I Am, I Feel, I Love

The most important things to me are life and equality. Equality as in homeostasis, equality as in living in harmony and balance. My spirituality, which looks not much like the usual suspects, says we are all equal, all forms of life, and those of us who have the means to assist the disadvantaged should do so.
I love the circle of life, the differences in lives and being.
I love my family: the ones related to me by blood, the human family I have chosen, the furkids I have rescued.
I like challenging dichotomies.
I love social justice: feminism, anti-racism, fat pride, queer politics, animal welfare, disability rights, transgender justice, environmentalism, anti-poverty work, ad infinitum (ad nauseam?).
I adore being a teacher and changing students’ lives. I love that teaching can change the world, that encouraging any kind of critical thinking is a tiny, revolutionary act that has the potential to restructure cultural ways of knowing.
Social change is incremental. No one person…

What is Love?

There I was, innocently scrolling through my Facebook feed, when a black and white meme ensnared me. “How do you know you love someone?” it asked in deceptively casual font.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit my academic brain jumped in before my romantic nature could yawn itself into coherence. I started pondering chemicals that produce a flush of affection and mimic addiction. Something a little like this head-over-heels-romantic ditty.

Yeah, nerds got game.
I actually kind of tackled this topic in my Sociology of Family class a few weeks ago, when we discussed the social nature of intimacy. According to sociologists Hammond, Cheney, and Pearsey, a truly reciprocal love emerges from mutual vulnerability. Only when a couple (romantic or not) develops trust through mutual disclosure, vulnerability, and support, our sociologists say, can love blossom.
And everyone’s favorite psychologist, Maslow, posits we love others according to how much they fill the psychological gaps left from our ch…

The Good, the Bad... the Ex


Adulting Writer Awards

About a week ago, I received some grump-inducing news. As is my recent habit, come afternoon, I plunked down before my desktop and slapped my fingers on the keyboard. Writing time! That day, though, I glared accusingly at my computer, which, just hours ago, had delivered some pretty obnoxious information.
But slowly, peck by peck, all the while sighing and muttering angrily, I penned a little over 1000 words. After limping across the finish line, I’ll admit I felt pretty smug. I hated the world that day, and still I managed to write something.
I deserved a medal, or at least a merit badge. An author merit badge.
You know those adulting awards that show up from time to time on social media? I propose we authors have our own adulting award but for, you know, literary stuff. Given this, I have designed some awards. Please feel free to print out, distribute, or tattoo as needed.

Love Without "Love"

A friend of mine recently posted a challenge on Facebook:
Say “I LOVE YOU” without using any of those three words.
Easy-peasy, right? Not as much as you might think. Finding synonyms or metaphors for “love” isn’t a problem. Situating it within the dyad of me-ness and you-ness without using these words? A teensy bit more challenging.
Nonetheless, am I a romance author, or am I a romance author, amiright? I mean, if I can’t say “I love you” without actually saying it, what kind of romance am I writing? So. Rolling up my sleeves (it’s 95 degrees right now, so I actually just pushed my watch up a little bit), I committed to write down the first 20 “I <3 U” alternatives that fluttered like wee turtledoves into my overheated noggin. You’ll notice I decided to use first-person throughout. And yeah, maybe I cheated a little bit (“Thine?” Really?), but being a romance author also means being a tiny god of the literary world I create. (In other words, I can both cheat and absolve myself. Scor…

Short Story on Voting in 1925

I am teaching an online Race and Ethnicity course, and I asked my students to do the following:
Do some research into the history of legalized segregation in the U.S. (Here’s one story that discusses DuBois’ failed attempt in 1905 to stay in a Whites-only hotel while he was – wait for it – forming what would become the NAACP.)

Write a few sentences in the first person as an African American in 1920 or so who lives a racially segregated life. Be realistic.
Certainly because I am a benevolent teacher and not because I simply love writing short stories and making students read them (ahem), I penned a rather lengthy example for them. Because it contained some interesting information about voting rights for Black Americans in the 1920s, I decided to share it with you all. You're welcome. 
Oh and yes, I know it's problematic for a White woman to put voice to Black experiences, but in my defense, I am making this assignment first-person to get my (mostly-White) students to relate to hist…

Feminizing the Sheroes

I’ve written a bunch in the past about alpha males and how I, well, don’t quite gel with them. I mean, they’re great and all. Some of my best friends are alpha males.* But, as I might have made clear in other posts, I’m not a big fan of what sociologist R.W. Connell calls hegemonic masculinity, or the pinnacle of all things manly. As a sociologist who studies social inequalities, I just… can’t.
Contrarily, because I am nothing if not contrary, I maintain a fondness for pretty traditionally feminine women characters. I like femininity, or at least the femininity that I, a White, middle class woman, have access to. As I discussed in a recent conference presentation, I understand my brand of femininity is rooted in Whiteness, in middle classness, and in opposition to non-straight, non-cisgender, and fat and larger persons. So, yeah, the history of femme-y women shouldn’t remain unchallenged. But it’s the air I’ve breathed, the water I’ve drunk, the vocabulary I’ve wielded to express myse…