Archive for November, 2013

I’m Done Arguing

Maurice-&-Chesya-798317I really admire writers like Nora Jemison and Chesya Burke.*  They continue to discuss issues of racism, sexism, discrimination of all kinds online.

I just can’t do it anymore.**

I used to talk more about race, political, and spiritual issues online a lot more.  I just don’t have it in me much these days.  It’s tough.  It’s exhausting.  It’s time consuming.  You make a well thought out point, hit the post button, then watch a good part of your day get away from you:  you have to educate new people to the discussion (because Google is broken for them and they can’t look up “feminism 101” or “anti-racism 101”), you have to babysit your posts to guard against trolls, and you have to come up with new ways to express your point sometimes to well-intentioned allies.  Rinse and repeat.

All of that takes its toll:  emotionally (most times it’s not just 1s and 0s out there, but friends you thought you knew), mentally (your mind gets consumed with formulating rebuttals), and creatively (unless you’re great at compartmentalizing, a post gone wrong can cost you a day or more of writing).

I don’t see how they keep it up.  I know they both have lives, careers, and writing to do.  They have friends, they have interests, they have other things they could be doing.  But they’re there, rolling their Sisyphusean boulders up their hills over and over again.

I’m out though.  Sometimes just reading their posts makes me want to punch my screen.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy to discuss issues of race with folks.  I’ve been heavily involved with my Cities of Refuge project, so I welcome you to come down to the community I work in.  You call talk to me all you want about the inequality of education, the salvation capitalism offers, the fair and equitable treatment of the police, your rights to stand your ground, the practical realities/necessities of profiling, the socialism of health care, and so on, all to your heart’s content.   While you’re talking, be sure to take a good look around, because that’s as close as I’m going to get to arguing with you.  Cause I’m tired and I’ve decided that what time and energy I got left I’m pouring into the community.

But I thank God for the Noras and Chesyas of the world.  I don’t know how they keep doing it, but I’m glad they are.




* I’m taking a real chance here:  the Internet is forever and Chesya has already screen-captured that statement

**Btw, this is my favorite picture of me and Chesya.  I know it drives her absolutely insane.

IHW 2.0: Electric Boogaloo

DSCN0001Sometimes you have to blow stuff up in order to fix it.

Prior to our disbanding, IHW had gotten to a point where the group had forgotten what it was about.  Mission drift is a common problem for organizations.  A group can start off with a common set of goals and principles, but somewhere along the way, whether it is chasing greater numbers, pursuing money or marketing, or simply any other agenda, it loses sight of what it set off to do.  The group loses the dream of who they were and what they wanted to be.

Many of the IHW members, among them many of the founding members, found ourselves kind of stuck and resigned out of sheer frustration.  Sometimes groups or friends are meant to be together only for a season.  It reminded me of something I wrote a long time ago:  “Splits happen.  Sometimes they can’t be helped. Sometimes no one’s at fault. Sometimes the relationship’s time has passed. Sometimes the people you love simply can’t get along anymore.  Every time … it hurts.”

There’s mission drift and there’s a change in focus or a re-prioritization. Not all change is bad and sometimes communities need to accept that’s what they are now and strike a new vision.  We let some time pass to let the heat of the situation and feelings cool off a bit before we tried to figure out what the next steps were going to be.  The time apart allowed us to try to figure some things out.  Like if we needed to be a group, if so, what we wanted to be about, how we wanted to operate, and what we wanted the group’s image to be.

DSCN0003Here’s what we decided:  we would return to our roots.  Be an informal organization (not a chapter of any group and without “officers”).  We would go back to being relationship focused.  Meeting in each other’s homes and being friends that support each other.  Writing is a solitary enough pursuit and it’s good to have friends that understand that, spur each other along, and be there for one another.  We’re not a group to be used as a marketing tool or driven to grow our membership to be a promotional vehicle.  We’ll simply grow at the speed of relationships.

As for our name, we thought about going the way of the Garden State Horror Writers who rebranded themselves the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers to reflect that they were writing more than just horror.  We also consider ourselves a sister organization to COFFEE! (Central Ohio Fabulous Fiction, Everybody! Excellent!), but CIFFEE doesn’t have the same ring.  So even though we’re a collection of speculative fiction writers, ISFW doesn’t do it for us.  Besides, we’re attached to the name IHW.

So we’re back.

(And obviously the community demands that we reclaim our name, thus the tagging of a nearby mall)