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EVERYONE PLUG YOUR EARS > Feminism!

18 Jul

He said:

that girl has a chip on her shoulder–

a goddamn brick on her shoulder.

She’s a with-holder, she roll

like a boulder,

a freight train,

a bed stain .

It’s like she got caught in the rain

or acid. We can see she’s rancid.

She’s unchecked.

She’s a list. She’s in a mother fucking tryst

with power. She’ll devour

your metaphysical, your reciprocal

heart beat. She’ll start beatin’

you at your own game, has been

for too long—you mad bro? You

gonna slap a hoe? Get a hold on.

Yeah get a grip. She’s not a bitch.

She’s a mother fucking

feminist.

PHEW: You mad, bro?

Well, you shouldn’t be. As a feminist woman I’m not trying to usurp your power. I’m not trying to say I’m better than you. I don’t want your pants. Keep em. I hate Levi’s. But, what I do want is equality. I want recognition if I work equally as hard for a job I am just as qualified for. I’m not asking you to slam doors in my face, rather than hold them open and trample my dignity. I’m asking you to hold open a door for yourself, for your dude friends, for the crazy cat aunt we’ve all got. And, while you’re busy doing that. I’ll hold the door for your brother, you dad, your mother. I’ll walk your grandma across the street. I see feminism as equal opportunity kindness. I see it as feet free of the ratty slippers called gender. I see it as asking questions. I see it as engendering more questions. I see it as exploration. I don’t see it as defamation.

I don’t want to de-masculinize you. So stop crying about it on the internet.

The other day, I was at a bar with my friend, Zorn, and our other friend’s mom. The stomping grounds were quiet, so we birthed bloody into the night a raging debate about gender. Only, it took us a while to realize we were on the same side. Zorn—a pretty unique dude, rat prince, runaway, the wiser the better—was trying to explain that mine and Bea’s (the mom) examples of “anti-feminist” behaviors were essentialist and conversely anti-masculine. Initially, I didn’t understand. I was all bent out of shape because I dig that boy and I thought he was trying to tell me that my experiences weren’t legitimate. Also: he’s a fighter, yeller, etc. We had to slow down and learn the rules of listening—all of us. Eventually, once I realized what Z-baby was trying to say, I broke it down like this:

Bea and I both have worked jobs in which we were approached as men typically approach attractive women. IE: Heya baybay…lookin good in that uniform. etc. Yet, when we began to out perform the dudes/demonstrate our personalities—both of us being quite silly, fun-loving, yet take charge ladies—they denigrated us. They maybe called us bitches. And, they made us feel as though unless we are capable of acting like beautiful objects rather than real, hard-working people, then we weren’t fit to be women.

Can you see how Zorn would have interpreted that? He’s right in saying that our sample of men was small, that we might have made it sound as though all men are bad/denigrate women. But, here’s how I rationalize mine and Bea’s experience:

We live in a house. And, in the house, there are some things ok for women to do, and some things ok for men to do. Because we’ve been living in the house so long, it’s a little engrained in us to just naturally do these things. That’s called gender. While some people are perfectly okay performing the tasks assigned to them, others don’t understand the house. Others don’t see the reason for the house. There’s such a beautiful sky out tonight. When women (and men) cross the gender line, no one knows how to react to them. Women doing what was traditionally men’s work have to be framed by men in the only way they have ever learned to interact with women. Thus they are often sexualized. But if they can’t dig that, men don’t know what to do—especially if the woman does the job better. In this way, women (and men crossing lines) get compartmentalized and labeled bitches (or fags.)

So, how do we change that?

The fact of the matter is, a lot of people don’t care. Even women. It’s easier to make something from a box. To use a stencil. It’s less time consuming.

But, for those with qualms, those made uneasy in the shadowy recesses of the house, I suggest certainty. I mean, if you’re off put by gender expectations, then you have to seriously commit to living your life outside the box. Make yourself an example. I’m not saying you can’t be a mama. I’m not saying you can’t be the toughest, hairiest, Paul Bunyonesque dude ever. It’s more about support. Don’t laugh at jokes about women, or sexy queers, or racism. Be prepared to address supervisors who are not acting appropriately. Be prepared to start a million small fires.

That’s how you burn a house to the ground.

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Oh My. I’m Doing This Again…with trepidation

2 Dec

You are so mad at us. You are so mad you want to eat knives and show us your bleeding belly and say, this..this is what you made me do, you damned Chickz. You are so sad you want to chew the hair off our head and swallow it so we will always be with you. forever. You are so happy right now you want to write an epic poem and then make 25 copies, one for each of your best friends.

You are happy now because we are coming back.

Or maybe, I’m projecting. Maybe, I am happy.

