Author Life and Whatnot

There’s a phrase that can instantly make me lose respect for anyone and it is, “I’m not a feminist”. I don’t care why, I don’t care who, I hear those words and my respect-o-meter just drops about a billion degrees. I do tend towards hyperbole, but not in this case. All I think when people say this is “ugh” and while it’s annoying when guys do it, I’ve sadly come to accept that few guys will identify themselves as such, which is yet another thing we can thank the patriarchy for, because God forbid a “real” man identify with or as anything that sounds remotely “girly”.


But when a woman pulls this “look at how advanced I am, rejecting feminism” bullshit. Just…I am only made up of ugh and argh and wtf and what is the matter with you??

Do you believe men and women are inherently equal and neither should have more rights, freedoms, privileges than the other?

Then you’re a feminist.

Do you believe people shouldn’t be discriminated against no matter their gender, race, sexual orientation, et cetera?

Then you’re a feminist.

Feminism is not about pushing down men and elevating women (yes, there are some who identify as feminist and tend towards the man-hating spectrum, but as with any group, there are extremists and they are the minority). It is about striving for equality between all and fighting back against the patriarchy, which by the way, hurts us all. Men included.

The way men are ridiculed if they aren’t “macho” enough? Blame the patriarchy.

The way boys aren’t supposed to show too much emotion, wear pink, cry, play with “girl” toys, et cetera? Blame the patriarchy.

The way male rape is not only not taken seriously, but used as a socially-acceptable, usually prison-themed, joke? Blame the goddamn patriarchy.

If any of these things piss you off or you feel strongly that equality is the goal between all humans, then you are most likely a feminist.

If you don’t want to label yourself, fine, do what you want, but rejecting this specific label on the grounds that “you love men” or “you’re humanist” or “you don’t want to be called a feminazi” (which, tangential rant, how the fuck is wanting equality between genders on par with committing genocide???? So much rage-vomit!) or something along these lines, you may think you’re sounding evolved, but all I, and most feminists I know, hear is pure ignorance of the facts and the movement itself.

And as for those that think we don’t need feminism any more because we are equal now?


A lot of things tend to make me stabby, irritated, annoyed, angry, et cetera. I love a good rant and it’s not too hard to get me riled up about things I care about.

One such thing that has been grating my nerves more and more every time I hear, see, or read about another incarnation of it lately is this idea of a “real” man or woman.

Whatever the hell that even means.

Like it’s not hard enough for most people, basically everyone, because we all have aspects our society and culture assigns to masculinity and femininity, but this concept of a “real” man or woman discounts so much of what makes us who we are and makes it so easy to turn any aspects of our personalities, preferences, appearances into something “other” and therefore, inherently negative.

Piffle. Piffle on all of our heads.

What does being a so-called “real” whatever even mean? This is such an abstract, subjective concept. What makes someone a “real” woman or man to one person negates their aspect of “realness” in the eyes of another person and only ensures that no one feels secure in their real personhood because there will likely always be something in their personality which someone, somewhere will take issue with inre how it makes them “real”.

This is such bullshit.

And it is so often in relation to superficial aspects of people and/or the aspects that are so nobody’s business but your own. E.g.: A “real” man doesn’t shave/wax/etc his body hair away, but a “real” woman does. A “real” woman has curves and isn’t a “stick figure”. A “real” man has muscles, a “real” woman doesn’t. A “real” man provides for his family, a “real” woman wants a family. A “real” man sleeps with women, a “real” woman sleeps with but one man or else she risks not being a “real lady” anymore, just to make things more complicated and ridiculous. A “real” man doesn’t cry, or maybe he does, it depends on the situation, so always be on your guard lest your “realness” slip and you become the feared other, the unreality. A “real” woman has long hair, wears make-up, dresses in a feminine manner, can have children, etc, etc, etc into the oblivion of ugh.

The list goes on and on, because with something so absurdly abstract and subjective, it would be impossible for it not to. This defining of characteristics as real vs. not real is so, so problematic. It puts a stupid amount of pressure on us all to fit into the gender binary enforced by this concept and continuously thrusts us into the precarious world of us/them; real/unreal; normal/other.

