Showing posts from October, 2012

Halloween Costumes for the Authorially-Inclined

The veil grows thin between our worlds. A time of soul-chilling horror draws nigh. We can avert our eyes, we can ignore the terror turning our bones into icicles. Yet the reality remains. I refer, of course, to the agony of Halloween parties. Okay, maybe the prospects of costumes and crowds and socializing don’t shamble menacingly through your noggin like freshly-animated, flesh-craving cadavers. Nonetheless, for other authors who, like me, have mummified themselves in denial only to find Halloween soirees have snuck up behind them, below I humbly submit a few literature-inspired costume ideas. 1. Your book . Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you have to stop shamelessly promoting yourself! This can be as easy as two pieces of cardstock or cardboard slung over your shoulders like a sandwich board. The front, of course, mirrors one of your books’ covers. 2. A character from one of your novels or novellas. For me, for example, I could don some jeans, a black sh

Exercising Our SI Muscles

Do you have a vroom-vroom? No? Guess you're not as cool as sociologists. The term “sociological imagination” (SI) comes from C. Wright Mills’ 1959 book by the same name. “Sociological imagination” is, essentially, locating personal issues within their social contexts in order to further analyze them. Sociologists frequently reference Mills and the SI, not only because the concept encourages us to engage more critically with our social and cultural worlds but because Mills rode a motorcycle and made nerdy sociologists look slightly cooler. Sounds fun, right? (The SI, not the motorcycle.) Here’s the snag: We live in the U.S., which is an incredibly individualistic nation. Individual freedoms? Personal determinism? Emphasizing the rights of individuals above those of the masses? Tic, tac, and toe! As a result, we tend to address our social worlds solely in terms of individual rights and choices. If someone is in dire straits, it must be because they screwed up, right? Wh

An Open Message to the Bullies

The fatosphere lit up like a dynamite-encrusted birthday cake last week when a CBS anchor, Jennifer Livingston, addressed on air a man who wrote her a letter chastising her for setting a bad example for viewers. Her transgression? Being too fat. Her on-air response was intimate, eloquent, and powerful. She spoke of the pain his message had caused her and urged other victims of bullying to honor their own strength and worth. Shortly thereafter, Ragen Chastain, of Dances with Fat acclaim, started the Better than the Bullies Campaign , which includes videos and letters from victims of weight bullying to their victimizers. As she writes on the site, “ We are standing up, we are fighting back, we are better than the bullies . ” Like most fat kids, I was bullied during my school years. Because I support Ragen, because this is National Anti-Bullying Month, and because I kinda like me and feel somewhat eager to share the good feelings, I made my own video. My eternal thanks to Kris

Expanding Our Verbal Repertoire

I love words the way painters must adore colors and musicians cherish music notes. I honor the way they look, the dots and lines and whorls. I’m grateful for their heroic, and doomed, attempts to make concrete what is ultimately abstract and immeasurable. Their lonely collections of letters, of solidified ambiguity, of contentiousness between aural and visual, of confined epistemologies and solidified prejudices: I heart them all. If you, like me, think of each word as a weapon in your arsenal, as a different color in your painter’s palette, then you’ll appreciate what I’ve decided to do for myself. Below is a list of words I’ve encountered from time to time and yet never manage to staple to my long-term memory. Heck, maybe the public acknowledgement of my poor verbal retention will help shame me into memorizing these elusive little buggers. Fingers crossed. I grabbed these definitions from (unmarked) and Merriam Webster online (marked with an asterisk).

Trapped in Internet Addiction?, or, My New IUD

Hi, my name is Elle, and I have Internet Use Disorder (IUD). I didn't know I suffered this affliction till today, and, well, to be honest, I’m not sure I “suffer,” per se. I stumbled across this article , ironically published online, which discusses IUD (tell me I’m not the only one who finds the acronym a little—disconcerting), a new disorder freshly added to the forthcoming DSM-V . According to the article, you know you’re an IUDer when you identify with a bunch of the following behaviors: a preoccupation with the Internet; withdrawal when not in contact with your beloved Internet; spending huge amounts of time, often at the expense of other activities, online; and using the Internet to “replace” human interaction. Yes, yes, and yes. Okay, granted, I’m not superglued to my computer screen 24/7. I read a lot, thanks mostly to my beloved Kindle, a brilliant, candy-like machine that allows me to browse Amazon and buy books with the press of my finger against the screen. Just o