The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Category: Atheist Talk (boogie boogie)

Self Publishing Requires Self Confidence


Hellp.  Ha, I meant to write Hello, but maybe hellp is better.  It more accurately reflects how I feel right now.  I have been putting off blogging because I was asked some questions about self publishing, I told people to follow my blog, ( I have no idea whether they did or not) and now I feel obligated to sound like an expert and write things that will help people.

But here’s the thing, I’m not an expert – I’m going in fairly blind here, and I don’t know what I’m doing at all.  But I’m determined that this is going to happen.  This book – Someotherville, which I do love and which so many of my friends and family (and a few strangers) have financially backed through Kickstarter – is going to come out.  And that’s that.  So I guess it’s time to stop stewing and get on with what needs doing.

I should receive the funds from Kickstarter on Monday.  That means that I can go ahead  and purchase ISBNs and once I have an ISBN, I can officially get permission to reprint the John Ashbery poem that I need permission for, and then I can get my galleys printed and send out advance copies to reviewers.

I should also write a press release to say that my kickstarter campaign was successful and that I’m gearing up to publish the week before Valentine’s day.  And I should start writing to local bookstores explaining that this is coming out, and that I’d be more than happy to come out and do a reading.  Oh, and I should write a letter to Minnesota Atheists thanking them for their support in putting my information in their weekly newsletter, and I should also write to spinning and weaving guilds to let them know that they might be interested in the controlling metaphor of the book.

When I write it out like that, it seems simple enough.  Easy, really.  No problem.  No reason to be absolutely terrified, right?

That’s what I keep telling myself.  🙂  Ok.  Brave face.  Time to be bold.

Thanks for reading – if I write any more right now, it will just be a way to procrastinate.  🙂 S

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Free and Alive


Hi!  I have the St. Dominic’s Trio song, Free and Alive from their album Switch stuck in my head.  This is probably because I listen to it in the car all the time.  I really like that album.  I think that if my novel is ever made into a movie starring Sandra Bullock as Joan, (ha ha) Free and Alive should be the song that plays when we first meet Arlen/e.  Really.  It would fit so well.  I also love the last song on the disc, I don’t know the name off the top of my head, and I’m not willing to run to the car to get it, but I think it would be a good one for another part of the movie – it’s about spending your life either looking forward to the best day in your life or looking back at it.  Joan spends some time doing that…

So today was another day at summer school.  Everyone was exhausted.  I think about half my students went to Pride.  I tell ya, the young people are going to change things just by being who they are.  🙂 🙂 🙂  So good.

I’m having a little tiny bout of writer’s block again.  It was another big day for the blog yesterday – 55 views.  Probably because I tagged it up like crazy with phrases like Gay Pride and such.  I think it’s great that people read it, but now I’m feeling like I didn’t write enough.  Guess I’ll always feel that way because there is a limited amount of time.

I did get three comments from members of the Minnesota Atheists.  I think it’s cool that they are consciously trying to put out a more positive image of Atheists.  I started the road to recovery from Cathoholism  when I was 17, but I was hesitant to call myself an Atheist.  First off, because it was such a radical change – I had been pretty into being Catholic – and secondly because Atheist sounded so negative to me at the time.

After a while, though, I found that if I said I was an agnostic, many people would question me on whether I knew what the term even meant!  I think we need to transcend the question of god altogher and just focus on here and now, helping our fellow man, and leaving the world a better place for the next generations.  If we spent the energy we spend arguing about religion and put it to a better purpose, we could probably get a lot of good work done.

Pride Day


I know, I know, I’m supposed to be writing my memories of Michael Jackson today, but the only thing I have is that my cousin had the Thriller album, and I loved it so much that I got my parents to buy it for me for Christmas in the seventh grade.  And one of my other friends had his pictures up in her locker.  She kissed his picture, and I remember being shocked.  I think kissing a photograph is very intimate.  Silly, since it’s one way, but that’s how I still feel.

What I am actually writing about today, after the non-related intro paragraph, is Gay Pride in Minneapolis.  As you may know, it’s set mostly in Loring Park, across from the Walker Art Center.  I love that area – Loring Park, the Irene Whitney bridge and the Sculpture Garden serve as the setting for the climax of my novel, Someotherville. *ahem, still seeking representation*  There’s something about Loring Park that is just very comfortable.

I can’t say that I had any Earth-shattering insights, it was just a nice day where I met a lot of nice people. I was especially gratified to see that there were at least three booths specifically for Transgender people.  I have had the honor of serving several Transgender students over the years, and I’m glad to see that their community is being served by at least a few non-profits.

I also thought it was great that such a wide variety of Minnesota was represented.  Corporations, small independent artists, churches (lots of churches.) and in the middle of religion row, a booth from Minnesota Atheists.  A man was holding a ‘hug an Atheist today’ sign.  I was so happy to see him that I did run up and hug him.  So did Jay.  The people running the booth said that they were working hard to present a positive image of us.  It seemed to be working.  We are definitely joining that group.

I also saw students and old friends, signed about a dozen petitions, picked up great resources for future students, walked through a well-done exhibit about the history of homosexual persecution and ate a falafel.  It was a great day.  We are still waiting until Gay marriage is legal in Minnesota to wear our wedding rings, but Jay and I held hands alot, and for once it felt like our Gay friends were free to do the same.

I have to close now, but a big thank you to the organizers of Minnesota’s Pride events this year – it was really great.

My Dad – a poem


My Dad.
A bus-driver on the early shift.
He looks to maps for everything.
Checking his route before he moves.
Up an hour early every day.
3am.  I’m still trying to fall asleep. 
Getting up out of frustration, I go upstairs.
Dad is kneeling, bent over.  I hear him.
Whimpering.  Next to the wall – barely space to breathe.
He’s praying, crying. 
He looks up at me, tears in his eyes, face a grimace.
I know that look.  The emotion written there: guilt.
I feel guilty because I don’t feel the same as he does.
He’s making up for lost time with God.
Time when he didn’t believe, either.
Am I losing time right now?
Will that be me in 20 years?
Prostrated before a dime-store picture of Jesus, apologizing for my life?

Why does an Atheist celebrate Christmas?


We celebrate christmas because we love life.  If all our loved ones celebrate something, we want to celebrate with them.  We can celebrate our love for our loved ones, we can celebrate our time together, we can even celebrate the great ideals that are embodied in the idea of christmas.  I think that’s as legitimate a reason as any.

Doesn’t really matter to me that I stopped going to church when I was 17, I still have celebrated christmas every year.  Sometimes I have felt guilty, but when you think about it, who am I accountable to for celebrating something that I don’t really believe the basis of?  Only myself.  And why would I deny myself the opportunity to show love and be loved?  That would be counterintuitive.

🙂  I got good gifts from my husby.  Mostly cds, which is slightly suspicious because he really likes music, so it’s almost like they’re for him.  But he did get me some Beastie Boys, and I know that’s not for himself.  ;0  kbye sheila

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