The History and Value of Patronage

Trying something new, you can hear me narrate this post here… while you scan through the pretty pics if you want. YouTube link to my blog post narrations. 

I have two university degrees. My majors for my B.Sc. were biophysical anthropology/forensic chemistry, the other is a Masters in Teaching with a focus on World History. 

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Hard to tell which subject I like more, to be honest. These days, I don’t practice in either field due to health problems and licensure issues from our international move to Canada, but I keep up to date on professional publications for both fields. (Thank goodness for libraries.)

I rambled a bit there because what I really wanted to discuss is how far back the idea of Patronage goes in the arts, and how very important it is. (Every piece of art and every image used on this blog post, except Van Gogh’s, was made possible by patronage, Every. Single. One. So keep that in mind.)

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Patronage as the definition of supporting with cash or other forms of concrete support those creators whose work you value.white-82698_1920

In the past, it was only the very wealthy, the nobles, the kings/queens and the clergy who could do this for artists.pope-1209939_1920

We have records of patronage of the arts going all the way back to feudal Japan, around 1185 a.c.e. So it’s been going on for a long time.

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In medieval Europe, it’s the only way anything got done for the arts, because honestly, it’s damned difficult in today’s day and age to be a creative and still eat and have a roof over one’s head. Back then, it was impossible. Most of the great creators in our history had noble or royal patrons.

Like Leonard Da Vinci. He was a bastard born out of wedlock, and if he hadn’t had patrons from a very young age, we’d never have known his genius.

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Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni  Most often known as Michelangelo had several patrons from an early age. Again, without whom, we’d never have his works.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino  Better known to most as Raphael is another great who had help with support for his works.

One who didn’t, and I’ll always wonder what he could’ve created if he had… is Vincent Van Gogh.

While there’s no doubt that he had some help from family and friends, I wonder if a more regular patronage may have been of aid in controlling the demons he most definitely struggled with. Can you imagine the wonders that may have come from his brush if he’d been certain he could both eat and afford his paints?

He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, after two years where he couldn’t sell his artwork. Two years where he couldn’t give away a painting for the cost of his dinner. Paintings which now sell for millions of dollars apiece, IF you can find one for sale.

You know, I’ve seen it said a lot lately that this time period of fear and angst and rage in the marginalized communities will equate to beautiful art. I’d really like the idea that the most stunning of art comes from tortured individuals to die in a fire and never raise its ugly head again. Because it just isn’t true.

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As I’ve proven (and could continue to prove with citations) most of the best art we’ve had in the world is because those artists were able to eat, they knew they had a roof over their heads, they had a studio to work in and the materials they needed to do their work.

In short, they had patrons.

The concept that Patreon has come up with, that just a dollar or two a month from a lot of people go to support a creator… it’s revolutionary.

In the past, it was only the rich that could help their favored artists create art, now it’s everyone. We as a culture can support the arts with our spare change. How absolutely amazing is that?

Seriously, I’d like you to stop and think about that for a moment. How mind-blowingly wonderful is it, that for the price of one fast food meal a year (roughly about 12$ here in Canada) you can help a struggling artist have the basics that they need to create art. pizza-2000595_1920

World-shaking, that’s what it really is.

I look forward to so much of the art that people with patrons are going to be able to make. I hope that everyone who can afford it will find someone to support as a patron through patreon, or even through the particular creator’s KoFis or paypal. (trust me, most of us have them, because art takes time and materials, and many of us can’t work traditional jobs for one reason or another.)

It’s so easy, and it could bring wonders to this world the likes of which we haven’t seen.

There are so many creatives out there, so many who educate or write or paint or sing or, or, or, orpick one. Something that speaks to your soul. Something that makes you feel alive.

And help them create.

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Because the only kind of art that comes out of the fear of not being able to pay your bills, or worry that you won’t have a house to live in, or food to eat… that’s the kind of art that comes at the end of a gun. Like poor Van Gogh. There were times in his life when he couldn’t give away one of the paintings we hold so valuable now… for the cost of a meal.

Times when he chose cheap wine (which was cheaper than food in the France he lived in) and his paints over eating a meal.

He chose his art over his health, and eventually he chose to take his life rather than continue to make art in an uncaring world.

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I wonder. What would he have been able to create if the world had cared, just a little bit more.

And I wonder. I wonder which creators out there, right now, are thinking of the same thing Vincent did, because they just can’t make it in a world that doesn’t value art. (oh… we value art, as long as it’s free, which is absolutely shameful… all you have to do is look at how rapidly digital books are pirated for that.)

