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

Friday, September 30, 2022

Writing Through

Been yellow or orange for a while now.
Dipped into red this week.
Last week, I had a bit of a mental health crisis, but hey, why don't we write a bit about it. Because that's what we do here! And mental health crises and writing don't always go hand in hand, so how do you keep it up when your brain isn't playing nice?

I'm going to Texas in a few days. And I've been euphemistically saying "It's probably the last visit with my mom where I won't be putting affairs in order." That phrasing has been very carefully, very deliberately preventing me from saying what is a lot more accurate: "I'm going to say goodbye." But my therapist unzipped me last week, pointing this out, along with tallying up what a year it's been. Pregnancies. Miscarriages. Health issues. Cancer. Surgery. Recovery. Major life break ups. PTSD. Long term mental health challenges. Covid-concern estrangement from a significant chunk of my chosen family. My mom's terminal illness and final stages of COPD. And that's without even counting the stressors I've willingly taken on like moving in with Rhapsody and suddenly living with the dynamic duo of Treble and Clef. 

For the most part, my anxiety has improved since cancer/surgery. I have more days I feel okay. I can get to okay more of the time by focusing on my breathing or feeling my feet against the floor. I'm sleeping better, more often through the night, and less often with some kind of sleep aid. I'm writing a little more every week. 

I'm doing better.

But I'm far from all better.

What I've found is that when life is challenging me, it goes out the window pretty quickly. I'm in a narrow window of tolerance (if that's a reference that you understand), and I get activated easily (or disassociate, but lately it's usually been activation). A doctor's appointment at the oncologist can still send me spinning for hours. The thought of losing 25 minutes of a carpool with someone throws me into scarcity panic and feelings of loss and abandonment. I wake up from anxiety dreams a in a panic that my partners are moving on because I've lost my glitter, and I can't find my way back to sleep for hours. I'm fine—just BARELY fine—until any challenge hits. 

Going to say goodbye to my mom turns out to be JUST such a challenge. 

Last week was…very difficult. I was struggling most days and feeling in crisis for a couple. I was in a difficult place with how my anxiety was affecting my personal relationships, and at one point I even had a bad enough intrusive thought that I made sure I wasn't alone. 

Writing has become one of the hardest things for me to do. Maybe not as hard as admitting I have a real problem with anxiety after surgery but…oh sorry you were probably hoping for a joke here. It's not as hard as stoichiometry. Yeah, that's it. Stoichiometry.

I still love it. It's still an emotional outlet and catharsis and some kind of (shattered but hopefully re-assemblable) career. But keeping my mind from buzzing with some kind of anxious thought for long enough to focus on the writing has been Herculean. And getting up the motivation every day has been Sisyphean. And opening up my heart has been Pandorian. My attempts at metaphor fall well short of being Orphic. 

And it's all Greek to me. 

Some days—and I still write every day just like I advise everyone else to—I am doing little more than a half an hour stolen between visits to stores and picking up kids from school. Or I'm doing an emotional splat on my private Facebook page instead of working on an article or my fiction.

Not every mental health challenge is surmountable—certainly not with naught but a GED and a give-em-hell attitude—and I'm not here to be the ableist fucknoodle with a leaf blower (that shoots rainbows and glitter) blasting up your skirt by claiming that you have to just keep writing no matter what happens or you're not really a writer. That's a bunch of fucking bullshit.

You're a writer if you write. That's it. End of line. (The kid watched Tron so my dated pop culture references are going to be even MORE dated for a bit.)

I mean….I don't know how that career so many seem to yearn for is going to look like taking months-long breaks (mine is pretty much in tatters), and I can tell you for sure that in order to get your novel published, you're going to have to sit down and WRITE IT. There's a lot to be said for treating writing like a job if you want it to be a job, and understanding that weekend warrior effort will probably never get you career caliber results. 

But I also know that writing has very few external motivators. It's pretty much you telling yourself to get to work…day after day, and that is really fucking HARD when everything feels like it's going off the rails and you can't concentrate on anything that isn't six-inches-up-your-ass urgent. Anxiety and depression—whether chronic or situational—have a way of making things that used to bring you joy bring you a lot less joy. And there's not a lot of money, fame, or glamour in writing (despite how glamorous and ritzy we definitely appear to be from the….sorry I couldn't even finish that without laughing), so if you're not getting your dopamine fix, you're down to sheer willpower.

My best suggestion is to push yourself to do absolutely as much as you possibly can and then be unswervingly compassionate with yourself for how far you fall short. If that's five minutes or ten, give yourself some grace for having written at all. If that's not your work in progress, be gentle with yourself. But try to do something. You want the habit to be there when you start feeling better. You want to know right away when the muse starts coming back. And you want the skills to have atrophied as little as possible.

This is like brushing your teeth. Your mental hygiene can absolutely decay to the point that brushing your teeth gets neglected, and I'm not here to say pollyanna shit like "Just do it." But the more it's "habit" instead of "chore" the longer you will be able to hang on during the rough times. And if you can't do thirty seconds in each quadrant with swirling strokes, you at least give them a good swipe. So that the habit is still there when you start feeling better. So that at least you've done something.

Push yourself. Be gentle with your limits. Over and over. Don't give up. Don't punish yourself. That's how you get through and come out the other end still writing. Still a writer. 

I wrote the second half of this post from Texas on the second day of my trip. My mom is a little better than I thought. The world seems not QUITE so bleak, and the writing bug returned. Fortunately for me all the tools were right where I left them because I had kept writing even during the bleakest, hardest moments. 

You can do it. Because all "it" is…is as much as you can do.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Weekly Report Sept 12-16, 2022

If you're a patron, you got the newsletter last week, and if you're at a high enough tier, you got The Inside Scoop this week as well as some pictures from the selfie tier this weekend. There's also an early access post coming as well. However, I've almost caught up on the patreon reward tiers, and there should be some regular posts starting to show up by the end of the week. (Finally!) 


Quick Personal/Health Update-  

I'm sick today. 

I'm not sure if it's the new Omicron Covid booster or if I picked up a bug that the little one brought home, but I've been run down, having chills, and most recently coughing. 

I continue to improve mentally and emotionally, but most weeks have at least a couple of setbacks. (Tuesday night was one, and I had to cancel several plans today due to illness, and that really took the wind out of my sails.) It doesn't take much for anxiety to get the best of me at night. I can keep myself regulated and function during the day, but when the slightest spike of anxiety will jolt me awake until I've whack-a-moled it, it can often take hours (or meds) to fall asleep. 

Mostly, I'm doing much better though. A month ago I'd have two or three nights a week that were rough, and two months ago, it was more like half the time. My mental health has almost caught up to where my physical health and recovery was back in April or so. That is to say that I can almost compare where I currently am mentally and emotionally with pre-cancer/pre-surgery. Concentration and focus are not quite back to where they were last summer, but they have improved to the point that now I can reliably sit down and write for an hour or two—and I can do that a couple of times a day (although I do need a rest in between). 


Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

I've almost caught up on the Patron's reward tiers and bringing the Facebook page posting back up to its former glory. The later has really taken a lot more out of me than I expected, and is impacting the posting schedule more than I thought it would. Getting sick today threw me off schedule, and it's not just me sick—one of the kids is home too, which means a lot more of being on. I'm working on one last article to put up for my early access tier, and then I'm going to be getting back to a regular blog post schedule. I hoped that would be up by Friday (to go live the following Friday), but it's probably going to be the weekend.


