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Category Archives: angry

“‘You want to grow up to be a lady, don’t you?’ I said not particularly.”

It’s Banned Books Week! The THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY of Banned Books Week! We here at Lucy’s Football can not let this pass without mentioning this oh-so-important week. By we, I of course mean me. And I suppose Dumbcat. He’s kind of hitched his wagon to my star. I’ll let him. He’s my fella. But Dumbcat doesn’t care so much about Banned Books Week, to be honest. Mostly books are things that Dumbcat likes to sleep on, or things that I read that take time away from me being able to pet him. (If a book is good, I get all wrapped up in it and forget the pettings. Much to his dismay.)

Yes, books are still getting banned left and right (and, well, I guess up and down, and sideways, or whatever.) Yes, we live in 2012. In good news, it’s easier for people to get their hands on banned books now than it used to be. There’s this thing called the interwebs? And many places you can purchase ALL the books on said interwebs? So it’s not like back in the day when if a book was banned and you were shit out of luck, so sorry, Charlie. But that’s kind of beside the point. Books are still getting banned, and for the same old stupid reasons.

Let’s talk about the top ten banned books of 2011 (the top ten books of 2012 aren’t compiled yet – or, if they are, I can only find them in one place, and that website ANNOYED me, and had a VIDEO I COULD NOT TURN OFF, so we’re talking about the books of 2011.) This is fine, last year we talked about the top books of 2010 so it’s like a thing, I guess.

Out of the top ten banned books of the year, yours truly has read two. That is because a lot of these look…well, unlike something I would enjoy. Sorry. I don’t think they should be BANNED, no no no, I just think – hey, kids, there are better books out there for you, is my thought about this situation.

According to the ALA, the top ten banned books of 2011 were:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle (Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa (Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence)
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler (Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group)
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint)
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit)
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones (Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit)
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar (Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit)
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Reasons: offensive language; racism)

Those ttyl books look silly to me. They’re the “Internet Girls” series and apparently they’re all written as a series of IMs and texts and such but they’re also DIRTY. But, you know what? If I was 16, I would probably want to be reading these. I liked titillating stuff back then. And if I was 16 now, I’d be all into the internettin’ so they’d probably speak to me, you know?

Hey, book banners. I’m going to give you a tip. If you BAN A BOOK? It makes people WANT IT MORE. It’s like reverse psychology. Tell someone they can’t have something and it makes them WANT that thing. It works with people – isn’t the forbidden fruit always the sweetest? Tell me you haven’t ever had a crush on someone who’s taken and I’ll call you a flat-out liar – and it works with things like consumer goods (people ALWAYS want things that are limited-run and limited-release) and it works with books. Tell kids they’re not supposed to be reading this and tell them why – IT IS TOO SCANDALOUS! – and they’re going to be on this like white on rice. Like…like teens on the interweb. Like bad decisions on the Romney/Ryan campaign.

This is what you turn people into when you ban books. Veruca Salt. Is this what you want? A whole generation of Veruca Salts? I can’t possibly imagine it is.

The Color of Earth looks interesting. It’s about life in rural Korea. And apparently there’s sex. And GIRLS learning about their BODIES ZOMG. I’d read this book. I’d read it when I was a teen and I’d read it now. But HEAVENS FORFEND we let GIRLS KNOW ABOUT HOW THEIR BODIES WORK! That is SEKRIT INFORMASHUNS.

The Hunger Games trilogy! I’ve READ this one! And I’d be totally comfortable with my teen reading it. Or my intelligent pre-teen (as long as I could have a discussion with him or her afterward – but let’s be clear, were I a parent, we’d be discussing most of their reads together. I think one of the best parts of a read is the post-read discussion, and I’d want any child of mine to be able to discuss anything that came up with me. I have a billion reasons NOT to become a mom; missing out on seeing a kid of mine’s face after reading Fahrenheit 451 or Lord of the Flies for the first time, that kind of kills my soul a little. I’m not going to lie.) I think it opens up some good discussions about government and entertainment and reality television and friendship and cruelty. All things that would be good discussions to have with a kid, no? (Also, there was Satanism in The Hunger Games? What’d I miss?)

My Mom’s Having a Baby. I don’t even…seriously? THIS IS A GUIDE SO KIDS UNDERSTAND CHILDBIRTH. Why are we so scared about kids understanding how human bodies work? They’re already having babies. Maybe if they UNDERSTOOD better how bodies worked, they wouldn’t be HAVING so many babies? The banning of this makes me embarrassed for the human race.

“It makes the man and woman want to get even closer to each other.” OK, yeah, let’s ban this, it made me giggle. (SIDE NOTE DON’T REALLY BAN THIS. I’m just a 5-year-old child with the inappropriate giggling, is all.)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is supposed to be fantastic. I haven’t read it but intelligent people I know say it’s brilliant. I take their word for it. I assume this “racism” of which they speak is that it shows how poorly Native Americans are treated. OH NO NO NO we don’t want people seeing THAT! A lot of books, just a tip, are banned because they are TRUE. People are scared by true things. We don’t want our children knowing the truth! It is TOO TOO SCARY! (Psst, it’s not that scary. I grew up reading pretty much whatever the hell I wanted, including SCARY BANNED BOOKS, and I’m fine. SHUT UP I TOTALLY AM.)

I researched the Alice series and from what I can tell, there are a billion books about a girl named Alice and her life as she grows up. UGH. Let girls have something to READ that is about REAL GIRLS. We were all sneaking Judy Blume books when I was a kid with their shocking masturbation scenes and you know what? WE DIDN’T END UP BROKEN, WORLD.

Brave New World is a sci-fi novel from the 30s. We’re still banning this? HOW SHOCKING CAN THIS EVEN BE? It’s like you people aren’t even trying hard enough. A., how many kids are still reading this, and B., I’m sure that whatever Huxley wrote almost 100 years ago isn’t as bad as you think it is. I think Gramma Bookbanner told you this was naughty and you just assumed it was. Have you even read this? Seriously?

What My Mother Doesn’t Know sounds like something that would make me commit hara-kiri but that teen girls would like. It’s a teen girl and there is dating and all the sex and such. DON’T LET OUR KIDS READ ABOUT THE SEX! (Side note: my wonderful friend R. said she heard someone on TV say “the sex” the other day and she thought, “AMY SAYS THAT!” and I couldn’t be more pleased. I HAVE A LEGACY!)

I’m sure the Gossip Girl books are terrible. The television show isn’t great. I keep watching it, though. I LIKE THE CLOTHES SHUT UP. And Chuck. I like Chuck. But teen girls like these things. Has anyone but me noticed that we’re banning all the books for teen girls, but no books for teen boys? What does THAT mean, I wonder?

Sigh. YES I know he’s young enough to be my kid. I like broody, leave me be.

