I may occasionally write the junk, but rarely do I read it.
And it is not because I don’t like it that I rarely read it…
It’s because it, the really good stuff anyway, is so durn hard to read.
I’m talking Poetry here…
Poetry with a big, bold capital P.
And it is so hard for me to read (And by read I mean read. I mean really digging into the poem and fighting through the initial confusion and the complicated and often archaic words. I mean, not just reading the poem, but studying it and trying to close the gap in time from when the poem was written to when the poem is being read by learning about the poet and where and when and why and how he or she is from and where and when and why and how he or she lived and then coming to my own understanding of what I think the poem means and then trying to apply that meaning to my own life and where and when and why and how I live it. That’s what I mean by read.) because it takes more than a little bit of effort to read it.
I certainly don’t have time for all that junk.
Last year it was announced that the US Treasury Department was planning to remodel the ten-dollar bill by replacing its current male model, Alexander Hamilton, with a female model.
That was before the Broadway musical “Hamilton” became a huge success… and the play’s creator and star and Presidential First Rapper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had subsequently become an advocate and lobbyist for keeping the Founding Father and “Good Ol’ Boys” OG on the bill.
Miranda met recently with the US Treasury Secretary and it seems that his lobbying effort on behalf of his musical muse has paid off.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 16, 2016
So, in the somewhat spirit of the United Nation’s #HeforShe campaign, should Hamilton stay or should he go and be replaced by a female historical hero?
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father of the United States, chief staff aide to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, the founder of the nation’s financial system, the founder of the Federalist Party, the world’s first voter-based political party, the Father of the United States Coast Guard, and the founder of The New York Post. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration. (Wikipedia)
If would be great if you could expand on your response in the comment section.
For instance: Who should the female model be? If not Hamilton, then which bill’s male model should go? If you no longer use hard currency, are you, as Kurt is, looking forward to the permanent chip implant?
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?
This is a propaganda video direct from the US Navy’s official website.
More specifically, it is a two-minute or so inspiring profile piece of a female Hull Technician, a rating traditionally reserved for and assigned to male sailors, found on a page from the Navy’s official website dedicated solely to the recruitment of women.
Now, the word “propaganda” typically comes with negative connotations… at least to me it does.
However, in this case, I regard it as very positive development, for it was not that long ago that you would have been hard-pressed to find a female “HT” in the US Navy.
And, happily (seeing how I am a recruiter for my film and not for the navy (though I strongly encourage every American to consider serving their country militarily)), it just so happens that the protagonist and his small division of men of the Nineties-era short film I am seeking your support for are also Hull Technicians.
Pretty coincidentally cool, huh…
And it is they, these male HT characters of mine, who, through their dialogue and actions — as harassing and as hazing as they may be — show us how I
suspect know many real-life male sailors would have felt and reacted at the time about the recent arrival of the first-ever female sailors to their warship.
I only hope that the first-ever female sailors and other female service members who are right now getting ready to report to combat-related duty assignments, assignments on the front lines and maybe even hidden behind the lines, assignments that until very recently were solidly and stolidly forbidden to females, receive a less harassing and more welcoming environment than the females in the film.
Please consider supporting me in the making of my short film LEAVE; for I truly believe, with your support the film can provide much needed awareness to present-day realities in an artistic, entertaining, and meaningful way.
For a list of Donation Reward Packages, please click here.
I don’t normally do this kind of thing but, because this is a day to celebrate the grand achievements women all around the world are making, and because this is such phenomenal information (albeit excessively long and highly wonky), I am sharing this cut and paste from the National Business Women’s Council, a US Government organization*.
My summary of this Executive Summary of a US Census Survey regarding US Business is that basically what follows is the empirical data/evidence of what I see happening in all sectors of US society… especially that of the Publishing Industry.
And that is…
WOMEN. ARE. CRUSHING. IT!
The King is dead…
Long live the Queen!
Women continue to enter into the ranks of business ownership at rates exceeding the national average. Indeed, the rate at which women are launching businesses is on the rise.
While more and more women are starting businesses, those businesses remain significantly smaller than average.
Perhaps the most remarkable trend in women’s entrepreneurship seen over the past decade is the phenomenal growth in business ownership among women of color.
As the number of women serving in the military has grown, so has the number of female veteran-owned enterprises – at a rate exceeding even that of minority women-owned businesses.
Regionally, the sharpest rise in the number of women-owned firms has been seen in the southern region of the U.S., where overall population growth has been the strongest. However, women-owned firms in the central part of the country have bounced back most strongly from the 2007-2009 recession.
As women business owners themselves are growing more diverse, so are the businesses that they are starting. Despite growing industry diversification, however, the largest concentration of women-owned firms is still seen in the most traditional areas of business ownership for women – sectors that have lower than average revenues per firm.
