Autistic Burnout

CW Self-harm, trauma reference, sexual abuse reference

Autistic burnout is where I find myself right now. It’s a lot like a nervous breakdown, and maybe a bit like clinical depression, but not quite like either. It’s got me right to the edge of a full-on psychotic break with regards to my PTSD and anxiety. I’m a recovered cutter, and yeah… I had to go back on anti-depression meds recently to cope with the desire to self-harm. I got my kit out on Friday. I didn’t use it, I have to give myself credit for that, but I haven’t even looked at it in over ten years.

The fact is, though, that I WANTED to use it. So for me to say, “I’m not in a good place right now” I REALLY MEAN THAT.

I’ve been through a psychotic break before, as well as a nervous breakdown. I have a very long history of trauma, sexual abuse, self-harm, and assorted mental health trail mix. I know the signs, I also know what I have to do.

I’ve had to remove the twitter app from everything but my computer. I can’t remove my presence there completely, and if I did, I’d miss people that I HAVE come to think of as closer to being friends than not.

I’ve already lost my joy and desire to be there. To even be on the internet at all. (and I LOVE the internet, or I used to) I’m having to make myself get on. Currently, I have an alarm set to go off for when I need to get on and try to interact.

Considering it’s 99% of my social interaction? How I get my sales, clients for editing/sensitive reading etc, communication with my editor who is working on my pre-pubbed book BLOODBOUND and my own editors as well as work? It’s how I communicate with my CPs and do my research for books? It’s even how I pay my bills. Yeah.

But right now? If I don’t make an effort to get on… in case you’re wondering, I’d probably never come back.

I will recover, I hope. I’m taking care of myself, but I’ll be scarce while I build myself back up. Much as I hate the symbology of the puzzle piece for autism (because of who uses it) it’s a lot like putting the puzzle pieces of ME back together.

In no uncertain terms, I’m shattered. I have to rebuild myself. Again. I often wonder when I’ll have lost enough of my pieces that I won’t make a whole picture anymore.

I know several autistics who won’t go near the internet because they’ve run into similar problems. Being misunderstood, running themselves into burnout…

I don’t want to be one of them.

In reality… and what helps me do the rebuilding, it’s clinging to the things in my life that are REAL. I’m holding my kids longer, just so I can feel that they’re real. I’m taking more time with my food, when I have any appetite at all. (I think I’ve eaten breakfast today? Which is the first thing of any solidity I’ve eaten all weekend, so it’s an improvement?) That’s a part of how autism affects me. The very idea of making myself eat, because of the textures in my mouth, the feel of the food in my belly, it all makes me nauseous. So that too, is something I’m making myself do, when honestly, all I want to do is make myself bleed so the pain has someplace else to be. (If I didn’t do it this past friday, I probably won’t. I’m not as low as I was then… I put the kit away, so I think I’m okayish.)

I’m making myself try to go to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. Tactile sensations are helping a lot, if they’re ones I choose.

I have to step back and away from just about everything for a while. Until I can be sure again what is real and what isn’t. Cause right now, nothing feels that way. I feel like everything I know, or thought I knew is just dust in the wind. (Yes, I listen to Kansas, shush, I’m old.)

The fact that a lot of my problems tie back to a horrifying event that I had nothing to do with… yet still got blamed for, and am, to this day getting blamed for (the harassment I suffered a few months back was also part of that, though I didn’t say so at the time) is playing a very large part in my reaction.

One of the things a lot of autistics really have a problem with is injustice. But we’re usually accused, easily, because 80 some odd percent of the population doesn’t understand us and most don’t bother to try. (If you know 50 adults, you know two passing autistics, and it takes a toll to pass.) In the past year, I’ve been accused, hounded, harassed (seriously, you should see my harassment folder in my email inbox… if it were paper it’d be as high as my head) threatened, and my family has been too. There’ve been death threats, threats to out my legal name, my husbands and my kids. There’ve been accusations of so much I’d never, EVER, consider doing. Just… so much peeps.

I didn’t honestly know what the final straw would be. I was hoping never to find out. I thought… because I’d been wise enough to go get meds, and that they seemed to be evening me out… that maybe I was on the mend.

Not so much.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing the official letter of delay for my authors at Multifarious Press. I have to, because of my inability to cope with anything right now, put the anthologies on hold until 2018.

