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E. M. Edwards
47 followers -
Fictionalizing life, since 1969.
Fictionalizing life, since 1969.

47 followers
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Our Time in The Sun
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2013-10-27
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Rotting beauty.
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2013-10-27
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On Civility:

http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/2013/06/17/on-sfwa-forums-the-sff-community-a-call-for-civility/

There are problems with a call to civility. They’re not new problems, nor is the demand that people play nice or be silent if they’re not willing to play by the club rules, a new set of demands. Such demands are made frequently when voices from the edge disturb those who hold the centre. This does however, make the complaint hard to take seriously or to believe that it has been made entirely in good faith.

“If you can’t listen to someone else and respond without anger, you probably shouldn’t be having the dialogue.”

To argue that those who are angry should not voice their anger, is sometimes exactly what people are angry about. Many voices have and continue to be excluded from the dialogue in SFF. Such as women, to take a current example. Many of these voices are not from the dominant choir, and no amount of civil requests over the years for less exclusion, have done away with this lopsided arrangement.

This is an important reason why vocal members should be encouraged, not threatened with virtual blacklisting, as you do here. Encouraged to voice their ire and disappointment when they believe injustice has been done. Those least listened to are often those with the smallest platform from which to speak, the smallest amount of power, and to demand that they keep a civil, whispering tone, is to in practice, exile them yet again to the margins – at best – of the discussion zone, if not to silence them altogether.

Which seems the point of this argument. That dissent is not welcome. Because either dissent is or it is not allowed, and to say that only polite arguments will be tabled puts those who hold the table as the arbitrators of what equals civility – and again shuts the door on those who aren’t willing to have their complaints endlessly silenced and reshuffled to the back of the agenda.

“Everyone believes their worldview is right for a reason.”

This suggests that simply because someone has a reason, self-developed or handed down to them from some branch of human thought, whether that be racial segregation, or misogyny, they should be treated with respect because they have a ‘reason’ behind their behavior. It sounds that way.

The reasoning behind someone insulting a whole group of people – such as occurred in the example cited – isn’t really important. Not when the society they supposedly speak for, has decided that this sort of thing just isn’t on anymore no matter what historical antecedents it may have in the industry. Or the difficulty older authors may have in keeping with the changes.

Agism can’t steal a march on the suffering and struggle that women, and other civil rights groups, have had to and continue to fight on a day to day basis. To equate the two as equal and so say that the offense of the one tidily negates the other, is to demonstrate I fear, that those who do understand neither.

“They also know the value of professionalism, reasoned response, and respect to success in this community. Those who don’t learn this will surely pay a price for it down the line. Sadly, most who read this will ignore that advice at their peril.”

The author couldn’t be clearer that deference to those who are your betters, or at least, your established t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ community leaders, is expected and that failure to do so, will be punished. Never mind that such bastions may not accurately represent members whose concerns they do not share nor have an interest in including them in the profession they have dominated.

How civil to threaten and promise retribution and blacklisting for those who do not tug their forelock and wait deferentially for their turn to come. How professional. How reasoned and avuncular this advice, that those upset and made uncomfortable by what they have with obviously faulty reason, experienced as abuse, should be quiet. What a fine example to set.

“I have a policy of treating people how I want to be treated. Oh yes, we all have bad days. But my bad days are few and far between, because I’ve learned to think before I act, that words have consequences as do actions, and posting cruel words does more harm to my reputation and respect from others than to anyone I might rail against.”

I think this stands on its own. I only highlight the passage and suggest a re-read of what is written above & below it.

In conclusion, if you want to silence people. If you want to only give those with a voice, a greater voice. If you want those whose opinions have been in the past judged inferior, to feel inferior. If you want to continue to let history dictate the terms, in the hope that it will be a kinder judge than your contemporaries. If you want to demand that people bottle up their anger, but can’t be bothered to exert yourself to examine the message behind their distress. If – in other words, you want a quiet room where those who have always spoken their minds, civilly, avuncularly, professionally, and if that latter was marred by the occasional off-color joke or smack on the backside it was all of course, only in good fun, then by all means keep buttressing and building the community you already have: inward looking, outward facing, and with the walls mortared ever higher.
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I have decided that for the upcoming new year I shall grow like a hermit, like a wild root - lean, soil bearded, mad-eyed, and bitter.
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The White Owl, And Other Small Stories
by Corvus & Lavinia Edwards

Thirteen Tales of Small But Fierce Terror

Not all tyrants started large, some started small. Dangerous children, fierce friends, vampire squids, bears that eat boys, and poisoned eggnog all await the incautious reader within.

