Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12


happy last day of repeating calendar double digits!!

off to canada at the end of this week. will try to post my best wishes before the year is over, but i will be in rural parts, so you never know... in any case, WHAT A YEAR. glad it's almost over. here's to onward and upward and shooting shooting shooting for the heavens!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the digital shift...this weekend!!

hi, all!

just an fyi that i will be on a panel this saturday, december 1st, at 12:00 noon, at the asian/pacific/american institute at nyu (8 washington mews at university place). the event is sawcc's annual lit fest, and this year, the theme is "creative commons: a transmedia literary festival." SUCH an exciting topic, no? i will be chatting with miral sattar and moderator sandhya nankani. come by and join the discussion!

here is a description of our panel:

12–1:15 pm | The Digital Shift: Technology and Storytelling

New media and technology have transformed notions of publishing and authorship. Neesha Meminger (author, Into the Wise Dark), Miral Sattar(founder, Bibliocrunch), and Sandhya Nankani (writer and editor) will explore how we use new technologies for storytelling and distribution, touching upon online and e-publishing platforms, successful self-publishing, creative commons and open source issues, and interactive content curation.
(Free)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

better late...?

i've been silent, not because i'm slacking off or losing interest in my blog, but because i've been experiencing the kinds of changes that have the ground shifting beneath your feet. the kinds of changes that come out of nowhere and turn your life upside down and send you hurtling in an entirely unexpected direction. these kinds of changes are horrible, painful, downright torturous at times... but they are also where extreme magic happens. in one of the darkest hours of my adult life (and by "dark" i mean unknown -- the kind of night that leaves you groping your way forward, hoping desperately that each time you set your foot down, it is in the right direction... and that nothing more detonates in your face), i am discovering some of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring truths. i am closer to my god and to the Life Force than i have ever been. the relationships in my life sparkle with genuine, fierce, unrelenting Love. who i am has never been clearer to me.

my next book is happening right now. what i am living through is literary gold and i cannot wait to share with my readers what i have learned -- through the most healing and most loving gift i can offer... my stories. so please stay tuned, dear ones. i have a LOT more to say. it is coming soon.

much love and peace to you all as we near the day of giving thanks here in the u.s.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Conversation On Race and Feminism

Ibi Zoboi and i have a conversation about race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, class and everything else under the sun on tiger beatdown. go check it out when you can. here are a couple of excerpts:
"I agree—I’m definitely a root-for-the-underdog gal. It’s what I identify with. My experience was slightly different in that the battle for self-realization began at home. The disappointment of women who gave birth to girl after girl was a constant presence when I was growing up. The mothers around me, of cousins and friends, were desperate to have boy children, especially if they already had one or more girls. I was told I was a “luck” child because a boy was born after me. My mother got off okay because she was the mother of sons, but I remember, vividly, the torment of women who could not bear boy children. I remember the tears these women cried on my mother’s shoulder, their self-hatred, the sometimes extreme conditions they faced with their in-laws. It’s something that has seeped so deeply into my bones – the crying of these mothers, or soon-to-be mothers, and their heart-wrenching desperation. My mother going to console women after they’d had their second, third, fourth, or whatever number daughter, is something that lodged itself pretty deep into my psyche. It had a profound impact on my worldview.
The impact of the battle over control of my own body was no less profound. I was not allowed to cut my hair because it was against our religion. However, it seemed our religion only applied to me and my mother as my brothers and father and uncles all had shorn hair. What I wore, who I spoke to, where I spent my time—all were strictly monitored and controlled. I could not wear jeans that were too tight, shorts of any length, skirts or dresses, yet my brother wore what he pleased without so much as a passing glance. He was also enrolled in martial arts classes because he needed to learn to defend himself. No such classes were necessary for me because I would be protected by someone else. I was a smart girl, but that mattered less than my looks and the fact that I was not light-skinned, which would make me a harder sell on the marriage market."
"This question brings me to WisCon, the annual feminist science-fiction and fantasy convention in Wisconsin. This year was my third year there and I truly love the hard-won space. I feel completely at home in feminist spaces and this is no different. Except that it is. It’s very different from the feminism that I came out in. While there have been great strides in the presence of people of color at the conference (through the tireless efforts of a handful of attendees who initially spoke up and organized and kept pushing for change), the percentage is still small, overall, and there is still great work to be done. At the same time, discussions about power imbalances and justice and equal rights can take place in feminist spaces. Feminism is about representation and the battle for control over bodies and psychologies, so it’s not such a huge stretch then (one would think) to inject the same awareness into issues of race and class and sexuality and other intersections where power and privilege play huge roles in the rights of marginalized peoples.
In a landscape where the mere mention of race puts people on edge, spaces where conversations about power and privilege can take place at all is where the hope is."
read the rest of the interview and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ITWD Review In Canadian Children's Book News

