Dita Parker

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Love and anger

Temperature: 10/50 degrees and galeforce winds

Eating: see below

Drinking: such a sore throat I'm concentrating on hot beverages

Watching: Finnish Ismo Leikola win the first ever Funniest Person in the World competition. Also just watched Syria - Faces of War, Prix Europa 2014 winner in the Best Current Affairs Program category. Faces of War follows Finnish photojournalist Niklas Meltio to Syria where he's been documenting the war since 2012. I raise my hat and glass to you, Mr. Meltio. And if you're the praying kind, dearest denizen, put in a good word for him for me. He has lost dozens of colleagues in that conflict alone.

Listening: feeding the melancholia that follows the arrival of fall with the beautiful baritone of Matt Berninger

Reading: How We Learn by Benedict Carey

Writing: some unfinished business messing with my writing mojo. Not complaining or explaining, just stating a fact, a debilitating fact, but I'm working on it, one day and word at a time. Plans I had don't work anymore, and it's getting harder and harder to not feel defeated or deflated by recent events. It's a matter of trust. Principles. And I know I shouldn't go there and I shouldn't say things like that but you know what? Screw that. Facing facts is the road to both wisdom and freedom. And I do like my freedom. And I do looove my principles. And I sure as hell don't take kindly to being jerked around.

Feeling: the anniversary of my maternal grandfather's death is drawing near and I'm getting ready to lose him all over again. There's a fine line between sweet remembrance and rehashing the past past a point where the memories become hurtful not healing. You can actually reinforce a trauma by reliving it one time too many, by stamping the memory so firmly in your psyche you end up worse off than when you started your personal purge so take care. I don't want to forget him. Not what he meant to me, not what he taught me, not how losing him made me feel. I loved him. I still love him. And I know he loved me, too. I miss him. I miss you. The talks. The teasing. The somber moments. The fun. I won't forget. How could I ever forget.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Can you make this thing go faster?

Yesterday was International Day of the Girl Child. And you were expecting a lecture, weren't you, dearest denizens? You didn't get one because you know what I think. You know what to do. You know what I think you should do. I have only one thing to add to every post I've written on gender and feminism and equality: 

Gentlemen, we need you. Women can debate these issues among themselves all year/century/millennium long but that is only half the discussion, half the solution. With still too few of us in positions of power i.e. with voices that carry you need to lend us yours. Not just your benevolent thoughts and a candle lit at eight on a Tuesday but your actual words, spoken out loud, when you feel, no, when know you should say something. Call bullshit when you hear it, call out idiots when you catch them, don't expect the situation to improve only because you're not actively trying to hinder progress. 

You don't need superpowers to be a hero. You don't even need to be a hero to gain our trust, garner our respect or win our love. All you need to do is promise you'll be there when we need you. The time is now.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things we lost in the fire

So. By now you're probably well aware of recent events re: EC, a situation that has gone from baffling to loaded to see you in court. If not, click on, there's nothing for you here, because, to quote Elton John, it's sad, so sad, it's a sad, sad situation, and it's getting more and more absurd.

Reaction/consequence recap: Countless readers have vowed to stop buying EC titles and several reviewers and/or bloggers have said they won't touch EC releases, past or present. Some authors have asked readers to stop buying their books in fear they'll never see the money and/or in hopes they'll soon be eligible for reversal of rights. Some have never had a problem with EC but are now caught in the crossfire. Many need every writing dollar, euro and pound and are horrified by the imminence of flatlining sales. Some have new releases coming out, books they started waaay before all of this started but works that will be DOA. Spectators are popping corn because if you can't laugh you'll cry but this ain't funny. Just business?

As if having to contend with pirates wasn't bad enough. Or trying to figure out Amazon, the effects of the adult filter, e-book return policy, KU and the new imprints they're rolling out. Distributor turned publisher. Now there's a hat that doesn't quite match the outfit. When you're in the business of making money for stockholders, preferably on your terms, terms that give you the winning edge, you don't do the competition any favors, you do everything in your power to hold on to those terms and that edge, for as long as you can. Knavish? Just business.

The current keeps getting stronger and many authors are tired of swimming in it, against it. Some will scramble to shore, some drown. I wouldn't be surprised if even those who've vowed to never-ever ended up self-publishing, going indie, because they feel they have nothing to lose. Many who've asked for their rights back see this as an opportunity to start afresh. A lot of talent up for grabs, except some of that talent is very wary. Live and learn. Read the small print. Twice. Third time between the lines with a lawyer. Sleep on it. Sleep some more. Then possibly say thanks for the offer, no thanks just the same. Once bitten and all that. Whom to trust?

Some say this is killing their concentration, their writing mojo. Our craft, our business, our livelihood, is writing. That's what we'd like to focus on. Not to make light of Miss Litte's plight. Like I said, this ain't funny. None of it is, to any of us. Some lose sleep. Their peace of mind. Income. Editors. Readers. Books. Traction. Faith. Some feel like crying. Like crawling under a rock and dying. Taken for a ride then thrown under the bus at the end of it. Victimized? More like collateral damage as someone put it. Powerless, like a pawn. A lot of frustration in the air but above all else, above everything else, a deep heartfelt sadness. All the hours, all the hard work put into books, the passion and dedication... What's going on? When will this be resolved and how? Whom to trust?

We have genuine concerns. We've asked fairly simple questions. If the answer is awkward or complicated, if it's a hard pill to swallow to either the publisher (any publisher/distributor/vendor/party in this joint venture of ours) or to us, whatever the solution or the answer, we'd like to have it all the same. Writing is our passion, absolutely. It's also our profession, so let's keep things professional, doing business. Truthful answers delivered in a timely and professional manner. Facts and acts to match. Thank you. That is all.

What can you do? Your money, your choice. You can always keep track of and keep in touch with your favorite authors. Listen closely to what they're saying and if you really want to help act accordingly. Many of us are hurting, trying to make sense of it all, trying to make plans, which isn't easy when you feel you don't have all the facts and you can't see the endgame, only speculate. Some just don't care anymore and are lashing out and that's the depth of their despair right there, how bad it's gotten for them. I won't judge and I can hardly blame them, they didn't start the fire. All of us will suffer the consequences of a wide variety of ever-gathering actions and reactions coming in from all sides. What a business.

What am I going to do? I'm going to take the kids to BJJ and then I'm going to work out until I taste blood. My meditation. My medication. I just took a trip to secure more work so wish me luck, although luck has nothing to do with getting the job. Being good at what you do, improving your skills i.e. your odds, that's what it's all about. Blood, sweat and tears? Like nobody's business.

P.S. Things I've learned working with/for people around the world:

Have a problem? Fix it.
Made a mistake? Admit it.
Spoke too hastily, too harshly? Apologize.
Never toy with people's trust. Never play with their money.
Respect and goodwill once lost is often lost forever.
Cause and effect. In that order. Don't get confused.
For every action there's a consequence. The same applies to non-action.
Don't let temporary become permanent.
There's no stopping a setting sun. Doesn't mean it won't rise again tomorrow. 

Too cut-and-dried? That's business.