Monthly Archives: April 2014

Media


I have been told repeatedly that it is important for a writer to have an internet presence whether they wish to self-publish or take the more traditional route. I have only just begun to build my presence. For those writers out there, how have you built up your internet presence? What tools have you used? How do you feel about allowing the public access to your personal information and, if your not comfortable with it, what have you done to protect your info? 

Also, what are peoples personal experiences with publishing and spreading word about your books?


“God’s Not Dead”


My partner and I have been busy with a comic convention over the last few days. It was a wonderful experience. I was able to meet quite a few writers and publishers. I also finished my last exam on Friday and am now looking forward to enjoying a summer of writing and networking.

After the festivities of the day, my partner and I decided to go to a movie. There was one theater in town that was playing God’s Not Dead. I have wanted to see that movie for a while because of how much hype it had received. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of acting. It was very well done. But there were a lot of obvious stereotypes in the movie. The Chinese father and son where the father tells the son to accept what his professor tells him without question. Grades are more important than supporting and defending your own argument. The Muslim who’s forced to wear a hijab by her father and is abused and thrown out of her home when her father discovers that she has been listening to the bible on her ipod. The dying woman who denied god for years and then accepts god when the good Christians pray for her to be healed. And of course the angry athiest who is mad at god.

These stereotypes bothered me. They put people in a box and allow the viewer to judge all people in that group in the same way. It doesn’t help that the movie didn’t seem to represent the university experience very accurately. Most professors don’t care what their students believe unless the student becomes disruptive to the class. They have a particular subject to teach and giving that information to their students is what they truly care about. Philosophy professors can be different. They aren’t there to give their students a particular set of information. Instead they are there to teach critical thinking. Philosophy professors may actually care what their students believe, but it should not be in a “you must believe this” way. It should be in a “read this and tell me why you agree or disagree” manner. The professor in that movie was not a good professor. He was intellectually dishonest and he was a bully. That professor likely wouldn’t have kept his job very long in a real university.

What’s more, the professor wasn’t actually an atheist. Maybe he thought he was. Maybe he just wanted to be. But he admitted to being angry at god when pushed by the student. That is blatantly stereotyping the atheist. It is a trope held by theists that says that atheists are just angry at god. I don’t know of any atheists who would have responded the way that the professor did. When asked “why do you hate god?” the atheists that I know would either answer “how can I hate something that doesn’t exist?” or “why do you hate the tooth fairy?” depending on their nature. Atheists do not hate god. We simply believe that none exist. We could debate for days any other possible belief held by an atheist, but the one belief that all atheists agree on is that there is likely no god.

I would go into the problems with the other stereotypes that I listed, but I don’t know to what degree they are true. And rather have somebody who knows what they’re talking about pointing out those flaws. However, I was able to determine rather quickly that they were stereotypes and they do cause problems in the form of putting people in boxes and allowing one’s self to avoid understanding another person. The atheist trope bothered me the most. A) because he was the “bad guy” and b) because of the ending. If you have not yet seen the movie and want to, and don’t want to know what happens, then stop reading now. 

The movie ends with a tragedy. The atheist professor reads his mothers note and realizes that he had been wrong.He goes to make up with his now ex-girlfriend and is hit by a car before he gets there. He dies. Before he dies he accepts Jesus into his heart. He then receives a text from his ex that says “god’s not dead.” The missionary tells the pastor that something good has happened. I can’t remember how he worded it. No. Nothing good has happened. A man died. His death was horrible and painful. That is a tragedy. To say otherwise is just plain wrong. It is supposed to be a good ending. A Christian band is playing happy music, everybody has come to Jesus, the Christian student won his debate, and everybody lives happily ever after. Except the atheist professor. The antagonist. He’s dead. There will be no happily ever after for him. For the creators of the movie to portray that ending as a good thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

Also, for all the good acting, the death scene was terrible. It looked completely fake. I suppose that’s kind of a good thing. But it makes it less important and it makes it easier for the audience to swallow the “happily ever after” BS.

What are other people’s opinions of the film? How did those of you who saw it interpret it?


Gendered Writing


The other day I came across an article titled “Writing and Gender.” I tried to leave a comment, but of course my internet chose right then to act up. I lost the article and could not find it again, so I decided I’d write my response here. The article discussed the prevalence of gender in writing and the authors hope to write a novel in first person while attempting to avoid making character  gender obvious. I applaud the author for their willingness to attempt such a feat (if you read this, I’m sorry but I can’t remember who wrote the post). I also have a similar goal in mind. Gender is a big issue for me, and I attempt to always write characters that defy gender roles. I have also dabbled in some short stories where I avoid gender simply by using gender-neutral names and the singular of they. It is not an easy task, but it’s doable. My end goal is to do a graphic novel where the characters all look gender-neutral. I want to see how people respond when they look at the characters and can’t determine their gender. My curiosity arose from a study done where parents dressed their infants in gender-neutral clothing and refused to tell people their gender. In the study, some people where driven so crazy by not knowing that they would go as far as to try to undress the children to find out what their sexes were.

How would you respond to a story where you were unsure of the characters gender? Would you care? Would it take away from the story or distract you? Why?

Would you be willing to write a story where you refused to gender the main character or all of the characters? Do you think it would be possible? How would you do it?


50 Follows


As of yesterday, we have received 50 follows. It’s not much, but it is still exciting. Thank you to everyone who has been following our blog. It has been fun so far and we are looking forward to posting more in the future.


