My Hero Monday: Nancy Garden

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Oh hi octopi! Today I am finally logging back onto the blogosphere to bring you My Hero Monday, an invention of Chloe at A Girl’s Voice. (To find out more about My Hero Monday, click the link above or in the image, it’s super awesome.) Due to scheduling miscommunication I was slated to go on the 10th but was told I’d be posting on the 17th, so I apologize for any confusion that may have caused. This month’s November linkup is being led by my friend nevillegirl and, in honor of NaNoWriMo, is themed as female authors. I chose Nancy Garden.

nancy garden
 

Nancy Garden

Date of Birth:

May 15, 1938

Current Age:

Nancy Garden died on June 23, 2014. She was 76.

School(s):

She earned a B.F.A. and later an M.A. from Columbia University School of Dramatic Arts.

What books has she written? Which one is your favorite? Why?

I never liked picking favorites. I haven’t read nearly all of hers yet, but here’s a timeline of (most) of her fiction:

  • What Happened in Marston (1971)
  • The Loners (1972)
  • Vampires (1973)
  • Werewolves (1973)
  • Witches (1975)
  • Mist Maiden (1975)
  • Fours Crossing (1981)
  • Annie on My Mind (1982)
  • Maria’s Mountain (1983)
  • Watersmeet (1983)
  • Prisoner of Vampires (1984)
  • Peace, O River (1986)
  • The Door Between (1987)
  • Lark in the Morning (1991)
  • My Sister, the Vampire (1992)
  • Dove and Sword: A Novel of Joan of Arc (1995)
  • My Brother, the Werewolf (1995)
  • Good Moon Rising (1996)
  • The Year They Burned the Books (1999)
  • Holly’s Secret (2000)
  • Prisoners of Vampires (2001)
  • The Case of the Stolen Scarab (2002)
  • Nora and Liz (2002)
  • Meeting Melanie (2002)
  • Molly’s Family (2004)
  • Endgame (2006)
  • Hear Us Out! (2007)

Out of these, my favorite is still the classic, Annie on My Mind. It’s one of the few romances I have read and actually enjoyed, for several reasons. For starters, it doesn’t ignore the existence of queer people. Often called one of the first books to feature lesbians in a positive light, it’s a welcome change from the breathtaking world of heteronormative romantic fiction, particularly in YA. I also like that she doesn’t jump into the romance portion right away–she allows Liza and Annie, the main characters, to build a friendship first, then lets that develop further. I love how she really maintains the tension between them, because I’ve seen plenty of novels that have failed to do this. It’s also super relatable, and I can see myself in the characters of both Liza and Annie. It’s one of those books that says what I’m feeling before I even realize I’m feeling it.

When did I first hear about her?

I honestly can’t remember the first recommendation for one of her books that I got, but it was somewhere around the time I was discovering my own queer identity. I’d heard great things about her writing but never actually delved into it, but then one day I was hanging at the library for a couple hours when I found Annie on My Mind on the shelves, and the rest is history.

What makes her one of my heroes?

Nancy Garden had guts. Being a lesbian in the 20th century was never easy, and being a lesbian in the 20th century writing about lesbians in the 20th century was bound to draw controversy. But Garden didn’t let this get in her way. She repeatedly spoke out for LGBTQ+ youth, both in her writing and speeches. She dared to pioneer the genre of lesbian fiction with positive representation, a genre that even today needs more substance, and even after her books were burned and banned, she kept going. She didn’t just write YA, either. She wrote picture books, middle grade, horror, serious literary fiction, and even non-fiction, holding genuine respect both for youth and youth fiction. She was an out woman who stayed with her partner and stayed with her passion, regardless of any dissenting voices that crossed her path.