And, of course, I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t included: To Kill a Mockingbird. Because we wouldn’t want our children learning about right and wrong and racism and the best male role model in the history of the world, Mr. Atticus Finch. Can any of you who’ve read the book even say that name without a little thrill? “Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.” I have tears just WRITING that line. Or how about “Thank you for my children, Arthur.” TEARS. One of the best books of my life; a book that taught me important things about life; a book that taught me important things about writing. Yes. Yes, please. Let’s ban that. Let’s ban the shit out of that. Wouldn’t want our kids reading THAT.

And side note, seriously, I kind of want to marry Atticus Finch. I think maybe I haven’t found my Atticus Finch yet. I’m pretty sure he’s out there, though. I know a lot of people grew up wanting to marry rockstars or movie stars or whatever, but I wanted (and still want) to marry Atticus Finch. That’s not asking too much, right? So, if there’s an Atticus Finch out there (who doesn’t necessarily have to be a lawyer, of course – it’s not the lawyer I want, it’s the calm, and the deep, enduring sense of knowing what’s right, and the conviction to follow through with it, even when it’s the hardest possible road you can take; it’s a man who will say “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience,” and mean it, you know?) you give me a call.

Happy Banned Books Week, my little licorice nibs. Read something scandalous, will you? If for no other reason than IT MAKES THE SMALL-MINDED ASSHOLES FURIOUS.

(The title is from my beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. If you haven’t read it in a while, check out the Goodreads quote page. I’ve been re-reading the quotes for twenty minutes and BAWLING. Yeah. Ban this book. Because something this powerful – you wouldn’t want that in the hands of our children, now would you?)

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The infinity of the universe and human stupidity

Just a warning – this is going to be a trigger warning for some of you, and I’m sensitive to such things, so be careful and cautious today, my little sweet potatoes. Also, I’m pissed as hell and that means I’m cussy, so even if you’re not triggered, but you hate all the cussing, you might want to go look at the pretty pictures over at I Can Has Cheezburger or something today because I AM GOING TO BE RANTY. Plus this ended up a little longer than planned. As mentioned, ranty. OK. Warning given. Still with me? Great, grand, lovely, hi hi hi.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. — Albert Einstein

Ah, Missouri. A grand state. The Show Me State! A state that yours-truly has actually visited. I rode a teeny-tiny elevator up high high high to the very tippy-top of the St. Louis Arch and looked out over the city and it was quite a sight. Very pretty. The site of the Missouri compromise! Home of the Ozarks! Home state of President Harry S. Truman!

What the holy fuck, Missouri, are you thinking at this exact moment in time? What are you thinking right now? No, I’m serious. I’m quite serious. I’d really like to know what was going through your head when you selected, from all of the people who I’m sure were interested in the position, Representative Todd Akin to run for U.S. Senate. Or – wait, I mean, I didn’t hear about this on the news, but did every other Republican candidate of the correct age pass away in a some sort of ill-timed industrial fire? I mean, that could have happened and gotten hushed-up by the government. My dad is always saying “THAT’S WHAT THEY DO” about things like this. So maybe Akin was the only one available and you HAD to put someone up, just HAD to.

Hiya, folks! Todd Akin, here! I know a lot of things! About a LOT of things!

I can’t think of any other explanation, honestly. I’ve been wracking my brain.

I know I have a lot of far-away readers. Maybe you aren’t aware of the latest bullshittery that’s gone on in the War on Women currently raging here in the good old US of Merka. (And Andreas, please let me apologize in advance. I know this is going to INFURIATE you. Things like this do. I wouldn’t expect otherwise, from my most-excellent Science Fellow. Please don’t get infuriated. Well, or, do, because it’s infuriating, but don’t let it get you all high-bloodpressurey. I like you too much and worry about your health.)

So, just to get you all up to speed:

Todd Akin is a member of the House of Representatives from Missouri who is running for Senate. I’m not really sure why you’d want to switch over. I’m kind of not good at such things. Someone better at government want to help me out with this? I just did a Schoolhouse Rock research session and from what I can tell, they’re just two branches of Congress, right? I guess the difference might be that there are only two senators from each state, so you’re one of two, while there are a random number of representatives from each state so you don’t get as much attention, like you’re a special snowflake if you’re a senator and just one of a gang of fellas if you’re a representative? I’m not really sure. I would ask my father but yelling happens whenever we talk about politics.

I didn’t get the channel with Schoolhouse Rock as a kid so I missed out on important lessons set to rockin’ tunes.

But that’s neither here nor there, at least not where this story is involved. Todd Akin is a Republican and a proud Tea Partier running against the incumbent Democrat for her Senate seat in the November election in Missouri. As such, he’s giving interviews. That’s what you do, when you’re running for a political seat. You give interviews. You can hardly hide in your closet, right? No one would vote for you if you didn’t put yourself out there. I take no objection to that. It’s what you do.

On a local show, our friend Todd was asked about his very hard-line stance on abortion. I think you can guess where the Toddster stands, right? He’s pro-life, of course. But he’s not JUST pro-life. He’s ALL pro-life. No matter the circumstances, no matter the case. The mother’s life is at risk? Well, that’s the risk she ran, getting pregnant. It’s incest? Well, damn, she shouldn’t have been so seductive to her daddy, he works so hard to put food on her table. Why make the baby pay for those things? The mother was raped? Well, first, was she? Was she really? Are you sure? Because if she was really raped, she wouldn’t be pregnant. Science says so.

“If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?” asked KTVI host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. “Should it be legal or not?”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said, referring to conception following a rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

The…I…well. I don’t even know what I can say about this. Oh, wait. Yes. Yes, I do.

  • “from what I understand from doctors.” Well, the minute this came out, THE MINUTE, “doctors” were all – EVERY ONE OF THEM – “um…yeah…no. He didn’t get this shit from me, yo. THIS IS NONSENSE.” This guy made this up. “From what I understand from doctors?” I could say this about ANYTHING. “From what I understand from doctors, I have a small green frog living just above my kidneys.” “From what I understand from doctors, it’s perfectly normal to eat a bag of Dove peanut butter chocolate candy every day the minute you wake up.” I can SAY these things, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE THEM TRUE.

    NONE OF US TOLD YOU THIS!

