Into December 2016

I can’t believe how fast the year is going.  On the one hand, 2016 has been such a crappy year (for any number of reasons – both personal and external), that’d it be good riddance. On the other hand, I’m not sure if we’re supposed to look forward to 2017.

November was terribly strange, to say the least – the least of which was Election Day’s outcome.   In all honesty, my blog post from that time, during the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016, was trying to process that whole thing.  We need more people to vote and be active citizens, but I so don’t agree with the decision that arose from this Election Day.  I’m trying to respect and empathize with those who voted differently than I did, but I get the feeling that they’re not empathizing with those of us who disagreed with them – those who feel afraid and are about to be marginalized (and who have been marginalized as it was).

Everyone needs help and we’re all oppressed by fears and problems; how will everyone get help or can help each other?  Do we even want to help one another, or just some people?  (are we even candid enough to admit that we might feel that way?).

There are a lot of existential questions out there, after all.

So, I struggled with the balance of trying to go through stages of assimilating the current events, and trying to stay committed to what I’ve cared about – like, my writing.  National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) continued, but work and life really made it hard for me to keep fiction writing.

I managed to get to 50k words before midnight, on 11/29/16.  I really didn’t feel 50k was going to happen either, since this month has been so… well, what it has been.

Anyway, so from participant:

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200

to reaching the goal of 50k words:

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

My project for this year’s NaNoWriMo was another attempt at a revision/continuation of my superhero story, but more of “a novella in short stories” idea, with “Variations of Masquerade” as the working title.  I ended it at around 51387 words or so (according to the MS Word count), and with the words “to be continued,” since it didn’t really end. But, with a little bit of time and plunging in, even when I didn’t really feel like writing, I got something more than I did for months of not-fiction writing at all.

What I really like about NaNo is that spirit of support – writing can very solitary, but sometimes, it doesn’t have to be.  And, yeah, while the idea of NaNoWriMo is about reaching a goal of 50k words, the real idea is to write at all.  It’s like marathoning – yeah, you should run 26.2 miles to win, but trying is still pretty awesome.  So, to all the WriMos / NaNo’ers – we did it again!

And, I wish we as a nation could learn to be more supportive and less polarized.  We’re facing a rather unpredictable future, and for the sake of the nation, it’d be nice if we can figure this out together.

On to December…  I have a lot of reading to catch up, and other tasks (that continuing war against clutter is not being waged by itself).  Lots of cool movies to watch, and so maybe December will be better. Maybe!

(cross-posted at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

Election Day 2016

People have died for the right to vote in this country; American women didn’t have it until 1920. The right to vote means something.

I voted. I don’t agree with these few signs in the neighborhood for the Republican candidate, but presumably even these neighbors exercised their right to vote (let alone their right to free speech). Not thrilled at all about my vote for NYS legislators (ugh), but I was firm that I voted right for my federal legislators and the executive branch.

But, at this hour of Election Night, or the wee hours of the day after, I guess I’m trying to keep perspective.

The tough part of governing is always the issue. Can we hear each other out, put aside the pettiness, and be able to effectively work together? I’ll plead with us all here about that, whatever will happen going forward.  And remember: breathe. I’m trying to do my own meditative pause.  Let’s see what happens next.

(cross-posted at sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

Happy Halloween 2016!

Happy Halloween! (or for some of us: National Novel Writing Month Eve!). May you have the sincerest pumpkin patch! (to quote Linus, from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comics).

Let me get on the soap box for a moment: as we get closer to Election Day, please do not forget to vote. I’ll point to the ABA’s site on Vote Your Voice. This election season has been horrific, but this does not mean that you do not have a civic responsibility. The system is only as “rigged” as it is because we the people don’t take responsibility to do what’s right.

By the way, that doesn’t mean that you get to vote twice, as with this bizarre story, reported over at Slate about how this lady allegedly voted twice out of fear that her vote was going to be counted for Hillary Clinton. She was so afraid that the system was “rigged,” she self-fulfilled a prophecy by voting twice and rigged the system herself because she was NOT supposed to vote twice.

