Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 8, 2017 - 11:19pm

I appreciate your view Bethwenn. And I understand that it is a highly sensitive topic. Yet, to say that only right now is it a sensitive topic is to say so from a place that perhaps wasn't truly affected prior to him, or wasn't aware they were affected prior to him. (And I am not saying that you were not.) For me, personally, these arguments are my norm. This is my life since I was born. A name like Jose Fernando Diaz in itself has caused me problems since as long as I can remember. All the women in my family have always been marginalized and been at the worst ends of misogyny.

Is it only appropriate after the war to talk about the war?

So, I guess all of that is to ask, for those of us who feel marginalized, when will it be appropriate? Or is it that this is a site for writers and we should embrace the "sanctity" of the space? Or should those who don't wish to talk about such topics simply not get involved in such topics? Should this be moderated, or should the customers feel free to discuss without non-government censorship? 

I don't think any of us have been overtly racist, misogynistic, patriarchal, sexist, phobic. The gray area of much of the conversations have come down mostly to taste. It's a matter of do you/we/I read the story with the rape scene or the one where the animal is tortured, or recognize it just isn't something enjoyable for the individual, and recognize that there are others that are willing to tolerate such discussions for reasons that may not be easily understood.

Also, if anyone has paid attention to how Thuggish and I interact, these "cold" conversations have been had before about art and philosophy, which have turned heated. A few others have joined in from time to time. 

So, yes, it is a hot topic moment. It is affecting many people. It can absolutely be viewed as insensitive. But I just can't help think of James Baldwin's new documentary, and wonder what will we be giving up in the process of waiting for the "right" time?

But if we must have a rule, then attack/question the idea, not the person.

Now you have my four cents.

(And Thuggish, I'm not defending you, but I am defending your right to have a voice.)

(To everyone else, I recognize you are not trying to silence us per se, but it is a close cousin.)

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann February 9, 2017 - 8:53am

Fair enough! I'd love to see it if the conversation does blossom. I just suspect that it won't due to the sensitive time plus certain personalities and communication styles (honestly way more the personalities than the sensitive time). Seems like a chemical recipe for explosion. But that'd be great if it does.

Can us on-lookers take bets? :D

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 9, 2017 - 10:55am

@Bethwenn.  You are a touch of class always, and I listen carefully when you speak. What is to fear in an explosion of ideas? Thuggish and I have butted heads on many occasions and we are not afraid to take it to the mat, and I have told him on several occasions about my fondness for him. I don't think he needs to be protected from me. Ask him.

No one is holding a gun to anyone's head to talk about this stuff.

It's messy and emotional and harrowing, what is happening in this country right now. I am in need of a place to talk about it. I appreciate each and every syllable of dialogue that has come forth in this space. It helps me to sort my feelings and understand who I am as an artist in the larger context of my country.

If you want to be silent, be silent. I need to speak out and hear what others have to say and wrestle this to the ground. The feeling of being gagged is not comfortable. I am having serious gag reflex. This is how it feels to be silenced.

Guadelupe Garcia was deported last night in Phoenix AZ, after checking in for her regularly scheduled appointment with ICE. She has 2 kids and a life in the US since she came at the age of 14. People put hands on the ICE van and tried to blockade her deportation, with their bodies, chanting "Let her go. Let her go!"  I'm sure she appreciated what they tried to do for her. I pray I will do the same. I pray I will not stand by in silence in the face of a tyrant. I pray I will help to perfect the union until it serves everyone equally, and stand in solidarity with anyone who is being bullied in my presence.  

What astonishes me is the not so subtle message to just "SHUT UP!"   In a writers site!  I understand the sanctity of the creative space, as I understand the obligation of artists to shine a light into darkness. This thread was clearly marked to tell people what I wanted to talk about. The choice to engage or not lies with each person. I don't think we need a thought  babysitter to keep us from losing control. Do We? 

@Bethwenn: I have thought about your words carefully and taken your counsel. You are a wise woman and I weigh the intent and sobriety of what you said and I respect it.