Novel Progress-

Old Draft 38,305

I'm going to start the process of rewriting soon, and that'll mean starting over, but this is how much I had written before I decided to make a major change. Once I start over, the drafting word counts will be in each weekly report, so you can see my progress. 


Behind the Scenes-

Something really big is in the works. The Inside Scoop folks already know that I'm starting to work on something very different and spread out into other projects. You should start seeing the beginning of that stuff poking out soon. But before I get going, I still have an early access post to write. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Tuesday Report (On Wed) Sept 7, 2022 (Anniversaries and Change)

Yesterday was a day off for me because of the Monday holiday, and this post is extra late because I spent all of the morning and most of the afternoon babysitting the comments on one of Writing About Writing's Facebook Page posts.  

If you're a Patron, you've already seen the newsletter. Also the Inside Scoop for this quarter is heading to the editor tomorrow. There are more support tier rewards coming soon. (Next up is an early access post.) The front-facing blog is still running a little light on updates while I try to prioritize the folks that keep the lights on.


Quick Personal/Health Update-  

I kind of overdid it last week.

Early Monday I was feeling so overwhelmed. I burned the candle at both ends—plus I burned that candle at a third, previously unknown end. I've been doing a lot of side gig and freelance work to keep up on bills (I lost a lot of income post-cancer because I haven't been updating as much). I even took on a pet sitting job that lasted ten days and required at least an hour of driving back and forth every day. It's been a sharp reminder that feeling a little better and able to do more work doesn't mean that I'm recovered.  

I'm done with the pet sitting gig, and back to my regular schedule (which is only "egregiously overloaded" instead of criminally deluged and filled with goat-like screaming). 


Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

I'm still working to catch up on the Patron's reward tiers and bring the Facebook page posting back up to snuff, so unless there is an absolute blowout of musejuice (which is a lot less dirty than it sounds), it is probably going to be another quiet week for the regular blog updates. Patrons are likely to notice some things happening behind the scenes though.


Novel Progress-

Coming soon!


Behind the Scenes-

Something really big is in the works. Most of this week's writing is going to be going on behind the scenes for our Patrons. The September newsletter is already out, but expect this quarter's Inside Scoop, and if I'm doing as well as I hope I'm doing, an Early Access post as well. But I'm also starting the shift to some really big stuff.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Chris Brecheen: Content/Developmental Editor

This looks like an
editor face…right?
No? 
More naughty librarian?
I'll take it.
Yes, as you can see from this magnificent blog, I'm a veritable font of writing wisdom. And one way I dispense that advice, when I'm not folding it into fortune-cookie form or replying to mailbox questions is to give it directly to folks about the writing that they show me.

I did a freelance gig this afternoon, and made that my writing for the day.  It means there won't be a regular post, but I'll post tomorrow what would have gone up today.

It also means that YOU TOO can partake of my direct help.

I am not very good at proofreading (and rubbish at copy), but I am really good at content and development, and I can even do a little of the line/substantive editing as long as no one is expecting much help with grammar.

I do ask for what I'm worth (both given the industry average and the fact that I am already a working writer and any job is probably taking away from my writing time): $60/hr for easy jobs and up to $85/hr if I'm being asked to drop everything right away or am being given a soul crushing job.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Tuesday Report (8/23/22)

Quick Personal/Health Update-  

Yesterday I had an appointment with my Hematologist/Oncologist, and I was pretty messed up for most of the day. THEY called me after a routine blood test, and I've learned over the last year that when a specialist reaches out to a patient, it's not quite the same as a run-of-the-mill referral. I was trying to stay positive and not entirely able to shake the feeling that I was going to get bad news. 

Turns out, I’m okay. 

My PCP doesn’t quite know what “normal” is for me on a couple of values, so she got worried at my white blood counts and platelets, but they weren’t low enough to worry my hematologist. One (white blood cell count) was probably low because I was recovering from covid. The other (platelets) is just…it's just something I have to live with. I have an enlarged liver and spleen and they don't know why—but it's not getting worse, so it's just a THING™.  I will have to be careful if I get a bad cut or have internal bleeding. 

And apparently I'll have a lifetime of doctors who will initially think my numbers are scary and want to send me to a specialist.


Weekly Schedule Adjustments-

This week I'm probably not going to be blogging much. I will try to get a "Best of" post up since I need to catch up on those, but the majority of my writing is going to be behind the scenes. My Patrons are outrageously overdue for newsletters and early access posts and such, and since they keep the lights on and the bills paid around here, that's where my effort is going until I'm all caught up. 

It's been a long recovery from cancer and surgery, and a lot of people have kept right on with support even while I struggled to get up a couple of posts a week. Those folks are going to get the lion's share of my effort for a while.


Novel Progress-

Coming soon!


Behind the Scenes-

Most of this week's writing is going to be going on behind the scenes for our Patrons.. Expect the Newsletter and The Inside Scoop, and if I'm doing as well as I hope I'm doing, an Early Access post as well. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fall 2022 Update Schedule

While most of you just click the link I put on social media when you see that something I have written interests you, there actually IS an update schedule here, and as we enter a new phase of Covid, and I am mostly (but not FULLY) recovered from cancer and surgery, we are implementing perhaps the biggest, most significant update schedule change in the history of this blog. 

Note: In addition to everything below, which will set up the schedule I am trying to achieve, I am still mentally and emotionally recovering fully from cancer and surgery. I'm doing the best I can, and sometimes that's coming up a little short.


I made a major change at the end of 2019. For my ongoing mental health and for my other long-term writing projects (fiction and some compilation e-books of our best articles). I am putting the days of seven posts a week and 70-hour weeks in the rear-view for good, and moving into a more quality > quantity phase of the blog. 

Yippee ki yay!

Writing About Writing consists primarily of one guy who takes care of a couple of kids, tries to keep up with some domestic stuff, is writing a novel, posts on another blog, posts a LOT on his Facebook wall, and sometimes does really wacky shit like try to play a D&D game with friends or get laid or something.

He's also a working writer, though, so he better stop making a bunch of excuses and make with the clackity clack. 

This is the schedule we will generally make an effort to keep. I say "make an effort," but I have to be honest about four things. 
  1. I have written posts from my bed with 102°-fever or from coffee shops out of state while on vacation or during hospital visits to people with cancer, so it is very likely that no matter what happens, you will still get more than a couple of posts a week, and I really really really do mean MAKE AN EFFORT.  
  2. I am absolutely balls at keeping on top of WHAT gets updated on WHICH days, and I am likely to start Tetris-ing the posts for the week if I SNEEZE too hard. 
  3. I am still working through the full effects of the global pandemic, including the massive, unrelenting, fully permeated burnout that comes from 18 months of 70-hour weeks. (At least one more vacation in the next month or two is badly needed, and after that I'm going to take them on a more reasonable schedule than I did for the first decade of this blog.)
  4. I have mostly—BUT NOT FULLY—recovered from stage two colon cancer and the resection surgery to remove a tumor.