Whose time is running out?

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As to who I support, I’m broke, so broke I can’t afford dentistry or new glasses. (More on me here) but I still scrape together enough to donate to wikipedia every year, and when I have a little extra in my paypal, I put it in a KoFi for someone so that they can keep creating.

It really doesn’t take a lot to help keep beauty and wonder in our world. I wish everyone could see that.

as always… if you like any of my words, please become one of MY patrons. I need the help, badly.

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Paypal  and Skrill email addy is kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com

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Chickens with Pitchforks

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So many thinky thoughts, so many emotions and me, a writer, not being able to come up with a coherent way of saying them all. Some of this emotion is likely from how shitty my day to day life is right now. I have untreated fibromyalgia (long story, not getting into it) and I’m moving house, downsizing in an unwanted move to a much smaller place and my two kids are coming down with another round of ‘public school plague’, so some of this emotion is from that. Most of it has been boiling for a while and I’ve been too afraid to say anything because I feared judgment. If another author can say publicly, that they won’t let down their bad ass female ancestors by being afraid. I can woman up and not be afraid to speak my truth either. I WANT THE PAIN TO STOP.

I’m not talking about my fibro pain. I’m a farm girl, raised around animals and there’s this trait I saw a lot of growing up. Ugly duckling, odd chick behavior. It’s basically where birds will, for some reason, decide to pick on a member of the flock until it dies.

The publishing community on twitter the past couple of months are acting like a bunch of chickens. Pick, pick picking at one another until the weaker bird dies. Now, I’ve written theses, I can hazard a guess about the psychology behind it, tension, stress about the election, brexit, et cetera.

You know… it’s something humans do too. It’s called bullying, maybe a bit of gaslighting.

I call it witch hunting. (I’m pagan, have been most of my life, I use the term with knowledge and respect for the fallen, ’cause y’all know what? Many of you are acting like the inquisition here.)

One thing I cannot, and will not, ever lie down for is bullying. If this post burns me bridges, or brings me grief because I’m brave enough to point at an unpleasant truth in a group of people who ought to freaking know better? Bring it. (Seriously, I’m not spoiling for a fight like a lot of people seem to be doing these days, but I will defend myself and other people.)

To be clear, this is not brought on by any one situation, there have been nine incidences (that I’m personally aware of, pretty sure there’re more) with different people involved, with different topics addressed over the past several months. I’m plugged into a lot of communities, just because of who I am. There’ve been issues about pansexuality, religious faith, PoC, cultural (mis)representation, and tone policing to just mention a few. So I am not pointing at any ONE person or topic or incident. Though yes, why I’m saying something now is because of the reaction to the book THE CONTINENT.

Firstly: *I* have not read the book. Neither have most of you. Which kinda calls into question the omfg issues revolving around it. One well respected and well thought out person has read it and commented upon it. In a critique which, given who it was, I have to assume is accurate. I respect the person who critiqued it. I may not always agree with the methodology or opinions of this person, but the knowledge, viewpoint and critique? That I respect, a lot. I rather hope #TheContinent isn’t that bad, but as soon as I can finish this move and regain some sense of equilibrium-I have an ARC-I’ll read it and review it. Honestly and from my perspective as an educated, marginalized, author of mixed ethnicity.

I also know the person who wrote the book is a debut author. Aren’t we supposed to be doing our utmost as writers/authors/publishing professionals to support debut authors? Even the ones who make mistakes?

I have so many thoughts and emotions about this. (I’ve been writing this most of the day when I needed to be working on my book or packing.) I’ll try for cohesion, so that when/if I’m attacked, I’ll have my receipts. You’ll note that despite me working damned hard on wording this correctly, without censure of any one person or incident that I’m Expecting To Be Attacked. That is the feeling of the writer community on twitter right now, (it wasn’t when I joined up) and that goes out in ripples to the whole of the authorial community.

Diversity: I am passionate about all forms of diversity. Always have been. I’m a staunch supporter of being who you are, all of who you are. I will always be an advocate. We are each of us human, each of us learning, growing, beautiful individuals. Do we make mistakes? We’re human, of course we do. I’m damned worried posting this is a mistake, so much so I’ve had people vet it before I click publish. (I’ve never, ever done that before w/a blog post.) Thing is, I can’t respect myself if I DON’T say something. So. To the meat of it.

