Monday, August 25, 2014

Stop With this ALS False Humility Bullshit

To those of you doing the ALS ice bucket challenge, I applaud you. It's quite a clever idea, especially for a summertime activism/awareness campaign. The most effective of these campaigns make something trendy in order for it to spread farther faster. 

It works a hell of a lot better than guilt-tripping or shock value. It requires donors to participate in a way that's more active than sharing a status. Take the challenge, donate some money, share, post, challenge others.

Most people -- judging by the admittedly limited sources of my Facebook and twitter feed -- seem to enjoy taking part in a big cause in a small way. Then there are those who scoff at it as "slacktivism" and refuse to participate. Opposite the "too cool for this" group are the few people who appear to believe that dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head makes them an expert on ALS and is the most important thing they'll ever do to help the ALS cause -- whether they donate or not. 

Then there's a fourth group. And this fourth group, while probably the smallest, angers me the most -- the False Humility group.

They're sort of like the "too cool for all you 'slacktivists'" group, except that they actually donate. However, they take the challenge with a sneer and a "holier-than-thou" attitude. Others in this group don't take the ice bucket challenge. Rather, they make sure you know that while they won't be doing a stupid challenge, they're donating money to the cause because I guess they're just too damn good for childish antics.

I've seen protests from these supposedly humble activists that no, they won't be filming and sharing an ice bucket challenge because they're not narcissistic enough to use social media like that. They'll share on social media that they are donating, but specifically not doing the challenge. Because, you know, that totally shows how humble they are. And, you also know, it would be totally narcissistic to put the challenge on social media and get more people to see it, donate, or get curious about the cause. It's not like social media sharing is how this cause got so popular or anything.

There's nothing wrong with saying you don't want to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. I wish this last, oddly smug group of people would just admit that instead of spitting on the rest of the people doing the challenge -- without whom they probably would have heard nothing to be smug about. The pride and false humility is more about a disdain for being seen to participate in current trends rather than any specific objection to the cause or the awareness campaign itself.

You want to be humble about your activism? Donate some money -- and then try not to brag about how you donated money out of the goodness of your soul, instead of dumping water on your head like all these other dorks.

http://thatdingostolemy6pack.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg


I won't be doing the challenge. I may or may not be donating, either, depending on my financial situation. Perhaps I'll set a donation by for a later date when I have money to spare. However, I'll leave this link here in case you would like to donate or read more about ALS:

http://www.alsa.org/donate/

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Summer Without Internet

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been all this summer. I've barely posted any reviews to examiner, I've been completely absent from here, and I said I was going to do that Ready. Set. Write! thing.

Unfortunately, I haven't had Internet access for most of the summer. Sigh.

This is probably the part where I'm supposed to wax eloquent about what a relief it was not to be so busy and connected, and how being shut off from social media and the web was a blessing in disguise. I've read enough posts about taking Internet breaks; I know how it goes.

Something-something, enlightenment, the corruption of the modern world...
Well, it wasn't. I understand Internet breaks, but I'll be very happy to get my Internet back. It's been annoying at best and at worst, has interfered with my job. I couldn't email my supervisor (or my mother), or go online to check important life kinds of things without taking myself to the library (where I am now). And with two jobs, I haven't had a lot of time to go to the library during regular hours. I couldn't check email for updates on grad school. I know, I know, first world problems. But I hate being cut off from my writing, entertainment, and news sources. Perhaps that makes me petty and shallow like all the kids nowadays. Personally, I just think I like being connected. I especially dislike getting news by word-of-mouth from people with no idea what they are talking about, with no way for me to fact-check.

I've hated not having Internet. My roommate was supposed to set up our account back in June. June. She volunteered to do it because she had a phone with Internet access, so it was easiest for her to do. The thing is, because her phone had Internet, it wasn't exactly as urgent an issue for her. We got our account in mid-July-ish and we're finally getting our cable outlet installed. We were supposed to get that done Friday, but the techs never showed up. We get a discount, fortunately, but I'd rather just have my Internet.

Anyway, this has all been a valuable life lesson in living without Internet and with roommates. Adulthood. Yay.

Not that Internet is essential. Clearly I've been surviving without it, mainly by crocheting and reading a lot. (And drinking.) If I'd bothered, I probably could have gotten it all set up a lot earlier. Just like I could have mowed the yard today. Oh, well.

So, what have I been up to?

I am currently working two jobs, though I'll have to drop one when school starts again in September. I'll miss the extra money, but I'll probably appreciate the extra time for reading and homework. I'm living off-campus in a house with two roommates and no pets. It also has a yard, which I simultaneously hate and like to mow. I'm getting all my drinking and partying out of the way over the summer. I gained some weight, which my mother is only too eager to point out every time I see her. I lost some weight, too, but since I'm still over 110 pounds, my mother still feels the need to point out that I've gained weight.

