ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the October 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai, who wanted the 'click' moment of seeing The Matrix. It also fills the "extra-sensory perception" square in my 9-11-14 card for the Halloween Bingo Fest.  This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.  It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics setting, and is a direct sequel to "Look Both Ways."

WARNING: This poem contains some intense topics, and it doesn't have a happy ending.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. There is prejudice, sexist and racist language, nausea and vomiting, a superpower misinterpreted as anything else, serious rupture of reality tunnel, extreme disorientation, and unfocused suicidal ideation.  Sadists who enjoy watching obnoxious characters writhe in torment may enjoy this.  Sensitive readers may wish to skip it.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was commissioned by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  It's a direct sequel to a scene in her story "Necessary Conversations" and some commentary below it, so you should read that first in order for this to make the most sense.  It also fills the "youth" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo  fest.  This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article promotes the idea of positive SF as a way of encouraging positive futures. Yes! This! I want this! And they have made an anthology of it too, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future. WANT.

Some further thoughts ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This crowdfunding project focused on clothes for people with Down syndrome, who often have different body proportions from average.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a post listing speculative novels that address disability

Over on [community profile] access_fandom there's howling that The Ship Who Sang  is a bad example, not a good one.  Here's a poem and a post.

Now, I'll admit that it isn't as good as some things we have now, like the Vorkosigan saga.  But it came out when nobody else was writing anything about heroic characters with disabilities, and the rare examples of disability were stock characters like Igor.  0_o  And then came Helva, and after her came other shellpeople who were ships and cities and all sorts of things.  To me, a shellperson's ship was basically adaptive equipment, like a wheelchair.  That could fly between stars.  I think that's awesome.  Hell, I'd consider that a trade up from the body I have, which is mobile but not what I'd call reliable.  The part of that image that spoke to me was about not being limited by the meat you're born with.  You could imagine something bigger and better.  You didn't have to be physically perfect to be an astronaut.  You could have a wreck of a body, and be the ship,  and go have adventures anyway.  So the society was kind of a mess in places, well, that's humanity for you.  You don't have to be perfect to have a future either.

And that wasn't the only time Anne McCaffrey wrote about a protagonist with physical or mental challenges.  She did that a lot.  Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but I count her as an icebreaker for a lot of what came after.  The Ship Who Sang  wasn't one of my favorites.  But if not for that, we wouldn't have The Ship Who Searched  and The City Who Fought,  and probably a lot of others tangentially inspired, that I have greatly enjoyed.

If you don't like what's being written, do something else.  You don't have to get it perfect the first time.  Try again, fail again, fail better.  Do something new.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
It matters what stories we tell and pictures we paint.  Here's an essay about narratives of diversity in F&SF.  

That's why I write diversity and, especially, pay attention to the mix of heroes and heras in Polychrome Heroics.  Danso is there to provide a positive, nurturing example of a young black man.  He's very powerful; mess with his family and he'll fuck you up.  But he'd rather not have to.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)

This poem was inspired by a conversation with DW user Stardreamer.  It also fills the "superpowers" square in my 6-10-14 card for the Fanbingo fest.  It has been sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] starcat_jewel.  This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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ysabetwordsmith: Paranormal detective Brenda in a wheelchair (PIE)
In context of the upcoming P.I.E. fishbowl, a comment raised the issue of vocabulary in terms of disabled vs. handicapped.

For my mobility-impaired or otherwise challenged friends in the United States (where Brenda lives), what are your thoughts on this matter?  Are "disabled/disability" and "handicapped/handicap" synonyms or not?  If not, what's the difference you perceive?  Is one more limiting or more pejorative?  Are there other terms you use?  What has shaped your perceptions of ability vocabulary?  What do you think Brenda would say?  Do you find her vocabulary in the previous poems jarring or not?
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Looking for something concrete you can do about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri?  Mary Engelbreit has created a picture and is selling prints, all proceeds going to Michael Brown Jr. memorial fund.  This is art as social awareness, a vital part of a culture's conversation with itself.  

Facebook took down the artist's original post, calling it "offensive."  You know what I find offensive?
* killing an unarmed man for Existing While Black
* leaving his corpse in the street for hours to terrorize the neighborhood
* using weapons banned for warfare against civilians
* assaulting and arresting journalists and protesters for exercising their civil rights
* censorship

Make news.  Make noise.  Make art, and sell it, and buy it.  Slip a caltrop under the jackboots of oppression.

I'm really glad to see other creators making cultural material inspired by this fiasco.  Mine was "Safety Rails," which is free for everyone to pass around in protest.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was touched by this review of Guardians of the Galaxy, about how an autistic viewer related to Drax the Destroyer. 

