30 May 2016

Here's an idea: how about we don't judge someone else because their kid got away from them? It happens to even the best of parents; you turn away for 3 seconds, and the kid is gone. And yes, I realize you're all perfect and you special little snowflake would never get away from you. But those parents who have runners, you get it. You can have one moment of being human, and off the kid goes. It happens, and it happens to most parents. Generally you're lucky and catch them quickly, but go spend an hour in Disneyland and see how often kids take off. Hell, go to your public park on a busy day. Or the mall.

It happens.

And here's another idea: how about we don't judge a zoo for placing a human life above an animal, based on the little bit of video they could show on the news? The full video is online, and if you watch it you'll have a clearer understanding of the scope of what was happening. The gorilla was not going to protect that child; as a male, when presented with a child that was not his own offspring, he would have killed that boy.

Yes, other gorillas have cared for human children under similar circumstances...and those gorillas were female. Big difference.

Yes, it sucks that they killed the gorilla. But the truth is that if they had not, that little boy would be dead. Tranquilizers would not have worked fast enough and in his already agitated state would have further enraged him. Would you really have preferred a blood bath? A dead little boy over a dead animal?

There was no winning in this.

But now those parents are facing unbearable public scrutiny and are getting death threats. And unless you were right there, you don't really know what happened or how the kid got away from them. Your knee jerk reaction is not helping anything. The posting of memes proclaiming the gorilla to keeping a better eye on the kid than the parents is, frankly, mean.

If you have're not a perfect parent. None of us are. None of us can be. We all leave scars on our kids, no matter how hard we try not to.

What we can be is compassionate, and try to understand that these parents and that little boy are scarred for life, and now because of public reaction are probably terrified for their lives.

Do you really want to pile onto that? Be that kind of person?

It sucks all the way around, but no one deserves the hell these parents are getting online, no one deserves the death threats, and to contribute to the pain they will be weighed down with for the rest of their lives--they're never getting over this, you know that--is terribly unkind.


28 May 2016

Three years ago today, my mom died.

Three years ago tomorrow is my parents wedding anniversary; it would have been 67 years.

Like the last year, when a normal person might feel the sting of mourning slap them in the face, I feel more grateful than anything. Religious convictions aside (and I am not dripping with religion, since I think it's one of those things best left 99% private 99% of the time) I do think there's something after this life, and knowing what tomorrow is...I'm just glad my parents are together.

So no, I haven't been sitting here dwelling on it, other than to note the date...but I did note it. And I hope they're having one hell of a good time together.


25 May 2016

The first draft of this book--including roughly 10 passes through it to make additions and subtractions and to hunt adverbs--is done. The file is off to my editor and a copy has been printed out for the Spouse Thingy to proofread (and yes, Charlie, I will send you one to proofread, too.)

I am nauseated.

Unless you count a manuscript I wrote in high school--and I don't, though I may rewrite that one someday--this is my first venture into young adult fiction, doubled by it also being light science fiction. Add to it the pressure of this being Max's book (and he sat on the back of my chair, thumping his thinks into my head using his tail during a large chunk of the writing) and I'm about 13 kinds of nervous.

I'm also about 13 kinds of excited so while the editor tears it apart (and she surely will; I left a lot of stage-direction type things in the narrative for...reasons...and it's dialog-heavy [which she expects from me but that won't stop her from pointing it out] ) I'll dive into taking notes for the next one.

I realized during one pass, while I was hunting adverbs, that I used some familiar names; one was intentional, because a friend really wanted to be a princess, others were not but I'm not inclined to change those names because they fit well. I do need a female name for a queen that shows up toward the end but will be in the next book...she may or may not be a little bit bitchy, but she will surely be somewhat flaky and unsure of herself.

Who wants to be the possibly bitchy but surely not-great-at-the-job queen? I don't want to keep the name I used as a placeholder; it fell into place because I had the TV on and when I glanced up Raven Simone was on the screen and it was like, "phkit, I'll use that for now." Not really feeling that choice.


The first draft of Max's first piece of fiction is in the can, but needs a character name.

Possibly a title, too...


22 May 2016

Oddz N Endz #983,102,344.6/2(4.66*9.1)+([mathishard]

♦ Max and I are coming into the home stretch with his first piece of fiction. He's been like the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other, reminding me that this piece is targeted for young adults so we can't say that, but then taunting me with other inappropriate material because kids today.

♦ I believe he is also upset because I nixed using the word "dood" in favor of its more traditional spelling. Proof of this was the tail thwacked at my face as he lounged on the back of my chair, when I informed him that "dood" is technically not a word. Ok, not proof, you'll just have to take my word for it. But I did get a face-full of Max tail.

♦ Speaking of the furry monster, his late night concertos have turned into a raging bitch-fest held less than 6 inches from my face. It's one thing for him to sit in the hallway, singing; it's a whole other thing for him to be right there, yowling his head off as he tries to get me out of bed. Yes, the answer is to close the door, and I do that once he wakes me up, but there have been nights when he's been genuinely distressed, so I leave it open just in case.

♦ I have high hopes that sooner rather than later he'll learn that being a little bitch at night gets him removed from the room and the door gets closed. I also understand that I am seriously deluded.

♦ This morning the little shit was fed by the Spouse Thingy when he got home from work; an hour later both cats were banging on the bedroom door. I got up, because hey, maybe the Spouse Thingy was late and they hadn't yet eaten, but no...they had. They just wanted me up so that they could have the bed, and they wanted it RIGHT NOW so they could steal my warms.

♦ This is the current look I'm getting from him. It's past snack o'clock, and I am clearly failing him.

♦ Fine. Crunchy treats, and then back to work...though I may go over to Starbucks just so I can have some task-master free thinking time.


