Twilight: Sustaining Stereotypes

[Content Note: Manipulation, Stereotyping of Women and Native Americans]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 12, Bella and Edward's relationship is observed by Billy Black and Bella worries that Billy may inform her father Charlie. Later, Edward and Bella spend the weekend alone together in the woods.

Twilight, Chapter 12: Balancing

When last we saw Jacob Black, he and Bella were strolling on the beach, and Bella was flirting with him in order to pump him for information about the Cullens. Jacob seemed receptive to her flirtations, and acted eager to share his 'scary stories' that the other Quileute tribe members -- notably his father -- take seriously. Now Jacob is on Bella's driveway, in the flesh, when she hadn't really expected to ever see him again.

Metapost: Reading ROT13

This is a reminder to everyone that there is a ROT13 button at the top of the blog. But when that's too cumbersome to use for reading through lots and lots of comments, I have found a shortcut that works well with my current browser (so it might work for you too!).

1. Enable the Bookmark Toolbar in Firefox. 


2. Rick-click the bookmark bar and add a New Bookmark. 


3. Paste the following code into the New Bookmark and name the bookmark "ROT13".


javascript:var%20coding%20=%20%22abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLM%22;%20function%20rot13(t)%20{%20for%20(var%20r%20=%20%22%22,i=0;i<t.length;i++)%20{%20character%20=%20t.charAt(i);%20position%20=%20coding.indexOf(character);%20if%20(position%20>%20-1)%20character%20=%20coding.charAt(position%20+%2013);%20r%20+=%20character;%20}%20return%20r;%20}%20S=window.getSelection();%20function%20t(N)%20{%20return%20N.nodeType%20==%20N.TEXT_NODE;%20}%20function%20r(N)%20{%20if%20(t(N))%20N.data%20=%20rot13(N.data);%20}%20for%20(j=0;j<S.rangeCount;++j)%20{%20var%20g=S.getRangeAt(j),%20e=g.startContainer,%20f=g.endContainer,%20E=g.startOffset,%20F=g.endOffset,%20m=(e==f);%20if(!m||!t(e))%20{%20/*%20rot13%20each%20text%20node%20between%20e%20and%20f,%20not%20including%20e%20and%20f.%20*/%20q=document.createTreeWalker(g.commonAncestorContainer,%20NodeFilter.SHOW_ELEMENT%20|%20NodeFilter.SHOW_TEXT,%20null,%20false);%20q.currentNode=e;%20for(N=q.nextNode();%20N%20&&%20N%20!=%20f;%20N%20=%20q.nextNode())%20r(N);%20}%20if%20(t(f))%20f.splitText(F);%20if%20(!m)%20r(f);%20if%20(t(e))%20{%20r(k=e.splitText(E));%20if(m)f=k;%20e=k;}%20if%20(t(f))%20g.setEnd(f,f.data.length);%20}%20void%200

NOTE: This does work to read Disqus comments in my browser, but does not work to transform a comment that is still in the Disqus "compose" box. You will still need to compose comments in a ROT13 window, unless someone has a cleaner solution.

Credit here to Jacotus.

Deals: Pulchritude

Apparently my book is on sale right now at Audible for $1.99. I didn't even realize!


If you're into the Audible ecosystem -- and it does very conveniently follow you around on all your iPhones, Android devices, and Kindles -- this is a good deal to grab. Just throw the book into your cart, and then uncheck the option to spend a credit (since the credits cost more than $1.99) and your cart should update with the correct total.

Deals: The Raven Ring

I love Patricia C. Wrede books more than I love anything else on earth, so I feel morally bound to tell everyone that her novel "The Raven Ring" is today's Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99.

Buffy: Your Inevitable John Ritter Thread

[Content Note: Buffy Spoilers, Abusive Parenting, Serial Murder, Kidnapping, Drugs, Violence, Rape, Really-This-Is-A-Very-Triggery-Post]

Husband put on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode last night in an attempt to relax and unwind after a long day. THIS WAS A MISTAKE. (A good mistake, because I do enjoy the show so far, but soothing it is not.) The episode that was next in rotation was "Ted". "TED" IS ABOUT ALL THE TRIGGERY THINGS EVER. Seriously. And since so many of you enjoy talking about Buffy, here is yet another thread with rambly thoughts on the show. Spoilers ahead, along with an episode summary for folks who enjoy following along.

Open Thread: Actual Cookies

Because so many of us like cookies, lol.

I don't really have "favorite" things, because my preferences change like the seasons but with less regularity, but I really like these: Orange Dreams. I don't bother making sandwiches out of them, though; I just eat them.



(Source: The Cookie Bible)

Feminism: Cookies

I say a lot of things on this site about women, and how to interact with women, and how to respect women, and about my utter loathing for the terrible, horrible, entitled character trope of Nice Guys who fail in almost all interactions with and respect for women. But I don't say very much about actual nice guys, because I tend to think they can keep on keeping on just fine without me. I'm just some random dudette on the internet, after all. But today I'd like to thank some genuinely nice guys that have interacted with me in the past few days.

To the guy at work who, when we were gently teasing him about having a rough childhood based on a silly offhand remark he made, made a face and said, "Yeah, I'm a straight white man, what a rough life I have clearly had", leading to one of those rare oh my god, someone In Real Life gets this stuff moments, thank you.

To the man who approached me in an empty parking lot early in the morning to ask for emergency gas money after his car ran out, but who immediately saw the early stirrings of cautious fear in my eyes and -- rather than get defensive -- made every possible effort to move slowly, remain motionless and in my line of sight while I was digging out my wallet, stay out of grabbing range, communicate clearly and respectfully, and use all possible body language to convey that he respected my fear rather than challenge its validity, thank you.

To the young man who worked at the grocery store who offered to carry my groceries out to the car upon seeing my back brace and correctly deducing that I was disabled, but who graciously accepted my polite decline of his offer (which I enunciated clearly for the sake of any nosy managers who might be watching) without pressuring me or overriding my wishes for the sake of "chivalry", thank you.

To the police officer who pulled me over for accidentally speeding in an ambiguously marked school zone, actually listened to my situation and seemed to genuinely care about the details without giving off any creepy vibes, as well as being careful to stand as far back from my open window as safety would allow, remaining out of my personal space at all times, and keeping within my eyesight as much as possible thereby making me feel as much at ease as possible in an interaction that has the potential to end very badly indeed, thank you.