Quotes:

“I like children and teens so much and feel they’re important, special people. There’s something very exciting about a person who’s in the process of becoming, of forming his or her identity. I think another reason is simply my love of children’s books–and Y/A books, although there were no Y/As as such when I was growing up. Some of the best, most exciting, and most innovative writing, I think, has always been in the children’s and Y/A field.” – Nancy Garden

“Don’t punish yourselves for people’s ignorant reactions to what we all are. Don’t let ignorance win. Let love.”  – Annie on My Mind

“But what really is immorality? And what does helping someone really mean? Helping them to be like everyone else, or helping them to be themselves?”  – Annie on My Mind

“It was her eyes I noticed most. They were as black as her hair, and they looked as if there was more behind them than another person could possibly ever know.” – Annie on My Mind

” ‘Gay,’ Sally said softly. ‘Oh, Liza, what a sad word! What a terribly sad word. Ms. Baxter said that to me and she’s right. Even with drugs and liquor and other problems like that, most of the words are more honestly negative – stoned, drunk out of one’s mind…’

I think it was at that point I did take hold of Sally’s arm – not to shake her, but just to shut her up. I remember trying to keep my voice from breaking. ‘It’s not a problem,’ I said. ‘It’s not negative. Don’t you know it’s love you’re talking about? You’re talking about how I feel about another human being and how she feels about me, not about some kind of disease you have to save us from.'” – Annie on My Mind

And that’s it! Check the schedule below for past/future posts that you should definitely go read. And, as always, I appreciate any book recommendations you may have, or your thoughts on the books I listed.

– –

November 3:

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

Cait @ Notebook Sisters

November 10:

Bridget @ Nerds Inc.

Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy

Artgirl @ Alien Cows

November 17:

Charley @ Charley R’s Leaning Tower of Plot

November 24:

Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words

Wrap-up by Engie @ A Girl’s Voice

Because It’s Time I Corrected Myself

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” -Flavia Dzodan.

A few months ago, towards the end of May, I wrote my first post blatantly acknowledging my feminist viewpoints. While I stand by the general points I made in that post, e.g. women are people too and deserve to be treated as such, there are a few things–and one main thing–that were problematic about this article. I apologize.

I wrote the article in a way that suggested that, while women are not treated as equals, we are treated equally. There may be truth in this to some extent, but the problem with my writing is that feminism goes beyond just sexism. I would love to live in a world in which all women have the same rights, but that isn’t the world we’re living in.

Because every woman faces her own unique experience, and feminism doesn’t just have to do with sexism, it has to do with racism and classism and ableism and homophobia and transphobia and so many other things. Because a white woman faces different oppressions* and societal expectations than a woman of color than a white queer woman than a trans woman of color than a trans queer woman than a Christian queer woman of color than a Muslim woman who uses a wheelchair. Because the privileges in our society have many platforms and there is no way to examine one without taking into account and examining the others.

Oppression takes many forms, not just one, forms that bleed into one another and shift and intersect, none acting independently of one another. There are many interrelated forms of discrimination, and that’s why feminism needs intersectionality.

I’m still learning. I am by no means an authority figure on intersectionality or any social justice issues. I have privilege many don’t have and I face discrimination others do not. I am sixteen. I am young, and I am imperfect, and I make mistakes, and I’m still learning. My posts on the subject of intersectional feminism, and other subjects, will not be perfect and will probably be flawed in many ways. Call me out. The best way for me to learn is by fixing the mistakes I know I’m bound to make.

I’m a white queer middle-middle class abled (physically, at least, mental health issues are a topic I hope to tackle more in-depth) Christian cisgendered woman. There are many things I cannot understand because of the privileges I have. And that’s really difficult for me to come to terms with. But I have to. And I have to keep trying. I can never fully understand the discrimination many people face, but that just means I need to learn and grow and do everything in my power to work towards that understanding even harder. It goes beyond just solidarity. It’s about immersing yourself in problems regardless of whether you directly are affected by them, because if they are affecting someone else then they are affecting your world, and the world is in everyone’s hands, not just yours or theirs. It’s about acting, rising up together in acknowledgement of intersectionality and understanding that you may never be able to understand one another completely but standing together anyway.

It’s about however you choose to fight, be it peacefully or rather less than, and having the courage not to fight alone.