 @Nathan.  I did step away and I considered my motives and behavior. I have decided that I will speak . If that is a breach of the agreement that I signed when I joined LitReactor, then I invite you to  explain that to me. I appreciate your concern for civil dialogue.

@Thuggish. Did I attack your race and gender? why yes I believe I did, and for that I apologize, and ask for your forgiveness.

@Jose, I reached out in my greatest despair, and guess who came out of the woodwork to ease my heart. Jose Fernando Diaz. I am forever grateful.

 


 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 9, 2017 - 11:08am

Forgiveness? Yeah, sure, I didn't think it was bad enough to need it.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 9, 2017 - 4:11pm

Binge watching "Hell on Wheels". Fuck politics..

 

@Bethwenn. I have been meaning to ask for a long time. What does  : D mean?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 9, 2017 - 4:21pm

It's a big smiley face.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 9, 2017 - 5:49pm

Thanks Thuggish. I see it now.  :  D

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 10, 2017 - 4:36am

What astonishes me is the not so subtle message to just "SHUT UP!"   In a writers site!  I understand the sanctity of the creative space, as I understand the obligation of artists to shine a light into darkness. This thread was clearly marked to tell people what I wanted to talk about. The choice to engage or not lies with each person. I don't think we need a thought  babysitter to keep us from losing control. Do We?

 

I believe this deserves highlighting. Any writing community that would wish to silence discussion is not one worth joining.

The "sanctity" of a writing space is not in its peace, but in its unflinching commitment to those voices willing to fight.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann February 10, 2017 - 8:16am

What is to fear in an explosion of ideas?

My only fear is that you'd stop posting, Gail! As long as that doesn't happen, I'm happy.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 10, 2017 - 9:28am

@Bethwenn! LOL  Thanks Bethwenn. I just love you.  I'm a pretty stubborn person at this point in my life. I did step back for a day, as per Nathan's request, even though what he said totally infuriated me. The idea that writers cannot talk about our lives under a repressive and authoritarian president, is the most oppressive and discouraging environment imaginable, and to have it perpetrated here, right inside LitReactor simply was appalling to me. It is like a rubber stamp on "Just shut up!" and @Nathan, yes I am mad at you about it. That attitude is paternalistic and just as authoritarian as it comes. Fear of free speech and artistic license do not lay well together in the same crib. Give me a break. Unbelievable.  We can chew on that bone together any time you want. I welcome the conversation.  I hear your concern for civil discourse.

I have in the months I have been in this site, made a fool of myself over and over again, trying not to make a fool of myself. I wanted a community to engage with, and this was the one I chose. It holds all the possibility  I looked  for in a vibrant artistic site. I found nothing else to compare.  However. It is dead, silent and dark at times. Discouraging. Complicit in shutting down discourse, just through the exercise of silence. I  enjoy and rely upon the voices that have broken that silence, and the grace with which they are articulated. You...well need I say it, inspire, and leaven and teach every time you put a letter to page. Your thoughts are couched in smarts and empathy and widsom. I aspire to that ethic of  considerate discourse.

I have stepped back from the Writer's Workshop temporarily after tending it like my own personal garden. The energy that I was putting there is now somewhat diverted by the level of horror I am experiencing, as a citizen, and my own personal actions in the given political environment. I am starting to calm down, thanks to this very discussion thread, and the wounds it has exposed. So in resting from doing critiques, I have shifted my focus to the more personal challenges. To keep writing, to stay the course compells me to reach out and ask for help and reassurance. I have received that. I am so grateful.

In summary: I will not shut up. It is no longer possible for me to shut up. Shutting up is a bad habit based on fear and calculated control, leveled at me by whatever authority figure happens to be lurking  in my peripheral vision. And, I would say to Nathan, that no matter who posts no matter what, even if my opinions are diametrically opposed, I will go down swinging for their right to speak without censure. Will I be crude and rude sometimes. Yes, and then I have to apologize for being an ass. My karma, my lookout.

Who I am is fully realized self expression for all people, INCLUDING MYSELF.  I tend to leave myself out. I learned this a few years ago in some damn seminar somewhere.  To give to myself freely, what I strive to give to others, whether it is nurturance, love, a little space to make mistakes, honor, and regard, is my North Star. okay. Spoke my piece, and in the process deepened my gratitude for your voice in this site, Bethwenn. Thank you for talking with me.  I'm happy.  : D   ...

