The Library’s Home on the Web

Hey folks, if you’ve landed here, the Library has moved on again to a more permanent home at liawolff.com. I only keep this blog around in case something goes wrong with my regular one. But if you’re looking for new content, that’s where it’ll be! Please stop in and hang out with me, I’ll be updating at random intervals and I’m always happy to talk to people in between! ^_^

~Lia

Fear of Youth is Fear of the Future

So, I originally wrote this post a couple of weeks ago when this whole prom thing went down. I finished the post, attempted to publish it, and my whole blog went up in smoke (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration perhaps). I’ve been having technical difficulties ever since, and am finally able to post things again. I’m leaving this post exactly as it was when I wrote it in a fit of frustrated disgust with the world. The things I had to say are still true, and unfortunately still relevant, despite the fact that some time has passed since the inciting incident related in the linked blog-post by Clare.

There’s a story out there this week about a young woman, Clare, who was kicked out of her senior prom because some of the chaperone dads feared she would inspire “impure thoughts” or something. This kicking-out was administered by a Ms. D on the grounds that Clare’s dress was too short (it abided by the stated dress code which she proved several times) and that Clare had been dancing provocatively (despite Clare’s friends vouching that she hadn’t been dancing at all yet). You should read the whole story in Clare’s own words. She’s really pretty brilliant, and breaks down the fuckery of the situation at the end pretty concisely.

But one thing that’s not mentioned really stuck out to me. It was the fear exhibited by the middle-aged of the young throughout her story. There was the fear of the fathers of young sexuality. But there was also Ms. D’s fear of a young woman advocating for herself with allies. This quote:

At this point one of the girls in my group came back and said that she’d been by my side the whole 15 minutes we’d been there and I hadn’t even danced more then 2 seconds and it was completely appropriate.)

At which point they told her that she wasn’t welcome in the conversation and when I protested and asked that she be able to stay to verify what they were saying to me they got very rude and said if she didn’t leave they would kick her out too.

It’s so clear that the adults feared the teenagers having or believing that they had any agency themselves. Who else would be denied a peer-advocate while being questioned/detained/removed by an authority figure? Only to “children” (those under 18) do we do this. We give them advocates (if they’re allowed one at all)…who are NOT among their peers. Other adults always. If a woman were being detained? There would be another woman present to ensure she had a peer there. If a person of color felt they needed an advocate from the NAACP? There would be one present before anything further occurred. But a 17 year old girl? No, we can’t let them gang up on us, or we might be proved wrong!

This fear, this is what is wrong with many societies these days. This fear of the young by those older. It translates into fear of citizens by the government, and when government’s fear (but fear insufficiently) they begin to enact “safety measures” which are only meant to keep citizens in their place. This fear? It’s fear of the future by those who are starting to look Death in the eye. Fear of the future is counterproductive, but more importantly, it’s dangerous. Fear of the future leads to regression, the repeating of history, and the oppression of anyone who tries to bring about change. Fear of the future leads to stagnation, and eventually Death, the very thing the Fear sought to avoid.

I’m starting to feel old these days, more and more often, especially when I hang about with particularly young people. But any time I read or hear about a story like this, I flash back to my own youth. I remember, clearly, all the times my desires were run over or denied or abrogated by my elders. The excuses were always along the lines of “you’re too young to know your own mind” or whatever. Every instance, I very clearly DID know what I wanted, and argued hard for it. And in every instance, after it was too late (sometimes long after), the adults in my life admitted they were wrong to deny my agency and that they had had an ulterior motive for doing so (mostly because many of the adults in my life were good people who could admit when they were wrong). Every memory stings yet, and every reminder is a goad to do better with my own child. As a parent to a (very) young child, I know that he is often not of the same mind two minutes in a row. But I am mindful that changing one’s mind does not negate the sincerity of the original desire, nor a child’s right to decision-making autonomy just as much as any adult.

I can protect and advocate for my son, but I can not make his decisions for him in his life. And I must not ever fear them, because that will be the beginning of the end.

You May Have Noticed I’m a Little Nerdy…

So, those of you who follow me on Twitter or Tumblr probably have already caught on to what I’m about to say, but I thought I’d do a longer post here. This is my own little corner of the web, after all. Anyway, you may have noticed in the past that I’m a little nerdy. *pause for Readers to get over their surprise*

I know, shocking. But one of the ways my nerdiness expresses itself is through gaming, though I’m not as much of a gamer as…say…my husband (just for a not-randome example). So, what better way to express said gamery-ness than by starting up a game company with my husband and friends? The answer is…no better way.

At least, no better way if you like creating things and playing games. Both of which I do.

