Goodbye, NaNoWriMo, Et al.

soapboxFear is the mind killer, right? I suspect it’s the freedom killer, too.

Trigger Warning: this post contains discussion of rape, murder, oppression, chromosomes and several other aspects of real life. And, since WordPress has threatened in the past to delete the accounts of women who advocate for the safety, free speech and free assembly of women and kids, I’m backing up this and every other WordPress post from now on. I don’t particularly want to move this blog somewhere else, but I may be forced to.

I’ve been debating for three weeks whether or not to publish this post. I realize I’ve held back because I’m tired of being screamed at, called names, denied access, kicked off sites, kicked out of friendships, all for holding politically incorrect opinions. This is not the time to give in.  This is not the time to pretend we’re living in anything resembling “normal.”

So, here’s why my reunion with NaNoWriMo was a short one. Yes, my boycott of NaNoWriMo is back in full force. It’s one of those three-strikes deals.

Strike One

While the main NaNoWriMo site has impressive security precautions in place, much of the group activity also takes place on Facebook. It’s highly probable that nobody at NaNoWriMo gives a damn what I think, but, in my opinion, allowing much of the communication with participants to happen on Facebook is a mistake. All their privacy and security precautions fly out the window with that practice.

One post on Facebook this year, on the main (international) NaNoWriMo Facebook page was a photograph of a smoothie with a note propped in front of it that read something like [from memory, this, since it has since been pulled] “Daddy’s proud of his little girl, so here’s a treat. If you make your word count, I’ll have an extra special treat for you later.” The description accompanying this post said something like [again, from memory] “This may tell you more than you want to know about our relationship, but I thought this message from my boyfriend was so cute and supportive.” I don’t know whether the moderators took any direct action against this, but, after many comments called this post out as promoting the incestuous rape of children, the poster voluntarily left the page. (Or, appeared to..?)

Later, there were several posts claiming the original poster was “forced out” and that this was somehow “unfair” and “censorship” against people with “alternative lifestyles.” I commented on one of those “supportive” posts, stating that the original post was celebrating the incestuous rape of children and saying that anyone else with similar “lifestyles” who also wanted to leave the page would not be missed. I wound up getting put in comment jail for, I think, three days by the moderators of the NaNoWriMo page.

I’d wager cash money that the original photograph and commentary were posted not by some “girlfriend” of a guy with a fetish for raping his child, but by the (wannabe?) rapist himself. The same predator may also have been responsible for some or even all of the subsequent “supportive” comments. Regardless of who the instigator of the pro-rape post was, the sad truth is that any writing-related activity attracts sexual predators. (Parents, be well aware of this!) They show up regularly in critique groups and, even if the group has stated guidelines that all excerpts submitted for critique be PG-13 or otherwise free of explicit sex or violence, will oh-so-innocently start reading out loud, in public, in the middle of the book store or library or coffee shop their “writing” about raping or eviscerating women and kids. And, they wallow in the subsequent anger, shock or fear.

I’ve seen this happen in at least five different groups or classes for writers. In two groups I’ve been a member of, the predators doing their “reading” made a point to make their victims look exactly like women in the group they were reading to.

One incident was a Fall 1984 graduate fiction writing seminar at CSU Sacramento. I was the woman the guy described murdering, including details about my hair and clothes, and five paragraphs describing how the knife he wielded would slice through my breasts and belly. I dropped the class — Oh, why didn’t I sue??? — after taking all the guy’s writing excerpts to campus security and the police, and also telling all the seminar members that I had done so. I also told my would-be murderer in that same final session that I had given his vital stats to everyone I knew, with the instruction to make sure the police had his info if anything were to happen to me. The seminar met from 7 to 10 PM on Tuesday and Thursday nights, by the way. Why didn’t the prof do anything? He was too busy getting and staying stoned…

Another incident from the mid-1990s involved a critique group that met at the Borders Books cafe on Fair Oaks in Sacramento. This (wannabe?) rapist slowly changed the nature of his critique submissions from normal fiction to scenes describing the “seduction” and rape of female children by an adult man. (No, we’re not talking Lolita, here. There was never any indication that the rapist was unreliable or in any way condemned by the author. Nabokov, likely a survivor of child rape himself, makes it overwhelmingly clear in the novel that Humbert Humbert is one messed up son-of-a-prick.) When I called him on his rape fantasies, the wannabe rapist said he just thought they were “nice scenes” and that “all men think this way.”