 

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 10, 2017 - 10:56am

If I may, I'd just like to speak to the idea of silencing community members versus what Nathan did, which was ask if  the community here, as a whole, wanted to step back for a moment. 

To me, it rang along the lines of one of my favorite quotes from Max Brooks:

Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.

As an observer of the thread, I have to say there's been a noticeable shift about halfway through, and I suspect most of you felt this as well. Not a shift towards silence or stopping a conversation, but a tonal shift. You're all still expressing yourselves and your ideas, but there's a renewed clarity and purpose here.

Everyone who has posted here is a community member, and as such you're encouraged to engage in the discussion. Sometimes this looks like starting a thread such as this one, and sometimes it looks like a polite request to balance the larger political scene and the peacekeeping within the LR community. These things are not opposed to each other. They're of the same origin, the two sides of the coin. 

Building a community and existing within it is a very difficult thing to do, and I applaud you all for your ability to work it out. There are going to be struggles, like this one, because what you're doing here isn't easy. But when I see a thread like this one and how the community members are working together, I consider it a success. Because success doesn't look like perfection. It looks like this.

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day February 10, 2017 - 3:05pm

I used to try and start discussions re: writing and publishing on this forum, what a fool I was

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 10, 2017 - 11:37pm

Hi Nick. Nice to meet you. My name is gail. I write full time for about the last four years. I write mostly short stories that are really the seeds of novels is my guess. Never had one properly sprout yet. I don't need to make any money at it any more, so I write for the simple ass joy of it. And now I  write so I don't  have a panic attack. Let's say I did have a panic attack. I do have panic attacks. I scream and I cry and I run through the empty rooms knocking on doors. People put up with me fairly well. 

You weren't a fool. Everyone just got distracted. I don't know anything about publishing, but I know some about writing. What do you write? And. Why did you stay here? I stay because it is my MFA. Can't leave on my first day.

I'm dying to talk about writing. That's why I came here. I have found it trying. Trying to have a conversation I mean. If you know what I mean. Like trying to walk on a sound wave. Okay. Your turn. Shoot. What do you want to talk about? Writing or  publishing or both. I will shut up and just listen for awhile. Good night. and now I know why Jose calls it the pit. Welcome to the pit, Nick. Sweet Dreams all. Thanks everyone.

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita February 11, 2017 - 8:47am

yeah hippy grandma like your bawling infant generation hasn't had enough attention paid to it so now you got to bring your protest march here

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 11, 2017 - 2:02pm

^I'm gonna ask you to slow your roll.

I'm leaving the post for now so that everyone can see where this discussion crosses the line. This is where it crosses the line. 

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from Northern California is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 11, 2017 - 11:30pm

I have strong emotions about this.

Like can't fucking wait strong!

http://www.rollingstone.com/country/news/jason-isbell-says-new-album-mig...

 

 

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from Northern California is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 12, 2017 - 12:20pm
Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 12, 2017 - 3:42pm

Hello James Nowlan, I don't think we've met before. I can see you are a lover of hyperbole, just like me.

However, I do think you need to make sure you understand that we are discussing ideas here. No one is attacking anyone directly. So, if you make the remark about Smithreynolds again, I will have to go out of my way to interact with you more. Or simply have a conversation with the moderators.

I hope I am making myself crystal clear. And you had already been warned by the community manager, helpfulsnowman.

As for your venture down into the dystopian/apocalyptic version of what will happen is we allow refugees into this country, the idea that America, or any other country, should stay "pure," is a bad idea. in the history of the world, the countries that have faired the worst are those that refuse to adapt to a changing world. The world, and the spreading of ideas, cultures, beliefs, and so on, will continue to happen. No amount of guarding your borders is going to change that. Even North Korea, the model of a country you seem to be heading towards, is still evolving and changing, just at a slower pace.

There are bad people in the world. Most, I honestly believe, are basically parroting your sentiment. They just happen to wish your side was the one blocked off. ISIS and Al Qaeda are just mirror images of the conservative vision, both sponsored and fueled by religious ideology.

