I imagine we’re not allowed to post about anything else today. Every post begins: Osama bin Laden is dead. Just like how 9/11 was the only acceptable topic for art after the event (I had someone scream at me on a message board for saying that poetry on other subjects was still something anyone should even try), if you don’t post about this one you might as well put your blog away.

Well, I don’t know. Seems like one more corpse on the pile to me. Sorry, but this war, this decade of war has made me cynical. It’s made me not believe in just government on any level, and made me wary and gunshy of my fellow citizens’ glee. If we’re dancing in the streets either the Lakers won or someone’s dead. I was told immediately after posting that it felt like a Pyrrhic victory to me, and tasted like ash, that I was in the minority and that for ALL servicemen and their families, ALL 9/11 and rescue workers families this is joy and closure and relief.

I’m still amazed, years later, how people are willing to speak for those sections of the population, even when and especially when they aren’t part of those demographics.

I’m not a servicemember’s wife anymore. But I was, during the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. He did two tours over there. And it changed the way I think about military action completely. I used to watch the news. I used to follow politics avidly. It’s like a really cool game, see, where plays get called and victories happen and there are championships. It’s less fun when an idle kick in that game could destroy your family. There is literally no political situation in which I feel the loss of someone I love is a good trade. For oil rights, for imperialist ambitions, for punitive measures, for revenge. I find it hard, even for "freedom" which is such a nebulous concept, to say sure, I and my loved ones will die for a minor tick in our governments win column. This is an unpopular thing to say–all Americans must immediately state their willingness to die for freedom. No hesitation. Are you some kind of communist, that you don’t want to die for an ill-defined philosophical concept that has been used to justify everything wicked in the last decade? Do your colors run? Freedom means living. It means saying no when the man comes around. I do not locate my personal freedom in my ability to die for my government, or watch my loved ones die and play the good wife while they rot. (That used to play in my head every time they’d report someone of my husband’s rank and branch dead. That he’d die and I’d have to look into a camera and say it was worth it, that I was happy to sacrifice him for my country. Dulce et decorum est.)

We love WWII because the cause was so obviously just, because you can’t be a good person and say you wouldn’t fight against an evil like that. It was so black and white on our side, and on our side so few died. (Our side meaning the lantern-jawed John Wayne Greatest Generation constantly canonized soldiers who strode in late to the graveyard that was Europe. Compared to Jewish, Russian, Roma, and other casualties, our losses were minimal.) We felt so strong. In some ways I think we’re always trying to recapture that feeling of being a country of superheroes. With every war we invoke that one, we hope it will be that good.

Like any addict, we’re always looking for a fix as good as the one we remember from the early days. The one that said to our bones: this is the stuff. Anything, anything, to ride this wave forever. And it always takes more and more to feel that way again.

And we got a good hit last night. Someone who was a villain, who we could hate without reservation, who looked bad and scary and did bad things and we can just ignore all the parts where we used to help him out, and still are bestest BFFs with his home nation that helped him out. Nevermind that stuff. It’s the sweet humors of revenge and justice–not justice in whatever fruity intellectual way you lefties mean it, but justice meaning we got ours and we were right. That’s what justice means now.

So, yeah. If people get closure from it, great. I’m not getting that feeling from the dancing in the streets crowd, but ok. I think when you genuinely lose, getting a tiny measure of blood doesn’t erase all that much pain. But I wouldn’t speak for people who were actually in the city on the day, who lost their folk. I wouldn’t even speak for military members and their families. I am not one of their number anymore. I can only speak for myself and say that death is death is death, and by any measure, we have let enough of it as a nation to balance out 3,000. But of course blood can never be balanced. That’s the fallacy. It will never be enough. If hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan wasn’t enough, nothing will ever be. We will wake up tomorrow and need more, because even this one man is only enough for a moment. It’s too good a gig for a government. You can get away with so much if people are both afraid and hungry to feel strong. Who could give that up?