  • “really rare.” Well, it depends on what you mean by “really rare,” I guess. Per a 1996 study quoted in the article I linked to above, 5% of rape victims ages 12-45 get pregnant each year. There are approximately 32,000 rape-related pregnancies each year. (It doesn’t say whether those are nationwide or global statistics. They’re fairly low, comparatively, so I’m going to assume nationwide, only because rape is a lot more prevalent in other countries (some other countries – Andreas says to add “some” as it’s quite low in some and quite high in others, my apologies for the oversight) and also getting statistics from those countries would be difficult.) I guess 5% would seem rare if you were playing the lottery. But if you were a rape victim who got pregnant, that wouldn’t seem that rare at all. If you were a child of rape, one of those 32,000 children a year, that wouldn’t seem that rare.
  • “if it’s a legitimate rape.” A legitimate rape. As opposed to one of those other rapes. The kind we ask for, by going on a date with our rapist; by dressing provocatively; by walking in a bad part of town too late at night; by smiling at a stranger; by smiling at a friend; by laughing; by being female. One of those rapes. You know. Those non-legitimate rapes. Those lying whore rapes. Those rapes that we dare cry rape about, but really we’re just saying it for attention, to get revenge on the man for something he did or didn’t do, because we’re dirty lying women with nothing better to do. Get back in that kitchen and make me a pie and shut the fuck up, you asked for this when you came out of your mom without a penis.
  • “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” – what are these ways? Do we send out sperm-killing ninja cells? Do we develop vagina dentata? Do our eggs develop an impenetrable shell when confronted with rapist-sperm?
  • “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something” – yep, “or something.” You know what that “or something” is? Science. That “or something” is science.
  • “I think there should be some punishment” – well, thanks. That’s nice and not at all weak. Glad to hear it. Glad we have your approval on this.
  • “but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Without going into eel-infested waters of WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN, here, I’m just going to say that no one having an abortion due to the fact they were raped is thinking about “attacking” the child. I think that’s the last thing on their mind. They’re not in attack mode. They’re in protection mode. They’re protecting themselves. THEY are the one who was attacked. And (until it’s taken from us, because ladies, unless we fight our asses off, it’s on its way to being yanked, don’t fool yourselves it’s not) we still have the right to choose whether or not we want to carry the child of our rapist to term.

In even more disturbing news, Akin is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. You might want to re-read that sentence. The man who thinks we have magical powers in our vaginas that can differentiate between the sperm we want and the sperm we don’t sits on a governmental committee which names, among its goals, “enhancing long-term economic competitiveness through investments in science and technology.” YOU JUST MADE US A LAUGHING STOCK. You think we have MAGIC POWERS IN OUR COOTERS. You think we can STOP OURSELVES FROM GETTING PREGNANT USING MIND-BULLETS.

MIND BULLETS!

(The “science” behind the magic hoo-ha theory is that some super-religious weirdo about fifteen years ago published an article saying if a woman is forcibly raped, her hormones are “upset,” causing pregnancy not to stick. Nope, I’m serious. Here’s the article. Which I don’t recommend you read, because it’s full of blatant lies, mistruths, and skewing of facts. Religious-types, misunderstanding how women’s bodies work for MILLIONS of YEARS!)

And don’t you dare say legitimate rape. Don’t you even dare. Seriously, sir, if you were in front of me right now, I’d spit in your fucking face. Have you ever been raped? Have you ever been forced to participate in a sexual act against your will? I’m going to guess not. Because if you had, you wouldn’t say something like “legitimate rape.” It wouldn’t cross your mind. It wouldn’t even be a blip on your faulty fucking radar. Who the hell do you think you are to pass judgement on what’s legitimate and what’s not? Because let me tell you how it works. A woman says she’s been raped? A PERSON WITH A HEART BELIEVES HER. There are very few sociopaths who go around claiming rape when it hasn’t happened. Because who would want that stigma? Who wants the name “rape victim” hung on them when they’re not one? Especially with ignorant assholes like you, sir, walking around slut-shaming them for trauma they’ve gone through?

President Obama made a statement the next day, which I think it’s important we read. Let’s read what another man has to say about this issue, shall we? Let’s compare the two statements. Here’s Obama’s statement in response to the magic ninja vagina (or, I don’t want to get this wrong, it might well be a magic uterus, he didn’t really qualify where those ninjas reside) no one is ever really raped statement. Ladies and gentlemen, the current (and next) President of the United States:

“The views expressed were offensive,” said Obama. “Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

Even more telling? FUCKING ROMNEY CONDEMNED IT. Oh, shit, Akin. Even ROMNEY thinks you’re an asshat. Romney doesn’t even know what doughnuts are called because he’s so fancy he probably eats nothing but croissants flown in fresh from the south of France every morning, but even HE thinks you’re a douchebag.

“Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” [Romney] told National Review Online. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”

He added that his view was “entirely different” and that Akin’s statement was “entirely without merit and and he should correct it.”

(Notice Paul Ryan didn’t have a statement. That’s because Paul Ryan also believes we have magical ninja vaginas and that we should all be up in that kitchen rattlin’ our pots and pans, but he’s savvy enough not to open his mouth about this issue. Or his handlers have him shut in a closet and have ever since Akin made this statement. In case you’re confused: Paul Ryan hates women, y’all. But that’s a blog for another day.)

Now, almost immediately after he made this statement, our old friend the Toddster was all, “a-duh, I misspoke.” MISSPOKE! No. You misspeak when you say “clap” instead of “crap” or something, you know? Not when you say “most rape victims are lying liars who lie and the reason I know this is because imaginary doctors told me their vaginas would fight off intruder sperm if it was, truly, sperm of a rapist.”

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin’s statement said.

Akin also said in the statement he believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

Also, this isn’t even an apology! It’s not an “I’m sorry, I’m a total douchenugget” but it’s a “my silly MOUTH, you know? Whoopsie!” statement! Plus, he throws in AGAIN how he’s pro-life at the bottom! WE FUCKING KNOW, YOU MORON!

Ha, whooooops! My bad! Don’t hate the playa! (What else do the kids say today, guys? Guys?)

Do I have any Missouri people reading this? I don’t think I have many Republicans reading this anyway, because I’m one of those shouty liberal chicks (and therefore probably a lesbian, and most definitely the enemy) but if I do, please don’t vote for this man. I mean, even if you believe in everything else he stands for – THE MAN DOESN’T UNDERSTAND HOW BASIC HUMAN REPRODUCTION WORKS. How old were you when you understood that? I had a basic idea when I got “the talk” at age 11 or so, then had health class in tenth grade with the charts and graphs and such so I understood it more then. But I’m pretty sure, at no point in my life, did I think I had any sort of magical powers in my cootch that could all Wonder-Woman intruder sperm. OUR VAGINAS DO NOT DO THIS.

Here’s some basic biology for you: you can get pregnant if you have sex right before, while, or immediately after you ovulate. You don’t always get pregnant – there are factors in play like biology, sperm speed, sperm volume, biological compatibility…if you want to research it, you can. Thing is, most of you don’t have to, because I think, as a human, you know how we reproduce. (Shit. Shit, shit shit. AKIN IS AN ALIEN. Oh, that’s it. That’s totally it. He’s an alien PRETENDING to be human. We caught him in a slip-up. If we cut him, he’s totally going to bleed green goo, you guys.) Anyway: you have the same odds of getting pregnant with anyone if you have sex with them during that approximately week-long window each month. Your boyfriend. The mailman. The pizza deliveryman. Your husband. The person who raped you. THE ODDS ARE THE SAME. Do you know why? Because the SCIENCE is the same. Science doesn’t change for politics. That’s why science is awesome. Science doesn’t take sides. Science doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a Socialist or if you think the Rent is Too Damn High. Science just IS. And science says, if you have sex in that approximately week-long window, you have a decent chance, depending on biological factors, of course, of being impregnated – whether you want to be or not.

