I’ve been on the receiving end of this conversation, more than a few times :).
47North, Camille Griep, Jet City Comic Show, Jet City Comics, Kate Danley, Letters to Zell, Megan Chance, Robin Hobb, Terry Brooks, The Dream Stewards, The Keys to the Realms, The Well of Tears, The Woodcutter
Big news! Just returned from Sasquan (Worldcon 2015) in Spokane, WA – where much fun was had meeting and greeting and eating and signing books – to hear that I have been added to the guest list at this years Jet City Comic Show!
I’ll be appearing along with fellow 47North authors Camille Griep (Letters to Zell) and Kate Danley (The Woodcutter). And so very honored to be listed in the company of SFF greats like Terry Brooks and Robin Hobb. Big fangirl moment.
More details to be posted as programming and schedule are confirmed.
Also known as the dark moon, today’s lunar super-phenom is synonymous in folklore with the Lilith Myth – Eve’s shadowy alter ego. Historically depicted as a demoness and cast as the wanton woman in cautionary tales, the Lilith spirit more accurately and appropriately represents the fiercest and most independent aspects of the divine feminine. For feminists, Lilith calls to mind the qualities of free-will, self-determination, strength, and power.
Here’s a particularly informative and detailed article on the history of Lilith, with links to more reading: The Lilith Library
Another article on the metaphoric relationship between the Lilith Myth and the perceptions of women in history and religion : Eve and the Identity of Women
And for the more scientific minded moon watcher, there’s some good information on why tonight’s moon is so special over at Universe Today .
One of the most unexpected responses to my debut novel, THE WELL OF TEARS, was the negative reaction from younger female readers about the age of the protagonist in the book (she’s around 40), and the fact that she has a long-standing, functional, and happy life partnership.
THE WELL OF TEARS is more or less a multi-generational family saga with characters who range in age from 19 to 153. The lead protagonist, a sorceress called Alwen who embarks on a quest she has waited half her life to complete, must face a host of complicated challenges and heart-rending losses – the kind that come to someone who has lived long enough to acquire the obligations that come with adulthood – duty to family and community, and to self.
Concepts that are, apparently, inaccessible and / or alienating to younger women.
As a wife, mother, sister, aunt, and feminist – this pains me. It seriously pangs my heart to discover that the only kind of relationship angst some young women want to experience in their reading is whether or not the girl gets the guy. As if there isn’t far more riveting relationship angst to come after the hook up?
Wow. Come on, ladies. Dream bigger.
How I wish I’d been able to find a heroine in the stories I read in my twenties to model the woman I wanted to become, rather than female leads who merely made me feel less alone in my own romantic quagmires. But then, maybe I shouldn’t expect more from readers who are still giving jell-o shot syringes five star reviews ;).
So tell me, young(er) women readers of SFF – why is an older protagonist so unappealing to you? I really wanna know.
In keeping with my #girlpower mantra and feminist mood this week, I leave you with this fabulously funny (and probably NSFW due to multiple F-bombs) post from BuzzFeed – If Hermione Were The Main Character in Harry Potter: (aka Hermione Grainger and the Goddamn Patriarchy):
(click here to be taken to Daniel Dalton’s badass #bosswitch article)
I am a woman of a certain age – meaning I am now referred to as “ma’am”, and “mature”, and “experienced”. I am a a card-carrying member of Generation X, and AARP, and therefore can claim to know a thing or two.
I find myself mildly annoyed by professional, educated women under the age of 40 today, who vehemently protest the lack of equality for their gender in today’s society – as if no progress has been made. They tend to overlook the fact that they are carrying on a fight that in very large part, has already been won. The BIG battle was fought for the legal right to equality – which, thanks to the generation who came before mine, has been ours since 1972.
Now, I am NOT in any way suggesting that sexism doesn’t still exit. It does, and there is much work yet to be done. But I am suggesting that the younger feminists of this society sometimes fail to acknowledge that they have it much easier than the women who came before them. So. Much. Easier.
I was born in the 60’s and came of age in the early 80’s, in the midst of the second most profound feminist movement of the last century (I count the Suffrage movement as first, because without the vote, well…) I have the right to claim real understanding of economic and social oppression and the fight to gain women’s rights through the ERA and EEOC – because, hell, I lived it. I was also lucky enough to be a part of the generation that changed it.
