Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”
And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old. And that brings up the real proof of what a mess I have made of being a man.
Ursula K. Le Guinon being a man – the finest, sharpest thing I’ve read in ages
DID YOU NOTICE THAT WHEN SHE WROTE ABOUT ERNEST HEMINGWAY KILLING HIMSELF SHE USED SHORT CHOPPY SENTENCES??? SHE’S SO FUCKING SMART
I like Hemingway AND Le Guin (although Le Guin is my favorite) and I love the way Le Guin writes about other writers.
Also, this quote is slightly incorrect! It should end this way:
"And that brings up the real proof of what a mess I have made of being a man: I am not even young. Just about the time they finally started inventing women, I started getting old. And I went right on doing it. Shamelessly. I have allowed myself to get old and haven’t done one single thing about it, with a gun or anything."
I think it’s important to include that part, because I like when Le Guin talks about ageism (for lack of a better term) and how people see getting old as something shameful and weak, when really its the most natural thing for everyone in the world to do.
“[TW: Rape] That’s at the core of a lot of this, the idea that if we make rape of unconscious people a crime, then there’s no “consequences” to girls drinking a lot/being “slutty”/etc… Rape as corrective tool is at the heart of a lot of rape culture attitudes, including that prisoners deserve to be raped, rape to punish/fix queer people (“rape you straight”, etc), rape as a tool of torture, rape as part of “hazing,” and that women who are “bad” (sex workers, “slutty,” drink a lot, wear few clothes, etc.) deserve “consequences” for their behavior. Behind a lot of rape apologia is the undercurrent of “but if we stop this, how will these people get punished for acting against how I think they should?”
Part of the refusal to focus the responsibility and agency of committing the crime on the rapists (“what do you expect would happen?” as if the rapists are like a force of nature) is that these people DO think she deserved to be punished for her behaviour that they disapprove of, and they LIKE the idea that there are other people who will punish her for it. They WANT rape to be something that “just happens” to you if you’re bad, or go to jail, or whatever, rather than focusing on who does it, because if you do the latter, you might stop it, and if you stop it, then there’s no punishment…
Rape apologists believe that women acting a certain way is something that should be “corrected.” They just don’t want to be the ones to do it, but it’s useful to them if others “fix” the problem for them. So, it’s useful to them if homophobes believe that killing somebody is self defense because of “gay panic,” or men believe that raping an unconscious woman is something they can’t (and therefore don’t need to) control. It allows them to have something “uncontrollable” to threaten people with, and put the onus on the victim to avoid getting killed/raped rather than on the perpetrator, because in the victim-blaming narrative, there isn’t one. The rapist is like the wind, and the victim is a person who built their house poorly.
And that’s why people also are defending the rapists and acting as if it’s unfair for them to be convicted of a crime, because they believe these people weren’t wrong, that without them, how would this girl be punished? What would be the consequences of her drinking too much as a girl without the rapists? How could you threaten women to behave in our society if there isn’t a threat of rape? These guys were just enacting the “consequences” that they wanted her to face for being a girl and drinking too much.
The rapist as force of nature, rather than human being responsible for choosing to assault somebody, is really important to rape culture, to rape as corrective social tool, and a way to control women’s behaviour. In a way, these rape apologists aren’t wrong when they claim they aren’t blaming her for being raped because in order to blame her, you’d have to think her rape was wrong in the first place. And to them, it wasn’t, because to them, she’s the one that did something wrong. She’s the one that partied, drank, and flirted as a girl. She deserved punishment. To them, the rape wasn’t wrong. It was justice.”—
"What would be the consequences of her drinking too much as a girl without the rapists? How could you threaten women to behave in our society if there isn’t a threat of rape?" … i just keep reading these two lines over and over. there are things you think understand, but then the weight of it can just hit you when the wording is just right.
Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”
But I didn’t.
I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”
My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”
So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”
Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”
I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”
However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.
But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.
When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”
Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t.
Hi, it’s miri again. This Sunday I would like to talk to you about “writer’s block.”
Better authors than I have already approached the construct of writer’s block to debunk it (that is—writer’s block is not real, it’s a excuse to not address a number of reasons that you may have for not writing), so I’m not going to do that here. Instead, I’m going to address the underlying issues here: distraction and procrastination.
More or less, here is “how to write when you don’t want to.” It’s okay to not want to write, even if you are a writer by trade. Writing is work and it’s not always fun. I personally hate writing, but I love having written. Because that’s impossible without actually forcing myself to write, I gotta do it. And so do you.