*When I say oppression, I do not mean it in the sense that groups who face its forms are lowly or meek or underpowered. I use oppression to mean injustice, to mean the systemized discrimination and cruelty against people, and to demonstrate the disparity of privilege within society. Oppression affects different people in different ways but it does not mean you are any less awesome and desirable and kickass.

P.S. I’ve been nominated for a couple of blog awards, which I will be doing the posts for shortly, in case you’re interested/wanting another post/grumbling at me for not having gotten to them already/turned into a squirrel. Just kidding about that last part. Maybe. Maybe squirrels care about intersectionality too.

How to Survive a Heartbreak

Don’t worry, readers-mine, it’s a mini heartbreak. Sort of. Not really. But it’s not the great, wallowing, my-life-is-over kind, fear not. It’s more the type of heartbreak that happens when you, I don’t know, spend a half an hour slow dancing with a girl you’ve had a huge crush on since first semester and she tells you that you look pretty and it’s like this weird more-than-friends-but-not-dating thing you’ve had going for months is finally going to sort itself out when a week later she tells you she has to sort out her own emotional things and that a relationship wouldn’t be fair to you so you’re just friends now. Not that that happened to me, or anything. Maybe.

I don’t really have an emergency kit for this situation (even though I should) so really I’m coping off the top of my head. Here are some of the ways I’m handling it:

1. Lie in bed having a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon while eating chocolate chips (in lieu of actual chocolate) that you took illicitly from a cupboard in the kitchen.

2. Find ways to be home alone and once you are sing your heart out to sad songs and then angry songs and then breakup songs and then “Let It Go” from Frozen because for some reason it makes you feel empowered and less sucky.

3. Put on lipstick, try on your outfit for Pride, and then tell yourself that there’ll be tons of queer girls your age at Pride and you look mighty fine and you’ll get someone’s number and then you’ll totally hang out and that’ll show your former non-girlfriend how you’ve moved on…

4. Sit on the floor tapping your foot impatiently, waiting until everyone is gone and you have the house to yourself, not even because you want to sing so badly but because right now you need to be as far away as you can get from civilization (even though your next-door neighbors are outside all day long working on a noisy construction project).

5. Get very frustrated with those neighbors for absolutely no reason and scream into your pillow.

6. Maybe it’s because they’re gay and together and happy and you are gay and not together and sad…

7. Spend a solid hour at the library checking through every book you find for promises of queer girl characters and be disappointed that there are none. (I think this is partially why Malinda Lo has become one of my favorite authors–she has characters that are diverse in race and sexuality and it’s not like those books where they throw in a particular character just for the sake of diversity, and they’re well written. I hate it when books try to do diversity and the characters are cardboard cut-outs. Plus I mean Adaptation if you haven’t read it yet you need to.)

8. Go off on tangents about Malinda Lo.

9. Obsessively work on your art because that seems to be the only thing keeping you sane these days.

10. Do your art while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at this point only partially because it’s a black hole of obsession that you can’t hope to escape, and mostly because Willow and Tara are adorable and also you need lesbians on TV right now but you have no way of watching Orange is the New Black. And also you’re not allowed to.

11. Eat homemade ice cream while watching Sherlock with your family and then finish off your brother’s serving too.

12. Watch an Irish advertisement against the bullying of LGBTQ+ teens and feel your eyes actually getting misty by the end. Then actually cry at that Always “Like a Girl” advertisement.

13. Get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize that you only have two seasons left of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that sooner or later you’re be finished, and at the rate you’re going it’s looking to be far sooner than later.

14. Spend several hours learning to play “Impossible” on the guitar because it describes your life (in your head, of course, in actuality the tornado you’re feeling is a gust of wind) and also because the chords are easy, yay.

15. And then, for good measure, play “Clever Meals” by Tegan and Sara, which is even easier, and daydream about performing it at the open mic next week even though you have the guitar skills of a one-handed chicken. Or one-taloned. Or something.