It’s fine to have preferences, say you’re more attracted to a certain body type, level of hirsuteness, emotional availability, et cetera, but by framing your preference in the real (normal) vs. unreal (other/abnormal) dynamic, you’re putting so much pressure on people to fall into the strict and binary categories which support that dynamic and it’s unhealthy and unfair to everyone, including yourself. Because if you view others within this framework, you cannot help but to turn it inward, as well, and then it transforms into this unhealthy, self-perpetuating cycle of rigid musts and shoulds and if/then thinking that can only lead to unhappiness.

Real is an abstract, subjective concept and by relying on it to display one’s preferences or to get one’s point across, we fall into this cycle and we reject the possibility of anything beyond what we’ve decided is the norm. It’s so othering and exclusionary and narrow-minded.

People are people. Man, woman, gender-fluid, gender-neutral, gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, trans, et cetera. People are just people. Whatever they define themselves as, they are real people. We all are.


For the longest time, I thought of John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles as one of my all-time favourite movies. Possibly my favourite movie hands down. I’d always loved it, in different ways. When I was a kid, I just thought it was funny. But when I was a teenager, it turned into full-blown love, which you can blame on Jake Ryan. I just swooned every time he was on screen and I still thought it was a hilarious, cute movie. I watched it so many times, there was a point when I could almost mouth every word along with the characters–making it super fun to watch this movie with me, I can tell you.

And then there was kind of a lull wherein I didn’t watch it for a while, not by design, because I was sick of it or anything, it was just so perfect in my head and I remembered all of my favourite moments (pretty much any part with Jake Ryan) so clearly, that I just sort of felt like I had always watched it recently. And then…

And then, a few months ago, I finally rewatched it. Cue the sad trombone music of my childhood feeling retroactively scarred and being totally let down by my longtime fictional boyfriend, Jake Ryan. Pan to me not knowing how to feel about any of this.

First of all, holy racism, Batman. Ugh, so many things I didn’t pick up on as a child, or even a teenager, I’m sad to admit. Poor Long Duck Dong and all of the racist jokes/sound effects/etc surrounding his character. This is where I start feeling uncomfortable, but I also still get distracted by Jake Ryan. I’m not proud of this, but have you seen his face?! Good, God, man, those cheekbones. Anyway.

The most amazing cheekbones in the world cannot make up for totally casual rapey behaviours, Jake!

What’s that line? “Caroline’s passed out upstairs; I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.” Or something equally horrific to that affect.

Jake!!! What?! Why are you suddenly the worst? What’s that you hear? Oh, just the sound of my inner 16-year-old-girl heart breaking and also cringing. It’s a complex sound. But the point it, you let me down, Jake!

And the geek, as he is known in the movie and the credits, aka Anthony Michael Hall, is only horrified in that he’s confused as to why Jake isn’t doing things to his passed out girlfriend without her explicit consent, ’cause, after all, being passed out equals yes, right? But don’t worry, because Caroline’s emphatic yes to whatever anyone wants to do to her as conveyed by being unconscious doesn’t go unanswered because Jake gives her, yup like she’s property, an object, not a human being in any way, to the geek.

And now my 16-year-old-girl heart is dead. Along with any remnants of the innocence that went along with it.

Why didn’t I pick up on this when I was younger? You may ask. I didn’t understand the facets of consent apparently, of which, in reality, there is only one: if it’s not an emphatic, coherent, informed YES!! Then it is a no. The fact that I didn’t fully understand this as a teenager makes me glad for my uber-virginal status throughout high school, as I was clearly not mature enough for any of those shenanigans at the time.

Now I just wish that I’d left Sixteen Candles as a rosy memory in my mind, because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch it again; the whole thing is just ruined. But I was lured in by my longstanding love for Jake Ryan. And now I hate everything and am sad.

Damn you, John Hughes!


A few months ago, I watched a movie called Ruby Sparks, which I had thought might be a cute little movie based on the trailer.

It started out okay and then spiraled into a horrifying scenario that made me want to rage-vomit.

In all fairness, I should have realized this could go nowhere good due to the inherently problematic concept, and I don’t mean the sort of magical realism of creating a real, live girl by writing on a special typewriter. I’m down with (well-done) magical realism and I enjoy Weird Science as much as the next John Hughes fan, but in Weird Science, the woman that the nerds created had agency and wasn’t turned into a puppet for their sick, capricious whims.

Not so much with Ruby Sparks. Ugh, months later and still remembering that horseshit and typing the name makes me want to punch something…preferably the writer.

