Holiday Shopping Guide for Your Writer

If you’re shopping in Tulsa, check out Decopolis in downtown. They have writer themed candles; little plush dolls of Poe, Shakespeare, and more; journals; feather quill sets…. you can make all your writer friends happy by stopping by there!

(NOT A COMPENSATED COMMENT – I JUST LOVE THEM THAT MUCH)

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This is not a feminist rant… but please don’t ask me to smile.

I am not about to talk about how it is not in fact a woman’s job to look pretty for you, she doesn’t owe you a smile, and how she doesn’t care how much prettier she’d look if she were smiling (though I adamantly agree with and support those statements).

No, I’m just going to talk about the last time it happened to me.

Here’s the thing. I went to a Starbucks. I used the mobile ap to order a drink and a ‘snack box.’ When I got there, the barista said, “I’ve got bad news – we’re out of the snack box you wanted. The good news is you can have anything else you want.” Important note – I wasn’t upset by this. I didn’t have my heart set on the specific snack box I’d wanted (boiled eggs, some fruit, some peanut butter), I just wanted a snack. So I grabbed a cheese and fruit snack box instead and was perfectly happy with that.

We went over to the register so he could make the exchange and then he offered me a $4 ‘recovery card’ off my next visit. Cool! Now I’m actually pretty happy about the whole situation.

I noticed a tray of bite sized portions of some chocolate baked good and asked about it. He told me (double chocolate pound cake) and said they were offering samples and I could have one. Super cool!

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God, no, I’m NOT mad. I’m fine. Everything’s FINE.

At this exact moment, if you had asked me, I would have said I was smiling. At any rate, I felt confident I had perfectly pleasant expression on my face. I wasn’t sad or mad. Nothing I had said or done would have indicated I was unhappy in any way.

Important note – I could have been this kid’s mom. Important follow up note – I am not what most people would call conventionally attractive. I mention this because I’m pretty confident he was not flirting with me. I mean, anything’s possible, but… probably not.

And then he said, “The only price is a smile.” And I reflexively smiled (dammit).

Then I went to my table, watched some Netflix, ate my snackbox (cheese and fruit and crackers. Yum), drank my tea, and nibbled on the sample of cake (super tasty!).

And instead of enjoying my Netflix, all I could think about was why he asked me to smile.

When I got to my friend’s, I asked them “Do I look like I’m pissed off all the time?” I mean, I know I have resting bitch face. It’s a chronic, long term condition for me, but still. (the answers were “no, yes, and ‘only when you look at me,’).

Two days later, I’m still bothered by it. I mean… seriously… resting bitch face. I have it. But he asked me to smile at a moment that I thought I was smiling. Dammit.

So just don’t do that. Don’t do it for all the feminist reasons you’ve ever heard, but also don’t do it because it made me feel bad for at least two days because I wish I had a happy smiley face and I don’t and thanks for reminding me that I look mad all the time and that probably drives people away.

… shit, I wonder if that’s part of why do many people say I’m intimidating.

Anyway, please don’t ask a woman a smile, ok?

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Is this better?

 

Donna’s Friday Morning Moment of Self-Awareness

I’ve got this gap between my front teeth. I hate it.

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I told you it was awful

A couple years ago, I was talking with some friends of mine about how much I hate seeing pictures of myself. Among the reasons for this aversion? That horrible, horrible gap.

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It’s not really that bad, but it sure feels like it. Fun with snapchat *awkward, nervous laughter*

 

See, when I was a kid, I had braces, and they fixed the gap, but then when my wisdom teeth came out, I guess my teeth spread apart some and now I have this gap between my teeth again. For a long time, I wouldn’t even smile with my lips open, because of that gap, but then several people told me I have a great smile so I have tried to get over it, but still, whenever I see one of these, pics, all I can see is that gap and…

That’s when one of my friends broke in on my story and said, “I’ve never noticed it.”

And I thought, “How many other people would never have even noticed this horrible, horrible flaw of mine if I’d just never told them about it?”