Look! A diagram! Of LADY-BUSINESS! But…where are the ninjas? There were supposed to be…ninjas? No?

I don’t care if this man apologized. I don’t care if this man’s being pressured to step down by 5pm today (sounds like he won’t, even though people want him to, because DAMMIT! He is a MAN! He is CORRECT! He did NOTHING WRONG! He just made an OOPSIE!) I don’t care about any of this. What matters here is: this is a man running for a position to help run our entire country. A man that doesn’t believe that violence against women really happens and a man that believes we have magic vaginas like Lieutenant Dan had magic legs, I guess. This is a man who votes on laws that affect me and people I love. And he obviously not only doesn’t understand women, he hates and fears them.

Magic legs! Lieutenant Dan, you got magic legs!

Missouri, you’re the Show Me state, right? So, show me. Show me what the hell you were thinking, allowing someone who doesn’t understand basic science to not only run for Senate, but to serve in the House of Representatives, representing your state. Please, go ahead and show me that. Show me the thought processes behind this man, who hates and fears women representing your state, which I can only assume has some women in it. Please feel free to show me this. I’d love to see it. Because I can’t wrap my mind around it, honestly. Completely at a loss.

I’m going to go have a legitimate popsicle because I’m legitimately hot under the collar. Well, at least I think it’s a legitimate popsicle. How can I be sure? A politician didn’t tell me it was and I obviously, being female, can’t make such judgement calls on my own.

Have a nice day, from me and my magic ninja vagina. Hi-ya!


Regrets, I’ve had a few; but then again, too few to mention

Well, those of you that know what’s going on are probably waiting for the BIG POST, explaining WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY, but after much thought, I decided it was probably best not to post what I WANTED to post about what happened yesterday. I’ll explain more in a bit.

What’s going on, Amy? those of you who are confused are saying.

Yep, yesterday right before lunch, I was fired from my job. Shitcanned. Donezo. (Dunzo? I dunno.)

Surprisingly, none of the paperwork I got was pink. What a letdown.

Now, this would be where I would BLAST MY COMPANY and BE ALL LOUD and WHAT THE HELL and stuff, right?

Nope.

Here’s the thing. They owe me a lot of money, which I want, and also I don’t trust them not to sue me if I say things about them that they take offense to.

I can, however, tell you what happened, right? I don’t know that that’s confidential. As long as I keep it factual.

Yesterday right before lunch, the HR rep asked if she could see me in a conference room. I knew exactly what was coming; the only question was whether I was going to get scolded or fired. I shut down what I was working on and I went to the conference room, where she and my boss (who didn’t say a word throughout) were.

I was told (which I knew) that child monitoring software had been installed on my computer and they knew been using the internet during company time for non-company purposes. I was also told they’d been reading my blog (aw! new readers!) and Twitter feed and I’d said some not-very-complimentary things about my workplace there, so it could have been a reprimand, but in light of that, it was immediate termination, and I’d have to leave the premises immediately. I’d have healthcare until the 31st, I’d get my final paycheck (and all my vacation pay and unused cafeteria plan money and such) on the 1st, and my 401(k) would remain where it was until I was ready to either roll it into my new job’s 401(k) or withdraw it.

I was then escorted to my desk, where I was overseen while I packed up, and then escorted to the exit. All of this took fifteen minutes, tops. Six and a half years boiled down to fifteen minutes.

Bye now. Bye now, and forever, actually.

Were they in the wrong? Nope. I did everything they said I did. I didn’t argue with them. “You don’t seem surprised by this,” they said. “I”m not,” I replied. And I wasn’t. I didn’t cry, I didn’t argue, I didn’t beg, I didn’t whimper. I signed where they told me to sign and packed up. There was no reason to fight it.

What, Amy? Don’t you know better? Didn’t you pay attention when Dooce got fired for blogging? (Bee tee dubs, she was able to be more honest about it than I am; read that post, and most of what she’s saying is my own personal defense. Which I didn’t put forward in the meeting where I was fired. I was uncharacteristically quiet as a mouse.) AMY! What’s wrong with you?

The answer is, I knew, and I just didn’t care. I don’t have a better answer than that. I was suffering severe job-related malaise.

No. Not forever. Not at all. No more malaise, from this day forward.

I knew this was coming. There was something in the air for weeks, and then when they installed the child monitoring software, I knew that was that. Could I have possibly stopped it, by not opening the internet again once that was installed, by only doing work-related things during work hours? Yes. I might have been able to do so, depending on how far along in the proceedings they were. But it really would have just been prolonging the inevitable.

I haven’t been happy there since I started. But it was safe. It was a paycheck; it was close to home; it’s not a great job market; and honestly, I was petrified to start looking for a job and not find anything. It was easier to stay put. Because I was afraid. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing or what was right for me or what was right for them, but I was scared to get out there and risk what I had for what might be, even if what I had wasn’t what I needed.

New things = scary. It’s a fact, Jack.

I’ve been looking for a new job for the past week. I knew something was coming. I knew it was time to get out there and start applying. I actually have an interview lined up for next week. I can’t get unemployment – since I was technically let go for violating company policy, I’m not eligible (and whether or not I agree with that, completely? Whether or not I get to defend myself? Well, that’s where I need to censor myself, because I’m sure they’re still reading this) – but I will contact my part-time job and see if they have any shifts available to get me some money coming in while I look for something permanent. I have a decent amount of money coming to me from the various final-paycheck avenues mentioned above so they will help me out a little, too.

I’m not thinking too far ahead from there. I refuse to think of this as a bad thing. Utterly refuse.

Me being there was a bad thing for me. Me being there was a bad thing for them. I was being turned into a bitter, twisted version of myself that I didn’t like, but I couldn’t make it stop. I was just so profoundly unhappy that it was spilling out every time I opened my mouth during office hours, and sometimes even after office hours. I was miserable, and I am objective enough to know I was making (most of) my coworkers miserable.

Since there’s just one of me, I guess I’d be un miserable, instead of les miserables, oui?

I’m not going to slam any of them. Do I want to? I won’t answer that. I’ll just say, I’m not going to.

This is a good thing. It is. I’ll find something else. Something better. Something that will suit me better, my personality, my quirks. A workplace where I’ll flourish and that I’ll actually not dread going to every day.

I’d like to go into more detail. I would. I’d like to tell you more about whether or not this is fair, and some of the things that happened there over the years. But I don’t know what would happen to me if I did. As I said, I’m sure they’re reading this, and even though I haven’t – and have never – mentioned the name of the company here, they think what I’ve been doing is negatively affecting their image. What do I think about that? Again. I wish I could go into more detail. I’m not meant to be ball-gagged. But I truly believe it’s in my best interest not to. Not because I’m a lady, no no. Because I’m afraid of being sued and/or not getting my final checks.

So, I will leave it with this: it was a bad fit, and it has been since I started. For both them and me. This is a good thing for them and a very good thing for me, even though right now I’m a touch panicked and a little stressy and my chest is kind of tight and also it was super-embarrassing to leave carrying my sad office plant.