16. Develop a crush on Hannah Hart

17. Realize that all the cute girls your age at Pride have cute girlfriends.

18. Bemoan the lack of desserts in your household a bit too harshly, causing your parents to ask troublesome questions.

19. Write a blog post about it, go camping for a week, come back and realize you haven’t finished the blog post and have all of the unpleasant feelings dredged up again.

20. Text The Girl In Question asking if she’s busy this week.

21. Even though you’re still not sure if you’re ready to see her again yet.

22. But also you sort of want to and it’s her birthday and you want to get her a book and also you want to show her that you’re totally fine with the just friends thing, really.

23. Avoid the novel you’re supposed to be writing.

24. Spend hours cut off from all humanity doing nothing but writing that novel.

25. Think that really, you should be a mature and responsible adult by this point. But you’re still having all the feelings and want chocolate.

Fabulously Facetious Friday

It’s Friday! Or at least, it is in my timezone. And that means it’s time to carry on the tradition of ever-so-occasionally posting quotes from my Quote Book, a little notebook I carry with me at all times to write down the strange things I hear people say. Snarky comments may or may not be involved.

“You know you’re late to dance when you’re buttoning your pants in the street.”
Thought I’d start out with pants, since approximately 20% of the quotes in this book involve pants. So…yeah. Pants.

“Actually, all the people are dead by now, but I added some more screaming because I thought it would go well with the elevator music.”

“Why is there a tooth in my slipper?”
“Ohhhh, that’s where it went!”

“You could put your ear on an injury and use it as an ice pack.”
It’s a cold winter, what can I say?

“I’m going through the carcasses of your lunch.”

“Will you hold my phone? I need to put my pants on.”

“Why are you guys so excited about murder?”
“Because we’re writers and we murder people for a living!”
I didn’t say that…noooo.

“Some people are good at everything, like me. I excel at architecture and animal husbandry.”

“I remember your dog, he’s definitely dead.”

“Do you think if I mixed Cheetos in with my rice noodles it would make them taste less like soggy cardboard?”

And finally…
“It’s Jack Harkness, how is he supposed to keep his pants on?”

Pants.

14 Reasons to Always Carry a Hardcover Book

1. Books can be very handy while standing in a long line–whether you use them to while away the time or whack the people in front of you out of the way.
2. Similarly, books provide instant entertainment in any situation in which you have to wait.
3. Don’t feel like talking to people? Read a book.
4. A hardcover book will provide the perfect disguise for any ordinary burglar, spy, or detective: simply sit in a public area and peer at people non-suspiciously over the top of the pages.
5. Having a book makes you look innocent. Veeeery innocent. No officer, I did not rob that bank across the street, I was just siting on this park bench here reading my book.
6. If you are going somewhere and you need to look important, bring a thick book with a title like “Inconclusive Enigmas of the Pestilential Proprietors” and be seen reading it. People will assume you are dedicated, studious, and intelligent.
7. Contrary to #3, if you have to talk to someone but don’t know what to say, just talk about the book you’re reading.
8. Depending on how you present yourself, carrying a book can either make you friends or make everyone leave you alone, whichever is more to your tastes.
9. You can learn so much from books. Education, people.
10. The book is mine. My own. My precious.
11. Worried about self-defense? Carry with you the thickest hardcover book you own at all times, and you can hit someone over the head with it if needed. NOTE: This only applies in situations where someone else instigates the aggression.
12. They make very comfortable pillows! …sort of.
13. If you don’t want to be seen by someone, a book is a great thing to hide behind. Their gazes will pass right over you.
14. You’ll never be without a friend if you have a book by your side.

The Night of the Doctor: An Analysis

If you are a Whovian (translation: Doctor Who fan) like I am, you’ll know that the minisode The Night of the Doctor aired a few days ago (it can be watched here, and I reccomend you do so to be able to understand this post). It features the Eighth Doctor, and as someone who has not yet seen his only other onsceen appearance, his movie, it may be a bit presumtuous of me to post an analysis without more of his character to go on, but I have really been wanting to write this. I have not yet seen Eight’s movie for lack of trying. I would like to take a short moment to glare at whoever decided to damaged the library’s only copy.