To all the many men out there who are practicing feminism as best they can today, actively learning how to do better tomorrow, and genuinely trying to think about situations from the point of view of the least privileged party in the exchange, thank you.

Metapost: Follow By Email

There is a new Follow-By-Email (or Email Enrollment, as I like to call it) button on the side of the page that looks like this:


It's supposed to send new posts directly to the email inbox of your choice, for those of you who either want instant notice and/or don't like RSS readers. So woot.

There is a captcha field after you enter your email which I can't turn off, but if you can't use capchas, drop me an email from the address you want to subscribe to, and I'll fill out the submission for you, no problem.

Monday Musings: Considering the Status Quo

Because this is awesome:

Here is the thing, okay? Coming into a feminist conversation with, “Have you considered that sometimes women acquire free drinks at bars?” is like walking into graduate school during Philosophy finals and saying, “Have you considered that the color blue that I see may not be the color blue that you see?”

From Harriet J's (aka Fugitivus) "A Few Things To Stop Doing When You Find a Feminist Blog" under the heading "Well, That’s Really Interesting, But Have You Perhaps Considered The Status Quo? Just My Two Cents". Which is 9 parts swearing and ALL parts awesome.

RECOMMENDS. What have you been reading and writing these days? 

Metapost: The New-Old Blogger Interface

Today I have been blessed with an angelic choir of blog readers, all singing the beautiful and ineffable strains of CSS into my addled brain. The result: a miracle. We have managed to kind-of sort-of recreate the old Blogger interface, without all the awful horrible terrible no-good glaring white colors and no-information-processing-for-you-at-a-glance whitespace. We have gone from this:


To this:



Much better. Not as good as before Google started pissing all over a nice, functional interface, but at least it doesn't literally hurt me to look at it. (And there's a statement that this software engineer is oh-so-happy to be forced into saying. Like, really, this is my job, helping to document GUIs and sometimes even design them. Not so much right now, but in the past, yeah. And I'm not saying I'm smarter than the folks at Google, but fuck me sideways this is basic GUI interface 101: Thou Shalt Not Make Something That Hurts The Users. I mean, really. GAH. And now I'm side-tracked again.)

So now I am going to share with everyone else how to get precisely what I have above, and then follow with some suggestions on how to tweak to your liking. (And you won't have to learn CSS. Probably.)

But first!

The Credits
So much credit must go to the people who actually figured out how to make this work and then taught it to me.

Dark UFO for his starting stylesheet here, and for pointing me to StyleBot in the first place.
Loquat, for walking me through how to change things manually in the CSS.
Jess, for tweaking the starting code in order to add much-needed borders and awesomeness.
Update: TiredPhilantropist, for working out a way to apply the Chrome fix to Firefox Stylish.

The Code
1. Install Google Chrome browser. 
You will need Google Chrome for this, because the plugin that makes all this possible is currently only supported there. I know, I know, we're not happy with Google right now, but what can you do.
Here is a download link.
(Update: There is now a way to do this in Firefox with the Stylish plugin thanks to TiredPhilantropist. See the bottom portion of the post for Firefox instructions.)

2. Install StyleBot plugin.
You will need the StyleBot plugin by Ankit Ahuja. While you're at it, why not donate to the StyleBot pledge or leave an affirming comment to let the programmer(s) know that StyleBot is rockstar? The Chrome browser is almost certainly going to continue being updated, and the StyleBot plugin will probably have to be updated with each iteration.
Here is a download link (which you must visit via your Chrome browser). 

3. Go to your Blogger posts page and press the new CSS button in the address bar.
Once StyleBot is installed and Chrome has restarted, you should have a swiffy little "css" button in the right-hand side of your address bar. Head to your blogger posts page and press the button.

The CSS button is on the right.
4. Press the Edit CSS button in the StyleBot popup. 
When you press the CSS button in your address bar, the StyleBot popup menu should show up on the right side of your page. We'll talk about how to use this later, for now, just press the "Edit CSS" button at the bottom.


5. Copy-and-paste the following code.
Slap this into the StyleBot window.

#post-labels {
    font-size: 10px;
    width: 860px;
}

#richbars {
    width: 888px;
}

#templateText {
    height: 444px;
    width: 999px;
}

#textarea {
    height: 362px;
    width: 962px;
}

.GM1BAGKBJO {
    padding: 0px 0px;
}

.GM1BAGKBLEB {
    color: #222;
    padding: 0px 5px;
}

.GM1BAGKBM5B {
    margin-left: -40px;
}

.GM1BAGKBO2B {
    display: inline ;
}

.blogg-posttable tr .GM1BAGKBOB {
    display: none;
}

.blogg-visible-on-select a {
    color: #000000;
}

.editor .htmlBox, .editor .composeBox {
    max-width: 900px;
}

a.GM1BAGKBEHB.editPosts {
    width: 80px;
}

div.GM1BAGKBAAB {
    background-color: #ffffff;
    border-bottom-width: 1px;
    border-left-width: 1px;
    border-right-width: 1px;
    border-style: solid;
    font-size: 11px;
    line-height: 3px;
    padding-bottom: 0;
    padding-left: 20px;
    padding-right: 0;
    padding-top: 5px;
    width: 110px;
}

div.GM1BAGKBCBB {
    background-color: #999999;
}

div.GM1BAGKBDAB {
    background-color: #999999;
    border-color: #000000;
}

div.GM1BAGKBEAB {
    padding: 0;
}

div.GM1BAGKBH5 {
    background-color: #999999;
}

div.GM1BAGKBO5 {
    padding: 0;
}

div.htmlBoxWrapper {
    background-color: #999999;
}

div.labels-round-box {
    font-size: 10px;
    width: 190px;
}

div.postsTable {
    font-size: 10px;
}

h1 {
    font-size: 16px;
}

input.GM1BAGKBMEC.titleField.textField.GM1BAGKBLEC {
    width: 600px;
}

input.GM1BAGKBNEC.titleField.textField.GM1BAGKBMEC {
    border-color: #000000;
}

input.text {
    width: 500px;
}

span.GM1BAGKBESB {
    color: red;
}

span.GM1BAGKBKGB {
    font-size: 12px;
    line-height: 10px;
    width: 100px;
}

textarea.htmlBox {
    height: 400px;
    width: 900px;
}

div.optionHolder {
    background-color: #f0f0f0;
    border-style: solid;
    border-color: #000000;
}

td.GM1BAGKBBO.GM1BAGKBDO.GM1BAGKBEO.GM1BAGKBKO div input {
    border-style: solid;
}

a.GM1BAGKBMGB.editPosts.selected {
    margin-left: 45px;
    width: 85px;
}

/* KNOWN CODE */

/* Font Size */

li, fieldset, form, label, legend, table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td {
    font-size: 12px;
}

