Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Mother Superior

How ready are you
To die for an ideal
What's the connection
Between a lie and what is real
Mother Superior
I've got an angel on my back
I'm one of the righteous
And I'm never going back
No, no, no
I'm never going back
Who's that shining forth-right man
About to die behind me
He's waiting for the portress to send me head over heels
Who's that black-heart four-star General walking up the hill
To ask the liberals nicely
To help finance his private war
And if I didn't trust that man
When he puts the rifle in your hand
Sings you songs of pageantry and grace
And how much you want to bet on the other side
There's a man with twice your pride
And they put you feet first in an unmarked grave
There was a time in our history
When we justified by saying
Our destinies manifest
Now imperialism is the mantra of the west
See that trigger happy
College boys, love a chance
To try out their new toys
Then they wash the city streets
Clean, with the blood of infidels
And if I didn't trust that man
When he puts the rifle in your hand
Sings you songs of pageantry and grace
And how much you want to bet on the other side
There's a man with twice your pride
And they put you feet first in an unmarked grave
As the fabric of democracy
Left tattered in the dust
We could put another greedy man into the
Puppet-show, now tell me
Who do you trust
Who do you trust
And an abominable hemisphere
Would perpetuate a heart-whole atmosphere
Call it a threat
To national security
Call it just a poor-sick face
One more place to export cheap labor
Hail the monarchy
Hail the oligarchy
A potential for anarchy
And we pat ourselves firmly on the back

It's time to write with us this weekend!

It's time to write.  And what better way to write than with friends?

Several of us have started our own, self-hosted, bi-weekly flash fiction challenge over at a website we're calling Obsidian Flash.  It's on a forum behind a password, so that anything you write and submit is considered unpublished.  Registration is quick, free, and pretty painless.

Seriously, this thing is the perfect thing for you to do if you think writing is hard (or finding time for writing is hard), and especially if you haven't been writing for a while.  It's also great if you have problems with getting past ideas that "you suck" (every first draft sucks, face it) or self-doubt.

Go sign up now at and we'll see you writing this weekend!

Here are the rules:

Welcome to the Flash Challenge!  Our Flash Master is...Anton Cancre!

Here are the rules:

1. All stories should be complete, written and posted within 24 hours of the prompt being posted, and can be anywhere from one sentence to 1,500 words in length.  Typically the prompt is posted by 8pm EST on Friday, and stories are posted by 8pm EST on Saturday. 

2. You may choose to write your story in any genre.

3. Your story must be built around the restrictions—words, themes, photo prompts, word limits, etc.—provided by the Flashmaster at the beginning of the challenge.

4. Once the participants’ work is posted, the voting and comment session begins and continues until all votes are in. Time limit for voting will be determined on the spot, depending on how many people finish the challenge.  Typically this is within 24 hours of the end of the writing portion, or 8pm EST on Sunday.

5. The winner becomes Flashmaster and chooses the prompt(s) for the next contest.  Also, you get all the Internet Bragging Points you think you can get away with.

Don't wait - get going and register at right now and join us!

It's time to quit stigmatizing single parents and start acknowledging them.

I was a single parent when being a single parent wasn't okay.

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Well, it was for me; I was a male single parent.  I routinely got praised for ... well, existing, I guess.  It never made sense to me, because the same people who praised me would also bemoan all those single mothers out there.

While the stigma has (largely) disappeared, the difficulties remain.

So much of our society is still centered around the idea of the two-parent (and one-income) model, especially when it comes to kids.  Scouts. PTA meetings. Fundraisers.  All the things that were pointed out in Bad Moms are even more a problem when you're a single parent...

...and yes, even if the other parent is still in the picture.

Let's make something clear: Even if you're "coparenting", or have joint custody (of either type), or even if you just have visitation, you're still a single parent if you're not in a marriage or are a widow or widower.

I'm saying this as someone who has experienced both "very" single parenting (sole custody) and "shared custody" single parenting.