If the contracts are already signed, I’ll be giving the authors a chance to break contract to sell their stories elsewhere. It’s not my intent to be terrible to people.

I’ll put up further notices when I know for sure what we at Multifarious have decided to do going forward. I’m not making any final decisions right now, but frankly? I don’t think I have the heart for it anymore. I’ll make any decisions after I’m more stable, but… you need heart to deal with something like a press, and I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. Who knows… maybe I’ll surprise myself. I keep thinking of all those (truly amazing) stories by marginalized authors I have in my query inbox. I hope it’s enough. I truly hope that time and the brilliance in my To Be Read folder will be enough to restore my heart.

Sitting here wrapped in my fuzzy blankets, earphones on to help ground me to what is REAL (that’s a large part of how I recover myself when shutdown) I’m not making any firm decisions about anything, not even dinner. Which I suppose I should go eat.

It’s not fair, nor is it right to the people I’ve promised publication to. It’s not fair or right to me, my family, anyone who has come to count on me, but I absolutely cannot push myself further right now without risk of utter collapse that might see me institutionalized.

For the fulls *I* have requested for the press. (Unless I learn differently, Cit and Kieru are still open for queries, Jamie and I are closed) I’ll work on getting them finished and an answer back to the authors while I’m closed to queries. These stories are so good guys, and I want to see them in the world. Don’t wait on me, just let me know if the situation changes and someone else wants them, please, so I can work on someone else’s.

I’m going to be concentrating on my writing a lot, I have an opportunity to sell a novella to my editor, so I’m going to do that. Maybe sharing my writing lines in the hashtag games will be enough of an internet presence for now. At least until I’m less fragile.

Writing has saved my mind and my life more times than I can count. It’ll help.

You know, I started the press to help marginalized people. I just have to figure out if closing it, or keeping it open will do the least amount of harm. To the marginalized people I opened it for… and to me.

Maybe I’m just too broken to be any good to anyone except my family and my stories. Life sure does seem to delight in throwing me into the deep end and failing to throw me a life-line.

I just need time to remember how to swim, before I drown.

 

 

 

Asking for help shouldn’t hurt

 

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But it did.

It moved me to tears.

Not exaggerating, I’m still sniffling while I’m trying to write this.

It shouldn’t BE so hard to ask for help.

But it made me feel worthless. Here’s the tweet thread.

then this

but it feels so hard to ask for that dollar a month from people in my patreon.

It really does.

I’ve spoken about the historical and ever-present need for patronage of the arts 

but to know that I NEED the help of others to keep making diverse books happen.

It’s hard to admit.

I’m well educated (thanks to an overabundance of student loans I’m paying off).

but because of Canadian licensure requirements, I can’t work in those fields, not without going back to school.

I have such a calling to write diverse stories and to publish others. But I can’t do it without help.

Help I cried to ask for.

Man… does capitalism ever suck ass or what?

Ghost Writers

I think I need to get back to writing, I’ve blogged more this past week than in a while. It’s usually a sign that I need to be working on a book.

IN any case, what I want to talk about is ghostwriting.

So, if you go to Upwork, you can see all sorts of advertisements for ghostwriting. I’ve even made a small amount of money, once or twice, ghostwriting short pieces.

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I stopped because it felt so unethical.

I mean, people who are buying words/books… if it’s for a big name… they’re buying THAT PERSON’S words and stories. They want that author’s voice! Or at least I do.

I’m a mimic, I can mimic most writer’s voices in any genre I write in pretty closely, especially if I’ve read them before.

And I’m an editor, author and autistic.

I CAN BLOODY TELL WHEN IT’S A GHOSTWRITER!!

Please, for the love of the very little money I have to spend on books, don’t do this to me.

I get it, maybe most people aren’t going to be able to tell the difference, but *I* can and I’m not the only one by far.

The big5 pubbed book I preordered because it’s one of my favorite authors hit my kindle yesterday and I was excited to read it. I love this character and I love the world the author has created.

I do not love this book, and I have not yet found a book by this author I hated, nor even disliked.

I love this authors work (or whichever ghostwriter she’s had working for her for a while now). I love the worlds, characters, and stories.

I do NOT love what this new ghostwriter is doing with them.

There is something missing from this authors words that I’ve never seen in the name before.