Thanks to my patrons, I have been able to quit part-time teaching, pet sitting*, and cut back on the amount of nannying I do as a side gig to focus more and more on writing. If you would like to help us write more and better updates, even a dollar a month helps me budget.

*I still have a couple of close, super-easy clients, so you might see me post about this stuff, but I don't run all over the Bay Area anymore.

Facebook Writing and Social Justice Bard

Most of my major writing ends up on this blog, but some of my more throwaway thoughts don't. If you particularly enjoyed our Social Justice Bard posts, I still have many bees in my bonnet.

I invite you to follow my Public Facebook Page (you can friend it if you send me a message, but it might be better if you follow it for a while first––unfiltered me is not everyone's cup of tea). I post somewhat more "political and partisan thoughts" there (rather than just social ISSUES) and also often post "proto-versions" of what later become full blog posts (if you're interested in seeing how those things develop). [There's also personal updates and nerdery there.]

I also have another blog called NOT Writing About Writing that I periodically update (once or more a week pre-covid, but now it's a couple of times a month in wild fits and starts), write personal updates, and post political thoughts that don't really tie into writing but that also aren't really short enough for Facebook.

Everything I ever write for any medium (and reruns of my best stuff) gets cross-posted to that Public Facebook Page, so join me there if you want to see everything I write.

Facebook Page Maintenance

Running my Facebook Page of over a 1.1 million followers as well as maintaining all the OTHER various social media (which is essential to the fact that I get to be a working writer) is basically a part-time job in and of itself. It just happens to be spread out so that the work happens in five-minute increments throughout the day, pretty much hourly, almost any time I'm not asleep. 

Mostly I've just done this AND my writing and not really acknowledged the ways in which the aggregate of all these five minutes here and there impact a weekly writing schedule. 

Prepare for More of the W.A.W Meta Plot

Just a quick note: if you've been around for a while (or have dug through a lot of the first-year articles), you may have noticed that we have sort of a running plot and bizarre cast of characters here at Writing About Writing. We're going to be getting back into these kinds of posts.

There is a shame spiral that I get into when I feel like I'm not updating enough, or significantly enough, and I feel like the meta plot posts are "too fluffy" and too fun. So I am more likely to try to push myself to post something significant. (Which is ironic because I'm then more likely to not make it and have to push back the post altogether.)

However my readers have CONSISTENTLY and UNSWERVINGLY said that they like these types of posts and that they make the experience of me writing an ongoing blog more cohesive instead of just being the occasional article they want to see. So I'm really really really going to try to shut off that part of my brain that is insisting that my meta plot posts are phoning it in, and post them more often.



THE UPDATE SCHEDULE

Monday

BEHIND THE SCENES (and an accountability post)

While I would love to get a blog up on every day that I'm clacking away in front of a computer, I also have a significant "behind the scenes" obligation to the folks who keep the lights on around here that takes time and energy. Ironically, if I give these kinds of rewards some dedicated time, I'm not only going to be better about doing them, but also about the blogging itself—they both have a way of distracting me from the other as I get overwhelmed and sit in front of my computer, unable to move in either direction because I feel like I'm letting down the other.

However, I consistently have parts of this job that don't involve dropping a forward-facing blog.
  • Once a month I cannibalize a day of blogging to write my Patrons a newsletter, and now that the pandemic is mostly winding out of the Shelter In Place phase, four times a year, I'm going to need to write TWO newsletters. 
  • I absolutely need to spend a day or two every month just doing admin stuff for Writing About Writing (like catching up on emails, cleaning up menus, and the like), or it gets SO far behind, SO quickly. As it is, I sort of imagine we're going to take a year to "dig out" of the stuff I just put up.
  • My Patreon tiers are perpetually in need of their rewards. Whether it's an early-access post or just a selfie from one of my hikes, I need to attend more consistently to the folks who are devoting their financial resources to my ability to be a working writer.
  • Also, I have a couple of other writing projects that require my time and attention.
  • From time to time when we are having a VERY busy week and need a second day to clear out the admin issues so that they don't back up, you might see the easier of the two admin posts go up on a Tuesday, but mostly I'll be working hard in the background.

You WILL see an accountability post on most Mondays. I'm going to restart posting progress on other projects, and I will let everyone know what I'm working on behind the scenes. But it will be more of a bullet point memo than a post.


Tuesday

OFF!

While technically no "off" day is truly off (even the weekends) as I take my own advice and write every day, having Tuesdays off from the responsibility of posting an official blog represents all the hours I work on other jobs. I have spent far too long beating myself up because they don't "count." Not only will taking time off to acknowledge these things be better for my mental health and "overworked" meter, but they will allow me to attend to both them and my writing without feeling like I'm neglecting the other and getting overwhelmed because I'm not spinning all the plates perfectly.

So after much garment rending and self-reflection, and some deep thoughts about how much I will take on if I let myself, I have decided to take a three days off free and clear. (Although, as I mentioned, I'm always writing—this is more about the obligation of getting a post up than whether or not I actually "write every day" like the advice I give.) 

Of course, I would give any human being on earth the same advice and would tell them they were being too hard on themselves if they didn't take it, so this is absolutely a case of thinking basic self care doesn't count for me. However I have two work factors that impact my writing schedule:
  • Childcare side gig (7-10 hours a week)
  • Facebook Maintenance (10-12 hours a week)
I mean that should probably be two or three days off by the number of hours, but obviously, I'm not going to take THAT much time each week. I'll stick to one day (Tuesdays) and try not to feel too guilty about it.


Wednesday

We need (at least) one dedicated day a week to kind of take care of what I call "jazz hands," although it might be better described as "admin-ish stuff that HAS to get done at some point." It's not necessarily Total Fluff™, but it usually isn't exactly a new article either. 

The review of the best posts we did in the month prior takes up a post. Often we have some kind of announcement or meta news about what's going on or coming up. You might also see a single entry for the long-forgotten character lists or an update to one of the menus (along the top of the page).

Wednesdays will typically be the days that get cannibalized for Patron newsletters, fiction, or anything else that needs my priority attention.


Thursday
We have a number of "types" of posts that are just a little lighter fare. Everything from SHORT Mailbox questions to our aforementioned meta plot posts to personal updates. Not necessarily admin or "jazz hands" but probably a little less "chewy/crunchy" than Friday posts.


Friday

Fridays, for the most part, will be The Big Post™ of the week. If you're here for the hard-hitting writing advice (with the occasional examination of how language and narrative play into broader social issues), Friday is the day to tune in. Longer Mailboxes, full craft, process, and sometimes even style articles.

NWAW

I used to write posts for NOT Writing About Writing and either drop them on my usual days off or post on both WAW and NWAW on the same day. I'm no longer going to be doing this. If I drop something on NWAW, I'll put a notice up on WAW that that is the writing for the day.