  1. Passing. I pass damned well, it gives me privilege others descended from the same bloodlines and cultures as me don’t have. But. I’m. Still. Passing. I’m aware that I’m passing, and it absolutely kills something in me when we run into racist/neurodiverse issues in publishing, in all forms of entertainment. It’s like I’m torn in half. The part of me that is *me* from the part of me everyone else *sees*. Go ahead, look at the profile pic. Look white, don’t I? I’m not. Unless skin tone is all that matters. (Whoa now, if that isn’t a shock, I dunno what could be. Skin tone as a social control? Nah. Couldn’t happen among thinking humanoid type critters.) But, if the way I look is all that matters,  well… that’s prejudicial. It kills something in me to hear another gifted writer saying they KNOW they have very little chance of traditional publication. It’s something I know very well because I feel it myself, even if the reasons are different. They’re Native, but they keep writing anyway… Then the same writer has their heart broken because of the (possibly, *I* haven’t read it. I *don’t* prejudge) racist YA book that will soon be published. To hear her pain. Lord and Lady, it’s like an emotional wound inside of me. Because she speaks about her pain, about those dark and nasty thoughts I’ve had myself… (the ones that are grateful that my kids pass too ’cause they have First Nations ancestry from both their dad and me?? Because they have African ancestors through me? Yeah, those thoughts. I don’t obey those thoughts, I won’t be a coward. I teach my kids as much as I know about all of their ancestors, but I still have the thoughts. A symptom of the world we live in.)
  2. I have not read the book, I intend to, because I cannot make an informed opinion about anything without, ya know… informing myself. It’s a thing, yeah?
  3. I pass as being neurotypical too. I’m not what most people think of when they think ‘autistic’. SPOILER, most of us aren’t. If you know 50 people, you know someone who is passing autistic. You know someone who struggles, every second of every day to understand how other ‘normal’ people work.
  4. On the other side of this fence, a good friend of mine is incredibly saddened because they know the author in question… my friend tells me they are a good person…
  5. If someone is saying, ‘This hurts.’ You don’t say, ‘that’s not the way it is, you’re viewing it wrong.’ There’s a definition for that and it’s called gaslighting.
  6. Being a good person, with good intentions does not relieve you of responsibility. If, for instance, you write YA books, you have to be concerned, always, with the kids who will be reading your work. You. Need. To. Be. Aware. Words can hurt, they can kill. We need to use ours wisely. This ALSO goes for those with influence, those who speak out and are respected for doing so. Who may feed people to their following, knowing damned well what will happen. I see you. It does not give you (no matter the color of your skin, or your ancestors or, or, or…) the right to harm or gaslight anyone. If someone says… ‘this hurts, please stop’ the ONLY answer is ‘I’m so sorry. I will listen, I will do better.’ Even if you don’t understand what you did wrong. Even if your cultural understanding isn’t aware or awake enough yet to know how badly you effed up. Someone says ‘OUCH’, you say ‘I’m sorry’. I mean, didn’t we all learn this in kindergarten?
  7. In case it needs to be said. I. AM. SAYING. OUCH. PLEASE. STOP.
  8. I’m talking to the writers, the publishing professionals, and you. Yeah. I’m looking at you, my reader. Maybe you personally haven’t done anything that I need to say ouch about. Maybe you’ve never done a blessed thing to hurt another human, but… maybe you have. Only you know.
  9. This one… I honestly can’t believe I even have to say it. I’ve worked for fortune 500s, I’ve brokered million dollar deals when I sold stuff (software if it matters) to the US gov’t. I’ve been in NOAA’s headquarters and I’ve visited Fort Knox, I’ve dined w/ the US Secretary of Energy. I’m not sharing that info to brag. I was miserable in that job; I’m sharing it for perspective. So when you read the next bit, you’ll understand exactly where I’m coming from. ANY. Other. Industry. Would be bloody, fucking, appalled by this behavior. I am NOT calling out one particular person, many people do it…  I am talking about something that borders on breach of privacy. It’s not ‘quite’ there, but it’s like when you smell a campfire and then feel the flame. The issue? Sharing of private DMs/videos/emails. Don’t do it. Private correspondence is private, it’s not meant for public consumption and no, sharing it isn’t right no matter how justified you feel you are in doing so. I don’t care who you are or what your motivation is to do such a thing. Same goes with taking tweets and emails and things said out of context and using them as fuel in your own personal crusade. I’ve seen quite a bit of that lately too and I’m tired of it. There aren’t many ‘issue’ crusades that don’t apply to me too. Do you see *me* doing that? I find it extremely distasteful and unprofessional. (Most everyone else does too. Just to let you know.)
