The TSA

Nov. 17th, 2010 08:54 pm
hypatia_eidos: Portrait of Hypatia (Default)
I'm giving in to terror. I am deeply, deeply terrified of the new TSA procedures, and I'm not flying. I'm not flying home for the holidays to see my family, and I'm probably not flying out to Wiscon, and I'm certainly not flying to go see my childhood friends at our annual reunion. I'll try to drive to a wedding in June, even though it will be huge waste of time & fuel. This makes me sad, and angry, because I know what I'm doing. I know that I am letting other people take the burden of objecting to these terrible, disgusting, pointless policies, rather than going and being difficult myself.

Last night, running on weeks of sleep deprivation (when I'm stressed, I sleep for about five hours a night, and stress can go on for months) I called my parents to explain to them why I wouldn't see them in a month's time. "If money is an issue, we can help," they said, kindly, and I wanted to cry. "It's just creepy," I told them. "I don't want to deal with it," I told them. "Everyone has to undergo this stuff, and we know for a fact that the TSA has lied about saving some photos, and about the clarity of images. And everyone does this- so parents have a choice of letting their children be photographed naked or be embarrassed and groped in public? That's crazy." I told them. "I don't want to think about about," said my mother, and she sounded very tired and worn. "But honey, flying is so much fun, anyways- fat people like us get treated with so much respect, and there's so little time wasted, and you feel so safe and comfortable the whole time." At least when my mother told me this, she had her usual sarcasm back.

I feel guilty. Few people who live several thousand miles from their families have the luxury of a) being able to afford airfare, b) families that want to see them, and c) families that want to see them so bad that they will cover the cost of said airfare, plus any other problems. But I am tired, and I hate travel, anyways, which means that doing something else unpleasant is a real deal-breaker.

Some friends have suggested I take the train. The problem, of course, is that it would be a thirty-six hour trip by train (as opposed to a 12 hour trip by plane) and once you add on the cost of a sleeper car (because if I'm going to be asleep for the whole night while traveling alone, instead of just cat-napping, I'd really like a vertical surface and a door which locks) it comes out to over a grand for the round trip, and even without the chance to lie down and sleep (I go without sleep for a day and a half, sometimes!) it still is significantly more than airfare. Enough to make me think twice about traveling. In other words, thanks for the helpful suggestions, guys, but the train is just not that feasible an option.

Now, I'm not arguing that flying is a right. I am not entitled to fly. However, I am arguing that changing these policies is abusive partly because the game has been changed on people, making air travel more consistently frightening. I moved out here in good faith; I moved while trusting that I would be able to see my family again with more or less the same convenience that I had when I moved. And yes, that convenience has lessened somewhat, and yes, I can cope with that- I am not against airlines trying to squeeze every last possible penny out of their flights and their passengers, per se, though I find it annoying. I am, however, against a government bullying its citizens, and I would go so far as to say that citizens do have a right to not be bullied.

(Also: Apparently this is a thing, now. I didn't know that when I made the decision not to travel.)
hypatia_eidos: Portrait of Hypatia (Default)
Last night I was in the throes of insomnia, reading up on the Metafandom backlog for October, when I happened to check my e-mail and saw a new message from the fine folks at NaNoWriMo. 'Why, a pep talk!' Said I. 'And it is from Mercedes Lackey, how lovely and reminiscent of my childhood.' Being behind on my word count (I still am. I’ve been writing more for this blog today than for my novel) I decided to take a look, to see if it would give me the needed encouragement to continue.

It did much more than that. You know what Mercedes Lackey recommends? She says if you have things like characters and settings, but you’re having plot issues, you should check out Save the Cat!, a book by Blake Snyder. However, if you have plot but not the other things? Write fanfiction.

Thank you, Mercedes Lackey, for saying that.

But why bother to thank her? Lots of authors have reasonably positive attitudes towards fanfiction. A few, like Ms. Lackey, even admit to writing it from time to time.

Here is what struck me: NaNoWriMo does not have a specific tie to fandom, to a fanfiction reading-or-writing crowd, or to any other group that would automatically accept fanfic as a legitimate goal. Essentially she said "Fanfiction is a worthy project!" to 185,000 people without knowing that her audience would be receptive. And yes, it was kind of loaded and she definitely has some opinions about fanfic that aren’t going to be shared universally by fandom, but I am okay with that. I really am just glad that she said it, because it supports the principles of NaNoWriMo, like that 50k words are 50k words no matter how you get there, and that writing can be the end in itself. She said this, and in saying this, she took a tiny step towards normalizing this element of fandom.

And now that I’ve written about 300 words that don’t count… I’m back to working on that novel.

ETA: Here, read her e-mailed pep talk for yourself! (11/5/2010)

Welcome!

Nov. 5th, 2010 12:24 pm
hypatia_eidos: Portrait of Hypatia (Default)
So, this is me, Hypatia, making my first post, as a test/introduction. I'm a little tired right now, because I worked very late, then celebrated, then got home at ungodly o'clock, and then had epic insomnia... and insomnia is a pretty common problem for me, so this is going to be par for the course.

I feel I should talk about me a little: I'm white, female, cisgendered, able-bodied and unusually healthy, for the most part able-of-mind, in-betweenie fat, short, Jewish of culture & belief but not matrilineally, young (early twenties) and I come from a (lower) upper class background. Oh, and I'm bisexual... with a few caveats, like that I don't date or enter sexual/romantic situations.

Which brings me to the next point: I'm a feminist. I'm a geek, but I'm not so hard-core that I always fit in in geek circles; plus I have limited patience for people who aren't even trying to have social skills (allowances being made for people working from a more limited set of circumstances, of course.) I'm artsy, but I'm a lousy artist. I like to write, but I'm scared to share. But mostly, I'm a baby feminist of whatever this thing is, this element of the third-wave which I suspect may actually be growing into a movement that deserves it's own name. I'm part of the 'Radicalized by the internet' crow. I only discovered contemporary feminism about a year ago, so really: very new.

My last point: I'm pseudonymous. I have a rare, actually a unique name, and I work in a field where your name/reputation are everything. I want to be able to say things that are wildly radical, at least to some people's minds, and I want to be able to avoid certain consequences like not being hired because potential bosses google me. (Freelancing is tricky: It is much easier to avoid hiring someone for a temporary contract than it is to fire them from a salaried position. I'm too afraid to give up the privileges I have, when it comes to this.)

So, welcome, thanks for being here, and I hope this posts successfully.

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