Friday, September 18, 2015

Three ring circus featuring purple elephants in top hats....

Okay, I pretty much never post political because my personal beliefs are just that - personal. I have friends who run the gambit from extreme conservative to extreme liberal because I choose to generally not discuss politics with them. I ignore their political posts whether I agree or not because I don't want my friendships to be based on common political beliefs. But now, in light of the current political climate I feel the need to make some observations.

Over the years I have witnessed a lot of beautiful and terrible things, injustices and the perfection of karma coming through appropriately. To that end, I have learned that our world is not black or white. I don't think it ever was. It doesn't matter what your belief system, good people do bad and bad people do good things and above all, everybody has something. Until you've walked in somebody else's shoes you don't really have a right to tell them what to do or how to handle a situation because nobody has the exact same life experience.

Personal example? I'm divorced. I didn't want to be. I wanted the life I was promised. But that didn't happen. I've done the best I could with what I have left. People disagree with some choices. That's fine. But do you know the worst part? People look down on me for not making my marriage work. Divorcee is a dirty word to more people than you would guess. These people have no idea what happened or why my marriage is over. Yet they still weigh in. It's a good thing I'm confident in myself and their condescension doesn't get to me.

Anyway, I'm looking at a variety of other issues on the table and what I would really like people to think about is how a particular issue affects them on a personal level. I mean, really, setting aside all personal objections, moral arguments and so on, how are YOU as an individual affected? Does something offend your personal belief system? Why should that matter to Joe Schmo?

Just for Shits and Giggles example? Joe Schmo likes purple elephants with tiny top hats to dance at all of his birthday parties but his neighbor from two doors down, Cindy Lou, thinks purple elephants are an affront to God. Cindy Lou petitions to have purple elephants outlawed because they infringe on her personal beliefs and must not be tolerated. Joe Schmo wonders why Cindy Lou even cares about his purple elephants because she only sees them being led from the truck to Joe's back yard and then back into the truck after the party. Cindy Lou does not have to pick up the purple elephant turds or scratch behind the elephant's ears or provide a barrel of peanuts or even pay for the elephant's services.
Thanks Purple Elephant Clip Art for this cutie!

So what do you say about the purple elephants in top hats? Does Cindy Lou have a claim? Does it matter if Joe Schmo likes to have purple elephants for entertainment in the privacy of his own back yard? What if he wants to parade them around the block?

Obviously, I like purple elephants and I would REALLY like them in top hats, but that's not why I use this silly example. Again, I'm not addressing my personal political beliefs here, I am simply asking people to take a step back and look at the big picture. Before getting pissed off about an issue and rallying against something, step back and think "does this affect me on a personal level in my day to day life?" If the answer is "no" then why not let it go. If the answer is "yes" then figure out how it affects you, how significant an impact it actually has on you. Does it just offend your moral code? Not that that's something to be taken lightly, but I would caution that our country was built on the idea of separation of church and state with freedom of religion being protected. That does not give anybody license to force their personal religious beliefs on another person. When was that forgotten? Disregarded? Blatantly ignored?

I guess what I'm saying is, frankly, I don't give a damn what your personal beliefs are. My own personal beliefs don't matter either. What matters on every issue is what those most affected believe. I think somehow we've lost sight of what's important somewhere along the line. If everybody believed the same thing our world would not only be a boring place we would have no progress - ever. Nothing good can come of what's currently happening in our country. Nothing good at all.

Please, stop the insanity and let purple elephants rock their little top hats!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What I learned at Imaginarium 2015....

First and foremost, I learned that I do have some incredible friends who make me laugh, wipe my tears and will generally kick somebody in the A$$ if they mess with me or mine. Just a general warning to those who think they can take me, I've got some tougha$$ friends. 

Smack talk aside, I do have awesome friends and I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with them this past weekend as I slipped from panel to book signing to panel and occasionally to the ladies room. The post con blues hit me harder than usual because I didn't feel I had enough time with the people I cared for the most. My daughter observed how much happier I was surrounded by people who "get me" and support the insanity of my writing because they too are plagued with writer's brains complete with scandalous search histories.  Now, we are back to our separate corners of the universe relegated to internet-based communications as we attempt to find common time and space to reunite - a feat that grows increasingly difficult with families, work and about a dozen other time vacuums. 

Am I the only person wishing for a teleporter and another day in the week?

Anyway, I miss my friends, you all get that message loud and clear. Still, in the days since Imaginarium 2015 I have made a list of all the other lessons I learned. 

1. I am a bitch. No, not just a regular bitch, I am Pantser Bitch. I cause trouble wherever I go. Sadly, my cape and matching leotard did not arrive in time for me to wear them this weekend. I'm thinking something purple and black will arrive soon. 

2. Cosplay is acceptable (and in fact encouraged) even if you are one of two or three people participating. Trust me, Autumn and I had a blast this weekend and neither of us minded the weird looks. 

Steampunk TARDIS and the 4th Doctor :)

3. Some people should never be on a panel no matter how much experience they have in an industry. There is a difference between being frank and being blatantly rude. Also, if you start your panel with something along the lines of "I don't know why I'm on this panel" then you really should not do a panel - ever. Even if you don't know what you're talking about, wing it. You are a writer for crying out loud, make it up as you go! As a side note here, if you are looking for a stellar panel moderator,  the stunning Mysti Parker is your gal. She is AWESOME!!

4. Plan ahead and make sure your room has a fridge AND that you bring plenty of beer/wine with a tool to open your adult beverages. Not only are adult beverages tasty but they help you cope with unsavory encounters (and for those who struggle with public speaking they soothe your nerves). I would also suggest a cool mug of some sort to disguise what you are really drinking.... not like this....

5. There are two distinct types of writers. Seriously, we can argue genre, style (plotter/pantser for example), publishing platform and so on but in the end it comes down to whether you want to grow as a writer/author or whether you are happy with the status quo. This would be the old "big fish small pond" story. I am definitely looking to pond hop but guess what, not everybody is! 

6. As much as women are considered lesser writers in many speculative fiction genres we can see the tables turned on men who write romance and I find that disturbing. I am going to reiterate one of my favorite mantras - F#@& Genre! Once again, for all that is good in this world, write what comes to you. True writers will never purge every character/story from their heads before they die so just write what you can get out and worry about genre later. Yeesh. 

Perhaps I'd better stop there some of the other lessons are less than savory and some quite personal. Of course, I could do an entire blog on the panels I participated in. Maybe I will just for $h!t$ and giggles but not tonight. It's late and I have to work tomorrow...and attend a baseball game.....and factor in some real solid writing time.