Even my plant is sad. SO SAD. (This is not my plant.)

I’m looking for something new. I am sure I will find something. I’m very sure. There has to be something out there. I’m intelligent; I’m a very hard worker (I know you can’t tell, because I did a lot of not-work at work, but that’s not because I wasn’t a hard worker; that’s because I finished my tasks in a timely fashion and was looking to fill the hours); when I’m doing something where I feel vital and important, I really am a lot of fun to work with; I’m creative and I’m wacky and I’m a fast learner. There’s got to be something out there for me that won’t make me feel like my soul’s being crushed with every passing hour. I know there is.

Also, listen, thank you guys. You are really amazing, you know that? I tweeted the tweet above this morning and haven’t stopped getting emails and tweets of support from people all day. I’m really humbled. I have some of the best people in the world. If not the best. Sincerely. Also, Ken wrote me this amazing post which made me laugh, and also tear up a little. Shut up, it’s been an emotional day.

So I’m not saying anything more about this, other than yep, that happened. And after I get over the HOLY SHIT I AM MAJORLY UNDEREMPLOYED AT THE MOMENT, I’m really going to revel in it. I’m going to find something else. Something that isn’t that job! Something that I might really like – can you imagine – what if it was something I’d love? I don’t know. Is that possible?

Thank you for being so awesome. Also, if you know of any excellent clerical jobs in the Capital District region of New York that pay well enough I can pay my bills and don’t mind if my hair’s a little unruly, let me know. Or if someone want to pay me to stay home and write things, I’m down with that, too. I wouldn’t mind that even a little bit.

(Oh, also, the next two days’ posts were written pre-firation, so if they mention my job…pretend they don’t. Or laugh at the distant memory. Ha ha! Remember when Amy was employed? What fun times those were!)


If I had a training company, you know I’d call it “Pulling a Train,” right?

I am very, very, VERY awkward with people and situations. No, seriously. NO SERIOUSLY. I know you’re all, ha ha, Amy, you seem lovely! But in all actuality I’m totally Socially Awkward Penguin. I don’t even think those Socially Awkward Penguin memes are all that funny because they seem like something I would do. And, in some cases, they are something I have done.  Or almost done. Or am afraid of doing to the point of near-total paralysis.

Haven’t done this. Have come VERY CLOSE. Am petrified I will. (Well, duh, her = him, but the thought is there.)

A few weeks ago, as I mentioned yesterday, our HR rep came to me all, “Hey! Amy! The admin staff from the new office we just merged with wants to come here and meet with you to see how you do things!” 

I immediately got drymouth and also palmsweats. This was not a good thing. However, it wasn’t like I could say, “I AM TOO BUSY!” because she’d just have said, “Oh, no problem, we’ll just let everyone know you’re unavailable to take on projects at that time” and it’s not like I could have said “Can’t ____ do it?” because there’s no one else that could do it. Well, I do have one coworker that could have done it, but again, as I mentioned yesterday, she won’t check her email, and so that way, she can say, “Oh, I didn’t know that was happening!” and she gets out of things. Why I wasn’t smart enough to figure that out on my own, I am not sure. I’m fairly sure it would have led to me being fired, though. Oh, and later on in this post, we will get into why what I’m doing RIGHT EFFING NOW will probably lead to me being fired due to something that happened while I was away from my desk today, but that’s a story for later on down the line. 

Aw, that totally makes it better. THANK YOU BEBEH SEAL!

So, because I couldn’t get out of it, and because my coworker was all “la la la I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” about the call for trainers, I got stuck with the whole “training the new people” day. Now, my office doesn’t understand theater people. They think theater people are all very good at anything that involves getting up in front of people and talking. VERY good. No matter the scenario – training, office meetings, calling people on the phone – doesn’t matter, my office is all “AMY WILL DO IT SHE IS AN ACTRESS!”

Not all theater people are like this. (SIGH. Wouldn’t life be awesome if they WERE?)

A., I don’t act anymore, hardly, and B., acting is a lot different than public speaking. They’re not the same thing at all. In one you have a script and are reading someone else’s words and playing a character; in the other, it’s like you’re stripped bare and EVERYONE IS STARING AT YOU while you say YOUR OWN WORDS and they’re judging you and you’re coming up lacking. It’s horrifying. 

Plus, again, as mentioned yesterday, I have this ADD-situation going on where I can’t stay on task, and also when I’m nervous I talk way too fast and I say things I probably shouldn’t. I’d be terrible if ever questioned by Homeland Security. I’d be telling them all about the time I stole markers from my art class in third grade. FINE, I’ll tell you about it. In third grade, I stole a couple of those markers that smelled like food from my art class. The black licorice one and the red cherry one. They smelled utterly DELICIOUS.

You had these in art class, right? They were AWESOME. The light blue one also smelled amazing. It was…um…mango? Maybe? SO GOOD UNGH.

I brought them home and just smelled them and smelled them and they smelled BETTER at home, because they were MINE. Until this crushing guilt started weighing on me. I was SO NERVOUS. Why? Because of God. I was sure that God saw me steal those markers and I was going to hell for it. So the next time we had art class (it was a once-a-week-thing), I brought them back. Even though it killed me and I wanted them to be mine SO MUCH. But I also didn’t want to burn in eternal hellfire over some effing markers, what a waste of hellfire.

Eternal DAMNATION! For MARKER PILFERAGE!

And listen, we weren’t even using markers that day, so I couldn’t mix them in amongst the other markers like they’d always been there like I’d been planning! So, always quick on my feet, I put them on the floor all surreptitious-like. I knew the teacher would find them while cleaning up and think they’d been left behind the LAST time he’d cleaned up, and they’d find their way back to the marker bin. And there you have it; my (aborted) life of crime. I did, however, when I was old enough and living on my own, buy myself a multi-pack of those smelly markers. THEY ARE ALL MINE. I have two of each color/scent. They are the BEST. And if I ever had a kid? I’d totally buy them their own smelly markers so they didn’t have to resort to stealing them from the art room and then self-loathing for a week. 

So for two days I’ve been all stomach-in-knots about this situation. Today was the day! I found out yesterday I not only had to train them for a little over two hours, I had to take them to lunch afterward. If there’s anything I hate more than office meetings where I have to talk, it’s eating with coworkers. You have to make awkward small talk and you have to order certain foods otherwise they look at you all weird and you have to eat like a LADY, yo. It’s all very nerve-wracking. 

Ha ha ha ha HA! All the false laughter! MY FAVORITE!

The ladies arrived. First, the receptionist trained them a little. While this was happening, I sat at my desk and chewed my fingernails all off. This was nice because I’m wearing glitter nail polish and so I got glitter all over my mouth. (Accidently, I wrote “I got glitter all over my mother” right there, and I almost left it because it was AWESOME, but it was also the most confusing.) 

