Starting the Last Round of Edits

I’ll tell you straight up–I’m terrified.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but I’m glad I gave myself a goal and am just chugging towards it, because otherwise I think I might just sit here and talk myself out of things.

K., as I knew she would, just fucking got into it with the manuscript, finding typos and bad word-choice and places where the subject and verb don’t agree and so on and so on. And it’s a lot, but it’s not too much, you know.

But I do feel like I’m going to throw up. I’ve been trying to put a name to it. Do I think it sucks? No. I like it. Am I worried other people will think it sucks? Yeah, but I also am not sure “I didn’t like it” is the end of a statement on a book. I mean, I really didn’t like Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut and I am still thinking about it and still ranting angrily about it to friends and still think it’s exquisitely written. I think that book is a smashing success that really pisses me off. I have half a mind to email him and demand answers.

I read it a year ago!

Good lord, what’s “I didn’t like it” in the face of “I wrote something that’s going to make you angry for a year?”

You know what I’m getting at?

And here’s the thing–I have this terror, this driving fear saying “Oh, go ahead and turn on the TV instead” and when I try to figure out what’s behind that terror, I can’t really put my finger on it.

Just that, once I’m done with this, the next step is to hope people I don’t know think it would work as a salable book.

And that scares me.

Upon Being the Feminist Bitch

I know there has been some unease, shall we say?, already about this post. Some of it humorous and some of it “Betsy’s a big dyke” (see comment 3, though I did find the screen name, considering the comment, hilarious).

But let me be clear. I don’t think this is a “men, go home,” situation. It’s three days. If you can’t have all those dudes talk AND have a bunch of women also talk, you’re just not scheduling well. I don’t expect any men to not participate. That seems stupid and unlikely to make the Democrats suddenly more women-inclusive. I don’t even think that Democrats are intentionally “eh, women, what can you do?”

But it is a problem.

Here’s what I’d like. And it’s just something to think about. When the door of opportunity opens for you and you are standing in the doorway and you see that opportunity is full of dudes or full of white people or full of rich people or whatever. You look in and you see that the opportunity you’re about to have is homogenous in some way, don’t decline it. Put your foot in the door, reach out, and pull someone who’s not there in with you.

Political access is not a finite resource.

And I know, I know it makes me seem like an enormous bitch to bring it up. I already see the “Betsy loves cooter” comment at Pith. I get that there is NO way for me to say “Hey, this is fucked up,” without bringing that shit on me and, especially, sounding like my problem is merely that I want a seat at the table.

But listen, even if I am a bitchy, self-absorbed, cooter-licker, and far be it from me to worry about convincing you otherwise, especially since being a bitchy, self-absorbed cooter-licker is a fun way to spend one’s time, this is not right.

If making it about me is the first step in getting it rectified, then fine, make it about me. But get it fixed.

Hollin Has a Good Idea, But It Doesn’t Fix the Whole Problem

Jamie Hollin has what he’s touting as a solution to HB 600, which bars cities from deciding not to do business with people who discriminate against GLBT folks.

Instead of an outright prohibition against doing business with them, he’s now advocating awarding points to people who have a non-discrimination policy, so that, when they bid on city contracts, that counts in their favor.

I think this is a great idea.

It is not the whole solution.

The state legislature has still, with this bill, codified into law that a person is the sex it says on his or her birth certificate and Tennessee does not allow people to change their birth sex. That will be a nightmare for transgender and intersex people.

We shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Is Mayor Dean Really Going to Preside over the Death of Literary Culture in Nashville?!

I tell you, I just do not understand what the fuck is up with our mayor. Does he not understand what a disaster it is that Nashville proper has no reporting bookstores?* Does he not see that the library has had to step in and provide a place for authors to promote their books? And don’t get me wrong, libraries are great. And libraries should indeed also be doing stuff like this.

But something like the Salon@615 is like a grand dining room added on to a sturdy house. That is great, useful, and amazing. When you’re being told that you have to live in the dining room because the rest of your house is being destroyed?

Does it really matter how nice the dining room is?

So, the Mayor’s people aren’t funding the Southern Festival of Books this year.  Even though they have always been funded, because, mysteriously, the agreement Humanities Tennessee had with the Mayor’s people has mysteriously changed. In the past, Humanities Tennessee has been allowed to get a basic op grant to run the Southern Festival of Books, even though it doesn’t quite fit the grant, because the city has valued it. Now, it still doesn’t quite fit the grant and somehow this is a problem.

To Cole, however, the distinction between arts and humanities makes Humanities Tennessee ineligible for a basic op grant — and the Southern Festival of Books doesn’t qualify for their current project grants, which are skewed toward neighborhoods and after-school programs. To clarify which groups can get basic op grants, the new guidelines define “arts organization” as “those whose primary mission is to directly support performances, programs, exhibits and the dissemination of artistic content that engage professional artists in creative works.” This statement replaced the previous guidelines: “Primary purpose must be to produce or present art or cultural programs.”

“Only arts organizations are eligible for basic operational support, and they’re a humanities organization,” Cole says. She points to the Humanities Tennessee website: “Their mission statement doesn’t mention the word ‘arts.’ And the majority of their programs aren’t literary arts, they’re community history, culture — the humanities.”

Never mind the other programs still in the running for grants that also don’t have “arts” in their mission or don’t have a majority of their programs dedicated to art.

And if Humanities Tennessee can’t come up with the money some other way? They might be forced to shutter Chapter 16.

Is Mayor Dean really prepared to dick over the state-wide literary community like this?

We need Bredesen to put on the Green Vest of Comfort and go have a talk with Dean about the importance of supporting Nashville and maybe getting some people in his administration who understand that books, indeed, are art.

*By “reporting,” I mean bookstores that report their sales to Bookscan.

Creepy, In Two Ways

Yes, just yesterday, I made fun of myself for all the dog-walking posts, but today really was weird. First, there were a shit-ton of mosquitoes out there. I even had one on my eyelid.

Two, the fog rising off the hills was also creepy, with these long fingers of haze just reaching out for us.

And! Whenever we walked under the trees, we got rained on, because, even though it wasn’t windy enough at ground level for us to notice, just a little higher up, it was enough to knock all the water off the leaves.