Five Star Mixtape 379: Seven Great Blog Posts and a Gary Barwin Quote
This week's Five Star Mixtape great blog roundup is brought to you by people for whom your vote matters, the non-glamourous job of the novelist, deep connectedness online, a struggle with the drudgery of motherhood, casual oppression, kindness for a stranger, suicidal ideation, and Gary Barwin:
May you never know how exhausting it is to fight for your right to love, to yearn for a better life, to walk in the world as your true self or simply exist within a system that was built to exclude you.
"5 Years a Novelist: A Retrospective on the Writing Life" by Kameron Hurley at Kameron Hurley:
I know so many writers who don’t make it past a debut book, or a debut series. And I don’t blame them. There’s a lot of disappointment in this industry, mainly driven by flawed expectations. To be a novelist is to be a glorified freelancer, with all the benefits and drawbacks of that type of life. You write and license your content to third parties. If you’re lucky, the content makes you some money beyond the initial advance. If you’re really lucky, it takes off and becomes your lottery ticket. But most books do just well enough to get you the next deal. The next shot. The next step in your career.
I knew I’d be dealing with ten thousand people living their internet lives, basically, and I was prepared for that. Even on a site like MetaFilter where people tend to be a few standard deviations more decent to one another than the typical internet comments section dumpster fire, people have bad days, bad moods, bad instincts. It’s a job where you have to put up with people living through their worst moments and taking it out on you. I was ready. I knew this.
But I didn’t know I’d be dealing with people dying.
I want to stop thinking of myself as a “before” picture and treat myself like an “after.” I want to sew all my “flattering” tunics into a giant flag and write “FUCK SHAME” in black sharpie, put it on the back of my bike, and ride through town naked.
Polite White Supremacy is very real. So why is it that we must specifically say ‘Polite White Supremacy’ rather than Racism? We must say Polite White Supremacy for three reasons. First, saying #PWS puts the responsibility solely on the creators of a systemic problem. Second, this phrase addresses the subtlety and casualness with which oppression is administered. Thirdly, it eradicates the all-too-common confusion between racism and prejudice. It’s important to eradicate this confusion so it can be clear that racism is tied to a power structure and access to resources.
The sun set her snow-white hair on fire. My heart lurched in the cold. I stepped off the sidewalk, walked over, introduced myself and said hello.
She said, Lysanne.
Our eyes met and I felt her glow.
Here’s the thing about humans: we are mistake machines. There is no error too dumb or destructive for us to make. The key to avoiding fucking up (and killing myself would be a massive fuck-up, even if it might not feel like it at the time) isn’t to rely on will power or competence in the moment, it’s to create tools and an environment that makes it easier to do the right thing.
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