A post a day. . . keeps the doctor away?

Well, it’s been a pretty slow weekend.  I’ve found that I haven’t had a ton to say, so I’ve just been lying low and watching T.V. with my husband.  We recently got the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray, and it’s been fantastic!  All we’ve got left are the special feature for The Return of the King.

But now it’s Monday and as I usually get up early to write, or do dishes (unfortunately dishes usually win out) I waded my way through my neglected e-mail and noticed that The Daily Post has issued a challenge.  To do a post a day.  As I’m going to be participating in NaNoWriMo,  I decided that a post a day would be a good way to warm up.  So, for at least the rest of the year you will be able to expect a post a day from me.

So, I hope you enjoy it and I’m certainly looking forward to getting more involved in the writing community here at WordPress.

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Why should we be talking about the bathroom?

Every week there is a student presentation in my class, “Theories & Methodologies of Gender Studies.”  (Yes the title is pretty daunting. The class is also pretty daunting.) Last night it was my turn to give a presentation.  In my other Gender Studies classes I’ve also had to give presentations, but they were on a topic of my choice.  I could pick anything that I wanted.  Not the case in this class.  I had to give a presentation on “Texts, Bodies, and Identity.”

I did have one decision.  What is a cultural application to how texts help us to identify ourselves and how we percieve our bodies? That’s a fairly big question, especially when my textbook defines a “text” as anything that exists out in society that influences us.  It could literally be anything.  I finally decided on bathroom doors.  Bathrooms can be pretty charged spaces, even if you don’t actually realize it.  If a man walks into the women’s bathroom (or visa versa) it’s a really big deal.  You also get fairly defensive if you can’t tell the sex of the person that’s walking into your bathroom.  Finally, in most public spaces there are only two choices.  You can go in the mens bathroom or the womens bathroom.  The binary of bathrooms contributes a lot to our notion of a gender binary. If there are only two bathroom choices there can only been two types of people, right?  Wrong, actually.  Even if you’re only looking at it in terms of biology there are people that have a myriad of different types of chromosomal compositions.  Some people are only born with an X chromosome (it’s called Turner’s Syndrome). Some people have XXY.  And there’s any number of other combinations that people are walking around with.  There are individuals known as intersexed, which means that while they may have been born with a specific sets of chromosomes (XX, for example) they may not have genitals that conform to the widely accepted ideas of what that chromosome combination should look like.

Not so easy now, is it?  So talking about bathrooms, while seemingly trivial, can be kind of a big deal. 

My conclusion, restrooms are just places where we eliminate body waste.  Maybe making it a gendered space isn’t necessarily the best idea.

Getting started as an author

If you read this blog regularly you know that I recently published my first short story, “The Life and Times of Rebecca Walker.”  Amazon has made it very easy for writers like me to get their work out there.  I prefer to write short stories and going to a publisher with a 15 page story and asking them to publish it seems like a something that probably won’t happen.

However, that means that all the work that a publisher would do to promote my work has to be done by me instead.  It is because of this that I spend a lot of my spare time (okay, time when I should be doing homework) marketing.  There are a few things that I’ve found really helpful for getting my name out there and getting some sales for my story.

1) Being active on the Kindle Direct Publishing forums.  This is a great way to “meet” other self-published authors and talk about effective ways to market your books.  Also, a lot of authors are willing to swap reviews which can be super helpful in increasing visibility to your book.

2) Using Twitter is also really helpful.  Following a lot of the authors that you meet on the KDP forums can increase your visibility.  Also following blogs that review indie work is helpful.  But don’t only follow author related stuff.  I’m sure you have other interests and following them can help to increase your visibility outside publisher circles and also helps your ideas from getting stale.  Authors are great, but there are a lot of other fish in the sea.

3) Tell your family that you’ve published a book! The first person that ever bought my story was my grandma.  Especially if you have a big family, that family can be a really great support network for you.

4) A blog here on WordPress that I’ve found to be extremely helpful is Kristen Lamb’s Blog.  She gives really good tips on how to market books and good people to connect with.  And her advice is really user friendly.  One thing that I appreciate is that she isn’t really snobby.  A lot of people that give advice to self-published authors have this air of superiority around their writing and Kristen doesn’t have that.

I hope that some or all of these tips are helpful to you.  Happy writing!

Paisley Tines: Grade Nine

I wasn’t feeling all that well last night, and so I stayed home from my research methods class.  Luckily my husband is in the class also so I have a built in study partner.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself I decided to take the opportunity to work on my latest book a little more.  I’m about 1000 words in and Paisley is starting to develop her own personality, her own way of looking at things.

From her diary I can now establish that her family is not well off, she’s excited about her school prospects, and she’s starting to enjoy volleyball.  Her friend, Shana, is starting to take a more dominant role in her life.  I have a feeling that in the next 1000 words Paisley is going to develop a personality of her own, rather than me having to supplement her personality with bits of personality pulled from 1000 different situations.

At this point in her development, I’m really grateful for things like open forums.  I am pulling a lot from my own experience and the experience of women I know.  However, it’s really helpful to browse through the forums that I used in 9th grade to remind me of what it’s like to be 14 and starting a whole new experience.

Stay tuned for more information about Paisley, I’m sure that she’s going to be someone you’ll want to get to know.

Minneapolis Slut Walk

As the days get closer and closer to the Minneapolis Slut Walk I’ve been considering if I’m going to go.

When I first heard about it I knew that I was going to go.  Anything to end victim-blaming is something that is very easy for me to get on board with.  When I first heard about it I was blogging over on Hub Pages, and these are my original thoughts.  As you can tell by the date at this point, it was not held on August 6th.  And the last few months have really given me the opportunity for some introspection.  The big question being, am I going to go?  Because I think this is a really important movement I did donate to the cause.  But do I want to do more than just give (limited) financial support?

Yesterday, CBS Minnesota reported on Slut Walk and the comments were extremely disheartening to me.  As is often the case, commenters only read the headline before commenting.  As a result the majority of comments were blatantly ignorant, sexist, and just plain stupid.  To be honest, it was the comments that were both sexist and stupid (although, do I really need to add those qualifiers?) that really put fear into my heart.  The question “am I going to go?” became slightly bigger.  “Do I feel safe going?” and “I can accept that there will be people around calling participants sluts.  Is that something I can deal with?”  These are questions that I’m going to be battling over the next few days.  And to be honest, my personal emotional state on Saturday will probably be the biggest determining factor as to my participation. 

If you’ve gone to a Slut Walk or are thinking about going to one, what are some of the thoughts that you’ve had prior to your participation?

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Motherhood in a larger context

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