A common reaction, that. When called on their rape/death threats, the sexual predators who invade writing groups oh-so-innocently claim they “write erotica” and are oh-so-dismayed the group “practices censorship.” They then list various books that have sex scenes (normal ones), as if their detailed description of some old weirdo torturing a twelve-year-old is the same as a scene of two adults in a romance novel. They get off on intruding into mainstream space and forcing their violence, threats and obscenity into normal life. They get off on “grooming” normal people with lies and mind games almost as much as they do fucking with the minds and bodies of women and kids.

No, it’s not NaNoWriMo’s fault the obscene “smoothie” post happened, but this occurrence does demonstrate how NaNoWriMo is not a particularly safe activity, especially when accessed on Facebook. After this event, I unsubbed from the main NaNo Facebook page, and read only the local one.

Strike Two

On the NaNoWriMo blog, one post was, in theory, about avoiding being dismayed by the news and keeping your dismay from intruding upon your writing time. In reality, it was yet more bitching from a Democrat about losing the Presidential election. What follows are my comments as posted on the site. This one is NaNoWriMo’s fault. This is an instance where the blog editors let personal politics intrude into the blog. Not OK. Not (yet) a deal-breaker, but definitely Strike Two.

“‘Let’s say you do take a peek at today’s headlines… and your immediate response is any combination of the following: shock, horror, rage, dread, terror, grief, resignation, or something similar.’ Partisan, much? You’re honestly not HAPPY about the lowering unemployment rate, North Korea, etc.? Is there somewhere some NaNoWriMo clause that says ‘No Conservatives/Republicans/Independents allowed..?’

“Seriously, this is a blog about novel writing, not ONE PERSON’S politics. Why on earth are you posting this here? It’s completely inappropriate. You’re exploiting an audience for a heavily biased, political message that has nothing to do with the topic of this site… In the U.S., the Left Wing has been continually complaining all over many forms of media about ‘how awful things are’ as if their opinions are shared by everyone. (The ‘American [sic.] Horror Story’ producers even devoted an entire season to a character oh-so-devastated by the Trump win.) Pretty strange assumption, considering that Trump won. As is said above, they’re pretending 60+ million people don’t exist… [T]here’s absolutely no reason to assume that news junkies think all the news they see is bad. Many people just love politics or journalism, etc., and many people think a lot of the news they hear is good. [The post author’s] statement makes no sense either in the context of all the other Left Wing complaining or outside of it.”

Strike Three

So, it’s the beginning of December and the NaNoWriMo people send out a survey to the participants. In the space where one would indicate their sex, they have the question, “Which gender do you identify as?” That’s it, dangling participle and all. Certainly, there was no option available for, say, “I don’t ‘identify’ as a goddam thing because I am female, Sparky.”

That’s it. I’m done. Why is this a deal breaker, the last straw, Strike Three? Because this “question” is pure propaganda from “gender theory” extremists. This little ritual is about forcing compliance with the opinions of the survey writers, not about seeking input from us. It forces anyone who takes the survey to endorse and obey the dictates of those people who would wipe women as a physical, legal, medical and cultural reality from the face of the earth. There is no way for any woman to answer this “question” without abusing herself. There is no way to answer this question without appearing to accept a world view that renders women invisible.

Good bye, NaNoWriMo. Three strikes. You’re outta here.

And, by the way, if anybody’s going to do some more name-calling in my direction, I am not a “TERF” (trans-exclusive radical feminist.) I am, however, a “TEFF,” as in “trans-exclusive Freedom feminist.” Aka. First Wave Feminist, although the First and Second Waves were both a lot more varied that those labels imply. And, while I do think “Freedom Feminist” is an accurate label for me, I also wish Christina Hoff Sommers would actually talk about women once in a while.

But, that’s another post. Or five. I might even talk about it all here, if WordPress doesn’t kill my account. If they do, do a Google search for my name. Unless Google decides to make me a non-person, too. In that case, I’ll be the one in the park on the soapbox, screaming at the top of my lungs.

And, not incidentally, Bruce Jenner is not a woman. Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce

Fuck fear.

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