Random blogging about what I’ve been thinking about this week.

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Last week, we went to the pet store to get some fish. Due to an unfortunate tank-cleaning mishap, we lost a couple of fish, and once the appropriate mourning period had passed, we decided to get some catfish.

The pet store lady was busy trying to talk a guy out of buying goldfish for his small tank, so we had some time to watch the fish. There was another woman there with her little boy, who could not have been more than two. He was very into any fish that had any red markings. He dug red fish. And he was not shy about telling me or Z about the cool red fish.

The clerk finally convinced the guy he wanted something smaller for his tank, and while he considered his options, she came over to ask us what we were looking for. We showed her the fish we were interested in, and she went off to get a net.

Z and Scott and I began discussing the vagaries of catfish, the need for algae pellets … and I noticed that there was a small hand resting next to my knee. The hand on the leg thing was a familiar sensation, so it took me a minute to realize that it’s actually been about six or seven years since I’ve had a child of the size that would allow for that.

I glanced down to see our little red-fish friend. I assumed that he just didn’t realize the lady he was touching wasn’t his mom, and I didn’t want to scare the little guy, so I smiled and said, “Hey, buddy …”

And he looked up, grabbed my hand, and pulled me back over to the farthest fish tank on the wall, to show me the super cool all-red fish contained within.

His mom was very apologetic. “He’s very friendly,” she said.

I told her it was fine. It was fine. He was a cute kid, and it’s been a long time since a tiny boy has pulled me over to show me something super cool!

***

So I’m letting my hair grow out to its natural color. Which is … I dunno, dark blonde or brown? It’s been forever since I saw it. BUT. It is also a whole lot of gray.

I got my first gray hair at 19. I always swore that when all of it went, I’d quit dying it. Just go natural. This year, I felt that it was finally gray enough to at least let it come in and see how I liked it. So far, so good; we’ll see how it progresses.

And I read this article in Time this week about the body positivity movement, and how it apparently has a gap–GenX women aren’t really represented in it. Although the author mentions that it sort of ramps back up when women are 70 or so? And I’m pretty sure that means there’s a portion of Boomer women being left out, too? One way or the other, though, my cohort is more or less being forgotten on the “love and accept yourself for who you are” train (we’re GenX; we’re used to it), apparently.

I have back and forth feelings on this. Like, does being 45 mean that I can’t look at a younger woman in a body positivity IG post and feel inspired? That seems stupid. On the other hand, aging and the body changes it brings is wack. But in other ways aging is kind of amazing, and I’d love to see a changing conversation around that. I know a lot of women who are afraid to get old. Turning 30, then 40, then 50 are times of mourning. I do it, too–staring down 45 was uncomfortable as hell; part of that was OH MY GOD I AM OLD. I HAVE EXACTLY NOTHING TOGETHER. (Part of it was I have not accomplished enough! I am a failure! But that is a different, if related, topic.).

But but but. I don’t think I want to be 25 again, or even 35. I’ve worked hard to get what little bit of together I am. The ways in which I like myself have quite a lot to do with how old I am–I’ve got a certain amount of perspective, and that comes from experience and, you know, therapy. :)

Anyway. I posted a photo of my graying hair on Facebook. I just said the gray was coming in–it didn’t actually occur to me to say I’m growing it out purposely. And people commented that I looked great even with gray hair, or that it was silver, not gray.

Look, I feel very lucky to be surrounded by women who reinforce how gorgeous I am, because we all need that. But I couldn’t help but consider how different the comments were when I posted, say, a selfie with a new dye job. I’m sure this was due in part to my not specifying that the gray hair is deliberate, but still: the assumption was that it’s not. That’s not a call-out, just an observation; I’m not entirely sure if this is a problem– maybe it’s a solution in progress. We’re at this point of women supporting and complimenting each other despite the aging or our not-perfect bodies; maybe now we’ll move to a new phase of … celebration of them? Good-natured and fond exasperation with them? I dunno.

Back from hiatus

So, first thing: The Kickstarter for Broad Knowledge and Sharp and Sugar Tooth funded!  Thank you to everyone who backed these books; I’m super excited to be a part of this, and I honestly can’t wait to read both of these.

In other news, I have been Not Around Here because real life got hectic again–we have moved my mother-in-law and her dog in with us, and so the entire family has been engulfed in purging, cleaning, house-selling, house-preparing, moving, and now the preparations to get our current house sold and our now-bigger gang moved have begun.

There will be painting.  And a new sink.  There is already dog hair, but that’s made up for by the occasional dog-head leaning on my leg to ask for scritches.  She’s pretty cute.

Anyway, that’s a big change, but it seems to be going well.  Fortunately, the husband and I have always gotten along with our respective in-laws.  Not so fortunately, my mother and mother-in-law also get along with one another, and, god help us, seem willing to team up into some sort of child-spoiling grandma fusion–I went shopping with them for clothes for us and they came home with two toys and a bunch of free Harry Potter merch from Target for the boy.

And so, that’s where I’ve been.