Like this! Only, less fancy! And more frazzled! And more glitter-faced!

The HR lady came and checked on me and she snuck up on me like a NINJA (ok, no, she really didn’t, but I was busy being NERVOUS so I was in my own world – there was no way this woman could sneak up on anyone, she’s 7.5 months pregnant, and she’s REALLY pregnant, ladies and gentlemen, whoo!) and I jumped seventeen feet in the air like a PTSD sufferer and she asked if I was all prepared and I said, “Is anyone? IS ANYONE REALLY?” and I think that was not the right answer and she was all, “Ha ha, don’t worry, this’ll be a piece of CAKE!” and then I was not only nervous, but craving cake. Grumble. 

Is it THIS piece of cake? This one? I want this one.

Then it was my turn for the training. I knew it was probably not going to go well after the first few minutes because this is how it started: 

Me: Hi! I’ve never trained anyone before. I’m very nervous. This makes me talk very quickly. Here are some helpful handouts! Please feel free to ask questions!
Lady #1: We’re not here to be trained. Did someone tell you we were? 

Um. Yeah. That was…yeah. Not the most auspicious of beginnings.

I knew there was something weird about this whole thing yesterday when at first I was told I was training these people, but then my coworkers started saying things like, “They’re not going to change anything they’re doing in their office, though” so why am I doing this? Why, really? The answer seemed to be one of two choices: 

1. Because they wanted to see how we did things, and if they liked how we did them better, they’d change them;

2. Because they wanted a paid day out of their office. 

I’m going with a combination of both of these, to tell you the truth. 

Remember Jake from yesterday? He’s STILL suspicious, yo.

So I went through the very handy three-page outline I’d made for them, and they were very nice, but mostly it was just them nodding and saying, “We don’t do it like that” (ok, that’s…ok, but WHY ARE YOU HERE? Am I on Candid Camera? WHAT IS HAPPENING?) and it was supposed to take two hours, but it took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Why? Because about fifteen minutes in, I gave up. I just kept saying things like, “Well, you can read that on the handout when you get back to your office” and such. They weren’t there to learn anything. They were, for some reason I couldn’t ascertain (and still can’t) there to…um…listen to me talk about me doing my job and to say “We don’t do our jobs that way?” That could pertain to…well, any of you, right? Like, if it was, let’s say, me sitting down with President Obama, and we started rapping about our jobs, and I was all, “Yo, Barack, at my job, my coworkers sign jobs into a bin, and I sign them out and then do them and TRY not to stab anyone while doing it,” wouldn’t he be all, “That’s so interesting, Amy, I appoint you my Secretary of Awesome” and not “I don’t do MY job that way!” I mean, it just seemed like such an exercise in futility. 

Oh, Amy. You are SCINTILLATING. I can’t imagine doing my job without you. Come to the White House? We have ALL THE CAKE.

So then I was done, much sooner than planned, so I gave them a tour of our office (again, waste of time, but what the hell else am I going to do with people?) and it was very “here is a COPIER! Here is a SHREDDING BIN! Here is a FILE ROOM!” and they honestly seemed more impressed with the things in our office than the things I’d been saying in my super-awesome-shiny training that I worked REALLY HARD ON and if a person can’t compete with a shredding bin, I don’t know what point there is to LIFE, you know? To be fair, it’s a really awesome shredding bin. It has a bumper sticker on it with “IF I AM FULL CALL TO GET ME EMPTIED!” written on it in scary big letters. I never stood a chance. 

SO much more interesting than me. So much more.

Then we went to lunch. At 11:40. Because I finished too early. This was a total fail. Because by the time we were done, I had to work FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS in the afternoon without a break. I never do that. I take my lunch super-late in the day. Like, most days, at 2. That way when I get done, I only have 2 hours of work left, and it all seems a little more bearable and a little less “WHY AM I ALIVE,” you know? 

Lunch was one of those filled-with-awkward-pauses things that I hate, and it was giving me the vapors. Mostly it was them talking to each other and the receptionist and I talking to each other. Like the other people weren’t there. And us saying things like, “I sure do like alcohol! HA HA!” while looking at the drink menu. (NO, it wasn’t me that said that. I didn’t say much of anything. At that point, I had mentally checked out, and was sitting there contemplating making a run for the bathroom and rocking and making a long, drawn out keening noise for the next hour so no one would bother me. I HATE WORK LUNCHES.) 

“Please don’t make me go back out there. I HAVE RUN OUT OF SMALL TALK.”

Then we were done. And when I got back to the office, the HR lady was all, “How’d that go? Good? I KNEW IT WOULD! Because YOU ARE AN ACTRESS!” Ugh, it is NOT THE SAME THING! Right now, HR lady, I am ACTING like I’m not HATING YOU for MAKING ME DO THIS USELESS THING. 

Oh, and the firing thing? Well, when I got back, someone had been on my computer! Well! I do so love things like that! And a bunch of software had been added! That’s usually not a good thing. That either means more work for me in the future, or that we’re implementing a new system of something that’ll be infinitely harder than the last system, or something equally heinous. Nope! EVEN WORSE. 

VERITY CHILD MONITORING SOFTWARE. 

I hate this so much my head’s about to explode.

I was all, “huh, we’re monitoring children? I don’t have any, why would I need that” but then I looked it up and it tracks every website you’re on, every keystroke you make (including all your passwords! to your personal sites! so that’s pretty awesome and not at all a security breach into my personal life!), pretty much everything you do, and sends a report on off to management. 

YAY!  

So I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I’m called into a “Um…do you need to be using Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and WordPress for your job? Do you really?” and the answer is, well, duh, yes, they help me stay SANE, thank you very much, but again, as with most questions I’m asked here, that’s not the RIGHT answer, just the only one I can say with a clear conscience. I know a normal person would see that software and immediately not go on any good websites ever again. (I also know most people would not spend as much time social-mediaing during work hours, and I’m well-aware they’re within their rights to spy on whatever I’m doing on their computer during their business hours. I’m not an idiot, I just hate my job so much. SO MUCH.) However: no one ever accused me of being a normal person. Also: I don’t much like being spied upon, or told what to do. Not much at all. If I get my work done, and get it done well, and in a timely fashion, who the hell even cares? 

I’ll let you know what it’s like from the unemployment line. I’m guessing…super-fun? Probably super-fun. I can’t imagine otherwise. EVERY DAY IS AN ADVENTURE WITH ME!

Hey, momma! I’m a superstar! Lookit me!


How to lose friends and annoy people

Remember a while back, I had to choose a play for our upcoming Playwright’s Showcase, and some were…um…not good? Like, some were about aliens flying in through ceilings and it’s only a staged reading so that really wasn’t an option, and also one was really, really focused on Wonder Woman’s chestal region? Yeah, so that happened. Anyway, I was able to choose one, and it happens in a week. I have the tech rehearsal for it today (which should be a piece of cake, the lights and sound for it are pretty basic, and also, in case you weren’t aware, I totally rock the light booth hardcore, and if you WEREN’T aware of that, what’s wrong with you, of COURSE I do!) and then the show goes up a week from today. It’s a brief piece, I think people will enjoy it, and if they don’t…well, it’s pay-what-you-will. If you complain about something you didn’t technically have to pay for, you deserve throat-punching. 