/* Options for upper B Button */

a.blogg-button.blogg-primary {
    margin-left: 20px;
}

div.GM1BAGKBKAB {
    background-color: #999999;
}

div.GM1BAGKBL5 {
    background-color: #999999;
}

/* Options for New Post Buttons */

div.GM1BAGKBI5 div {
    margin-left: -10px;
}

span.GM1BAGKBCGB {
    width: 115px;
    margin-left: 20px;
}

div.GM1BAGKBI5 {
    border-color: #000000;
    border-width: 1px;
    background-color: #ffffff;
    width: 140px;
    border-style: solid;
}

/* Options for Posts Buttons */

span.GM1BAGKBNGB {
    width: 108px;
    font-size: 10px;
}

a.GM1BAGKBMGB.editPosts {
    width: 85px;
    margin-left: 45px;
}

/* Background behind Posts lines */

div.GM1BAGKBG5 {
    background-color: #999999;
}

/* Options for Posts lines */

.blogg-posttable {
    margin-left: -20px;
}

tr {
    background-color: #ffffff;
}

/* Border for Posts lines */

table {
    border: 1px solid #000000;
}

/* Width of Posts lines */

.blogg-posttable .blogg-visible-on-select {
    color: #000000;
    margin-top: 0px;
    padding-bottom: 2px;
}

td {
    border-color: #000000;
    padding: 2px;
}

/* Options for Edit / Delete */

div.blogg-visible-on-select {
    font-size: 0;
}

/* Options for Post labels */

a.GM1BAGKBLB {
    color: black;
    font-size: 8px;
}

/* Options for Draft / Schedule */

span.GM1BAGKBNRB {
    font-size: 8px;
}

/* Options for Settings Page */

div.GM1BAGKBCK.blogg-title {
    background-color: #ffffff;
    border-style: solid;
    border-color: #000000;
    border-top-width: 1px;
    border-left-width: 1px;
    border-right-width: 1px;
}

div.GFUQPS5BH5 {
    border-color: #000000;
    border-width: 1px;
    background-color: #ffffff;
    width: 140px;
    border-style: solid;
}

div.GFUQPS5BF5 {
    background-color: #999999;
}

div.GFUQPS5BK5 {
    background-color: #999999;
}

td.GFUQPS5BBO {
    background-color: #ffffff;
    border-style: solid;
    border-color: #000000;
    padding-bottom: 1px;
    padding-top: 1px;
}

div.GFUQPS5BJAB {
    background-color: #999999;
}

a.GFUQPS5BLB {
font-size: 8px;
}

6. Hit Save. 
Hit the "save" button at the bottom of the window.


That's all.


The Tinkering
So, hey, what if you really like some/most of the above but you really hate the gray background on the Post Setting form? How do you fix THAT without starting from scratch? Well, now I'll show you how to use StyleBot to do really simple stuff without mucking in the CSS. For the sake of our numbered format, I'll just use the gray background on the Post Settings as an example.

1. Go to the page you want to modify. 
Since we're wanting to change something on the post composition page, open up a new post.


2. Hit the CSS button. 
You know the drill, so I'll just reuse the picture above here.


3. Move the StyleBot window as needed. 
Since the element we want to change is on the right, we need to move the StyleBot window out of the way. Press the little arrow button to toggle whether it lands on the left or right side of the browser.


4. Select the element that needs changing. 
See that blue button in the picture above? The one that has a box and a cursor in it? Whenever that button is toggled to blue, you're in StyleBox selection mode. Whatever page element you select, you will be able to modify. (If you want to deselect an element, just press the selection button again.)

You can see what you're about to select because there's a green box that borders whatever page element you're currently hovering over with your cursor. Select the Post Settings area by bringing your cursor down to the white space under "Advertise Products".


5. Make the changes in the StyleBot window. 
Now that we've selected the element, the information for that element will fill out automatically in the StyleBot window. Whatever you change in this window will affect that page element only. (There's an Undo button at the bottom of the window, so keep that in mind if something goes wrong.) We wanted to change the background color, so we'll do that now.



Once you've made a change, it's saved for you so you don't need to do anything special to save. (And, again, remember the awesome "Undo" button at the bottom of the window.)

6. Backup your code. 
Go into the "Edit CSS" button, select all (Ctrl+A), copy (Ctrl+C), and paste everything (Ctrl+V) into a text file somewhere on your computer for safety's sake. I say this for two reasons. One, it's a good idea to backup stuff, period. Two, and more pertinently, if you have Blogger open across multiple tabs, your edits in StyleBox may clobber each other and you may lose something. That happened to me while writing this tutorial. If that happens to you, don't panic: just close all Blogger tabs except one, open StyleBot, hit Edit CSS, and paste in the code you saved off. Simple and easy.


The Conclusion
First and foremost, I would like to register my annoyance with Google. This new interface is fundamentally broken in obvious, stupid, how-did-this-pass-QA ways. For example, the fact that adding a link or an image in the post dumps you back out to the top of the post, which means I had to Page Down about eighteen times while writing this tutorial. For anther example, the text editor randomly changes sizes during composition, and I can only reset back to normal by maximizing and then windowing my browser again. WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. But beyond the brokenness, it's also an interface that is deeply damaging to people with visual disorders (all the white colors) and information processing disorders (the floating lack of lines and all the excessive whitespace). This interface literally hurts people and when folks registered this fact with Google, the response was crickets. And, you know, pushing the hurtful interface to every one of their users without even the courtesy of a warning email. So, you know, thanks.

Second and paramount, I want to express my deepest and undying gratitude to everyone who helped me through this time. Some of you gave hugs, some of you offered help with my initial plan to move to WordPress, and some of you dived into the CSS waters and brought back programming pearls which you shared freely and kindly to me. You are all wonderful, and I cannot thank you enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Times infinity. You made what was initially a horrible, depersonifying experience of having my safe space literally hurt me into a wonderful affirmation that there are good people in the world and that they care about me, just because they are so awesome and nice. I cannot express how deeply your kindness touches me. Thank you.