I’m not a big name in publishing, I’m an outsider, probably always will be, so I don’t actually know how often a big name author hires a ghost writer.

Often enough I’d think. In the past year, two big names that I usually read have felt extremely off when I was reading the books.

I may keep a running list of things I’ve never seen this particular author do in her work, just to keep it straight in my head and to use as supporting examples for this post.

Things I’ve NEVER seen this author do in any of her 30 some books I’ve read that I’ve seen MORE THAN ONCE in this one.

Racial slurs

Description of her black character as ‘sun-bronzed’

Geek slurs

Extreme heavy handedness on reconciliation of ‘happy families’ (one of the reasons I’ve loved this author is that she DOESN’T do that.)

She’s also a WoC so I’ve trusted her to get the descriptions of her mixed race characters done in a sensitive way. This book? It’s so white I can’t even.

Graphic words (I don’t mind graphic words, but this author doesn’t have a history of using them).

… and there is just something missing from this book that the previous ones had.

It’s very unhappy making.

I suppose I could be wrong, that it could just be the author trying something new, but I sincerely doubt it.

So much so that I’m not buying the next book.

And I loved this author.

Look, I get it. We writers/authors are in a dog-eat-dog world, but this particular ghost writer just lost my custom for this author.

It’s close, but it’s nowhere near close enough.

As far as those of us who do the ghostwriting? I get that too, we’re most of us hand to mouth, but no.

Just say no. Please.

I’m the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liason for 2017!

Eek!

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Hi! I’m the Municipal Liason for London Ontario for NaNoWriMo this year, and hopefully, it’ll be a fun time. It’s not my first go-round on event planning.

I’ve written 5 books, published several and have more coming. I also have a novella and several vignettes in publication. (My books are here, if you’re curious.)

Biggest help other than event planning? I’ve won NaNo before, AND gone on to publish those books. I know what it takes and I can (maybe?) help you do it too.

I’m going to put everything to do with it (links etc.) here as well as on the NaNoWriMo.org forums.

You can find our Regional group and forums here.

So.

I’m a Twitter lover. (I blogged about how I do twitter here)

My Twitter if you want to follow me: @KaelanRhy

First things first is the hashtag for our area. London Ontario Canada, so we’ll tag all posts for the region with #SOLondonWrimo

If you’ve found this site via Twitter, ALL of this info is also available via the NaNoWriMo.org Regional Forums.

The first thing I’ll ask from y’all is to take a survey telling me how often, and where, you want to meet. There are 9 questions.

Survey for where and how many times we’d like to meet.

Author Spotlight & Interview LEIGH M. LORIEN author of JIGS AND REELS

 

I’m pleased to kick off my series of authorial interviews with my friend Leigh who has a book out this week!

I loved JIGS & REELS, it’s a sweet, sexy m/m romance novella. It has voice that leaps off the page and grabs the reader by the throat. I’m picky, and I loved it at beta reading stage, the version I bought is going to be even better. 🙂

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I sent Leigh a list of nosy parker questions and here’s what she said.

