What I’ve Been Up To

Over the past five or so months, I’ve been busy. What have I been up to?

I started this cool Memoir Writers Society because why the fuck not? I had over 500 members on a LinkedIn forum on memoir writing and decided to migrate it over into an actual forum where we could hold writing workshops eventually. It’s a massive work in progress, but I’m digging it. I’ve met some great writers there.

I started reading and editing a friend’s book. Jennifer is a writer I met through my last company. She lives in Portland and writes YA (Young Adult). In the time I’ve known her she’s finished her first novel manuscript and can I just say that it is so clean and beautiful, which is the opposite of my manuscripts. Mine are a mess, but then again so is my house. Having not ever been a YA person, it took some time to grow on me but once I got into it, I was hooked. I think Jennifer will find some great success with her writing career and I wish her all the best.

I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Creative Writing. Woohoo!

graduation

 

Eva Longoria was there that night, too, graduating with her Master of Arts in Chicano Studies.

Eva Longoria graduating from CSUN
Eva Longoria graduating from CSUN

I continued work on my fiction novel. I started work on it in October of last year and picked it back up again. The characters are intriguing and the storyline has me excited and brainstorming. Now that I’m out of school for now (or for good, I haven’t decided), I have my weekends free. Gloriously free–to write and write and write some more. I’ll be out of touch quite a bit here and there because of the writing. But LOVE ME STILL, PLEASE. Just kidding. No, really. Love me. *I have this ridiculous thing I do with my friend Rachel where we yell LOVE ME! YOU HATE ME! at each other. Don’t ask. It sounds dumb repeating it.

I found a great doctor and started working towards figuring out some health issues. This is actually quite a big job, believe it or not. I have PCOS and from time to time I’ll feel brave enough to write about how it feels and my weight (the two are related to some degree).

I bonded with a horse. Chelsea is my landlord’s horse and for awhile she was pretty skeptical of me but now that I know her sweet spot (carrots and sneaking her other treats), she neighs at me when I walk up and indicates that she needs me to give her pellets with her nose to her dish. Like my cats, only a massive horse. Animals are smart, yo.

chelsea

I survived a major wildfire and didn’t have to evacuate, though nearly.

randallphenning-0102_t607

I sent out query letters to literary agents and got my first official rejections. They were far more disheartening than I ever expected them to be. If anything makes you want to quit or think you’re a shitty writer or resent people who’ve made it, that’d be it. I’m feeling better now that some time has passed, though, and I’m learning not to take anything for granted. Nothing is a free ride or an easy ride, even if you are a talented person who has worked your ass off.

sylvia plath rejection
Sylvia Plath’s rejection letter from The New Yorker “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” (Writers don’t get whole letters with suggestions anymore.)

On that note, I got a short story accepted for publication. It won’t be out until August or September and I’ll share it then. I love it. It’s one of the best stories I’ve written and I am proud of it. I think you’ll love it.

I’m off to bed now because I’m exhausted from this list. Love you all and goodnight.

Protecting Women’s Rights in a Religious “Right” World

Threats to women’s reproductive rights have been making headlines for the past few years but women received a small victory yesterday when the Obama administration announced that most employers will have to provide contraceptives at no cost to their employees.


Threats to women’s reproductive rights have been making headlines for the past few years but women received a small victory yesterday when the Obama administration announced that most employers will have to provide contraceptives at no cost to their employees.

While this is a victory to women’s reproductive rights, there are still a few things women’s rights activists need to consider. First, there is still a loophole for religious nonprofits. According to ThinkProgress.org, “Only houses of worship and other religious nonprofits that primarily employ and serve people of the same faith will be exempt.” For women like me, who used to work for a religious nonprofit, this may not be terrible news since abstinence-only and purity teachings are widespread. However, married women who may not want to have children immediately, or at all, may still have trouble accessing contraceptives due to the financial cost. And due to the fact that many religious nonprofits and houses of worship still hold the belief that women are to be mothers first, and human beings second.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, are the Roman Catholic bishops who are behind the lobbying that’s threatening women’s access to abortions and contraceptives. These men are simply not going away, nor will they stop lobbying just because they were defeated by the Obama Administration on this small matter. Laura Bassett writes in The Huffington Post

But the erosion of women’s rights didn’t begin with the GOP takeover. President Barack Obama’s health care reform law contained some of the most restrictive abortion language seen in decades.

Lift the curtain, and behind the assault was the conference of bishops.

“It is a very effective lobby, unfortunately, and now they have an ally in the Republican majority because both groups find this a means by which to fight women’s health issues in general,” said Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “The bishops carry a lot of clout.”

“We consider the two biggest opponents on the other side the Catholic bishops and National Right to Life,” said Donna Crane, policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “They are extremely heavy-handed on this issue.”

And what do the Bishops have to say on the matter?

“By refusing to broaden the exemption, “in effect the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” complained Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops”

Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairwoman of the board of Franciscan Alliance Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals, said, “This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and 1st Amendment rights.”

When are my rights as  a women more important than the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? When religious leaders begin to flaunt money, power, and the threats of “a direct attack on religion and 1st Amendment rights” it seems that we may have a problem on our hands. I have news for the Catholic Bishops and those who choose not to dignify women’s minds, bodies and souls: your religious “rights” end when my reproductive rights are threatened.  Read the rest of the article here…

Find more articles I’ve written here: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/user/mycultlife