All of this is to say, one of the new big projects in my life is a game company called Roan Arts. It’s still in its infancy, we’re just getting off the ground, though the concept and seed of Roan Arts has been around for several years now. It’s truly the creation of our good friend James Weimer, the CEO, but we all believe in the company and are working hard to make it a success in a difficult but booming industry.

So what am I doing for the company? A lot of things really. I’m doing a little bit of social media (and later media) outreach, a little game-testing and game-design, and a whole lot of writing. I am literally writing the lore for our first board-game release right now (well, ok, right this very moment I’m writing this post, but that is my current project). And yes, that’s as mind-blowingly awesome as it sounds. The first installment is available on the Roan Arts DevBlog right now (go read it!)

So, in the future this means there will be the occasional post here about Roan Arts/Gamery type things, there will be some of my fiction appearing in places other than this blog, and my posting will probably be as erratic as always in this space. But never fear, I’ll never fully abandon this little blog! I just wanted to get an update going on what’s happening around here!

Don’t Look Back

It’s not that I object on prinicple to looking back to the past. I’m a historian. It’s what I do. I believe looking back is a necessary step to seeing where we’re going in the future. But this past year has been truly horrible, overall. The only reason I really want to look back on it is to make sure it’s well and truly dead. So, instead of one of those 2013 Round-ups, I’m just gonna write a little bit about the future today on this first day of the New Year.

2014 is unspoiled and still full of hope and promise. I’m hoping to write more, read more, and cook more creatively in the coming year. I  hope my son decides to potty-train, and my pup settles into obedience like her mother. I especially hope our family can begin the process of recovering from all the unexpected (and expected) downturns and deaths we’ve experienced in the past year.

This is the year I’m going to finish my novel and begin the query process with it. It’s beyond time for me to stop sitting on this project and just do it already. As the phrase so elegantly goes, Time to shit or get off the pot. I’m tired of procrastinating my life away, and I’m going to do something about it. This year is going to be my year. Or else.

Happy New Year all. And Good Luck.

Tales of the Toddler

Well, here we are in the second full week of Nanowrimo, and in the time-honored tradition of Wrimos everywhere, I’m procrastinating writing the novels by writing other things. Besides, I feel a bit bad for neglecting the faithful ol’ blog for so long. Part of the neglect is not having anything particular to talk about lately. Most of my brain is occupied with work and the same historical novel I’ve been shoving uphill like Sisyphus for an eternity now. I haven’t read any new books in at least a month (I was having my semi-annual Anne of Green Gables series re-read, may post a bit about that later too).

But there is one thing keeping my life interesting, and that’s the Munchkin. He’s a full-blown toddler now, two years and one month old, with all the whip-lash inducing mood-swings and blinding changes that entails. Every day has the potential to be an uphill struggle against melt-downs and deliberate naughtyness or a delightful memory to be cherished forever. He’s constantly growing and changing, learning new things and developing new skills. In the last few months he’s learned to count from 1-4 (he gets shaky after that), recognize half of the alphabet and all the numbers from 1-10, name most of the colors of the rainbow, and developed a desire to be ‘helpful’ by performing small tasks. He especially likes to help fetch and carry, put things away (yes I know, enjoy it while it lasts!), and tonight he decided he wanted to feed the dogs!

The other day, the Munchkin gave me his first bit of back-talk. He’s not allowed in our office-area, where mine and my husband’s computer desks are located. But that doesn’t stop him from going in frequently, particularly when the dogs go in. So one day last week I was continuously telling him to get out of the office, at one point I had to tell him twice within ten minutes. He came back to where I was sitting, looked me dead in the eye and said “Bella office!” in an accusing tone. I should explain, Bella is the four-month-old puppy, who he adores and considers a playmate. So, if she was allowed in the office, then why wasn’t he?

Tonight, he demonstrated his burgeoning memory. He’s been taking antibiotics for several days now, which he gets in the morning and in the evening just before bed. So, we went through our usual bed-time routine (bath, teeth-brushing, diaper & pajamas, then down for a story). As I was carrying him to the story chair, he poked me and said “Medicine!” I had forgotten, but he knew to remind me.

He’s also just beginning to remember people between meetings, even when it’s a long time between, and recognize that specific names refer to specific people. He can conceptualize the people he knows even when they’re not around, and ask for them by name. This was especially heartbreaking when my step-father passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. The Munchkin has always been particularly fond of his grandpas, and Papa R was no different. He had just started to demonstrate this memory when Papa died a few short days after we visited for a small family dinner. As we drove down the driveway to my mother’s house to stay with her afterwards, he began asking for his Papa by name. It’s unbelievably hard to explain to a two-year old that the person he’s intent on seeing is no longer there. There’s no way to make him understand, so he just keeps asking. And each repetitive little demand is a painful reminder of loss.

