Tag Archives: nattering social justice cook

Nattering Social Justice Cook: This Is Not A Review

So I read a book recently and I loved some parts of it and other parts…not so much. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since because there was one part of it I just adored but I don’t feel like I could tell anyone to read the book without a big “hey and you should watch out for this” addendum. I’d bounced off a previous book by this author with what was supposed to be grimdark but had a big ol’ weirdly ungrimdark gendered cliché early on that made me think so hard about it that I couldn’t pay attention to the rest of the book.

I’ve talked before about reading when the protagonist is markedly not you, and how used to it women — and other members of the vast majority the mainstream media calls Other — become. And this was a good example of a very young, very male, very heterosexual book. Which God knows I’m not opposed to. I remain a huge fan of the Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir Destroyer series and Doc Savage was a big influence on me, growing up.

So why did this book hit me so hard in an unhappy place? Because it was so smart and funny and beautifully written and involved connected stories about a favorite city and magic, which are three of my favorite things. And because it had a chapter that was one of the best short stories about addiction that I’ve read, and that left me thinking about it in a way that will probably shape at least one future story.

And yet. And yet. And yet… Continue reading

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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Defending Yourself

Monday, in the wee and terrible hours of the morning, I’m dragging myself off to the first of twelve women’s self-defense classes, which meet three times a week for the next month.

While I’m not fond of the circumstances pushing the need for something like this, it’s something I’d thought about for decades, so probably it’s good to be going ahead and doing it before I get so creaky that I worry about breaking a hip. As it is I know I’ll be collecting some bruises.

It coincides with a gun class halfway through, since I figured as long as I’m living in a house with guns, I might as well know how to pick one up and shoot it in the case of a zombie apocalypse. (This is an interesting year! So far I’ve added the following skills, all at 1st level, to my character sheet: scuba, lockpicking, coffee roasting. Basic CPR is another I want to add before year’s end.)

Mainly this will be interesting because it’s a big change in mindset. The last time I hit a human being with my fist was, I think, second or third grade. While I’ve played sports, they’ve never been rough and tumble ones; softball, golf, or tennis are more my style. Maybe bowling. I did fence briefly in high school and have always regretted not sticking with it.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Celebrating Rainbow Hair

One of the places recent culture wars have been being played out has been the virtual space occupied by Twitter and its adjacent social media. Examining a particular hashtag or recurring phrase often provides insight into what the topic of the moment is, as well as what tropes and memes are being deployed.

A common adjective in many of the more conservative, alt-right, and Neo-Nazi rants I’ve seen in the past couple of years is “rainbow-haired,” never in a positive sense. It’s usually paired with some form of “social justice warrior,” and often accompanied by an emotional catch-phrase or verbiage like “feels” or “drinking the tears.” There’s a lot of interesting stuff built into that particular fixation. So let’s dig around to find what’s contained in the phrase and its use in this pejorative sense.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Time to Fix the Missing Stair

The following is my personal opinion and unconnected to any SFWA activity. I am speaking as a member of the speculative fiction community, one that has been involved in it for a decade and a half now, and one that has watched its internal workings with interest.

I met Monica Valentinelli in 2016 at GenCon. I don’t know her well, but I’m proud to count her as a friend and she is one of the people I have consulted with about issues gamewriters face and what SFWA can do to assist them. She has been a valued bridge-builder, and I trust her judgment. For those who don’t know about the recent events prompting this essay, here is her account of the event as well as some reactions.

Monica is currently being punished for speaking out, with vitriol, suggested boycotts, and more, all for going public about her decision. Forces with an interest in women not speaking out have decided to make her a cautionary tale, particularly since she’s dared to lead to other people, including men, to follow her example.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Supporting The Next Generation

If you don’t know about DonorsChoose, it’s a great program that lets you support individual classroom projects. I sponsored one in honor of my aunt Nona. Here’s the lovely thank you note I just got.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: How to Prepare to Protest

If you are one of the many of us going off to protest, to bear witness, to object, then I want you to be prepared. Beforehand: Make sure someone knows you are going, and that they will check in if … Continue reading

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What I Wrote in 2016 and The List of Award Eligibility Posts I’ve Found

Oh, it’s that time! The season of looking back at the year and seeing what you did or didn’t get done. And the season for starting to nominate for awards. I’ve been reading and recommending for a while now, but it’s always fun to read all the wrap-up posts and find anything that I missed. I do have a monster post full of some of this year’s reading, but I’m still working on that. (When I have it, there will be a link here.)

Writers wondering whether or not they should put up an awards eligibility post, the answer is yes, yes you should. Do us all the favor of collecting your stuff and making it easy to find. If you’ve got a lot, point out some favorites.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Prepare to Ride, My People

To those who have said “wait and see” about the results of the election, so far I have seen the following results and feel that I am sufficiently prepared to venture an opinion.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Stay the Course

Like many of you, I was taken aback by the results of the recent election, to the point of depression, dismay, and concern for our future. Part of my past week, though, was spent in Chicago at a conference for nonprofit leaders, and that served as a heartening antidote in some ways.

Part of it was the reminder that our world holds people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’ll have a dry place to sleep that night. That there are children who are abused, animals who are tortured, eco-systems being destroyed, nations being oppressed. That so much is wrong. That so much needs fixing. Is it odd to say that was heartening? Because it was so inspiring to be around hundreds of people who have given time and energy and so much more to help others.

It underscored the fact that we are not islands. We are part of humanity, a deep, rich pool in which we swim, and we will either do so or sink, collectively. The question of where to start with that is one that divides many of those who desperately want to fix things. And the truth is this: that helping wherever and whenever you can is fine, no matter what form it takes. The act of helping others enriches our souls and keeps them nourished.
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Nattering Social Justice Cook: Be Kind to Yourself

Being a little silly sometimes is also good for one’s mental health.[/caption]Gail Z. Martin has organized the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign, and when she asked me about participating, it seemed important to add another voice.

In knocking around this world, one of the few things that has sunk in well enough to make it a daily maxim is this, “Be kind to yourself, because you can depend on yourself.” Build a treat into your day that is aimed at increasing your happiness in some small way: lunch outside, a long walk, that book on Amazon you want every once in a while.

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