A Short Story for Halloween

Happy Halloween, dear reader! It’s been too long since a bit of fiction flitted across this blog, and so, I give you a spooky tale for Halloween.

The Bathtub

Image: Yelp
Image: Yelp

The apartment I shared with Laura was clean, spacious, and incredibly hostile, as passionate romances also spur passionate break-ups.

After a week or so of couch surfing, I found a sublet in my price range a mile or so from my classes. Closer to campus were new complexes with attached gyms and single bedroom units well beyond a T.A.’s budget. My new place was one of the classic, yet dilapidated houses infested with young people that were common further from school.

It must’ve been a stunning place when it was new: a grand, old Victorian with broken stained glass windows and faded green shutters. The porch was unsettlingly soft, and the plaster stank of pot. But I was morose and the price was right. Continue reading A Short Story for Halloween

Stupid Haikus 3

The haiku is a classic Japanese poetry form, and the best poets use it to convey emotion, scenery, and a sense of place. Haiku is often also used to convey the essence of seasons.

These are haikus only in so much that I am following the 5-7-5 syllable scheme, and, this time, I’m using autumnal free stock photos as “inspiration.”

3624676 - autumn composition
Copyright: funlovingvolvo / 123RF Stock Photo

Continue reading Stupid Haikus 3

Yes, Virginia, It’s Sexism

I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Hillary supporter, but I also don’t go out of my way to try and convert others. I just don’t have the wherewithal to slog through conspiracy theories and paranoia like a political ice breaker.

When all you do is shout,
When all you do is shout, “Benghazi!” I have a difficult time engaging in discourse with you…

However, I do want to point out the sexism that Clinton been subjected to through out this campaign that is couched as legitimate criticism. Now, Shakesville has a much more comprehensive list, but it still isn’t every sexist thing that has been lobbed at Clinton. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.) Continue reading Yes, Virginia, It’s Sexism

Nature’s Beautiful?

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, but for a moment I will turn away from the intensity of fear and hope in order to navel gaze. I am apparently a millennial after all.

I love nature shows and documentaries. I am especially susceptible to their excessively emotional scores. So when I watch something like this:

I usually end up verklempt.

via GIPHY

Ohmygod that was so beautiful and the world is full of breathless mystery and I swear I’ll never eat meat again and I’ll hug a dog and look into its huge, warm eyes like Krishna’s mother seeing the world in his mouth and I’ll bike everywhere like a Communist to save the Earth.

When I’m confronted with actual nature, that is, in real life without a score, it looks more like this:

My heart’s in the right place, kind of, but I have no idea what the hell is going on. Then I have an Italian beef or something and drive three blocks somewhere.

Perhaps there’s a message here about the difference between eliciting emotion and eliciting action, or perhaps it’s more evidence that sometimes I’m just kind of a crappy person.

Maligning Romance

First of all, I missed my blog’s birthday because we all know that I’d be a terrible mother. My first post was June 11, 2015; so sorry, Blog, that I’ve neglected you. People are giving me money to write and stuff, so that’s gotten in the way.

Have cake, Blog, and feel better.

Happy Birthday! Love, Aunty Mommy

So! I had said a long time ago that the romance genre is much maligned for various reasons and that I would write about it. What has finally gotten me around to doing the post is actually making an attempt to write a bit of romance.

Even a small piece, about 800 words as a thought exercise, is proving difficult. The gears that make romance writing tick are not easily manipulated. Granted, writing anything out of one’s sphere isn’t easy and takes practice, but making a decent, entertaining, little scene requires a deft hand. Otherwise everyone’s rude, creepy, and inappropriately horny in a strangely ambiguous historical setting (where my characters currently are right now.)

Continue reading Maligning Romance

Reasons, Technically, to Bear Offspring

My mother told me that she didn’t care if I ever give her grandchildren in much the same way she told me that I didn’t have to become a doctor: sincerely with an undercurrent of disappointment. I remember the home movies she took of my tantrums, all snot and rage and throwing shoes out of the shoe rank. Watching the old VHS tapes with images of my fits popping up between piano recitals and birthday parties, I knew that if I ever had a child I’d be cursed with one like myself.

And yet, I keep finding reasons to have children. Continue reading Reasons, Technically, to Bear Offspring

Thoughts on Harry Potter Now that I Am Grown

When I first started reading Harry Potter I was about 13, and I grew up with the books in a way. The petty rivalries and teenage miseries spoke to me. Of course, the delightful world of magic did, too.

I am rereading the Harry Potter series as an adult and while I still enjoy them, perhaps even more than I did as a kid, there are somethings my heartless adolescent self did not pick up on. Continue reading Thoughts on Harry Potter Now that I Am Grown

Why Are We More Comfortable When Robots Have Boobs?

Whenever I come across an android in movies, novels, or anime, there seems to be a disquieting amount of comfort surrounding the existence of female androids. Male androids get the heartrending or thought provoking stories of being almost human, of trying to discover themselves and what it means to be human and yet not. Think of Roy Batty in Bladerunner, David in A.I.,  David in Prometheus – these are characters that are unsettlingly human in a way that is disruptive to the society that made them. These characters are also all white and perceived as male.

Female androids seems to slip pretty comfortably into societal expectations – female as housekeeper or maid, female as pleasantly helpful organizer of information (a sort of housekeeper for business), female as prostitute. If these fem-androids aren’t satisfied with their role as servants to humans, they often act out in ways that are typical narrative templates for women behaving badly. Continue reading Why Are We More Comfortable When Robots Have Boobs?

The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 2

Part 1 of these essays provides some context as to why I’m writing them and covers the negative consequences for men in regards to women being trophies for successful masculinity. The next subject I will cover is how patriarchal standards require men to perform masculinity in a way that emphasizes action, strength, and dominance and the negative consequences men face.

Now, to a certain extent these attributes are also valued in women. But in a patriarchal society, I consider them in much the same way that physical attractiveness and social adeptness are valued in men as compared to women. Is it advantageous for a man to be good looking and socially smooth? Absolutely. Are these things required for him to be perceived as masculine? No, but prettiness and social consideration are required for women if they are to be perceived as feminine. Being attractive in a way that’s pretty or being extremely socially conscious can even make a man seem effeminate. After all, the term metrosexual wasn’t devised because being deeply concerned about how you look and what others think is part of traditional masculinity.

Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 2

The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 1

It has become relatively common to hear that patriarchy hurts everyone. While I generally believe that this is true, I’m usually hesitant to talk about it because the concept seems to invite a rather unhelpful dialogue. Often “Patriarchy hurts everyone” translates to, “That’s enough women talk; let’s get serious and talk about men! You know, the real people.” I’ve seen people make the argument that men were and are historically treated worse than women, that the patriarchy hurts men because without it they would get laid more, that feminism also hurts men, etc. It usually doesn’t behoove me to spend the energy trying to wade through it all.

So why would I talk about patriarchy hurting men? I’m obviously not too keen on it. Well, I stumbled across this poor guy’s Internet cry for help:
Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 1