Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I don't normally send out political mailings because we all have too much email flooding our mailboxes, but the right to marry affects me very personally so I am asking for your help.
In my own life I've experienced the devastating effects of homophobia. I didn't come out a a lesbian until I was 35 so I had years of life experience and could withstand any discrimination, judgments, or hatred directed at me. But my children were vulnerable and suffered in ways that were heartbreaking.
I know that extending the right to marry to gays and lesbians won't end all discrimination and pain for gays and lesbians and their families, but I am sure that it is a crucial step. I believe that if the right to marry is extended to gays and lesbians that we will save lives--gay youth will be able to visualize a healthy, loving future for themselves. We will support the children in gay and lesbian families. And we will afford respect to gay and lesbian couples.
My partner, Janet Bryer, and I have been together for 25 years, through raising children, through good times and bad, through sickness and health. It's still hard for me to comprehend how some people assume they have the right to regulate other people's hearts. But right now the polls say that voters are about equally split on this issue. And the anti-gay forces are pouring money into it. No On 8, the campaign to defeat the ban on marriage, is in serious need of funds. For many of us, the bulk of our efforts--both monetary and time--are going into the presidential election. This is certainly true for me. But if we all make even a small donation to the No on 8 campaign, it will add up to a significant contribution.
Whether you are gay or not, whether you live in California or not, whether you even believe in the institution of marriage or not, this is a critical time to defend equality for all people.
To contribute online, please go to Equality California.
Or send a check to:
NO on 8 – Equality California
Attn: Leanne Pittsford
2370 Market St, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94114
Thanks for your help. If each person who receives this email sends $25, that would be over $50,000! If you don't have $25, please send $10 or $5. And of course if you can send $50 or $100 or more, that would be terrific.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for making a contribution. Thank you for your integrity and your support.--Ellen
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This book was my baby for so long it feels weird (and wonderful) to have it out in the world for other people to experience. If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think. If you have a Bay Area book group who wants to read it, I'm happy to visit as a guest.
To read about it, look at the blurbs on the left, or click here and here and here for more.
You can go to your local bookstore to buy it. If it's not on the shelves, any bookstore can order it.
You can also purchase it through Vanilla Heart Publishing and on Amazon.
Keep an eye on my blog for annoucements of Bay Area parties and readings, as well as a Book Party in L.A.!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
and same with Lindsay Lohan, perhaps they will both be able to find some centeredness and happiness within the insanity of celebrity culture.
At the very least, all this coming-out of celebrities is great for queer kids and societal progression.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Also, there's a video on youtube analyzing the issue:
"Move over Holden Caulfield --- there is finally a female character who is not afraid to tell us what it really is like the moment you leave the safety net of your home and your parents’ inquiring eyes. For the May Queen by Kate Evans is a powerful new debut novel that is destined to secure a place in bibliophile mania, equal to that of Catcher in the Rye.
"I did something I rarely do and that is fell in love with Norma Jean Rogers, the central character after reading the opening lines. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked, so hooked, I didn’t put the book down until I was finished.
"Norma is a young woman who is off to college and on her own for the first time in her life. She is fearless in her pursuit of discovery of self. Her sense of bravado makes her human and believable as she teeters along that fine line between girlhood and womanhood, and between throwing away the last inhibitions when one suddenly decides that ‘I am an adult.’
"Within a few hours after her parents leave her with bag and baggage at the dorm, Norma is on the floor with three strangers in her underwear. From there it goes on a wild and fun ride through the growing pains of womanhood, life and friendship. The first chapter is full of getting to know Norma and her menagerie of friends who are all memorable in their own right. But it doesn’t stop there and we are continually introduced to new characters who breeze in and out of Norma’s and her other friends’ lives.
"The novel reads like a fine memoir, is often poignant, often funny, and never dull. Yes, there are sex scenes, drinking, wild parties, and an occasional high, but they are done so tastefully, and so honestly, that even as a parent of teenage girls, I have no qualms about them reading the story because I want them to read what young people face in the real world, and perhaps see that growing up is also about making decisions, right or wrong, good or bad, but they are your decisions and choices to make.