Free preview (sans interior artwork) on Scribd:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/76316724/The-White-Owl
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Wolf Head

Not all wolves are raised outside. Some live in houses. They don’t go to your school, so you wouldn’t know them. They have blue tongues, which they hide.

But they might live on your street. Or in your town. Even though they have the heads of wolves, they throw parties. You might be invited, but then you might not.

If you are, you’ll see them running from room to room with their tongues lolling out. Their eyes are terrible and are of all colours but mostly orange.

You might be served cake, but be careful. Their cake is not the same as yours and it has a red centre. Which oozes and if you stop and stare, they might notice.

They might notice you. And you’ll find them standing in a circle around you, saying nothing. Tongues hanging out, blue in the moonlight for they only throw parties at night.

This is how you know that they are wolf-heads. Mooneaters. But don’t call them that or stare at their cake, just eat it. You have to or they’ll know you’re not one of them.

They know already, of course. This is part of the game. That’s why we invited you. Surprise. Now its your turn to run, but not far. They’re fast, and they knew this was coming.

Can we have your cake?



- An Excerpt From "The White Owl, And Other Small Stories" by Corvus & Lavinia Edwards, Collected, Written Down, & Edited by E. M. Edwards

Thirteen Tales of Small But Fierce Terror

To be released as a free illustrated ebook with original artwork by the authors.
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Brown Layers

In Ancient Egypt they worshiped the Nile. It was a big brown god: brown and white layers of river and mud studded with logs that they also sometimes worshiped. Logs with teeth and long swishing tails. In summer, in flood, they ate children.

Our river too has a log in it. We don’t worship it, not the river. A big log: we call it ‘Brown Layers.’ All day, all summer long it just lays there, soaking up sunshine.

Children, mostly boys, like to come down to the banks of the river and throw rocks at Brown Layers. Loud boys, cruel boys with sharp laughs and hard hearts. They carry stones in their pockets.

We go down too, and watch the water churn. We bring boys sometimes, and other children. We point out Brown Layers when the level is low or the sun high. We suggest new and daring games. We sometimes push them in, sometimes we throw rocks.

Brown Layers is not wholly brown: see the swirl of red and white? A lucky few see something even more miraculous - just before. Before Brown Layers turns. An eye. What an eye! Old and wise as that river in Egypt.

What? You don’t know anymore if you want to touch Brown Layers? Or play our games? Too late now, you worship by proxy for us. Like rocks, like boys, we have hard edges, studding our secret places like mineralized teeth. Like Brown Layers.

In Ancient Egypt they worshiped a river that ate children.
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"I am afraid of towns. But you mustn't leave them. If you venture too far, you come to the Vegetation Belt. The Vegetation has crawled for mile after mile towards the towns. It is waiting. When the town dies, the Vegetation will invade it, it will clamber over the stones, it will grip them, search them, burst them open with its long black pincers; it will bind the holes and hang its green paws everywhere. You must stay in the towns as long as they are alive, you must never go out alone into that great mass of hair waiting at their gates: you must let it undulate and crack all by itself. In a town, if you know how to go about it, and choose the times when the animals are digesting or sleeping in their holes, behind the heaps of organic detritus, you rarely come across anything but minerals, the least frightening of all existents."
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Apparently there is a whole ruddy host of Young Adult Angel Fiction. How did this come about? I can imagine a roomful of editors: "Alright. Our research shows too many pin heads, not enough angels..."

Mind you, a goodly number seem to be of the fallen sort. I suppose they're just vampires with wings minus the skin condition, but above and below, the sodding horror of it:

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5486.YA_Angels
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No Google+ I do not want to see what you think is hot. Go away, that's just an ad and a minus, not a plus.
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