Third and ultimately, feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone who is struggling with the new Blogger interface. Questions are welcome here in the comments, or via email. (Though I disclaim here any hope of answering specific CSS questions. Post those in the comments and we'll see if someone here has the answer.) And if you can, I do recommend giving StyleBot an encouraging comment at the bottom of the Pledgie page. My own husband is a freeware programmer (though also not conversant in CSS) and it means everything to him when he knows people are using his stuff.

Thank you. Normal posting will resume Monday.

Update: DarkUFO has also pointed me to this tutorial which will also help folks learning the ins and outs of StyleBot. Enjoy!



The Firefox Alternative
Update: There is now a way to do this in Firefox with the Stylish plugin thanks to TiredPhilantropist.

Step 1: Download Stylish and restart Firefox.
Here is a download link (which you must visit via your Firefox browser).

Step 2: Go to your Blogger posts page and select Write New Style For Blogger.com.
The Stylish button is at the bottom left corner of your browser.


3. Copy-and-paste the following code.
You'll need to give the new style a Name: I just call mine "Blogger Interface". Then select all the pre-set code in the new style window (Ctrl+A), and paste in this code instead (Ctrl+V).

@-moz-document domain(blogger.com) {
#post-labels {
    font-size: 10px !important;
    width: 860px !important;
}

#richbars {
    width: 888px !important;
}

#templateText {
    height: 444px !important;
    width: 999px !important;
}

#textarea {
    height: 362px !important;
    width: 962px !important;
}

.GM1BAGKBJO {
    padding: 0px 0px !important;
}

.GM1BAGKBLEB {
    color: #222 !important;
    padding: 0px 5px !important;
}

.GM1BAGKBM5B {
    margin-left: -40px !important;
}

.GM1BAGKBO2B {
    display: inline  !important;
}

.blogg-posttable tr .GM1BAGKBOB {
    display: none !important;
}

.blogg-visible-on-select a {
    color: #000000 !important;
}

.editor .htmlBox, .editor .composeBox {
    max-width: 900px !important;
}

a.GM1BAGKBEHB.editPosts {
    width: 80px !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBAAB {
    background-color: #ffffff !important;
    border-bottom-width: 1px !important;
    border-left-width: 1px !important;
    border-right-width: 1px !important;
    border-style: solid !important;
    font-size: 11px !important;
    line-height: 3px !important;
    padding-bottom: 0 !important;
    padding-left: 20px !important;
    padding-right: 0 !important;
    padding-top: 5px !important;
    width: 110px !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBCBB {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBDAB {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
    border-color: #000000 !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBEAB {
    padding: 0 !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBH5 {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBO5 {
    padding: 0 !important;
}

div.htmlBoxWrapper {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

div.labels-round-box {
    font-size: 10px !important;
    width: 190px !important;
}

div.postsTable {
    font-size: 10px !important;
}

h1 {
    font-size: 16px !important;
}

input.GM1BAGKBMEC.titleField.textField.GM1BAGKBLEC {
    width: 600px !important;
}

input.GM1BAGKBNEC.titleField.textField.GM1BAGKBMEC {
    border-color: #000000 !important;
}

input.text {
    width: 500px !important;
}

span.GM1BAGKBESB {
    color: red !important;
}

span.GM1BAGKBKGB {
    font-size: 12px !important;
    line-height: 10px !important;
    width: 100px !important;
}

textarea.htmlBox {
    height: 400px !important;
    width: 900px !important;
}

div.optionHolder {
    background-color: #f0f0f0 !important;
    border-style: solid !important;
    border-color: #000000 !important;
}

td.GM1BAGKBBO.GM1BAGKBDO.GM1BAGKBEO.GM1BAGKBKO div input {
    border-style: solid !important;
}

a.GM1BAGKBMGB.editPosts.selected {
    margin-left: 45px !important;
    width: 85px !important;
}

/* KNOWN CODE */

/* Font Size */

li, fieldset, form, label, legend, table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td {
    font-size: 12px !important;
}

/* Options for upper B Button */

a.blogg-button.blogg-primary {
    margin-left: 20px !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBKAB {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBL5 {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

/* Options for New Post Buttons */

div.GM1BAGKBI5 div {
    margin-left: -10px !important;
}

span.GM1BAGKBCGB {
    width: 115px !important;
    margin-left: 20px !important;
}

div.GM1BAGKBI5 {
    border-color: #000000 !important;
    border-width: 1px !important;
    background-color: #ffffff !important;
    width: 140px !important;
    border-style: solid !important;
}

/* Options for Posts Buttons */

span.GM1BAGKBNGB {
    width: 108px !important;
    font-size: 10px !important;
}

a.GM1BAGKBMGB.editPosts {
    width: 85px !important;
    margin-left: 45px !important;
}

/* Background behind Posts lines */

div.GM1BAGKBG5 {
    background-color: #999999 !important;
}

/* Options for Posts lines */

.blogg-posttable {
    margin-left: -20px !important;
}

tr {
    background-color: #ffffff !important;
}

/* Border for Posts lines */

table {
    border: 1px solid #000000 !important;
}

/* Width of Posts lines */

.blogg-posttable .blogg-visible-on-select {
    color: #000000 !important;
    margin-top: 0px !important;
    padding-bottom: 2px !important;
}

td {
    border-color: #000000 !important;
    padding: 2px !important;
}

/* Options for Edit / Delete */

div.blogg-visible-on-select {
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Before and after pics:



4. Save the style and enjoy.

Metapost: An Update

Everything always seems a tiny bit better to me in the morning. I don't know why.

I had a good cry last night because I'm tired of having back pain and stomach pain and knee pain and now having head pain Because Google and also because when we went to a movie last night in an attempt to relax, I accidentally lacerated my toe in the parking lot because there was a steel cable poking quietly out of a broken parking bumper, and while the toe is now adequately bandaged and I'm up-to-date on my tetanus shot, it was a bit of a downer because ye gods it stings.

These are not good for toes.

So I had a good long cry until about 2 am, and am now in that 9 am fog that follows after nights like these, when the adrenaline has worn off and all you have left is an empty stomach and a vague craving for classic video games that comforted you as a child.

Anyway.

Gods, I cannot believe I still have to STARE AT THE KEYBOARD to compose this. No, no, I won't get hung up on it again. This post has a reason. And that reason is to first and foremost thank everyone for all the hugs and all the offers of help. I am overwhelmed with happy from this; thank you. I *will* answer all the emails in good course -- I need to send out about 20 emails, some of which will involve me having to fiddle with StyleBot first before I can say whether something worked or not. I'm deeply touched that so many of you are willing to help me get past this hurdle.

