Let’s share with the world our experience of having lived through the atrocity that was the 2016 Election, and what we are doing to ensure Cheeto Stalin is a one-term President.
Why a book?
David France, a gay journalist who lived through the HIV crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, recently released his book on the topic, How to Survive a Plague.
A journalist asked him:
“Is passing on history, as in writing this book, an important part of knowing how to respond in crisis times like these?”
“We have to create those stories and pass those stories along. What we're left with is a lot of the literature that was written in the middle of the plague, which is all wonderful and powerful, but it's literature about what the virus did to America, not what activism did to the virus. That's the story I wanted to tell—the story about how people responded and what they did and how doing what they did made a difference. How did they gain power? How did they infiltrate these hostile environments and hostile systems and turn them around? What did they leave behind? What legacy did they leave behind? That legacy is a blueprint for how to do it in the future. That's the story I wanted to tell.”
Okay, got it?
Do you want to participate? Here are some questions to think about:
What was your state of mind leading up to Nov. 8, 2016? Was this your first time voting Democrat, and if so, why now?
Describe your experience on Nov. 8, 2016, and the following days (ex. fallout with relatives).
What perspective have you gained? How has been your call to action?
Email your story to email@example.com. Also include your age, city/state, occupation.
*Are you an artist or a poet? I would love to include your work, too. Let’s talk.
* You will need to sign a release form if your story is picked.
*All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood.
*Yes, I have the background to pull off this thing, and that’s all I can say without sounding self-promotional.
*No, I do not have a publisher on the hook, but that’s never been a problem for me before.
*You don’t have to be the best writer in the world to participate. Grammar Nazis have already volunteered their services for this project. You’re in good hands. (If you are also Grammar Nazi and would like to volunteer, let me know).
*We don’t have to print your real name, but I would like to print everyone’s real age, location, and occupation, as it provides readers some background on the narrator.
WE ARE GETTING OUR BOOK PUBLISHED!
No BS. No playing around. This is happening.
So submit, submit, submit!
You might be thinking, “What are you going to be doing, Erin, while we’re spilling our souls out on paper?”
I’ll tell ya—I will be editing your work, and as editor, it is not my job to rewrite your story, nor would I want to. Your voice is unique and needs to be heard, which is why I kicked off this project. I encourage you to be creative, but in case you have never taken a creative writing course, here are a few basic guidelines:
Do not double space between sentences. Double-spacing is old school.
Choose a tense and stick with it.
“Show, don’t tell.” Google that phrase if you do not know what I mean.
Adverbs are not your friends. Use them sparingly.
Same goes with cuss words.
Insert line-breaks between dialogue when you are moving between multiple speakers, and 85% of the time, attribute the dialogue.
Do not capitalize every letter in a word LIKE THIS. Do not bold words.
Oxford commas are always required.
Semi-hyphens are never required. There’s a hilarious Kurt Vonnegut quote about semicolons that I won’t post for fear of the PC Gestapo.
Try not to finish sentences with a preposition like I did in the eighth sentence of this post.
Finally, you are free to ignore all the shit I just listed bc no one should tell you how to write. Google Stephen King’s tips on writing and he will tell you the same thing.
People keep asking about deadlines—I would really like to have everything in before Christmas so I can spend my break fawning over your amazing, kick ass stories.
And again, thank you all for agreeing to contribute. This will be something we can pass down from generation to generation of nasty women. I am incredibly excited, and I hope you are too.
Finally, we still need some more Grammar Not-a-Nazis. PM me if you would like to volunteer.
And overnight, my spreadsheet went blue. Thanks to everyone who volunteered. We already have interest from a publisher, and the Polished Opal, a professional editing agency, has agreed to donate their services.
See what we can do when we direct our energy into positivity and light? This moment is historical. A nation of women’s voices is coming together in one amazing, honest piece of literature, and you have no one to thank but yourselves.
I have attached the link to the spreadsheet of names/states and given anyone with this link rights to comment. If I have misspelled your name, put you in the wrong state, forgotten you altogether, please comment in the doc and I will see the mistake is corrected. (So many of you volunteered in different comments/posts, it was hard to keep up!)