"Although the novel is set in the early 1980s, ever decade is a tumultuous era, and even more so, this first decade of this new millennium. I venture to say that throughout history, leaving home has never been more honestly and thought provokingly written about. Taking the steps to achieve adulthood is like riding a roller coaster. Kate Evans is a writer extraordinaire with an equally amazing storytelling voice. For the May Queen is a must read and a book that you won’t be able to put down."
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
He read two short pieces then took questions. The first piece he'd forgotten to bring but was able to read off his i-phone! He thanked Steve Jobs afterward. That piece was a hilarious one about a guy who, like an idiot, cheats on his hot girlfriend, who catches him by reading his diary. The speaker claims the diary is the start of his new novel, but the jilter girlfriend doesn't buy it. The second piece Diaz read was an excerpt of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Both pieces were in second person. He talked a little about how writing in second person is unnatural and therefore a good challenge for a writer. He also said second person voice pulls in and agitates the reader, which he said is good. Writers want to do both. (One of the first pieces I ever read in second person was the title story in Pam Houston's first book.)
During the Q&A, Diaz talked about how much he loves reading comics and Manga, and he recommended one called The Drifting Classroom, which is now on my reading list because he called it "amazing."
He also talked about the government bail-out of Wall Street and how disgusting it is that almost a trillion dollars is suddenly available for the big capitalists, but not for schools who have been asking for money "for forever."
Several times he slammed his father as "the biggest asshole ever . . . really!" and talked about machismo and patriarchy as a stain on society. He said male writers can work to create alternative masculinities. It's very harmful, he said, to keep inside the anger against those who have harmed us. Instead, he said we need to work on healing and cultivating compassion. Even though his father's a "big dick," as he put it, he said he has forgiven him.
What can I say? This guy's an original. He's the real deal. Too bad he can't run for President since he was born in the Dominican Republic. But he's doing great things with his art, teaching and speaking. Don't miss him if he's speaking in your 'hood.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It was fun. But of course there was a technical snafu partway through. And I had a cold so you can hear my mouth-breathing! (Next time, I'll force myself to say "um" and "you know" less...it's hard to take the California girl out of the California writer.)
But other than that, I enjoyed it. Hope you do too!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Then, a woman who'd read the first chapter of my novel contacted me through facebook to do an interview. She wrote this wonderful piece--and incorporated a book giveaway.
One of my goals this year has been to try to be more compassionate, more in the moment, more consciously aware that every person I come in contact with has a whole, rich life and life story.
I'm teaching 4 classes which means I see about 100 students each week--plus colleagues, PR events for my book, social events, and so on. I come into contact with a lot of people. It's easy to be distracted. It's easy to be thinking about the next thing when I'm doing something. But being with the people I'm with when we're together a challenge that, when I meet it, is incredibly rewarding.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Click here to listen in. And there's a number on the site where you can call in to chat.
If you like, you can read the first chapter of my novel beforehand by clicking here. That way you can ask an embarrassing question like "Did this really happen to you?"
**** *** *** ***
I'm in the Hillary & Sarah club (okay, I don't really mean that)...BUT: Did you know I'm a Woman In Charge? Check it out.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"Slacker Uprising" takes place in the wake of "Fahrenheit 9/11," during the run-up to the 2004 election, as I traveled for 42 days across America, visiting 62 cities in a failed attempt to remove George W. Bush from office. My goal was to help turn out a record number of young voters and others who had never voted before. (That part was a success. Young adults voted in greater numbers than in any election since 18-year-olds were given the right to vote. And the youth vote was the only age group that John Kerry won.)
What I encountered during the tour and the filming was both inspiring and frightening, so I thought, hey, this might make for a funny and enlightening movie! Each night, thousands would show up to volunteer in the Slacker Army against Bush. This drove local Republicans nuts. In one state they tried to have me arrested. At two colleges, rich donors offered to donate more money to the college if they would ban me from campus. Nearly a half-dozen universities kept the Slacker Uprising tour off their campuses. But there was no stopping this movement. By the time we got to Florida, 16,000 people a night were showing up.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I'm glad I get to meet them both twice during this academic year. Mark and Paul are going to be at AQLF in October, and they'll be in San Jose on my campus in the spring.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Advice For Women Beginning In Politics: "If you work hard and keep your nose clean, you too can have a rich, powerful man come and whisk you off to Washington."