(I also intend to post a fixed post at some point for the 8 billion other people who are stuck with Blogger for whatever reason but hate the new interface. WE WILL FIX THIS MONSTROSITY.)

But! Unfortunately, I first must go run some errands before the shops close (particularly the post office, which is only open half-days on Saturday) and I must also find nourishment and possibly some rest. So if you don't hear from me until this evening, it's not that I'm ignoring everyone or that I've been eaten by the Google Hydra (each head represents a different Google service), it's just that I'm trying to figure out how to feed myself and three others this week prior to two major medical procedures (neither of them mine, though).

Thank you, thank you, thank you, all you wonderful people. Thank you.

Metapost: Wits End

I am sitting at my desk crying right now.

Blogging is such an important part of my life, but I can't even look at the new Blogger interface without it physically hurting.

Even writing this stupid post hurts. It hurts my eyes and my head and I don't know what to do. I feel so lost and upset and angry. Do you know that Google did not even email us to warn that this would happen this week? You can't sign up for Blogger without an email address. They could have told me in advance. They didn't bother. And now my head hurts and I don't know what to do to fix all this.

I've spent most of the day looking for Blogger alternatives. Many of them aren't easy to migrate to. Not all of them support Disqus. Most of them charge real world money for things Blogger offered for free -- like the ability to use the custom domain that I own. Most of them are apparently deeply insecure to hacking and DOS attacks.

Even WordPress, I think. I can't be sure. I can't figure WordPress out, I can't work out how to change the template to anything even remotely resembling the one we have. The template I spent so much time on. That I love so dearly. That makes my site look like mine. Gods, I know it seems like such a stupid thing, like a truly classic "first world problem" of zero magnitude whatsoever, but this was my space and now it hurts me to be in it. I feel like I can't even breathe, that's how lost I feel right now.

I have searched high and low for a way to make my blog useable. I can't find a Stylish plugin that would fix all this. I can hardly find any that don't also change how the front page looks to me. It seems like no matter what I do, I've lost my blog, the way it looks and feels. Two years worth of work. Over a thousand posts. More wonderful comments than I can count. I survived a surgery with this blog. I don't know how I can do this. I don't know what I should do.

I have to walk away from this for the moment. I have to ... figure out how to fix this some how. But I feel so helpless at the moment.

I'm so damn tired of living with a disability. Someone parked in my assigned medical parking today and I had to walk all the way from the non-medical lot. I was so hurt and sore when I got to my desk and all I could do this afternoon was cry because I am so fucking sick of this body I didn't ask for. I try not to be that way. I try not to think that way. I try to remind myself how lucky I am.

But I didn't want ... the last thing I needed today, was to have one more disability dropped onto me. Whether it's something wrong with my eyes or something wrong with my brain, I didn't need for my one truly safe space to turn around and hurt me. 

Metapost: Shit

Today my option to revert to the old Blogger interface went away. *poof* Gone.

I hate the New Google so much. Not because I'm adverse to change (which we all know is obviously the WORST THING TO BE) but because New Google literally hurts me. It gives me literal pain in my head. I am composing this post while staring at my keyboard because the screen hurts me. Fuck.

The word on the Google forums is that disabled people who can't use the new interface can apparently go fuck themselves (I'm paraphrasing), so I'm pretty pissy at the moment. I can only assume that I'll have to move the blog, which with 1,000+ posts and gods know how many comments will obviously be SO VERY FUN.

Stay tuned, and I can only apologize for the inconvenience.

Open Thread: September 21, 2012

Completely open.

Open Thread: Buffy Update

There will be a post on Ted next week. Tonight we watched Bad Eggs. At some point I will have to wrestle with the fact that I am apparently the only person on earth Not Enamored With the character of Joyce Summers. I don't know what that says about me. Is there a personality test based on which characters on Buffy The Vampire Slayer you like?

Friends: Why I Dislike Ross Geller

[Content Note: Nice Guyism]

@ sharetv.org
So I wasn't going to write this because it seems a decade or so too late to be topical, but then I realized that I couldn't get any relevant Google search results for "Ross Geller Nice Guyism", and if there's one thing that motivates me, it's filling a Google search hole.

I've been re-watching Friends recently, ever since Mom got done with the complete box set and I've been largely confined to bed rest. I mostly like the show, despite the god-awful laugh track, and here is a note from me to television producers: Stop Using Laugh Tracks. I hate them. Hate, hate, hate. With a really good show, with something I like, with something like Friends, I can just barely manage to tune out the laugh track; with something I struggle with, like Big Bang Theory, the laugh track is the final nail in the "wouldn't I rather watch the Food Network anyway?" coffin. Stop using 'em. Hate-hate-hate.

Open Thread: Cooking Classes

Random squee this morning.

So my local Central Market offers cooking classes and I went to one last night and it was WONDERFUL. Pastry 101, and we learned how to make biscuits and a Quiche Lorraine and it was so very yummy. Seriously, even Husband thought it tasted great, and he has a complex relationship with bacon. I've already signed up to learn to be a "volunteer" so that I can attend the classes for free and clean up after people, if my body will permit (we're in discussions, it and I).

If I can make it again, I'm thinking YouTube video, just because I've always wanted to be one of those YouTube cooking people and I know that Central Market isn't available everywhere.

OPEN THREAD. Talk amongst ourselves.

Metapost: Link List Change

The link list at the top of the page has shortened.

There are now two new links: ana's writings and blog faq. The former has links to my book and any finished deconstructions for downloads; the latter will be fleshed out as the spirit moves me.

The old links that are no longer in the list are:

  • deconstructions (now available via about ana and blog faq)
  • publishing (now available via about ana
  • forums (now available via blog faq)

I don't think those links were being used often enough to justify full time slots. Let me know if I'm wrong. Thank you muchly.

Buffy: The Most Feminist Show

From Jessica Valenti's "He's a Stud, She's a Slut":

Without a doubt, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably one of the most feminist shows there is. Shit, women’s studies departments even have small conferences on the show! There were fully developed, strong female protagonists; a main character was a lesbian; and the messages were undoubtedly about gender equality. I frigging miss Buffy.

Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

I don't think that I do agree with it. Yes, I'm still on Season 2, but a major issue I have is with the pervading "Nice Guyism" that I see throughout the show. There seems to be a very strong emphasis on men -- particularly Xander, but Giles and Angel are guilty of this too -- policing Buffy's choices, particularly her romantic choices. Despite Buffy's choices being questioned and probed in almost every episode so far, I've yet to see anyone called out for this behavior, nor have I seen Buffy effectively resist this intrusion. I'm also led to believe that the intrusion is considered beneficial by the writers, given that it frequently ends up saving Buffy's life (as when Xander follows her to the frat party, and ends up helping to save her). I just don't see any of this adding up to being a message about gender equality.

I'm also frustrated by the lack of people of color and people with physical disabilities and fat people on the show. When we did have a person of color -- Kendra the Slayer -- she was portrayed as backward and impoverished, stating that a torn shirt was her "only shirt" and unable to speak to Xander without stammering because she had been so deeply segregated from boys. Hell, the job fell to Buffy to "teach" the poor Jamaican girl that she does in fact have emotions. (Thank god there was a white woman around, amiright?) It's hard for me to reconcile 'most feminist thing ever' with major issues of race and the invisibiling of people with physical disabilities and fat.

Of course, one response is that "most feminist show" doesn't necessary imply potential so much as actual. Perhaps by whatever metric you reach for, Buffy is the best thing we've had so far. I don't watch a lot of television, so I can't really offer anything in rebuttal to that -- was Xena: Warrior Princess more or less essentially feminist than Buffy? And then we have to ask: by what measures? And how? A search for "feminist tv shows" nets such responses as Sex in the City (character Miranda identifies as a feminist), Saved by the Bell (ditto re: character Jessie), Big Bang Theory (LOLWHUT), and Game of Thrones (Because Arya). None of those shows, to my recollection, had a deeply diverse cast of people of color, people with disabilities, and/or fat people. So there's that.

What do you think defines "feminist television"? 
What are some examples of television you consider to be positively feminist, and why? 
Where do those same shows fall down and how would you like to see them improved?

Metapost: Scheduling Change

Prior to my surgery and disability leave, this was the schedule that I was keeping:

Monday: Reviews (if any)
Tuesday: Narnia
Wednesday: Author Interviews
Thursday: Random Deconstruction
Friday: Open Thread
Saturday: Twilight
Sunday: Recommends

It was a good schedule. I'm proud that I managed to keep it for most of 2012. However, due to work and life and potential upcoming commitments, I am announcing that moving forward, I am going to this revised schedule:

Monday: "Monday Musings" (combination Open Thread + Recommends)
Tuesday: --
Wednesday: Random Deconstruction (usually Narnia, not always)
Thursday: --
Friday: Random Deconstruction (usually Twilight, not always)
Sunday: Reviews (if any)

Thematically, this is how the new schedule shapes up:

Monday / Wednesday / Friday: Actual Posts
Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday: Moderating and Replying to Comments
Sunday: Rest and Creating New Content

There are several reasons for the new posting schedule:

  1. Real Life Conflicts: Monday / Wednesday / Friday are work days for me, with Tuesdays / Thursdays being doctor-groceries-bedrest days. I can comment from bedrest (usually) more easily than I can from work, and I think I'm better at responding to comments when I let them sit for a day or so. (Less chance for me to completely misunderstand, etc.)
  2. Reduced Deconstructions: This brings us down from 3 deconstructions a week (Narnia + Twilight + Wild Card) to 2 deconstructions a week. That saves me an enormous amount of time and means that the actual 2 posted will be higher quality and less random RARGH and therefore hopefully less whoops-fail.
  3. No Author Interviews: I really hate to give these up, but something has to give, and these posts get the fewest comments, so there you are. Never let it be said that I'm not mercenary. For those of you who are regular readers AND writers, you're still welcome to email me and I can make exceptions, but the offer is no longer open to everyone on earth and their dog. Alas. 
  4. Consolidated Open Threads / Recommends: This is purely and simply another time-saving cut. I do heartily encourage everyone to keep the open threads alive all week long. Because I do love the open threads / recommends / blog-a-rounds / chat-a-thons.

I'm genuinely really sorry to spring this change on everyone; I really really really crave stability and I know that a completely new posting schedule after almost two years on the last one may be jarring to some of you out there in readerland. I really apologize for that, and I want you to know that I'm not making these changes lightly. I consider this a necessary move, and I hope that you can still enjoy the posting and the climate here.

Thank you.

This change will take effect next week on Monday, September 24th.

Metapost: Illness Notice

This is a notice to let you all know that I am severely ill with some kind of stomach flu and will not be answering emails or moderating for the next 24 hours. Thank you.

Recommends: The Blog Mirror

I highly recommend this incredible blog-mirror by Elodie Under Glass, whether you have big boobs or not:

This mirror loves your eyes, like polished stones, and the way they catch and hold the light; the way they lie about their exact color, shifting and flickering like fish in a river, and the sweet way that they sit in your eyelids, like jewels in a fine setting. They sparkle with your intelligence, gems of the highest clarity.

This mirror loves the map of your skin. It loves the textures and travels, the lines of joy and movement and sorrow that it reads in your skin. It loves the story that your mouth tells, and it loves the secrets hidden in the corners of your lips, which give you so much of your beauty. It loves your beautiful human teeth, the hardest and toughest part of your body, because they are so perfect, so useful, so strong and fine and good. It loves the clever, architectural way that you’ve put together your curves with your angles, straight lines and swoops, in the presentation of this lovely piece of art – how intriguing, the shadow that lies under your eyes, and the line that runs down your nose, and the effect of the overall sculpture. What witty ears you have! And what interesting contours! This mirror also really gets your eyebrows.

I don't have big breasts -- or at least not as big as I'm apparently "supposed" to have, based on the sewn-in racks of the clothes that otherwise manage to fit the other parts of my body -- but I deeply appreciated Elodie's post, and not just because we went through the grueling and torturous process of bra-shopping this week. (High point: Finding a bra that fit, but in a smaller cup size than my measurements say I'm "supposed" to be, and then having the fitting person try to argue me into buying the larger, non-fitting size instead Because Numbers. *facepalm*)

RECOMMENDS! Whatcha been up to lately?

Metapost: 90 Day Return Policy

This is a notice to let people know that comments on old threads will now be closed once the thread is 90 days old or older.

On the one hand, I always dislike that when I go to other sites because OMG I HAVE RELEVANCY TO ADD. On the other hand, it's rapidly becoming a minor pet peeve of mine when someone stumbles onto my blog, reads a year-old post, completely skips over the entirety of 100+ comments, and posts something that either asks plaintively HAVE YOU CONSIDERED SOMETHING REALLY OBVIOUS and/or takes me to task for personal fail that frankly the distance of time makes me feel uninterested in trying to explain, justify, or defend (and yes, I do make mistakes, but I like to think I get better moving forward).

