So...before I take off on my Labor of Love tangent...do you know why Labor day exists? Believe it or not there actually is a reason. I found a cute little explanation of the whys and wherefores of Labor Day right here. Check it out if you want to know why we celebrate the day in September instead of May, and how Grover Cleveland and the Haymarket Riots played a part in influencing our end of summer bash. It's kind of nice to know why we get that first Monday in September off.
Alright, not that that's taken care of... where the heck have I been?
I had a fairly serious operation back in April, and by the time I'd recovered enough that I should have been back writing up a storm I had instead fallen and wacked the hell out of my noggin.
Yeah, the old grey mare she ain't what she used to be.
I already suffer from TBI or traumatic brain injury... and this blow to my head sent all the symptoms that had started to fade right back into full effect. So I'm ridiculously forgetful--pretty sure I dropped the ball on a bunch of stuff this summer, but I cannot for the life of me recall what exactly I forgot.
I have to make lists for everything.
Like going to get a cup of coffee from my own kitchen.
One day I tried for almost two hours to get a cup of coffee. I kept forgetting what I was doing every time I got half-way down the hall from living room to kitchen. It would be really funny except I've been letting folks down. Appointments forgotten, blogs not written, stories written out of order. Sheesh.
Thankfully, I've found a willing sacrifice--erm minion/personal assistant willing to work for peanuts and another minion/organizer/keeper of my brain. Between the three of us and my wonderful editor Val I'm hoping to get back on track in the month of September. This past week's trial run has gone pretty well. Except for the stuff I forgot to tell my minders to remind me of.
Eh, it's a work in progress. Writing is like breathing to me, and far from laborious usually. I have high hopes that with some more rest and time my dodgy brain will start to tick over reasonably again, allowing me to get back to writing at a faster than snail-zone pace.
I'll keep you posted.
This has been Cherie Noel, live from the front lines of my battered brain.
Take care babies. Guard your noggins. Having a battered brain is a bit of crap, so seriously, keep your brains from bouncing.
Oh, you lucky people, you get a completely random wander through the cobwebby corners of my mind!
I was driving to the Dept of Driver Services (known in most other US States as the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles) to drop off some paperwork for my DH because they're only open Tues-Fri and those are the days he has to work, so...anyway.
I was driving, as one does, and I was thinking about the other errands I had to run (PO for stamps, grocery store for milk) and when I had run out of those I just let my mind wander randomly through things, again, as one does. And it's kind of a mishmash in there -- I tend to click on random links via Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, and I accidentally follow a number of fandoms via Tumblr (srsly. I do not watch Teen Wolf, Supernatural, or Leverage, but they make up about 65% minimum of the non-hockey stuff I see on Tumblr. I don't mind; I'm interested enough to care what happens to the characters but not interested enough to actually watch the shows). And then "I Won't Say I'm in Love," the song from Disney's Hercules, came on my iPod, and a couple of things kind of started slotting together and...
Like I said, it's cobwebby and a bit weird in here, and someone else somewhere else has probably said the same things better than my sleep-deprived brain, but...
There are certain things that seem to happen with an almost predictable regularity within the community of romance readers -- someone getting bent out of shape over less-than-stellar reviews, for instance. One of the ones that I notice the most in a direct way is when someone somewhere gets a Holier-than-thou over readers of romance, proceeds to make sweeping statements about us and the authors we love, and generally turns it into the butt of an unspecified but unnecessary number of jokes.
And then I thought about Hercules, and any number of other movies, Disney and otherwise, that really didn't need to have romance in them, and would in fact have been just as good, if not better, had they not taken that direction at all. Does Hercules really need to have a crush on Megara (or her back at him) in order for him to feel like what happened to her was wrong, and she deserves better? Nope, not really... And how many other movies can that apply to? Does Ariel really *have* to marry Eric in order to experience life as a human? Does it all have to be about Twu Wuv?
Is it really fair of us to spoon-feed this idea of romance to children from a young age, then turn around and tell them they're stupid for believing it? We saturate our kids with media presenting certain images of life and behavior and basically tell them "This is what you should be striving for" and then turn around and tell them that those things are wrong or bad or dangerous or stupid. And it's really hard, unless you're a super-fundamentalist who avoids the entire outside world, to *not* expose your kids to some level of this. And even talking frankly and openly about it can only help so much -- if they're getting one thing from you and something different from every single other direction in their lives outside of you, is it going to be enough?
And yet we continue to read and love and champion romance, because in the end, it's about all kinds of love, and humanity is made up of all the different kinds of love we can gather to ourselves.
I'm never really sure what to write in here; blogging as Cherie's Minion is this weird cross between sort-of actually about ME and sort-of not really about me at all.
