Monthly Archives: January 2017

Warrior

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Every four years, there comes a time when my blog posts, due to a life-long fascination with politics in general, and love of presidential electoral politics as my form of major league sports in particular, take a political turn. And then, once the election is over and things settle down, I return to all the other things I love to write about: Music. Writing and publishing. Geek culture. Science. Spirituality.

What I want to tell you now is, I absolutely would have done it.

If Hillary Clinton had won, I would have sunk back into my personal concerns and a kind of semi-apathy. I would have liked some things she did, disliked others, tut-tutted at the opposition, occasionally posted a story online or signed a petition, but that would have been about it. If it had been a “normal” Republican, a Jeb Bush, say, or a John Kasich, I would have been a little more active. But not much.

Return to normal, however, is no longer an option. This is not normal. Donald Trump is the most personally reprehensible nominee either party put forward in a century or longer. Maybe in ever. He doubled down on this by repeatedly attacking the very foundations of democracy and decency throughout his campaign. And since his “election” and inauguration, he’s tripled down on that by showing that he meant every poisonous, un-American word of it.

So I’ve been marching. Organizing like-minded people. Petitioning my Representatives. I made an offhand comment to a friend that this election made me a militant. Looking at the definition, though, that’s not quite right:

adjective
adjective: militant
  1. 1.
    combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.

I’ll be confrontational certainly, but I’m not aiming to be violent. I know there are those who disagree. I still believe that it is possible to be active and fully committed without being violent and hating those who disagree. But even non-violent soldiers are still soldiers, and we must steel ourselves for the fight.

That brings us to another notable thing about the word militant. It comes from the 15th century Latin “militare” meaning “to serve as a soldier”. Which brought to mind one of their new favorite dismissive phrases for us: “Social Justice Warrior”. I would like to pick up that mantle.

They are abso-fucking-lutely right, and I am thrilled to be called a warrior on behalf of justice for all members of our great society. I’m starting with the methods our Democracy affords us. But make no mistake, we will not surrender justice and freedom to this budding despot. Our values are better, we’re in the right, and we will defend them, come what may. 

I do hope to keep writing about my favorite things. But I’ll also be writing about this. A lot. One of my primary weapons is the creative word. We’re in the fight now, for at least the next four years, and I will use all the best weapons at my disposal. I am a warrior.

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Let’s Get Rejected!

Forgive me, dear readers, for my lack of communication of late.

My goal for 2016 had been to do a post a week on average, with an awareness that I would certainly slip from that target. I ended up at 25, which is solidly every-other-week in some parts of the world. Hey, not bad!

As of this moment, I haven’t written any posts since early November. You can cite all the usual suspects- distracted by grief, and then rage, at the political boondoggle my country has embarked upon, the standard holiday swirl and subsequent recovery from it, a hideous confluence of project deadlines at work, a family issue- but the point is, I’m back. And rarin’ to go!

More specifically, I’ve decided that one of my goals for the year is to get 100 literary rejections. This idea has been floating around for some years, and is based on a simple premise: if your aim is to collect a mass of rejections, to get there you’re going to have to submit a lot. And if you’re submitting in that volume, you’re much more likely to get some successes along the way. It’s also a fun way to reverse the polarity, making the “no” the goal rather than a dreaded rebuff.

You can read some interesting recaps of other’s experience with it here and here.  For me personally, I was most immediately inspired by following the exploits of my friend (and coincidentally also the person who gave me my first publication) Loren Rhoads as she did it over the last year. In terms of logistics, I think it will have to look like this:

  • My submission stats from 2008-2016 indicate that I get some kind of response 75% of the time. This suggests that I’ll have to do 134 submissions (134 x 75%=100.5).
  • But wait! Sometimes, quite by accident, I get published! So far, an average of 6% of my total submissions over 2008-2016 have been accepted. So, really, I’ll need 143 submissions in order to get those 100 rejections. (134 x 1.06=142.04, and I’m a  “round-upper”)
  •  Around 3 submissions a week ought to get us there. My highest rate so far was in 2015, when I did 44  short fiction/nonfiction/poetry submissions, 7 novel draft submissions, and 7 poetry collection submissions. That’s 58 total, or a little more than one a week on average.
  • I’m going to have to step up my game! Ulp.

So there’s the challenge. I’ll be sharing my experience of it with you all along the way!