  10. Mental Health: (#ownvoices on that topic, among others) Did you know it falls into the category of being a bully to call someone out for using mental health issues as a tool? When. You. Don’t. Know. The. Person. Or. What. They. Deal. With? The person I’m thinking of didn’t say a damned word about that book. They were accused of sub-tweeting, and racism and omg… WHAT THEY SAID was, ahem (I should stop shouting, but I feel it may be warranted)  don’t discount mental health issues. That person talks about their own struggles FREQUENTLY.  Jaysus. I’m sick to my stomach that so much that should be bringing us together, forming bridges, is being used as tools in dividing us.
  11. You know what? You don’t get to tell someone else they aren’t struggling, no matter what the color of their skin is, the state of their brain or their lifestyle. No matter what color YOUR skin is, or the state of YOUR brain, or what lifestyle you (hopefully) enjoy. You just don’t have that right. Even if you’re marginalized, you still don’t get to say it. See Gaslighting. I’d love to call out the names and say… hey there bully! Whas’up! We meet again… it’d be sooo nice if you’d stop. I choose to not do that. I’ve been a victim of bullying my whole damned life. I know what it looks, feels and smells like. THAT was bullying. (Not the first time I’ve seen it with the particular person, and to be utterly clear, it isn’t the person who critiqued the book.) Think it might be you? Do you bully people on the internet/twitter/fb? Then lace it up and wear it, b.  Bullying, even in the name of a good cause, is still bullying.
  12. Witch hunts. I made such a face just now, I really did. But damn people, what is WITH the witch hunt mentality in publishing? I’m pagan, and extremely well educated (many useless degrees on the walls, promise). I’m aspie, which means *my* brain acts a lot like a computer in the amount of information I have at hand at any one p0int. So when I use the term ‘witch hunt’ that is exactly the right term to use. One person points the finger at another person, shouting “WITCH” then without proof, without reason, without any sort of trial the ‘witch’ is run out of town, or twitter dragged, or suffers a pile on in the worst way. (There’ve been a lot of these hunts around issues relating to PoC, pansexuality, asexuality, representation, tone policing and fetishism lately, just to name a few) There are those of us on ‘both’ sides of any single one of these witch hunts who would like to speak up and say something along the lines of ‘wait a minute, that isn’t Actually What They Said or Did’ or ‘Whoa, Wait a minute, that was taken completely out of context and used in a way it wasn’t ever intended as’. You know what? WE can’t. The moment one of us (again, on either side here of any particular dispute, I’m thinking of at least 9 different instances on different topics in recent months) says a thing that disagrees with the ‘witch hunt’ mentality, we’re tarred with the same damned brush. There is no logic, there is no reason, there is no kindness. (FWIW, I’m not a kindness before ‘A Person’ believer. You see something wrong, you hurt? Call, it, out. I will support you, always.) There certainly isn’t an atmosphere of listening and learning in the writing community on twitter. Which–I can tell you as a marginalized person myself–I’d be so much happier seeing. I’d be ecstatic  if people learned about me and tried to understand the things I face and have to deal with rather than them ‘getting their comeuppance’ and being feather-plucked/driven out of the community at large.
  13. You know what these recent witch hunts have done? It’s made me (passing PoC, neurodiverse, polyamorous, pagan, kinky, pansexual, chronically ill, queer, mentally ill,  fat… ) the person trying to get it right in my work, (because I know what it feels like to be marginalized in so many ways) not want to share my writing. It makes me doubt every word I’ve ever written regarding a person with a darker skin than mine. Everything I’ve ever alluded to from one of the ancestral cultures I have the honor to claim. (Edit… this is a massively common feeling, since I first posted this, I can’t believe the number of people ID’ing as any form of diversity who’ve reached out to me in a positive manner about this post. It’s not just me who’s feeling this.)