The Two-Post Commitment

Some weeks aren't going to go down like clockwork, and they might be front- or back-loaded with side gigs or other commitments. My writing career is also starting to open up occasional opportunities of interest like conventionsspeaking engagementsinterviews, or podcasts. On the advice of my doctor, I'm trying to be better about the (literally) health-shattering 60–70-hour weeks I was working, and I'm working to whittle that number down a lot closer to 40. That's a needle to thread when you are your own boss and you know that people will lower your income if they don't feel like they're getting enough of the content they want. I can't promise every week will go down as smoothly as three posts like end-of-the-week clockwork, but I will try really hard to get three posts up each week, and I can just about promise that I will at least do two. They might just be posted off schedule––landing on a Saturday or Sunday, for example—but barring illness, injury, or fabulously unforeseen circumstances (which I must now admit would absolutely include cancer and/or surgery), I will try hard to hit three and at least do two.

The Return of the Monthly Dedicated Novel Writing Time Increase

You may have noticed that any effort to take blogging time to give to my novel was COMPLETELY on pause during the early parts of the pandemic (and then went on pause again as I recovered from cancer/surgery). But now it is back. The hardest thing I've tried doing as a blogger is keeping my fiction at a high level of priority. It's SO easy to just write a blog, call it a day, and go put my feet up. And blogging is what I'm getting paid for, so it's even easier.

But...as much as I've surprised even myself by discovering how much I fucking love blogging, I do want to write fiction too. Finding time as much time for both is impossible, so I have to borrow from Peter to pay Cliché. While I am getting traction out of writing an hour or so of fiction first (so that then I still have to do the blogging in order to do "a day's work"), there may still be times where the needs of fiction completely take priority over blogging.

I'm firmly in the "Write Every Day" camp. But how much I write, what I write, and what I'm impassioned to write can sometimes still be a creative ebb and flow of being at my Muse's whim.

I'm also going to try something new and interesting. Each month I'm going to take an ADDITIONAL, cumulative day off to sequester myself and work on my book (as well as possibly other fiction). This isn't the only time I'll be working on my book, but I'll be diverting my blogging time towards it as well. I'll start with one day in September, and then two in October, and three in November and four in December. I'll reevaluate how things feel to my patrons at four extra days off each month—at that point I would either be updating only twice a week (if I spread the days out) or taking a full week off every month (if I took them all at once). It might depend on how close I am to finishing or a draft or something.

Hopefully, I'll have something to show for these days off by the time Patrons might begin complaining that I'm not updating enough, but I hope that the transparency and gradualness both help in that regard.

Vacations

I've learned that I need some regular time off to keep my energy levels and output high when I AM working. Expect me to take a few days to a week off every quarter (three months) or so. Trust me, you might get a few less posts, but it'll keep the ones that go up much fresher.

Yule

You know that two weeks that starts a few days before Christmas and kind of goes until the third or the fourth of January? Yeah, I don't work that. It's busy enough. I can barely figure out what day it is most of the time. I'm rubbish. Don't ask me to get posts up. 

Election Week

I'm adding something that I basically realized today (I first wrote this on 3/5/2020). I'm going to take a break in our "regularly scheduled program" during election weeks. Midterms, primaries, obviously the presidential ones. I just need to acknowledge that the writing that happens will be on other blogs (like NWAW) and in other places (like my Facebook page) and that unless I am backing someone polling at 90 points, it's very, very, VERY likely I'm going to have at LEAST one day where I need to go back to bed into a pillow fort with ice cream.

More posts?

There MIGHT occasionally be a fourth or even fifth (?) post in a week. Usually this will happen when I need to cover some ground on "blog business." (Like when I revise an old article so much that it deserves a fresh post, update a menu, write a new answer for our F.A.Q., or otherwise do something that needs to get done, but doesn't fit into our usual posting schedule). In this case, you might see an extra post pop up from time to time on the weekend or two in one day. Fiction will also usually go up independently of our regular schedule. It's less likely to happen these days, while I'm really struggling to get back to the old posting frequency, but it used to happen a lot.

Reminders:
  • I'm writing this blog in real time, so there will be problems with updates in real time. I still watch kids for seven to twelve hours a week. Plus my host body occasionally succumbs to these pesky Earth illnesses and requires dental and medical maintenance to serve me well. And every once in a couple of blue moons I even just take a damn day off with no preplanning. So those three posts might not always happen like clockwork or may involve going off the rails of my usual updates. Until my Patreon pays ALL the bills, my reality is that I sometimes have to prioritize paid gigs.
  • I maintain a Facebook page for this blog that has over a million followers. From time to time a post I put up may intersect with a social issue, or just tick some people off, and then all the dillholes come out to play, and I have to spend a day basically babysitting the comments. I don't love it, but it has to be done or the bigots will chase off the people who I actually WANT to be there.
  • This flexible update schedule should also cut down on the thing where I'm apologizing to absolutely fucking nobody that it's Thursday and I've yet to put so much as a taco video up. (MMMMM tacos.) I know that some people are annoyed by how often I apologize, and the rest don't really care. But this also settles my own inner overachiever. As long as I get in all the entries that week, my readers (who have literally never said anything in six years about my update schedule) and myself can give me a break.
  • I invoke the Anything Can Happen™ real world excuse. In ordinary times, I usually have a couple of "emergency blogs" tucked away, but after surgery, I chewed through them as fast as I could tuck them away. So any bump in the road hits the blog update schedule in real time. Health complications might crop up suddenly and have me needing to do a sudden, unexpected several-hour shift or even an overnight...or maybe even more. Trust me, I'm going to feel ten times worse about missing a post than all of my readers combined. 
  • Admin Long-weekends at least once a month will still be a thing, but instead of "we might have an admin long weekend this month," I'm going to assume we WILL have them, and maybe we might have a POST. Since I'm not working Tuesdays and this would normally fall under the purview of a Monday "Behind the Scenes" post, I will take the first Wednesday of each month off. 




Also......folks, if you like what I do, support your "local" artist. (In this case "local" means more independent, amateur, and two-bit than literally down the street.) The pandemic is not yet over, there's still a long phase of transition to work through, and I'm not in a financial position to completely give up my childcare side gig or pay someone to take over the admin of my Facebook page (both major time sinks that pull from my writing hours, but cannot be avoided without losing income that I don't yet have to spare). 

If you want to help me focus on writing (without all the side gigs), yeet a few dollars into that "tip jar" at the top left, or even better yet sign up to be a monthly patron through Patreon. (You'll also get in on the back-channel discussions about posting schedules, big changes, and upcoming projects.) I have bills to pay like any other starving artist, and though my schedule is a lot better than it was three years ago, even a dollar a month (just $12 a year) will go a long way.

Note: Hi there, Mr. Elephant. I guess we should address you.

So....yeah. I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that there is a pretty loud contingent of "Who Cares!" from the other side of the Internet, and I'll give you all a nod if this isn't your cup of tea. It's cool. You do you. Posts such as this one are not my least popular kinds of posts (that honor is reserved for meta posts about why there's no regular post…for some reason), but on the other hand, not every post can't be the barnburners of me replying to social justice hate mail.  

However, I'm not going to stop posting my update schedule…every single time I adjust it.

