thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

Man, Woman, Author

A few weeks ago, while I was at the library I came across a book.  The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni.  The title alone was enough to entice me (Gwen Stacy being Spider-Man’s first girlfriend), and admittedly I only glanced at the back-cover-blurb.  Well, I attempted to read the book, getting about 2/3rds of the way in.  To be polite I’ll leave my actual opinion of the book out, but I will say it had very little to do with Spider-Man or the Marvel-verse.

The book did spark a question?  Do I dislike female authors?  Am I gender biased?  In the world of gender equality, is their authorship equality?

The first time I realized that I found female authors difficult to read was during a fantasy novel.  There were two male protagonists, brothers, who amidst the larger story began to have an incestual relationship.  Whoa!  Hold your horses!  What?!  Yes, they began getting it on, and boy did that come from nowhere.  I actually looked at the cover, because I hadn’t really thought of the author’s gender, until then.  Still stunned, I read her author bio.  And I began to think of every book I’ve read that was written by a female.  And of those, which ones I liked.  The number was somewhere in the range of 3.

So why don’t I like books written by women?  Is it because I like manly thinks, like wrestling bears and sipping from flaming bottles of whiskey?  Is it because I can’t identify with some of the ideas laid out by women authors?

Well, here’s a short list of things female authors do that put me right off:

  1. The period.  This is totally sexist.  I know a period is a common place thing in a woman’s life, and so why wouldn’t it come up.  But as a male, it’s probably something I will never comprehend.  And when I read it in a book… skip.  The gravity of this event in a woman’s life will never translate to the male’s mind.  But that only matters if you’re attempting to maintain a male and female readership.
  2. The Fantasy.  When the female protagonist breaks into some internalized thought process of how their perfect life would be, or relationship, or job, etc.  I’m pretty sure this does happen in the female mind, but as far as reading it in a book…  to a guy it just comes off as daft and fickle, because inevitably the come to learn that they didn’t want what they were wishing for.
  3. Male characters, and or repeating fallacies.  This is perhaps something where male and female authors are on the same ground.  It’s the worst thing to read a male character do something that an average male wouldn’t.  The third wall comes tumbling down.
  4. Over focusing on relationships and the ‘what does he/she think of me’ diatribe.
  5. The obligatory, someone stumbled on my/came by and I’m wearing something ugly, and my hair is a mess, and I don’t have any makeup on.

But these are only a few things.

To place myself in a position of arrogance, I feel if I was given a blind test, I could read the difference between a male and female writer.  How about you?  I have a feeling that female writers and readers have a similar opinion about male authors.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, in a comment or a post (really, I’m interested).  Do male authors do a terrible job of writing women?  Do men have men do the same things?  Maybe it’s only men who struggle with books written by women?

And men, am I being stupid or do you agree?

funny

Now I’m 35

Slowly but surely, over the last several months I’ve been getting old.  So, now that I’m 35 years old these are my new realities.

  1. I work with a 21-year-old, who in my mind I call a kid.
  2. Sometimes the kid at work will jump on a cart and roll around the concrete floors.  I imagine him falling and then think to myself, “He’s going to give me a heart attack.”
  3. Growing facial hair is no longer hip or edgy, it just means I forgot to shave.
  4. It’s a good assumption that if I’m tired in the morning, it’s because I didn’t get to bed by 10, not that I was up till 4.
  5. Alcohol is purchased for often to relax than wind up and party.
  6. I look at high school kids and pretty much shake my head at everything about them.
  7. I also mistake high schoolers for middle schoolers.  College kids for high schoolers.  Etc, etc.
  8. And finally, often when I see kids doing or talking about something, I think, “When I was your age…”

I used to type on a keyboard this big:

keyboard

P.S.

Don’t forget:

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The ebook is free till March 8th

Surprise

Get Awesome!

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It;s my birthday! And coincidently, it’s time for Absolute Power: Book1: Origins to hit the second line of distribution in its ebook format.  Which means for the next two weeks you get another chance to download the book for free.

It’s on Smashwords, and eventually will be in other channels once it gets processed.  Share, like, link or gift it.

Anger

5 Things that make me irrationally annoyed

Knowing full well that some of you may be culprits, here we go:

  1. People who have to reverse into parking spaces.  Exception: Big truck, except in urban California; UNEXEPTABLE!  You are not a getaway driver.  You will not need to take off at a moment’s notice.  And I’m tired of waiting for you to park.  Worse, is people who reverse into diagonal parking.  It’s designed to for easy entrance and exit already.
  2. Flyers stuck on my car window.  And the inevitable debate, am I now responsible for this litter?  Do I have to find a trash can or leave it in my car until I clean it out?  Why aren’t these people held responsible for the litter?  And no, I won’t get a message from you, you litterer!
  3. Fast food people who assume what I want.  No, not BBQ sauce, Buffalo!  No, no lettuce.  Take your hand out of that bin, Subway lady!  Let me tell you what I want before press the buttons, then look annoyed when you have to start over.  I swear this happens to me all the time.
  4. People who stand in an aisle blocking passage.  Whether they’re oblivious or don’t care it’s all the same.  Multiplied when I go back and take the long way around, only to have them move on to block this new aisle.
  5. Diet debate.  Or the, “You shouldn’t eat that,” statement.  What’s good for you, may not be good for me.  What’s bad for you, may not be bad for me.  Unless you’re a scientist or Doctor who knows my medical history keep it to yourself, because it’s mostly opinion and marketing.