Also, gonna be honest: spam-bots love the older posts. Don't know why.

So. Each new thread means everyone has 90 days to get their two cents in. Let me know if that becomes unmanageable for whatever reason and we can fiddle with the numbers.

Metapost: Regularly Scheduled Programming

Folks, I've been increasingly falling behind on the blogging front, due to health and work commitments. I still have bunches to say about Narnia and Twilight and the like, but a major issue right now is becoming time -- it takes a lot of time to craft one of these mega-posts that cover a chapter in-depth.

The solution right now seems to be to buy a little time by doing some shorter posts that probably won't be Twilight or Narnia related. I'm going to try to make sure there's a Twilight and/or Narnia at least once every two weeks, so I hope this won't be too much of a drought, but I do think the weeklies will have to back off for a short time.

I'm desperately hoping that Christmas break will allow me to catch up with a buffer a bit. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, consider this a heads-up and I do deeply apologize for the reduced scheduling. 

Twilight: Pride and Prejudice

Content Note: Marginalization, "Reverse Racism"

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 12, Bella and Edward's relationship is observed by Billy Black and Bella worries that Billy may inform her father Charlie. Later, Edward and Bella spend the weekend alone together in the woods.

Twilight, Chapter 12: Balancing

Disclosure: I'm skipping over the remainder of Chapter 11 and diving into Chapter 12. Partly because the remainder of Chapter 11 has already pretty much been covered; after Edward picks up Bella and observes that Mike Newton is getting on his nerves, there are more questions-and-answers as Bella attempts to describe her love for the desert. And there is actually some good writing here, no snark intended, but nothing that I feel deeply called to deconstruct. Also, there's the money quote from Edward regarding Twilight being the safest time of day, which you should all incorporate into any Twilight tattoos you may be planning for yourself. And then this happens:

Open Thread: Smiley Songs

The Carpenter's "Top of the World" always brings a smile to my face. (Sometimes followed by happy-tears because it's so pretty to me.)

What's a song that makes you smile?

Open Threads are meant to be chatty, end-of-week fun times. Please refrain from negatively auditing other people's responses as that discourages participation. Thank you.

Feminism: Your Analogy Privileges

[Content Note: Rape Culture, Homophobia, Racism, Police Metaphor]

You.

Yes, you, the one who was linked here in the middle of an online discussion after Arguing By Analogy.

Your analogy privileges are revoked.

Author Interview: Ishawar Vedam on "A Leap in a Blue Moon"

Ana: Today we have Ishawar introducing their book, A Leap in a Blue Moon. I haven't read this book myself, but Ishawar was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Ishawar, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Ishawar: Thanks Ana for giving me a chance to talk about my book “A Leap in a Blue Moon” – LIBM for short.

The book is a modern fairy tale set in a parallel world where the literal meanings of (English) idioms turn real.

Nidhi is an 11-year old girl who loves Maths but hates English, especially idioms. One evening, while making fun of “A leap in the dark” and “Once in a blue moon”, she falls through into a world called Graria (“Gray Area”) where events and characters have tumbled out of a dictionary of idioms. Nidhi has no other choice but to figure out the rules of Graria and chart her escape which isn’t going to be easy with an idiomatic villain determined to foil her plans.

LIBM is about a little girl’s journey through a wonderland where redemption will depend on mastering a vastly different Math, it’s about growing out of stereotyped thinking and questioning the apparent to arrive at the right solution, but above all, it’s about how being human helps one survive the most nonsensically hopeless of situations.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Ishawar: I believe the book will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers. In fact it is already in print in India and has been appreciated by readers of all ages – from ten to seventy. Naturally, different readers depending on their age will take away different things. Children will like the fairy tale elements and enjoy the quirky characters and funny, sometimes stupid events that keep happening in Graria. Young adults and adults will discover a fast-paced fantasy whose plot will keep them guessing. However, a common takeaway would be the ability of the story to transport the reader to a different world while underscoring worldly lessons like never giving up and always helping those in need.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Ishawar: In "On Writing", one of the best books on the craft of writing, Stephen King mentions how the seeds of his novel are often situations which can be described with a simple what-if question. LIBM is no different in stemming from a simple question popping up in the author's mind.

Sometime in late 2006 I was browsing through the Oxford dictionary of Idioms (collecting dictionaries has been a hobby), when the idiom "hit the roof" caught my attention. Not the idiom exactly or its meaning (being extremely angry) but the accompanying illustration which showed an angry guy colliding with the roof. The image retreated into my subconscious and a what-if resurfaced after some time:

What if a little girl is trapped in an idiomatic world, where the literal meanings of idioms become real?

The what-if itself seemed promising in terms of being a novel idea, but expanding the idea to book size would depend on two things. First, there should exist in good numbers popular idioms with literal meanings that could represent events and characters. Of course creative liberty would have to be taken to expand certain meanings. Second and more important, it should be possible to link and weave these events and characters into the fabric of a story. The second requirement would be key because the plan was to write a novel, not a disjointed book on idioms made easy. I was lucky on both counts. There was a novel tucked away in the world of idioms, waiting to be discovered.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Ishawar: I would say that LIBM is “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Phantom Tollbooth”. There is this little 11-year old girl who goes down the rabbit hole, walks into a fairy tale setting and experiences ridiculous events just like Alice. At the same time, it is a work of meta fiction where the workings of the English language (idioms in this case) form the plot, similar to what happens in “The Phantom Tollbooth”. So if you have liked either of these two books, there is a high likelihood of your liking LIBM as well.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Ishawar: This is my first published book. The next one in the series will see the same protagonist trapped in a world called “Proverbia” where proverbs hold sway.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Ishawar: LIBM is available exclusively on Kindle as far as the ebook version goes. It is also available in print in India.

More info about the book and its characters is available on my website. For any feedback or queries, readers can contact me at my email.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Ishawar: A free sample is available on Amazon’s “Look Inside!” and can be accessed here. Please also like the Facebook page if you like the book.

Thanks once again for this opportunity to blog about my book. Much appreciated.

If you are an indie author interested in being interviewed, please read the interview policy here.
If you are an indie author interested in joining the Acacia Moon catalog, please visit the forums here.