Fear is speculative; don’t make  a bad situation worse. Sigh. This would be funny if it wasn’t stupid, assuming this story is even true at all (I’m hoping it isn’t, but…?)

So, yeah, spooky Halloween all right.

The latest late October revelation about Clinton e-mails, with its knowns and unknowns, is something that Hollywood couldn’t have written (I think so, anyway, but what do I know?).  I’m disappointed in Americans (the so-called undecideds, anyway) for taking this out on Hillary, when there are too many unknowns about this. Otherwise, let the FBI figure this out, you know, with a warrant. Figure out facts, not speculation, of which there’s too much. I don’t want to hold it against FBI Director James Comey (I’m glad that I don’t have his job).

But, (a) this is NOT Watergate; (b) you can’t tell me that voting for a Republican candidate who can’t even be honest about his basic charitable giving, or how he treats women, is somehow “better.” And, (c) focus on having a Congress that does its job. Don’t get distracted and don’t let this stop you from voting.

(as a sidenote: even John W. Dean in today’s NY Times says that the Clinton e-mail situation is not comparable to Watergate, and he ought to know, having been the former White House counsel involved at the time!).

Frankly, I don’t know what people are thinking. Nothing seems to matter anymore – not that the Republican candidate probably treated women terribly and lied about his charitable donations (as in, he gave far less than he exaggerated about giving). Slate’s Jamelle Bouie said it this way, which I’m very sympathetic:

The folk theory of American democracy is that citizens deliberate on the issues and choose a candidate. That is false. The truth is […] that that voters are tribalistic. Their political allegiances come first, and their positions and beliefs follow. [….] When it comes to elections—or at least, presidential elections—this leads to an important conclusion: What a candidate believes is less important to voters than his or her partisan affiliation. [….] Simply having the nomination is sufficient to put anyone in firing distance of becoming president, regardless of larger circumstances or events or personality deficiencies. There are still battles to fight, but they happen on the margins and involve a small share of voters. This polarization is so strong, in fact, that it renders the gaffes and incidents of recent elections almost irrelevant.

So, as much as I’d like to think that people would deliberate (as in, think rationally), they probably won’t. Facts? Nah. Personally, I think it’s barely party affiliation, really, but I’ll concede to Bouie’s analysis that we’re in a pretty partisan condition at this point. So, maybe the e-mails won’t hurt Hillary as far as the election is concerned. But, they won’t help in the long run.

I wish people could just put aside the pettiness after Election Day and focus on proper governing. But, that’s probably wishful thinking on my part. The gridlock and do-nothing will probably continue and we’ll go to hell in a handbasket. Or maybe a miracle might happen.

After all, hey, Chicago Cubs won Game 5 yesterday, in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, preventing the Indians from winning the World Series at Wrigley Field. Who knows what can happen? I’d rather have nice distractions than post-apocalyptic scenarios, though.

Meanwhile, here’s hoping that this crazy election season mobilizes Latinos and Asian Pacific Americans to be engaged. AALDEF will poll APA voting and watch out for problems.

First-time voters might feel a little disappointed, since this isn’t exactly an uplifting election, but there are still lots of reasons to vote, as this op-ed by Emma Roller over at the NY Times points out (I liked how the article quoted the people who do not take voting for granted). Here’s a thing: voting is disappointing; it can be exciting, but you don’t always get what you want. Plus, after voting comes governing – and nothing is easy. Don’t take anything for granted. But, hey: breathe!

BTW, I found this fascinating profile on Ronny Chieng, the Daily Show’s correspondent, on his take on becoming more engaged as an Asian in America, after he did his takedown of the offensive FOX News man-on-the-street bit in Chinatown. (Chieng was a law student in Australia before he went to comedy; apparently, there really is a path other than the law). (h/t Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA)‘s post on its Facebook page).

In the meantime, FC and family are in California. And the NAPABA Convention 2016 is in San Diego this week (so… stay tuned: I might wind up posting a “Not in San Diego” post the next couple of days).