My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Major Housekeeping (And The Reason Why)

Image Description: Google Domains Notice
"Your domain is about to expire."
So normally, Friday would be the time for some kind of "meaty" article. And I've got a couple simmering on the back burner. (One of them is about Star Wars! Although since it's me in 2016–also known as the year of tragedy–it is going to be about The Force Awakens not Rogue One, but maybe I can do a Rogue One article right before the Han Solo stand alone comes out. Hach ach ach chaaa!) I've also finished teaching for the semester [and at least next semester as well] so there is about to be an uptick in the number and quality of articles around here.

Today, though (and running into this weekend) another of our major changes is coming. I need to get a few things taken care of, and there's going to be quite a bit of housekeeping.

Folks on subscription should be aware that this weekend might get a little chaotic. Lots of articles you may have seen before finding new homes on fresh pages.

So here's what's going on:

About a year ago, if you've been following close I split a certain kind of writing I've been doing into it's own blog called Social Justice Bard. (I'm not going to link it for reasons that will be obvious in a couple of paragraphs.) That was to contain all my writing about social inequality with the occasional cross post here when the topic dovetailed nicely with ideas like how we use words or the narratives with which we explain random collections of facts.

Of course it was very shortly after that that we had a cancer diagnosis, and life kind of short circuited after that for several months as one thing after another came down the pipe including moving out and post all-that-fucking-stress health problems. But now life is about to relax, and I have time to get back to SJB.

But I'm not going to.

That blog is about to shut down.

Instead, the old Social Justice Bard menu (I'm also not going to link THIS because the roll out will involve a few major changes including an all new menu page) that we used to have here will be returning.  Over the next few days, all the posts that were exclusively on the other blog will be getting transferred here. This is where future posts of that sort will go.

Image description: Social justice bard pin           
Does this mean no more Social Justice Bard? Actually, you'll probably get more (if that's your cup of tea) if for no other reason than if I put something social justicey up, that would be the post of the day. When the prospect of putting up a social justice post meant I had to turn around and write something else for Writing about Writing, I tended to just skip the former. 

There are a few reasons for this major shift:

My ability to update multiple blogs, write fiction, guest blog, run Facebook Pages, and do other writing finally hit a limit. Yes, I'm now free from teaching (for a while) but most of that time is earmarked for the novel I'm writing. If I'm going to put out some social thoughts, they will either go on my public Facebook wall (often in a slightly more "raw" format) or they will undergo a little bit of contextual framing to fit into a writing blog. But I finally hit my limit to keep branching out and out indefinitely.

On top of that, there are elements of call out culture that are ubiquitous among those who engage in sort of "high profile," "front line" online activism that I cannot handle as well as I should to be participating at that level. I don't want to say they are wrong, or inappropriate, or unprovoked. They are not. They are certainly not worse than what they are reacting to, and they have every justification. I absolutely believe that there should be spaces online where, if someone who is trying to be an outspoken ally fucks up, they ought to have their heads ripped off, their bodies buried, and the earth salted with their privileged tears. And their head should be stuck on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations of allies that some civility politics come at too high a price. But I have a history of abuse and my involuntary reactions to that level of anger aren't healthy for me, and that narrow fjord between good boundaries and tone policing is not something I'm capable of navigating. For my mental health, it is better that I remain a writer who deals with such issues on occasion.

I have also watched in the last year a number of high profile activist writers, all men, for whom social justice writing provides them with income (and perhaps all their income), do things that could, at best, be called non-intersectional. Ignoring transmisogyny or ableist slurs, and even excusing sexism because the writer is about racism or racism because they're about feminism. In one case, ignoring the very folks they claim to be at bat for by continuing to post grisly images of the results of racial violence. The benefits of writing from privilege about social justice are that one is seen as a fiery revolutionary rather than a "whiner" just worried about their own advancement, and I have seen some of this social capital exploited in ways that were not just questionable, but hurtful. Meanwhile the folks (almost all women) writing about their own life experiences rarely make such money and are often harassed across social media until/unless they quit the field. I don't want to be associated with an increasing body of privileged writers who see this as their way to fame or wealth or sex partners. There are days when a well placed cookie really makes a difference in having the gumption to keep going, but that's not why I'm doing it.

Lastly, I was trying to cleave what should not be cloven. I'm a writer. I'm an artist. And the human condition of inequality and oppression and suffering are not a side issue to my art and writing. I care about inequality and I empathize when I see suffering. I split those writings onto their own blog in part to compartmentalize political and social writing into a place where "Holy Shit I Got the Domain Name!" but also so I could develop two disparate audiences, each who were interested in their own aspect of my writing. What I should have been doing was staying true to myself and pouring all of me into the amalgam of my writing's soul and if people want treat one or the other like it's dross, that's on them as a reader and not me as a writer. The longer I write in Trump's America and realize the power that words and narratives have, the more I am confident that these issues are front and center in my artistic life. Not just the issues of our time, but to who I am as an artist and what social forces I will respond to with my art.

So get ready for the return of the Social Justice Bard.