I’ve been relatively quiet about this in the blogosphere—the whole Sarah Palin business—because I like to process things a bit before I write about them. Of course in the real world (of the non-digital variety), I’ve been ranting about it almost nonstop. I think my mother is screening her phone calls now, and my husband has taken to hiding in the garage. To put it bluntly: I’m furious.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint what it is that makes me so angry about Sarah Palin. Some of the reasons are easy: I don’t agree with her beliefs about women’s reproductive rights (I’m fiercely protective of a woman’s right to choose), gun control, education, the environment, or the economy. It terrifies me that she even ASKED a librarian about removing certain books from the shelves (And that Palin tried to have her fired when she refused to consider it). It disturbs me deeply when women (who may be at their most vulnerable) are charged money for evidence collection and rape kits. She also appears seriously uninformed about a number political matters, both foreign and domestic.
And no, I didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was, either. But I’m not running for Vice President.
I am the kind of woman the McCain campaign is trying to court using Sarah Palin. I’m a middle-class, nearly-middle-aged, white, college-educated mother. I have a developmentally disabled child. I vote. But I won’t be voting for the McCain / Palin ticket. No way.
I see a good number of Republicans stomping their feet and accusing women who don’t support Palin of some kind of deep-seated misogyny. They just don’t get it. Misogyny is what women are fighting when we protest Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate. The selection of Sarah Palin is--in and of itself--a misogynist act on the part of the Republican party, and that makes me angry.
I’m angry when I see a woman used as a prop to further a man’s political career.
I’m angry when politicians try to dress their patriarchal ideology in a skirt and call it feminism. I think many other women feel the same.
Yes, feminism is—in part—about women being able to smash through the glass ceiling and establish careers in all the same fields as men. Sure, it’s about women having careers and families and not being criticized for choosing both. But it’s also about the fundamental rights that Sarah Palin does not support. As feminists, we want safe streets, a healthy planet, the right to choose what happens to our bodies. We want equal pay for equal work. We want our daughters to be educated about sex (as opposed to abstinence only education). We want them to have access to effective birth control, to recognize that they have the right to make choices, about their bodies and their futures.
I’m not angry because Sarah Palin is a woman, or because she’s the mother of five children and running for the second-highest office in the United States. I don't think I'm in any way obligated to support her candidacy just because she's a woman.
The problem isn’t that women have failed to support Sarah Palin.
The problem is that Sarah Palin has failed to support women.
There's something very satisfying about art for the sake of art, rather than $$$. I know, I know--we'd all like to be able to make a living doing what we love, but that's not always possible. There's something comforting about the fact that the impulse to create still matters, regardless of whether it results in some kind of tangible "benefit." It reminds us that we're still human. I could say more, but Amy King says it better. (Scroll down to the post for September 17, titled "Poetry is to Money as Ice Cream is to Mud.") Good stuff. Don't forget to check out the fairly extensive list of small press publishers with open reading periods, if you so happen to be shopping around a poetry manuscript...
I have no idea why I can't post directly to the essay, rather than the blog at large. I must be loopy this morning.
Speaking of loopy, I think I wasted an entire hour on Facebook this morning. How did that happen?
In other news: BITCH reached their fundraising goals, and they're still alive and kicking. This makes me happy.
Other happy bits:
-Recent acceptances from Eclectica and Goblin Fruit.
-I made the most kickass mashed potatoes with roasted garlic yesterday. Ever cook something you liked so much you're still thinking about it the next day?
-Also: I have decided that applesauce counts as a vegetable. Why not?
-October is looking busy, but in a good way :)
-I am still reading submissions for the blossombones fall special feature, and I'll be damned if I can even find a "bad" sub in the bunch. It's exciting to see so much terrific stuff...although it makes the editing process a challenge!
So, I've been thinking quite a bit about what is means to be a writer, a poet (being outrageously sick gives one time to ponder random shit). Lots of writers seem to blog about whether or not they can claim the "title" (i.e. "writer" or "poet"), and I can't help but wonder why we're all so angsty about the whole thing. I don't know why I feel compelled to blog about this, but it's on my mind tonight.
I figure writing is the act of putting words on paper. If you do that regularly, if you're really passionate about it, then I figure you're a writer. I don't think you need a special degree or a certain number of acceptances in fancy journals--although both of those things are great accomplishments. Often, when writers send submissions to blossombones, they are apologetic about a lack of publication credits or the absence of writing degrees. I want to say: Make no apologies! You put words to paper, send out your work. That's as legitimate as anything else, really. I don't expect you to have a Ph.d. God knows, I don't have one! (Maybe someday, but honestly I rather doubt I'd be able to afford it. I'm not even sure if it's something I really want to do anymore. I love writing, reading, and research--all the good stuff--but I'm no good at the "game" [politics, forming alliances, jumping through nonsensical hoops].)
I also think there are so many ways to participate in writing communities. Writing, workshopping, collaborating, editing, publishing book reviews...It's important to read and respond to other writers, and to promote work other than your own, too. I'm thinking that I would really like to incorporate some book (or chapbook) reviews in upcoming issues...or perhaps as part of the blossombones blog. I'm trying to find ways to encourage writers to submit reviews, but so far, we don't get much of that kind of thing. Maybe I should put out a special call for subs (probably next spring) of reviews?
At any rate, now that I'm starting to feel human again, I'm going to make re-reading and responding the digital chapbook subs a priority, then move on the rest of the winter 09 business. (Even though I'm already brainstorming ideas for other themed issues and such...)
I'm also working on a new manuscript, which I'm totally obsessing over. I'm not sure yet whether it's going to be a chapbook, or perhaps something longer. Right now, I just want to enjoy the writing process, without worrying about where it's going. I haven't sent much out in the last few months, but I'm starting to send out work again. That's not nearly as much fun as writing, though. A few of my new poems were accepted by Eclectica this week, which I'm pretty darned happy about :)
Oh! And I think it's finally going to stop raining in the Midwest. Eventually.
I haven't been blogging much because I'm totally buried right now.
I'm trying to get a website together for a local racing club, trying to read subs for both the fall special and winter issues of blossombones, trying to edit and send out my own stuff...Ack. (Not to mention all the everyday family business!)
At any rate, if we're a little delayed in responding to winter subs this time around, it's because I'm reading two sets of submissions at once! Not my greatest of ideas...Next time, if we do a special issue, we'll shut down regular subs for a few months, I think...
I'm also having print fantasies. Oh, how I would love to do some print stuff too! ...Maybe an anthology or a chapbook series? Alas, this will have to simmer for a while.
It's all going to get done. It always does, right?
The weather is quite autumnal here in the midwest. Rainy and chilly today. Makes me want to cook stuff. I'm thinking about mashed potatoes. Homemade bread. Lasagna. I am tired of salads and summer heat.
Also: My partner in crime at blossombones, Melissa Culbertson, has a new chapbook available. Pick up your copy of The Fire-Wifehere!
Susan Slaviero lives on the cusp of a hellmouth, where she vanquishes evil with poetry and cupcakes. She hopes to someday land a job as either a dog whisperer or a telephone psychic. In the meantime, she writes. She has a fondness for esoterica.