And yes, there is corruption in the literary and academic complexes. Recognizing it is a good first step. But the idea that it must be "decapitated" is to reduce us to a Dark Age. So, let's not move directly to throwing the baby out with the bathwater just yet.

I know Paris has taken a huge brunt of the attacks from these organizations, at least that's how it's reported here in America. So, how would you handle the situation if violence wasn't an option? Would you just lock people up and lose your moral standing? Would you open the borders up to any and all, which could lead to far more violent attacks? But say you can ensure you keep the scum out, only let in peaceful refugees, how would you treat them? Would they have access to health care? Education? Or would you try and treat them like slaves and outsiders forever? Would they not begin to resent the hand that feeds because the other hand also holds a whip? 

I'd like to hear your ideas on the matter. I truly want you to be heard. 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 12, 2017 - 4:52pm

For clarity, a comment has been deleted. A warning was given, and one warning is all you get. 

Play nice.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 12, 2017 - 6:05pm

Awe come on! Now my rant seems silly. 

You're killing me, Smalls. Killing me!

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita February 13, 2017 - 8:36am

to truly decapitate the corrupt academic/literary complex it would perhaps be necessary to set off an atomic bomb in Cambridge Massachusetts as well.....isn't it obvious that I'm completely indifferent as to how America does or doesn't solve its problem? I just have a problem with me and my family being the target of racist propaganda and being harassed and persecuted in a criminal way by corrupt American institutions. I don't have a side in the sense that I don't belong to anything. Ultimately that's why I'm being persecuted. If I was actually part of some conservative group then the pseudo-lefties would leave me alone because they're basically cowardly. And then the church, you'd think the church would do something seeing as how much they're responsible for the sick depraved twisted conditions I was born into you'd think the church would do something but being Catholic in France is like being episcopalian in Connecticut, a rich peoples club, and so they don't want me as a member.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 13, 2017 - 9:32am

You know, James, I have actually made your argument before. And it's one that I think needs to be taken seriously. The belief that you and your family feel targeted by racist propoganda is something that must be addressed. And I will say that I think there is some truth in your claim. It comes from the mostly hyperbolic news organizations that have failed to present information in a way that isn't biased. All of their claims are all or nothing. You're either a white male (the problem), simply white (the problem), or you belong to the left leaning snowflake brigade (still the problem). The governments have pit us against each other, and the news organizations are more than happy to carry their divisive message for them. I think if we can somehow find a way to recognize that both sides have justifiable claims and issues that they are dealing with, individually and systemically, WE, as in you and I, and WE, as in you and I and smithreynolds and Bethwenn and Thuggish, basically anyone that isn't acting on behalf of the government, WE can find ways of opening communication that will allow us to talk to make each other understood. To at least show that the vast majority of the world is not against you, not against any of us. I, for one, would like to have that conversation with you. 

Also, your indifference towards America is palpable. I also understand that sentiment. I will not dismiss that sentiment. I find many faults with America, but it is home, and there are many of us actively trying to steer it back toward something positive. The only thing I would ask before the attack, is that you recognize that more than half of our country is actively seeking to change the world for the better. They want to find a way to make everyone's lives better, not just American. Of course that will obviously come off as a hollow claim.

So where does that leave us? I imagine you'll be skeptical, if not outright cynical toward these almost-claims. I guess the only thing I would ask is that we open a dialogue before we move straight to dropping atomic bombs. Ideas and beliefs can be changed; we can't undo violence against flesh and blood. You are being persecuted, just not by the people you think. Take a step back and think about why you feel this way. Truly question where it's coming from. I will do the same.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from Northern California is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 13, 2017 - 11:37pm

Channel that outsider's chip into a novel, James.

After all, the best books always come from outside the system.

