....

Andrea O'Reilly, general editor of the first ever encyclopedia on motherhood is in need of a replacement entry for the topic "music and mothers."

The entry is needed by February 1, 2010 and is to be 2500 words including a work cited of approx 5 titles. The entry is to provide an overview of the topic historically but most of the entry should focus on the following: motherhood as a topic/theme in various musical genres of the 20th/21st centuries; rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, country etc; contemporary popular mother musicians such as Courtney Love, Britney Spears, Dixie Chicks etc. (their music, how treated/perceived in the industry); the contemporary motherhood rock movement with special attention to Mamapalooza.

The encyclopedia is being published by Sage Press and will out in April 2010.

Please email aoreilly@yorku.ca directly asap.

02 October 2009

I'm in the Guardian!

I had my first (yes, I plan on more) op-ed published in the Guardian yesterday and it's about Chicago's Olympic bid. By the time you read this, I'm sure a decision will be made.

If it's yes, us Chicagoans need to hunker down for a bumpy ride.

If it's no, whew!

10 January 2009

Why I write what I write

Warning this post is really just a brain dump. I had a great phone call with one of my freelance 'bosses' and really it was great. But they pointed out that I like to write about women's stuff a lot. And it got me thinking...

Yeah, I do write about women a lot. It might be me making up for a childhood of rejecting many girly things. Playing with dolls but scoffing at skirts & pink. For preferring the company of boys to girls because boys played sports and didn't squeal when they were hit. Then when I hit middle school, boys got too weird and girls were mostly catty. The ones who weren't, I was scared of getting too close in case I scared them away.

But honestly I write about women because I don't feel like enough people are really writing about women in the media. If you give me a soapbox, a medium, a platform to talk about something, I'm sure that the first thing that comes to mind is about women.

I know there are people in my life who get tired of it. Who get tired of me wondering if Cat Cora gets challenged as often as the other Iron Chefs and why I don't see many women challengers. Yeah, that's what goes thru my mind when I'm trying to relax with Food Network.

I can't turn off the feminist analysis. I don't look at the world thru a set of feminist glasses, I see the world thru feminist eyes. I can't take them off. I see questions everywhere, I see women missing in a larger story, especially if women are disproportionately affected.

Don't worry, I didn't take the question or rather assessment negatively. Not at all. I just hadn't stopped to really think about it in some time. And I needed that...I need to be more cognizant of what I'm writing, why I'm writing it and what I want to do with it.

OK end brain dump...

07 November 2008

Larry Summers Is Not the Change I Was Expecting

Here's my first commentary published on the Women's Media Center's website:

As President-elect Obama moves quickly to assemble his team, women leaders monitoring his choices have put up a red alert about a reported short-list choice as secretary of the Treasury. Veronica Arreola, an educator and advocate for women in the sciences, explains why.
Click here to read the full article:

WMC Reprint & Credit Requirements: The Women's Media Center grants permission to reprint free-of-charge with the understanding that media outlets credit the author of the piece and the Women's Media Center, as in: "by [author's name] for The Women's Media Center (www.womensmediacenter.com)." If the format allows it, please note at the end: "The WMC is a non-profit organization founded by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Robin Morgan, dedicated to making women visible and powerful in the media."

22 October 2008

Explaining my freelance work to the kid

My daughter is still in the phase of her life where I'm actually pretty cool (well, except when she's at school), so I try to share as much about myself with her as I can. So when my copy of Ms. came in the mail yesterday I showed her that mommy was in the magazine. *dumb, dumb dumb*

"Mommy, read me what you wrote!" She asked with a huge smile.

"Umm...sometimes mommy writes things that are for grown-ups."

"Well just read me a part of it."

*Mommy scans her book review for one sentence without rape or sexuality.*

"Umm...You know how mommy always tells you that your body is yours. That no one has permission to touch you? (She nods) Well two women asked other people to write stories about how we can keep others from touching their bodies."

"So, what do they do?" She asks with concern.

"Well, a lot of things, sometimes it is saying "NO!" and sometimes they hit them."

"Oh, well, you should always say, "NO!" but you shouldn't hit them."