I wasn’t sure whether to just dive right in wih my feelings or go frame by frame, so I think I’ll do some of both. And again, as I have not seen Eight, some of my interpretations could be totally inncorrect, but bear with me.

I’ve been hearing quite a lot over the past few months about Eight fans’ worries about Moffat entirely messing up Eight and getting his character wrong, so I was relieved to hear that many of them were satisfied with the minisode, because I am too. I thought it was very well done and I was very happy that Eight finally got a regeneration. But more on that later.

0:09 Is it just me or does the computer sound rather smug here? Just a thought. Computers can have a way of sounding exraordinarily smug.

0:18 EIGHT!!! When I watched this minisode for the first time, that was also the first time I’d seen/heard the Eighth Doctor, and I immediately loved him. Maybe I’m biased because I know so many wonderful Eight fans, but I really like his opening lines in this, and the way he says them. “I’m a Doctor. Though probably not the one you were expecting.”

During the theme, more fangirling over Eight ensues. I sorely hope the movie will be ready at the library soon because I want to see it now more than ever.

0:38 As a side note, I like the way Eight walks here. That sounds strange, but it puts me in mind of brave adventurers and Shakespearean swordfights. Perhaps that’s the costume. I love Eight partially because of the costume. (Which I am not entirely sure is the same as his in the movie, so if you know, comment?)

0:46 When the Doctor says “Welcome aboard” and Cass says “Aboard what?” with so much longing in her voice, the way she smiles hopefully after she says it because she sees an escape, it’s heartbreaking. Especially considering what happens shortly afterward. I find the Doctor’s ability to instill hope in people so wonderful, it’s part of what makes the show so powerful, and that as well makes this moment particularly sad.

I love the music that plays while they’re running back to the TARDIS. Very dramatic and adventerous.

1:04 “I wanted to see the Universe.” The words spoken by so many throughout time and space by many a wanderer. Often in scenarios that sooner or later result in death, injury, destruction, or heartbreak. Every time I hear this line I like to think about how huge the Universe is, how dangerous, and how beautiful. And how we can none of us fully comprehend any of it.

1:06 “Is it always like this?” “If you’re lucky.” I love that brief little exchange. It’s so Doctor-y, and for me a touch nostalgic too. It makes me think fond, happy thoughts of a certain Time Lord and all his regenerations.

1:13 We’re starting to build up to it…

1:20 …and BAM! The pure and utter loathing in her voice when Cass says “Don’t touch me” is still moving to me. A few seconds ago he was her salvation, and now she couldn’t hate him more.

1:22 Oh Eight…”I’m not part of the war. I never was. I swear to you.” And then later he says he’s one of the nice Time Lords. I would love to see Time War episodes of Doctor Who to analyze Time Lords before, after, and during it to see how they change.

1:31 “Well look on the bright side, I’m not a Dalek!” “Who can tell the difference anymore?”
Oooooooooohhhhhhhh. Thses lines. These two lines are so, so powerful every time I hear them. The implication that the Time War has been so corrupting that the Time Lords are morally no better than their enemies, the Daleks, is staggering. This is part of why I’m okay with Eight being relieved of the burden of the Time War. He already gets hurt an exponential amount in the EDAs alone, I’d hate to think of him having to go through the entire war, especially because the Doctor has always been just that–a Doctor, a healer–and the war would change that.

1:37 Though I’m mad at Cass for hurting the Doctor, I can see why she does it, and I admire her dedication. She seals the door. She would rather die than associate with a Time Lord. Again with the power of the Time War.

1:41 “Go back to your battlefield. You haven’t finished yet. Some of the Universe is still standing.” Again. How terrible, how truely, utterly, horrifically brutal the Time War must be. And I don’t think Eight could have withstood all that evil as the Doctor. The Doctor is strong, but that much bad changes a person.

1:49 “I’m not leaving this ship without you.” Oh, Eight. Valiant to the last.

