Disabled Writers & Characters Storify

The inaugural #CripLit Twitter chat was a huge success. Much bigger and faster than I’d expected, actually—like sucking on a firehose. Many, many people with many thoughtful comments. We trended on Twitter (24, I think; I was too busy to look).

My co-host, Alice Wong (@SFDirewolf), has archived the “Disabled Writers & Characters” #CripLit Twitter chat on Storify . If you’re a writer who is contemplating including a character with any kind of disability, I recommend that you read it through a chunk at a time and learn. There are many pointers regarding the disability clichés and hurtful stereotypes to avoid.

The next #CripLit chat is scheduled for August 29 at 7 pm Eastern. The topic will be “Disabled Writers, Ableism, & the Publishing Industry.” Stay tuned for more on that.

#CripLit Twitter Chat: Sat 7/23 4 pm Pacific

CripLit Jul23

The first-ever #CripLit Twitter Chat, for and about writers with disabilities, is happening this Saturday: July 23, 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern (midnight in the UK, 7 am Sunday in Perth and 9 am in Sydney—if you’re a night owl or early bird, do join us!).

This first chat will be about fiction: writing characters with disabilities. Future chats will focus on different genres.

Here are the ten questions that we (your co-hosts, me and Alice Wong) will be setting this time out:

Q1 Please introduce yourself, your areas of interest as a writer, and any links to your work #CripLit

Q2 Do you identify as a disabled writer (or writer w/ a disability)? If so, why? Or do you prefer to be thought of as a writer, period? #CripLit

Q3 Among writers, what groups/communities do you have an affinity towards? Who supports you & your work? #CripLit

Q4 Do you connect with other disabled writers? If yes, why is that important? #CripLit

Q5 Are there disabled writers you love & want to highlight? Please describe and share your faves #CripLit

Q6 Who are some of your favourite disabled characters? Why? #CripLit

Q7 What is your process in developing a character, a disabled one in particular? Describe some disabled characters you created #CripLit

Q8 What tropes and stereotypes are you careful to avoid when constructing disabled stories & characters? #CripLit

Q9 What’s your advice to disabled & non-disabled writers who want to write believable & compelling stories about disabled ppl? #CripLit

Q10 What do you want most in terms of support? Better representation at conferences? (If so, which ones?) Something else? #CripLit

Hopefully this will give you lots of time to think about your responses. If you’d rather just chat off the cuff (probably what I’ll end up doing because, well, life) just show up and let rip. There will no doubt be other questions and other avenues to explore in the moment.

Anyway, when you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripLit”. Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan. You might want to use a Twitter chat app like TweetChat but it’s not necessary. If you don’t use Twitter and want to follow along in real-time, check out the #CripLit live-stream.

For a fuller explanation of who, what, why, when, and how, read my previous post, #CripLit Twitter Chat.

See you there!

Speak out: you might make a difference

I’m guessing you all know the story of the starfish:

A man walked along a beach where a storm had washed starfish up above the tideline. They were dying.

Up the beach, the man saw a little girl picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the sea. She was slow, and she didn’t throw well, and there were thousands of starfish.

As she picked up another, the man said, You’re wasting your time. There are too many. Don’t try so hard. You’re not making any difference.

She threw the starfish and watched it sink into the water. Then she turned to him and said, I made a difference to that one.

[lifted whole from Kelley’s excellent blogETA The story is possibly adapted from Loren Eiseley]

It’s a story I’ve know for a long time, and, on good days, believed. But its truth was really brought home to me yesterday when I read the press release from the Half the World Global Literati Prize website, announcing the winner of their inaugural $50,000 prize. This part struck me particularly:

The Half the World Global Literati Award was set up in response to 2015 research from author Nicola Griffith, which identified that the majority of the significant literary prizes are awarded to works written from a male perspective. The award is set to return in spring 2017.