"Yes, yes..." I respond. Just getting to this point was tough for me, tougher than I thought, so I let that go. One day soon I'll revisit the issue - probably after she has her "Bad touch, good touch" presentation at school and talk to her about justified hitting, especially if some jerk is trying to touch her and won't respond to her NO.

Me thinks I need to start working on my children's book idea so I can just let her read what mommy writes without too much of a lecture.
Don't forget that VLF is participating in the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge. We already have one class funded, let's get that second one funded! The teacher is requesting funding to buy books by women authors. Also don't forget that I'm giving out goodies to a few select peeps who donate!

17 October 2008

Don't miss the fall issue of Ms. Magazine!

And it is not just because Suze Orman is on the cover with that rock star smile of hers. Why should you pick it up? BECAUSE I AM IN IT!

My review of Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti is in there! OK, sorry I keep screaming, but I can't believe that in the last six months my writing (and not a letter to the editor) has been in both Bitch and Ms.

You have to pick up the issue or wait for it to find your doorstep to read the full review, but I want to give some mega kudos to the four of the many authors who bowled me over. Lisa Jervis, Latoya Peterson, Cristina Meztli Tzintzun, and fellow Bronco Kate Harding. Don't take the fact that I know three of these fab writers as bias. First I'd never kiss Lisa's ass, she could see right thru it. While Kate & I did go to high school together we didn't hang in the same circles. As for Latoya, well, she'd kick my ass if I lied about her writing. Now to meet Cristina...

The book did have a few pieces that honestly read like really long blog posts, but I pride myself on my honesty and I wouldn't try to sell you, especially when I'm getting nada of the royalties, a book that sucked. There are pieces in this collection that are must reads pieces and pieces that should be included in many syllabuses for years to come. I never got through Backlash but I know a few women who have said that the book was their click moment. I think this will do the same thing for many people. OK, enough about the book. You gotta read the official review in Ms.

As for the rest of the magazine, here is what is in store for you:

The new issue of Ms. contains a number of other noteworthy pieces. The cover story, “Suze Orman’s Bottom Line,” offers timely advice from the financial guru on how women can empower themselves during the current money crisis. Accompanying that piece is “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!” by economist and Bennett College president Julianne Malveaux, in which she spells out what the federal government must do to jump-start the floundering U.S. economy.

Other hard-hitting features in the issue reveal “The Scandal of Military Rape,” about the failures of the Department of Defense to stem sexual assault in the armed services, and the “Dangerous Masquerade,” about how so-called crisis pregnancy centers—which often receive government funding—promise counseling and health services to college women but conceal their real purpose: to preach often-inaccurate anti-abortion and abstinence messages.

Furthermore, the issue includes a rueful look at how the 40-year-old anti-birth control dictum of the Catholic Church, “Humanae Vitae,” has both lowered the church’s credibility in the U.S. and caused incalculable harm to women in development countries. Keeping to the birth-control topic, one of the columns in this issue, “Like a Natural Woman,” asks “What’s the real story behind period-suppressing contraceptives?” Finally, fiction lovers can delight in the short story “Hair,” by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, the Nigerian immigrant to the U.S. who recently won a MacArthur “genius” award.

Keep an eye on your neighborhood magazine rack...and while you're waiting, why not subscribe to Ms? Hey, the holidays are coming up, so give, give, give!

Don't forget that VLF is participating in the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge. We already have one class funded, let's get that second one funded! The teacher is requesting funding to buy books by women authors. Also don't forget that I'm giving out goodies to a few select peeps who donate!

24 September 2008

CFA: Encyclopedia of Motherhood

I signed up for 4 articles....yeah, I know.

Dear ARM Members and Friends,

We are inviting academic editorial contributors to the Encyclopedia of Motherhood, a new 3-volume reference to be published in 2009 by Sage Publications.

This comprehensive work will be marketed and sold to college, public, and academic libraries and includes some 750 articles, covering all aspects of a social science perspective on motherhood, including psychology, gender studies, sociology, education, human development, history,
and other fields. We are now making assignments with a deadline of January 15, 2009.

Each article, ranging from 600 to 4,000 words, is signed by the contributor. The General Editor for the encyclopedia is Andrea O’Reilly, Ph.D., York University, who will review all the articles for editorial content and academic consistency.