Yes. That’s it, dear readers. I am so happy to be here talking, even for a few moments. Even for a breath.

Don’t worry:

“Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’ ” -Audrey Hepburn

26 Jul

So.

Here I am at work, trying to figure out my schedule for school this fall. It is pretty crazy: being a full time student, working two jobs, and balancing interpersonal relationships. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be this good at multi-tasking again. Really, truly, more than likely…

this is my golden age of getting shit done.

I’m really enjoying it though. I’ve learned how to take time for myself amidst all the things that need/want my attention. I’ve learned how to balance, something very near to my heart [me being a libra and all].

I wonder if anyone else feels like they can only get things done now. Right now. Exactly here it must be finished and perfect. Ya know?

I mean, I know plenty of pessimistic, procrastinators. I used to be one. But, at this point in my life I just want to excel. I want everyone to be happy with me and what I am doing for them. Sure, that’s a burden and it’s not necessarily even my responsibility. And how can I expect to continue doing things like this [writing, this blog, restoring a house, working, going to school]? Then I am reminded of friends like Christopher Newgent and our own Ashley Ford who continue to do all the things they want and most of the things people want of them.

They are two that truly know the secret to balance. [Perhaps…and even if they don’t, they are certainly putting on a convincing show.]

I suppose our quest now should be to devise a plan for balance, or at the very least, a sort of sketch that each person can take and shape to fit them.

The first and foremost rule: YOU’RE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU.

The second most important thing: Stay active. While it’s ok to take time for yourself and even something that I consider incredibly important, you need to participate in life. INVESTIGATE. Note the word “invest” tucked in gently. By considering details, you are investing in life. You are striving to avoid complacency.

Finally: Organize. Everyone needs a method of evaluating and ranking tasks. Everyone needs objectives/goals. And how you go about deciding what is worth your time is entirely up to you. But, it needs to be done if you are truly going to stay invested in your life and your plans.

What does everyone else do to stay fulfilled and busy and a part of something?

Is it more or less important to you?

Make this a discussion, I’m interested in what y’all have to say.

Blog Commenting as explained by Mean Girls.

12 Jul

The reality is always this: we are pretentious.

It is that inherent thing we are always talking about, the “I just know I am cut from different cloth—maybe paisley or something. But anyhow, my star is like the brightest and I know I’m going to hand the world something fabulous.”

image

I mean, would we be writing, if we didn’t think we had something worthwhile to say? The ambiguity of being a writer doesn’t last. You are no more amorphous than a cherry pie.  And, I suppose the point I am trying to get at is Have you ever noticed how writers approach commenting on blogs?

I was on a writing blog the other day scrolling through some articles and comments, etc. And I was reminded of something I learned in French class.

In France, if you are going to correct someone you begin by apologizing. You use the full and formal title of the person addressed and then you say, “Excuse me, I’m so very sorry but you are incorrect. Civilly and humbly yours, X.”

When a writer comments on a blog with some sort of dispute, they tend to butter up the other writer first. Then, they commence correction. Next, they thank the first writer for being so articulate as to allow them to spot all the holes in their argument, only they do this in a manner that makes those outside the know feel as if the exchange could be nothing shy of civil.

[Here is an example I stole from an unspecified forum]

LANCELOT: “when some asshole publisher and asshole writer decides to take this only thing I concede to holding complete control over and decides I’m wrong and changes it without my say-so, I’m going to fucking flip out.”

WILLHELM: “So, if an editor uses his will and desires to alter my work, especially in a such a seemingly rare and odd way, I can’t imagine myself getting upset over such an issue. Again, I just mean this as what your thoughtful response brought up in my head.”

GENNIVIVE: “I have to default to Willhelm on this. It seems strange to me that one would think of writing as something they can have complete control over. I mean, I suppose you do have complete control over the words you put on the page, but you have no control whatsoever about how a reader is going to receive those words.”

LANCELOT: “Well that’s what I mean, Gennivive. The only thing I have complete control over in this entire fucking miserable world are “the words put on the page.” That control does not extend to a reader’s interpretation. I’m fine with that. I advocate that.

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Willhelm!”

Do you understand what I mean, reader?

Does this help:

I suppose I’m just curious if anyone else has noticed. Is there a specific etiquette one should follow as a blog commenter?

THIS has some suggestions for commenting. What do y’all think?

moving, renovation: relevant (perhaps always)

14 Jun

so, here’s the low down.