Or, to put it another way:

“If you feel that you belong to things as they are, you won’t write anything worth reading a second time.”
― Nelson Algren

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita February 14, 2017 - 9:01am

My daughters English teacher said that Americans voted for Trump because they're ignorant and stupid. She's obviously gotten this idea (she is a person incapable of forming their own ideas) from media personalities whose existence is predicated upon parasiting the Hollywood-Paris axis or the Manhattan-Paris axis they're hostile towards Trump because his isolationist tendencies are bad for their business. What it adds up to is my daughter being the object of racial hatred so corrupt groups can peddle their products. Not much point in writing something that's never going to be read. I didn't go to the right schools and I don't go to the right nightclubs.

Rod's picture
Rod February 15, 2017 - 11:44pm

Ouch, not a good thread for my first. I relinquished my email to hopefully improve my drivel.  Is this a one-off event or will I find more of the same in other threads?

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 16, 2017 - 12:09am

I hope you'll keep looking around, Rod. There are occasional diversions, but there are a lot of great threads around. One of my personal favorites: https://litreactor.com/discuss/creative-writing-is-a-joke

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 16, 2017 - 12:37am

@Rod  Hi. Gail here. Welcome to Litreactor .This thread is processing some painful stuff. If it is offensive, go on to something that is less so. The process of this thread has been trying. But. It's all okay. We are coping and working it through. IT's all good. Just a little delicate. Thanks for your question, and welcome to LitReactor. You will find a range of topics and other things going on. In this particular thread our challenge has been to maintain watchful calm and be mindful of everyone's capacity to be wise and kind and aware. I started this thread and feel responsible for how it plays out. I am committed to working it through with wisdom and help from our moderators and the gentle folk who inhabit this site. If you have questions and concerns we have a social coordinator named Helpfulsnowman who is pretty darn responsive to needs and concerns. HAve fun. Check out the writers workshop and the craft essays and  I hope to see you post some work soon if you are so inclined. . With regard. gsr. Hi Snowman. I didn't see you  there when I started to comment. Good evening to you.

 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 16, 2017 - 9:12am

Hey Rod-

This is probably the most unusual thread on this forum. 

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 16, 2017 - 2:18pm

^ Agreed. 

99.9999% is usually focused on discussions that concern writers and the writing community. Craft, publishing, teaching, MFA vs No MFA, stuff like that. 

James Nowlan's picture
James Nowlan is reading Surveiller et Punir Je ne suis pas venu içi pour être heureux The Master and Margarita February 17, 2017 - 3:56am

no sorry but good karma and the "free market" are not going to save the world.....and Trump won't make America great again even if he spends hundreds of millions......of course I alone could make America great again with just a couple million....but they can't allow this greatness to come from me because I don't belong.....I'm not going to go on to something less offensive if you keep encouraging racial hatred against me and my family....of course you believe that your sensibilities and your need to express yourself are more important than our lives

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 17, 2017 - 5:26am

Rod of the one false post, I obviously don't speak for this forum (quite the opposite, it would seem), but I'll miss you like semen in a hand-towel. There are some reasons to ask a question you could easily answer for yourself, but I'm struggling to find a good one for yours.

"I relinquished my email to hopefully improve my drivel." -- If this sentence is literally true, I'm calling you out on it. It's ambiguous. So you're in the right place. You're welcome. 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 17, 2017 - 9:25am

who does it in a hand towel?

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 17, 2017 - 2:55pm

nobody. that's for swingers. but I like the question! what do you do it in?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 17, 2017 - 4:48pm

something disposable. like toilet paper, or the wife.

 

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 17, 2017 - 5:38pm

@Thuggish. You have the grace of an epileptic donkey on a high wire. How are you still married.

 

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 17, 2017 - 5:39pm

trickery and deceit.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 17, 2017 - 6:05pm

Well. Whatever works. Being awkward myself, I admire the artifice.

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from Northern California is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien February 26, 2017 - 12:40pm

OK. I just noticed that there is a separate forum called "Politics and Other Social Issues." 

I never knew that.

I can understand why this subject would be better discussed in that forum.

That is all.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal February 27, 2017 - 10:16am

I thought everyone just used the "All Discussions" tab...

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal March 13, 2017 - 1:46pm

I wasn't going to come back to this thread, but then I stumbed upon this, and I thought it was really worth sharing. And this seemed the appropriate place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVV2Zk88beY&spfreload=1