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  • What do you write? Queer romance. Meaning I don’t just write cisgender/allosexual characters. I have asexual, aromantic, transgender, and nonbinary characters in the works.
  • Why do you write it? Because I can’t not. Because the world is diverse and I am queer and why shouldn’t I write it? I write because I don’t know how to stop, and there is a community—to which I belong—that desperately needs to see themselves in stories. I’m asexual, but I didn’t realize it until I was 26 or 27. I’ve never seen an asexual character in anything mainstream, and even in indie/not mainstream things, I had to go hunting to find asexual representation. I wonder how different the past ten years of my life could have been if I’d known about asexuality when I was in high school. So I want to help put more queer characters out there, because we need it. (woo, getting deep on the second question)
  • Where do you write? I usually write on my laptop, in bed. This often results in waking up at 2am and realizing I wrote 12 pages of the letter f. Woops.
  • How long have you been writing? I started writing as soon as I could physically write letters and words—I made Sonic the Hedgehog story books when I was 4 or 5 years old—but I developed the habit of writing when I was eleven. I discovered Dragonball Z one weekend, and then, on a four-hour car trip later that same week, I wrote a Dragonball Z fanfiction by hand on a legal pad in the back of my dad’s car. So I have been writing consistently for over 15 years, but I think I’ve been a writer/storyteller since I was a toddler.
  • When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? This is an odd question for me, because I’ve been writing for a long time, but I’ve never actually considered myself an author or taken my writing seriously. It was a hobby, something I do to blow off steam, something I do because the ideas keep popping into my head and I have no way to get them out if I don’t write. About a year ago, I was thinking about picking up a hobby that I could make money from (crafts or something) when I suddenly realized I already have that hobby. And thus began my pursuit of publication.
  • What do you enjoy most about the writing process? – The brainstorming. Coming up with ideas is so much more fun than molding them into things that make sense and stringing them together in a coherent plot. Nothing quite equals the excitement I feel when I’m coming up with new ideas, talking ideas over with other people—hell, I like to talk about/brainstorm other peoples’ ideas as much as I like to talk about my own.
  • Where do you find inspiration? Books, TV, music, movies, real life. My ideas start with the vaguest concept sometimes—an emotion I want to capture, a single line of a song, the dynamic between two people having a conversation in the grocery store, a picture of beautiful scenery. I can’t even do yard work without thinking up ideas for stories.
  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like gardening, hiking, photography, running, and anything that involves cute animals.
  • How many books have you written, and which is your favorite? Why? If you count first drafts, I’ve written five. How many of those will see the light of day remains to be determined. My favorite is probably the one I’m currently revising, which is a contemporary romance with BDSM and an asexual character. The characters bond over steak dinner and a conversation about Star Trek on their first date. I’ve poured a lot of myself into this book.
  • Do you have any advice to other writers/authors? Don’t compare yourself to other writers! It’s not a competition. I know it’s tempting to compare your accomplishments to other peoples’, but don’t. The only person you should compare yourself to, is you. As long as you’re still moving forward, no matter how fast or slow, you’re doing just fine.
  • What do you think makes a good story? Likeable characters. I can let plot holes and worldbuilding issues slip under the radar as long as I’m wrapped up in the characters’ emotions and struggles.
  • As a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up? As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals. As an adult, I realized I don’t have the constitution for that line of work. I’ll stick to adopting too many pets and pay someone else to handle the boo-boos and icky stuff.
  • Do you read a lot? What are your favorite genres? I don’t read as much as I should, but I love urban fantasy, science fiction, crime/mystery, and romance.
  • Where did your love of books/writing come from? I can thank my mother for that. My mother read to me when I was little. She read me a lot of Dr. Seuss, which she enjoys, and she enjoyed reading it to me, so I think I just naturally learned to associate books with joy and fun. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books.
  • Who are some of your favorite authors who you feel have been most influential to your writing?I can’t point fingers at the authors who got me started on romance, because I blame fanfiction for that, but I can point fingers at some who influenced how I write. When I first started writing around age eleven, my voice was influenced by Douglas Adams and Lemony Snicket. More recently, it’s Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne. That kind of dry, dark, sarcastic, witty humor… except way more queer than any of the above. 😀

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Blurb & Excerpt:

LENGTH: 18,020 words
RATING: flame rating 3

Elijah works in a cubicle, lives with his parents, and never goes on dates. It isn’t an exciting life, but it’s safe and easy and that’s good enough.

Then he meets Peter, a whirlwind of a man who leads a traveling renaissance band. Peter represents everything Eli usually avoids, but his boisterous enthusiasm is infectious… and his band needs a fiddle player.

When Eli agrees to fill in for a weekend, he awakens a part of himself he thought long gone. With Peter’s help, he shakes off the dust that has settled on his soul and remembers how to have fun.

But when the band asks him to join them permanently, is Eli’s newborn sense of adventure — and insane crush on a man he barely knows — enough to make him leave the safety of a life he’s clung to for years?

EXCERPT:

“Wait, what?” My heartrate spiked and I swallowed against a sudden wave of nausea. No one had mentioned this before. Morrison’s? We hadn’t practiced Morrison’s. I knew the tune, but man, I was not prepared for this. The past few days were really pushing the limits of my spontaneity for the week. Month. Hell, I hadn’t been this spontaneous in years. Seeing my anxiety, Peter caught my shaky hand as I reached for a bottle of water. My eyes widened and I glanced around, but everyone else had better things to do than watch my every move.

“Hey,” he said softly, and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss, like an old-fashioned gentleman. “You’ll be great. You know these songs, you’ve been on stage before, nothing is different.”