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No more fooling around. No filter. Totally natural expression.

I was reminded of this when the three brothers on my favorite podcast (My Brother, My Brother, and Me (MBMBaM)) did a TV show for Seeso TV.

The oldest brother, Justin, talks frequently about being overweight. He makes comments like “I’m living my life as an overweight man.” He talks about not being able to find clothes that look good – how his jeans are always cuffed because he can’t find jeans that are short enough for his chubby legs.

I do this too. As a podcaster, a writer, a blogger – non-visual mediums – I find that I will start stories much the same way when I want to talk about trying to find clothes that make me feel good about myself, or challenges finding a date, or the like.

But then…

I saw the first episode of the MBMBaM show.  Now, don’t get me wrong. Justin is overweight, he’s not one of those totally average people complaining about how fat they are. But his weight is not his most defining characteristic. It’s not the first thing I notice when I see him. In fact, the first thing I thought was “Why does he talk about his weight so much?” And this is coming from someone who’s overweight!

So, I don’t have a great insight here, really. Sometimes, like if I want to talk about having a hard time finding clothes, I’ve got to mention that I’m overweight, or you’re going to wonder “Why doesn’t she just go to the GAP?”

Which brings me back to the lesson I learned a few years ago about the gap in my teeth.

Maybe we should all spend a little less time pointing out our flaws to other people, because maybe we’re the only ones who noticed them in the first place.

In Defense of Garbage TV

I have a confession…red-rose-1347966141q6t

No, I can’t. It’s too horrible.

OK. Let me just get this out.

Recently… I started watching The Bachelor.

Whew. I got that off my chest. I feel a little better.

Now, this show is garbage. Purest garbage.

So why am I watching it?

Well… because a podcaster I like does a fancast for The Bachelor (called Rose Buddies) so I thought I’d give it a try. In other words, I’m watching the show as an excuse to listen to a podcast.

Still. It’s garbage. It’s fake, and awkward and really inappropriate in a lot of ways.

And I’m starting to find it therapeutic. It’s fun to flip off the TV every time the designated ‘villian’ is on the screen. It’s fun to protest when the bachelor gives her a rose week after week. It’s fun to bitch about why they don’t show more positive interactions between the contestants, or speculate about how much of what goes on is actually real and how much of it is producer manipulation. To speculate on who’s in the running to win and who’s just there to stir up ratings *cough corn cough*

I can’t actually scream “I hate you!” to idiots on facebook, but I can scream it at my TV. I can’t say, “OMG, you’re SOOOOOO STUPID,” to people in real life, but I can yell it at the bachelor.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s trash. It’s garbage. It’s sensationalist and ridiculous and more than a little sexist.

But one night a week I can forget about real life and real problems and that’s not a bad thing.

…I may have more to say on this topic later. 🙂

An open letter to Disney: Please DO recast General Leia Organa for Star Wars Episode IX #SaveGeneralOrgana

Losing Carrie Fisher was a tragedy. Please do not compound that tragedy with your handling of her character.

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I see three basic options:

  1. You can kill, incapacitate, or otherwise remove Leia from the story,  off screen.
  2. You can severely cut back Leia’s part and CGI her, as you did with Peter Cushing.
  3. Or you can recast Leia.

Here’s why I do not recommend the first two options:

Carrie Fisher cannot be replaced. We all know and understand this.

But, while Carrie Fisher is gone, Leia Organa is still alive*.

The thing you need to understand is how important Leia is to women who were girls when the first Star Wars movies were released. We’d never seen anything like her: confident, out-spoken,  competent, strong, smart.

For a girl growing up at that time Princess Leia was a symbol showing us that we did not have to be soft and compliant and submissive. We could be like Leia Organa. Be strong and own that. Be smart and own that. Be out-spoken and competent without feeling like there was something wrong with you.

I want the girls who will be women in a few years to have that same character, that same strong, confident, competent character to look up to. Absolutely, they have Rey, but Rey is young and pretty. Leia is mature and still not afraid to be in charge. It’s an important thing to see, an older woman whose appearance is a secondary concern.