13 May 2016

I was thrilled when I went into Starbucks today; it was nearly empty, save for a few people sitting on the far side of the room, their faces bathed in the glow from their MacBooks screens. My favorite table on the close side of the room was available, and no one else was near. So after I got my tea I sat down, cracked open my notebook, and began scribbling furiously.

There was a metric ton of crap I wanted to get out of my head and onto paper, notes for the Max's current work-in-progress, and the solitude of my little corner of Starbucks was perfect for dislodging all of that from my brain. I worked in near-quiet, save the music playing and the sounds of the baristas working, for half an hour. It was the perfect ratio of noise to quiet that I like, and I was getting copious notes written.

And then came John and Jane Doe, who picked--from all those empty ones--the table right next to me, and they began a very not-so-quiet conversation. Granted, they had every right to sit there and do what they wanted to do, but dammit, I was on a roll. Eavesdropping was not on my list of things I wanted to get done today.

I kept trying to work, but everything came to a screeching halt. Their conversation went from admiring their drinks to the weather to what to do about "the bathroom issue."

People...the older I get, the less I care about social convention. I know I need to keep my mouth shut, but I'm rapidly nearing the point where I don't give a shit, and I am going to say something that gets me into trouble. Today was close to being that day.

Jane was sympathetic, a little bit. "I sort of get where they're coming from, but I don't want to share a bathroom with a man."

No, Jane, you do not sort of get where they're coming from. Not even a little. Because if you did, you would understand something very fundamental: that transwoman in the restroom is not a man. That transwoman is a woman, in every way that matters. The junk between someone's legs? That doesn't matter. She is a woman, and deserves to pee in peace, the same as anyone else.

I think that's what's missing from the national conversation. It's not about men using women's restrooms, or women using men's; it's understanding that regardless of biology, some peoples' parts don't match who they really are. Yes, she might have a penis, but she's still a woman. She doesn't exactly have much in the way of testosterone anymore, so she really isn't a threat to you. And yes, that muscle-bound, gorgeous gentleman might still have a vagina, but he's still a he, and is not some goofy chick trying to sneak a peak at your inadequacies.

You've been using restrooms with trans people for years and had absolutely no idea.

And wrap your brain around this: that woman in the restroom who looks like a man but is still obviously a female may be gay, may be not; she may be gender fluid or gender queer, or may be not. She may be on the precipice of transitioning, or might be perfectly happy where she is: completely hetero but still gender fluid.

You may be confused, but your confusion doesn't give you the right to make her uncomfortable.

It certainly doesn't give you the right to eject her from the restroom.

But maybe, if we stop talking about men using the women's restroom and start grasping the fact that the person making you a little uncomfortable is a woman regardless of genitalia, we can get past the idea that it's all right to shove someone out of the restroom in the first place, and it's all right for someone else to be different than yourself and to pursuit their own identity.

You don't have to like it. Just accept it.

And before the Bible-thumpers weigh in with "God doesn't make mistakes and if He wanted that person to be a woman He'd have made him one to begin with" consider this: we interfere with the way people are all the freaking time. We "fix" mistakes of biology as a matter of routine when we think we understand them, and we do it because fixing things makes their lives easier (or we hope it will.)

Consider the kid born with a cleft lip. Are you going to tell him he has to stay that way because God wanted him to have it? How about the kid born with her heart on the outside? Does she have to live with that until she dies? Doctors can fix it, but why bother if that's what God intended?

And you...someone who has undergone mastectomy to rid yourself of breast cancer. God fully intended you to have both breasts, did He not? Or is that all right because it's you and you want to live? What about you, dude? You lost a testicle to cancer, had it removed so it wouldn't kill you. You were clearly born with two, apparently because that's what God intended. Hey, keep both of those disease-riddled kidneys. God wants that.

Ah, but that's different, no? That's life and death.

So is someone's transition. Not being able to, not having access to the health care that makes it possible, drives people to suicide every day. It is most definitely a matter of life and death, and deserves the same intervention that any other hiccup in the process of biology gets.

We play God all the time. We interfere with the seeming order of things because sometimes biology screws up. We do it because to do anything else is unkind. We fix mistakes of biology, because the person affected is not a mistake, but someone living with one, and to refuse is to be on the wrong side of morality.

God doesn't screw up. But the clear fact is that He allows processes to, for whatever Giant Cosmic Reasons we're not yet able to comprehend. He also gives us the intelligence to do something about it all, to reason our way through it, to study and develop ways to cope and repair. He allows the kid to be born with a cleft lip for His own reasons, but he also gave us the smarts to fix it.

This is no different. You don't have to understand why someone needs to correct the gender of their birth any more than you need to understand why the narwhal bacons at midnight.

(That probably doesn't make sense to you, but it does make sense to thousands of people online right this moment. And I'm willing to bet you accept that.)

So maybe just accept, too, that the transwoman in the stall next to your wife is a woman, and nothing else. And truthfully, if you're worried about who's in the restroom with your kid, maybe think about not letting your kid go in there alone.

Frankly, I would be more worried about the men in the restroom with my son if he was still little... statistics and all that.

And if you're that concerned, instead of tossing people out of a restroom and making them feel less than human, direct your energy into something that makes more sense: advocate for unisex, single stall restrooms. Then everyone gets to pee in peace.

And me?

Next person to whack me with a purse in the ladies room because they have a knee jerk reaction to the short hair and tattoos is not getting off as lightly as before. I will defend myself, even if it means breaking that little old Asian lady in half, because people? I am tired. I'm done with the crap.

I shouldn't have to worry about it, but I do. And I have it far, far easier than my trans friends, and I know that.