Books, words, and the role of technology 

What I’m Reading
Still working on Rough Magick, a collection of short stories edited by Jessa Marie Mendez and Francesca Lia Block. Not as many of the stories have actual magic in them as I would have hoped, but even so they tend to be beautifully written, which makes up for it.

I’ve also started reading My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock, which is set in the ’60s and is about a young woman who wants to be an intrepid reporter like Nelly Bly. As a fan of Bly myself, I’m finding this fun so far.

What I’m Writing

See Brainery Workshop below.

Goals for the Week:

  • Finish workshop draft before class.
  • Edit Bluebeard tale in time to submit to Uncanny (sooclose).

Brainery Workshop – Science Fiction Fairy Tales – Week Seven

Last week’s topic discussion for Brainery Science Fiction Fairy Tales workshop group looked at the “Little Red Riding Hood” and surveillance culture, which was a theme I thought would have been rife with ideas. But all week I came up blank, with only vague glimmerings of overly complex concepts without characters or a story.

A few days before our workshop group was set to meet, I posted about my frustrations. Jilly Dreadful came back with a writing challenge to write a Craigslist Missed Connections personals ad, which turned out to be just the kind of constraint I needed to put something on the page. Over the course of my lunch break, I pounded out a story of a missed meeting and sent it in for workshopping. I was blown away by the positive response the piece received. For me, it was a quickly written throwaway piece. But I followed my group’s advice, made a few minor corrections, and submitted it for publication.

This upcoming class will focus on Hansel and Gretel and synesthesia and empathy disorders. Since we’re meeting early, I only have tonight to put something together, but I’m feeling okay about that as I already have the beginning of an idea.

Where I’ll Be

On December 3, from 9-midnight at Iguannas in San Jose, I’ll be one of many ladies featuring at the Cito.Fame.Us Queens of the Bay mic and birthday party for the amazing host Lindsey Leong.

Linky Goodness

  • In The Problem with #FirstWorldProblems, An Xiao Mina looks at the problematic ways mobile technology is discussed in the media, considering how vital it has become to people around the world. — “Empathy is founded in our ability to see ourselves in the lives of others, to understand their pain and suffering and respond with compassion. If we cannot imagine the lives of others very different from ourselves, we cannot empathize with their joys and sorrows, and if we take as a frame of reference our own experiences, we cannot deeply engage with others’ lived experiences. If we assume that phones are frivolous, luxury devices for playing games and getting distracted at the dinner table, we cannot imagine how critical they are for helping people find their way to nearby safe points — and then we overlook the need to distribute prepaid SIM cards alongside water bottles. If we assume that transparency and openness are universal goods, we cannot imagine how that openness can be terrifying for a queer person trying to live safely and with dignity in a country with anti-LGBT legal structures — and then we enact Terms of Service and user experiences that promote the very thing (visibility) that can make their lives more dangerous.”
  • Rachel Syme presents a thorough and detailed discussion of the history and current role of the selfie in society and culture in SELFIE: The revolutionary potential of your own face, in seven chapters — “Consider this: maybe a woman — or really any person — who takes and publishes many pictures of herself is simply ambitious. She wants people to recognize her image-making ability, her aesthetic boldness, her bravery for stepping into the frame and clicking send. When you tell someone that they have sent too many images of themselves into their feeds, when you shame them with cries of narcissism and self-indulgence, when you tell them that they are taking up too much virtual space (space that is at present, basically limitless, save for the invented boundaries of taste): you need to question your motives. Are you afraid of a person’s ambition to be seen? Where does that come from?”