i've been quiet because of major life challenges lately, but briefly coming out of hiding to share this delightful quote from an upcoming review of INTO THE WISE DARK in Canadian Children's Book News...

"Neesha Meminger’s third novel, Into the Wise Dark, is rich in languid tones and emotional fragility, particularly when she’s describing Pammi’s connection to Zanum and her boyfriend  Dhan. Indeed, it is one of the best sex scenes I’ve read in a long time, describing the passion, fear, and all-encompassing joy of first love, without the clich├ęs...

[T]he novel’s lyrical rhythms give the reader a sense of history, ancient Goddess spirituality and the emotional turmoil of Pammi’s experience.

Inspired by South Asian mysticism and history...this rich tapestry of experience [shows] the multicultural reality of our modern world."

it's moments like these that help me keep moving.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

back from wiscon 36

l-r: n.k. jemisin, daniel jose older, neesha meminger, ibi zoboi,

saladin ahmed
slowly settling back into life. it's a kind of culture shock to come back to "regular" life after spending several days sequestered among like-minded, brilliant souls, discussing and debating issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, politics, current world events and, of course, writing and reading. but it's also necessary rejuvenation. i feel a renewed energy and motivation to imbue what i've learned into daily life and push forward. got a healthy dose of This Is Why Speaking Up Matters.

this year, i wanted to infuse wiscon with poc energy. not by-accident, default kind of poc energy, but consciously created spaces that were meant to celebrate the work and lives of poc. so i took it upon myself to coordinate a reading, and a launch party featuring authors of color who were releasing new work this year.

the reading went beautifully. since ibi zoboi had curated one last year, i asked her to come on board and help curate as well as read. it was a no-brainer to also solicit the brilliant designing skills of her husband, joseph zoboi, who created the gorgeous poster i put up in my last post.

there was such a lovely, supportive energy in the room during the reading, and i had to take a moment to note that here we were, five poc authors telling our own stories, whether we were traditionally published by a large, mainstream press, or a small press, or independently. we were telling our own stories. in a consciously created space, with a receptive and welcoming audience. what a revolutionary concept.

i had been worried we wouldn't have a good turnout because we didn't get to spread the word as much as i would have liked. but i needn't have. the room was full, even at 10 a.m. on a saturday morning.

the dance party was a resounding success, as well. again, i was worried about everything - would we have enough samosas? was there enough wine? non-alcoholic beverages? would people have a good time?

again, i needn't have worried. turns out that sometimes all you have to do is be the one to say, "let's do it," and others are quick to help take turns at the reins. k. tempest bradford took over the dj station and rocked the tunes all night (after some technical difficulties that kept me just shy of hitting PANIC mode), nora jemisin floated around in her corset dress and then took over clean up detail at the end of the night. mary anne mohanraj, kiini ibura salaam, and saladin ahmed picked up the samosas. alaya dawn johnson, nora, and ibi picked up the beverages and paper goods. malinda lo coordinated a raffle to give away copies of our books. *everyone* pitched in. there was a lot of love and support and joy and gratitude for community.

the party went on 'til the wee hours of the morning and even those who had early morning panels (like me) stayed as long as we could. it was beautiful. we need so, so much more of this.

i have a lot of thoughts on the panels i was on, as well as the ones i went to listen to - but i'll do a separate post for that. interesting concepts were brought up and invigorating debates were had. i especially have some thoughts on a couple of the ya panels and the cultural "inappropriation" panel, but more on that in another post.