Beauty Contest Victories: 1984 Miss Wasilla, 1984 Miss Alaska, 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential Nomination
Unwed Pregnant Teens Receiving Funding From Palin Administration: 1
General Political Philosophy: Chestnut brown with amber highlights
Helen went through testing but was determined medically ineligible to donate a kidney to Savilla.
Their brother Frank in Baltimore would like to begin the testing, but his health insurance won't cover anything related to organ donation.
Currently, Savilla is on the kidney transplant waiting list. But the wait is an average of 8 years. 8 years that Savilla doesn't have.
Here are some of the monthly supplies that Savilla needs to stay alive.
If you have any questions or would like to help, please visit the Savilla's Hope Foundation page by clicking here or send a Paypal donation here: info@SavillasHopeFoundation.org.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'll also be reading on Saturday with Judy Doenges and Elliott Mackle.
For the rest of the schedule for this outstanding event, click here.
Speaking of queer writers, 80-year-old Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of one of the greatest children's books of all time, just came out in a quite sad New York Times interview. He's in deep grief after the recent death of his partner of 50 years.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "token hire."
If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."
Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."
If you grow up in Hawaii you're "exotic."
Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're the quintessential "American story."
If you name your kid Barack you're "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."
If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're "reckless."
A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."
If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African American voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.
If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.
If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people you are an "arrogant celebrity".
If you are a popular Republican female candidate you are "energizing the base".
If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions you are "presumptuous".
If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a "shoot from the hip" maverick.
If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are "an elitist-out of touch" with the real America.
If you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of Annapolis, with multiple disciplinary infractions you are a hero.
If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign,> you are an "empty suit".
If you are a part time mayor of a town of 7000 people, you are an "experienced executive".
If you go to a south side Chicago church, your beliefs are "extremist".
If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man made, you are "strongly principled".
If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
If you have been married to the same woman with whom you've been wed to for 19 years and raising 2 beautiful daughters with, you're "risky."
If you're a black single mother of 4 who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.
But if you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.
If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you "First dog."
If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you "beautiful" and "courageous."
If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.
If you have an abortion you're not a Christian, you're a murderer (forget about if it happen while being date raped.)
If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.
If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
McCain once excoriated the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his ilk as "agents of intolerance." That he took such a position gave his opposition to similar intolerance in Islam credibility. In light of his more recent disgraceful kowtowing to the Christian right, McCain's animus against fundamentalist Muslims no longer looks consistent. It looks bigoted and invidious. You can't say you are waging a war on religious extremism if you are trying to put a religious extremist a heartbeat away from the presidency.
* You are a talented writer [but] memoir has become a difficult genre to place.
* We found your memoir to be quite well done . . . but feel it would be a very tough sell to commercial publishers.
I never received the following comment, although the fact that Harrelson did makes me wonder if this has been a subtext of some of my rejections:
* We’ve just done a rash of lesbian memoirs so have to work on other things.
A RASH of lesbian memoirs? Where is this rash, on someone's face? It's certainly not in the market.
She also writes that she read an article in Writers' Digest about gay and lesbian writing in which an editor said that "[LGBT] Writers have little aptitude to be truly dangerous or daring." Hello? What about Edmund White? Rafael Campo? Dorothy Allison? Mark Doty? Jeanette Winterson? Les Feinberg? Marilyn Hacker? I could go on listing hundreds of these "anomalies."
And you know these are just the people who've been published. What about all the amazing, surprising stories other queer people have to tell? Saying the coming-out story is singular and overdone is like saying no straight love story has been necessary since Romeo and Juliet.
I do understand that sometimes the coming-out story takes a cliche tack. This is due to bad writing, though--not to the ridiculous (and probably homophobic or heterosupremacist) notion that there are too many queer books flooding the market.
Read the rest of Harrelson's entry to see everything she has tried to get her book out there.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
***UPDATE: I had heard rumors that the Palin banning books story may have been exaggerated, yet I still wrote the previous entry because I thought it was funny--and because, whether or not Palin banned specific books, her radical right-wing anti-intellectual blather deserves to be satirized.