  14.  I have PoC characters in a lot of my writing, because I feel so strongly that everyone deserves to see themselves in fiction. I rarely, if ever, see accurate rep of me in fiction, I think everyone should have that. To see themselves reflected.  I remember hearing my mom, when I was a kid, say something along the lines of ‘she wished there were a few brown girls’ in the romances she liked to read. I remember her using lemon juice to lighten her skin and hair, and praising my (then) blond hair and blue eyes. Genetic fact, you don’t tend to tan well unless you’re pretty mixed up, ethnically. Many of us know a person who is really pale, all year round who turns into a lobster if they get a hint of sunlight? Not so mixed. Someone like me, who turns red-brown in the sun… very mixed, I have Spanish, Portuguese, African, Middle Eastern, First Nations, and European ancestors. You know… I remember my mom yanking on my hair with a brush to keep it from forming locks, (which it does even more now than it did then) because it wasn’t the ‘right way’ for hair to look. I remember her yanking out *Yes, she pulled them out of my scalp, and taught me to do the same thing* the dark, spiral curled hairs that grew in among the blond. I remember how I felt when I found the proof that, um, whups the reason we don’t talk all that much about some of your grandparents is cause they were so dark. Um… WTF? I know what it feels like *to me* to read about another mixed person in fiction. (I’ve blogged about it before, I literally cried the first time I saw it. Because I finally saw me. That feeling, of seeing ME/YOU is what I want for every person on the planet who enjoys fiction. This atmosphere… it’s driving away those of us who’re trying to get it right. These recent witch hunts, man. It’s made me say… well fuck, because I pass so well, I guess I don’t have the right to write people with angular eyes and dishy teeth (I have dishy teeth… you know? For the uninformed it’s a Native/First Nations/Asian biocline trait). I’m so light skinned (when I’ve been being writer chick and staying out of the sun) how dare I even think about writing a guy with dark skin and blue eyes, or, to refer (not rep, I won’t do that) but simply refer to one of my characters as rez raised Native. (My granddad was, left the rez to marry my grandmother… but my skin is awfully damned light to be writing someone with darker skin, isn’t it?) These witch hunts… damn people. What are you trying to do with them? To bastardize The Princess Bride, I don’t think you’re doing what you think you’re doing.
    1. Are you trying to drive authors who work very freaking hard at getting it right away from writing PoC? (I excoriate myself to get it right, to not use ‘food’ terminology when describing a skin tone or eye shape, just for instance. If I mention a culture or trait, I try my damnedest to not use stereotypes and, and, and, and.)
    2. Are we as a community trying to drive other authors away from just talking about their own ancestries? From learning and asking questions? It feels like that to me today. It really does. (I’m not speaking of that book now, I have not read it, I don’t know, if you haven’t read it, neither do you.) I AM speaking of how *I* feel trying to describe my characters. Is the fact that I see and write one of my characters as a girl with angular green eyes, gold skin and black hair going to get me tarred and feathered as being an Asian/First Nations Fetishist? I’m describing someone in my family when I use those terms, I had them vet the description before I used it. They thanked me for not comparing the shape of their eyes to a nut. (dude… white people’s eyes look more like almonds than Asian/First Nations… have you actually looked?) Is the fact that I see one of my characters as a dark brown man with blue eyes going to get me accused of another form of fetishism? (It’s a gene I studied in University, how the African diaspora encountered blue eyed people around the Baltic Sea around 10k years ago. There are blue eyed black people, shocker, I know, right? Did you know there’re red haired black people too? Red haired Native/First Nations? Is it wrong to depict them?) I have freaky silver-blue, color-changing eyes (Danish biocline trait) but my skin isn’t dark… how about if I only write light skinned Danish immigrants? I’ll ignore the other half of my ancestry, as I’ve been taught to do my whole damned life… is that what’s needed and wanted here? If I refer to my rez raised Native character as red-brown (my mom’s skin color btw, and mine in the summer after even a hint of sun) is it going to get me skinned alive by someone respected in publishing? Because my profile pic is taken in winter and I’m kinda pale in it? Oh! I know! I’m cream colored in my profile pic… doughy even, maybe even porcelain… means I’m white, right? What the hell are y’all trying to do?