I'm so so JEALOUS of her, right now, though, because...well.
I have gotten really into hockey over the last couple of years -- it started during my DH's last deployment, when I was following his favorite team for him, keeping him updated on their standings and scores and whatnot, and it was just... wow. Somehow I got sucked in. And then I started watching interviews -- particularly post-game or off-day locker room interviews. And, ok, I'm shallow enough to admit that part of the appeal of those interviews is that the guys are young and in PRIME shape and many of them have ridiculously attractive faces. But also -- they are in PRIME shape & at the top of their game and just.... I don't know. I think it's kind of like watching big cats, you know? There's something primal and powerful and attractive about it all, like watching an apex predator take down its prey, or something.
Anyway. I *do* have a point and a connection here. I'll have to start by saying DH's team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they hold a deep and special place in my heart and can never be moved (and I am devastated by some of the trades and firings and whatnot that happened this offseason but I'm trying to focus on some of the stuff that I've heard that make it sound like this could be a Good Thing, please Hockey Gods! and having faith that the changes will work out in the end). But then, I discovered Tumblr. I mean, I had been aware of Tumblr as A Thing before, but then I discovered the Tumblr Hockey Fans, who are just as ridiculous as I am and possibly moreso. And so I came to love more than just my Penguins.
Some of my new hockey loves are individual players, but I also have an unnatural love affair going with the Chicago Blackhawks -- a couple of their offseason trade left me with a bruised heart, too. There is a game on I think the Saturday night of GRL. I wanna go SO BAD you have no idea but will probably not just because money and also it's kind of anti-social to go to something like that and completely skip all the socializing bits and only do the business-y bits. Also I really really wish somehow someone could have managed to get some sort of You Can Play thing going at GRL & maybe get a couple of the players out there to be all supportive because that would have been AWESOME.
Hockey reason why I am insanely jealous of Cherie: Patrick Kane, #88 for the Blackhawks, is from Not Too Far from where she lives. And apparently he's keeping his offseason skills sharp by playing in the local rec leagues. Which would frankly just be icing on the hockey cake for me; like 98% of my jealousy is that she lives somewhere that actually has ice rinks, much less ones that are still going in summer. And she could, if she were so inclined, watch hockey, even baby baby hockey (OMG baby goalies are so freaking ADORABLE. Heck, all kids on skates & in hockey pads at age 5-ish are too cute! but the baby goalies! Melt me, every time) pretty much whenever. SO. I mean, here's me, loving hockey, and able to see, if I'm lucky, one, maybe two college hockey games at the little 4-school, 5 game tournament that happens mid-January every year at the Civic Center in Savannah.
Cherie has made some noises about maybe writing a hockey story one day, once the backlog has cleared out a little. I am therefore trying to start educating her and have a bookmark folder labeled "Hockey for Cherie!" which has as many links that are really mostly for me as it does links for her & I should probably find some way to make that accessible to her, huh, so she can browse it at her leisure?
This is Michael Sam, recent NHL draftee (to the Rams) and first professional football player to come out before retirement (even before playing professionally, even). He is accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPN awards ceremony.
I cried, and it looked like there were very few dry eyes in the audience.
I've been thinking a lot lately about this (talking about sex, not about actual sex, although, yeah, that, too...I'm only human!) because my daughter is reaching that age -- probably already *at* that age -- where kids are not only thinking about it, but doing it. Also I ran across a great, thoughtful, helpful post that I think I failed to bookmark at Captain Awkward which talked about this topic, specifically, ways and resources for a parent wanting to start a conversation about sex with his teenage daughter, and I followed all the links and wishlisted books, and when my kids get home from my parents' next month, the Girl-child and I are going to have a sit-down and I am *dreading* it like you would not believe.
Which, to me, feels like a major disconnect, because I read romance, and it's not like romance is a strictly G-rated, no-sex-before-marriage deal anymore, even if I *did* cut my romance eyeteeth on the likes of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Betty Neels, where a mere kiss was nearly scandalous.
And so, one of the things that struck me is that, even in the contemporary het romances I still occasionally read (I'm weak, I know...), they never ever talk about sex, really. Maybe a sentence or two about protection, but usually not even that (because, HELLO Secret Baby!). But there's a little -- or a lot -- more discussion in the less heterosexual books I read, particularly as they get more and more away from vanilla sex, and more importantly, unless there's a Big Misunderstanding centered around sex, they talk about it other places, too. Sometimes it's like a book review -- what worked, what didn't, what could be different next time. But there is, at some point in the book, almost always a discussion about the sex.
And the truth is, that's making it SO MUCH EASIER for me to screw together my courage and talk to my daughter -- and eventually, my sons -- about the whole thing.