Learning · Listening · Musing · publishing · Reading · Teaching

Monday Minutiae – 10.18.2021

Copy Room Requests

A hot topic in the publishing circles is the concern about the paper supply chain for print copies of books and recommendations to order now for books you might want to give as Christmas presents, for example. I remember early in the pandemic (you know, during the odd toilet paper shortage) reading about warnings regarding supply chain issues that we’d likely see as the pandemic wore on. It’s easy to overlook all the various factors that affect why Buffalo Wild Wings runs out of wings or why you can’t find kitty litter at Target. One of the people behind The Violet Wanderers’ Twitter account shared a great primer on some of those factors (especially the kitty litter example).

Writer’s Workshop

Do you know who’s tired of waiting for the gatekeepers in publishing to change? Authors from oppressed* populations. In the case of this article I’m sharing from Lambda Literary, LGBTQ+ authors. The message of “we can’t sell this” and having to write stories that “cater to straight or cis audiences” is still pretty strong, especially in certain areas of adult fiction and certain genres. These three authors talk about why they’ve chosen to bypass traditional publishing.

Library Time

Kudos to libraries like this one who are doing the long, hard project (truly, this is a major undertaking) of updating catalogues to remove not just colonial language and misrepresentational categories, but also changing those that are simply offensive. ie: Think, using “indigenous” or “First Nations” instead of “Native” or “American Indian” here in the U.S.

Curriculum Map

Have you seen the red flag meme (🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩) on Twitter and TikTok (and possibly other socials)? They’ve been around a bit for being those warning signs of something to come. Often as a joke, but for a bit last week, I know many were using it to highlight problematic language surrounding human issues like racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc. Coded language. In my city, we have school board elections coming up, and for the first time since I moved here (about nineteen years ago), we have a real contest going on. Nine candidates for three open seats. And wow, at least two candidates campaign summaries are full of coded language. One makes it clear that he will “not support the division inherent in Critical Race Theory.” And whether or not he actually understands what CRT is, it is clear that he believes in “inherently” whitewashed, racist curriculum. 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩 (red flags!) Another candidate will “work to restore character, virtue, morality, and academic excellence” which means “white Christian beliefs only.” 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩 (red flags!)

It got me thinking about the idea of coded language, which led me to this article about coded language in education, which is where I’ve spent my entire career. And boy, did I recognize them all. We really like to come up with words and phrases to justify how we’ve done business and how we continue to pretend like we’re making any progress in the disparities that exist. I mean, are we making progress? I honestly don’t know. And are we learning and moving forward with the lessons we were given during the full impact of pandemic education? I don’t know this, either.

BTW, if you haven’t been following what’s going on in Texas, for example, regarding the insidious, systemic ways white supremacists are working to rewrite history in a way that will erase the American Experience and that will increase the damage we of the white population continue to impose upon our non-white Americans, then please check out this story about a superintendent’s offensive take on teachers having books with “opposing views” to the Holocaust and read further the specific ways lawmakers in TX have changed up curriculum standards in Heather Cox Richardson’s summary.

*My original post had me using “underrepresented” instead of “oppressed”, which later had me realizing I was using coded language, so I changed to be more direct. Yep, I’m still learning.

Currently Reading (print): The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler (A)

Currently Reading (audio): The Guncle by Steven Rowley (A)

Video of the Week:

My friend and author Lainey Cameron shared a video about the ways she documented all the GOOD things she encountered in the time leading up to, during, and the year after the launch of her debut novel, The Exit Strategy (which I highly recommend, btw). It is so easy to remember how hard things are/were, or the negative bits, but her method seems like a far better way, don’t you think? I’m getting started on mine, now, as I lead up to the launch of my debut, All I’m Asking (March 2022).

What do you think? I'd love to discuss!

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