A couple of things:
…Get your story to me by Christmas Day. Think of it as a Christmas present to a person you have never met. Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
…There is not word count bc I want you feel free to speak your truth. However, I have a red pen and I am not afraid to use it.
…For you super organized types, I would also like to include a list of resources in the back of the book, divided by state. Resources would include organizations, numbers, political reps – any material that might be useful to the reader to help them get involved. If you are interested in helping to compile these lists, let me know.
...Also, we need to create a website for the book. This website will include the book’s summary, links for purchasing it, excerpts, press schedule, etc. If web design is your thing, let me know.
Thank you again!
PS I still don’t have any factual proof that people live in Delaware.
You were grouped together in the beginning because you were both white and similarly aged. But right away you recognized the blissful obliviousness in her laugh, the shell to hide the shell that hid the expectations of her requests. After a week, you knew how she took her coffee. After a year, she still had trouble recalling the name of your daughter. In time, you move seats, closer to the tea-colored skin of men and women whose warm manners and fragrant lunches stirred in you an interest for the unfamiliar.
One day you wear your Hillary shirt to work. She laughs. “I didn’t know you were one of them!” She takes out her phone. More laughter. “For my husband, do you mind?” You don’t. You even pose. I will be the one laughing soon, you think. And why not? The stars seemed aligned. The familiar rhyme of HIStory was coming to an end. Misogyny, goodbye.
Morning after the first debate she calls you to her cubicle. “She wiped the floor with him,” she says, her hands making a sweeping motion across her chest. Your posture relaxes. Office walls cave in. “I can’t vote for Trump,” she adds voluntarily. “I have a daughter.” Then she offers all the reasons she’s voted red in the past: Abortions, the economy, crime. “White men get shot by cops too,” she argues. You nod back a rebuke. She has switched sides. That is enough for now.
Election day you wear your shirt again. You write on your knuckles, in fat black letters, “NASTY.” When you leave work for the polls, your co-worker who can’t vote yells after you, “Congratulations, America!”
Two days after the election you peel yourself from the couch and wipe off the spidery webs of shock and shame you feel for your nation long enough to shower for the first time in days. The “N” has faded from your knuckle, but the other letters have remained. You think, “ASTY” could be anything. It might as well be “TASTY”—and you think, how appropriate. (Because that’s how you feel. Consigned to nothing but the pretty tasty flesh you had hoped the election would free you from forever.) In the meeting that morning, your fellow whitey won’t look at you, and you understand with a cold, sick certainty why.
The silent white voter. When the media talked about them, her face had filled your thoughts. She was one of them, you were certain. On election day she had said goodbye to everyone but you. She hadn’t talked about her change of heart in over a week. You had felt her slipping away from you, back into the velvety walls of white privilege, back to the late night Fox news marathons snuggled next to her husband and his thinly veiled red-blooded American male insecurity. You had a hunch, but now you knew. And you also knew this: Whatever he did, it wasn’t enough. Misogyny, chauvinism, racism. It didn’t matter. In the end, the horror of his character could not outrace the momentum of her prejudice.
That morning two days after the election, she will not look at you and you think, good, she has some shame. When the time comes to report your status, you say, “In Progress.” Undeterred. Defiant. No surrender.
When I was a kid, I wanted you to be my mother. My mother was never home. But you were. As Carol Brady, you were always in the next room, a smile on your face, a piece of advice to offer, fulfilling your role as part saint, part slave, answering to your children's every whim.
When I grew up, I developed perception and saw my mother for who she truly was - a rock star. She was a single mother who worked two jobs to put food on the table for my two siblings and me. Of course she was never home! But here's the thing: she was always there when I needed her. (And weren't you also a rock star mom in real life? Didn't you also have an acting career while raising your four children?)
In any case, I no longer perceived Carol Brady as the ideal mother.
Then I had my daughter and quit my job to stay with home with her. It was the loneliest time of my life, and the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. Slowly it hit me that Carol Brady was a rock star mom too-just in a different way.
From one rock star mom to another, I'd like to thank you for being an example for the rest of us. Rest In Peace, sweet lady.
P.S. Please tell Mr. Brady he's welcome back. Despite current events, kindness is winning.