Which brings me to the third option of recasting. There are plenty of actresses of an appropriate age to take on that part. No, they won’t be replacing Carrie — no one could — but they will be allowing Leia Organa to continue to live. They will allow you to continue to tell us Leia’s story.

Off the top of my head Meryl Streep and Geena Davis both could take on that part. Leia will forever be Carrie Fisher, but they could pay tribute to Carrie. Young women, whether they’re young now or young in their hearts, need General Leia Organa on the screen.

Please consider allowing Leia to live fully in episode IX of the Star Wars franchise.

ETA: Sigourney Weaver, Kate Mulgrew, Ellen Barkin, Kathleen Turner, Dana Delaney, Linda Hamilton (!!!!)… the list goes on.

*I know it’s possible Leia dies in episode VIII. I certainly hope not.

Sometimes depression is a terminal disease

Reposting this because my depression is really bad right now, maybe it’s the holidays, I don’t know. But I needed this and thought I’d share.

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Depression is like a war

A few years ago, a good friend of mine killed himself. I did all the things you do: I blamed myself. I got mad at him. I grieved.

While talking to a friend, I expressed the thought that if I’d only called him that day as I’d planned… and he said, “Sometimes depression is a terminal disease.” Sometimes, you cannot save someone with depression.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Take depression seriously.

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Don’t tell a depressed person they should just smile more. Or that they’re just being dramatic. Or that they should just think positive, or just shake off the negative feelings.

Depression is a disease. You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer, or in liver failure, or heart failure to just let it roll off them. You wouldn’t even think of making one of those people feel bad about themselves for their inability to just “get over it.”…

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A totally uninformed opinion about Passengers from someone who hasn’t seen it and my thoughts about it as a writer

I haven’t seen Passengers. But I’ve seen a lot of pearl clutching posts about that AWFUL TWIST.
So, I gave in and read them.

Digression – many, many years ago I watched a made-for-TV movie starring Teri Garr [Intimate Strangers, 1986]. She played an army nurse who’d been taken as a POW and suffered horrible PTSD upon her return. The entire movie revolved around the slow reveal of what had happened to her. The reveal: She’d been raped one time by one of the guards. And, call me a cynic if you will, but I had kind of assumed that all along. It wasn’t a reveal, it was a given based on the way they’d characterized her captors. It was kind of like showing someone coming home after ten years in prison and then revealing that while they’d been in prison they’d occasionally been locked in small rooms. Not to say it’s not traumatizing. Just… you’re not surprised by that reveal.

Which brings me back to…

SECOND-HAND SPOILER WARNING

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Apparently, Chris Pratt’s character and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters do not wake up at the same time on the ship’s 120 year journey to another planet. Pratt wakes up earlier, spends about a year alone, begins obsessing over Lawrence — still asleep — and then wakes her up so he won’t be alone.

 
Yes, I agree this is a bad thing. But I wasn’t surprised to hear it.

 
When news got out and people began to complain about it, Writer Jon Spaihts had this to say, “It’s not as if it’s an accidental oversight of the film, where we, through some cultural blindness, have failed to see the appalling nature of our hero’s actions. It is the subject of the film. [emphasis mine]

 
Director Morten Tyldum added, “…I think that most of us, if we had the choice, would have done what Chris’s character do. We’re lying to ourselves if we’re saying that we won’t. And I think also that Jen’s character and her stance, the moment he walks out [of the ship] and may not come back, she understands that, knowing she will be alone on the ship. And she understands. She completely understands why he did that.”

 
I get that. I totally get what Spaihts and Tyldum are saying. They made a film about what a person would do in this horrible situation, gave us Lawrence to react to this situation, and then put her in a position to understand that she would have done the same. It’s a good story, exploring emotion, human nature and the need for companionship. But apparently, they didn’t communicate that story to their audience. Instead, they gave their audience a creepy stalker story (apparently).

 
It doesn’t really matter what story you intend to tell. What matters is the story you do tell.