1. Assist women in the more populous, lower per-firm revenue sectors in scaling-up their enterprises, and
2. Encourage more women to start businesses in the less populous but more likely to scale sectors.
 Throughout this report, the term “women-owned” refers to enterprises that are at least 51% owned and operated by a woman or group of women. Businesses equally-owned by a man and a woman (or equal numbers of men and women) are not included – primarily because the way that equally-owned firms have been identified has differed in each of the past four business census years, thus precluding accurate trend analysis.
HEY WHAT ABOUT ME?!
Exploring the Mind of a Man Who Didn’t Give Me His Card
FROM THE WOMEN’S ISSUES ARCHIVE
I recently went to a conference with my fiancé – one of those social affairs where everyone is given a name tag and you’re expected to mix and mingle with the crowd. An awkward moment with a stranger got me thinking…
For a brief couple of minutes during the conference coffee break I was left alone. Next to me, I observed a quiet, bashful middle-aged man fumbling through his conference materials and we caught each other’s eye for a moment. I smiled, being polite. He returned the smile and extended his hand to introduce himself.
We went through the usual ice-breaking questions of what we do, why we were there. The banter was friendly and a connection was made. Moments later my fiancé rejoined me. Seeing that I had made a new acquaintance, I introduced him to Mr Bashful and they went on to talk about themselves, dutifully going through similar introductory questions. Mr Bashful at one point reached out for his business cards and gave one to my fiancé, then proceeded to store his business cards back into this pocket.
I was taken aback and thought to myself, “Wait, what about me?!“
So I said to Mr Bashful, teasingly, to remind him of the etiquette faux pas he just committed, “Oh, how come I don’t get a card?“
Alarmed at his own mistake, he immediately made a comeback. “Oh I am so very sorry!“ quickly fumbled through his pockets to get his stack of business cards, and embarrassingly passed one to me with the usual two hands as a gesture of respect.
It was a small incident, but one which demonstrated how we each may have prejudices against certain people. These prejudices are mostly hidden, but occasionally let themselves out the bag through accidental gestures.
I don’t know why Mr Bashful didn’t give me a card and practically ignored me the moment my fiancé stepped in. It could have been a myriad of reasons: his nervousness in front of women, his thoughts that guy to guy conversations are more appropriate, seeing more value in building a relationship with my fiancé instead of me. I don’t know, I can only guess. My guess is that he has certain views about women which inadvertently influenced his behaviour – a small gesture of neglecting to give me his name card, despite me having been the one who first struck up a conversation with him.
I felt a bit brushed off, but forgave the small mistake. It’s not the first time this happened. Not long ago at a wedding an older surgeon similarly extended his business card to my fiancé but not me, despite having spoken to both of us.
I’m not timid and shy – no – that wouldn’t have been the reason why Mr Bashful passed me by. Our conversation before my fiancé arrived was cordial, witty, and appropriate. We had made contact but the conversation quickly shifted to “men only” the moment my fiancé arrived, and I was ceremonially excluded at the business card round. The next time, I should conduct a social experiment: if I presented myself as an independent woman, and was by myself during a similar occasion, speaking to a similar man, would he treat me differently? My hypothesis is I would be given a business card if I were alone!*
In summary, my hunch is that the forgetting to hand me a business card (I was standing right there!) had to do with the following reasons:
Or, I could just email Mr Bashful and ask, since I now have his name card…!
What about you? Have there been instances where you were brushed off, forgotten or neglected because of your sex, gender, race, age, or any other reason?
Have you forgotten to give your business cards to certain persons in a social setting? Or worse, was the omission purposeful?
*it would be hard to come up with scientific conclusions, since it’s hard to control the main variable, i.e. the male subject: Mr Bashful could have been a unique case; another man in the same social situation may have given me a card
All submissions to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature will be profiled on the blog all throughout Women’s History Month. Please share your creative expressions discussing Women’s Issues by submitting them here.
With a Vision to Create a Cinematic Work of Art that both Entertains and Inspires a Discussion for Positive Change, your support will be key to the success in Kurt’s and the Crew’s effort to bring their “Women’s Issues” short film to the screen.
To be notified when their Indigogo Campaign to raise the funds needed to produce the film goes live, please sign up here.
You know, I did. I really did.
I had always believed that eventually the US Congress would open up all combat-related assignments to females.
But I didn’t really think it would happen this soon…
And it was never within the realm of my imagination that it and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could have happened in the matter of one presidency.
Damn… I sure am going to miss President Obama.
G.I. JANE was released in 1997.
Our short film LEAVE is set in 1995, when Congress first opened up some combat-related assignments to females, including assignments to warships, and it is about one warship’s all-male crew’s reaction to the arrival of its first female sailors.