His desire to mimic us, and especially of his daddy, is really keeping us on our toes. For one thing, we both swear. Rather a lot. And no sissy little “darns” and “craps” either unless the social setting demands it. When the Munchkin was preverbal, we never felt a particular need to censor ourselves. Unfortunately, that’s made it that much harder to remember to do so now, when he’s beginning to parrot back our words to us. Nor does it help that every time he pops up with his squeaky little “shit! shit!” I have an uncontrollable urge to giggle madly. This rather damages my credibility when I attempt to explain that he shouldn’t say that word!

It’s not just the naughty words he likes to imitate though. He copies the way we stand, the way we dress, the way we move. He’s especially keen to copy his daddy in this respect. My husband likes to lean against the kitchen counter with one leg crossed over the other while he eats his morning peanut-butter toast. Nothing delights the Munchkin more than to stand next to him, copying his pose to the last detail. Munchkin always likes to wear a hat (his especial delight is the black and red Lightning McQueen fedora, which he calls ‘The cool hat’) because his daddy does. His Papa did too, and that probably helped.

I haven’t posted about my adventures in motherhood for quite some time, so there’s an awful lot of material for stories, but I’ll stop there for now. Not everyone is as fascinated with my baby’s doings as I am, after all!

Besides, it’s high time I quit stalling and wrangled some fiction!

Piece of Mind

So. How bout that shut-down, eh?

Seriously, this whole thing has me boiling mad. So mad, in fact, that I did something I’ve never ever done before. I wrote my congressman and gave him an extensive piece of my mind. I was distinctly uncomplimentary (I live in a Republican district), though I managed to stop myself short of calling him names. Still, I used the strongest non-swear words I could think of. I expressed outrage. I demanded action to end the stand-off. I placed blame squarely where it belongs. But I’m only one person. We all should be writing to our Congressional representatives and demanding positive action. This dereliction of duty should have every citizen standing up and crying foul of those sworn to serve our interests.

This is actually something I’ve been thinking of doing for a few weeks, and the suggestion of a friend pushed me over the edge to action. I am deeply interested in many social issues, and I think part of being in a Democracy (or even a Representative Democracy) is making sure the people who represent us are doing their jobs to our satisfaction. Naturally they are not right now, so it’s up to us to make ourselves heard in order that they might do so. Some people effect change by writing articles and running dedicated blogs, others effect change by organizing or attending rallies, protests, and other demonstrations. I am not really brave enough, nor do I have the energy and dedication to follow those routes. But I want to do something more than just talk about these issues. It finally occurred to me that I am a writer. I write, and while I’m still perfecting my art, I do it fairly well. I may not have the energy to dedicate to a social-justice blog, complete with it’s share of trolls and necessity for comment moderation. But I can make my voice heard where it’s most likely to be effective, in the in-box of those who claim to represent me in government. This Government shut-down came along just in time to have the dubious honor of being the subject of my first angry letter.

But as with anything, the more of us who join together in an effort, the more effective it is. So, if you can, write a letter to your Congressional Representative and demand an immediate end to this foolish shutdown. If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can find them here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

I’m also going to append a copy of the text of my letter below a cut, for anyone interested. It has been edited for privacy, but not content. Read the rest of this entry »

Invisibly Bi

Evidently today is Bisexuality Awareness Day (also known as Bisexuality Day or Bi Visibility Day). I usually miss these sorts of things, the many days for awareness or remembrance or pride for this or that. They tend to fly by me while I do other things, and I find out the next day or the next week. Or else I learn about them in time, but I just don’t have anything particular to say on the subject. But today is different. I was reminded in time to say something, and more importantly I have something intensely personal and perhaps even important to say on the subject.

You see, I’m a bisexual woman, and as such I am almost entirely invisible. Part of this is because I came to the realization of my own sexuality rather late, after I was already married to a man. Part of my invisibility is my own fault for being rather reserved and private with that part of my life. People presume I’m straight based on my long term, stable heterosexual relationship, and since I’m almost never trying to have sex with them it seems entirely moot to correct the assumption unless they specifically inquire. Hence, very few people know about my true orientation. My husband. My doctor. A few friends with whom the subject has come up.

A significant cause of my late realization (I was 25) is because of the overall invisibility of bisexuals. Bis in hetorsexual relationships are presumed straight and those in homosexual relationships are presumed gay. Meanwhile, many otherwise enlightened people perpetuate the stereotypes of bisexuality. That it’s a myth, and we’re really just partially-closeted homos. That we’re just sex-crazed. That we’re selfish. That we can’t be monogamous. That it’s all just a phase. The myths are pervasive, and even while speaking out against them, I still sort of bought into them on some level. I didn’t know any bisexuals (that I was aware of), and there aren’t a whole lot of them in media either who aren’t raging stereotypes. I had no hard data, just a gut-feeling that bisexuality was too a Real Thing.