Women Up to No Good – Excerpt!

Wanna read an excerpt and find out what influenced “Mary In the Looking Glass”? (I’m just saying, the most common refrain from the few people who have already read this is “Where the hell did that come from?” Well, except for my mother. My mother knew exactly where that came from.)

If you head over to the Kickstarter updates page, you can read an excerpt from “Mary In the Looking Glass,” and read a little bit about where the idea came from.  You can also read about the stories from Damien Angelica Walters and Rachael Sterling.

While you’re over there, you can check out excerpts and some more blurbs from some of the other cool authors and stories included in the anthologies.  And, you know, donate to the cause!  There’s a new reward up–the chance to have your story critiqued by A.C. Wise.

The Kickstarter for the Women Up to No Good anthologies is back!

If you head on over there, you will find some great backer rewards and a whole lot of behind the scenes, author spotlights!

Over on Twitter, Joanne and Co. have been posting short excerpts from the stories in the anthologies–these are two I particularly like:

And then there’s one from this chick I know pretty well:

(Spoiler: that one’s my story, “Mary In the Looking Glass”!)

There are stories in these books from L. Timmel Duchamp, Chikodili Emelumadu, Nisi Shawl, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Catherynne M. Valente, Alyssa Wong, Sonya Taaffe, and Damien Angelica Walters, along with a whole lot of other amazing writers.

(Fangirly fun facts:  Damien Angelica Walters guest-edited the issue of Penumbra eMag my story, “Hauntings,” appeared in!  And Nisi Shawl and I were both in the April 2014 issues of Strange Horizons, so we spent a couple weeks in the same “table of contents”–read: front page.  My brushes with greatness, let me show you them.)

So if you find this intriguing, hop on over to the Kickstarter and check it out–and please back the project, if you can!

 

Support the Women Up to No Good Kickstarter!

img_9130  My story, “Mary In the Looking Glass,” is part of the Women Up to No Good anthology Broad Knowledge, and there is a Kickstarter for it and another of the Women Up to No Good anthologies, Sharp and Sugar Tooth.

If you’d like to support “writing by women and authors of marginalized sex and gender identities, about female protagonists whose knowledge or appetites are critical to their stories,” please click the link and check out the various donation levels and rewards.  (The dedication one is pretty cool, I gotta say.)

I’m just saying, you know you want to read a story by me about Mary with the bloody eyes, right?

all my thoughts on this Versace show

They are not particularly ordered …

  1.  There is a lot of interesting stuff going on here around the closets.  Like, the obvious stuff regarding The Closet and the 90s, but also as symbols of success, of containing the things you want but can’t have, of containing things you used to have but no longer do.  It’s interesting, to me, how often we see Andrew Cunanan in this context of closets–Lizzie’s husband’s, the crappy tiny ones in his crappy motel rooms, his super-fancy sugar-daddy provided closet … and the one in the master bedroom of his childhood home, where Andrew got the biggest bedroom, but his father got the closet.  Closets with secrets, too: we have Modesto’s stash of money and Andrew’s collages of Versace.
  2. I think the reverse structure works for and against the show (but it’s really working for me)–on the one hand, it makes things (like that very first closet) resonate in a different way than if we saw it progress rather than regress.  But one thing I’ve seen in reviews is this expectation that there will be an answer to the enigma of Andrew Cunanan, which the reviewers aren’t finding, and I think part of that expectation comes from the added emphasis of the backwards narrative.  We have to be leading to something, and if the ultimate murder of Gianni Versace isn’t it, surely it must be why Cunanan killed him (and David Madsen, and Jeff Trail, and Lee Miglin, and William Reese).  But I’m not sure an answer is what the show is going for.  I think it’s more a series of portraits–the overarching one is Cunanan’s, but within that framework are portraits of other people that are just as, and sometimes more, compelling.  (Interestingly, as amazing a job as I think Edgar Ramirez is doing as Versace, I find Versace the least compelling character in the show.)
  3. There’s a lot of really good work in this thing.  I think Darren Criss is creepy as hell, and that scene in the jumpsuit was perhaps some of the best non-verbal acting I’ve ever seen: you watch him work through like eight different emotions in five minutes.  And then Cody Fern as David Madsen doing this dissection of discomfort–he hits every beat, from the “I am traveling cross country with an actual murderer” kind of discomfort through the “wow, you thought we were a lot more serious than I did” discomfort, to the “oh, this guy is so out of my league but he’s bought me a drink and invited me to sit down” awkwardness.   Penelope Cruz acting through Donatella’s accent; Ricky Martin looking exhausted down to his bones in the first episode; Mike Farrell in Lee Miglin’s basement; JUDITH LIGHT HOLY CATS.  And Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan–honestly, if you want to skip every other episode and just watch the one he’s in, it’s ridiculously good.
  4. The costuming gives me college flashbacks.  It’s disturbing.

So, yeah, I’ve been enjoying it.  It didn’t go anywhere near the way I expected–I was expecting something more back-and-forth between the manhunt and the past–but I think I’ve dug it more because of that.