I’m sure you can just imagine exactly what their reaction will be…
Hopefully the brave service women now accepting the first combat and special warfare assignments will receive a much better reaction and reception…
THE WOMAN IN ME
by Debolina Coomar
When I was a daughter, I had dreams,
I learnt that life is not easy, and nothing is what it seems.
When I became a student, I had aspirations,
I learnt that achievements are important, and learnings are an inspiration.
When I became a professional, I had goals,
I learnt that life is full of challenges, and we have to take up different roles.
When I was a wife, I had a duty,
I learnt caring, sharing and trust in a relationship is the real beauty.
When I became a mother, I had responsibilities,
I learnt to take up challenges and fulfill them with my abilities.
When I wear so many different masks everyday,
Each one is different and unique in its own way.
But, when I see myself in the mirror,
I see so many faces, but I cannot find HER.
The woman in me keeps calling me everyday,
I just avoided her as I almost have nothing to say.
But, one day, she saw me back into my eyes,
And wanted to know why I ignored all her cries.
I forgot HER as I was busy being everything else,
But, now I want to be ME and let myself out,
I want to open my heart and let it shout.
I want to start living as MYSELF and let the world see,
The WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE, because that is the best I have in me.
It is my pleasure and honor to kick-off our March-long celebration of Women’s History Month with such a beautiful and inspiring poem by Debolina Coomar.
Thank you for submitting your poetic creativity to our Woman’s Issues feature page, Debolina, thereby allowing us all to enjoy your words.
And I invite and strongly encourage you to visit the Relating to Humans feature and consider sharing with us some of your creative inspiration.
As was Debolina’s, all submissions meeting the editorial standards of yours truly submitted to the Women’s Issues page throughout the month of March will be published to the blog.
And now is a good time to submit your work to all the features, as I am in the process of archiving all submissions received prior to this year, which means each feature page will be empty and the early submissions will receive top billing, so to speak.
Please visit the Relating to Humans page for the Submission Guidelines.
Additionally, I invite you to click on the poster above to learn about some of the things the US Government, via the Small Business Administration and the National Business Women’s Council has planned to celebrate Woman’s History Month in its efforts to raise awareness of Women and Gender Issues.
And lastly, please don’t forget to show your support for our short film, LEAVE, by visiting and following (and spreading the word about) our facebook page at www.facebook.com/leavethemovie.
That the world is new
And all decisions to make
Are up to you.
You can make your world
How you want it to be.
Where will you begin?
I can’t wait to see.
The world is yours. What will you do?
That math is zoo.
And monkey = 1
And tiger = 2.
Giraffe = 3
And llama = 4.
Subtract lion from bear
And you’ll get zebras galore.
What’s your answer for leopard + π
That ground is sky,
And we no longer walk–
All we do is fly.
Better keep your head down–
Looking up might hurt.
Cuz when it rains
It’s raining dirt.
If ground is sky, then what is Neptune?
That the man on the moon,
Was not a guy named Neil
But a gal named Soon.
She went to the moon
To prove her brothers wrong:
They said the moon is just for men
And that women don’t belong!
If you were Soon, would you make a stand?
Let’s pretend for real
That peace is at hand,
And that the Golden Rule
Is the rule throughout the land.
If we all pretend
Then the angels might sing.
If the whole world pretends
Is it still pretending?
From Poem Man
It has been a while since my last book update and several things have happened in the interim that impacts the story. For instance, there has been the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, there is the feedback that I have been receiving from those I asked to read and criticize the story for me, and there is the near collapse of the traditional publishing industry right before our eyes. So, how does all of this impact the story you ask?
As you are probably aware, Congress passed and the president signed into law the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy right before the end of 2010. This is significant, not just because it finally ends a discriminatory and un-American policy, but also because it forces me to consider making serious changes to my novel. Currently, the novel is set in the mid-1990s, sometime not long after the implementation of the DADT policy; however, I’m wondering if I should update the story to the present time and have the characters behave as if there is no longer the DADT policy to contend with. That would require major rewrites and I’m not sure if I’m up for that. I’m rather looking forward to moving on to my next writing project. We’ll just have to wait and see.
One reason I’m not up for major rewrites of the story is because I’m already in the midst of, if not major rewrites, than major edits. Soon after declaring my story “finished” in my last book update, I asked several of my friends to read it and to let me know what worked and what didn’t work. What I have learned from the feedback I have received so far is that overall the story is pretty good but it moves too fast in places and some of the characters need to be fleshed out more.
I’m going through the story now and trying to patch it up where I can. I want to be careful though because I intentionally wanted the story to do a couple of things.
