Anonymous Woman

"For most of history, ANONYMOUS was a woman." -Virginia WoolfIn general, I’m not a fan of commercialized holidays like Halloween, the day after Thanksgiving, or Christmas. This year, though, Halloween was heralded by Netflix releasing the second season of Stranger Things. I’m actually not a big fan of horror, either, but this story is compelling to me for a lot of reasons–not the least of which is how steeped it is in 80s culture. So I joined the approximately 16 million viewers who binge-watched all nine episodes, and am anxiously awaiting season three based on the promises made and kept in the season two finale. And especially for more of the brat kid sister, Erica.

The one thing that strikes me increasingly regularly is how much female characters are relegated to the sidelines. While the first season of Stranger Things did some interesting things subverting gender tropes, season two fell flat with Max. She’s literally pushed to the fringes of the action.

Then I read about romance writers who are inserting their political beliefs into their stories. It was a good reminder that, as creators, we reflect our experiences. It should be natural for a pair of brothers to create a band of brothers story; and that in the small world of those juvenile friendships, there would be extremely limited female perspectives.

And yet, this week, too, I read about a cat owner who built a box maze specifically for his pets, and another man who has raised an owned both of the most recent Guinness Book of World Records oldest cats. If it’s easier for men to empathize with and create compelling stories about cats than women (though this is an admittedly tiny sample) it’s a sad affirmation of the Virginia Woolf quote I’ve included with this week’s post.

Funnily enough, I also completed my Goodreads challenge for the year this week by reading a genre I’m not generally a fan of: contemporary romance. I can say I’m a Kait Nolan fan, though. She hooked me long ago with her YA story Red, a compelling, modernized version of the Red Riding Hood story… with a werewolf. She’s never revisited that world, but I’ve been caught in the snares of a number of her contemporary romances while I wait for more of her paranormal stories. Looking back at the list of books I’ve read this year, I’m struck by the fact that I have a demonstrable bias toward reading female authors. From what I can see, only 1 of the 40 books I’ve read were written by men. I’ve recognized this inclination since I read Heinlein in High School. It’s fascinating to me that in 30 years of reading since then, I still get the same sense of being misrepresented or disregarded by enough male authors that I remain cautious about opening the doors to a new story by an unknown man.

As for my ROW80 goals? My step count dropped precipitously as I dealt with a wrenched neck. My phone says I averaged 4,038 steps a day, which is apparently enough to go 1.6 miles, so better than my goal. Hubs sent a link with five exercises to undo the harm of all the sitting I do, and I found another, writer-centric site that talks about back pain as one of our common ailments. Luckily, I already squat a lot to deal with our dogs, but I’ll be considering how to add the remaining exercises to my daily routine to avoid this kind of incapacitation in the future.

Hubs and I obviously managed our date night(s) with no problem with Stranger Things, but that other important goal, editing? Nope. Nada.

I’m beginning to feel a bit like a fraud with the writing. I haven’t opened my WIP in weeks, even though I’ve finally figured out why book 1 of the Red Slaves series has to be Anne’s story more than her relationship with Ivan. Book 1 is more classically Urban Fantasy, not Paranormal Romance, so trying to shoehorn it into the latter genre constraints has been part of what’s been giving me heartburn with the most recent editorial direction I’ve gotten. I still need to figure out how to fix the pacing, though.

This week, I might actually get to work. I’ve said it before, but this week, I’ll be flying cross-country to visit Gayla in something that might possibly resemble a writer’s retreat. We’ll see how far that time gets me. Since it’s been a few years since I last saw her, there may be more yapping than writing, but flying might also work for getting creative. Regardless, I’ll be reporting back again next week. Meanwhile, check out how the other ROW80 folks are progressing.

One Response to “Anonymous Woman”

  1. ravensvu says:

    Sometimes when I get stuck on a story I climb up out of the details and re-examine things like theme and goals and character arcs.
    I loved Stranger Things 1. #2 is on my list.
    As was House of Cards Season Six. Great series, really like Spacey as an actor. But, now, not as a person.

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