One of our mission statements is to keep "The Process" transparent and give you updates in real time, so there will always be an occasional hat tip to the meta. I want people to understand that writers struggle with their own productivity, schedules, and discipline. We are constantly dissatisfied with how much we're writing (or not) and trying to redefine ourselves, fiddle with the knobs, and find that perfect air/fuel mixture of writing vs. all the other parts of our lives. I want folks to see that someone who is making a paycheck doesn't have all the answers. I want them to see how their work/life balance matters, and how easy it is to fall into working TOO much or not enough, and either one causes problems. I want them to see that a successful blog doesn't require nine updates a week (and, in fact, that's too many). And I want them to see how artists are constantly struggling to get it just right because we are at once human with our ambition and drive, but also human with our INCESSANT need to eat and have shelter. We don't just eat rainbows and shit brilliant prose. Even if a follower or fan never uses my own update schedule or productivity demands on myself as a formula for their own success, let it be a comfort realizing how flawed and human working writers can be.

I want you to see how messy and non-magical it all is.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

And We're Back (Meta)

~sound of generator starting up~ 

~massive fan behind a metal grate starts spinning, slowly at first and then faster and faster~

~hallway ceiling begins to light up with florescent lights from front to back~

~P.A. crackles and squeaks with feedback~

"Test test. Is this thing on? 

"Hello everyone. This is Cedrick. As you know, we have experienced some difficulties in the last year. But it's time to get back to work. Please report to the admin office for your new posting schedules and to pick up your Dunkin Donuts coupon books—no, there will be no other compensation package at this time—do not forget that a velociraptor with an accu-eye laser blaster on on its head is making its home on the fourth floor, and that Grendel is serving sloppy Joes every friday in the cafeteria."


For a long time earlier this year I couldn't have written even with the free time. I mean, I never went on hiatus (even though I now know that I should have). I was able to write a little. I wrote every day like I advise others to, but it was never much and my own brain would rebel against trying to work on most things. I couldn't focus. My anxiety was off the chart. I got a few things up, managed a big article about guns, and failed to meet my own ambitions to get back into it so many times that it started to be a cliché. 

Then, sometime in the summer, I started to be able to write again. My concentration came back a little more every day. Articles started going up. Every week was better than the last. I was able to start doing the writing, but the schedule of childcare was a little bananapants. There were kids most days, and often they needed to be driven back and forth from camps.

August 11th, the kids went back to school. Thursday and Friday, I kind of just let the new reality sink in. Mondays are still going to be a regular day off. But now it's time to get to work. I have the ability. And I have the time. And for the first time almost in a year, I have both at the same time.

So…Writing About Writing is back. 

Expect a ramp up this week. I have a massive backlog of admin-type posts (best of FB and such) to start putting up. Those will go up first. And a few things need to be updated for the new school year like the posting schedule. Articles should start showing up by Friday, with some NWAW offerings this weekend, and then by next week, we'll really be trying to make up for some lost time.

I missed you all. I missed this job. I was anxious every minute I that was crowdfunded and not producing content. But mostly I missed writing. I missed the long hours. I missed the weird interactions. I missed that connection with my own thoughts. 

It's good to be back.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Buy-Me-Lunch Answer About Being Asexual

[CN: Frank sex talk. Food and eating.]

First, imagine you don't get hungry.

Not really ever. Like you can remember six or seven times in your ENTIRE life that you've ever felt like you really needed to eat.

Note 1- There was a TikTok about being asexual that came out not too long ago. I don't have the HTML skills to embed it, but the link will take you to a loop. This framing is absolutely based on that Tiktok, so I want to acknowledge it.

Note 2- While this would normally be an article I would put in NOT Writing About Writing, since the "Buy Me Lunch" series (in which I've written about sexuality and gender) started here on Writing About Writing, I'm going to keep it here for now.

To be clear, asexuality is a spectrum. And really it's three spectrums. Libido is the drive—the desire for sexual release. It's like an itch. Sexual desire is what controls wanting to have sex with another person. It's possible to have a high libido and a low sexual desire (and vise versa). And sexual attraction involves finding someone sexually appealing. Each of these three things can be high or low completely independently of each other. 

I can't tell you what all ace people experience or how they feel about sex. It is a broad umbrella that covers a lot of ground. Most people who have typical levels of all three things never unpack and untangle their libido, sexual desire, and sexual attraction as separate from each other. It's those of us who feel like we're not experiencing the world in the "right" way who usually break down how all those things are different and have different levels. Some people have low libidos, low desire, and low attraction and kind of conform to the idea that is most thought of as "asexual." But there's a lot more variation. Some have high sexual attraction, but low sexual desire. (They really find people hot, but seldom act on it.) Some may have a low libido but high sexual desire (they aren't really into sex for release, but love having sex for other reasons). Others (like me) have high libidos, reasonable sexual desire, and a very lukewarm sexual attraction. 

If you imagine all three of these things (libido, sexual desire, and sexual attraction) as separate axes on a graph, you get a brilliant cube with a dizzying variety of expressions. The back left top corner would look VERY different than the front right bottom corner even though both these people might identify as asexual. There are people who are absolutely sex-repulsed. (I'm not.) There are people who have no libido (I do), or only experience their libido once or twice a month. There are people who have no or low sexual desire (mine is above average). There are people who experience no sexual attraction. (This is where I find I can take it or leave it.) There are people who have attraction but no libido. Libido but no desire. Desire but no attraction. Every expression you can think of.

And it's all under the umbrella of "asexual." And of course, some people identify that way and others—who have exactly the same libido, desire, and attraction—do not. 

I can only tell you what ace means to ME and why I think I'm on that spectrum. There are people like me who enjoy sex and partake in almost as much as they can get as often as they can get it. I feel attraction, but it is usually very aesthetic and appreciative until/unless there is a lot of enthusiasm coming from the person toward me. But when people talk to me about being horny or needing sex or talk about how their desire for sex is starting to short-circuit their rational thinking, I don't experience this feeling. 

I enjoy sex, and I have a LOT of it…with several partners. But my reasons for having sex are different than most people’s. The label "demisexual" comes pretty close, and I use it in a pinch, but it's not quite right.

It helps to think about wanting sex like wanting food. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's good enough to be a load-bearing metaphor. It's not that I don't eat. It's not that I don't enjoy eating. It's not that I don't think good food is delicious. It's just that I don't get hungry.

People eat for lots of reasons. And honestly, a lot of those (possibly even most of those) have nothing to do with hunger. We often eat when we "could eat" based on other factors which is more about no longer being absolutely full from the last time we ate rather than actually being hungry.

  • Because the food tastes good
  • Because we like that KIND of food
  • To try something we don't get to have very often or have never tried before
  • Because it might be a while before there's another chance to eat
  • Because someone made us food and we want to show our appreciation
  • Because a companion is hungry and we want to enjoy the time together
  • Because we want to enjoy the experience of eating with someone
  • To be connected with or bond with other people eating or the cook
  • To help us cope with negative emotions, boredom, or just to generate some good feelings
  • Because it feels good
Similarly we can feel rejected if we're not invited to a dinner party, even if we weren't hungry or are not offered a helping of something when other people are getting it. We can feel envious if someone else is getting food and we are not. We can worry about missing out on the connection, the bonding if we aren't invited to meals. We can feel left out if everyone got a piece of cake but us. 

It doesn't matter if we weren't, strictly speaking, HUNGRY. 