If it’s free, you don’t get to complain. Or, I guess you CAN complain, but be prepared for me to do some pretty epic scowling at you.

So all year long, I get emails from aspiring playwrights, as I’m the person who will be reading their submissions during the submission period. You’d think they’d be nice emails, like, hey, I notice on your website that you have a local Playwright’s Showcase every year, when can I submit my work? Thanks ever so. Or something like that. As someone who writes, I’m actually kind of versed in the art of querying, and submitting one’s work for potential publication. Here are some hard-and-fast rules. They’re going to seem basic. That’s because they ARE. 

  1. Read everything you can find about the place you’re submitting to before you either submit or query for submission, or the person you’re submitting to will think you’re an illiterate jackass. It’s clichéd, but you really, truly only have one chance to make a first impression, and if you send a letter asking a question that’s CLEARLY stated on the website/in the publication where you’d like to see your work featured, you blew it, Mr. Magoo. 

    Danger is right. You’re in danger of embarrassing yourself. Just stop that.

  2. BE NICE. First: if you know the person’s name you’re submitting to, use it. If it’s a lady-person, use Ms. So and So. If it’s a man-person, use Mr. So and So. You’re not their friend. You don’t presume to use their first name (unless you don’t have another option, or if it clearly states “please use my first name” or “address letters to Joe at…” or something.) BUT WHAT IF THEY’RE MARRIED, AMY?!??! WON’T THEY BE OFFENDED?!?!?!? They won’t be offended. Ms. covers all the bases and shows that you’re sensitive to the fact that they might NOT be married. Married women won’t be offended by Ms.; unmarried women REALLY won’t be offended by Ms. Second: Don’t be rude. DON’T BE RUDE! You’re trying to SELL yourself. Why the hell would you be rude? We’re going to talk a little more about this later. Or a lot more, you know me. I’m kind of heated-up about this so I think I’ll probably go into detail. But BE EFFING NICE. This person has the potential to publish/produce your work. Yelling at/haranguing/insulting them? Not a smart move, Slappy Jones. 

    It really doesn’t hurt. It actually helps. I promise. No, sincerely. In this case, it does. In MOST cases, it does. Truly.

  3. Be patient. Whoever you’re submitting to probably gets a lot of submissions. If they have time to respond right away, awesome. But if they didn’t? An email 3 days later saying, “Didja get it didja get it DIDJA GET IT” is really not called for and makes them feel pressured. BE PATIENT, MY CHERUB. 

    No, not this kind of patience. Well, I guess you can listen to a little old-school GNR while you wait, if that’s your thing, I’m not here to judge you, whatever.

  4. If they accept you, be gracious, thank them, and celebrate. However, if they didn’t? Don’t, don’t, DON’T email them insulting/yelling at them, and for the love of Pete, do NOT email them INSISTING they tell you WHY they didn’t choose you. That’s not their job. They owe you nothing. A million reasons go into them not choosing you. You were a bad fit. Someone else’s work was better. You annoyed them and they didn’t choose you because they knew working with you would be a nightmare. Your grammar was abysmal. You used glitter pen and handwrote the whole thing instead of typing your work. You included glitter in with your submission so when they opened the letter, a CLOUD of glitter came out and got all in the carpet and their cat had glittery paws for like a MONTH. I mean. Hypothetically. Of course. I know. In a perfect world, it’d be all about the work. Sure it would. But if it comes down to three pieces of work, all equally good, one by someone who’s been polite and well-mannered and has no typos, one by someone who’s written you harassing emails, and one by a glittery fairy-person who included an 8×10 Glamour Shot of them wearing wings and carrying a wand in with their submission, I think it’s pretty obvious which one you’re going to choose, right? Right. (NO, the answer isn’t Fairy Princess Sparkles. Be realistic, glitter is difficult as SHIT to clean up. We did The Rocky Horror Picture Show at my theater about ten years ago, before my time there, and we STILL find body glitter in random places around the theater. Glitter sticks like a mofo, yo. For YEARS. Plus you KNOW if you choose someone like that, she’d cry if the play you produced wasn’t like she imagined it in her head. I can’t deal with crying. I mean, it’s not like baseball. THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! There’s totally crying in theater. I’ve DONE crying in theater. I’ve SEEN crying in theater, probably at least once a show. But if you can head it off at the pass, you sure as hell TRY to. Sheesh.) 

    I don’t care if this guy wrote the next “Death of a Salesman” – I’m not inviting this level of lunacy through my doors. End of story.

Anyway, on to the main event. I get probably 1 or 2 emails a month, all year long, about “when can I send you my play I’ve written so you can produce it in your Playwright’s Showcase?” and then I respond, saying “I’ll add you to our mailing list, and when the selection process opens – which is at the end of the year, usually October to December – you’ll be notified.” (If they were to read our website, the answer to this question is pretty clearly stated, but some people aren’t the most web-savvy. I try not to get too stabby about it. I have a template, I cut and paste the response in, I add them to the mailing list. It takes me about 5 minutes.) Most people are cool with that. Some…are…well, not. 

I am going to cut and paste in two emails I recently received from people here, with identifying identification taken out. If you wrote these emails, and somehow have wandered on over here, well, probably I should feel bad I’m picking on you, but I just don’t. I’m using you as an object lesson. You should feel so, so helpful that you’re showing others what NOT to do. Plus, look, some of your work just got published! You’re a STAR, baby! 

Whoo-hoo! Just call me the STARMAKER. The BUILDER OF DREAMS.

To: Amy’s theater
From: Angry playwright (without cause to be) 

I contacted you months ago about submitting a script and was told I’d be contacted when submissions were being accepted. Obviously I wasn’t contacted. What happened and do you know of any other theater groups that might be willing to look a local person’s script?

J’ACCUSE!!!!!

OK. First, a little background: I got this in response to a notice I sent out about our upcoming Playwright’s Showcase next weekend. This person DID email me asking about submissions for next year. He emailed me after this play we’re about to produce had already been selected. I informed him then (I think it was in…oh, I don’t know, February? March?) that the next submission period would be at the end of the year, and he was now on our mailing list and he’d get an email once the submission period opened. 

What did this person do wrong? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? 

Come on, anyone? No? Really?

Well, he’s accusing me of apparently PURPOSELY NOT INFORMING HIM of the selection period. If he’d paid any attention to the email I sent months ago (I’d love to paste that in here, but the email client we use for the theater doesn’t save sent mail, like I’d like it to) it clearly explained that we’d already chosen a play for the 2012 showcase. This is 2012; therefore, the email he received about the 2012 showcase was the play selected LAST YEAR. (Well, technically in January 2012, but it was submitted last year, if you want to split hairs. Don’t split hairs, that just makes a mess I have to vacuum up.) The 2013 showcase hasn’t begun the submission process yet. As I explained in my earlier email to him, it will most likely run from October to December 2012 (or whenever I get my ass in gear, whatever, it’s not an exact science.) Also, “what happened” is a little accusatory, and I am not here to provide you information about other theater groups and what they do. RESEARCH THAT ON THE INTERWEBS, SON. 

