Photo of the Week: Goodbye, Animals

20150814063552~2
20150814063552~2

Taken August 14, 2014 with a NVIDIA Shield tablet.

My son has had summer school in the morning, followed by camp in the afternoon, for six weeks. Each day as part of our getting ready routine, I asked what animal he wanted me to sketch on his snack bag for camp. Each day, he told me a different animal. We did frogs, fish, a horse, a zebra, elephant, and so on. Today, he picked “goose”.

Today is his last day, and even though I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks together before we both start school, I’m going to miss these little animals.

A Statement about Lou Antonelli, Lakeside Circus, Harassment and Safety

Over the weekend, I became aware that an author, Lou Antonelli, had contacted the Spokane Police Department in advance of Worldcon, to place them on alert about the guest of honor, David Gerrold. On a podcast, Mr. Antonelli said:

“I really didn’t know much about [Gerrold] before the Hugo nominations came out. Following his discourse and his level of discourse as a result, I personally wrote a letter addressed to the police chief in Spokane and said I thought the man was insane and a public danger and needs to be watched when the convention’s going on, and I mean it. I attached my business card. I said this guy’s inciting to violence. Somebody—a weak-minded might attack somebody because of his relentless strength of abuse. I think, honestly, I think he belongs in a secure psychiatric facility.”

I had previously planned to published a story by Mr. Antonelli in an upcoming issue of Lakeside Circus. After hearing his statement of his actions, I contacted him and withdrew the offer. (And another email asking how he wanted the kill fee sent to him.) After that, Mr. Antonelli apologized to Mr. Gerrold, who choose to accept it, and I thought the matter was settled.

Mr. Antonelli then posted the contents of my first email to his Facebook fan page, where he knew his fans would see it and be agitated by it. That letter was:

Mr. Antonelli,

I have just become aware of comments you made regarding contacting the police about David Gerrold, over his comments about the Hugo Awards. Specifically, the video linked in Jim Hines’s post, here.

While your stance on, and involvement in, the Hugo voting slates is, we feel, a personal choice, and outside of our interests, taking this action moves away from protected speech, and into a concrete effort to threaten someone’s safety and livelihood.

Because of this, we will not be publishing your story in our next issue, and would suggest that we are unlikely to be a good fit for your work in the future.

Thank you.

Carrie Cuinn

When he posted the letter, he didn’t mention I’d sent it before he posted his apology. He removed the line about me hearing the podcast. He also added the name of my magazine, and my title. In short, he shared it, but he shared a version of it, that he’d edited. His post garnered 30+ comments from his fans, saying I was a bitch, a tool of the SJW mob, I was retaliating after the fact (of his apology), I was uneducated and unfit to be an editor (because I’m going back to school). The letter was referenced in other conversations he had online (including at File 770), with similar comments.

At no time did Mr. Antonelli correct anyone, or suggest they stop attacking me, even when some of the comments mentioned looking me up online, researching me, reading my blog, etc.

By later that same day, I was getting emails which contained both the same sort of comments as had been posted online, and threats of physical violence. (I won’t quote them because I’ve spoken to my local police department and the matter is under investigation.) I contacted Mr. Antonelli, told him specifically that I was receiving threats, and asked him to please ask his fans to stop.

He never replied.

The next day, he said simply, “OK, if anyone out there is contacting Carrie Cuinn and castigating her for her decision not to publish my story, knock it off.”

If. Castigating (which means “reprimanding someone for something they did wrong”). Not that people were. Not threats. “Reprimands”.

He took no responsibility for pointing those folks in my direction, and has offered me no apology.

As I said elsewhere:

Thanks, everyone, for the support. I don’t mind that some people were unhappy with my decision to not publish a story I’d previously bought. I know I sometimes make unpopular decisions; lots of people make decisions I don’t like, too. I accept there are consequences for my actions: there will be people who don’t read my work, buy my magazine, or attend my readings at conventions, because of my decisions.

I even understand that strangers on the internet are calling me a bitch, because of this decision. Saying I’m a tool of some SJW mob, morality police… Strangers on the internet feel comfortably removed from any repercussions of their actions, most days. I’m less understanding knowing that people are researching me, looking up my website, looking for flaws, making judgements about me because I’m going back to college, because I’m poor and have been my whole life, as if those things somehow mean I have less experience as an editor, or I’m unworthy of trying to make my life something better than what it had been. That I started out so far behind most other people that I can struggle and fight and work my ass off only to have my accomplishments belittled because for anyone else, my little magazine is just a hobby, paid for by mad money… Well, okay. The internet is full of opinions.

But look at what I’ve actually done, not misinformation.