The thing is, as much as it would’ve given me uber heebeejeebees if the movie had been all the same until the last five minutes or so, I could’ve handled it. It would’ve been creepy, but it wouldn’t make me as stabby if the movie had acknowledged that the main character, Calvin, was basically a friggin psycho. But, no (spoiler alert), they wanted the audience to think it was adorable that he basically mind-raped her, freed her from his psycho clutches when he had a moment of empathy, then found her again when she was fully realized (but with no memory of the fact that he created her and tormented her) and they had a meet-cute.

NO!! A thousand times, NO!!

Even this I could have handled if it was filmed with a lens of him being a psycho stalker and they meant for it to be creepy and so fucked up, because that is a psychological thriller concept that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy due to aforementioned uber heebeejeebees, but that I could get behind and understand. But again, no, they filmed it with the lens that he could have his redemption by starting fresh with his now freed creation since she has no clue that he’s a secret psycho.

Rage-vomit everywhere.

If I had a relationship status a la facebook in regards to horror movies, it would be set to “it’s complicated”. When I was a kid, they scared the daylights out of me, I was so scared of them. I had trouble sleeping for months after The Ring and when I first watched 13 Ghosts, I could only handle the first half and I still had to stay up until sunrise (’cause day time means you’re safe, obviously) before I could finally fall asleep, and this was on a school night to boot. Around this time, I had a friend who was quite obsessed with all things horror and she regularly made me watch these types of movies, and I would sort of enjoy it at the time, in a thrill ride sort-of way, but regret it when it came time to fall asleep and those images would not stop playing across my eyelids. To this day, I still prefer to sleep with a nightlight or two going (though this is also caused in part by my night blindness), however, much of the other horror movie after effects no longer happen, thanks to watching almost 200 in about three years as I did research for my book and my horror movie survival rules. Now I’m pretty desensitized and it’s pretty rare that I’ll have trouble falling asleep after watching a scary movie. The most recent one that caused me issue was Black Christmas (the ’70s version), which I watched a couple of years ago. I made the mistake of watching it alone and at night, and, man did I regret that decision *shudder*. But this is a really rare occurrence these days.

So now that they no longer scare me, I try to find either hilariously bad horror movies like Night of the Creeps, which is one of the greatest things ever, or decent creepy ones like The Woman in Black or The Possession or something like that to continue my research. Unfortunately, a good horror movie is really hard to find, I think because the genre is not usually taken seriously these days. It’s not like it was with Hitchcock movies where much of what happened was implied, and so much more effective than the buckets of gore that horror movie filmmakers tend to throw at audiences today. What you don’t see is usually much scarier once your imagination takes over.

I enjoy the genre because I love the thrill that accompanies a good, creepy, well-made horror film, but I also hate the genre because of the influx of gore-porn, the use of animal death as a suspense trope (both of which I think are lazy approaches based on easy scares/gross-outs), and the almost omnipresence of sexist slut-shaming.

So, like I said, it’s complicated. But I will keep watching, partly because I’m always on the lookout for more rules to add to my collection and partly because when I do find one that is thrilling, and creepy, and scary, one that relies on good story-telling and building suspense, it is so worth it. And I just can’t help myself, they are a part of me now, the tropes are ingrained and I can’t help following the rules. I check my backseat every time I get in my car, and when the security alarm randomly went off at my house today, I ran partway out of my room, reminded myself that I was half-naked and what a bad idea it was to investigate anything in that manner of undress, went back, pulled on more clothes, and grabbed my baseball bat before I checked out the issue.

It may be complicated, but that world is a part of my psyche now, so deep down, I really love it.

In trying to get my story out in the world, I was afraid of the usual things, mainly rejection. But I was also scared of letting go of my story. I made this thing that had been only mine for so long. It was basically just for me and it was all completely under my control, and there is such a safety net in that. It was really hard to get to the place where I could declare it finished, because I don’t know that something like this ever really feels finished, at least that’s how it works for me. Sending it out to publishers after this was frightening, but after finishing up their edits and confirming it ready for the world…that was downright terrifying.

And now I have to stop myself from going back to it and changing things again. Little things that probably no one else notices, but that drive me crazy when I’m doing something like picking pages for a reading. I’m happy with the overall story, I love my characters, and many scenes throughout the book, but little nit-picky things here and there that I would change if I could drive me bonkers. This is going to be especially true when I’m looking at it in depth to convert it into a screenplay, although perhaps it will be assuaged by the fact that I can–and, in fact, will have to–change things in transforming it from novel to screenplay.