Like most teens, my sexuality began to develop and I started to Notice boys. I also started to Notice girls. I even found myself kissing a few, and finding it not unpleasant. But my undeniable attraction to boys cemented my own (and everyone else’s) assumption that I was just straight and it was all just a phase. But the attractions never went away, and eventually I began to develop romantic interest, budding crushes never fully realized, for women. All this was complicated by the loving and increasingly serious relationship with my boyfriend…who I then married.

I finally realized, admitted, and said out loud “I’m bisexual” after several months of marriage. We had begun reading and listening to Dan Savage’s sex advice column. We found it amusing and educational all at once, and it really opened both our eyes about a lot of things. One of the things I  heard consistently were calls from bisexuals. Men, women, experienced and inexperienced, out and closeted. All called or wrote in and asked questions or told Dan their stories. And some of them started to sound awfully familiar. Suddenly, there was a category for me, one that seemed to describe and explain the things I had been feeling for years, in ways the stereotypes never had. I had a sudden Moment of Clarity. I nervously broke the news to my new husband (over Skype, as logistics had decreed we spend a few months apart). He replied “Well, yeah? Uh, so what? You planning to leave for a woman or something?”

The erasure of bisexual experience from our cultural consciousness contributes to the confusion, fear, and distress of bi-teens who have no idea how to explain what our society so frequently claims doesn’t even exist. But today is a day to stand up and be seen, so those around us know we exist.

*Takes a big, deep breath for courage*

I’m a Bisexual woman.

My relationships do not define my sexuality.

I’m Bi, and I will not be erased.

Wood Grain Stories

Does anyone else ever look for pictures and patterns in the grain of the wood surrounding them?

I’m always seeing pictures in the grain of a door or a floor-board. For instance, currently there’s the silhouette of a female figure in the wood of the bathroom door (which may or may not be real wood, I have no idea). I like to think of her as the outline of the wood-nymph who lived in the tree the door came from. Maybe the tree is gone, but her spirit lives on in the swirls of the grain. In other places I’ve found faces and other silhouettes, half an ear, eyes, etc. I’ve been looking for these little stories in the wood since I was a little girl, especially in bathrooms (I hope the reason is obvious…). Sometimes there’s no shapes, just the parallel lines of the tree’s rings, but often there’s something. And usually that something is enough for me to make up little stories in my head about the picture my imagination supplies.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my bathroom-door nymph for your viewing pleasure.

I've added arrows for those whose imaginations are less wild than mine, because I'm helpful like that.

I’ve added arrows for those whose imaginations are less wild than mine, because I’m helpful like that.

If you can see her too, feel free to make up your own stories about her, or tell me the stories you make up about random things in your world. Otherwise I’m just the crazy-lady talking to herself on the internet about wood-nymphs only she can see. 😉

West Wing Recaps: S1 Ep7 “The State Dinner”

Oh look! An episode going up on time for once! WOOT!

Ok, anyway it’s that time again. Time for a new episode of The West Wing. Now we’re starting to really get into the swing of the narrative and the writers are starting to settle into the voices of the characters. We’re also finally getting some of the pomp and circumstance of the presidency here, with men in tuxedos and women in beautiful dresses.

These episodes going forward really get into the pacing they exhibit throughout most of the rest of the series, e.g. VERY fast. The camera switches back and forth between sets of characters and scenes quite rapidly, and the viewer is expected to keep up. Plot points may be fully explained late in the episode, or not at all. This is a stylistic choice which I think fits well with the hectic pace of the characters’ lives in the tumultuous seat of power for a world leader. In any case, in order to avoid confusion, I try to start a new paragraph for each new scene. And without further ado, here’s is the 6th episode of The West Wing. Spoilers and etc of course. Read the rest of this entry »

West Wing Recaps: S1 Ep6 “Mr. Willis of Ohio”

Hello again fellow West Wing watchers! Sorry for the delayed episode, there’s been some craziness in the house the last couple of weeks. But here we are again, with a new installment. This is a good one, but before we get started I have a few links. You see, I found Twitter-profiles for several of the characters! So far, I’ve found Charlie Young, Zoey Bartlet, Danny Concannon, CJ Cregg, Toby Ziegler, and President Bartlet. Be warned, those links contain spoilers for the entire series. However, I found them interesting and amusing as a fan of the show.

So now, on to  the recap. Read the rest of this entry »

« Older entries