Being on the ace spectrum doesn't mean I don't enjoy sex. It doesn't mean I don't ever want it. It doesn't mean I can't feel rejected. It doesn't mean I can't feel insecure if it feels like no one is attracted to me or seems to want me. It certainly doesn't mean that if someone wants sex with me, I'll say no or I'll usually say no. (In fact, personally, I usually say yes.) It just means that I'm not doing it because I'm HORNY. I can kind of take or leave the actual act. I'm doing it to be with them. To bond with them. To feel connected. Maybe because I haven't had that type of sex before or very often. Because they want it, and I want to make them feel good and desirable. Because sex is fun and feels good.

It does mean I don't really make decisions trying to get laid. It means I rarely initiate sex with a partner and never pressure. (Which also means that sometimes a partner has to nudge me to do a bit more of instigation so they don't feel undesirable.) It means that I rarely, if ever, experience purely sexual attraction…for anyone. Things like trust and connection are much more important to me. I experience emotional attraction, platonic attraction, aesthetic attraction, and even sensual and physical attraction—and I am perfectly capable of leveraging one or some (or all) of those attractions into really good sex—but I rarely, if ever, experience a raw sexual attraction that translates into desire. 

I often say that I don't sleep with someone because I crave sex with them. I sleep with someone because I crave connection and intimacy with them and sex is one of MANY ways to get that—and definitely one of the most fun. 

We're all wired differently and have different histories. (Part of my ace-ness is wrapped up in hang ups over consent, enthusiasm, and performance anxiety—it means I just don't have nearly as much fun with someone I'm not connected to with a deep bond of trust. All that has much more to do with my childhood traumas than biology.) Being ace is never as simple as "I don't like sex"…although for some people, that sums it up nicely. It's a label that is really only the starting point, so folks should be more willing to get the buy-[them]-lunch answer when it comes up.

[If you would like to actually buy me lunch, feel welcome to drop a couple of bucks into the tip jar.]

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mailbox: 20 Questions (Non Writing Questions 13 &14)

I'm going to post this 20 Questions in the usual format when it's all finished, but many of these questions required substantive answers, so I'm going to break up the roll-out over a few days to keep the length of each post reasonable. 

13- What exactly is your [my] problem?  

I can't even imagine what the context of this could possibly be. So I'll try a few things, and if you decide I haven't answered your question, write me back with just a LIIIIIIIITLE bit more context. Like…you know…an adult might.

  • My problem is that I'm an empathic person who wants everyone to have food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and equal access to a system that has way too much intergenerational wealth and nepotism to claim it is a meritocracy.
  • My problem is that I live in a culture of rising fascism. Not the boogeyman, post-WWII word that gets thrown around to mean "bad guys," but actually literally those bellwethers that are used as the measurements of fascism
  • My problem is that people in socioeconomic power are willing to pretend marginalization doesn't exist (and that mentioning it at all…ever…for any reason is the real bigotry) in order to maintain their power, all while maintaining 
  • My problem is that on a macro/social scale, the privileged in our society are enacting all the hallmarks of narcissistic abuse upon the marginalized.
  • My problem is that people think that anytime I talk about any of these things in my own space and with my own platform, some people feel entitled to tell me to shut up and only ever give them the content that makes them comfortable and happy.
  • My problem is that anthropogenic climate change is going to have catastrophic, civilization-as-we-know-it-ending consequences…probably within my lifetime. Refugees. Extinction events. Plagues. Famine. Unbelievable human loss of life. Violence. And a restructuring of global societies that will probably end our great democratic experiment—such as it ever was. It's already begun, and so far we have not even demonstrated the political will to put down a speed bump in its way.
  • My problem is that I chose and initiated a major life transition (moving in with a partner and her two kids) right before a handful of major life transitions (pregnancy, miscarriage, cancer, surgery, a partner's catastrophic breakup, recovery both physical and psychological, PTSD, and anxiety), all of which I did NOT choose but didn't have a choice about, and holy FUUUUUCK has it been a year.

Does that about cover it?

14- What’s your favorite art installation? What does it mean to you?

Though I haven't been since 2015, before that, I went to Burning Man 13 years in a row, so when you say "art installation" I picture these massive sculptures of metal or wood sitting out in the middle of The Blackrock Desert. Giant heads or massive human bodies or signs with letters twice as big as a person.

Love by Alexander Milov
The two children light up at night—it's spectacular.

Perhaps my favorite showed up in 2010. (It was also located on Treasure Island in San Francisco from 2011-2015, and now lives in The Park in Las Vegas.) It's called Bliss Dance, and even though you can see the people in the picture who kind of give you an idea of the scale, it's even more impressive in person. The triangular wields and actual anatomical center of gravity give it this effortless sense of floating motion even though it is over three and a half tons (3,100 kg) of steel rods and stainless steel mesh.

Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane

In the Black Rock desert, you can see most things from a huge distance, so to just see this sculpture getting bigger and bigger as I approached and to see it somehow becoming simultaneously more lifelike and more obviously metalwork was breathtaking on a scope that is difficult to put into words. It's one of those few pieces of non-performance art that made my heart skip a few beats and I just stood and stared for nearly an hour. I know it's about the tension between objectification and empowerment, and I could see that theme before I even read about the artist's intention, but what I really like is that up close you can see that her eyes are closed like she's just vibing with the music, and it really feels like a moment captured—one of those simple human moments of expression. 


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Bullshit Narrative 25- Liberals Are Coming for Your Guns

[This is the last of the 25 articles. Tomorrow I will do all the formatting to make each article have a link to the article before and after it and the head article have a link to all 25 parts. That's going to take a few hours, so it'll be my post for the day. This part in itallics will disappear then. Thank you for your patience with this monstrosity.]

This one.....

This one is complicated.

This one might not be total bullshit. 

At least not anymore. 

Liberals WEREN'T coming for the guns. At least not most liberals. And they weren't coming for most guns. A fair number of leftists don't want only agents of the state being armed.

The vast majority of liberals coming for anything were coming for the assault style rifles (the AR-15 and all its clones) that are trivial to convert into full auto (conversions which are so laughably "illegal" with scare quotes around them that people will put up pictures of them firing it on Youtube under their real name). 

They might have been coming for the extended clips, and the bump stocks and the background check workarounds and the laws that essentially let people walk around in Piggly Wiggly armed for war. They were coming for no waiting periods, gun show loopholes, and guns for convicted abusers. They were coming for some sensible gun laws. They were coming to get the FBI to take domestic violence more seriously when it comes to who gets to own a firearm. They were coming to try to arm-twist the nation into a conversation about how to defuse the toxic masculinity and entitlement that is causing young men to be this angry, about better mental health care as a matter of policy and change and not just a scapegoat for doing nothing, and yes, about some sensible gun regulations.

Sure some were coming for all of them. There have always been a few liberals who wanted all the guns melted down into statues memorializing murdered school children. And they've grown in number every shooting since Columbine. And if you wanted to just take your soundbites from them, you could whip up quite the persecution complex. But there were probably no more of those folks than there were folks who wanted rocket launchers to be legal. The political will just didn't exist. It was all sound and fury. And Texas sharpshooting the "other side"'s argument in bad faith to create a strawman.

By and large, however, this is a complicated conversation and people on all points of the political spectrum are DYING TO HAVE IT.  You'll notice that in this entire article, in no place—not even ONCE—have I suggested that we outlaw guns. I have only pointed out the bad arguments that are used to defend doing absolutely nothing.

