“He begins to shame, really shame….”

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey (Photo credit: ellebnere)

Last week the news broke that several public library copies of Fifty Shades of Grey were tested positive for trace amounts of herpes and cocaine. There isn’t even enough of the virus present in the books for anyone to contract it from touching them; just enough present for it to test positive.

This has inspired a large wave of ew, gross, herpes, and I guess it really IS a dirty book lol from not only the people reporting this news but, well, everyone else. So far most, if not all, of the reactions I’ve seen have had hefty doses of shaming thrown in.

I’ll admit, when I first heard it, I raised an eyebrow and thought I think I don’t want to know how those books got herpes.

But I dismissed that thought pretty quickly. The fact is, you don’t have to hump a book to give it herpes. Herpes simplex isn’t just an STI; it’s the same virus that gives you cold sores. Viral shedding can occur at any time, and in more areas than just the genitals. It may be asymptomatic. Fifty Shades of Grey getting herpes likely has little to do with the book’s content and more to do with how common herpes is and how popular the books are.

I am not an expert on herpes. I’m just someone who knows people who have it. I’m also someone who was researching STIs about 7 years before I was having sex. (Insert I’m sort of Ravenclaw even though I’m Slytherin joke here.)

The shaming reactions to this news have saddened me.

Having herpes or any other STI doesn’t make you a monster, or diseased, or dirty or unclean. It just means you contracted something. That something may have no cure as of yet (herpes, AIDS), or it may just need a trip to the doctor and a prescription to get it cleared up (syphilis). It may be easy to live with, or it may be hard. STIs are a part of life. Even, sometimes, for people who aren’t having sex. Contracting an  STI does not mean you are undeserving of love or basic human decency.

I hate Fifty Shades of Grey with an all-consuming passion, but I don’t condone the way people have been talking about this. Fifty Shades of Grey testing positive for herpes does not make it a terrible book (the fact that it’s a terrible book makes it a terrible book), and when you say it does you are indirectly saying that people who have herpes are terrible people.

Criticize Fifty Shades for its shoddy writing, for its depiction of an abusive relationship as romance, for its utter lack of plot or meaningful characterization, for its rape apologism, for its plagiarism, for its absolute lack of truthfulness in depicting BDSM and promoting of dangerous BDSM practices, for its message of “EWWWWW, POOR PEOPLE”. Those are all fair criticisms.

Criticizing the book because library copies happened to test positive for herpes is not fair, and has nothing to do with the book itself. Herpes was also found on Tango by Pieter Aspe, and yet you don’t hear people making shaming comments about that. Somehow, because Fifty Shades is about a subject many people find taboo, it’s fair game?

No. It’s not. Stop shaming folks who read erotica, period, and stop with the sex-negative, STI-shaming surrounding this news story. It’s boring. As boring as the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey.

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Take from the rich to give to the poor: the Robin Hood Tax and its implications for Canada and the world at large

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So, here in Canada we’re lobbying for something called The Robin Hood Tax to be put into place1. The basic idea of the tax is this: every day banks and financial institutions have tons of transactions, right? Well, what if we put a small tax — only .05% — on each transaction, payable by the institution? Economists estimate that this will earn around 650 billion dollars per year that can be then put towards things like ending poverty and climate change (both here and abroad), making sure banks pay their fair share of the economic recovery, and help to curb the recession.

Banks are obscenely wealthy, and they make that wealth by charging people like you and me. The Robin Hood Tax forces them to give something back, so that people can get some food in their bellies and a roof over their homes — in environmentally friendly ways. Awesome deal, right?

Well. The current Canadian government doesn’t seem to think so, which, honestly, isn’t surprising. They are adamantly against implementing this global bank tax, because, well, they’re a bunch of rich folks.

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I’m still your best pilot

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I wrote 4,602 words in January and haven’t penned one since. I’m hoping to write about 26k a month this summer to try and catch up. We’ll see how that goes.

Story goals are same as before, with an addition.

  1. Finish editing Parts 2 and 3 of Bellica and upload to site.
  2. Finish The Jade Star of Athering.
  3. Finish The Man of Bronze.
  4. Finish Islands of Fire and Water.
  5. Start that new story idea in November.
  6. Publish Bellica in hardcopy.
  7. Write Snowbound sequel (?).
  8. Write short story that’s been bouncing around in my head for weeks now.

I’m going to see if I can do that before Saturday and under 3,000 words so I can submit it to a contest. I’m only a little bit crazy.

Other things on my plate this summer: getting Stars Above, Stars Below, Publishing more well-known, and with more than 2 books out. The third book is coming out this weekend, and will be presented in a special 2-author poetry reading at Breakwater Books in Powell River, May 15th, 7pm. Kaimana Wolff and I will be presenting from generation of thistles (her new poetry book, published by MCH) and glasstown (my old one, published by The Pack Press).

Getting a full-time job? Gods know writing and publishing don’t pay enough yet, and I’m 2300 dollars in debt currently. (This is not counting my student loans.) I also would like to eat next school year; just a thought.