Friday, May 18, 2012

riots of bloom


if you're coming to wiscon, join us for a celebration of authors of color and our work! we will have world beats, samosas, beverages and books to give away!!

the flyer was designed by joseph zoboi and features mini-images of the famous rioter throwing a bouquet of flowers - by the british graffiti artist, banksy.

i love this poster so much.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

this thursday, may 10th, i will join fellow authors bil wright, patricia mccormick, and paul griffin for a behind the book reading at the kgb bar in manhattan. come see us and say hello!

then, on tuesday, june 19th, i will read from Into The Wise Dark at nova bar in brooklyn. more on that soon.

oh, also? WISCON. that is in two weeks. !!!!

in the meantime, it seems we are getting all our rain quota for the year in this merry month of may. i feel like any minute now i will find mold growing on my limbs or between my fingers and toes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

it's may! we are bringing the month in with a dreary, rainy few days here in nyc, but i hear it's about to get a lot better soon. we have a super moon rising on thursday, so there's that right off the bat.

lately, i've been reading books that i want to, quite literally, HUG. i love them so much that i put them against my chest and wrap my arms around them that is how grateful i am that they have decided to enter my life now - at exactly the right moment. when i needed them the most. like, for instance, check this out:
If Holly shops the better boutiques, she's bound to notice that they sell size zero clothing, for the female of really ideal proportions. Yes, Holly will know her diet-and-exercise plan has finally worked when her body ceases to exist.
how can you not love that??? that is from martha beck's Finding Your Own North Star, which i highly recommend. i've had it for like a year, but never opened it up until now. when i first got it, something inside me must've known i needed it, but i was scared to make changes in my life. until it was obvious i needed to make changes in my life and i couldn't avoid it any more. and now that i have begun the process, this book is EXACTLY what i need. who knew? actually, i did. the part of me that's a lot smarter than i give it credit for.

also! i am writing a memoir. why? because i have a lot of shit to say that is relevant to a lot of people. just trust me on that one. more soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

When They Come For the Libraries

Amazing video from Toronto-based performer, David Hudson. When They Come for the Libraries is about the fight to keep libraries open in Toronto...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leaving Legitimacy

So, yesterday's release day was fun and exciting and exhausting. And now I have a cold, ha! Not a lay-me-out cold, so thank goodness for that.

This morning, I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school and heard that song by Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance. You know that one? It brings me to tears every single time I hear it. And I got to thinking. About my books and the trajectory of my career, and how things haven't worked out exactly as I'd thought they would.

Listening to that song and ruminating about my books made me realize that I once thought I wanted Legitimacy. I thought I wanted a spot in society that was approved of, acknowledged as solid and respectable, because I thought that's what would bring me happiness and satisfaction. And, you know, from the outside looking in, it does seem that way. It seems that those who get the stamp of Legitimacy have everything - happiness, money, fulfilling lives, excitement.

And then I got in. I was in that circle of Legitimacy. At first it was exhilarating. I was where everyone wanted to be. People envied where I was, wished they had gotten the contract/deal/call in my place. I felt like I should be thrilled, ecstatic... or at least content and satisfied. But I wasn't. I looked around and realized that Legitimacy was not all it was made out to be. There were so many cracks and tears in the veneer, and what was behind that facade was often disillusioning.

So I stepped out. I won't say it was an easy decision - it's always hard to be a walking stigma, even though that's exactly what I've been most of my life. To walk away from what everyone wants, and what everyone thinks YOU should want is very painful. But when I listened to the faint little voice inside, the one that told me what was True, I knew this was not what I wanted. That this world (and I'm not just talking about publishing here. I'm also talking about all the rules and regulations of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, classism, ableism and everything else that makes being human, and beautifully flawed, unacceptable) did not make room for people like me, and that I couldn't live by the rules set out for me.