As Jackie Pilossoph wrote:
When you are a single parent, you are all alone during your parenting time. There is no partner there to bounce things off of, ask advice on how to handle certain things, deal with the kids fighting with each other, handle an extreme kid meltdown or even to deal with the mouse in the house that has your kids standing on chairs screaming.
Claiming that a co-parenting arrangement or joint custody doesn't make someone a "real" single parent is idiotic.  That's like saying that a married couple with kids aren't "real" parents because grandparents or siblings live nearby to help out.

Likewise, saying that you're a (divorced) single parent only implies that you're parenting the children.  It does not imply that the other partner(s) are not

Relationships, divorce, and parenting are freaking hard enough.  There's plenty of things that require our time and attention.  Creating controversy over whether or not someone is a "single parent" or "divorced parent" or whatever is completely unnecessary... and distracts from the whole point of there being joint custody (or co-parenting): providing for the children.

Cutting Yourself On The Mirrored Sides Of The Edges Of A Relationship

I keep notes on things that I want to write and talk about on the blog.  Some of them don't really warrant a full post, so I hold onto them.  These several are all around relationships beginning and ending, so I thought I'd collect them together.  These are the edges of relationships, where people seem to frequently (emotionally) cut themselves rather badly.

When one person says "I want this relationship to be over" (whether that's by saying "I'm leaving you", "we're through", "I want a divorce", or anything like that), then the relationship is over.  The person wanting out doesn't have to win an argument, convince you that they're "right", or anything else.  There's a reason why that's the "nuclear option" for a relationship.    As Dan Savage says:
...we do not need someone's consent to leave them. Breakups are the only aspect of our romantic and/or sexual lives where the other person's consent is irrelevant.
The mirror image of this is true as well:  You do need both (or all) people's consent to be in a relationship.  If one person in the "relationship" doesn't think you're in a relationship... you're not.  It's that simple.

Someone may hurt you when the relationship ends (or doesn't begin), and that can definitely effect the way you think and behave.  But - and this is important - the only person responsible for how you behave after the end of that relationship is you.  Want to pull a Miss Havisham?  That's your responsibility.  Want to keep letting them rule how you feel?  That's also your responsibility.

Again, the mirror image is true:  Your leaving may hurt someone.  But they, not you, are responsible for their life and decisions, especially after you've ended the relationship.  Whether they're holding themselves hostage by threatening suicide (and as someone who has felt suicidal after a relationship before and advocated for those who have felt suicidal, I find that particular tactic sickening) or practicing a form of hoovering, understand that the relationship is over, and what they choose is their decision, not yours.

And as always, dear readers, I'm not Taylor Swift (though I'm listening to her right now), so as always, don't rush to shove that shoe on your foot.

Defeated by the Claw: It just ain't fair.

She cried on the floor, hands pounding the carpet ineffectually. "I want to get something!"

It was the claw machine's fault, obviously.

Somehow, with only a dollar, her brother had managed something that I have never achieved:  he'd managed to get a toy from the claw machine in the arcade.

She had been given a dollar as well, but her luck and skill were more comparable to my own.  The dollar was gone, the little stuffed animal was still safely ensconced in the machine, un-clawed.

Photo by Jackson Jost on Unsplash
"It's not fair!" she screamed.

Of course it was fair.  But it was only one type of fair:  Equality of opportunity.

Both kids had the same amount of money to spend on the claw.  They each got the same number of chances.

It wasn't the other type of fair - equality of outcome - at all.  One kid had a toy, the other didn't.  It took eight more dollars to finally snag a toy with that claw.

Politicians try to fool us by swapping which kind of "fair" they're talking about all the time.

Most people are more okay with unequal outcomes as long as there's an equal opportunity.

And the tricky part is this:  opportunities are rarely truly equal.

One kid had better reflexes.  Maybe he'd trained more (or less) previously. Maybe one needed glasses, or there was more background noise, or...

...or their parents had to work three or four jobs between them and couldn't help study.  Or they didn't have enough food, so they were distracted by hunger at school.  Or their school funding (based off of property taxes) was low, so

You get the idea.

Life just isn't fair... but if we think about it, and we're kind, maybe we can make it fairer.