I am working on putting my very many feelings and thoughts about Chicago into readable tumblr form, but for now I’d like to share this AMAZING project that you should all donate to/spread the word about/support in some other way.
Violence against women is awful and common, we all know (hopefully), but some people don’t know that violence and sexual abuse against indigenous women is even more common. We’re talking 1 in 3 rape statistics, and a whole grisly series of other abuse statistics that I don’t have at hand right now.
Arming Sisters is about bringing self-defense classes (which I am all for) to indigenous women in reservations across the United States and Canada (I am all for mobile learning, also). They have an extremely modest fundraising goal of $25,000… If we live in a world where Kickstarters for iPhone cases can get upwards of six digits, this should be easily accomplished. Because we also live in a world where people are racist assholes, we should make sure it is accomplished.
So! Donate! Reblog! Tell your friends! Shove this information down the throats of your enemies!
(Note: That quote isn’t from the Arming Sisters website, for anyone who might take exception to it… It’s from Malcolm X. So take exception to it all you want, just don’t bother them about it. Don’t bother me either, because you can go screw yourself.)
For a few years now I’ve been a very poor participant in NaNoWriMo; I think my particular style of writing (obsessively thorough and overwhelmingly self-conscious) is not the best match for it, though the idea of forcing out at least some of the words in my brain is an appealing one.
My attempt this year is a little different - it’s not a story I’ve had percolating for years, but one that literally came to me in a dream. It’s not a cast of characters I’ve perfectly designed or based on historical eccentricities, but one that’s coming together organically from the lives and stories of my family and friends. It’s about being a feminist, and being Jewish, and being an idealist, and it comes on the heels of my marrying a fellow idealistic Jewish feminist.
Suffice to say, it’s giving me a lot of feelings.
At the moment, I think I’ve burnt myself out on researching the brilliant, unappreciated women who pioneered physics research in the 19th and 20th century, as well as researching the horrors of medieval pogroms against the Jews. The above picture is from a manuscript that describes a community of Jews that were burned alive because, well, they were Jewish.
Things like this are complicated because while I have no particularly deep connection to European history, this is still my familial background and more importantly the community to which I’ve committed myself and feel the greatest connection. When I read about pogroms it is not just a horror at inhumanity, but also a visceral reaction on the level of reading about the treatment of slaves in the Caribbean. It is an unthinkable thing that I wish were impossible.
In many ways, that is what this story is about. I dreamt, unprovoked and apropos of nothing, of a group of people struggling to build a community without racism, or sexism, or oppression, on the banks of a river in Europe. I dreamt of arguing with a young man who criticized the strict rules we’d established, who accused us of refusing to save people because we were too obsessed with saving ourselves. And I dreamt of saying to him, just before I woke up, a line that has haunted every sentence I’ve written since:
"One day, I hope, you’ll see that I’m trying to save us all."
Today I did some brainstorming on general story elements, like what cities the main characters are from and what they did versus what they do. Since subverting stereotypes is my main goal, I opened the question of occupations (at least for one character) to facebook discussion: in what profession are women -least- represented? Lawyers, doctors, and security officers used to be three major segments that were male dominated, but the last two decades or so has shown vigorous changes. I’m sure you can name a couple female characters for each of those categories without trying too hard. So, what’s the patriarchal position de jour?
The general agreement was on sciences, especially sciences with a mechanical or mathematical bent. Engineers are almost always male, as are architects. A surprising (but accurate!) suggestion was blue collar workers - cab drivers, construction workers, that sort of thing. Mostly the conversation orbited around traits that women are almost always shown to have - the desire for babies (or resistance to the idea that crumbles at the first sight of baby), lack of self-confidence, expertise that’s unacknowledged except as secondary to a male of the profession, and so on. While there’s obviously way more that’s wrong with the gender dynamic of media depictions than any one person can tackle, I feel good that I’m trying to knock down even a few stereotypes while putting down a story.
Today’s picture is brought to you by hours of (painful) Googling and searching of Deviant Art and Flickr. Enid is my maternal grandmother’s name, and she is the queen of all badass, no-nonsense ladies in my opinion. Sykes I chose as a placeholder name for reasons I can’t recall, though I’ll probably change it since C. hates it with a fiery passion.
Once more I plan to mend my broken promises of updating regularly, but this time with a bit of practical record-keeping to back it up - I will be participating (and hopefully completing) Script Frenzy this year. I will be working on a story world I created a few years back, Hero City, a southwestern US mutant wasteland adventure with a heart of gold. My main goals in completing this script, beside the obvious one of completing a script, are:
2) To showcase some of the left-out details of (Southwestern) US culture as portrayed on television - among other things, I’d like to highlight the contributions of minorities to the shaping of the US ‘frontier’, and address issues of race and identity within the microcosm of the Hero City world. An example of this would be DeFord Bailey, a damned talented man who was all-too-predictably left poor and forgotten.
3) To raise money for the charity behind Script Frenzy, the Office of Letters and Light, who do a lot of amazing work and have been a driving force for so many aspiring writers of all ages. I have a personal fundraising page, that I will be decking out with all kinds of goodies as the month wears on.
4) To gear myself up for more serious pursuit of writing projects and blogging, among others! I have no link for that, since you are already at my blog.
I will be uploading snippets of my script and script-related activities over the course of April, so stay tuned or stay some other thing!