I had to define my own happiness. I had to find success on my own terms, and it had to look like what success meant to me. Not what someone else told me it should look like.

I'm proud to say that that is exactly what I've done. With all the bumps and bruises and scars that come with taking one's own path. I plan to keep walking that path, working hard to keep my focus on what's important, and I hope to share lots more stories with folks who enjoy reading them.

Thank you, all my dear readers, for your support, warmth, and encouragement! It's not just a reading loop we have, where I write, you read and offer feedback, and I write again. It's a growth loop--an evolution loop. We share ideas, we broaden our scope of what is possible, we co-create our environment... together. I feel blessed to be able to wake up every morning (most mornings?) and do this :).

Monday, March 12, 2012

INTO THE WISE DARK Release Day!!!

SOOOO excited!!!! I feel like I've been waiting for this day for EVER!

Today is the official release day for Into The Wise Dark, heretofore known as ITWD (I like how close that acronym is to IWD - the acronym for International Women's Day :D).

Right now ITWD is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Go ahead and order your copy - it should ship within the next few days. I'm still watching Amazon.ca and Chapters/Indigo's in Canada and Indiebound and Powell's Bookstore for their listings. Those should be up and live within the next week or so.

If you see ITWD at your local indie, do let me know -- and if you don't, please ask your local indie bookstore to order a copy, or several!! :)

The e-book releases in the next couple of weeks, as well (April 3rd), so those of you who want the digital experience will be able to download a copy soooooon!!!

BREAKING NEWS: * * * As of 7:30 am today, March 13, 2012, INTO THE WISE DARK is IN STOCK at both of the above links!!!!!! * * * :D

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy IWD!


Happy International Women's Day, everyone!!

This year, IWD seems even more relevant with all the attacks on women's reproductive rights - here in the US, and abroad. Here's to women working together, in fierce unity and celebration of all our differences, toward equality and economic justice. It's the only way forward.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love

Happy Valentine's Day, all. This has never been high on the list of days I celebrate, but I do try to celebrate Love every chance I get. Below are two short audio clips from Storycorps to honor what today is about...

David Wilson talks about being black in an all-white neighborhood and coming home to find his former lover dying. David was not allowed to see his partner in the hospital, the police wanted to arrest David (because they thought he was breaking in and had assaulted his partner), and the love of his life was Dead on Arrival at the hospital. In this clip, David talks about what the legalization of same-sex marriage meant to him, and how his 80-something-year-old father saw it as a victory not just for his son, but for justice everywhere...



And here's one from Lillie Love, who says, "Love really is all there is--as trite as that sounds... When you take your last breath, you remember the people you love, how much love you inspired and how much love you gave."

Go celebrate the love in your lives!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Either Way It's Political

Polish poet and nobel prize winner, Wislawa Szymborska, died yesterday at 88. I am putting up one of her poems here to commemorate her unflinchingly honest work. It reminds me a bit of my Politics of Story post for Hunger Mountain.

I don't know much about Ms. Szymborska, but some of the work I've read by her is a stellar example of how writing heartily objects. May she RIP...

Children of Our Era  
by Wislawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Trzeciak

We are children of our era; 
our era is political. 

All affairs, day and night, 
yours, ours, theirs, 
are political affairs. 

Like it or not, 
your genes have a political past, 
your skin a political cast, 
your eyes a political aspect.
 
What you say has a resonance; 
what you are silent about is telling. 
Either way, it's political. 

Even when you head for the hills 
you're taking political steps 
on political ground. 

Even apolitical poems are political, 
and above us shines the moon, 
by now no longer lunar. 
To be or not to be, that is the question. 
Question? What question? Dear, here's a suggestion: 
a political question. 

You don't even have to be a human being 
to gain political significance. 
Crude oil will do, 
or concentrated feed, or any raw material. 