There's a lot of of impassioned positions about gun control, and a lot of them have salient points, and not every argument belongs on a list of fallacies, but instead of having THOSE discussions, folks have let the NRA engage in this conversation for them. And the NRA is not debating in good faith. With a national, culture war issue, they have essentially convinced most of the GOP to follow them in sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "Lalalalala. I can't hear you."

This shouldn't be surprising, as they are essentially the propaganda wing of companies that are war profiteering and have successfully controlled the narrative about why the war should be ramped up–earning a lot more profit.

But by leaving the table with nothing but some shitty, easily debunked narratives that are either fallacies or criminally and immorally negligent of nuance.... By disrespecting those who want to stop seeing their children murdered, while right wing politicians parrot the same bumper sticker slogans, bullshit boilerplate narratives, and TERRIBAD arguments that they trot out after every mass shooting and school shooting... By answering desperate pleas over and over with an outright refusal to have a conversation or compromise.... the NRA and the intractable pro-gun folks are basically ensuring that the political will is building to do exactly what they fear the most––to come for the guns.

They reduced us to one option and then are going to try to scare everyone else with the fact that we're considering it.

Maybe, and I'm just spitballing here, try not reducing us to one option.

Because I don't really want to take all people's guns or ALL the guns (and I know a lot of other liberals don't either).

But if ZERO compromise, ZERO discussion, proposing only LOOSER regulations (while handing the NRA moral authority to stand on the front line of this national cultural conversation with its racist double standard and adamant insistence that the only POSSIBLE solution is MOAR guns), MORE dead kids, and "suck it up, buttercup" cost-of-doing-business solutions…is being held up against melting down all the guns into statues…

And that is the ONLY choice I'm being given…

… I’m picking the statues.


Bullshit rating: Actually becoming somewhat plausible.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Coming Soon (Personal and Meta Update)

I want to talk about what's coming up for July. There may be more, but these are the things I definitely want to hit. Most of these articles are well past the initial planning phase, some are half written and one just needs a final revision, so I'm pretty confident we can get them going in the next couple of weeks, and bring in July at a slightly better than June. 

I've let my patrons know most of the details, but suffice things are going a LOT better while still being a little bumpy. Compared to a month ago, I'm doing great, and two months ago, I'm doing spectacularly. 

So things have been getting better every month. I know know that I probably should have put my blog on hiatus for the month Still, in June we had a possible covid exposure turn into "Yes the whole house has Covid" for a week (and ruined a vacation to boot), we've had a dozen special circumstances, the boys are out of school (and now are in camps which take a lot of chauffeuring), and this post didn't go up yesterday (or even Monday) because we are currently trying to juggle one car. 

But in the next couple of weeks you can expect

  • The Final Installment of 25 Bullshit Narratives We Hear After Every School Shooting (Plus I'm going to need a day for all the formatting of that article to make every article have a link to the next part, previous part, and first part—which will need a link to every one of the 25 arguments. I know that one took a full month, and I appreciate everyone's patience. Sadly it's likely going to remain relevant for a long, long time.
  • An article about what being asexual means to me
  • An article about non-monogamy
  • An article in defense of half assery in writing
  • And a couple of mailbox questions

Monday, June 27, 2022

Bullshit Argument 24- "American Lives" or "Won't Someone Think of the Children?"

You could probably get someone to throw a punch by pointing out the hypocrisy needed to pretend they literally are incapable of understanding a statement like "black lives matter" while holding onto a position like "America first" but of those two, only one of them is exclusionary, xenophobic, nationalistic, rooted in white supremacy, and trying to prioritize a group that is generally already at the top of the socio/economic hierarchy,  so it's not a perfect comparison—mostly just a way to point out "Oh so you actually DO get the concept."

For as long as I've been alive, "the children" have been used to weaponize every homophobic, transphobic, body-autonomy-crushing agenda the GOP sees fit to try and use as a wedge to fire up their Christian base right around an election. "American lives" has been used since early fall in 2001 to be the rallying cry to legitimize oppression, surveillance, torture, and an erosion of all the rights codified in amendments that aren't the second. 

And don't even get me started on how those "American lives" are ACTUALLY treated when things like veterans issues or homelessness are the topics on the table.

Not that I particularly want these arguments trotted out on the regular, given what they almost always defend, but gun advocates need to understand that if they do nothing while school shootings happen several times a year, they don't get to use these points anymore. They're going to start getting that same laugh that Trump got during the debates when he said that no one respects women more than he does. If they don't do something it becomes brazenly, unavoidably obvious that they do not actually care about human lives, American lives, or children's' lives.

I mean I hope that people start behaving in a way that takes into consideration things like "the children" who are being killed because they care about children who are being killed and not because they're worried that their breathtaking hypocrisy is going to get them eaten by irony demons or lose them political points, but it's worth pointing out.

Bullshit Rating- Perfect bullshit. 10/10. Would hypocrite again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Bullshit Argument 23- The Slippery Slope

You know you're in bad argument territory when the argument people are non-ironically advancing has the same name as the fallacy that its poor thinking is named after. Like when people say: "We can't do that because it's a slippery slope," LITERALLY invoking the name of a logical fallacy to make their argument, you absolutely know that what you're about to hear is not going to be a good argument.

You want to know how I already know folks have a water's edge somewhere about what kinds of weapons civilians should have access to? Because they're not reading this from their armed M1 Abrams or their fully functional Apache attack helicopter. Because they might own a whole panic room full of assault style rifles, and maybe even a few M203 grenade launchers, but they probably don't have an M141 shoulder-mounted anti-structure weapon (or if they do, they know they could go to prison for having it—and not for a couple of days). They don't have a bunker buster they can launch from an A-10 Warthog. They likely don't have the howitzers that the Continental Army used against the British during the American Revolutionary War either. Or an Ironside ship with functional 24-pounder cannons.

Because we already HAVE a line in the sand. And we have always HAD a line in the sand. 

We already draw the line somewhere and say "Okay, there's no need for any citizen to own this weaponry. We want ordinance like this to be in the hands of carefully vetted people who use it only when absolutely appropriate (and not without some measure of oversight)." And for 240+ years, we've managed to have conversation about where that line should be, so acting like bump stocks simply MUST be legal or all liberals are coming for all guns is the worst kind of fallacy imaginable.

Not every conversation is intended to erode gun rights with the end goal of total banishment. I'm sure SOME liberals will keep going, but like most of the history of this country, most will lack the political momentum once there is an equilibrium.  One the compromise doesn't involve accepting dead children on the 6 o'clock a few times a year, there won't be momentum. Unless of course there can't BE a compromise….then the momentum becomes a buildup and the backlash a flood.

Sometimes we just need to talk about the fact that the line in the sand seems to be a little misplaced.


Bullshit rating: You didn't slip in the bullshit. You just pretended to so people wouldn't think you didn't notice it.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Bullshit Narrative 22- The Government Should Be Afraid of Its People

"Oh no! They have a rifle!"
The United States military is not afraid of your AR-15s. 