“No?” I said in a choked whisper. He wasn’t letting go of my hand. His skin was soft, smooth as silk, warm, and dry. Well, it had been dry before he’d grabbed my sweaty mitt. “I don’t know you guys at all. I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to miss a cue or, or, play a song too fast or too slow or get up there and forget how to play everything I’ve ever learned. I’m going to be too stiff, people are going to look at me and think I’m a zombie or something, some kind of weird fiddle-playing corpse, an animatronic fiddler. I don’t move around much, that was something Toby always told me, too. My ex … band leader. Toby. He got on my case, said if I was going to be so still I might as well just sit in a chair for all the more entertaining I was on stage. I have no stage presence. I just –”

Soft fingers touched my lips. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but the mere presence of the touch made me shut up. “Shh,” Peter cooed. He met my eyes and smiled, but it wasn’t an impish, teasing smile this time. It was gentle and earnest. “You’re not going to forget those songs.” The fingers brushed back along my cheek until he cupped my jaw in his palm, thumb coming to rest on my lower lip. Why was I just standing there like an idiot? Do something! Those bright eyes had me hypnotized. I couldn’t have pulled away if I’d wanted to.

And I didn’t want to. It had been way too long since I’d had affection. Hell, even if it had just been last week, I figured Peter would have been able to entrance me. He just had that energy about him, that insane, hell bent for leather, bright-eyed confidence like he could go out the door one day intending to get the newspaper and end up taking over the world. Katie had a similar sort of energy. I was drawn to it like a stupid moth to a lamp. And, much like a stupid moth, I could not actually obtain that energy for myself. I just bounced around it until it became too much to handle and I dropped.

“We’ve had two fiddlers since we got together, and a couple other temp stand-in members,” Peter said, still holding my hand, still caressing my lip with his thumb. “We’re used to adjusting to new members, but I don’t foresee it being an issue. You and I click, musically. You pick up on cues like a pro.”

“Well,” I said, my voice matching his soft timbre, “you’re not exactly subtle.”

Peter laughed. “No time in life for pussy-footing around.” He let go of my hand and brought his other hand up to cup my other cheek, holding my face. He was taller than me, I realized. Not much, but just enough that I noticed when he tipped my face up towards his. He didn’t lean in though, just kept smiling. “What kind of cues are you picking up on right now?”

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Nuance

Twitter is a very angry place today.

It’s a nuanced issue and I have words. I’ll do my best to lay my very complicated thoughts and emotions out in a reasoned fashion.

Here’s the reason twitter is angry today. Vulture published an article that… was rather skewed in its perception. (It’s the politest way I can say that.) I knew about the person writing the article months ago, they were going around asking for interviews. Thank goodness Nicky provided screenshots so Vulture doesn’t get any more clicks than necessary. (Shared with Nicky’s permission)

I don’t suppose twitter being angry again is anything new, at all.

Over the weekend, I had to block a bunch of angry people who preach the same, sad, angry speech over and over and over again with regards to aroace issues. I’m done listening.

Blogged about it here.

And today, we’re back to (re: race issues, YA book twitter and reviewing) seeing the same people performing the same ridiculous performative activism. No, I ain’t gonna link them. They’re already on my publishing blacklist anyway. You’ll see a lot of them who look/claim to be white shouting that it’s wrong to want ‘old twitter’ back.

Today’s anger is in relation to race, reviews and the above linked article.

Over the weekend it was aroace.

Before that is was neurodiversity, before that it was queerphobia, before that mental illness/psychiatric disorder and I’m seeing inklings that it’s going to be transphobia next.

The problem is so nuanced and multifaceted that I wonder if maybe I’m one of the few seeing it? I mean… I’m so intersectionally diverse it’s almost impossible to believe. I’m plugged into a lot of communities just by virtue of being who I am.

I’m queer as fuck, I’m autistic, I’m mentally ill, I’m chronically ill with a chronic pain condition, and I’m mixed-race. (Mostly First Nations, Spanish/Portuguese and Mixed white European, but I have quite a few black ancestors too.)

The problem with twitter that is ruining ‘book twitter’ and why braver people are saying they miss the old one is this: It’s the anger people.

Not about the subject matter.

It’s about what makes REAL activism, and the ‘performing for ally cookies’ sort of activism.

I ask, in the light of all that’s going down, who are you shouting for? Why are you shouting?

