Hanako’s parents took us to a Japanese restaurant in Hamden? ?? ?? ?
“The virus of white privilege survives by convincing its host organism that it does not exist. That’s because the more clearly we see it the more likely we are to notice that its purported benefits have faded almost to nothing. Whites of the working and middle classes correctly perceive that their economic fortunes have deteriorated over the past half-century, even if the average white household is still 20 times wealthier than the average black household (an especially deleterious consequence of white privilege). An entire right-wing ideological empire remains devoted to convincing white people that benefit-sucking African-Americans and job-stealing Latino immigrants are somehow to blame for their downward trajectory. White privilege is the solvent used, throughout American history, to dissolve multiracial coalitions of working people, and the drug used to brainwash whites into making common cause with the class of CEOs, financiers and landlords. Kicking that drug habit is the only way white America can ever set itself free from the past.”
The other day, I was sitting at a table in a place of business and I had a notebook open in front of me. In the notebook, I was making a list of Men I Don’t Hate. It’s actually a pretty long list; that was the point in my making it. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself. Anyway, as I was sitting there, a man I don’t know walked into the room and began talking to me. This is a practice I have always done my best to discourage, but he seemed nice enough and he was blocking the door so I did not employ my usual response to Men I Don’t Know Talking to Me, which is to run away.
The man asked what I did for a living. I told the man I was a writer. The man asked what I wrote. I told the man my YA novel was getting published in the United States in January, and that I had recently finished the sequel. The man told me his friend writes books for kids and publishes them himself. “Have you ever looked into that?” the man asked me. I told him I had not, but that I knew of people who had had great success in that arena. “He says it’s hard,” the man told me, “to get people to actually read it.” I commiserated. “He says the only way to have success writing is to write for a big website,” the man added. I felt like this was not accurate but just sort of nodded, because, like, I don’t know your friend’s life. It was only with the man’s next sentences—“You should probably look into that. You should find a website you want to write for and see if you can write for them”—that I began to understand that he was trying to give me advice in how to succeed in a field I had already established I am doing reasonably well in, despite the fact that this man’s only connection to the world of writing and publishing was his friend, whom he had already established to be doing not-so-well.
He really thought he was just being nice, though, and I think at heart he probably is, so I tried to be nice, too. In a light, friendly, we’re-just-two-buds-with-equally-valuable-insight-into-the-world-of-books sort of tone, I explained that I am really lucky in that my books are being published by a company with a marketing team who would help me to get them read. Not that writing for a website wouldn’t help, too! I didn’t say, “I am in a better position than your friend and already more successful than him by many standards,” but I cheerfully implied it. That’s when the man started to explain that kids don’t read books anymore. Only iPads. “It’s too bad,” the man said, shaking his head, “but that’s how it is.” I kind of started to explain that, from what I’ve seen, kids are actually reading a lot of books—including the ones I’ve written!—but the man had started a diatribe about iPads and attention span and other stuff, and I didn’t want to interrupt.
This is going to seem like a joke, but it’s true: as the man was talking, another man walked into the room. He poured himself a drink and then looked at me, looked down at the notebook in front of me, and said, “Is that your diary?!” in the snidest tone imaginable. He started snickering, took a couple steps to the door, turned around and looked at me, snickering, waiting for me to start snickering too? I don’t know. I was giving him the same look you would give a puddle of vomit on the street you almost accidentally stepped in. The two men started chatting together, then, and I took the opportunity to run from the room, vowing never to return to it.
A day or two ago, I was walking to a coffee shop, planning out a scene in the book I’m writing now, and apropos of nothing, I remembered something a professor in college once told me. He said: “Katie, don’t become one of those angry women writers.” He gave me a lot of good advice, too, but as far as that one went, MISSION UNACCOMPLISHED.
I have been remembering and forgetting all day and my last forgetting was stronger than before so this may be my last chance to remember, so I am writing it down here: This morning, early, when I have all my dreams that aren’t ugly nightmares but are often stress dreams, I dreamt I was Sen in Spirited Away, more or less. In Yubaba’s maze of a house, I think a strange creature to reassure me like Kamaji but I do not recall a shape, I think someone to be kind like Haku but for me because I was not Chihiro, I was me. I rushed to do what I needed to do and felt my limbs and hands grow surer as I ran.
Literally only Midori was like “no, don’t take a fourth class, you will regret it,” so now I know who really has my back around here, and she’s right, I’m not going to, I want to try to do my other things well, viz, I just looked at the syllabus for the writing class again and I do not have time for a fourth class.
You guys. My fifteen-hour-a-week internship + hour-and-a-half-a-week practicum count as my fourth class, so I thought I couldn’t take a fourth class. But it turns out I can take a fourth class. Somebody take me by the hand and tell me that I really need to not take a fourth class.
On the one hand maybe I need to get better at having detached intellectual conversations about things like theology and morality and ethics and human behavior so I will not read conversations that other people find interesting as arguments, but on the other hand, no
LET ME CLARIFY that he was like “yeah everyone should be monogamous because of Scripture and God’s intention” and I was like “it’s not that I don’t see what you’re saying but LEAVING ASIDE RESPECTFUL AND MUTUAL NON-MONOGAMY EVEN do you really think it’s ethical and reasonable to demand that non-Christians or people of other faiths submit to a vision of companionship laid out in the Bible? Do you think they will even go the first step with you?” and he was like “why is this tiny person yelling at me”
I mean apparently he was actually like “what a rousing conversation” so that’s nice but also ????????