Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Fan Is a Fan Is a Fan

Oh, Canada... I thought you were a country where liking hockey didn't have a gender. Women and men hockey fans screaming for (or at, in the case of Toronto) their teams in harmony.

And then you go and do something like this: "Puck bunny watchers are about to skate into overtime. Or at the very least convince their significant others to get into the game one night per week. W Network confirmed on Monday afternoon that its latest reality offering, Hockey Wives, is lighting up the screens come March[.]"

What does that even mean? What in the heck is a "puck bunny watcher" and why do I feel it is horribly insulting? Where has my fantasy of hockey fandom equality gone?

I mean, it seems to me that a puck bunny watcher would be someone who watches puck bunnies... which are supposed to be female hockey fans who only watch so they can stare at sexy men... who are completely covered in armor and padding?

Oh, Canada... you mean you added "puck bunny" to the dictionary? And it means, "a young female hockey fan, esp. one motivated more by a desire to watch, meet, or become esp. sexually involved with the players than by an interest in the sport itself."

Well, heaven forbid that any fan should want to meet the players of the sport they're watching! What kind of REAL fan wants to actually meet players instead of sit in front of a computer tallying up advanced statistics and never actually watching the game for the pure joy of competition and athleticism on display? How dare young female fans desire to watch their favorite players? How dare young women get crushes on handsome professional athletes, as if they have nothing better to do?

Is this show supposed to be a primer for the puck bunny - here's how to get a hockey husband? Or are the lives of women who happen to be married to professional athletes so interesting that the so-called puck bunnies would get their spouses to watch this show?

Come on, Canada. If a woman wants to watch hockey, she will probably be watching hockey, whether you call her a puck bunny or not. If she doesn't, no reality "wives" show is going to turn anyone into a hockey fan.

Can't we just all be fans, screaming for our teams, proudly wearing (or disgustedly tossing, in the case of Toronto) our jerseys and hoping that this could be the night we get to lose our hats?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Digital Project

This semester I'm taking a class towards my literature requirement, Women Writers. Until I was asked, in class, why I was taking the class, I hadn't articulated it to myself. All I knew was that if I had to take a literature class, I wanted to take one that focused on the writing of women.

But once I was there, on the spot, I gave an answer that I hadn't realized was there all along. My bachelor's degree from St. John's College included very few women writers. I understand that the Western canon excludes many writings, for the sake of tradition and in order to keep the program to four years. The Santa Fe campus offers a graduate institute in Eastern Classics in an effort to redress a piece of that gap. But the fact remained that as an undergraduate, I read very few women in my first two years of study, and not many in the second two.

I take classes towards a degree in English, writing emphasis, for several reasons. One is that I want to become a better writer. Another is that I have a tuition discount as an employee. And, as I discovered, another reason is to redress the gaps that an education focusing on the canonical works of Western civilization produce.

Despite a focus on the classics, I had never heard of Aspasia of Miletus, a female rhetorician who allegedly taught Socrates and Pericles, because I had never been required to read Menexenus. Although I read several of Plutarch's Lives, I didn't even have the volume that included the entry on Aspasia.

I'm looking forward to finding out what other rhetoric I might have missed.

This class will be conducted seminar-style, which is familiar territory for me, only in this class, unlike at St. John's, there are 24 women (including the instructor) and 2 men. The final paper and presentation can be either traditional, which is to say a research paper, or digital, which is more open form. One of the requirements for my junior year of high school English class was a research paper. My teacher offered us the option to do a non-traditional paper, and I took her up on the it. It was a mistake on my part, as I had no idea how to fulfill the requirements in a non-traditional way. This experience made me leery of a non-traditional option.

But, one of the digital options was a blog. And I do like blogging. So I'm going to start a blog for the class and write about the writers that we read. I'll include write-ups of other articles that I think are important, such as Kameron Hurley's "We Have Always Fought" and Annalee Newitz' speculations on whether this tiny slice of human history we live in where women have rights is merely an aberration that will soon pass.