I thank Christine for pointing me to this site that states the truth about the Palin book-banning thing. And that "truth" is rather freaky:
According to Anchorage Daily News, Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin asked librarian Mary Ellen Baker if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so. Baker's reply was that she would definitely not be all right with it. When questioned about this Palin called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head "about understanding and following administration agendas." Baker resigned shortly before Palin began her second term.
Maybe, though, this is all beside the point and this kind of thing and this kind of thing are more important to pay attention to. Oh, and this.
NOW! In an exclusive to this blog, Sarah Palin explains why she requested the following books be banned:
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: "For a book about dying there's no prayer or heaven or hell! Or that's what I've been told by people who've read it."
Carrie by Stephen King: "I was disturbed by the cruel girls who dumped pig blood on Carrie because they were too much like me . . . I mean King is the anti-Christ."
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer: "People are fooled into thinking this book is a classic. It's just plain smutty, that's what it is!!! Or that's what I've been told by people who've read it."
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite: "How dare they live in sin! Wait a minute, I don't believe in same-sex marriage. Um . . . ."
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: "See As I Lay Dying."
East of Eden by John Steinbeck: "While I like the idea that Eden has an East, which suggests Alaska is the Eden of the U.S., which it certainly is--the book is blasphemous because it's about Eden but contains no Adam and Eve. The movie wasn't too bad, though."
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: "'Potter' sounds too much like 'potty.'"
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: "Huckleberry Finn broke the law by aiding a runaway slave! Do we want a felon to be a role-model for today's youth?"
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: "This book is totally inappropriate because it's about a young man obsessed with breasts. See: 'really love your peaches want to shake your tree.'"
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: "Two words: Homo-sexual."
Lysistrata by Aristophanes: "This very, very, very old play (not that I have anything against the aged) has two strikes against it: It's a woman's obligation to engage in intercourse with her husband whether she want to or not! And, I hear this play is anti-war."
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara: "Horses should not be shot like they're moose or something!"
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: "The public libraries are trying to undermine all American stands for by sneaking in books by foreign Russians."
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: "Jack Nicholson is not in it."
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective: "Reading this will encourage teen out-of-wedlock pregnancy."
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs: "This author neglected to include Creationism for fair and equal treatment."
The Color Purple by Alice Walker: "Even though I couldn't find it, I've been told there's lesbianism in here. And by black women to boot!"
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: "Now, I'm really not against this book. I think it's an excellent vision for the future. I can't remember why I wanted to ban it, but I take it back."
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: "This book is as anti-Christian as they get. There's even a character named 'Boo.'"
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff: "Too many unnecessary words."
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I'm now very honored to be part of Woman-Stirred. Come over and say hi.
It's been exciting and a little nerve-wracking to publicly offer up the first chapter of For the May Queen. I guess I better get used to it because the book's at the printer. My publisher has bumped up the publication date to September 20!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
She actually did very well at the beginning as she talked about family and made jokes like, "What's the difference between a soccer mom and a pitbull? Lipstick."
But when it came to other things, like policy, experience, plans for the country--well, she sounded a little like a teenager in a gymnasium running for student body treasurer. She dissed Obama left and right and came off as bitter, snarky, desperate and even a little bored in the second half when she had to talk about McCain...or maybe she was just overwhelmed by the whole thing.
Of course, playing the "I'm just a regular person and he's an elitist" has worked wonders in our anti-intellectual country for a long time, so why stop now?
Not for one second do I think the McCain-Palin team is unelectable. And even if they are, consider what novelist Jane Smiley wrote:
It ... may be that the Republicans have their vote stealing operations fully functional and the current election is simply a sham. ... [If so], we WILL get McCain and Palin, and if we do, the decline of the US under Bush will turn into a collapse under McCain.
Update: I liked this analysis.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Also, if you order through VHP, you support a small press. VHP reminds you that For the May Queen makes a great birthday and holiday present for all the readers on your list!
To order: Click here or here
or on the book image to the left to order.
(PS: Keep an eye on this blog for free excerpts of the novel, and also for dates, times and locations of book parties, readings, book signings and other shenanigans.)
Jayne's first novel and first poetry collection appeared this year.
After I read Jayne's novel, I admired her writing so much I asked her if she'd consider writing a blurb for my novel. She was generous enough to do so. Cool beans.