I couldn’t stand by and do nothing after Mr. Antonelli publicly admitted to purposefully sending the police after someone in our community, especially given the numerous deaths by police and in police custody that have recently made the news, for the “crime” of being a liberal gay man who disagreed with him. As I said in my letter, it’s a matter of SAFETY. Antonelli took away Gerrold’s safety when he filed that false police report, and I won’t support that by giving him my money or promoting his work.

I was content to do what I felt necessary privately, between Mr. Antonelli and myself, but he dragged me up in front of his fans and made a target of me. He knew people were defensive and angry on his behalf, and he gave them me as a target. Doing that, he took away my safety, too.

Class I’m taking, Fall 2015

In case you missed it, I’m going back to college, starting at the end of August, as part of my four-step plan for world dominion success:

1) Go back to college. Finally get a Bachelor’s degree. (In something more likely to lead to a permanent position.)

2) Get a good job with decent benefits, where I am sufficiently valued that I won’t be a faceless, disposable, cog in the machine.

3) By staying on budget, get out of debt, and begin to line the cave with gold (aka, build up a savings).

4) NEVER WORRY ABOUT SUPPORTING MY FAMILY AGAIN.

After meeting with my advisor, I ended up registered for 17 units. Six classes. Basically, everything they’d let me take. That means that in the Spring, I only need to take three classes, all online. I’ll take at least four in order to be “full time”, but having that cushion of space means I’ve got room to take something where if the registrar suddenly figures out I need one more thing to graduate…

By next summer, I’ll have an AS degree in Business Adminstration, and I’ll be ready to do my year at state to get my BS.

To that, this semester I’m taking:

Intro to Databases
Principles of Accounting 2
International Business
Principles of Microeconomics
Fundamentals of Speech
Principles of Biology 2 (+ lab)

I’ve got to be on campus for the Speech and Bio classes; I was hoping to avoid it, because campus is 30 miles away, in another county. So it’s classes plus a 45 minute commute, each way, three days a week. At least the trip is beautiful, a winding drive through rolling hills and farmland. And it’s better to do this commute now, in the fall, before winter and five months of snow kick in.

I’m getting closer to actually being able to pay for all this. I’ve secured grants to cover my tuition itself. Not covered? Books. Lots of heavy, expensive books. Even renting them instead of buying them, they’ll run just over $700 for this semester, and I need that money in the next two weeks before classes start. (On top of my usual bills + groceries this month.)

Well at least it's not just me...

Well at least it’s not just me…

So if you’ve got work that needs doing, email me, maybe?

Big Life Change: I’m going back to college (and how you can help)

I AM OFFICIALLY A COLLEGE STUDENT (AGAIN).*

It was a tough decision. Being laid off from my job last month means that I have the time now to finally finish up my degree, and to actually switch to a major which will make me much more employable than my previous work in Art History. But with no opportunity to get Pell Grants or loans for school, I’m not being paid to attend college — I’m just adding full time school to my regular life, and without a day job right now, I’m already struggling to make enough money. How do I decide to spend money on college when I don’t know whether I’m paying my rent in a few days? How do I not go to school when I have this opportunity now, it will make me more employable, a much better freelancer, and generally a more useful person?

Ultimately, I decided to do my best, and make this work.

I’ll be going for two semesters at community college for an AS in Business Management, and then two semesters at state for a BS in Business, Economics, and Management (with a minor in public administration). I still need to come up with part of the tuition so I can start school — asap! — but I’ve been awarded grants that will cover 80% of classes and books, maybe a little more. It’ll be tough, balancing work, kid, and full time college, but hopefully I can get to where being unemployed and in debt is somewhere I never have to be again.

That’s if I can find the rest of the money to get started. If any of you have ever wanted to take a workshop from me, hire me as an editor, proofer, book designer, anything — or even loan me money until after the semester starts, now would be the time that I really need it.

How you can help:

  • I’m happy to offer a discount to anyone who books me for editing this month. Take advantage of me!
  • My next workshop — Plotting the Short Story — begins on the 15th. If you’re interested in a low-cost online workshop, packed full of exercises and advice from me and your fellow students, please check out my upcoming workshops. With school and work, I’m not sure how many of these (if any) I’ll be able to offer next year. Now’s the time to join us!
  • Don’t need any work done now but you’d like to help me buy textbooks and school supplies? You can donate to me via PayPal.

If you’ve got other work you’d like to discuss with me, need a mailing address, or have questions, please feel free to contact me at cuinnedits at gmail.

Thank you.

* At some point I should probably also tell the story of I used up all of my federal grants and maxed out my student loans going to the University of Pennsylvania, only to have it run out one semester before graduation… But that story depresses me so much. Maybe next time.