Second week of the new year. It’s been quiet here, warmer than usual for a January, and generally peaceful. I’m in between a lot of things right now, still figuring out what I’m going to do next. I don’t feel rushed, though. For the first time in years, I think I can take a minute to catch my breath.
Feeling and Thinking:
Mostly, I feel sore and tired. I spent this week starting to recover from two months of barely sleeping. I’m in a lot of pain, which isn’t new, but it’s been worse lately, enough to wake me up after a 3 or 4 hours of sleep. The screenshot below is a sample week in my life: every red line is a moment I moved or rolled over, and the pain woke me up. A few nights of that makes me tired and scatterbrained; a few months of it and my productivity curled up and died.
The opposite is also true. After a few days of sleeping seven (admittedly painful, but consecutive!) hours, I’m starting to get things done again. Which feels really good.
I don’t watch a lot of television, unless you count endless reruns of Law & Order on Channel 60, but I love Nancy Drew and Legacies on the CW. (I especially love that I can access those episodes through the app on my Xbox, because otherwise I’d never see them.) Nancy Drew is fun murder mysteries just like you remember from the old-timey books, but with ghosts! And kissing! And people of color/queer on-screen main characters! It’s a joy.
Legacies has all of that but is also about monsters at a boarding school who are trying to be good people while also being teenagers, and is a spinoff of The Originals, the most soap opera monster show to ever be on TV. I like fun, low-stakes, supernatural violence, especially on the CW. It’s clever, pretty, colorful, well-shot, and there’s just enough character development to get me emotionally invested without having to think a whole lot.
Writing doesn’t always have to be cutting-edge, pushing the envelope, so smart it baffles 95% of the people trying to interact with it. (Despite what we’re told we should aspire to as authors.) It can be entertaining, “smart enough”, and solid. There’s value in that kind of writing, too.
The big topic of conversation in my circles this week has been that helicopter story. As I said a few days ago:
I’m officially Not Having An Opinion on that story, because the most helpful thing I can say is “Listen to what your trans friends think of it.” But I also have trans/GNC friends messily figuring themselves out in their work, sometimes judged harshly. To just them: still love you.
But what’s happened since means I need to add a little to that statement.
People affected by a story — in this case, trans and gender non-conforming folks — need to be allowed space to talk about their feelings without being accused of wanting to censor the work. In this case, trans and GNC readers have to be allowed to be hurt, angry, whatever else, without cis folks pushing back against those reactions. Punch up not down, right?
And the fact the author pulled the story? That’s recognizing you fucked up, and removing something that hurt people, because they didn’t want to hurt people. That’s kindness, not censorship.
If the author had chosen to leave it up, that’s okay too. Art can be hurtful and problematic and just plain bad. It might be trolling, or disingenuous, or meant to angrily provoke the reader, or it might just have needed a few more revisions before you hit “publish”. Sometimes we figure out things about ourselves by writing them out as fiction, and when that happens, we don’t always come across to the world the way we imagined. What matters is that we’re allowed the conversation around that art, however people feel, in a way which centers the people most affected (if the art is causing harm).
And that’s not saying cis folks or white folks or straight folks or whoever else is the majority, not the minority, can’t comment on a piece of art! Of course you can. But if you don’t want to be a jackass, maybe realize your voice is not the only one, and sometimes, it’s not the most important one.
Everyone’s in a such a rush to be the first opinion on the internet, to be the loudest voice, the most strongly offended, and often they’re not actually the ones targeted or minimized by a piece of art. What’s the value in you when you do that, then? I don’t see it.
I’ve been posting some art over on my instagram, mostly practicing various mediums. I’m pretty good at fine line illustration, and realistic pencil drawings, but I have no idea how to use decent colored pencils, or the new Copic pens I started picking up last year. So I’m playing around with them. It’s not remotely my best work, but it’s part of the learning process. I want to share with people that art, like writing, takes practice and repetition. Drawing something cute once doesn’t make you a great artist. You have to be able to do exactly what you want in the way you imagine, and then do it over and over again exactly the same way (if you want). Otherwise, you just got lucky.
But I also like finishing things (a lot). So I drew this stag beetle, posting the process pics beginning to end, and I like how it came out.
- I don’t actually agree with this author’s conclusion about the new show, but there’s some good thoughts about the Nancy Drew books and previous incarnations. “Nancy Drew Is Not Who You Remember“, Molly Young, Vulture, Oct 9, 2019.
- Same sort of overview, but more positive perspective: “Nancy Drew and the Mystery of Her Enduring Relevance“, Alexis Soloski, New York Times, Oct 4, 2019.
- I’ve been checking out these Copic Marker tutorials, and these.
- My instagram, which is mostly my cats, my art, and a few food pics, if you’re into that sort of thing.