I'm looking forward most to my Stage Combat class, though less so to getting up at 7:30 AM for it. I'm beginning to feel the panic setting in as classes approach. I'm reading a lot -- a lot of dark fiction, oddly, seeing as how I typically read lighter stuff in the summer. I'm barely writing, though I do knit a lot. I also broke up with my boyfriend -- who has finally stopped texting me. The unfortunate part of that situation was that my phone doesn't allow me to see who sends a text without opening it. Dumb.

And...that's about it with me. OH WAIT RIGHT and I'm watching The Legend of Korra. If you aren't, then you should be. Actually, I'm going to go catch up right now, while I'm still at the library.

Have a good week, blog readers!

*crickets*

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! Goals

This summer kicks off Ready. Set. Write! Hosted by Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, Katie Upperman, and Allison Miller, Ready. Set. Write! is a weekly blog hop about summer writing goals. Anyone can participate, and we all give help and encouragement along the way. 


This is the goal-setting week (which I'm coming slightly late to). For this week, I will:
  • Return to my editing journal for The Book 
  • Add 500 NEW words -- not edits or revisions -- to The Book
  • Add another 1,000 words to Contracted
In the following weeks, I'll update with these headings: 
  • How I did on last week's goals
  • Goals for this week 
  • A favorite line from my story
  • The biggest challenge I faced that week
  • Something I love about my wip
Since I will be moving this weekend, I am not sure how much I'll be able to get done. I might have problems with updating the blog as well. When things settle down a bit, I'll be back. Until then, have a great rest of the week! :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It's the Little Things...

Everyone has their writing "thing." Some people like notebooks -- college-ruled only. Some people have to listen to the same song over and over again while writing. Others make playlists. Some people use only pen, some pencil, and others only type. I've heard from people who prefer to use typewriters when drafting. Some people have to find the "right" font for each story.

I used to think that a lot of this was just silly at best, and ways to procrastinate at worst. Weird writing "things" seemed like just more stuff to get in the way of actually writing. What did it matter if you used blue or black ink? Did it really make a difference to use Arial instead of Times New Roman? It all seemed like a lot of sugar pills to me.

I don't believe the "Muse" is real or necessary to start writing, and I used to think of all these writing "things" in exactly the same way. I thought people just made them up to make themselves look special, or to make it look like ONLY THEY knew the REAL secret to writing. Use Helvetica, and YOU TOO can write a bestseller!

Until, of course, I found my own writing "thing."

I used to double-space my wip's in Word. It took me forever to write anything, and my transitions were terrible. I tried single-spacing, but nothing improved.

Then I wrote Contracted after the format I use on this blog: no indents and a space between paragraphs. For some reason, being able to see the text this way gave me a better idea of how long to make paragraphs, where transitions should fall, and how much writing "ground" I was actually covering. Who knew. It wasn't a one-off thing, either. I changed my other wip to this format, and my writing has gone so much more smoothly since then.

I'm officially a convert. If it floats your writing boat, use it. Writing can be hard, so anything that makes it easier for you is good.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Diverse Book Blog Tag!

Perhaps you've heard of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks twitter hashtag, or have seen some of the diverse book buzz going around -- especially in MG, YA, and NA. It's important for all types of people to be represented in publishing, whether it's representing more diverse characters or publishing more diverse authors. 

"Diverse" is a rather wide umbrella that can include a lot of things: ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity, LGBT+, body types, and disabilities to name a few. For this blog tag...

1. Post a diverse book.
2. Say why you liked it.
3. Explain what the diversity meant to you.
4. Link to the post that tagged you and tag someone else!

My book is...


http://libbysguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/monday.jpg

What it is/Why I liked it

This is the first book in The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. It's an MG fantasy/steampunk series of 7 books about a kid named Arthur who's chosen to be the heir to the universe because of a bureaucratic hiccup. The Architect of said universe has disappeared and Her creations are fighting amongst themselves over who gets to control things. Arthur unwillingly attempts to fulfill his Chosen One role in order to get the minions of his competitors to leave him, his family, and Earth alone. I really enjoyed the extremes of imagination that went into this book and the whole series. It was a wild ride from start to finish and it never did what I expected.

Diversity

Arthur comes from a very diverse family. His dad has a few kids from different mothers from his rock band days, his mom has kids from a previous marriage, Arthur is adopted, and his parents have kids together. Not all of the siblings are close in age or in ethnicity, but they all consider themselves to be part of the same loving, functional family.

Also, Arthur has asthma. His is a pretty serious case, and (spoiler) it's the impetus behind the entire plot. When I first read this book, it was gratifying to see an asthmatic protagonist. I could sympathize with people not taking him seriously, and how he struggled with physical activities that most people take for granted. I used to do a lot more sports, but it was always harder for me, and it got frustrating when even my relatively mild case of asthma stopped me from being as good as I wanted to be or having fun. Having an asthma attack is terrifying, and Mister Monday did a scarily good job of showing that.



Have you read Mister Monday? What do you think about diversity in books?