Non-binary biology

 “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” — Joan Didion

At the Solcana event for Reclaim on Nov. 5, we were talking about how writing helps us understand ourselves. For me, writing My Year Zero helped me articulate feelings about my gender. In the novel, the main character, Lauren, is writing a science fiction story online with friends. Her character in the story turns out not to be human-like person, but rather a self-aware community of microscopic robots (nanites) that can take any form.

That’s how I feel about my gender — and I thought that was unusual, but maybe not so much.READ MORE

Taking care of yourself in tough times — a guide for the neurodiverse

You might not need this post, but I do. It started as a note to myself about what works. Some of it might also work for you. And I’m sure I missed some things. Feel free to add in the comments.

If you’re like me, you’re different from a lot of the people around you:

  • You might have more trouble letting go of obsessive negative thoughts
  • You might get easily triggered into traumatic states
  • You might be prone to spirals of anxiety or depression that are really hard to stop
  • You might feel that you’re the one responsible for fixing the world
  • You might absorb feelings and energy from the people around you, even if it makes you sick

One great thing is that you know this about yourself. Also there are a lot of simple steps you can take to be strong and healthy. Here’s my list:READ MORE

The importance of being out

Last night at the pre-National Coming Out Day event at the Roseville Barnes & Noble, we talked about whether coming out is still important. The consensus: absolutely. We need to see people like us having good lives so we know what’s possible. And since humans have a strong need for belonging, the ability to be around people who share our identities can be profoundly healing and supportive of our growth.

I came out as lesbian when I was 14-16 (it was a process). At the time culturally there was a lot less support than there is today and I spent immense energy fighting for this identity. I was talking to a friend recently about how, if we have multiple identities, one can really come to the front and take all the negativity and all our energy.

That’s been true for me with my lesbian identity. I’m still super out and proud about it, but in honor of the day, here’s what else I’m out about:READ MORE

Support Reclaim by shopping!

The Roseville Barnes & Noble is celebrating National Coming Out Day with a week-long bookfair promotion for Reclaim — Reclaim works to increase access to mental health support so that queer and trans youth may reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms. A portion of the purchase price of books, games, music, gifts and more that you buy online from Barnes & Noble goes to Reclaim through 11:00 p.m. Central time October 15. (The portion is 12-25% depending on a number of factors.)

It is not too early to do your holiday gift shopping — or to purchase items for all those Scorpios in your lives who have birthdays coming up. Here’s how to make sure your purchases benefit Reclaim:READ MORE

Readings and events for fall

After taking the summer off, it’s time for more blog articles, readings, events and more. In upcoming weeks I’ll return to my book insights and cool science. Here are my upcoming events for October and early November:

Oct. 7-9, Gaylaxicon — I’ll be on a panel or two at the annual international science fiction, fantasy, gaming, and comics convention for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and their friends. I’ll update here when I’ve got details but you can see general information about the convention at: http://www.gaylaxicon2016.org/.

Oct. 10, 7 p.m., Roseville Barnes & Noble National Coming Out Day event — I’m reading with Juliann Rich in this event supporting Reclaim. Purchases in the store all day long will support Reclaim and the amazing work they do for queer and trans youth. Click here for the official info on the B&N site. READ MORE

Writing descriptions that reveal character

If you’re at GCLS this Saturday in D.C., I’m teaching a class with Laina Villeneuve: “Astonishingly Beautiful: Descriptions that Reveal Character.”

And if you were there, here’s the PPT: Descriptionclass.pdf

Among the cool things we’re going to talk about is all the work that description can do in a story. We often think that the work of description is to show something visually or, at best, to cover all five senses (six if you’re writing paranormal). But description can do so much more than that. It can:

  • Continue the action
  • Foreshadow
  • Give us the character/voice of the describer
  • Reveal character through traits/mannerisms
  • Give us a world/culture

READ MORE

Music for the Just Girls sequel

You get a short blog this week with more videos because I’m hard at work on the Just Girls sequel. This story starts the night that Just Girls ends and follows the stories of Nico and Tucker over the next several months. After much brainstorming, the title is one again Nico & Tucker. It was the working title and I’ve yet to come up with anything better.

Here are a few songs and videos that give you the feeling of the new book plus some musical background to Just Girls. And if you didn’t see the early blurb of what the book’s about, read the post where I signed the contract for Nico & Tucker. Also if you’re wondering who did that great illustration of Nico and Tucker at the top of this post, it was the fabulous Mandie Brasington (more of her art here) and you can click here to view and download the full illustration. READ MORE

Book Insight: ADHD and the Edison Gene

I first read Thom Hartmann in my mid-20s when I was informally diagnosed with ADD. I was highly anti-meds at the time so there didn’t seem any point in getting officially diagnosed. Plus I wasn’t convinced that it was a disorder. (I’m still not.)

Hartmann’s books helped me understand how to choose environments that suited me and helped me be kind to myself when I didn’t fit with cultural expectations about work.

This latest, “ADHD and the Edison Gene,” takes his initial ideas and updates them with more current science. Instead of describing ADD brains as hunters (in a hunter/gatherer vs. farmer paradigm), he’s using the “Edison gene” and inventors. I’m a fan of all of it. I don’t care if you think of me as an inventor, a hunter or a superhero as long as it’s positive and creates an environment where we can do our best work together.READ MORE

My Year Zero Playlist

All of my novels have playlists, often multiple playlists if there’s more than one significant character. The playlists for MYZ are very long, but I pulled out a few key songs for Lauren and Blake so you can listen with me.

Lauren

What’s the quintessential Lauren song? Probably one from Halestorm below. But in the context of this specific story, the learning and changing she’s going through, this is her song. I think she’d admit that in the novel she’s doing her “shadow work,” or at least she’d admit to it after Blake points it out for her.READ MORE

Book insight: FAST MINDS

FAST MINDS is a great book for people with ADHD/ADD that does not pathologize our diverse brains. The authors write:

Having FAST MINDS traits can mean there is a mismatch between the way the brain works and the demands of life. It’s a way of thinking and being that makes it harder to function in today’s world.

The is the single most pragmatic and actionable ADHD book I’ve read in the past few years. I found a lot of it extremely useful. Some of the tips I’d already implemented over the years, but even then they usually had good input. If you need to skip science and theory for now and start making changes in your life to make it more workable, start here.READ MORE