I just keep telling myself, if I’d held onto it for longer, worked on it even more, edited it hundreds of times (more), perhaps the book would’ve been even better…but perhaps it would’ve turned into a mushy, overwrought mess. Sometimes, you just need to let things go. Actually, pretty often that seems to be the answer.

But it still drives me crazy.

It’s kind of amazing how hard it is to fight the urge to look at the bad reviews. I don’t know what that is. Some kind of strange masochistic instinct or something, I suppose.

I know that it’s annoying, though. I know how badly it affects me if I read one, even though I tell myself time and again that not everybody will like it, not everybody will get it, etc.

But still, it would be nice if there weren’t people that hated it. I know that it’s a different type of zombie novel and not everyone will be a fan of the narrative devices I used, but it still worries me that it doesn’t seem to work too well with people who don’t know me, thus far.

I guess it’s better if people hate it versus being indifferent. And I know that with creative stuff, what really matters is that you like what you’ve created.

This is, of course, so much easier to say than to know. Especially when that lovely insidious thought creeps in, “Well, yes, I like it, but if others don’t and it doesn’t really sell, then that kind of changes everything. What if my publisher doesn’t even want the sequel?”

But then, if I didn’t like it and I was writing what I supposed people wanted to read and only focused on that, then I would hate my own creation and likely not keep writing anyway. After all, what would be the point?

So I guess the takeaway is once again this: Never, ever read reviews. Good or bad. It’s not worth it.

I need to focus on writing something that I would like to read, something I feel is missing from the genre. Otherwise, I’ll probably never finish the sequel and subsequent books–in this narrative world or others–for fear of rejection. And I’m not going to let that be an option.

Anyway, it’s like the kids say, haters gonna hate.

They’re creepy.

They’re either sentient and evil all on their own or they’re a diversionary tactic to catch you off guard. Either way, bad news bears.

If you’re in a horror movie situation and you see some sort of toy (especially a singing/dancing one, ie a cymbal smashing monkey), be very afraid, ’cause it’s either coming for you like Chucky, or something else is right behind you, taking advantage of your distraction to make their move and take your head. So watch your back and beware of seemingly innocent toys.



I am so happy that my book has been published and things are moving along. However, I’ve been working towards this specific goal for so long, now that’s it’s done and there’s not much more I can really do, besides some marketing things, it feels so weird, almost like it didn’t even happen. Part of that is because I’m refraining from reading any comments, I have no idea how it’s doing and I won’t see any sort of royalties for another few months, so that’s contributing to this feeling, as well, but it’s so strange. It’s like, obviously I know it happened, and I’m really happy about it and proud of myself for accomplishing this huge goal I set for myself, but not much feels different and I guess I had expected it to.

There’s work to still be done in this vein, of course: I’m working on the sequel and I hope to have it finished within say a year and a half to two years, but it still feels like everything has stayed the same. And maybe with time that’ll change, but who knows. I guess this is all part of choosing such a murky career path. Although, I suppose you never really know how things will change in the future and what will come of what you put out into the world. But I wish I did. Although…where would be the suspense and fun in that?

I’ll just have to be patient and keep working towards my goals. You never really arrive, after all, you just have to keep moving, keep trying, keep changing and forming your world. Or after a while, all you do is exist.

So, I guess the point of all my ramblings is this: anti-climax is a bitch, but it’s just a demonstration of the impossibility of arrival. Or something to that effect.


Not everyone will like it. Not everyone will get it. It won’t be for everyone.

These are things that others can tell you and that you can tell yourself, but that doesn’t really make it easier to bear when you come across someone who genuinely dislikes the thing you created.

Despite the advice others give you or the advice you give yourself, it’s hard not to obsess over it. It’s hard not to question…pretty much everything. At least it is for me. I know that not everyone will get what I’m trying to convey, and I know that someone understanding it will still not be a guarantee that they’ll like it. But knowing that and not going into freak mode are two different things.

It’s so easy to get caught up in self-doubt and fear and existential crises that the cliché “ignorance is bliss” has never seemed to apt.

I now fully understand what people mean when they advise artists of any type not to read reviews (good or bad) at all.

And that is definitely my new plan of attack; I don’t need anyone’s voice inside my head except for my own.