Category Archives: Take Action

ways to weild your spoons

Spoon theory is well known to my family, it explains and quantifies so much of what life is like living with chronic illness. If you haven’t read  Christine Miserandino’s  post explaining the theory, I highly recommend it, especially if you or someone you love is dealing with this stuff.

A number of years back I started playing with the idea of trying to figure out how many spoons I actually had in a day and how many spoons various tasks cost. It was an interesting experiment but not one that ever went very far. Now someone has taken that idea and run full tilt with it. The folks at Molly’s Fund created a spoons chart to help people plan their day and their spoons use:

So, lets talk about Baltimore for a moment…

People are trying to get the word out about what the hell is actually happening in Baltimore, just like they did with what happen in Ferguson and NY and what is happening every day in *our* country. but too many of us for whom the life of a Black Man in the US is not our lived experience are still just shaking our heads and wondering about the “madness”. Lets be clear, its not madness it is anger and pain, it is people dying because of a system of injustice that is as old as this country. We helped build it, we help keep it in place, even when dont mean to or think we are. and it needs to stop.

Here’s part of the reality:
– thousands of people are protesting a system that is killing our friends, and families.
– a few people are getting all of the attention for breaking things.
– the police are not being held accountable for their actions

And are are a few places for Non-mainstream reporting and thoughts:
Think Progress
Crunk Feminist Collective
Mother Jones
Mic

Ask questions. *Listen* to the answers, even when they feel like shit. Ask more questions. Check the footnotes and source links and pay attention to who gains from the narrative being repeated.

A friend of mine who lives this crap day in and day out in a way I never will, writes powerful, clear words about Baltimore:

Just so we’re clear and not fooling ourselves:

The police are claiming that the “rioters” in Baltimore are bringing this on themselves.

The riots are being depicted as the violent overflow of “racial tension” in Baltimore.

The media is discrediting the instigators (drunk, white, sports fans) and cops who decided to respond by throwing rocks BACK.

The cops have not and will not explain how a man in their custody broke his spine in THREE PLACES and SHATTERED HIS VOICEBOX all on his own, as though they may not have lent him a hand…

And still, people will ask the rioters for peace? Baltimore has a HISTORY of police abuse and brutality against a marginalized populace made up of overwhelming numbers of Black people.

But the rioters are the problem…. RIIIIIIIIIIGHT.

Get back at me when you come with some legitimate things to say. Respectability politics and calls for peace have fallen not on deaf ears, but on exhausted ones.

They’ve tried peaceful and respectable and no one would listen. Now, when a couple windows get busted, all of a sudden no one wants to listen AGAIN, but for different reasons; now it’s about how the “tone” of the protesters is too strident, too angry, too MUCH for white people and their feelings.

– Lina Hernandez  FB post 4/28/15

#BlackLivesMatter #IStandWithBaltimore

A thing I realized the other day

I’m all kinds of cool with owning my Viking / Celtic heritage, yay bad ass warrior chicks and stuff. I wasn’t born a Viking but no biggie. Its still part of me, right?

I also have pre-Revolutionary War American heritage, a great great who came over from Britain to fight in the French & Indian War and got a bit of land in MA out of the deal. Yay for him, right? um… wow, that’s just loaded with issues. I wasn’t born then, so it doesn’t matter right?

Wrong.

It does matter because it puts me squarely in the US when we were creating the system of entrenched racism that we are trying to dismantle now. It hits back at the “But I didnt start this”, “I wasn’t a slave owner” lines we as white people tend to clutch at. But my friend wasn’t born then either. He wasn’t enslaved, but his great-great was. So why is this racism his problem and not mine? just because of the color of his skin?

No. It is my problem, but you know, without the guns in my face.

I didn’t create the system, my generation didnt create it… but if I have cool Viking/Celtic genetics that I am happy to own – then I am *also* responsible for owning my pre-Rev War roots as well and my place in the timeline and energy of all this shit.

Doesn’t change the past, but it might change the future.

–We are the Bards–

“What can we do? What can I do? What can anyone do?”

This is the noise in the back of my head right now with the non-indictments of white police officers and deaths of black men and women that just seem to keep coming.  I’m trying to stay awake, stay present and conscious in the face of bullshit and horror. I’ve donated to the Ferguson Library because LIBRARY and good people doing good work. Will be donating to the Ferguson Legal Defense Fund. I’m looking for where to donate for local work as well. But it can not stop there.

My health may make getting out on anything like a front line damn near impossible, but — I am a writer. and there is a reasons governments and churches have feared and bribed us for ages because Words. Have. Power. so lets use them.

Heres what I am doing:

Supporting writers of color – read their work, the fiction as well as the nonfiction – because both teach and both effect how we see and think about the world.

Writing characters of color – not just as an after thought, but as real, fulling realized characters who are fully integrated members of the story.
This goes for all of the other-ing we are fighting against.

Reading LGBTQ, fat, and disabled writers and writing LGBTQ, fat, and disabled characters. Write them all as real – flawed, wonderful, interesting and complicated. But fucking write them all.

Its small and its slow, and it doesn’t fix the immediate problem, but it can make a difference in the long run and thats what I want for my kids and my sister and their friends and for all of us.

Words have power. Use them wisely.

Book Lists and Lists of Books
(Have a list to recommend? A book or author you love? Please add them to the comments so we can all love them.)

Authors of Color:
http://bookriot.com/2014/01/16/25-favorite-authors-color/
http://bitchmagazine.org/post/50-books-by-people-of-color-my-reading-challenge-for-2014
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1804087-author-recommendations
http://www.barrelhousemag.com/#!50-or-So-Books-by-Writers-of-Color-Recommended-by-Writers-of-Color/cge1/B5DA5F06-B0C2-4E3B-A10C-531B12FAA781
http://www.ala.org/emiert/coretta-scott-king-book-awards-all-recipients-1970-present
http://theangryblackwoman.com/2009/08/16/mindblowing-science-fiction-by-poc/
http://www.autostraddle.com/blacklivesmatter-the-longform-reading-list-265454/
https://www.worldswithoutend.com/mbbs22/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=903 
http://chroniclesofharriet.com/2012/11/01/great-black-authors-of-science-fiction-fantasy/
http://www.buzzfeed.com/akpatel462/19-must-read-science-fiction-and-fantasy-novels-by-15qst
http://audiobookaneers.com/2014/12/10/9-science-fiction-and-fantasy-audiobooks-by-women-of-color-you-must-hear/ 

LGBTQ Authors:
http://bandofthebes.typepad.com/bandofthebes/2012/11/the-best-lgbt-books-of-2012.html
http://www.publishingtriangle.org/100best.asp
http://www.lambdaliterary.org/interviews/09/17/three-umpires-walk-into-a-bar-transgender-authors-and-editors-on-transgender-literature/
http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award/honored

Disabled Authors:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/jul/11/authors-disability-personal-experience
http://www.ralphmag.org/CH/disability.html
https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/disabled