First, I wanted to create a verisimilitude for the reader where he or she can feel how overwhelming it is for someone, especially someone new to the navy, to report to a ship for the first time. Ships are their own little worlds with their own social structures, laws, and language. When you first report onboard everything seems to be happening so fast and, until you learn the rules and are accepted, it all can be more than a little intimidating, and sometimes even dangerous. So I wanted to keep the story moving fast and try to create a surreal pace where you always feel like you are one step behind of where it is you are supposed to be going, but barely one step ahead of the forces intent on preventing you from getting there.
Second, I wanted to force the reader to have to rely on his or her own stereotypes and prejudices to draw conclusions about characters and events in the story. The reason for this is, since DADT policy forbade service members from asking other service members what their sexual orientation is and it forbade homosexuals from openly admitting their homosexuality, harassment and physical abuse against homosexuals during the era of DADT were perpetrated based on the stereotypes, prejudices, and perceptions of those who committed the harassment and abuse. They didn’t know for sure that they guy they were picking on was gay, they were just reacting to what they thought a gay person was supposed to be like.
Anyway, that is the rationale for the limited character descriptions in the story. I know it may sound like I’m trying to rationalize away the criticism I have been receiving (and maybe at some level I am) but I do understand that I need to make editing improvements to the story but I need to make them in a way that is mindful to my original intent. Hopefully I can pull it off. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out in the end.
During Christmas 2009, my sister came to visit and during her visit she proudly showed off her new gift: an Amazon Kindle e-reader. Everyone wanted to take a look at it so she handed it to the relative next to her and it slowly made its way around the horn to me. When it arrived, tucked neatly inside a svelte and stylish binder, I gave it a cursory, dismissive once-over and quickly passed it on for someone else to ogle over while I snobbishly declared that e-readers weren’t for serious readers like me, even though secretly, I thought that sucker was pretty cool.
That was my first look at the growing e-book revolution. During the year between Christmas 2009 and Christmas 2010, I had been intent on finishing my book and getting it published by one of the “Big Six” or, at least, one of the smaller book publishers. I was the old fashioned way, through one of the traditional publishers in the traditional, slow, way. I did not pay much attention to the e-reader revolution that was taking the industry by storm.
When I did finally begin to notice, I told myself it would all soon pass after everyone realized that e-books could never replace the feel and comfort and friendliness of a real book. Well, that’s probably what the music executives thought about CDs, too, as they stood by and watched their traditional music publishing industry collapse before their eyes.
So, this year for Christmas, when my son showed me his new gift, an iPad, and I saw how transformative and cool that thing is, I decided I better take another look at what is going on in the state of the book publishing world.
What I found was pretty bloody. The e-publishing revolution, instead of abating, has continued to spread. E-book and self-publishing sales are on the advance while brick-and-mortar book stores are running up the white flags of surrender like there is no tomorrow…which, for them, there probably isn’t. They are closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy, and wiping out millions of dollars worth of potential sales for publishers and writers.
With this revolution, self-publishers are no longer considered quite the pariahs that they used to be–they are now the revolutionaries, the subversives. With the ease and convenience that the e-readers bring to self-publishing, along with a growing market of dedicated e-reader readers like my sister, some writers are making some very serious coin by skipping all of the overhead and hassle that the traditional publishing industry brings (while taking a hefty cut of the profits) and bringing their stories directly to market themselves.
With all this in mind, and keeping in mind that it may benefit me to get my story to market as quickly as I can while DADT is still fresh in the mind, I have pretty much decided to self-publish my book, first by submitting it directly to the e-reader market and then to a print service like lulu.com or one of the others out there. Wish me luck…I’ll need it.
Lastly, as far as things that have happened since my last book update, if you haven’t noticed just by looking around on this site or my facebook page, I have now the artwork for the cover of my book.
When I decided to self-publish, I started checking out the cover artists that other self-publishers use and I quickly realized that I knew someone who could create something just as good, if not better. Of course there is parental prejudice and preference, but he always has been very artist and creative. I’m referring to my son Willis.
He, like others of his twenty-something generation, have grown up with this technology, he has studied graphic design in college, and he does most of the design work for his band’s website.
I am so glad I asked him to design the cover for me because, well, you can see how kick-ass it is, but more importantly, I had a blast sitting down with him during the course of a week or so, usually sometime after midnight (we are both night owls), and watch the cover transform from a simple concept into the artwork that it is now.
To get there he spent many hours researching other cover artists and designers, as well as the technical specifications that the cover designs must meet in order to be submitted to the major e-reader sights. Plus, it was good for me as I go through an editing process to talk with him about the concepts and fundamentals of the story as I envision them to be.
The cover that he created is a beautifully, and somewhat eerily, accurate artistic representation and psychological translation of what I see in my mind when I think about the story. After you read the story, I think you will agree.