If it’s the YA book twitter group, you’re very likely doing it wrong, cause they’re afraid. More on that later.

Several threads shared on twitter offer VERY salient point.

We don’t have people in their own communities (ANY of the diverse communities I’m part of) coming to collect the pretenders and me-too-ists and harmful (possibly well meaning?) people. We also don’t have people in our own communities willing to collect the loud, angry, confrontational, or outright dangerous people.

I tried, with the aroace discussion recently. I ended up having to block people because they were interested only in being angry, not in actually listening or in working for change. They wanted to shout, and flail and have things EXACTLY AS THEY WANTED IT.

They weren’t interested in working for change. They were interested in shouting until *I* backed down. Because I didn’t agree with them.

I got called names, gaslighted, and ganged up on. BY PEOPLE IN (one of) MY OWN COMMUNITIES!

So I ended up blocking.

I’m older, I remember a time when I was young and fired up and thinking the only way to make my voice heard was to shout and demand things.

Change needs to happen. YES. In SO MANY areas of publishing, in book twitter, in life. Change NEEDS to happen. I need it to happen, not just for me, but for my kids. Mixed race, autistic, possibly queer, likely… after the world gets done chewing them up and spitting them out… mentally ill adults they’ll someday be… and for my grandkids too, if I have any. All of the children and grandchildren of those generations. Those are the people *I’m* fighting for. Future generations. Not me, so much as the ones who will come after me.

Seven generations. A bastardized quote, but one worthy of thought in this context.

“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”

The seventh generation principle comes, we believe, from The Iroquois Confederacy.

I do know it’s a very important part of my life-path. To think ahead to future generations in all that I do.

Environment, relationships, all of it.

Because THAT is who I’m fighting and educating for.

Not me.

It’s also a principle I try to follow that I need to have peace in my heart and a thick skin, so that I don’t act unwisely.

You may have heard me use the phrase “I need to sit with this”.

That usually means I’m angry, and I need to step back and away, to ‘sit with it’ until I can respond or speak in a way that won’t negatively impact others.

For reading, if you’re so inclined. Do a search for ‘seven’ and read those passages.

The Great Binding Law GAYANASHAGOWA

It’s part of why I stick on twitter, because a lot of people say they learn things from me that they don’t learn from anyone else. I have a patreon, I could confine my education to that area only like some people have done. (If you find any of my blogs or threads helpful/educational, even a dollar a month can help me so much. You’ve no idea how badly I need the help!!)

I’m not going to.

The angry atmosphere on twitter is driving people away. That is fact.

It’s not helping to educate. Shouting angrily, bullying, gaslighting, and being harmful enough to drive people away is not going to cause that badly needed change. No matter WHAT the area you personally need to have change happen in, anger is not going to get you there.

People doing the actual work are. The ones who reach out to someone (again, NO MATTER WHAT THE TOPIC IS) and say the hard thing to them…

IE: That is racist, that is bullying, that is queerphobic, that is harming other aroace people and making us afraid to talk, that is (insert harmful behavior here).

I’ve seen so many white authors dashing off a quick tweet today parroting that it’s wrong to miss old book twitter because it shuts down the conversation. (I’d really love to know if they call-in other white authors when they’re being problematic, or if they just dash off those tweets when the marginalized communities are harmed.)

But you know? It’s not wrong to miss old book twitter. I disagree with everything in me. With anyone saying it’s wrong to miss the old book twitter. That’s… not how this is supposed to work y’all.

I’m marginalized.

And YES. I miss old book twitter.

I only caught the tail end of it, because I didn’t discover twitter until Jan of 2015. I still saw a much more uplifting, educational, and supportive atmosphere then than I do now.

When the atmosphere of twitter drives people TRYING TO DO BETTER away. When it drives the marginalized youth you claim to be fighting for AWAY… Then the atmosphere is the problem. Not ‘missing old book twitter’. Missing old book twitter is not about shutting down conversation and education. It just isn’t. I don’t know why I’m one of the few people who seem to feel that way.

If people can’t make mistakes, and earnestly apologize, try to learn better and do better… what the hell is the point of trying to educate at all?

If your only point is to sic your followers on an author who didn’t know better… welp, maybe the problem is as much YOU as the author.

If you’re called out for doing something wrong, (gods, I feel like a broken record here) you say “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I’m listening.” Then you sit the fuck down and you listen!

