The Great Write Way, Act Three: Where's the gun?
A place for Buffistas to discuss, beta and otherwise deal and dish on their non-fan fiction projects.
My mother loves me, but her feedback? Not so great.
I entered a contest about "meeting challenges"
Prepare For Struggle: My Secret of "Success"
I have to tell you that, ironically, I faced the theme of "meeting challenges" with some trepidation, not because, as a disabled person who's lived life in a wheelchair, I haven't faced them. I hesitate because I'm not the paragon of disability that climbs mountains in her chair while smiling and coming up with a great idea to revolutionize disability access at the same time. I'm not sure that I am a role model, given the American myth of cheerful barrier-busting that characterizes the dominant image of an "overcoming" disabled person. Maybe nobody is, at least not always, but my failure to measure up to this exalted-yet-manufactured standard is a secondary challenge that I struggle to resolve. Sometimes, my life seems hard and gets me down, and I don't hide it as well as some of the mythically inspiring disabled people do.
However, as someone once said, it's not getting down that defeats you, but staying there. Living in a world designed for abled people, aside from all the exploring I can't do and the limitations of a budget hampered by government assistance, the greatest hurdle I face is isolation. I speak of both literal isolations, involving limitations in actual real-life human contact, and a subtler kind that comes from not feeling that people that I do contact know what I have gone through or share my frames of reference. All is not lost, however. Technology, whatever its failings or privacy concerns, has expanded my view of the world (even given the heightened stress of the 24-hour news cycle that sometimes leaves me feeling like a grain of sand on a crowded beach) and has given me a way to reach out to others.
Online life, in over twenty years of being a part of it, has been a great supplement to neighborhood and family activities for me. The internet has increased my participation in political and civic life, which gave me more of a chance to understand the issues facing me as a working-class disabled person. More to the point, jokes, personal stories, funny hashtags and action items got swapped throughout the country and the world. It was the first time since college that I really enjoyed fellowship on equal terms with other disabled people and it really has helped me put some of the stranger, disability-centered experiences that maybe I didn't share with my abled family into some perspective. This could be as large as a benefits rule change or the assault on the ACA, we need to mobilize to fight, or as small and silly as a weird encounter with a stranger outside the grocery store.
Some days, it really helps, even if you don't really know the person that posts "I understand! Isn't it awful?" to know that someone understood what you meant without much explanation or trying to save their feelings. (Not that I blame my mother for getting tired of living with me sometimes during my Trump-era "Nebraska" period. Sorry, Mom, I'll try to take it one day at a time more often.)
Trying to think too far ahead doesn't work out too well for me most of the time. I may have a list of goals, but my body sometimes has other ideas. Sometimes I wonder if I'd been better off living with a disability in a country less obsessed by personal responsibility and individual control. Much as I love this country and long for increased accessibility and the like, I think I might have a less-difficult time in a society more comfortable with randomness and/or loss of control. At the very least, maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time absorbing images designed to sell soap and snack food at least as much as at was to tell a story or teach my budding personality about itself. Someday, I'd like to establish more connections with people with disabilities in other countries so I can see if there are any universal disability experiences and how much life with a disability is influenced by cultural prejudices. I suspect it would be illuminating, (continued...)
( continues...) although I must be careful not to romanticizing rustic poverty.
As I come into midlife with a disability, aside from the sense that my future feels both fuzzy and nebulous since I'm single and neither changing diapers or waiting for the raise that some boss promised me three years ago, the most challenging part is that it's all challenging parts. I can't really separate my life from facing challenges for much longer than it takes to eat lunch, watch a show on television, or post these thoughts to the judges or my blog, but when the news was less troubling and overwhelming to the point that it overshadows some of my smaller goals I could pretend sometimes.
Maybe Americans, as the country starts to lose some of its exceptional stature, continue to look to disability stories for inspiration, not to feel superior, as I believed when I was younger and less secure, but maybe they need to believe there's someone, somewhere, that makes hanging on by a thread look elegant instead of scary. As crazy as it is to think that way (and dangerous to policy outcomes) part of me is still sad that I'm not her: some lovely updated screwball heiress that faces uncertainty with a drink and a smile, making the impossible look easy, instead of slightly less impossible.