This is why I write what I write.  Everyone deserves a chance to see themselves reflected in entertainment.  Anyone can be a hero.  It's not even necessarily about having an exact match, but can be about having a given trait in common, especially if it's an uncommon one.  Diversity matters.  Representation matters.  And if you're writing diverse, quirky characters then you may wind up reaching an audience you never even thought up, just because you've covered the board really well.

I have An Army of One because one of my readers on the spectrum prompted for it, and other folks -- both neurovariant and neurotypical -- have asked for more.  I think that's awesome.  And the Lacuna has gone from starting with specifically neurovariant characters to embracing a wider variety of people who just don't fit well in normative society, so they're making their own, which is more inclusive.  I love that.
ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Here is the last of the recently sponsored Schrodinger's Heroes stories written by [personal profile] chanter_greenie.  "Keeping a Logbook" puts a human face on refugees and the people who help them flee in hope of a better life.  That's something we need more of in today's world.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a staunch essay about the need for diversity in speculative fiction

I hear ya, bro.  Write the future you want to bring forth.

Here's one of mine, The Blueshift Troupers.  I made that because I was sick to death of dystopic SF, and I want my future back.  So have some sensawonda with diversity sauce.  Yes, I was thinking of the original Star Trek when I wrote it, thank you Gene Roddenberry for imagining a future in which people of different backgrounds could get along.

Not All Men

Aug. 4th, 2014 02:27 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some men harass and abuse women. That's a lot of men. But it's not all men, and probably not even most men. Lots of men are decent human beings. Speaking as if people are necessarily bad because they have a penis is no better than speaking as if people are necessarily bad because they have a vagina. (Though of course, not all men have a penis and not all women have a vagina; that's just the standard version, so it's what people tend to fixate on.)  It's also a logical fallacy called overgeneralization.

So here's a comic about sexual harassment for guys, and what you can do to fight it.  Bystander intervention works across a wide range of bullying tactics, even self-bullying.  You do not have to put up with someone pissing in the public air like that.  Be the "not all men" that you want to see in this world.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was encouraged by this article about Land's End being receptive to customer feedback on gendered clothing

This gave me an idea for a different marketing scheme.  Organize clothes by theme: Science T-Shirts, Fairy Tale T-shirts, Play Clothes, Work Clothes, Nurturing Slogans, Adventurous Slogans, Heroic Figures, Everything Pink, Everything Blue, etc.  Then in each section, the dropdown menu would have options for masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral cuts.


Jul. 17th, 2014 03:20 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Useful to know there is a word for this:

zabernism -- misuse of military authority; bullying
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
Based on an audience poll, there will be a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics from Saturday, July 12-Sunday, July 20.

Currently there are 33 unsold poems in this series, priced at a base total of $2986.50 and a sale price of $1493.25.  Looking at this, my partner Doug came up with a brilliant new idea to handle the overload: If you spend $100 or more in this half-price sale, you get half off the SALE price,  for $.25 on the dollar.  (Yes, I can afford to do this, get this stuff off my desk.)  So if this is a favorite series of yours and you have a payday coming up, budget accordingly.  People who spend $100+ in a year on my poetry become k-fans and get nifty year-end perks, starting with a hardcopy collection of one series (which includes everything written for it so far, even the unpublished stuff).

Pockets not so deep?  That's okay.  There are also $15 poems that will be $7.50, $20 poems that will be $10, and some smallish epics that will come down to the vicinity of $20.  Working with a monofilament budget and can't donate?  You have other options for support.  Boost the signal for the sale when it opens, and maybe someone with more money will sponsor stuff you like. 

Underrepresented groups, impact of superpowers on society, creeptastic supervillain crimes, adorable romance, dexflan action adventures, you name it I got it. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was amused by this post about marriage equality in Kentucky, link courtesy of my partner Doug. What caught my attention was this bit:

The case against Gay Marriage was not made by the state's Attorney General, by the way. He refused to go in and defend the law so the Governor hired an outside law firm to argue that position. That was sure money well-spent.

Whatever your job is, you never know when it will give you an opportunity to showcase your morals on a public stage.  Sometimes, the best way to do your job is politely declining to do your job.  Justice can be refraining from perpetrating injustice.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] magistrate is hosting a call for prompts.  There is no theme, so anything goes, although there is also a bingo card in case you want a starting point.  Prompts lead to ficlets, often random snippets.  Donating $10 gets you 500+ words of coherent scene for a prompt of your choice.

Awesomely, the materials produced in this call will go into the author's Shared Worlds project, intended to produce an archive of materials that other folks can use for inspiration and further development.  Consequently I prompted for broad setting elements that would lend themselves well to creating worlds interesting to write about.  Go ask for something that you'd love to see put up for common use.  Society relies on a thriving public domain to inspire cultural materials.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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