November 21, 2013
It’s been a few weeks since I posted a new update here. That’s not because I’ve haven’t been producing work but, ironically, because I’ve been so busy with writing, deadlines, and interviews that it’s been hard to keep up with my regular updates.
And so I give you this Omnibus edition, starting with some notices about where I’ll be presenting in the next few weeks (one in the flesh, the others via skype). Following those are updates on my writing, which include some of my favourites in the last few years—a piece on shit, yes, shit, some really interesting author interviews and book reviews, some interviews in the press following the Illinois marriage decision, and some truly lovely praise for my writing which has left me speechless and emotional. Read more below.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to end the practice of writing for free, anywhere, even on blogs. I’m happy to report that I’m finally beginning to expand my list of publications (many more on the way), and fortunate to have had some excellent editors who help make my writing even sharper. I’m now at the point where I actually miss blogging, so look out for more pieces in that vein—when I can carve out the time.
Writing is still a woefully underpaid profession, and it’s all I do for a living, besides the occasional speaking engagement, to pay the bills. While I’m very optimistic about publishing and my ability to keep getting higher-paid gigs, it’s still a constant struggle to make ends meet, and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the regular help of my friends who keep chipping in. If you should have anything to spare, and would like to help support my work ahead please donate what you can—if you can do so regularly, that would be even better. There’s a paypal button on every page here.
If you can’t for any reason, I understand, of course, but I hope you’ll also keep an eye out on the publishing world in general and, if you aren’t already, start questioning a system that devalues writing as labour to the extent it does and leaves people like me constantly swaying on the edge of financial precipices. Writers should be able to sustain themselves on writing alone, and yet somewhere along on the way we’ve collectively bought into the idea that writing is really a hobby, a thing that people do “for the love of it.” I love writing and nothing pleases me more than waking up and knowing I’ve got long stretches of it to do. But I need it to be more sustainable, to be something I can actually make a living at, and I need my friends and comrades of all political stripes to stop encouraging outlets like HuffPo and even several “progressive” publications (Gapers Block comes to mind, among many others) supposedly committed to journalism and writing which actually don’t pay most or all their writers.
I’m happy to report that the tide is shifting, but not soon enough and not in terms that make the most difference for writers; most of us are in Catch-22 situations where we can barely breathe between assignments as we work hard to produce stellar work. Nothing is more insulting to me than to have someone who wants to establish what they think is a great, innovative publication, and who crowdfunds it with assurances to future readers that theirs will have the best and slickest content, and who are silent on the matter of payment to writers—to whom they offer pennies on the hour, if anything at all.
Please, when confronted by support for such new enterprises, take the time to query them about their price rates, and ask yourself if a writer could actually make average rent on a number of them. Don’t just nod along when someone says, “We pay our writers,” demand to know how much. We’re all very comfortable demanding that our food and consumer goods be ethically sourced—why not demand the same of your reading material?
As you can guess, yes, I do have a piece on this emerging—look for that in this space!
And meanwhile, I hope you read and enjoy the several pieces below. And, again, if you can, please donate.
Without further ado, my last many pieces, not in any particular order (except for the presentations, which are on the top; I hope to see some of you there). The Skeletor image can be found here.
1. Neoliberalism and Gay Marriage, University of Texas, Austin, November 22, 2013, 4:15-6:30 CST, to be livestreamed here. I’ll be skyping in to this and the second panel I’m on, on Sunday morning.
2. Queer Left Activism in Chicago, Co-Organizer and Panelist, American Anthropological Association, November 23, 2013, 4-5:45 p.m. I’ll be here in person, and I'll post room details as soon as I learn more.
3. Sex Offender Registries: History and Consequences, University of Texas, Austin, November 24, 9-11 a.m CST, to be livestreamed here.
4. Gay Marriage as Economic Crisis, Decolonizing Sexualities Network, University of London, November 29, 6-8 p.m. I’ll be there via podcast and perhaps also skyping in.
5. For Indian Girls, Radical Black Feminism or the American Dream?, Chaya Babu on Racialicious very kindly included me on a list of radical queer Indian women, November 19, 2013.
6. Freddie deBoer Includes Me on a List of 10 Best Prose Writers, deBoer’s description of my writing and work is humblingly thoughtful, detailed, and exquisitely written; I wept for days. October 28, 2013.
7. When One’s Trash Is Another’s...House Cat, Review of Trash Animals, Chicago Reader, print and online, November 21, 2013.
8. Marry You Must!: Gay Marriage in Illinois, Op-ed, Chicago Reader, November 7, 2013.
9. Why is America Turning to Shit? , A long-form piece on, yes, shit. The Awl, October 30.
10. Saints and Sinners: A Review of The Book of Matt, In These Times, Print and online, October 16, 2013.
11. Chicago’s LGBT Community Weighs Meaning of Gay Marriage, I’m quoted here, Red Eye November 20, 2013.
12. Quinn to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Bill Today, quoted here (same reporter, but different quotes), Chicago Tribune, November 20, 2013.
13. Margot Weiss Talks BDSM and Sexuality: On her book, Techniques of Pleasure, Windy City Times, October 30, 2013, Print and Online.
14. No More City on a Hill, Interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore about her new memoir, The End of San Francisco, October 23, 2013, In These Times
15. Interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Windy City Times, October 2, 2013, print and online.
16. The End of San Francisco: Between Memory and Forgetting, Chicago Reader, September 30, 2013, print and online
17. Orange Is the New Black Roundtable, Part 4, In These Times, October 30, 2013.