1) You should be writing, but find yourself refreshing tumblr or browsing Cracked instead. Because you’re probably writing on a computer or tablet, you have the internet at your fingertips, waiting to distract you. This is both bad and good—the easy access of the internet allows you to research whatever you’re writing much more easily, but it’s also a convenient distraction. If the internet is much too distracting for you, unplug your router or modem. Don’t use one of those cute site-blocking extensions, because the internet is a wealth of things that you can potentially be distracted by. Just kill the entire thing until the work is done.
2) I’m spacing out while writing. Have you taken care of all of your basic needs? It is absurdly difficult to write if a more base need on Maslow’s hierarchy hasn’t been fulfilled. Shower, get something to eat, and drink lots of water. Work for 30 minutes, allow yourself a 10 minute break to stretch, and then keep working. Time yourself. Take care of your body or your mind isn’t going to cooperate.
3) I disconnected my internet, but I’m still getting distracted by little things. You should listen to music or ambient sound while you’re working because it will help maintain your focus. Do not listen to music that has lyrics in a language that you understand, because it will distract the language center of your brain. Instead, listen to instrumental music, or a sound generator. This site has some of my favorites that have been hugely successful in keeping me focused on working.
4) I don’t know what comes next. Don’t get overwhelmed by potential when you’re writing—it’s just like walking, one foot in front of the other. Keep very basic fundamentals in your mind: what is my protagonist’s goal, and what will they do to achieve this? Look at what has happened in the story thus far—what are the natural consequences of this? Don’t be afraid of writing something that you don’t like. Don’t be afraid of bad writing. Perfect is the enemy of good. You can always edit it later.
5) I have written myself into a corner and I don’t know where to go from here. Keep Chandler’s Law in mind for this! When in doubt, have a man burst through a door with a gun in his hand. Remember, something that doesn’t quite work for the overarching plot can always be edited later! You just have to keep momentum going. As an absolute last resort, don’t be afraid of editing on the fly—if the direction you were going isn’t working, go back and do something else.
6) I don’t really want to write. Well, neither do I, but I’m an author and it’s my job so I kind of have to. I can’t make this fun for you because I have difficulty making it fun for me, but I have pride enough in the work that I produce that I am able to strong-arm through it. Reward yourself by reading what you have written. Think “this is good, and I want more of this to exist in the world.” If you’re confronted enough by the complete lack of desire to write that it’s impeding your production, it may naturally lead to the conclusion that it’s not the profession or hobby for you. And that’s not bad. It’s absolutely not for everyone.
The only real way to break “writer’s block” is by writing. Write whatever comes into your head. Write without punctuation or paragraph breaks. Everything can be edited later. Write what you want, not what you think you need to. Write, write, write, as much as you can, as often as you can. Above all take care of yourself, and have pride in what you do.
“People today don’t even know who Jesse Owens was. They don’t have no idea what happened in 1936 [at the Olympics in Berlin]. That’s what’s scary, because our history is being lost. The world should recognize how Owens transcended race. His life was so remarkable. And he came up during the time of no drugs, no steroids, none of that, yet his record [winning four gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics] stood all the way till Carl Lewis [who matched the performance at the 1984 Games]. He really put the U.S. in the forefront of the world for taking down the German empire. It’s funny, because when he got back to the United States after winning those four gold medals, there was a ticker-tape parade to the Waldorf-Astoria—and would you believe, they wouldn’t let him in the front door? He had to go in the service elevator. It’s very epic, very beautiful to play him and introduce him to a new generation.”—
The rest of the interview focuses more on Mackie’s role as Tupac Shakur in the upcoming Notorious, but his comments on Jesse Owens are spot-on. You can learn more about Owens and why he’s so important at the website run by the Jesse Owens Trust.
(We know more about white criminals than black heroes.)
To me one of the most important things about Jesse Owens will be the ways that he couldn’t transcend race. Because we learn as much from how he was treated after the Olympics as from what he did there.
I think my favourites are (on a German athlete who congratulated him on winning the long jump - actually, on beating him in the long jump!):
“It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Lutz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace. The sad part of the story is I never saw Long again. He was killed in World War II.”
and (much later)
“I realized now that militancy in the best sense of the word was the only answer where the black man was concerned, that any black man who wasn’t a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.”