Things are happening right now, important things, hard things, big things, things that tire us like the wailing of sirens in the morning. Moving is a theme of our lives right now and that’s making blogging a difficult task for us. I am speaking for all the girls here, but I think they’d agree if I said, we’ve sorta hung a sign on this virtual door saying, “Be back shortly” in loopy red writing.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re here, physically. Ask us things, take us out to coffee, tell us you love us so much. But, seeing as the website is currently under construction, we’ve kinda begun to get our own personal lives in order before getting back into the swing of this here thing. [I’ve mentioned this but we’ve got this cool web designer guy going to town on the site right now. He’s like magic or a man in an orange protective helmet].

Here is a short list of what’s been going on with the Chickz:

*Abby Hines became Abby Grindle and the other five of us dressed in our wedding finery and went out to support the blushing bride.

*Lindsey has found her various game systems: Nintendo, GameCube, Sega, etc and is currently attempting to rule the world of gaming.

*Lindsey and Lora moved into the house, they are sharing the apartment below Ashley and myself (along with Mr. McNelly). Layne has yet to move but will be around August. (She’s just ‘cross town from us other gals). And, Abs is around the block with her hubby.

our house.

*I have been diligently working and searching for more work. I just secured a second job at Tradehome Shoes in the mall (Sean Lovelace, come see me and I’ll sell you some nice hiking boots and running shoes)!

*Ashley Ford has been working on decorating her new bedroom. It looks stunning thus far. She also works two big-girl jobs!

*Lastly, Lindsey, Lora and myself are trying hard to acquaint the three cats in our lives: Sampson, Pol Pot, and Ghenghiss Khat. So, needless to say, a lot of hissing and cat drama.

Dear readers, the darling few of you who have kept with us during this time of slow reading, we sincerely promise to bring you a spankin’ new website with new and stellar material soon.

We love you guys.

It’s Tuesday?! CALLING ALL ARTEEESTz

31 May

Man.

I guess I forgot today was Tuesday.

Anyways, I do have things to tell you, general public, writers, readers, etc!

So, I had this idea…for those of you who remember, Layne and I recently did a reading for the Slash Pine Poetry Festival in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I know I’ve written about that before, but I have to mention again that it was a wonderful experience. And, I would really love for my other Chickz to be involved in something similar and to perhaps sponsor that event.

I have noticed that readings can go either way. Usually, they’re good. But, that could very well be my own discriminating tastes matched with a discriminating pocket book. Sometimes, readings are bad. And, I have been to a few bad readings.

yeah...sometimes that's how it feels

I suppose there are several reasons that  live readings turn out badly, but I find this list takes the cake predominately:

A) the readers are relatively in experienced

B) the crowd is boring

C) the crowd is bored [either bored in that artsy, bru-ha-ha way, or because the readers have no clue what they ‘re doing.]

or finally, D) there isn’t enough happening!

How do we change these problems?! Well, some of them, we can’t change. New readers must be given the opportunity to be involved or else readings will die like the dinosaurs.

But, as far as the other issues go, I think I’ve come up with a few cures we could implement.

First of all, I’d like to do a reading, more an event actually. I guess that’s the main point I’m trying to make. I’d like it to be large, with writers from throughout the midwest, with varying themes and genres. I’d like to mix up the crowd a bit, including both college students and the older set.

let's get the porch sittin' hicks out on the town!

My hatchling ideas are as follows:doing a dinner with the readers, where attendees could pay a fee to sit at a table with a writer of their choice [this is how we include the older, more financially inclined set]. Also, I was thinking of having a short concert after the reading with two or three bands performing, so as to bring together the art community in the midwest. I want an amalgamation of artists. I’ve also had the idea of doing a small art display in the lobby of the venue.

[WHAT SAY Y’ALL?]

An event,  partially sponsored by Chicklitz via our own private fundraising. Thanks to a gracious source [hey dad!], I might have located a ritzy venue with catering, a theatre, etc–all in the area. I have a few ideas as to readers I’d like to invite, but mostly I want suggestions! This will be the first mention of anything to the rest of the Chicklitz, so I look forward to hearing from them as well as the rest of our readership and beyond.

Would you appreciate this type of an event?

Would you like to be involved if you are a current writer/artist in the midwest?

We can't all be this aloof. So, let's get together, yeah yeah yeah!

Today I saw a dead cat in the road and I keep crying…

17 May

Today in the car, Lindsey said I could be an idiot sometimes, and I said, So can you, babe.

And, god. I know we were both right. But, today, I have proven the greater idiot. And, right now, I’m wondering how I can keep writing this when all I really want to do is hug my cat and see a therapist. We’re adults now. I mean it. By we, I guess I mean me and I’m just trying to clutch anyone or anything in this time where I am free falling or some other cliche.

So, here I am.