Dystopian Futures


Today my partner and I went to the new movie Transcendence. After the movie, we began discussing how so many dystopian stories contribute to the fear of science. In Transcendence it’s AI technology, In Divergent it’s mind control, In Hunger Games there is the fear that the elite will control all the technology and use it against the rest of the population. These fears see to follow fears held by the average person. But are these fears right? Or are they simply brought about by a lack of understanding of science and technology? What if there were a dystopian novel/movie that went in the opposite direction? Are there any that already have?


Posting Writing on My Blog


I am trying to decide if I should post some of my writing on my blog. I know that a lot of other writers do. But I am currently in the middle of a huge writing project and don’t know if I’ll have time to work on anything to post here. For those writers out there, what are your reasons for posting or not posting your work?


Trying to Write


Writing has become difficult as of late. I have tried to write as much as possible since I finished my book in February, but it has been difficult. My school semester is wrapping up now, so I am finding myself busy with papers and finals. I also spent a good portion of March feeling ill. As such, I have not been writing daily. It has been hard because I want to finish my second book in May so that I can make a second attempt at a writing contest (my first try failed miserably, but now I can fix up that book and hopefully still get it published). 

I have been struggling a bit with my emotions lately. I find myself unable to care about school. I just want to write. I am considering taking a year off of school, but I am really close to graduating. It is hard to determine what is the best choice for me. However, I do have fairly big plans for my writing. I want to finish my second book in May and then write a third book (for another contest) for July. Then I intend to write a series of short stories for September (for a third contest). Hopefully I can do well in, or, better yet, win, one of the contests and get published. But if not, then I will fix up the three novels and all the short stories and try to get published in a more traditional fashion. My goal right now is to be published by 26, so I have a little over a year to accomplish this.

My plans for the future are unclear right now. I don’t know what I want to do other than get published. I used to have a plan. I intended to graduate, get married, travel for a year, move somewhere to settle down for my career, get financially stable, and start a family. It was my “by the time I’m 30” plan. Now I want to write. I want to get published. But few of my other plans still matter to me. I hope that I can get my motivation back soon.


Gender and Sexuality


I am a gender non-conforming demisexual. I have known that I don’t fit into the category of “girl” or “woman” for as long as I can remember. It never felt right. When I was younger I even wanted to be a boy. I hated being female. But I grew up in a family with strong beliefs about traditional gender roles. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that my feelings would have been seen as a problem, so I never told anyone. I also was never given the vocabulary necessary to express how and what I felt. It made my life very difficult. Luckily I was able to live my life as a tomboy with little pushback from my parents. I could live my life comfortably, and do the things that I wanted to do, so long as everybody perceived me as a tomboy. But that hasn’t really made things less difficult. It took me until I reached university to gain the vocabulary necessary to begin exploring my gender and learning about the various options out there. As such, I still have no clue what my gender is. This isn’t a problem because I feel that I need a label. It’s a problem because I am surrounded by people who have already given themselves labels, or accepted the label given to them by society. It is very lonely being the only person you know still searching for that label. Everybody else seems to have determined who they are, at least as far as gender is concerned, but all I know is what I am not.

I never really thought much about this until recently. I had no problem being the only one without a label. But getting pregnant made me think about the fact that I am a biological female. It had never really been so in my face before. The reproductive cycle is a sore spot for many gender non-conforming individuals, and I find myself in the position of wanting to actually give birth to children. As such, I am now thinking about how difficult it could be for me. Especially since pregnancy is so gendered in and of itself. Our society holds strong views on pregnancy and pregnant women. They will all be shoved in my face when I decide that I am ready to have my first child. It has me feeling a little weary.

Gender has been my biggest concern, but I have also been thinking about my sexuality. Demisexuality is generally considered a subset of asexuality. However, where asexuals have no sex drive, demisexuals do have a sex drive, but it is low and can be easily ignored. That is a simplistic explanation. Demisexuality is more complicated than that, but is not really the point of my post. It has been concerning me because Demisexuality is almost never discussed. Even in classes or workshops that are focusing on sexuality. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are usually the main focus. Bisexuality is almost always brought up. Pansexuality and omnisexuality are usually passing mentions. Even asexuality will be mentioned. But I have only heard Demisexuality brought up in one workshop that I have been to. This bothers me. It makes me feel as though I don’t have a place at the sexuality table. My partner volunteers at our university’s queer center, and I fit into the category of queer, but I don’t feel as though I belong there because my sexuality is largely ignored. I don’t feel as though I can actually call myself queer. My partner openly talks about how he is amused that he can say that he is in a queer relationship despite being a heterosexual cis man. I, however, view our relationship as completely heteronormative. Personally, I find that to be quite amusing.

I find that my personality is such that, with every judgement that society holds over my actions, I do the opposite of what is expected of me. I am female so I should like fashion and makeup. I couldn’t care less about my clothes: I wear what’s comfortable and rarely buy anything new. And I don’t wear makeup. I am masculine and like predominantly male activities so I should be a lesbian. Instead I don’t really care for sex, as a demisexual, and am equally attracted to men and women. I should be cis or trans. Instead I find myself somewhere in the middle. If I’m going to be gender non-conforming, then I should want to change my sex, and I should definitely prefer women. Instead I want to use my female body to produce babies and I intend to do so with the man that I plan to marry. I have long since come to the conclusion that societal expectations are largely just silly, but my inability to conform to them makes me frustrated. This is because I am at a higher risk of being mistreated by so obviously not conforming. I wish society would see these expectations as being as silly as I do. Maybe then we could create a more equal society where people are able to be themselves without fear.


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