(I would never email, say, a poetry magazine, accuse them of not letting me know when their submission period had been open, and then ask them if they knew of other poetry magazines that were accepting submissions. Can you imagine the nerve? RUDE.) 

Hee! I love these things.

I responded with a very polite explanation of what I said above (minus the all-caps, of course, I’m very professional where my theater is involved) and even though I totally wanted to say “RESEARCH IT YOURSELF ASSHAT” I did mention a local theater I know of that does accept unpublished one-acts by local playwrights. I did not include a link to their website. I told him it was easily found with a Google search. Because, seriously? You need to take your own life into your own hands, mister. This is not my job. I have enough on my own plate. I’m scrambling to deal with a million of my own things, I shouldn’t have to help you market your script, too. I have my OWN book to market. And, sorry if it makes me biased, but the time I spend on that is a little more important to me than the time I spend on your lazy ass. Also, I don’t get paid for the work I do at the theater. It’s all volunteer. So, dude? Do your own legwork. I’ll take the cut in pay. $0 minus $0 is still $0, you know?

Now, this one is even BETTER. Ready? 

To: Amy’s theater
From: Demanding All-Caps McGurk (who I’ve never heard from before in my life, BTW) 

I’ve contacted you before about submission of my One Act

Play that has music attached to the play.  I’m asking where in

Albany theatre group can I send my play or where to get a

grant. PLEASE ANSWER IMMEDIATELY WITH THIS

INFORMATION. 

All-caps! Bold! Large font! Bad grammar! A demand! A lie! This one hits ALL the bases, whoa! 

First, nope, she’s never emailed me before. I save every email I get at the theater. I know this because I’m running out of storage on that account and need to start deleting some shit. Second, what’s up with the all-caps and bold and huge font? To make sure I don’t miss it this time (I didn’t miss it the last time because I NEVER GOT IT BEFORE?!?!?) Third, where to submit? Again, as mentioned above, I’m not your mom, I’m not here to walk you through potty-training and hold your hand and pull up your underoos, darling special snowflake. And last – a grant? Are you kidding me? There are PEOPLE whose JOB it is at companies to find grants. These people get PAID. You want me to do this job for you for FREE? No. No, thank you. I don’t even know where to BEGIN looking for a grant for you. And a grant for what? Are there playwright grants? See how little I know about this? What do I look like, a research librarian? (Ooh, do I? I wouldn’t mind looking like a research librarian, what a cool job THAT would be!) 

ZOMG you guys, this is the Rijksmuseum Research Library in Amsterdam. WANT WANT WAAAANNNTTTTT

Also this grammar is odd. Not TERRIBLE odd, just enough odd that it makes my head hurt just a little bit. Like when a painting hanging on a wall is just a HAIR crooked. It makes you think you might be imagining things, but are you? Are you really? I think the issue is “where in Albany Theatre Group  can I send my play.” That sounds weird, right? Or am I imagining the crooked painting in the no-tell motel? 

You can check out any time you like…but you can NEVER LEAVE! (Plus the paintings are always just a touch askew.)

I replied to this one similarly to the one above, explaining our submission policy and process (and that we don’t accept musicals, so if it’s a musical, she’s shit out of luck, only I didn’t SAY “shit out of luck” because, well, like I said, I try to be professional) and for this one, again, I mentioned the other local theater group that has a local playwright’s showcase. I flat-out said “I wouldn’t even know how to advise you about where to apply for a grant. I would suggest going online and starting your search there.” I mean, really? Who needs that advice in 2012? Wait, is this my grandmother? GRANDMA? IS THIS YOU? DID YOU WRITE A PLAY? I LOVE YOU GRANDMA! 

I was going to show you a cute photo of a grandmother but then I found this HORRIFYING GRANDMA MASK from someplace called “The Viking Store” and I HAD TO SHARE IT. I mean, sincerely. THIS WILL HAUNT MY DREAMS TONIGHT.

Listen, I’m sympathetic. I am. I’ve been writing poetry since the early 90s and submitting it for publication since the mid 90s (before it was easily submitted via email – it was all about SASEs and hardcopies, back in the day. A person bought a LOT of stamps.) For all the poetry I’ve written, I’ve probably been published a dozen times or so. As for how many times I’ve SUBMITTED poetry – well, at least ten times that many times. Or more. You face a lot of rejection as a writer who wants other people to see your writing. If you’re not up for rejection, probably keep a diary and then hide it somewhere no one would ever find it and never, ever show it to anyone, ever. Because even with something like a blog, you’re going to face rejection. For all of the happy happy joy joy “I LOVE YOUR WORK,” there’s someone who’s going to hate what you do and is not at all shy about telling you that. You have to develop a thick skin if you want to put yourself out there. Does it ever stop hurting, all that rejection? Well, yes, and also no. No one likes to be told they weren’t chosen. But it does get easier. (Especially after the first acceptance, because then you know you’re not TOTAL crap.) Especially if you deal with volume. If you send out, say, 20 copies of your work to 20 different places, it gets easier when one rejects it, because then you can say, “Oh, well, it wasn’t right for this place; 19 other places have it, too. I still have a shot.” 

Eh, it happens. Move on. Better days a’comin’.

You have to keep repeating to yourself it’s not personal. As long as you did everything right – and by that, I mean you weren’t a TOTAL asshole, I mean, if you offended the person without meaning to, by maybe the content of your piece, or the person hates semicolons and you didn’t know that, well, there’s very little you can do about that, that’s a style thing, not a YOU-thing – it’s totally not personal. You need to repeat that, and internalize that, and BELIEVE that. What it is, is that what you wrote isn’t right for that particular venue. Something ELSE you write might be (I had success at a few publications with different poems than the ones I sent them originally – I just waited a bit, then sent some more) or maybe that particular venue isn’t right for you, but another one would be. Toughen up, keep submitting, and keep working. If you want your work out there, that’s what you do. 

Get rejected? Do this. Get down on yourself? Well, eat something bad for you, sure, but then do this. Mostly, JUST DO THIS.

(Susie at Insatiable Booksluts has written some excellent advice for budding writers. I highly recommend, if you are at all interested in submitting your writing, you make that one of your first stops. Here, I’ll even link you: here’s the author’s guide to social media page. Totally invaluable advice over there, most sincerely, and not only because I love Susie to distraction and because I also write over there.) 

And for the love of all that’s holy, STOP YELLING AT PEOPLE VIA EMAIL. (Well, unless you know them. Then you can yell at them if you want, I don’t care. I don’t know your life. Or even especially want it, as I love my own a great deal, thank you very much.)


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