I’m Floundering, a little

Y’all, I’m getting nervous about speaking to the girls at the feminist indoctrination camp.  It sucks.  What I need to do is just come up with a loose outline and just go in there and talk to them from the heart for a little bit and then help them set up their own blogs and show them how to link and find other blogs and all that good stuff.

I’m good at kind of speaking extemporaneously.  But I like to be prepared.  The trouble is that I’m having trouble preparing.  I feel like my thoughts are kind of jumbled and I’m anxious about being boring.

I’m also anxious about the arrival of the whole family again.  The recalcitrant brother gets here tomorrow and then Mom and Dad and the boys get here on Saturday.

I have stuff for the play all weekend. 

Auditions are Saturday and Sunday we have to sit down and talk about what happened last night.  I think really good stuff happened, but we need to make some cuts to the script and get some other shit in there.  Anyway, it’ll all be fine, too.  I just feel like I’m having a tough time getting everything done that needs to be done.  I really wanted to spend this evening getting a firm grip on what I’m going to say to the girls.  That didn’t quite happen.

Y’all, I just want to give these girls a tool they can use to change the world.  Not that they won’t have other tools.  But so much of how our culture is organized relies on us as consumers.  Which is fine, except that in order to be a motivated consumer, you must feel that you lack something, so that you’ll want to make purchases based on your perceived lacks.

Which means that there’s a great deal of our culture and, to some extent, our economy resting on the importance of you feeling shitty about yourself.  And so, we’re bombarded all the time by these messages about how we’re not quite cutting it.

What’s so cool about self-publishing is that it’s really a force for counteracting that.

You’re not just a passive consumer.  You produce something.  You’re filling a need, not internally, but a need in our society.

I said it before and I still firmly believe it,

Write because it’s the only real magic most of us have, this ability to squash together lines and curves and dots and create worlds, recreate worlds. Write because no one with power wants you to. They don’t want to hear from you and they don’t want others to hear from you. And this, this weblogged thing, no one in power has learned how to control yet.

Write here, write now. Because no one can stop you.

Even if they find you out, drop your name, pick up another one. Come back in. Even if they tell you they don’t want to hear it, they read it already, come back in. This is not for them. Not only, anyway.

Write because we need to hear from you.

Write because you need to hear from you.

But keep writing.

And this is why copyright is so important.  Because it means that when you write something, it’s yours.  You own it and you, literally, are the only one who has the right to make copies of it.  You can decide to make as many copies as you want.  You can decide that it’s okay for everyone to make as many copies as they want.  Or you can decide that there should be only one copy.  But, in the end, it’s yours and you get to say what happens to it.

There’s one exception–fair use.  This is a little loophole that lets other people use portions of your material under certain circumstances.  They can use bits of it if they want to comment on it.  But they can’t use the whole thing without your permission.

As a side note, this is one of the reasons you shouldn’t post whole poems or the lyrics to whole songs that you didn’t write without comment.  Someone else has the right to make copies of those, not you.  And if you want your copyright to be respected, you should respect the rights of others.

Of course, the world is a crazy place and not everyone is respectful of everyone else.  In fact, some folks are mean and some are dangerous.  And the truth is that once you publish something, it’s out there forever–and, eventually, someone you wish hadn’t, is going to see it.  Never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to a person’s face, if push came to shove.  Because, someday, it is going to come to that.

Also, on the internet, you don’t really know who is talking to you.  Probably, a good rule of thumb is that no one on the internet is telling you the truth.  Sometimes, this really sucks.  But it also means that you aren’t under any obligation to tell them the truth.

You don’t have to lie.

But you don’t have to tell people everything about you.  Never tell people how old you are or where you live.  And don’t make it easy for them to find out.  Protect yourself and your family by making up names and fudging details.  If you feel uncomfortable about lying, you can just say up front that you’re doing it.  But trust me, it’s better by far to lie a little and keep safe than to tell the whole truth and get hurt.



Hey, see.  I do have some shit to say.  I’ve got a foundation upon which I can say shit that’s actually age-appropriate once I get in there.  And Heather says she’s found me a computer lab on campus.  So that will be fun.

Now, if only someone would clean my tub and get the place ready for my parents.

6 thoughts on “I’m Floundering, a little

  1. No, clean the tub, but be yourself while you clean the tub. Pretend that ugly, moldy, soapscummy stuff around the rim is the patriarchy, and your scrubber and cleaner are third-wave feminism, and with hard sweat and determined effort wipe it out of existence.Just wait until I get a better job before you try to do it in real life. I need all the help I can get.

  2. Lee, you made me laugh so hard I ended up making that terrible choking noise I usually only make at other inopportune moments.

  3. Great age appropriate advice for the internet. I printed part of it and read it to my son who just made his first MySpace page.He thinks I’m just paranoid, but coming from you it might be more believable. Thanks

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