On top of everything else, that seems like it would be a lot more fun than just getting through things. A lifetime of television in my eager youth did not prepare me for how often the same struggles would get in my way, without an indulgent relative or a super-crusading teacher moving heaven and earth to soften the blow.
Or a contest that offers the exact amount of the money you owe, or any number of half-hour quick fix solutions of which I absorbed thousands, sometimes as rewards for good behavior. I hate to admit how old I was before I stopped looking for real life to reward me in similar fashion, often based on one effort, as if I were on sitcom with my name on it.
Maybe if we prepared more people for struggle, it wouldn't have taken into my mid-twenties to learn resiliency or stop longing for a glossy-magazine standard of perfection that even the people in the magazines don't live for longer than when the photo was taken.(I should be clear that I would never suggest that preparing for there to be struggles doesn't mean not fighting for what is right…knowing a struggle can be long with occasional moments of victory makes me a better activist, as it insulates me from minor flubs and setbacks.
Sometimes, like anyone else, I get some good luck or a piece of synchronicity and am surprised when something is less difficult than I envisioned. With time, however, I've learned not to live as though the break, celebrated at whatever size or duration, is real life and the trials are the aberration. While there are times that are better than others, as daytime talk show host Phil McGraw points out "Life is managed, not cured." This is doubly true of those of us with chronic conditions or mobility impairments. Maybe even more. That's why the acceptance of those in similar straits, even offered across the miles means so much. Rather than blaming myself for an act of disability discrimination, over-thinking my own behavior and taking in the shame, there is power in knowing that others have rolled in my tracks, as it were.
.While individual situations wax and wane, there won't ever be a situation where my life becomes a living vacation, no matter how much pleasure-seeking parts of my soul might long for it to be(although an occasional fantasy to take the edge off proves essential sometimes)However, just as it can't be Christmas all the time, no matter how much twinkling lights brighten spirits in the darkness of winter, you don't want to try to take possession and live full-time in your castles in the air. As a fiction writer and generally romantic person, the temptation to prefer my own plots to what life dishes out can be almost irresistible, but I like to keep one foot on the ground most of the time. So to speak. Sometimes, however, a sprinkling of (continued...)
( continues...) denial in what seems like certain doom gets a bad rap.
Instead, though, maybe we disabled Americans can serve our country best by being a model of, not uncomplaining sunniness, but action in the face of life largely without the sense that you will dominate it and bend it to your will. Maybe we can help create more inclusive beauty and productivity standards that help us see and value more of what people really have to give so that our struggles won't be compounded by the yearning for perfection. Maybe if we all accept, we are born into challenges, we can stop believing that anyone lives those perfect social-networking images.
Star Trek writer/fans!
StarTrek.com: Four themes
This CBS Entertainment-owned website accepts pitches for essays, reported work, features, and more. There are some evergreen topics they always look for pitches on, which include timely responses to recent Star Trek episodes, interviews with one-off Star Trek guest stars, Trek related essays, personal essays that relate back to Trek, any reported work that ties current events back into Trek, deep dives, and listicles.
For July 2020, they're asking freelancers to pitch pieces specifically linking Star Trek to current events – the BLM movement, Black culture, and Black stories, and they say that going forward, this will be an evergreen topic. They're also accepting pitches for Star Trek and Canada Day (which is on July 1), Independence Day (July 4), and National Video Game Day (July 8). Details at intl.startrek.com/Pitching.
I put a blog post up with an excerpt. enjoy!
Boosting the signal for Alan Dean Foster vs. Disney:
Wow, dcp. That's just horrible. And honesty -- how much could Alan Dean Foster's royalties be for novelizations? I don't even understand how they could continue to publish and have the brass not to pay. It's outrageous.
So, has anyone ever done Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way?
I'm using the book version [link] , not the video course [link] .
I'm only two days in. Morning pages are going fine, but I fear the artist date is going to be a challenge for me, right now.
Cindy, I have. Though not recently. I’m thinking of starting again, but I would have the same problem with the artist dates. So, I was thinking after I can get a vaccine and can go to museums again.