Statistics about the Half the World Global Literati Award 2016.
59 countries including Eritrea, Iran, Azerbaijan, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago
• 45.5 percent submissions are novels, 36.5 percent short stories, 18 percent screenplays
• Drama the most popular genre, topping novels & screenplays and a close second for short stories. Literary Fiction was the second most popular with Romance in third. Erotica comprised of less than 5 percent of all entrants.
• Majority of the short list are female (82.5 percent) vs male (17.5 percent)

[Emphasis mine]

I did that. Me. A global $50,000 prize to support stories about women—by writers from nearly 60 countries—was created and funded because I wrote one blog post about something that’s bugged me for years: books about women don’t win awards. (Films about women don’t win awards either.) Yes, I’d done the work. Yes, I had data to back up my assertion. But the needle could not begin to move until I pointed out the injustice, until I spoke out.

So if you spot injustice, open your mouth (flex your fingers, whatever—the mode of communication doesn’t matter) and speak. What we do really does make a difference. So say something. Someone might be listening. You might change the world.

Hild cat pix and fan art now a page

I’ve just added a new picture to the Hild fan art page—a sun-dappled Hild sitting by her pool wearing many of her personal totems, by artist Alexandra Filipek. Go take a look (and check out the link to Alexandra’s page).

ETA: Just added another pet pic, this one of Jean Paul, our neighbour’s poodle, exhausted after an all-nighter…

Herbs and Flowers

back deck flowers

A few years ago I used to grow herbs in pots (pot herbs: perbs) and witter on about them at great length. Recently I decided to start growing things again, this time brightly-coloured and sweet-smelling to attract wildlife (and hide the air conditioning unit).

So far—and it’s only been a couple of weeks—I’ve seen dozens of hummingbirds (or maybe the same bird dozens of times), two kinds of bee, three kinds of butterfly, and countless other winged things (beetles and flies of every variety). Mostly I get so lost in looking at the colours I forget to take photos but I’ll to remember to take pics every now and again as things grow. And I’ll do a better job of the photos.

Here for starters are (left to right) jasmine, ornamental oregano and carnation, nasturtium and Salvia (the Flaming Lips variety, which hummingbirds love). There’s some other stuff but I we’ll get to that later.

Anyway, enjoy. I certainly do!

#CripLit Twitter Chat, Saturday July 23

On Saturday, July 23, at 4 pm Pacific/7 pm Eastern, I’ll be co-hosting the first #CripLit Twitter Chat with Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project (@DisVisibility). I hope you can join us.

We’ll be talking about disabled writers creating disabled characters. In the future we’ll be looking at all kinds of genres and categories, but this time out we’ll be sticking with fiction written in English. Fiction is what I know best and, frankly, that’s what I see a dearth of: crip characters written by crips. We need to see ourselves represented; I get so very fucking tired of the (often rage-inducing) stereotypes written by non-crips. Anyone who has hurled J0jo Moyes’ Me Before You at the wall knows what I’m talking about.

I wanted this to be an international chat but although we’ve done our best with the scheduling it is far from perfect. (Particular apologies to the UK and South Africa. I’m not sure how many readers I have in India but, well, sorry there too.) If you’re a morning person in Australia and New Zealand it might work. We’ll Storify the chat so everyone will at least be able to follow the gist. If there’s enough interest from other parts of the world, perhaps we can occasionally schedule at different times. Let me or Alice know.

Meanwhile, here’s the official blurb.

CripLit Jul23

#CripLit Twitter Chat
Disabled Writers & Disabled Characters
Co-hosts: Nicola Griffith @nicolaz
& Alice Wong @DisVisibility

Saturday, July 23, 2016 4pm Pacific/ 7 pm Eastern

The Disability Visibility Project is proud to partner with novelist Nicola Griffith in our first ever Twitter chat for disabled writers and writing disabled characters. Nicola Griffith is the creator of the #CripLit series and the DVP is the co-host/supporting partner.

