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Sunday, January 29, 2012

MY post office.

I was following links about #LetterMo today, and then read more about the post office closures.

I haven't owned a car since July 2005. I've lived in Las Vegas, in rural Ohio, and in Michigan since then.

No car makes life especially exciting in the Midwest, where nearly everyone is used to having a car -- me included.

I could walk to a UPS store in Vegas, so I could send things in a pinch when no car was about -- but the post office was a few miles away. In Ohio I could walk to the post office if I was careful (windy country road). When I lived in Center Line, Michigan, I could walk to that post office.

I mailed a proofreading test in 2008 from the CL post office. Two, actually. :D

Now I'm in rural Michigan, and the post office is too far to walk to safely. If I depended on the post office for work instead of my computer, I'd be sunk.

But I still need the post office. I mail things, people mail me things. I ordered a new desktop when mine died. What if I'd had to go to a city to fetch it? I don't live in a city or a town, I live in a village.

Rural America will lose its post offices soon. My great-uncle doesn't use a computer. He's not required to, either; the post office is infrastructure. It's to bind us together, not rip us apart.

Sure, I can work from home because of the Internet. That's a great gift. Still, not everyone has regular 'Net access!

I run a small business. If I had to travel far every time I needed ink, or a new printer -- think of how that'd add up. (Trust me, I can imagine it vividly.) If I had to pay FedEx or UPS extra for delivery, when they don't always come out here, while USPS always does...

The Founding Fathers created the post office for us all. It serves many purposes. Anyone who thinks it's only about paper letters isn't paying attention. Anyone who ignores the lives and jobs and businesses who depend on USPS is a blamed fool.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warning: dark & personal.

I started this out saying, "No one did anything bad to me today." That's true.

Then I was going to say, "No one did anything bad to me this weekend." But that's not true.

At a con in the past, someone did. Someone I didn't know tried to force me, to rape me.

And someone reminded me of that over this past weekend. So when I stopped and listened to myself -- to my inner self, to what my heart and mind was saying behind "No one did" then I heard that, that echo, that "No one yet had the chance to go further" because I know someone who probably would.

I realized it because even when you don't get forced, the attempt is a violation. Just as Scarleteen says. To anyone who has never been forced, never been raped, never found that "No" is ignored... that's a concept he -- or she -- doesn't get.

There is no words.

Years ago, I fled where I lived because I'd been raped. Again, it's something people who haven't been raped or forced or victimized DO NOT understand. I've listened to them trying to grasp it, when I explain, and saying, "But why didn't you...?" as if that would help.

When I found out my rapist planned to move to my new region, I fled again. Each time, my fleeing coincided with other things happening in my life. The second time, however, I was aware that the flight was motivated first by my rapist and second by the other things. I've never fled -- as in packed up everything and moved away -- like that again.

Except for that weekend a few years ago. At a con. I got help from friends and fled him.

Years ago, I didn't try to explain this to anyone, not the rapist, nor the flight. This isn't to make you think I expect bad things at cons. I don't.

(The boyfriend who stalked me was not from fandom, for example. He didn't try to rape me, but stalking is another victimization.)

This whole topic is just something dark that I've been thinking about. I talk about a lot of things in my life. The predators... take me time to recover from. Just like they do for anyone else who survives the predators.

I am not prey. I am a person. I know teaching people to NOT be rapists is the first and best solution. But there is a dark part of me that wishes to make them feel exactly what it's like -- something that Mercedes Lackey did to a rapist in one of her books. I've never forgotten that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Epic ConFusion

Short version: Went to con, had fun, saw friends, met new people. Did panels... but not as a panelist. Came home underslept and with my brain buzzing.

Longer version:

I'd told the good Jeff Beeler that I wasn't going to be there Sunday, and expected to attend only Saturday afternoon. So he knew I wouldn't be able to manage a Sunday panel.

When I showed up, several people asked me why I hadn't been at my Grammar Police panel... for Saturday morning. My what?? Including Christian Klaver, who had been one of the panelists!

InFusion, Fusion's daily broadsheet, had listed that "Anne Zanoni will not be here Sunday." I felt very flattered and somewhat awed. It was really nice to know that my updating Jeff meant that people cared to let attendees know a panelist would be missing.

When I got home, last night I saw that Jason Sanford had Tweeted

We're waiting for before starting the Grammar Police panel b/c she's the grammar expert! Anne, we need you ASAP!

Um. Maybe I shouldn't have been Tweeting before con... it does make people think I Tweet when I'm not in the house [like most people]. Pity I can't put up a Twitter away message... but that would be really annoying on Twitter!

Christian said that despite Grammar Police being a morning panel, there was a good turnout. Huzzah!! So I'm glad the topic worked. I'd hoped that would help writers.

I managed to attend four panels. I learned more about how PDFs flow (or don't!) in ebooks, heard about crowdsourcing, Worldcon bids, saw the Sony ereaders that Kathy Becker has, and divers things...

I really enjoyed the panel about anachronisms.

I wish I had managed my time better on Toby's panel; I hate it when I'm meeting people and have to duck in and out of panels. OTOH, I didn't interrupt with a ringing phone either, so that was a win.

I also pushed folks to attend Chicon 7 and WFC 2012. Truly, the more the merrier, and hey, we're helping the economy too! =twinkle=

I found out where friends had moved, saw the kidlets of Ken Strong and Chad Childers, heard about the best place to hold a kid's birthday party -- Jim Hoxsie's place, of course! -- and other stuff. I've missed people.

I also got to meet the author (Brent Weeks) who blurbed a book for Douglas Hulick, a SCAdian, who I also met this weekend. See, Doug's book was compared to my friend Dave's book, Giant Thief -- isn't it a small world? :D

Got to spend a little time with a lot of people. The cocktail party had lovely toffee. Most interesting costume of the weekend was a Clone Wars trooper.

Friday, January 13, 2012



A few days ago, I was scribbling in Blogger... and didn't realize that I was writing my thoughts out in public. Bad move.

Stress doesn't excuse it, even if that was a factor.

Back in high school, the teacher got mad at the class for not understanding her, and I watched one student look around, and decide to do something for everyone.

He got her mad at him.

I observed, but I didn't really put the pieces together then. I wish I had. I wish I'd told him it was a great gift. I wish I'd been articulate then, instead of just talkative.

Thank you for that gift, Chris Carrick. I hope you're well wherever you are, and that your choices and intelligence are rewarded.

I've been thinking about that day, lately. Maybe because of gifts -- thanks, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan! -- maybe not.

Happy 2012. If you'll be at Epic ConFusion in a week, hope to see you there... Be well.