    3. Is the end goal here a more diverse publishing atmosphere? It’s what *I* thought we were all doing and trying for. How does picking the feathers off of a debut author contribute to that? If the book is as reviewed, wow, yeah, some learning and fixing up needs to happen, and it shouldn’t have been published that way. Twitter dragging the author/the editor/the publishing house… that’s not going to help them learn. No, it’s not *OUR* responsibility to teach or educate anyone else about our marginalization’s. It is our responsibility to act like human beings. Like higher reasoning primates and not a bunch of featherheads toting pitchforks.
    4. I highly doubt many people are reading this… my experience of my mixed up ethnicity, of all of my experienced marginalizations and the pain I feel at seeing these… witch hunts… because I’m never on just one side of them. Each one of them splits me in half, or thirds… it’s crazy. It hurts, it hurts badly. If you are reading, if you’re on either side of these conflicts… could ya’ maybe step back a bit and say… I’m listening. I will read/research/think about the issue at hand and maybe talk privately to people I trust about it… rather than grabbing a torch and pitchfork?
    5. By grabbing a torch and pitchfork, I mean piling on in support of one side or the other in ANY conflict. Public call outs… this is probably the aspie me in (I really loathe being accused of something in public. Which might clue you in to how strongly I feel about this topic, to step up and say something I’ve been feeling for a while, KNOWING I’m likely to get taken to task for it.) but, does it actually HELP anything? It sure as hell isn’t changing publishing. Only thing going to change publishing is using your money to talk with. Buy the authentically diverse books with good rep. SUPPORT authors who are diverse, in whatever fashion their diversity shows itself in. I’d give a body part for some accurate kink rep in mainstream fiction other than the few that are out there… how about an adult aspie? Asexual? Grace? Mixed ethnicity? Adult polyamory other than love triangles? How about a fat girl in a romance? A disabled romantic MC who doesn’t get a miracle cure by the end of the book? I’d love one of those. There’s some kink and poly but not a lot, can’t think of many Grace or Aspie characters in adult fiction. I swear on all I hold holy I will give whoever brings up the movie The Accountant the lecture of their life on bad representation.
    6. This entirely human/chicken habit of tearing down, witch hunting, et cetera. It’s not helping. To be clear, I’m not talking about sharing an educated opinion of a book, nor am I talking against speaking your own pain. I’m talking about personal attacks against an author/entertainer, you know… name calling, career shaming, calling into question their integrity or their intelligence, rudely rolling ones eyes (virtually) about how damned dumb this particular person HAS to be to be making that mistake… that kind of thing. Damn. Here’s a question for those of you who may feel I just insulted you. Did you see the movie THE ACCOUNTANT? RAINMAN?? Were you entertained? Chilled? Excited? Thrilled? Or were you appalled at the rep? If you didn’t answer the latter, you got some work to do.
    7. Oh… and just cause I’ve seen it and I’m annoyed by it… piling on in support of PoC, LGBTQA+ (insert marginalized individual) doesn’t absolve you of your own guilt. If you’re light skinned (I am too, it’s part of the culture we live in) you’re racist. If you’re not Asperger’s/Autistic, you’re prejudiced against us. If you’re not mixed race, you have no idea what it feels like. If you’re not polyamorous, you have no idea how much it hurts to only be able to find monogamous romance to read, even when you LOVE romance. If you’re straight, you have no idea how badly we queer people want to see ourselves in fiction. If you’re not kinky… boy… I could write a whole damned thesis, probably a couple of them, on bad representation and the damage a certain series of books has done there because of piss poor research. If you aren’t part of a/the marginalized community, the only thing you can do is LISTEN. LEARN. Attempt to make bridges instead of tearing things apart. And for fucks sake. Do. Better. Maybe a good start would be to try leaving the plucking of feathers to the ducks and chickens.

