I'm active on LinkedIn, posting just about every weekday. I scan through my news feed on the platform and respond at whim. What I've been seeing there recently bothers me.
The first was a post by a member of the LGBTQ-etc. community complaining about the lack of gender-neutral pronouns in language and crying offense at being addressed as she/her by people who can't immediately see that this person identifies as other than one's apparent sex. Or gender.
At most, surveys and studies calculate that nearly 7 percent of the world's population identify as LGBT; 1.7 percent as intersex, and 0.6 percent at transgender. Intersex and transgender are lumped in with the LGBT percentage. That's a tiny minority around which the entire nation has been turning itself inside out to accommodate with regard to language, signage, and cultural mores.
I don't deny that these folks exist or that they should be treated with the same dignity and courtesy deserved by every human being. What I do deny is that they are normal. Gender identification or sexual preference is natural; however, natural does not equate to normal.
Nature allows for aberration; but it favors normality. Normality is what perpetuates the species, regardless of species.
Language, expecially the Romance languages, tend to be oriented toward the masculine. Why is a group of children called niños when it's likely comprised of both boys (niños) and girls (niñas)? That used to upset me. I resented it, because language seemed designed to ignore the existence of females. Then I grew up. I don't mind distinguishing between actor and actress, chairman and chairwoman, waiter and waitress. Did anyone ever call Frank Sinatra "Chairperson of the Board?" Of course, not. That's just silly. Such specificity in words aids in our understanding.
The current push to erase gender or sex in language ("birthing persons" instead of "mothers") is a deliberate assault upon the existence of females. Men and women not only exist, they are biologically and physiogically different. Why should we twist language and definitions to deny that? What we must remember is that difference does not mean superiority or inferiority. My husband is superior to me in some things and I am superior to him in others. Sex-based strengths and weaknesses are complementary.
The other post conflates intelligence with morality or good character. I responded to a post decrying former President Trump for declaring Russian President Putin "smart." Putin, I wrote, is highly intelligent, but he's also ruthless and determined to rebuild the Soviet empire. The original poster then responded with a snarky comment to which I responded that intelligence has no bearing upon moral character. Putin's smart, really smart, but he's not a nice man. Intelligence does not confer goodness, nor does goodness correlate with intelligence. One may be totally insane or evil and still be highly intelligent.
One of the things I enjoy about language is its ability to be extremely precise while also allowing for nuance and deeper layers of meaning. Understanding language requires perception and intuition and actually knowing what words mean. This leads to the benefits of a broad vocabulary and the ability to use the one right word that means precisely what you want to say.
Every word counts.
#henhousepublishing #writing #editing
I've made no bones about my extended creative hiatus. It's been a dark 12-plus months, and grief delivered a sledgehammer blow to both mind and heart.
With my creative spark effectively extinguished, my business shifted to editing. Editing requires more of an analytical mind than a creative one. I consider very carefully whether I wish to apply for or bid on a writing project. Do I even want to do it? Can I handle it? Will it overwhelm me? Do I even care? It's been easier to focus my attention on editing, to making someone else's work better. That way I don't have to be responsible for the ideas or their development. It's a break I needed.
However, time is working its magic. The spark has flickered to life.
On Sunday, I didn't feel like reading. I didn't feel painting. I was restless. I picked up my laptop computer, opened the file of my latest and languishing work-in-progress, and began to write. I added 6,000 words to that manuscript. It felt good, cathartic even.
Last night, I added 4,000 words. That felt good, too. Proper. Natural. Right.
I won't kid you or myself that this recent spurt of creative energy signals the end of that creative hiatus, but I do consider it promising. The story is coalescing, finding direction. I can think of what happens next.
I'm not writing this story for Matt. He never read what I wrote and considered my being an author of romance and fantasy as more than a little embarrassing. However, I would like to think that Matt would want me to continue to write and embarrass him, because that's what Mom does. I hope he understands.
Regardless, I am grateful that this critical, integral part of me hasn't been entirely lost. It's coming back. Whether I will regain the earlier productivity of two years ago is undertermined. I do know I must care for my psyche and nurture this delicate spark so as not to extinguish it. It's terrible to lose a piece of yourself.
Emston Media LTD recently contacted me to solicit my services for ghostwriting. I read through their letter and their specifications for hiring, and was happy to reply. One of those specifications as that their ghostwriters sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) prohibiting them from claiming any of the projects. The letter specified that the ghostwriter's name would not appear anywhere within the published document, nor would the ghostwriter be acknowledged in any way by the author or the publisher beyond having received payment for the work.
I'm good with that. I don't need to see my name on the published work, although it's nice to be recognized for my contribution. When someone asks me what I'm working on and/or if I've got similar experience, I may refer to the project in very general terms: for example, I'm working on a young adult trilogy based on the Mahabharata. (I actually am. And there's no way anyone could figure out what the story is or who hired me to write it from that general description.)
In my reply to Emston Media, I stated that upon completion of the project, I retain the right to claim it in my resume and portfolio and, after it's published, to link to the work in my resume and portfolio.
I received a request to provide evidence of my having written content in the genre for which they would hire me. I directed them to an example, House Secrets by Perry Freeman. My name appears nowhere in that book. I receive no royalties on book sales. I do not own the copyright. And that's OK. He hired me to write it and I did. It was a terrific project for a wonderful client. I would gladly write for him again.
I pointed out the hypocrisy of the NDA to the Emston Media representative: They wanted me to point to work I'd ghostwritten for someone else to show my experience, but would not allow me to point to work I'd produced for them to show a potential future client my experience. Emston didn't like that and withdrew the offer.
Well, that didn't last long.
When explaining my rationale for retaining the right to claim work-for-hire in ghostwriting project, I state that readers will not ask who wrote the book. They will assume the author wrote the book. That's the way it's supposed to be. Not mentioning the ghostwriter gives a suspicious reader no clue as to whether a ghostwriter did write the book and, if so, which writer. Basically, no one is going to see House Secrets, suspect Perry didn't write the story, and then pester him to reveal who really did write it. No one is going to download Riding Lessons by Dawn Coyote (yes, I was hired to write that, too) and look for the "real" author.
Expecting a ghostwriter to provide evidence of related experience on past projects without allowing that same writer to use more recent work for you is selfish. It's akin to requiring a ghostwriter to sign a non-compete agreement, because it stifles the writer's ability to find more work in that area.
If you want a ghostwriter to bring your story to life, then let's talk. I won't ask for your royalties or to share the copyright. I will require that you allow me to claim the finished project in my resume and portfolio for future clients, just as you want to see evidence of my past work for other clients. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Fair's fair.
Every word counts.
#henhousepublishing #freelancewriting #ghostwriting