Narnia: Playing for the Patriarchy

Content Note: Prejudice, Social Punishment, Bullying

Narnia Recap: Peter and Edmund have joined Prince Caspian at Aslan's How. 

Prince Caspian, Chapter 13: The High King In Command

Now is as good a time as any to point out that there are three chapters left in this book: there is Chapter 13, Chapter 14, and then Chapter 15 and then we are done with PC forever (barring the BBC and American adaptations).

Metapost: This Is To Inform You That Things Might Be Different In The Future

...like you didn't already know that.

But specifically in this case, the part of my brain that makes me finish movies I don't enjoy has finally finished reading all the Little House books and the deconstruction part of my brain has been screaming at me non-stop for three days because I HATE MA AND PA SO MUCH so I may eventually pick up the Little House stuff again someday. Or not.

Recommends: A Moment of Sympathy for Jen McCreight

Jen McCreight, of FreeThought blogs, is suspending her blogging indefinitely.

Here is an unrelated, and yet terribly related blog post that I was planning to recommend anyway: The Girl's Guide To Staying Safe Online.

Twilight: Cloudy With A Chance of Rape Culture

Content Note: Rape Culture, Examples of Misogynistic Language

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 11, Edward and Bella will experience strong physical feelings for one another and will get to know each other better as they traverse a new daily routine. Meanwhile, Mike volunteers to be Bella's gym partner and expresses his disapproval of Edward. 

Twilight, Chapter 11: Complications

No one is perfect, least of all me.

Open Thread: September 7, 2012

Completely open.

Open Thread: Name The Logical Fallacy

Is there a name for the logical fallacy of substituting/switching out word connotations in order to make a specious point? (Because if there's not a name, we need to make one. I keep seeing this thing.)

The best example I can provide at the moment would be to look at all the connotations of the word "love". We have romantic love ("I love my husband"), familial love ("I love my brother"), friendly love ("I love my best friend Nan"), preferential love ("I love pizza, but I don't love sushi"), spiritual love ("I love God"), and so forth. A trivial example of the Connotation Substitution Fallacy would be something like:

Ana: I love my friend Nan.

Troll: That is patently untrue. You do not love Nan because you have no intention of marrying her. You do not love Nan because you have never invited her to be present at the Mardoll Christmas gatherings. And you do not love Nan because you do not worship her as an ascended higher being.

The fallacy here is that the Troll has latched onto a word in the premise ("love") and has decided to ignore the contextual connotation (friendly love) and apply inappropriate-to-the-topic-at-hand connotations (romantic love, familial love, spiritual love). The key to diagnosing this fallacy is that it only works because English uses one word ("love") for multiple ideas -- if we replaced all the words with their connotative meanings, the argument would be nonsense. (Note: Total abuse of the Greek language coming up.)

Ana: I philia my friend Nan.

Troll: That is patently untrue. You do not eros Nan because you have no intention of marrying her. You do not storge Nan because you have never invited her to be present at the Mardoll Christmas gatherings. And you do not agape Nan because you do not worship her as an ascended higher being.

(Content Note: Rape Statistics) A less trivial use of the fallacy would be when a study defines a specific target group, like "stranger", and someone substitutes in a colloquial definition of that term when discussing the study.

Buffy: Your Inevitable Buffy Thread

Content Note: Rape, Rape Culture, Gender Essentialism, Ableist Language

@ posters.ws
As previously mentioned, we've been catching up on Buffy The Vampire Slayer recently, since Husband and I have never seen it before (I for Conservative Christian Cult Upbringing reasons, he because of Random Life Reasons) and it's free for us to watch what with us having Amazon Prime.

So far, I have mixed feelings.

Now, just to get this out of the way: Season One of just about anything is usually shit. I get that. The directors and writers and actors are still trying to feel their way and figure out how much to advance the plot versus how much to do Monster Of The Week shows, and no one knows precisely which character is going to really take off with the audience and everything is all up in the air. I get that. I also get that It Gets Better and Joss Whedon and yada yada. This is not a post about GRR JOSS WHEDON because ye gods, I have not the spoons for that.

Author Interview: Scarlett E. Decker on "Holding On and Letting Go"

Ana: Today we have Scarlett introducing their book, Holding On and Letting Go. I haven't read this book myself, but Scarlett was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Scarlett, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Scarlett: My book is about a young nineteen years old girl, Skye, who had a difficult past and can't seem to let go of it. She tries to drown her sorrows in alcholol but this solution is never permanent.

On the other side, we have Noah, who just woke up from a four months coma and don't have any memories of the last two years. She tries to forget, and he fights to remember. They want two opposite things but they couldn't be more similar.

This book is about letting go to the things that hurt you and holding on to everything else.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Scarlett: The major theme as the title suggests, is hodling on to the good things and letting go of the bad ones. This can be a really difficult thing to do in some situations, I know it myself. This book was inspired by my own experience.

This novel deals with children of divorce, depression, alcohol and drug abuse and other mature subjects, but also acceptance, forgiveness and love.

I hope my readers can find their own message in this book, a message of hope for the future. That no matter how hard your life can be right now, you can hope it's going to get better. You HAVE to hope.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Scarlett: This book is actually inspired by my own life. This is not an autobiography or anything like that, Skye is not me and I am not Skye.

But I went through some of the same thing she went through which made it easier to write from her perspective. Most of the feelings she has in the book, I felt them at some point of my life. Unfortunately, I didn't have a Noah Ackers to help me feel better :)

I wrote that story because it just felt good. The idea was stuck in my head, and it needed to get out.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Scarlett: I don't really feel comfortable comparing my book to another one but I'm going to try.

I guess if you liked books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Dreamland by Sarad Dessen, you might find my book interesting. Not in term of writing, because those two authors are just really talented, but in term of dealing with difficult theme and talking about it.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Scarlett: This is my very first novel. I do have other books planned. I am actually working on something completely different. A paranormal YA trilogy about ghosts and special abilities. The readers who purchased Holding On and Letting Go can read an excerpt at the end of the book.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Scarlett: My book is only available on Amazon for the moment. To contact me, readers can do it on Facebook or Twitter. I don't have a sign up option as of right now, but I'm going to work on it :)

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Scarlett: Readers can read the first two chapters on Smashwords.

Thank you very much Ana, for this interview. I hope I'll be able to work with you again. :)

And thank you to everyone who read this interview until the end!

If you are an indie author interested in being interviewed, please read the interview policy here.
If you are an indie author interested in joining the Acacia Moon catalog, please visit the forums here.