Then you try to do better with what you hopefully know.

I do notice who says they’re sorry and tries to do better, and who doesn’t. So does everyone else.

There’ve been threads (If you go to my twitter you can see which ones I retweeted, I’m not really a journalist, but considering the flagrant abuse of journalists that spawned these posts, I’m not going to link without permission. Sadly, I’m too afraid to ask for that permission of the two people I’d most like to link.)

I’ve also been bullied and harassed (through DMs, my blog contact form, and my email). I’ve had people lie to me, or subtly threaten to out my legal name and my husband’s and kids names as well if I don’t do what they want me to do. (To be clear, I don’t use my legal name cause it’s my dead name, so having it show up in an email hurt me. I don’t even use it in real life unless it’s on legal paperwork where I have to.) THIS name is my ‘real’ name. This is the real me.

Here is a thread I did for helping people consider if they’re being a bully or no.

Now, that vulture article that stirred up the hurt and rage on twitter today? It’s about the YA book community, and race, and attacking reviewers. I do suggest you read it in full and draw your own conclusions about it.

I’ll say something here I’ve been afraid to say elsewhere: I’m SO GLAD I don’t write YA. It’s not really in my skill set and I’m so grateful for that. I don’t even want to dip a toe in that shark infested lake.

I’ve got a partially finished YA memoir. I’ll never likely finish it because the very idea of swimming in the blood-chummed waters of YA twitter make me never want to consider it.

That has nothing to do with the young adults themselves. It has everything to do with adults and scary, noisy, angry saviors who purport to be defending and protecting the very people they supposedly write for.

Young adults are some of the most awesome people I’m privileged to know. They are much better people, by and large, than I was at their ages. The thing that keeps me from writing YA? (Aside from my lack of skill at it) Is that it’s not the Young Adult Voices who get listened to.

Nope. Not even close. It’s self-appointed ‘saviors’ of young adults (again, doesn’t matter the marginalization, I’ve seen it over and over again through many different diverse communities). They’re ANGRY saviors too.

Thought experiment from sociology classes:

  1. The last time someone yelled in your face, did you *actually* hear the point they were trying to make?
  2. If someone bullied you, did you learn from them? Or did you try to get away?
  3. If someone has bullied or yelled at you more than once, will you EVER actually listen to them or their point?

No? Hunh. Imagine that.

Young Adults by and large (I follow quite a few now,  after a particular dust up where they came out in droves to shout down an angry savior. I’m following teens and young adults because I’M LISTENING TO THEM.) They are afraid to speak up on twitter because of the outraged adults.

The ones doing the harm here, it’s not the young adults. It’s the angry saviors and their hangers-on claiming (again, no matter which marginalized community we’re talking about) to be ‘protecting’ the ‘helpless young adults’.

Now, I don’t know about you? But I HATED to be talked over by adults when I was a young adult.

Seems to me, mourning old twitter isn’t about wanting the conversation to die so much as wanting a safe place for conversations and reviews to be shared. I want people on twitter to sit with it until they know their facts and their emotions well before they take to twitter and rant.

I want it to be a safe place for teens and young adults to share their thoughts and experiences without getting shouted down. I want it to remain a place where people can (if they choose to provide the free education) continue to share educational threads.  Where reviews can be shared. Where a well-thought out call-out can happen and where the one called out thinks and listens about the issue, then apologizes.

That’s what I want from book twitter.

But then, maybe I’m just too old, depressed and sad about seeing something that used to be really good going down the drain because of a few, angry saviors with huge followings.

Don’t, maybe… be that person who sees someone shouting about something (even if they’re shouting for a good cause, a needed change) and become a me-too-ist. There aren’t any ally cookies. There really aren’t.

There’s a distinct difference between educational threads, shared experiences and the angry saviorism. If you can’t recognize it… maybe think about that.

If you’re NOT doing the work to call-in problematical angry saviors AS WELL AS the problematic people who may be well meaning and who might make mistakes (again, no matter the marginalization) maybe just STFU and leave the work to those of us who do.

Consider this a call out to the angry saviors and the me-too-ists.

You’re not part of the solution. You’re part of the problem.