Perspective

I usually wait ’til something triggers a blog post, I’ve no set schedule, works for me. So, I recently shared a thing from my past with a couple of online friends. I’ll share what it was in a bit.
It brought up the odd dichotomy I have about perspective, just to clarify (since I can’t draw worth beans, really, my stick figures look drunk) I’m talking about definition 2.
My perspective seems skewed, or everyone else’s is. Not sure which, to me, the things that have occurred in my life, are just normal. Possibly even logical. Now, this may very well be a part of my Aspie nature. Remember that logic and knowledge are akin to holy to me (except math, math = bad) and that emotion takes a back seat, until it doesn’t. (Clear as mud, aren’t I?)
Ahem. Definition:

perspective

noun per·spec·tive \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

Definition of perspective

  1. 1 a : the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distanceb : a picture in perspective

  2. 2 a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also : point of viewb : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>

  3. 3 a : a visible scene; especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : vistab : a mental view or prospect <to gain a broader perspective on the international scene — Current Biography>

  4. 4 : the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

perspectival

play \pər-ˈspek-ti-vəl, ˌpər-(ˌ)spek-ˈtī-vəl\adjective

I shared, what to me, is a perfectly amusing tale of ‘how not to drink.’ Yet, my memory was met with sorrow for the events that occurred. (Yeah, this is totally ’cause I’m Aspie, isn’t it?)
By the time I turned twelve, I’d learned to drink. Yes, really, no I’m not implicating anyone, it just… was the way it was in the time and place I grew up in.
I’d been raped by someone I cared about by the time I turned 17, and I stayed in a relationship with him afterward. I didn’t even ‘know’ it was clearly rape until I’d taken a sexuality class in University, years later.
I’d also been threatened with both physical abuse and having a family member abused, and loss of where I lived if I didn’t recant something I’d accidently shared about a family member sexually abusing me.
I can almost hear the gasps, but… thing is, life and childhood just ain’t pretty for so many people.
It’s why I support, desperately, authentic YA stories (kinda wish I could write them, but… my real life YA is more suited to a memoir I think. I’d never get pubbed, I’m no where near disneyfied enough for the YA market that I’ve seen. My time and energy are limited, I’ll continue writing what I love to write. Also, to clarify, I want to get pubbed only so my stories can reach the most readers, the one’s who really need/want to read them).
The YA stories that are real? The ones that tell the hard truths, the ones that explicitly describe the terrible decisions some kids, a lot of kids, make on a day to day basis, those stories need publication, so they know they aren’t alone!
I could’ve used that, then, you know?
Anyway.
I think I was all of 24 when myself, my husband and a friend were invited to the largest Halloween party in the (Capitol) city we lived in. It was a bit of a social coup to be invited. I didn’t care so much about the social coup, so much as that we had a party that promised to be fun to attend.
My social anxiety being what it is, we arranged for a cab and started the libations while we costumed up. I’ve been a professional costumer, my work is in museums and has graced stages, I’m good, so it took a bit of time. A fun time to be sure.
Lol, yes, we were well on our way to tossed when we got into the cab to go to the party, ebulliently enthused is a good phrase.
We got to the party with our donations, booze and food, of course, as one does (and ourselves).
We mingled, we drank, and since there was a free open bar, and I admit, a hot, shirtless bartender (I’m demi, not blind) well, I figured in the dumb damned way of youth, to try stuff I hadn’t yet.
Tequila shots.
Yep.
I’ll say now, just in case you ask later where my companions were, this was in the late 90’s, we’d hung together for a while then split up and mingled where we willed. (were there orgies, yes, there were, it was a goooood party).
So, by the time the challenge for Tq shots came along, I was mostly sober and alone. (I did know many people at the party, but… I wasn’t with anyone I’d come with.)
Some random person in the group I stood with asked if anyone would do Tq shots with them.
(Even now, it’s just an experience to me).
I offered, he made it to three, I made it to four. After flirting (badly I’m sure, no one ever looks as good drunk as they think they do) with the bartender, I tried oozo, because I’d never tried that either.
Apparently, I don’t handle liquor well. Too much Native in my ancestry perhaps (I was told that by someone from a rez once, I may be completely off base and smack me with a clue-by-four if I’ve misspoken, please.)
Oh gods, Drunk, with a capital D, and not in the pretty, fun way, and all of the sudden!! We’d been shooting for maybe half an hour. Remember I started this little learning experience mostly sober… well… reasonably, I wouldn’t have driven, but I consciously made decisions knowing their likely repercussions.
lol, no, I didn’t puke but gods I had to pee in the worst way. (I may be weird in liking that the other guy puked, saw him coming out of the john as I went in… only time I’ve ever liked the ‘hail fellow well met back slap’ of ‘victory’.)
By the time I was washing up at the sink, someone in full renaissance garb needed the john, no worries. I went out onto the porch for air.
I watched some poor sap fall down the three flights of wooden stairs. (yeah, the hosts should have blocked them off, they didn’t) Guess who the next poor sap was?
Yup.