And the runner ups: Hulu, when its technical problems with commercials prevent me from watching a show.  Wordpress for making me type in the very tiny text box.  And $230 a month for health insurance, when I barely get by as it is.

What about you?  Have any of your own?

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Nearly in every relationship I’ve been in I’ve been accused of creating self-fulfilling prophecies.  So, I was bemused when the power went out Sunday at 3pm.

The week before I had come up with a plan to get me back into creativity.  I was going to bore myself.  This entailed not drinking and no TV.  And for some very long nights I stared at the wall.  But when Friday came, I began to feel the urge to work again.  Saturday I sat and worked for a few minutes, afraid to push it too far.  Afterwards, I felt ready, so bought some booze to celebrate.  Then Sunday rolled around and I had my plan.  I started with replying to comments.  I went to the library.  I bought some iced coffee in preparation to get to business and as I’m getting out of my car, my roommate tells me the power is out.

At 3pm the city turned the power of to the homes along one specific street.  Go in any direction and there was electricity, except where I live.  If I wanted to bore myself into working, this was it.  Worse was the waning light; soon I wouldn’t be able to read or write.

So till midnight, like an angsty teenager, I sat in the dark listening to music and drinking.  On the other side of the wall, my roommates sat in the living room, lit by half-melted candles and cell phones.  When I became tired of music, I’d listen to them talk.  By the standards of any middle-class American, these are not good people, but as we all know, the closer you look at the demographic– at the individual– you begin to see the better qualities.  So, in this curious fashion, I listened.

I heard the crazy lady talk about the time she grabbed a butter knife and ran around the streets screaming until the police picked her up.  I heard about one of their car’s getting shot up because their passenger thought it would be funny to flash a gang sign.  They talked about the local boys with M-16s, and how they kept the neighbourhood safe.  The four of them, ex-cons and drug users, crazies and addicts, were starting to bond.  They talked about the problems they were having with the landlord.  And then the police show up looking for one of them.

And after the police leave, it turns into all hell.  The one they were looking for starts accusing people of ratting him out.  The shouting starts.  I turn my music back on and think, life is not a movie.  In a movie, they would have become good friends, but for all I know in the next few minutes one of them is going to stab the other.  I wanted to think/believe that people change, but we are all inevitably drawn back to a pattern; one that was formed long ago.  And sadly, I think, it could have all been different if with a different childhood.  They are set on the permanent hard road, easier to stay the course than change directions.

At midnight, I go to sleep.

Sometime around 7 or 8 in the morning, my roommates begin to wake up to the knowledge that the power is still out.  An argument starts about who’s drugs belong to who.  I put some earplugs in and try to go back to sleep.  Then at noon I’m woken again as the power comes on.  And like some primal celebration every one of my roommates begins blasting their own music.  So, I get up, get dressed and go get some fast food.  And as I’m walking past people and into the restaurant I feel as though I’m holding a sign: I survived.  I look around and for some reason expect an applause, though I doubt anyone knows a few dozen houses down the street went without power for nearly 24 hours.

Isn’t odd how we feel like we should receive some kind of accolade or award for our suffering?  Or that in a way, we revel in the memory of the most horrible things that have happened to us; constantly talking, thinking and writing about it.

To really punctuate this thought process, as I sat waiting for my food, I started listening to a conversation between a guy and a girl.  And the guy says, “I don’t have either of my grandparents,” in a way to show he understands loss.  And the first thing I think is, “Lots of people don’t have grandparents.  I don’t have a mom.  I have friends that lost both their parents.  I have friends who never had parents.  So what!”

Then one of my biggest topics of internal debate comes:  Is one person’s suffering any greater or lesser than another’s, no matter what the trauma?  Some people can handle certain things, and some people can’t handle other things.  Some people have a stronger connection, and some people couldn’t care less.

This thought process then triggered the bigger rule that I try to follow.  You are who you live.  And if you live, think and act something, you are that something.  If you let your life revolve around your suffering and trauma then you will only be that suffering and trauma.  You will only ever be that person who had that thing happen to them.  You will be trapped there, both bound by it and never letting go.  You do not get to pass go, you do not get to move on to survivor status.

As for me and my life, time and time again I see the proof.  The instant I decide to push forward, to solve the problems without letting the problems become me, magic happens.  For those of you who read this blog, you know my car broke down in January.  And as I began to develop my plan for getting things to work out, my boss pulls me over to the side and says that he’s going to tow my car to a shop and help pay for the repairs, and give me a dollar raise.  I’m not a religious person, so I can find no sense of events from an almighty being, but I have been told that I create self-fulfilling prophesies.  So when on Monday, I decided I wanted to write and paint again, to make a path out of this hole and out of this crack den I’m living in, I was bemused today when my boss gave me another dollar raise.