 

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New Book Review: ASSASSIN’S FATE by Robin Hobb

Dark Adult Fantasy

Assassin's Fate.jpg

BLURB

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The stunning conclusion to Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy, which began with Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest

“Every new Robin Hobb novel is a cause for celebration. Along with millions of her other fans, I delight in every visit to the Six Duchies, the Rain Wilds, and the Out Islands, and can’t wait to see where she’ll take me next.”—George R. R. Martin 

More than twenty years ago, the first epic fantasy novel featuring FitzChivalry Farseer and his mysterious, often maddening friend the Fool struck like a bolt of brilliant lightning. Now New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb brings to a momentous close the third trilogy featuring these beloved characters in a novel of unsurpassed artistry that is sure to endure as one of the great masterworks of the genre.

Fitz’s young daughter, Bee, has been kidnapped by the Servants, a secret society whose members not only dream of possible futures but use their prophecies to add to their wealth and influence. Bee plays a crucial part in these dreams—but just what part remains uncertain.

As Bee is dragged by her sadistic captors across half the world, Fitz and the Fool, believing her dead, embark on a mission of revenge that will take them to the distant island where the Servants reside—a place the Fool once called home and later called prison. It was a hell the Fool escaped, maimed and blinded, swearing never to return.

For all his injuries, however, the Fool is not as helpless as he seems. He is a dreamer too, able to shape the future. And though Fitz is no longer the peerless assassin of his youth, he remains a man to be reckoned with—deadly with blades and poison, and adept in Farseer magic. And their goal is simple: to make sure not a single Servant survives their scourge.


REVIEW

First, I’ve been reading this series since not long after it first came out. Fantasy has always been my first and most enduring love. You do have to read the series to understand this book.

The blurb calls this a stunning conclusion to the series.

It’s right.

Robin Hobb is one of the very few (Less than five now) established authors I still auto-buy. Price of books and my anemic book buying cash and all. But I always buy the books about Fitz.

I bought this one release week and I’ll be completely honest, I had trouble getting into it. Passive voice. It’s my Achilles heel in reading and it will always throw me out of the story. So when I first picked up this story, hoping to escape, it irritated me enough to put it down when I caught several instances of passive voice in the first few pages.

I’m glad I finally got around to picking it back up again.

Man, when it finally grabbed me by the throat it pinned me down and held me almost unable to breathe for an entire weekend.

By that I mean I got NONE of my chores done, my hubs brought me dinner because I kept forgetting to eat and I forgot to make coffee one day because I was SO ENTHRALLED by the story. COFFEE people, I forgot COFFEE!

Now. I read fast, but this book is almost 900 pages long, I started it late at night on Friday and just finished it. A little before midnight on Sunday.

I didn’t do much of ANYTHING except read all weekend because I had to know what happened to Fitz and Beloved.

Had to.

It’s really good. I cried. A lot. Ugly, messy, cry, and I’m still content with how the story ended. I wish it hadn’t HAD to, because these were the only characters by this author that I connect with, but it’s still a fantastic conclusion. Even though my heart aches.

I’ll miss these characters, miss looking forward to new books with them. Badly. Sadly, Bee doesn’t do it for me as a character.

Somehow, I had also missed that Beloved is gender-fluid throughout the whole series, and though they aren’t named that way, it’s quite clear when I think about it. I suppose I could be coding it, but I really doubt it. Probably one of reasons I’ve loved these books, and reread them so many times for so many years.

I will say: Content Warning on a deliberate mis-gendering by Fitz for Beloved. That stung a bit to read. It worked for the characters, story, and world though, so it’s not a complaint. Just a warning.

SCORES

Readability: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 It’d be around 9 or 10 if I could rate that high on my system. I didn’t quite drop my tablet on my face, but that’s only because I’m trying to discipline myself into actually SLEEPING at night.

Arcs: 5/5 star-1586412_1920As I finished this last installment, I have to wonder if Ms. Hobb had this entire series planned from the get go. The series arcs, relationship arcs, and multiple trilogy arcs are so masterfully done. SO well done. It’s amazing. Truly.

Craft: 4/5: star-1586412_1920 I wish I could give it a full on five-star rating, but I did have trouble getting into it because of the passive voice. I found a couple of sections dragging and would’ve advised the author cut a few scenes to speed pacing. Still loved the book and the sheer scope of this story… it’s freaking phenomenal. Hobb carries well her laurels of being one of the best fantasists in the genre.