All disabled writers are welcome to participate in the chat but please note we will be discussing fiction. Check the #CripLit hashtag on Twitter for announcements of future chats that will focus on different genres or posts from these two websites:
https://nicolagriffith.com
https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com

How to Participate

Follow @nicolaz @DisVisibility on Twitter

Use the hashtag #CripLit when you tweet

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

If you don’t use Twitter and want to follow along in real-time, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripLit

#CripLit Tweets for 7/23 chat

Welcome to our first-ever #CripLit chat! Created by @nicolaz, this chat is for disabled writers & will cover writing disabled characters

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripLit”

Q1 Please introduce yourself, your areas of interest as a writer, and any links to your work #CripLit

Q2 Do you identify as a disabled writer (or writer w/ a disability)? If so, why? Or do you prefer to be thought of as a writer, period? #CripLit

Q3 Among writers, what groups/communities do you have an affinity towards? Who supports you & your work? #CripLit

Q4 Do you connect with other disabled writers? If yes, why is that important? #CripLit

Q5 Are there disabled writers you love & want to highlight? Please describe and share your faves #CripLit

Q6 Who are some of your favourite disabled characters? Why? #CripLit

Q7 What is your process in developing a character, a disabled one in particular? Describe some disabled characters you created #CripLit

Q8 What tropes and stereotypes are you careful to avoid when constructing disabled stories & characters? #CripLit

Q9 What’s your advice to disabled & non-disabled writers who want to write believable & compelling stories about disabled ppl? #CripLit

Q10 What do you want most in terms of support? Better representation at conferences? (If so, which ones?) Something else? #CripLit

This concludes our first #CripLit chat! Please keep the conversation going!! Tweet co-hosts @nicolaz @DisVisibility questions/comments

Additional Links

Disability Art, Scholarship and Activism Nicola Griffith (5/18/16)

Writing Culture Has An Ableism Problem Denarii Monroe (6/14/16)

Writing program association continues to debate access for members with disabilities Josh Logue (3/28/16)

About

Nicola Griffith
is a native of Yorkshire, England, where she earned her beer money teaching women’s self-defence, fronting a band, and arm-wrestling in bars, before discovering writing and moving to the US. Her immigration case was a fight and ended up making new law: the State Department declared it to be “in the National Interest” for her to live and work in this country. This didn’t thrill the more conservative power-brokers, and she ended up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, where her case was used as an example of the country’s declining moral standards.

In 1993 a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis slowed her down a bit, and she concentrated on writing. Her novels are Ammonite (1993), Slow River (1995), The Blue Place (1998), Stay (2002), Always (2007) and Hild (2013). She is the co-editor of the BENDING THE LANDSCAPE series of original short fiction. Her multi-media memoir,  And Now We Are Going to Have a Party: Liner Notes to a Writer’s Early Life, is a limited collector’s edition. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in an assortment of academic texts and a variety of journals, including Nature, New Scientist, Los Angeles Review of Books and Out. She’s won the Washington State Book Award, the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, the Premio Italia, the Lambda Literary Award (six times), and others.

Alice Wong
is a San Francisco-based disability advocate, freelance journalist, television watcher, news junkie, cat lover, and coffee drinker. Currently, she is the Founder and Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. Currently she is a co-partner with Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan for #CripTheVote, a non-partisan online campaign encouraging the political participation of people with disabilities. She is also a Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF.

28th Anniversary

Today is a beautiful sunny day and I don’t want to spend too long inside, so here is a tweaked repost of something I did last year.

Today is the 28th anniversary of the day I met and fell in love with Kelley at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop.

You’ve probably seen this photo before. I posted it the day the Supreme Court struck down DOMA—which just happened to be our 25th anniversary. (Thanks, SCOTUS! Second best present ever.) The one on the left was a Polaroid taken in 1989, by Kelley’s mum I think. The other is by Jennifer Durham, taken in May 2013 in a pub in Seattle.

together_25

This next you may not have seen, particularly the one on the left. That was taken in 2000 aboard the QE2 during the transatlantic voyage we gave ourselves for our 40th birthdays. Some of those sparkles (on Kelley—her arm and her dress) are actually sparkles; some (on me, sigh) are just bits of dust on the scanned print. The other photo is by our friend Mark Tiedemann, taken in our house in Atlanta in 1992.

2000 and 1992

And finally here’s the shot taken the day we got legally married, by the inimitable Jennifer Durham.

de3e5-n-k_wedding_09-04-13_439-edit-2

And one year ago SCOTUS, for the second time, gave us a fabulous anniversary gift, the Best Anniversary Gift Ever! In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land.

Life is good.

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