If you are interested in contributing to the encyclopedia, it can be a notable publication addition to your CV/resume and broaden your publishing credits. Payment for the articles are honoraria that range from a $50 book credit at Sage Publications for article submissions totaling 500 to 1,000 words up to a free set of the finished encyclopedia (a $400 value) for contributions totaling 10,000 words.

The list of available articles (Excel file) and Style Guidelines are prepared and will be sent to you in response to your inquiry. Please then select which unassigned articles may best suit your interests and expertise.

If you would like to contribute to building a truly outstanding reference with the Encyclopedia of Motherhood, please contact me by the e-mail information below. Please provide a very brief summary of your background in social history and related subjects.

Thanks for your time and interest.

Susan Moskowitz
Golson Media

18 September 2008

Site Review – Field Report

From the FAQ:

FieldReport is a web site—a content ranking system and publishing model driven by the Web's richest writing contest. The contest is based on personal true-life stories called FieldReports—reports from the field of your life. FieldReport's contest motivates members to submit polished work and to spend time reviewing other work on the site, while a patent-pending blind review process pushes the best submissions quickly to the top, where they can win substantial cash prizes. FieldReport is reality entertainment and the start of a new marketplace for written content on the Web.

After field testing Field Report I have to give it a thumbs up with a big asterisk. I think that it's a great social networky site for creative writers, but I'm not a creative writer. While all the field reports are supposed to be true life stories, thus giving you tons of short memoirs to comb through, the writing style is akin to fiction writing. The better writers (and warning there is some horrible writing in there) paint beautiful pictures of dying mothers and literal broken hearts.

If you join Field Report you can post your own short stories for others to not just read, but members rate stories. Members can rate your piece on a scale up to 10 as well as an option to leave you comments. As someone who doesn't consider herself a memoir writer, I found the site interesting for entertainment sake. If you are a memoir writer, I think that you could find a good community here to write pieces and get some considerable feedback.

The big carrot for this site is that it is also a writing contest. Writers are ranked, thus the need for reviewers, and there are cash prizes available. There is also an option for people to pick their favorite pieces and develop your own Field Report book – of things YOU want to read. No more buying a book of essays and skipping crappy pieces!

The site is still young, but I think that it would develop into a great place for people to explore different writing styles in a non-blog format online.

If you have tried it please feel free to leave a comment about how you felt about it!

Disclaimer: I was approached to write this review and will be compensated with a small gift card, but believe me that I did not promise a positive review nor is the gift card big enough to buy my never ending love.

23 April 2008

This & That on writing

22 March 2008

Ode to editors

I just finished looking at my essay for What We Think and wow...some amazing editor took my last minute written essay and whipped into something that actually looks pretty darn good. And yes, I'm holding back because it's something *I* wrote and I don't want to get your expectations up when you do finally read it. ;-)

But seriously, as someone who isn't a professional writer in the classic sense, I do have writer envy. Peering down at the fabulous books I gorge on and wonder, "Why can't I write like this?" Reading tight grant proposals and wondering "What's wrong with me?" I usually end up falling back on the very true fact that I don't have a great grasp on grammar and thus, I blow it off. But it's more than that.

Now that I have received my edits, I know something else. Writers are not to be envied, it's the editors baby!!

I have one for the anthology, I'll have one for the magazine article, and now to find one for my work writing. Hmmm...don't think that fits into my budget thou. Oh well. Back to the writing board.

21 March 2008

Un-Feminist Music Jams

My husband just turned down the NCAA game to put on the radio. A station is playing some freakin' awesome mixes. I started listening during a Brooks & Dunn song that merged into Margaritaville into some booty-shaking music from high school. Just now:

- My Humps
- Nothing But A Good Time
- Keep on Rocking Me Baby
- Glamorous Life

And in between the actual songs are snippets of other booty-shaking songs that really a feminist shouldn't be shaking her ass to, but I do. Sue me. Now if only I can finish my damn article on women of color in the mommy blogosphere. It's due next week and while it's very short, I'm totally freaking out as I have a lot riding on this baby. Mostly I don't want to disappoint the totally awesome people who will be reading & editing and maybe thinking, "Damn, maybe we don't need this..."

Back to work!

- You're The One I Want over Snoop Dogg just started...


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

As Seen On