I’m tired, is all. I’m tired of my cynicism never being quite enough to keep up with current events. I’m tired of arguing with people on the internet about how I am allowed to feel in order to be a proper citizen. I’m tired of death being the currency we buy our lives with. I’m tired of the 21st century, which shit on everyone’s doorstep right out of the gate, and kept on coming.

I don’t begrudge anyone their own emotional response. I’ve just had too many over the last ten years to be able to summon up very much more than ashes and bile this time.

Posted in Blog Posts 747 Comments

Fairyland is now available for free download until the evening of Monday, May 2nd.

Follow the signpost.

There’s a little game to get the download–I hope you like it. This is the original text, without illustrations. Please do not pirate it or upload it where it shouldn’t be, which is more or less anywhere. Do feel free to tell anyone you like about the window.

Thank you all, everyone who came this far. The best is yet to come.

Posted in Blog Posts 288 Comments

I’ve just received the go-ahead on this.

Starting tomorrow at 9 am, and continuing until Monday evening, you will be able to download the complete, original Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland from my website for free. The print book will come out on May 10th.

This is our way–and it was very kind of Feiwel to allow it–of saying thank you to everyone who has followed this book and loved it.

Please do not upload to torrent sites–a useless plea, I know, but I had to make it.

I’ll let you know when the clock starts. (Note that this will be the original version, without illustrations. The Kindle version et all will have the illos. Best I could do, guys.)

I can’t believe this book is finally a physical thing! So strange. But the print edition is so gorgeous, it’s an argument in itself of why physical books still matter.

Love you all. Here we go. The Green Wind is almost here.

Posted in Blog Posts 176 Comments

So I’ve been flying a lot lately, and will be flying a very great deal in the next several months. It was going to happen sooner or later–I went through enhanced screening with my friends at the TSA.

It’s happened twice now, and I’ve been very interested in how it went down, but not gotten around to posting. So here it is–Adventures In Security Theater.

The first time was in Houston, coming back from Aggiecon. I saw the giant machine and my brain immediately went: uh oh. So this is definitely going to happen. Am I going to opt out or not?

The fact is I fly a lot and though I’m aware of how much radiation is involved in a flight, I’m also concerned at the fact that we don’t know the long term exposure effects of this type of radiation and that no one is wearing a badge that might alert them if the machine was broken bothers me hugely. (Well, badges might scare people into not going into the machine!)

I got up to the line and asked to opt out. This was what surprised me: how difficult that was to do. I sort of squeaked a little when I said it. It’s tough to say no to someone in weaponized uniform, to do it in front of a lot of people and in Texas, not a notoriously liberal place. To stand up, even a little, to authority. I don’t generally locate my personal freedom in the ability to stand down guards of any kind, as I am a cynic who recognizes that they could give a shit about me–it’s not personal, it’s just a system, and they don’t think of me as a person. That’s almost natural, given how many people they see every day. I was surprised that it was hard for me though. We talk a big game online, but it’s not nothing to carry it forward to actual action.

Anyway, I squeaked my way into an opt-out and the first guard was very nice about it, though the second, a woman who needed someone to come take her place so she could do the pat-down, got increasingly irritated and eye-rolly as minutes ticked by. She didn’t really look at me or talk to me, and when we went to the special area (right in front of the main terminal walkway–though they do offer a private room) she just went through her spiel.

Now, I have never been sexually assaulted, and I don’t have many issues with people touching me. So it wasn’t so bad. Weird, offputting, and made me feel exposed/like a criminal, but it was fine, as far as pat-downs that involve putting her hands in my jeans and cupping my breasts go. Not fun, but I could stare straight ahead and wait for it to be over. I note that they do some kind of chemical analysis on one’s hands to see if one has touched bombs or whatever–something they don’t do if you go through the machine, so LOLS, I guess. None of it makes any more sense than the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

EVERYONE SWITCH PLACES.