They have tanks and jets and body armor and artillery and drones that make firing a hellfire at a human considerably easier than beating the first level of Pole Position and they also have shit you haven't even heard of yet. And oh yeah, they have the most sophisticated air domination in the history of Earth that can effortlessly deploy weapons of mass destruction we haven't even seen. They are, in general, slowed down primarily by the political will of the folks back home––an issue they wouldn't be dealing with in any such scenario.

The only thing these little guns are going to do is maybe give a militia a few days standoff against the ATF or FBI because those organizations actually WILL go out of their way to avoid the optics of dead kids' bodies in the background on the six o'clock news. (Something the NRA could stand to learn.)

Okay, wait. I've seen that meme too. With the Viet Cong saying "Cool story bro" or whatever it is to tell you that yes indeedie a bunch of peoples with automatic rifles can totally defeat the US military.

So let me head the bullshit off at the pass.

1- Vietnam was half a century ago. Warfare has changed. Get over yourself.

2- The Viet Cong was not a militia with what would today be civilian grade weaponry. It was a MASSIVE political organization with its own army (and if you're enjoying irony today, no small amount of US-made weapons). I would need a FLOW CHART to explain fully the cavalcade of mistakes made in Vietnam that led to the loss. Suffice to say that the United States Military would never make those kinds of errors in the ONE place on Earth it has sufficient resources and deployment ability. Any political movement sufficiently large to play an analogue to the Viet Cong in the US could much more effectively work in non-violent ways. 

Unless there's a colonizer of the US that could directly intervene who I'm not aware of.

The counter-insurgency conflicts we are involved in today are similar. Your average soldier doing patrols might be concerned about an IED, but the government of the United States (very obviously) is not.

I am not saying that there is no scenario in which the citizenry of a nation with the most powerful military that has ever existed on the face of the Earth decides it's time to take up arms in a guerrilla war against its own government, but if even if that does happen, the U.S. government wouldn't be afraid of our small arms. They wouldn't be afraid of us at all unless we were (very) well supplied by another world power and our conflict was essentially a proxy war. The same could be said about any country with gun control and no monthly massacres, of course.

Even a marine rifleman who IS essentially carrying almost everything a civilian could acquire in our country is better trained by orders of magnitude, deployed with such weaponry ONLY in very specific theaters, monitored and kept in check by a sophisticated chain of command designed to prevent exactly the sort of things this series of articles is about.

There are situations where guns would be useful (if obviously escalating and violent and prone to accidents and mistakes). There are places where this argument touches something real. If there is some version of the brownshirts in the US—a proxy group given broad authority to enact domestic terrorism. If the police are abusing their authority in a potentially lethal way, they might hesitate if they know their target is armed. (A weirdly telling data point given how many police officers shoot and cite their fear for their lives when a target is NOT actually armed.) If people start disappearing in the night. If white supremacists start trying to take matters into their own hands. This is why there's the old phrase comes from: "If you go far enough left, you get your guns back" (and the reason I'm not against guns so much as the absurd arguments that civilians need semi-automatic long rifles or it's tyranny). But there are just an awful lot of ways to not trust, and even resist your government without taking up arms against it.

The idea of being The Wolverines is fun for a couple of hours while eating some popcorn, but that Hitler quote about disarming a nation is mostly not what people think it's about, and there's only been one uprising in the United States that even gave the government pause (dude named Bacon), and even back then, it was a whole shit load more than some armed civilians.


Bullshit Rating: This shit is from a bull/wolverine hybrid. You were so concerned with whether you could, you didn't stop to think about whether you should!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Bullshit Narrative 21- If Guns Kill People, Pencils Misspell Words

This is (somehow) an even more ridiculous version of "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" Like just when you thought that narrative couldn't get ANY worse, someone brings out the misspelling pencils like they've just slam dunked a rhetorical point. Check and mate. Game, set, and match. 

Uh…no…

And yeah, the full version of this has a fatphobic thing about spoons making people fat, just in case these folks worried that they were in danger of making a point that was not demonstrative of how terrible they are as people.

The problems come early and often with this gem of a narrative. It is SO bad that even its logical structure as an analogy (W is to X as Y is to Z, like those SAT questions)  doesn't stand up because the primary function of a pencil is NOT to misspell words. Whereas the purpose of a gun is literally to kill. 

That is its intended function. It has no other.

I do understand a gun can be used to kill for food, to only injure someone, or possibly to intimidate someone. But the primary purpose of a gun is a lethal weapon. But in this preposterous analogy, a gun would have any number of artistic and technical functions and only sometimes be lethal (often unintentionally).

It's just a BAD argument. It's under the fallacy dictionary in false equivalency. 

But the real reason this narrative is beyond the ridiculous and obtuse enough that I'm actually having to get clever to avoid some serious ableism here is that people do not run around killing people with misspelled words (or in the case of the fat-phobic example, using spoons on OTHER PEOPLE). 

There is a major, fundamental, philosophical, moral, and ethical difference between mistakes we make that hurt no one (but maybe our English teacher's heart) and those that kill…as a primary functionality. Those that might affect us, and those that rip the life out of another.


Bullshit Rating: 7/5 Perfect bullshit. Would not respect again.


Monday, June 13, 2022

Bullshit Narrative 20- Victim Blaming

This is just really the worst sort of place to which humanity can descend. It's hard to even have a sarcastic quip about behavior this disgusting. 

I wasn't even going to mention it because lord knows not every extreme action of fringe groups should be held up as if it is being made by the mainstream folks on one side of an issue, but the leader of the Republican party, the president of the United States at the time, and the biggest politician beneficiary of the NRA decided to make it a TALKING POINT. 

And this isn't the first or only time.

This particular tweet refers to the Parkland students and just for the record, they FUCKING DID warn law enforcement, their teachers, even the tooth fairy that the shooter was dangerous. No one was listening. But why should that stop a good tweet that stigmatizes the mentally ill, right? We see this over and over again, often even when there absolutely IS a history of complaints and violence.

And then of course there was #walkup––an entire movement designed to overshadow and silence The March for Our Lives with the idea that high school kids have some level of responsibility for preventing their own murders.

Let's just set aside for the moment that these are—by and large—many of the exact same people who have, for the last decade, been saying, "fuck your feelings," as a matter of personal and political ideology to everyone with whom they don't agree. Now it seems they are literally advancing the idea that it is up to high school students to be nicer to violent, entitled young men–and particularly to women to never "spurn" them. (Read: "say no to an advance.")

This is to say nothing of the people so horrifically callous and depraved that they were making pictures of the survivors into targets. The survivors who, after watching their friends be murdered, had the unmitigated temerity to use their First Amendment rights to ask for some sensible gun legislation.

…Or the false flag conspiracy theorists who claim every shooting is just a bunch of actors trying to soften the ground for a gun purge. Each one willing to dismiss parents who have lost their children as crisis actors.

…Or the so called "incels" who cheer from their communities at the deaths of the "normies" when a woman rejecting a man is the impetus of his free will decision to commit mass murder.

…Or the mainstream media using the narrative framing of words like "provoked" and "spurned" to describe a young woman with the temerity to resist four months of harassment, who was then murdered for it.

Far from being fringe, these groups and narratives are repeatedly brought to the table and repeated by mainstream news and pundits....and also the leader the Republican party.


Bullshit rating: You would think that major players in would be above such bullshit. You would think that.