Since part of either project is a prospectus that must be approved, I can get feedback on the project well before it is due. And if my instructor advises me that the blog won't be appropriate to fulfill her requirements, it will at least provide a resource for me when I write the traditional paper.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Epic of the Drawer Novel

Almost seven years ago, I began to write a book. I will try to withhold judgment about whether it is a good book, but it is a first book so the odds are not in its favor. I wrote it during lunch breaks at work until I changed jobs, at which point it sat untouched for several years. Then, two summers ago, I finished it to the tune of a robust 80,000 words.

I write "finished" but the finishing of a first draft isn't really the same thing as being finished. Because of the gap between writing the first 50 or so thousand words and the last 30, I knew I had introduced some inconsistencies. I needed to address those, even if I couldn't fix anything else but typos, before I could really call it finished.

But this book was very personal. Probably too personal to share widely, though that may be my fear speaking. I felt uncomfortable re-reading it because I felt like it was so transparently me. I don't even have the cover of a fantasy or science fiction world to hide under, because this novel is not fantastical in setting. Maybe the way that the characters act is unusual, but it isn't completely implausible. I think.

But a combination of reading Kameron Hurley's essay, "Why I Finish All My Shit," and my husband's reminder that I was letting fear hold me back pushed me to set aside my discomfort and make that next draft pass.

I'm about a quarter of the way through, and it is about as I remember it. It feels so personal, overly obvious and not very story driven. I'm cutting here and there, adding sparingly where I've written something that makes sense to me, but that I know will be confusing. It isn't bad writing, per se, but it isn't what I wish it was.

But I'm going to finish the draft and defer to the advise of Dean Wesley Smith. "Writers are the worst judges of their own work." I'm going to shove my fear down into my shoes and create an epub file of it for my husband to read on his kindle app. And I'll leave its fate in his hands.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Acting Like I Have an Audience

I know my blog numbers. Few readers, few comments. It would be kind to call my numbers low. I know that not a lot of people read this blog. I know that not a lot of people know this blog exists. Heck, my own father doesn't read it unless I post a link on Facebook (which is why I post a link on Facebook - I'm not trying to be irritating, I'm just trying to stay in touch with my father).

So every now and then, I consider why I'm even bothering to write the thing, why I bother to religiously post once a week on not one, but two separate blogs, neither of which gets much attention. Why do I keep yelling into the overcrowded void? At this stage of my writing life, a blog is entirely unnecessary.

One reason is practice. I've been keeping this thing up for two years now. Entries that at first only averaged once a week, before I decided to keep it strictly to once a week. For me, that decision made staying on top of the entries easier. I had a deadline, and I could, when spurts of creativity struck, schedule some out in advance. I do keep hoping that I'll be constantly scheduled out, but I've not gotten to that point yet. I'm stuck on the last minute tactic, the heat of the deadline pushing me to write something even when I'm not sure what I want to write.

And when I separated my hiking and exercise blog entries from my writing and opinionated blog entries, I found myself keeping up two blogs, though still at the once a week pace. I managed to schedule the hiking blog out more easily by splitting my backpacking trip write-ups into day by day accounts instead of spitting them out all at once in a single large entry. And I've been doing that for about 9 months less than the original blog.

The blogs have provided good practice for writing to a deadline, and for writing in general. I haven't written much fiction for the blogs themselves, but there have been some efforts published here, and others that were created after I got my fingers flying over the keyboard on a blog entry.

I don't really know what utility these blogs might have in the long run, but they help me articulate my thoughts. They help me share what I'm thinking with my family, both those who are close and those who are far away. They are a body of work, proof at least to myself that I can stick with a project and keep myself motivated.

It doesn't matter how many other people see these words, because I know that they can be, and are, seen by more than just me. The words for me alone are in my personal journal. I know better than to inflict that on the public.

I hope that the hiking blog acts as a somewhat of an advertisement for what I do with my Hike with Me books, but since I'm not actively promoting it as such, I'm content that my blogs are mainly the art that I make for me.