2:14 When I first heard them mention “Karn” I thought they said “Khan”, which led me to immitate Captain James Tyberious Kirk in a long, dramatic scream of “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

2:24 I think the music that plays here is part of the episodes The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, though I forget what the track is called at the moment.

2:31 I’m not dead yet!

2:32 I think the music that plays here is what the siren sings during The Curse of the Black Spot in season six.

2:52 “Four minutes? That’s ages. What if I get bored, or need a television, couple of books, anyone up for chess, bring me knitting.” I love you, Eight.

3:13 “Keepers of the Flame of Utter Boredom.” “Eternal Life.” “That’s the one.” Have I mentioned how much I like Eight? This quick exchange gives very good insight into the Doctor’s character.

3:45 I love the whole exchange with Eight saying it isn’t his war, and the Sister of Karn (I don’t know her specific name) countering that he can’t avoid the Time War forever, because I think it applies well to real life. Wars are inescapable, no matter what you do or where you live.

3:52 “Because you are a good man.” “I call myself the Doctor.” “It’s the same thing in your mind.” “I’d like to think so.” These lines are wonderful food for thought. What is good, and bad? What is the Doctor? Doctor means healer, but is it ever anything else than that? (Also I think the music playing here is Space 1969 from series six.)

During the whole part where the Sister of Karn is trying to convince Eight to join the Time War, I think she sounds very much like Galadriel. Not here voice, but the inflections, the tone, the way she uses volume and rhythm and whispers.

4:26 “You’re a part of this, Doctor.” “I would rather die.” “You’re dead already. How many more will you let join you?” Death as a theme is always very interesting to analyze in Doctor Who because the show has a lot to say on the subject about death and who’s responsible and its impacts.

5:05 Eight makes the decision to become a warrior.

5:09 “I don’t suppose there’s any need for a Doctor anymore.” *sobs* This minisode is riddled with powerful lines.

5:24 The music that begins here is more from series six, but again, I’ve forgotten the track.

5:34 There’s been lot’s of discussion about why he only mentions certain characters, and not Grace, who was his companion in the movie, but the one I like is a sad, spoilery one so SPOILERS FOR THE COMPANIONS MENTIONED IN THE MINISODE with the exception of Molly, whose story I believe isn’t finished yet, these are the companions that have died, which is so powerful and so interesting. OKAY SPOILERS DONE NOW.

5:48 “Physician, heal thyself.” EIGHT!!! He finally gets a regeneration. Not only that, but he gets a regeneration with beautiful, chilling, heartbreaking last words. I cried, and I haven’t seen Eight apart from this minisode. The fact that he’s casting off his title as Doctor, that he’s trying to cure himself of helping others because there’s a war on, is powerful and staggering and tragic and heartbreaking and so many words I could fill a page with them. I love his last words so much, and in my Doctor Who book it lists them as “unknown”, but now I have crossed that off and written in the words the fandom has waited for for 17 years.

6:21 Still more series six music.

6:36 “Doctor no more.” I just…I can’t.

Comments? Critiques? Questions? Thoughts?

A Few of My Sketches

Speaking of serialized posts, I’ve been meaning to post a few photos from my sketchbook here, so I thought I’d share some today. Here they are:

Le Drawing Number One

I apologize for the sidewaysness. I was having technical difficulties. This one started out as a random picture that popped into my head of a Victorian lady after she was jilted at the altar, but then I wanted to make the picture colorful and I added a fez and she sort of became sort of a female Doctor. I mean, she looks nothing like any of the Doctors, she just seems really Doctor-y.

Tenth Doctor Yeah

I started this a few months back after I watched Ten’s regeneration (sniffle sniffle). I’m not totally satisfied with it, but I thought I’d share it anyways. Again, I apologize for it being sideways.

The Enigmatic River Song

Urgh. This one didn’t turn out as I was hoping either, though I am proud of the hair. I am not proud of it being sideways.

Another Drawing

This started out of a character of mine but ended up not being the character. Of all the drawings I’ve posted it’s my favorite, although the image quality isn’t the greatest. Like I said, technical difficulties.

And that’s all for today. Hope you liked the sketches!