Or even a conference table whose shape 
was disputed for months: 
should we negotiate life and death 
at a round table or a square one? 

Meanwhile people were dying, 
animals perishing, 
houses burning, 
and fields growing wild,
just as in times most remote 
and less political. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Art & Activism Interview: Sarah Diemer

I am delighted to begin this new series of interviews and guest posts on art and activism. For those of you who don't know, I am doing a series of interviews and guest posts on the subject of art and activism--two topics very near and dear to my heart.

This first interview is with Sarah Diemer, who (whom?) I "met" online through a series of serendipitous connections. Actually, it was me clicking on links that led to links that led to her beautiful writing, then me clicking on "buy" and getting her book, The Dark Wife.

But before I go on and on (and on) as I am wont to do, here is Sarah in her own words!

NM: I was struck with how beautiful the language is in The Dark Wife. You have some gorgeous use of imagery and emotional layering. Can you give us a sense of what have you done to hone your craft? What would you say has been the most helpful method of improving your writing?

SD: Thank you so much, that is so kind of you to say. :) I was home-schooled my entire life, and wrote about five hours a day, every day, growing up. I read voraciously and was just so completely obsessed with the craft of writing from a very young age--I wasn't normal in that regard! *laughing* I was also co-leader of the writer's group in our city for...I think five years, six years? Working so closely with my peers and on so many different projects during that time really pushed me to be able to put out the best work I'm capable of, and to always reach for that level.

NM: Wow, that's a lot of writing! :) When did you first realize you wanted to write stories and have them published?

SD: I was six. I'd written a story about a unicorn--and illustrated it! I sat down with my little sister, who--at that time--was two, and I told her very, very seriously: I am going to be an author. *laughing* I still remember that ridiculous moment, this little girl I was, being so serious. I had that same moment again, a little more seriously, when I was twelve. I'd just written this TERRIBLE BOOK, a fictional account of WWII involving magic, and I told my mother, very seriously, "this is the first. I'm going to be a published author someday," and she knew I meant it.

NM: The Dark Wife is a retelling of the Demeter/Persephone myth. Can you tell us what led you to rewrite the story, and why you picked *this* story, in particular?

SD: As a Pagan woman, Persephone is my matron Goddess. I've been obsessed with her story since I was very small, but it upset me. She's kidnapped and raped and held against her will--hardly empowering stuff. As a lesbian woman, I began to reclaim the myth to something feminist, something that I could relate to. I truly believed that this story was open to new interpretation, that the story could and should be retold and reclaimed, so I set out to do it.

NM: I love that! I believe one key role of good fiction is the reshaping of imagination and retelling/reclaiming myths is so much a part of that. What are your thoughts about the future of publishing? Personally, I am very excited about the possibilities! :)

SD: I am, too! :) Now, more than ever before, as authors and writers, we have so many choices and so many opportunities before us. I believe that traditional publishing will never die, but I believe that the landscape of publishing before us is a new one of independent, self-publishing and traditional publishing working together. Times are changing, and it's exciting how much possibility is now presenting itself to us!

NM: I couldn't agree more. Do you have any tips or suggestions for writers who might want to go the indie publishing route, but don't know how, or are nervous to take the plunge?

SD: I always have a little difficulty answering this question, because I believe, whole-heartedly, in self-publishing, but I also don't want to sit here and yell through a megaphone that it's all tinsel and diamonds and step right up to your six figure publishing year of self-publishing bliss and unicorns. ;D Self-publishing is HARD work, and it requires a work-ethic that the puritans would have commended (oh, those puritans!), and a LOT of energy and tenacity. If you're the type of person who loves crunching numbers and designing book covers and talking about your book tirelessly and you have a very outgoing personality, you will do well with self publishing. If you're daunted by the idea of doing anything but writing/editing a book, self-publishing is not for you. So consider these things--if you believe in your story completely, think you have what it takes (and you MUST believe you can do it, what you believe is a self fulfilling prophecy in any creative endeavor!), then you do. Do it. :) Self-publishing has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done (and I lied--in my self-publishing, there ARE unicorns, but they're part of the stories. ;D).

NM: GREAT advice. Those are sage words of wisdom, dear readers. Sarah, do you think The Dark Wife could be used in a classroom setting? In what ways might the story be of use to educators?

SD: Absolutely! It's a feminist retelling of a very not-so-feminist myth, so educators could use it in feminist or mythological studies, the changing roles of women in history, or even in a creative sense, reclaiming myths and changing them to create something you can relate to. In a minority setting, it could be read and discussed, as to why it's important that queer stories are told, and why it's important that straight people read them (empathy toward minorities, etc.).

NM: You deal with some pretty heavy issues in The Dark Wife, and you might be aware that the topic of sex and violence in books for young adults is a hot button topic with passionate opinions on both sides. What are your thoughts on this?

SD: We were all young adults once, and we all know what we were thinking about/feeling. As as a lesbian teenager, I was one big roiling ball of hormones and angst and walking-drama-and-tragedy-my-straight-best-friend-will-never-know-I-love-her. Teenagers, gay and straight, use expletives, have sex, explore themselves with adventure and prose and story-telling and all of these wonderful things, and the stories that we put out that reflect them need to reflect the rich variedness of their experiences. Sex, swearing, etc. is part of the young adult experience, and they see violence in their everyday lives. If a story is stripped of the inherent truthiness of life, teenagers are going to notice, and it won't touch them. I want my stories to touch them, to reach them on the level that they're at, not try to sugar-coat their story.

NM: Speaking of speaking to teenagers, what has been the response to TDW from young readers?

SD: It's been...wow. Outstanding. Staggering. Humbling. I have been told that this little story made a girl have hope about life again. I've been told that this one young girl now had the courage to come out--something she never thought she could do--because of THE DARK WIFE. One girl read it and said she finally believed she could find a girlfriend, could now find the courage to do it. It's given hope and courage and the belief in something better to young girls, and that of all of the responses and ways that it's changed MY life, is the most rewarding, the most amazing. That my book touched people on such a deep, changing level is the most wonderful thing I could ever know. I'm so grateful that these girls told me how much it meant to them, so grateful that they were so touched, and so deeply humbled that it helped them in any way.

NM: Where can readers purchase your books?

SD: You can get them on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords in both print and eReader versions. You can find all of the links on my site, http://www.oceanid.org

NM: If you had one message you could go back in time to give to your 17-year-old self, what would it be?

SD: You're gay, and you're a writer, and you're trying to do this crazy thing: write gay girl stories that everyone will love. People are telling you that's impossible, people are telling you that because you're gay, you're less than. None of this is true. Some day, you'll find out that your stories about gay girls will change lives, and you need to keep writing them, and you need to keep believing in yourself. You're gay and you're awesome and you need to remember that when everyone else tells you differently. (And that goes for every seventeen year old [or any age] gay boy or girl reading this. <3)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blackout

I can't seem to black out this blog, so I will put a post up with links to information about the SOPA bill. Read these articles. If SOPA goes through, it will affect ALL of us. Clearly, some of the moneyed folk are getting antsy about the democratization of art and creativity. And they are scrambling to keep profits completely and strictly under their control. Do what you can to make sure the internet stays open and available, and UNCENSORED. Stop SOPA and IPA and any other act they concoct to take away freedom on the internet.

Colorlines

Google.com

Watch this great video when it comes back online

It's here, too, though - on Kelley Eskridge's blog

http://sopastrike.com/

http://americancensorship.org/

Monday, January 9, 2012

Feminisms

I just watched the Bhutto documentary on Netflix. Holy wow, was it fascinating. Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of one of the largest Islamic republics in the world (Pakistan), during some of the highest political tension in the middle east, after her father had been executed by the military regime that ousted him. And still she moved forward into the role she felt compelled to take - for the country and people she loved, in the name of a set of values and beliefs she held dear - even after her own imprisonment and her husband's, and the murder of both her brothers. She showed courage and grace, poise and a steadfast commitment to the people of her nation right to the end.

If you get a chance to watch, I highly recommend it. The archival footage is amazing and there are interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Pervez Musharraf, NY Times columnists and journalists. It makes me want to know more - and I'm embarrassed to admit I knew almost nothing before.

There was one comment a little over half way through the film by a young woman - "[Bhutto] was not a feminist." I'll admit I had to restrain myself from hurling something at the screen in that moment. Imagine being the first woman elected to office and trying to run a country, when the military officers don't want to salute a woman? She was elected twice in landslide victories by the people of the nation, and twice she was removed from her post by the military. And still she came back, despite threats, imprisonment, and the execution and public maligning of her family members. I'm sorry - I don't care how you define feminist. This lady was badass.

I won't say any more at this point, but here's the trailer for the documentary. Let me know if you watch it!:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Look for A New Year!

Happy new year, readers!! It is Armageddon Year, if the whispers I hear all about are true. If so, how exciting! If not . . . still exciting! So far, I've lived through several historical moments - 9/11, the election of President Obama (who I am currently mad at, but that's for another conversation), and now the end of the Mayan calendar. And, perhaps, the end of the very world as we know it.

But, honestly? The world as we know it really does need to end. So many things are so very, very wrong. And sometimes I wonder if the only way to address them is to wipe the slate clean and start all over. I don't mean Hollywood-disaster type annihilation. I mean a massive spiritual cleanse. Maybe we need to go on a global liver cleanse. You know - just get all that toxicity and guck out of our system and then start living right.

I am a believer in working within a structure and helping shape it into something new. Like your body - you have to work with what you've got. You can't just walk away and get a new one. I've done a lot of cut-and-running in my life and, to tell you the godz-honest truth, I always found myself exactly where I left off. I learned somewhere along the line that, eventually, you have to stop, roll up your sleeves, get elbow-deep in crap, and clean house. There's no avoiding it. You always end up right back where you started. With new insights, maybe, and new hair . . . some grays, a few more lines around the eyes . . . but always back. Because that's your journey. It's your task while you're here - you hammer away at your specific work, diligently, trying to make things right and make things fit the way they're supposed to. Sometimes you get tired and wander away for a bit - take a break. But then you come back and the work is exactly the way you left it, waiting. And you have to pick up that hammer again and start shaping your imperfect self into the perfect building block you know you can be.

But I digress! This post is about newness and new things!! Like this blog! How do you like the new look? The new title is a nod to Jeanette Winterson's book, Art Objects, a collection of essays that I loved - and taught every chance I got, and will teach again. I wanted something that spoke more to the person I have become in the years since I began blogging, began this writing/publishing journey. I wanted to incorporate some of the new things I've learned and the insights I've picked up along the way. I thought a lot about Winterson's book, and how it helped shape my thoughts around art and dissent and effecting change in the world, and I decided on Writing Objects.

Because it should. Writing, and all art, should object. It should rebel and revolt and buck and grow teeth and claws. It should gnash and growl and tear the jugular out of stagnation, out of complacency and status quo. It should shriek through the night in the name of love, justice, and the eternal life force.

I read a quote recently that I am about to mangle here, but it went something like this: Art says, "If we all agree, then I am not needed." That rang really true - art should not be about enforcing the dominant narrative. That is propaganda - public relations by the powers that be. Art wants to challenge, make us squirm, show us Possibility. It wants to ignite. That is something new . . . creation. It is the life force, and it is very, very powerful.

One of my favourite quotes from Winterson's book is, "Better to pretend that art is dumb, or at least has nothing to say that makes sense to us. If art, all art, is concerned with truth, then a society in denial will not find much in use for it."

So let us move forward in this final year of the calendar of the Mayans, those wise and eternal souls, and object. Let us continue in our quests and step sure-footedly, and with purpose, on our paths - and create. Create, create, create.

HAPPY 2012!!!