Take 2 was in Chicago O’Hare, and a different story. I opted out again–and it was easier this time. Saying no to authority gets easier with practice. The woman behind me opted out, too, and as we were waiting she asked me about the machines. I said just what I said above–we just don’t know what this kind of radiation can do to a body, there have been no studies, and no one is wearing a badge to make sure excess radiation isn’t being leaked.

The woman shrugged and said: "Well, I’m sure it’s fine." She then walked into the machine, put her hands up, and looked out at me. She shrugged again and said:

"It’s only the first trimester, right?"

o.O

Wow. I mean, I’ll just leave it at that because WHAT.

When I got my pat-down this time, the TSA agent was obviously irritated and incredibly rough with me. She pinched my skin when pulling the waistband of my jeans out to run her fingers around it and put her hand quite far down the front of my jeans. But the worst was when she did the "I’m going to move my hand up your leg until I meet resistance" thing. Which she did FOUR times, each leg, from the front and the back. She slid her hand up fast and hard, so hard that when she met "resistance" it felt like a light punch. She hit, well, let’s not be coy, my labia and pubic bone extremely hard with the side of her hand, four times. I winced and jumped–it was so unnecessary, as I knew from not actually having been punched in the junk the last time I did this.

She did the chemical analysis bit and sent me on my way. Didn’t look at me or talk to me like I was a person, either. Both opt-outs delayed me about ten minutes from "No thanks" to walking off. My stuff was indeed out of sight for significant portions of time–something you’re not supposed to do at airports lest a terrorist slip something in, remember? But only once did I feel genuinely violated. TSA agents are just doing their jobs and I’m sensitive to that. But damn, girl, you did not have to be so rough. My labia are not wanted in seventeen states for a series of bank robberies and high speed chases. Fucking ow.

So that’s my TSA story. I’ll be interested to see how many times I have to opt out over the tour. I hate it, and I shouldn’t have to do it, just to avoid unstudied radiation. (userinfojustbeast  always says he has to save his rads for Mars.) But it’s part of the world now, and we all got a very clear picture of how much protest and common disapproval matter to anyone in charge. This happened no matter how many people said it shouldn’t. It’s done. It will never be undone because no one wants to be the guy who lessened airport security. This is not for our safety. I can walk through any airport in the world with metal knitting needles and it’s right as rain. But no one ever thought it was for our safety.

And as to the folk who think an effective protest is for everyone to stop flying–well, fuck right off. Flying is no longer a privilege in this world that we can just choose not to partake of. I have to fly for work, I fly internationally for work, I almost never fly for fun. It’s a big damn country, and a big damn world, and most white collar jobs require us to move around a lot, because nothing is geographically anchored anymore in the business world. Not to mention that families are no longer clustered around the same town everyone grew up in. It’s not 1959. We require a certain level of mobility–which is why airlines can gouge us and the TSA can do whatever it wants. The solution is not to forcibly shunt the country back to the 1940s and laugh while thousands of people lose their jobs when airlines go under. I see this suggested on every website that discusses TSA tactics, and it makes me so mad I could tear a cereal box in half.

I just hope next time my personal physical violation by my government is a little gentler, that’s all. That’s all I really ask. Be gentle while you punch my rights like a pile of wooden boards. Ki-ya.

Posted in Blog Posts 801 Comments

A marvelous thing is happening!

It is a Fairyland easter egg hunt!

Essentially, I wrote a little Fairyland story and then broke it up and hid it all over the internet on the websites of the bookstores and events I’ll be visiting in the next month. To read it, just follow the links!

Start here, at the MacKids page for Fairyland, where you can also find a bestiary, userinfos00j  music, and illustrations. Scroll down to the "Nine Lessons" link beneath the big book cover. Click it, and you’re off!

The full title? Nine Lessons from a Wyverary Governess.

Not all the pieces are up yet, but they all stand alone. More will appear over the next two weeks.

So soon! Less than two weeks!

More Fairyland fiction is coming before the book releases too–keep an eye open.

Posted in Blog Posts 54 Comments