Getting ready for the school year. I have decided to try and finish my Anthropology and Theatre degree, as well as taking French on top of that. If I work super hard and am lucky enough to land the classes I need when I need them, then I can finish my degree in two years. This is important to me, because I started college when I was 17, and I’d like to get my degree in fewer than 10 years. So finishing by the time I’m 26? Win.

I haven’t branched out as much as I wanted to with regards to finding writer friends. Still hoping to find that snarky, bitter writer that I can share all my bile and vitriol with.

There was a plan to move to San Francisco after the summer, but that has been scrapped for family reasons, and other factors. I am sad about this, but I shall just have to go to SF at a later date.

Bellica is going through a small hiatus; my editor managed to fry her computer and only now has had it fixed and is getting caught up with stuff. Updates to return next week.

Also, big news: Bellica should be published by the Pack Press this summer! Yes, that means that in addition to reading it for free online, you can buy your own paperback copy in bookstores in BC starting this summer. Details on the date, book launch, signings, tour? to come as soon as I know them.

And last but not least as I need to get dressed and walk the dog, I am now to be found on LibraryThing. I’m not an author there yet, but with your help, I can be. If you have a copy of glasstown and you’re on LibraryThing, please add it to your collection of books. When my books appear on LT, then I can become an LT author.

Also, feel free to add me as a friend. Kaimana Wolff is on there too, and she’s got author status. Go forth and favorite her!

Well, that’s that. Stay classy, internets.

-Katje

Writing hiatus

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I am taking a break from writing anything new until September 8th because I have to work on editing Snowbound, preparing for Dragon*Con, going to Dragon*Con, getting together a working props list for Dove In Death (a production that goes off the end of September), getting together my production stuff for Just Shoot Me (the show I’m directing in November), and losing some weight so I can be IN the fall show that goes off end of October (The Balcony).

Yes, three shows overlapping, right after the other. Plus 5 classes (more than  full load), dance classes, morning yoga, and working out at the gym 3 times a week. And then there’s making my GYWO word count goals, which are 10K for Sept, 5K for Oct, 50K for November, and 5k for December. Yay.

Also, I have decided to publish my novels, etc, serially on my writing site. You can start reading Bellica with the Prologue sometime before Sept. 20th, which is the official start date — ie, when Chapter 1 is up.

I’ll be putting up Islands of Fire and Water and The Man of Bronze sometime in 2010, too, provided I finish writing them and then edit them this year. Snowbound is getting turned into a contest (which I’m still eligible for, because NO WAY will I get 5,000 hits before the contest runs through, and I’m not getting paid for these works), so it’ll be a while before that one comes up.

The Jade Star of Athering won’t be up for a while, cause I haven’t written it yet.

So yeah — check it out. And if you wish to continue to see my works online, please consider donating to fund my writing habit. 🙂

See you after Labour Day Weekend (which is just going to be one big party, man.)

-Katje

Wow

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At 10:22 pm on Friday, July 10th, I typed the last words to my first novel, Bellica. I’m pretty darn impressed with myself.

Let us party.

Also, for July I’ve written 55,977 words total. That’s since the 5th, when my monthly word-count starts (because of GYWO’s system on LJ).

I’m incredible. *preens*

Reading copies published by the 14th of August, godswilling, and actual book published….??

I’ll keep you posted.

-Katje

The Smell of Hope in the Morning

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We’ve come to the end of an era, my friends. Not a particularly lovely era. A dark age, to be precise. We’ve come through the night and a new day has dawned, bright and shining (and misty in Nanaimo) — a new day, and we can have hope again, because change has come. 

He’s human, of course. We all are. I do not think we should worship the man. I think we should be grateful for what he’s brought us — hope — and for the chance we have to get things fixed. I think we as Canadians should be grateful there is a leader in charge of our neighbor to the south who will actually give a rat’s ass about what goes on in Canada, what matters to Canadians, and the relationship between our countries, which has become strained of late. 

I think Obama cares. But I think we have to take the initiative to let him know. I think we need to take the first step, the step that says “Dear Obama — we are Canadian, and this is what matters to us — this is what being Canadian is.”  CBC has done this with Obama’s Playlist — a collection of 49 songs from north of the 49th parallel that demonstrate Canuckitude. And now Kaimana Wolff, inspired by CBC’s project, has started Poems for Obama, a drive to collect 49 Canadian poems to send to the 44th president as an, albeit late, inaguaration present. 

I’m submitting my poem transit stories, and Kaimana is submitting some poems as well. We already have submissions from poets such as Susan Musgrave — you don’t need to be published or famous to submit. Just Canadian, or close enough to make no nevermind (living in Canada as a Canadian is more important that a piece of paper declaring your citizenship). We want poems that demonstrate what being Canadian is — poems with real Canadian content. 

We’re sure you can do this, Canada. Come on — let your light shine. 

-Katje
who is partying like there’s no tomorrow