Archive for March, 2013

Too many posts for one day, I know.

But I’ve been wondering how to address the subject of the Steubenville rape.  How to share my frustrations with the crime, the aftermath, the trial.  How to put the case in context.

Turns out I don’t need to.  Turns out a blogger named Ann Voskamp has done it already.



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At some point in the writing of a novel, one becomes unable to edit one’s work.  The only cure is to find another set of eyes to help with the editing.

The people most likely to be at hand, however, are one’s friends and family, and although they may be wonderful encouragers, they make terrible editors.  (Side note:  Friends and family and people reading this post make excellent backers.  If they can be bothered to create an account at Authonomy.com and back one’s book.  If.)

This is why I like Authonomy.  It’s a society of strangers who know how to construct a sentence.  A club for people who can say whether or not the plot works.

I’d reached the point where reading Steadfast was like wearing my favorite sweatpants.  Comforting.  Warm.  Familiar.  But not quite ready for public view.

The first few critiques identified the issues most in need of correction, and suddenly, reading the manuscript felt more like trying on skinny jeans.  Embarrassing.  Shameful.  I should have known better.

This weekend, I’m revising a particularly problematic chapter.  It’s not difficult or demanding.  It’s actually kind of fun.  The chapter included far too much narrative, too many details, too much telling.  Re-crafting it into a chapter that offers only the details the reader needs with more dialog and less telling…well, it’s an exercise in What I Studied in College.  It’s a challenge I enjoy.

I’m glad some of my favorite Authonomy friends told me what was wrong with the manuscript.  Because hidden behind the telling and the excessive narration in Chapter 3 is an amazing book!!

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Fathers of Gay Sons

Posts about the fathers of gay sons fill my Facebook newsfeed today.

One wrote a private message to his son after overhearing the boy make nervous plans to come out to mom and dad.  His affectionate note has now been seen by millions of people.  Everyone seems to think this dad is swell.

The other is a United States Senator, whose views on homosexuality have changed after learning that his son is also gay.  His views have now been heard by millions.  This dad is getting a beating in the press.

Why the different receptions for these two stories?

Portman is a conservative.  Announcing his views on gay marriage could cost him his seat in the Senate.  Yet he spoke out anyway.  I think he’s brave to acknowledge his change of heart.

Nate’s father, like Portman, loves his son.

It seems to me that if we want legislation that allows gays to marry, we need more conservative senators like Portman to have a change of heart.  It seems to me that we want to encourage, not criticise, those who are willing to adopt new attitudes.

While homosexuality is not a choice, the opinions we form about homosexuals *are* a choice.  I’m happy to see Senator Portman choose support.

What about you?

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I recently got to watch my electronic odometer blink to 100,000 miles.  I was alone, driving home from work, and felt lucky to have seen the moment.  So often these milestones–and others far more important–pass us by without making themselves known, particularly where family is concerned.  I think our daughter’s first word was “Ba,” but only because I wrote it down somewhere.   Ba meant bottle, cat, up, ball, give me my pacifier, and stop that.  Our son’s first word was probably, “Are you gonna eat that?” because I didn’t write it down and don’t remember his early syllables.  More likely, it was “Da,” his favorite person.  One walked early, the other late, and both visited the doctor for stitches when I was out of town on business.

Yet what I see in our children is that recording these moments wasn’t what mattered, anyway.  What mattered was that we played hour after hour of word games in the car on long road trips, asked them their opinions at the dinner table, read to them nightly, and visited with them long into the night on weekends after SNL ended.

If we had seen the odometer turn over as a family, I imagine it would have gone something like this.

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“A cure is something we can no longer write off as impossible.”  I found this quote at the end of an article in The Week magazine.

A baby has been cured of HIV.

So now a man–Timothy Brown–and this child have been completely cured of the disease that wiped out an entire generation of gay men.  Such great news, but…

It concerns me that young people continue to be the group most at risk for HIV.  Many young men are completely unaware that unprotected sex can expose a person to the virus.  Although people with HIV can now live to a ripe old age, this lack of awareness means that HIV will not be eradicated.

And that makes me sad.

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