I’m lucky I didn’t break my damned neck (the doc’s words the next day, not mine). He said I was lucky I’d been drunk, apparently the muscle relaxants in booze save a lot of college kids lives) I had bruises up and down the left side of my body. Um, by that I mean the whole left side of my body was black, and they gave me tetanus shots and vit-k? I think? There were needles. (In another time and place, fun, but at the time, I had no clue as to my own mortality.)
Fuck, I still remember how badly the bruising hurt.
So, being me, after the zipper ride down the stairs, I stood up and walked around (I swear, I have more than a little ‘cat’ in me) Carlin said it best at about minute 4:43 Fucking Meow
So. I walked it off (gods, there’s a sports metaphor from my stupid ‘oh, I like sports! years) Look, I don’t judge anyone for legitimately liking sports. But dang, could we just stop shoving it down everyone’s throats? There’s a fecking large percentage of the population who’re faking enjoyment of it, ya know? (Unless there’s armor and swords/axes or MMA involved, in which case I happily throw over my own reasoning.) (Sorta like faking orgasms… regardless of gender, y’all can stop that too.)
Ahem.
So, yeah, I walked it off and hobbled my way back up those fecking stairs. A guy dressed in a sheep suit met me at the top, expressing concern for my well being.
I’m not great at reading social cues, but how many women can tell ahead of time they’re about to have an issue?
I didn’t. He’d been around the whole night (yeah, yeah, alarm bells, I was young and dumb).
He asked me what I needed, when I said my husband or my friend he led me to a room with a phone. (so I could call them, ya know? In the days before frequent cell phones?)
I won’t detail what followed, but anyone who didn’t know how to apply a gooseneck (hapkido) or (yeah, hapkido, sorry) and had the will to apply that and other methods of self defense would have been raped.
I wore bruises from that the next day too.
Nothing was broken. I suppose it says something about my life that that’s the standard by which I approach injury.
So, much disturbed, still sickdrunk (there needs to be a word for that, if you know it, enlighten me, please) I left him to his, um… writhing is good (he survived, and so deserved it) and found my husband and friend. We called a cab and went home.
Except… (you knew there was more, didn’t you?)
Yeah. For the first time in my short and varied life, I puked while drunk and in a moving car.
I’m nothing if not polite. It’s a skill you learn with an Asperger’s brain. You figure out, through trial and error, what is socially acceptable and what isn’t, ’cause let me tell you, it isn’t obvious to some of us.
I got the window down and puked out of it. On the highway. (I still regard this memory as amusing, I learned my lesson, I don’t usually drink liquor and rarely drink anything to excess.) Though I pity whatever cars were behind us.
It occurs to me that this post might lose me followers. Do I care? Nope. If you’ve never, in your entire life, done something stupid when you were young, (or old, learning isn’t a bell curve) feel free to judge (and take the stick out of your ass while you’re at it). Lol, unless it was fun putting it there, then, kink on my friend! Honestly, if you’re doing whatever with a consenting, of legal age partner? Have fun with my blessings (hope you don’t need them).
It also occurs to me to say, damn, kids, if you’re reading this, it totally isn’t worth it. I speak from experience, being raped isn’t fun (please report it, I wish I had, both the successful, and the almost) (report it here) or please, in the US and Canada, call 911 or go to a police station. (I’m not internationally traveled, I’d love to link to international resources for this, email/DM/PM) This applies to male, female and non-binary gendered. If, for whatever reason you can’t (I get it, I do) my DM’s are open, my email is public. I’m here. I can’t help, but I can listen.
The cabbie robbed me. I can’t judge all cabbie’s by that one, but she spun an entertaining (now) yarn about how she had to clean her cab of the puke.
In my drunken state, I didn’t do the math, a carwash cost about 4$ then.
So, she dropped off my friends and took me to the ATM. We had all of 40$ in our account (Still in University, we were so poor then).
She took it all and demanded more. When I told her there wasn’t any, she finally drove me home. Where I found my companions on the lawn of our apartment building. We hadn’t been gone long for such a ‘rich’ experience.
As an older woman, I desperately hope neither of my kids, nor anyone’s kids, ever experience life like this. Except. I know incredibly well how hard life can be. I know that people are as varied as the days on a calendar, and that it can be as simple as a bad day that makes a person do a bad thing. It can be a bad hour, or a bad 5 minutes. Every second, we choose.
You know? I’m still viewing this, with my perspective of age, as being a learning experience. Sure, I was ticked off the next day (I mean, who wouldn’t be?)
Did I consider reporting the guy who learned his lesson? (Hopefully about more than not to wear a sheep costume!) Yeah, I did, but I didn’t know his name, and in my drunken state, had a bad description. (Sheep costume, dark hair, Caucasian, location, that’s not really enough.) I also knew exactly how the cops were likely to respond to an accusation. (Another story, later time, maybe.)
In any case, from my perspective. I learned a deep and abiding lesson and have what *I* think of, as an amusing story. From the perspective of those I blurbed this too, well… that’s where the confusion comes in.
It’s where perspective comes in. If you’ve had a relatively easy life. (I’m obviously no judge of *easy*) then your perspective will be different than mine.
If you are any of the kids I’ve taught in inner city schools, especially if you’re POC of any variety, I bow my head in respect for what you’ve lived through, because I haven’t a blessed clue. If you’re POC at all, I bow my head, because you’ve lived through so much.
… and even now, I’m *still* fecking wondering why my sharing of something someone *asked* me to share is… off? wrong? Elicited-the-response-it-did-that-I-still-don’t-understand? Yeah. That.