Thursday, 30 January 2014

Eroticon 2014: Introduction

I've posted before that I will be attending Eroticon and, with just over a month to go, everyone's getting busy introducing themselves. So here's my introduction thread - to read the others (andfindout the schedules and, of course, buy yourselves tickets, hop off to theWriteSexRight site and check it all out.

What’s your name?
Zak Jane Keir
What are you most looking forward to about Eroticon 2014?
Catching up with some of the pals I've made over the past year, making some new ones, introducing myself to editors and finding out more about what's going on in general.
What are you most nervous of about Eroticon 2014?
Ballsing up my spot on the panel. At least it's an early morning one so I won't make the mistake of having one drink too many beforehand.
What do you hope to get from Eroticon 2014?
Contacts, friends, ideas, information.
What is your bad erotica writer’s pen name?
Depending which 'Me' I'm being, it's either Humpy Klungewizzle or Nymphella Wingwangle.
Whats your bad erotica writers name

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Feminists are not all the same. Get the fuck over it.

Feminists disagree with each other. Oh noes! Some feminists focus on particular aspects of feminism and ignore others. Boohoo, I'm telling! Some feminists go batshit on Twitter and some other feminists either run off crying or go even more batshit in return. Well, what is the world coming to?

From the position of someone who's getting on a bit, here's the first truth I can impart: any kind of movement for social change is going to attract a percentage of people who are fucking difficult to deal with. Egotists, bullies, people whose own insecurity takes the form of high-volume self-righteousness and those who are so focussed on the main goal that they bash into everyone else on the way there - along with a well-meaning herd of waa-ing, baa-ing sheep. Sometimes it's better to take a deep breath, accept the good things such people bring and try to ignore their less desirable attributes, sometimes it's better to ignore them. Of course, sometimes laughing at them is a useful option, as well - one current threat apparently peddled by the officious is to 'unfollow you on Twitter and tell everyone else to do so.' Well goodness me, that hurts a lot. Don't let the metaphorical door clout you square in your twitching sphincter on your way out, will you?

Also from a purely personal viewpoint: the fact that no one has threatened to shoot me or burn my house down for a couple of years tends to make me think that I might be losing my touch. I rather miss Usenet, and Fidonet echoes, where you could always find a good fight if you fancied one.
But what I do find irritating about the current bout of wailing, bedwetting and handwringing is that it's another version of the same old Feminism Is Awful! It Hurts! It Will Make You Ill! Radical movements led by men have always featured fights, flounces, furious denunciations and people running off crying, whether that's religious schisms or the kind of demented squawkfests and group-rearranging that's always been such a big part of student socialism. If you think about it, Marx, Lenin and Trotsky all had their rucks, backed up by assorted acolytes, over fairly minor differences of opinion. Unfortunately these factional disagreements tended to lead to an awful lot of people actually dying, not just having to switch off their computers for a bit.
As yet, the warring feminist viewpoints on Twitter haven't escalated as far as executions for ideological unsoundness or questionable doctrine. Being called privileged or anti-intersectionalist might be a bit upsetting but it's hardly life-threatening. Plenty of people who broadly agree on the need for more social justice but disagree hugely on certain specific aspects of the worst problems facing the world, particularly  the women of the world, are able to get along fine and even be friends.
Disagreeing with some feminists, or having them disagree with you, doesn't mean that feminism is itself broken, wrong, unnecessary or a Bad Idea. It just means that feminists are people, too.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Look where I'm heading!

Eroticon 2014

Actually I'm having a total techno-strop as it has taken me about 40 minutes to work out how to get that banner to show up. So please admire it and consider attending the event, which is going to be brilliant.
I've posted before about how much writers benefit from hanging out with other writers, whether that's to weep on each other's shoulders when publishers are being tiresome, pick up tips on improving our work and better marketing strategies, or just for shitz'n'giggles. It's all true. Come along, you will love it.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

All the Special Days

Everybody's got their own set of special days, influenced to a greater or lesser extent by culture and religion. Maybe it's another of those signs of advancing age that I find a chunk of comfort and joy in marking the passing of time and the turning of the seasons with a certain number of set incidents and rituals (of sorts) - or maybe it is just because I'm working on a short story about this very subject right now. As a feminist, atheist, English deviant, mine are a mixture of personal (a friend's annual birthday event that's achieved the status of a tradition) nature-related (longest and shortest nights) historical and/or vaguely pagan, and a sometimes-shifting selection of kink-related occasions that happen annually. SM Pride used to be one to stick on the calendar, but that fell into disarray and vanished a few years ago.

One of my perennial favourites, which is just about to come round again, is the Burns Night party run by The Firm.

I was at the very first one of these in 2001, and had a phenomenally good time, despite having elected to dress as a Bay City Rollers fan (well, you know, Scottish...). The concept of haggis, bagpipes and smacked arses in the same room has confounded some people but delighted loads of others for over a decade now, and the sheer delicious daftness of it is what keeps it high on my list of favourite annual playdates.

The other ones I take notice of are, in the order in which they occur, St George's Day and May Day (morris-dancing), Summer Solstice, The Boat (another Firm event), Halloween, Bonfire Night, Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year. Yes, of course I've omitted dates that matter to you. I am not you and you are not me. But I'd be quite interested in hearing how other people's annual calendars pan out. Any particularly good lists (especially if they introduce me to a festival that I'd like to keep in future) might even win a small prize.