I was a first – the first woman hired into professional level jobs that had previously been held exclusively by men – in the first three professional jobs I was hired to do. At three separate companies, in three separate industries.
It was a big deal, but I didn’t really understand it at the time – the significance of it, the challenges I would face, and the out-and-out anger and resentment and abuse I would experience. After all, I had been raised to believe and presume that all paths were open to me. I was raised to believe and presume that equality was an inalienable right.
The problem was, that wasn’t really true – at least not yet. Title IX (equal opportunity for girls in school sports) was passed and implemented when I was in the 5th grade. Girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school in my district until 1974. And the ERA was not fully enforced until I was a college student in the early 1980’s.
My first career level job was a paid internship for The Seattle Times advertising department – a position I was awarded after working my way through a highly competitive selection process in which candidates had to be nominated by an adviser in one of three specific fields of study. Only three schools in the region were invited to submit candidates, and only one candidate from each university was allowed. I was the only female candidate. I got the job.
This scenario played out two more times in my career – in my next successive positions, both at Fortune 500 companies. The experience was the same in all three situations. I was the first (and only) woman hired into the job class / office / district / region – as a result of EEOC compliance requirements. And I was unwelcome.
What does unwelcome look and feel like? I could go into gruesome detail, but to do so would require digging up a painful set of memories I have worked hard to bubble-wrap and pack away. It was openly hostile. It was openly abusive. It was openly threatening. And there was nothing I could do about it but stand my ground – or quit. I was alone on the front lines, without a a chain of command or any allies. No one had come before me, so there was no one to call on for help. We women had gotten what we had asked for, and now we had to suffer the cost of victory. Change often comes at a very high price.
But it got better. So much better. In fact, so much better that my now twenty-year-old daughter had no idea that girls didn’t always get to play on sanctioned basketball teams and go to college on sports scholarships. It never even occurred to her that there was a time when women couldn’t be police officers or firefighters or anything else they wanted to be. She never learned about the origins of the modern feminist movement in her very progressive suburban school system. I had to tell her.
And I continue to tell her, and all of her friends, and countless other Generation Nexters and Millennials I encounter about the realities of blood, sweat and tears they won’t have to shed because their mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers slugged it out for them. Things still aren’t great, sure, but they are better. So. Much. Better.
Which brings me to why I admire the ABC / Marvel min-series AGENT CARTER. There are only two cultural epochs in modern US History which parallel my personal experience as a professional woman in a time of change – black men (and eventually black women) entering the job market in white corporate America following the Civil Rights Act, and the plight of women in the work force and society at large after the end of World War II.
AGENT CARTER harkens to and pays homage to women who were every bit as essential to the defense of their country as the soldiers who were celebrated. And it does so with humor, and honesty – and a fair measure of accuracy.
Peggy Carter’s world of women is one that begs and deserves to be honored and represented well and truly. It is one which today’s young women need to understand and appreciate, in the same way my generation needed to understand and appreciate it. Because we all stand on the shoulders of super heroes.
So carry on, young women of today – fight the good fight. But do so acknowledging that even though it might not feel like it, you have the privilege of denouncing sexism from a platform elevated by a struggle you will (hopefully) never experience.
And Peggy Carter? She friggin’ rocks.
One of the toughest parts of the process for a writer seeking publication is querying agents. Don’t we all wish there was a tried and true template for success? I’ve seen a lot of examples floating around out there, but today’s bit o’ wisdom from SFF agent Amy Boggs over on on Pub Hub is the best I’ve read. To feast on her expertise, click the banner:
Twice each year I co-present a six-week intensive workshop (hosted in my home) with fellow industry professionals Jennifer McCord and Scott Driscoll. The workshop focuses on story structure and uses a unique outlining approach designed to help writers with a full length novel in progress assess the plot and character development in their story. It’s a great class and it fills up quickly every time we teach it.
It’s a small group, with enrollment limited to 9 students per session. We don’t usually promote the course publicly, but as luck would have it, our Winter 2015 session still has some openings!
If you’re in the Seattle area and are looking for some support with your current work, this might be just what you need. Here’s the link to the workshop home page – where you’ll find a detailed description of the course, dates, fees, and enrollment deadlines.
Check it out: