why there is no excuse

I was planning to do a Friday5 this week. There's been big news in the US, leading to more exciting news (our dear KB aka Veronica Mars pulled a twitter proposal on uber-lovable Dax Shepard!), but there's something else that keeps popping up in my Facebook feed, and my blog feed, and in the news, and, it seems, everywhere I look. So I'm going to talk about that instead. I apologize for being serious and somber on the Friday before a long (at least in Canada--HAPPY CANADA DAY!) weekend, but my thoughts on the subject of Paula Deen have been bouncing around in my head all week and the more I read about the controversy, the more I worry for this society my young daughter is poised to grow up in.

I'll try to keep this brief... 

I get what she did. I get the people who are upset about it. What I don't get, are the people who think it was too small and too distant an incident to fuss over. The people who say nobody is perfect, and everybody has done something they regret, and feel it should therefore be excusable. Why should we hold Deen to a higher standard than the rest of us? Because she's in the public eye. She's in a position to influence our brains and our children and our culture. That's why. Those things you've done that you regret? Odds are, they weren't okay either, but because nobody knows about them (or cares on a society-wide scale), nobody is condemning you to the level they're condemning Deen.

That's why.

Let's set aside for a moment the fact that I personally think Deen's apologies are more PR than they are sincere. Even if it was an isolated incident that happened in the past and she regrets it, as a society who has now been exposed to a concrete example of this type of behaviour, we can't just let it slide. Because the moment we excuse it in ANY FORM is the moment we let our children believe that under some circumstances, that type of thinking is okay. And it's not. It never was. Even back when it was "acceptable", it wasn't actually fine, it was just a bunch of people who were wrong and didn't know any better. That makes it something we can learn from. But it still doesn't make it okay.

If someone is truly sorry and appears to have a firm understanding as to why what they did was wrong, then I think they should be forgiven. Forgiveness is important. And yes, if Deen really is sorry, we should forgive her. But don't try to minimize what she did. Don't claim it's being blown out of proportion. That's damaging to progress. Your excuses are hindering my ability to raise my daughter in a world where she has no reason to question the fact that prejudice and racism are ridiculous and disgusting.

So please, for the sake of evolution, go ahead and forgive Deen if you believe her apologies, but don't try to rationalize what she did. Or downplay it in any way. It doesn't matter when, or where, or why. It's forgivable, but it's not okay.

pretty little recap: new season, new insanity (and a bit of the old too!)

Season Four, Episodes 1-3
Hello my lovely PLLers! I am happy to say that I'm finally all caught up on PLL! I marathoned the first three episodes and my head is still spinning! But before we dive into the juicy deets, welcome to the Pretty Little Recap 2.0 a.k.a. the less stream-of-consciousness version of the PLR. As much as I enjoyed the live-blogging format, I found it was occasionally detracting from my enjoyment of the actual show. My attention was split between the TV and the computer screen and that's not good for a PLLer who wants to absorb every last clue (but still fails miserably cause the crazy is too intense on this show!). So, as promised, the PLR is getting a makeover and I hope this new format will allow me to pay more attention to the show while I'm watching and keep this recap (of sorts) to just the good stuff :) Without further ado, here's a condensed PLR for Season Four, episodes 1-3...

This poster totally makes me think I shouldn't mess with Aria. But I'm going to anyway.

Pretty Little Highlights

1. It took 3 episodes, but Hot Caleb is back on my tv screen! (But seriously PLL, why did it take three episodes?? You're lucky I watched them all at once...) My goodness have I ever missed our resident Rosewood pretty boy/bad boy. And he was in fine form, being all noble and defending Hanna. I know these two are in a comfortable place in their relationship now, but that girl owes him some serious makeouts.

2. Crazy Mona is still being creeptastic, but in a whole new way. I don't know if I should trust the girl or not and I love that about this show.

3. Spencer isn't broken. Our dear girl Spence is back to her old self, and yes, she's back with Creeper Toby (whom I WILL NEVER TRUST), but she's also back to her quippy Spencer self (College rejections aside). I would follow her through another mental breakdown if it came to it (because she's so entertaining to watch), but I'm glad we have our jokey, generally happy Spencer back.

4. Aria has a new sorta-boyfriend! Nothing against Ezra--I really do like the guy and I'm even fine with Aria ending up with him--but that storyline was becoming so boring and repetitive. It's nice to have a new (hot!) guy on the scene to stir the pot. He's not Hot Caleb hot, but he's more than welcome on my screen.

5. Tibby is officially my third favourite liar (after Hanna and Spence, natch). That bird has style. I have to give husband credit (he never watches PLL, but my marathon catch-up session forced him to glance up from his laptop occasionally), he totally called the phone number thing before I did. But to be fair (to me), the bird wasn't even finished whistling the tune once and husband yelled out "It's a phone number!" probably because he watches a lot of TV and is suspicious of everything and randomly guesses that things are phone numbers and when you do that, there's a good chance that eventually you'll be right! At least, that's what I'm telling myself. I was more impressed with how well Tibby managed to impersonate Aly. They should just slap a blonde wig on the bird and take her to school with them!

Pretty Little Missteps (a.k.a. What Aria Did)

1. Oh Emily. I love you, girl, but seriously, taking your mom's painkillers? This is PLL, not an after school special. You need to get your shiz together. If you injured yourself, you should get your own pills (you're already lying about what happened to your shoulder) and leave it at that. Stop being silly, Emily. The Rosewood lesbian swim team community is not impressed with how poorly you're representing them.

2. Aria's wardrobe (I told you she wouldn't escape... this section is dedicated to her after all). Clearly her fashion sense isn't improving with age. Maybe new guy (blanking on his name atm) will take her shopping or at least give her some of his old gym sweats to wear. Anything would be better than that bedazzled dress she wore to Wildren's funeral.

3. And speaking of the funeral, how many times are we going to see the liars, all dressed in black, standing outside the church post-funeral, getting a simultaneous!text from A? I feel like there should be a montage of these scenes set to Graduation by Vitamin C (Because that was the first montage song that popped into my head. Yes, I know it doesn't make much sense.).

4. The Rosewood Moms are up to something... at least Ashley is. Ashely, rule #1 in being a sneaky no-goodnick is to NOT THROW YOUR MURDER PUMPS IN THE GARBAGE! You need to burn those kicks ASAP! You know your daughter is one of the queen sneaks of Rosewood aka Sneaktown and still you pull an amateur move like that! Get your act together, Ashley.

Pretty Little ZOMG WTF?!

1. The masks. Oh God, the masks. Why PLL? Why dolls and masks and other creepy things?? I can't. I just can't. I feel like the writers have a hat with terrifying plot devices and they just randomly draw one on a weekly basis.

2. One of the A-teamers decided to choke a bitch. Yes, Mona was attached. Yes, it was creepy as all get out. Though I do find myself wondering how the attacker managed to jump into the front seat and drive away so quickly after Mona hurled herself out of the car. Does this imply that the attacked is small and nimble? Or am I reading too much into it?

3. Looks like we're in for more spooky plot devices as we end episode 4.3 on an x-ray of Emily's injured shoulder (spooky) and a crackly old recording of Dem Bones (extra spooky, unless it also makes you think of cartoon skeletons dancing around... which, yeah, kinda).

That's it for this week, PLLers! This was a bit of a whirlwind recap, but now that I'm up to speed, things will be a little more focussed with only one episode at a time :)


over the hills and far away

Hello blog friends! How I've missed you! Just a quick update this evening, lest you think I dropped off the face of the earth again (note to self: stop doing that!).

There's a skunk living under our shed this summer. It's an adult, but as a general rule. aren't baby skunks cute??
Things have been busy--last week was the annual husband's birthday/father's day convergence, which meant planning, parties and presents. And cake, but that gets its own sentence cause it doesn't start with a p. And then, as if that wasn't enough busy days in a row, husband is out of town on business, leaving me to solo-parent all while taking on the homestretch of my WIP! In short, yeah, time's been tight.

The good news is, my WIP isn't really a WIP anymore--it's officially a first draft! It's amazing how productive I am when husband isn't here to cause diversions. I'm just going through and checking the formatting on file, and then it's time for the rest period, wherein I take a few days off to let my brain recharge. It allows me to approach phase 2 (revision!) with a semi-fresh pair of eyes. I highly recommend a rest period between drafts. It's like that bit of time you let your steak rest after it comes off the BBQ and I have no idea what it does, but doesn't steak taste good? :)

The second bit of good news is that PLL is back!!!! The bad news is I haven't seen EITHER of the new episodes yet. I know right? What is wrong with me?? How am I supposed to do the Pretty Little Recap if I haven't seen the episodes? Well, the answer is that I'll catch up soon and then all will be well.  You see, we recently made the decision to cancel our cable. We weren't using it very much since we watch so much Netflix and stream so many shows online, but it's made it a little less convenient for me to watch shows like PLL so I need a little time to get myself organized on that front. As soon as I do, the PLR will be back and better than ever! I have big plans for a new format that I think will make it easier for me and hopefully more entertaining for you, my dear bloggie friends.

So that's what's been going on with me. How are you?

the writer's arsenal: you are not an island

I know what you're thinking. Where's the Friday5? Right? ;) Well, I've given it some thought, and right now, I really only have time to blog once a week (I'm hoping that will change one day, but alas, truths are better accepted than denied... Whoa! Where did that come from? I've been watching too much Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones/Britishy stuff). If I blog once a week, and it's always an edition Friday5, I'll never get around to blogging about anything else! So I'm going to switch it up from time to time and do a Friday5 when there's some awesome news to report (not that there isn't this week...) and then throw in a few regular posts for variety. Today, I'm in the mood for a long-overdue edition of The Writer's Arsenal so let's get to it!

You are not an island...but you could end up on one.

I've talked before about writers vs. authors and what I personally think the difference is. In short, writers write to write, while authors write to be published (Huh. That was easy--maybe I didn't need to write that post!). Today I want to touch briefly on the subject of authors in the public space. I say briefly because it’s a topic that’s been covered elsewhere, and covered well, but I want to add my two cents because good advice bears repeating.

If you write to be published, please, please, PLEASE be mindful of the self you portray online--even if you’re not yet published. Yes, even if “nobody reads my blog anyway”. It seems simple and yet so many authors get it wrong. Famed actors will often talk about how the downside to their chosen career is the forfeit of their privacy. The reasonable ones accept it for what it is—part of the job. Others can’t seem to grasp the necessity of a public persona, go on to behave ridiculously and then blame the media for invading their privacy. Is it fair that people should have to take on the burden of being scrutinized to do what they love? No. Of course not. But if privacy is important to you, chose a career that’s not in the public eye.  Being watched is PART of celebrity and celebrity is part of the job.

Authors are also in the public eye, though to a lesser extent. Regardless, people ARE watching and so an author too must be on their very best behavior. It doesn’t matter if you’re still on the journey toward being published, a debut author, or an experienced author with many books under your hat. You must—absolutely must—mind your manners in public. And yes, in this case, public means the internet, public engagements, the line at the supermarket, etc. If people can observe your behavior, you need to make sure you give them every reason to like you and no reason to feel incensed by you. Does this mean you can’t ever let off steam? EVER? No, you can, but be SMART about it. Be diplomatic. Write opinion pieces, not rants and be wary of anything that could be too polarizing. If you feel the need to really dig in bitterly on a subject, do it in private.

How you present yourself in public is part of being an author, just as writing, marketing and sales are also part of the job. Who you are matters to your readers (and potential readers). It’s a saying you’ve heard since you were a child, but it never gets old—if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. At least not in a public arena.   

Of course, all of that is assuming you don’t want to ruin your career ;)