Wondering how I’ll pay rent next month when the job oppurtunity I was pretty sure was “in the bag” seems to have fizzled into something I can no longer touch. Wondering if it’s ok to let my girlfriend buy the groceries this time. Wondering if I’ll ever feel less heavy than I do right now. Wondering why I just idiotically singed my bangs on the stove burner.

Today, I went to work after saying goodbye to my best friend. We had coffee, something I probably shouldn’t spent money on but hey, I haven’t had Starbucks in like two weeks. My friend, Natalie, and I discussed how we need to talk more. We promised to keep each other accountable and use the US Postal service better.

After work, I saw the cat I rescued a few weeks ago dart into traffic. I had kicked him out after a particularly stressful morning when the shower upstairs began leaking through the downstairs ceiling. He was mewling frantically around my ankles. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran down the stairs, threw open the door and said, it’s me or the wild, kid. Take your pick. And he chose the wild. I thought I’d never see him again.

Lindsey and I freaked when we saw him in the road. We pulled over, ran after him. I screamed his name, purred, clicked, and seriously doubted myself as a human being. Also, I was still feeling less than good about my skills as a cat mom. Just when I’d about given up looking for him, Lindsey came running, said there was a dead cat body in the road, black like mine.

I haven’t seen a dead pet since my dog daisy was hit by a car.

The eyes of that cat popped out onto the sidewalk, an afro of red circling his head. I almost puked into my hand. I was sobbing, shaking my head, sure it wasn’t him. Crying out his name. And then, we found him: under a truck, soaking wet and scared.

So, now I am a cat mom again. 

but I have yet to buy this sweater

From here, does it get better? Right? That’s the question I should be asking. But, really, all I want to know is, does the cat still love me? And, will I ever get that dead cat body out of my head?

Sometimes the scariest things are the ones that seem unimportant. Sure, I need a job, I need to pay rent, I need groceries. I don’t really need the added expense of a cat. But, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. Even if I’ve been an idiot today. Even if this is idiotic. I saved something. And, that’s important to me.

 

 

Writing and the Internet: A Love Affair

10 May

Shit got real in 1995. That’s when it all started. In the then, very brief history of the internet, online literary magazines were an idea yet to be conceived. Writers were still sending to print journals, and don’t forget the SASE—self addressed, stamped envelope (and who ever heard of stamps!?). Then, from the foam of some cybernetic sea, CrossConnect was born! The first online literary magazine, the first rebel, the first mover/shaker.

Writing and the internet used to be this:

Now they’re more like this:

But, DON’T WORRY. They aren’t headed for this:

For a writer today, online lit journals are the shiz. They got all their ducks in a row. As a young writer, it is important to get out there, peruse the great-unknown. And, internet mags are the vehicle for that. However, that doesn’t make the process of submitting any less harrowing. Not everyone is George Saunders—by that I mean: don’t think the first time you get published, it will be in the New Yorker. Start small. Chances are, your first submission will be met with a rejection.

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WE’RE SO SORRY. BUT IT’S FINALS WEEK!

3 May

This week we will be busy:

swooping our number 2 pencils across sheets of paper destined to fracture our nerves. We will be moving in ond out of houses (dorms for me). We will be dancing across campus, unwashed, in pajamas. We will be eating canned food. We will be pulling our hair out in distress …because we love you so much, internet peeps. And, we’re sorry we can’t be here as regularly this week.

But I have two bits of good news. 1) we have a web designer. A Mr. Darik Hall who seems delightful!

And 2) I have a cat. His name is Sampson.

This is him (and Lindsey).

Retraction: Verbal Sorcery or Concrete Task?

26 Apr

this is me, every week, holding Unbearable Lightness

 “How can one state categorically that a thought he once had is no longer valid? In modern times an idea can be refuted, yes, but not retracted. And since to retract an idea is impossible–

merely verbal, formal sorcery, I see no reason why you shouldn’t do as they wish. In a society run by terror, no statements whatsoever can be taken seriously. They are all forced, and it is the duty of every honest man to ignore them…”

{Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being}

About a week ago, I convinced myself that I could finally afford to buy The Unbearable Lightness of Being. With a little extra, unexpected money in my pocket, I went to the book store and picked up the same copy I had been coming in once a week to thumb through. The copy that was beginning to show signs of wear due to my greedy fingers. I have never been so excited for a book. I’ve never thought so long about whether or not I should purchase a book. And, maybe that’s a sign that I really love this book, or maybe, it’s a symbol for how I am utterly daunted by some of the things I’ve read in this book.

Literally, some of the chapters make me wonder what I’m doing wrong. They make me think about being a better person, a person who hungers for philosophy and eloquent conversation. But most importantly, I am reminded of some fundamental truths that I had long ago decided for myself and perhaps haven’t been living up to.

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