Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Still sad, still angry, still compromised

Today was anniversary of the first women's march, in 2017. Spurred by Trump's victory and what that says about how the men and women who voted for him value lives other than their own (to wit: not at all), we gathered to assert our values, to shake him with our powerful outrage, to join together imagining a better future, and to feel less alone. There are millions of women and men who are outraged at the efforts by our leaders to reel us back to the bad 'ol days.

On a personal note, I have felt disappointed in myself that I am not living the values I espouse to the hilt. Today at the 2nd women's march that hit home. The speakers were calling for intersectional social justice -- what are we doing to help the homeless? How are we engaged in choices that thoughtlessly oppress, or which reinforce racial and gender disempowerment?

When we look out for ourselves first, and we engage in protecting ourselves, we use tools that are infused with capitalism and patriarchy. We own our house and we own a condo that we rent out. We are part of Oakland's changing face, and while we are not technically gentrifiers (we purchased our home from a family of color who owned and lived in the home, so we did not displace renters and we increased the personal wealth of that family), we benefit from gentrification.

I am currently working for a company whose ethics I am waffly about. It is entirely growth-focused, determined to produce more and more books, the rapacious extraction capitalism that says everyone needs to buy buy buy all the time. The books we do can prey on people's insecurities, promising health through fasting or juice diets. These books are pure content churn; there's not even the excuse that we are producing art when we produce these commodities.

I have written 5 reviews for the SF Chronicle this year, and one for the Women's Review of Books. That's all the writing I've done. Parenting and working full time has taken so much away from being able to do projects and events that make me happy that I'm putting having another child on hold. I have read almost no poetry. I have written no poetry other than scrawling depressed journalings. I haven't even had a chance to think about it. This is the first year that's been the case EVER.

I edited one novel and reviewed 300 queries for an agent friend for free. I was late on both projects. Severely late. Took 12 weeks when they were supposed to take 6 late.

I thought I'd be able to keep up with this blog, but I haven't. I'm working so much, but not prioritizing projects, or even reading, because when I'm not working weekends, I'm falling behind.

My work is not fulfilling in any kind of way other than to my pocketbook. It's fun, and the fast pace is actually a good match for me because I can't really get lost on over analyzing and delaying like I am wont to. But I continue to feel that I have completely sold out and screwed myself.

No one at Counterpoint is going to hire me, ever. That was my hope. I no longer have bonafides. I have sold out. I just internally keened when I read Yuka Igarashi's professional bio -- Granta. Catapult. Soft Skull. Prestige is the coin of the realm, and my skills and network I am developing at Callisto will have no value outside of this field. I've locked myself out, and no-one I care about cares who I am anymore. I have no time to attend readings  -- or at least, I don't prioritize that or put it on my calendar.

I do get to bike to work, if the weather's good, and I spend more time with my son. But during the week it's still not any fun time: it's get dressed-feed-him-change-diaper-get-to-school-bike-go go go hustle hustle hustle, and same thing again at home.  There's so little opportunity for connection. It's just me constantly trying to rein in my temper as he is so unable to do things for himself while able to only make messes and NOT want to do whatever I need him to do.

Not to mention that what I love about editing is being stripped away.  I have the title of editor, but I am basically a sales person.

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