Monday, February 8, 2016

The 2016 Feminism Reading Challenge

I didn't think I'd be signing up for any more challenges, and it didn't look like this one was being offered this year.  But here it is at a new blog, so I'll be in again.  There are no levels again, and I've already read some books that fit. See here.

Last year I created a Feminism Suggested Reading List. I decided to create a reading challenge for this goal and invite others to participate. It was a great success so I'm bringing it back for 2016!

My purpose for this challenge is to educate myself about the history of feminism, significant people in the movement, and to learn the different schools of feminist thought.

However, this is a design it yourself challenge. I want you to choose your own reading goals. They may be be different from mine. Perhaps you will want to focus on reproductive rights, on just third wave feminism, or just on female fictional authors. The choice is yours.
The Rules:
This challenge begins January 1, 2016 and ends Dec 31, 2016.

You may sign up anytime during the year.

I won't be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be YA, adult, fiction, or nonfiction. You will find a suggested reading list 
here. Books do not have to come from this list but they must focus on feminist issues and themes.

You may reread books.

Here is what I am reading:

  1. Brown Girl Dreaming--Jacqueline Woodson
  2. Prozac Nation--Elizabeth Wurtzel
  3. Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
  4. Anne of Green Gables--L.M. Montgomery
  5. The Funeral Dress--Susan Gregg Gilmore

Friday, February 5, 2016


All apologies to Bowie :-)


Changes take some getting some used to and some are occurring to me right now.  I get into the mode of "not feeling like myself," and losing some interest in the things I normally love.

I knew this already, but the psychiatrist I've been seeing was only at the mental heath department temporarily. I learned yesterday that I will be getting a new one next month.  Having already seen this one about five times, I got comfortable around him with his calm demeanor. Now I don't know what to expect from the new one.  The department has had trouble keeping doctors, so it's possible this new one may not last either.  The one I'd been seeing left for a while last year but returned.  And yesterday, he encouraged to keep on writing after I told him about my idea and how I briefly discouraged, thinking the definitive book already existed.  But like everyone else, the doctor said everyone has their own story to tell.  And he said I don't have to worry about it being a best seller, that I can always write for myself.  And I unsuccessfully tweeted the author of Prozac Nation, telling her how I loved the book and asked her what she thinks of my idea.  No replies :-(

And starting a new job is a big change, even if it's only a few hours a week.  My first paycheck was today.  I still get bored and need to make more money.  I may apply as a home care giver, but don't know if that's a good idea.  No recent call backs from the temp agency for the candy place I've been working at as a temp for some time now.   But I'm enjoying what I'm doing, and have already decided what do for the next class.  I'll get a break on the 15th, for the Presidents Day holiday.

And I saw a writing  seminar offered at the local community college as a community education class (not for credit). It's one Sunday in March for four hours. I'm hoping to be able to take it.  It's on how to get your first book written and published.  My boss at the center pointed this out a while ago.  It could be helpful and fun.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some News

A year ago, I did a training class to become a peer mentor at the center I attend as a client of the county behavioral health department.   It's only a part-time position, twice a week as of yet.   I started working on January 22, but began teaching a class this week (the calendar had already been set up for January). for  On Mondays I will be doing a creative writing class. For my first session this week, I did fairy tale retellings. I will be off on the 22nd (it's a county office so it closes for Presidents Day).

Another new mentor started a new class as well, on Spanish.  I decided to go to this one, even though I seemed to remember a lot of the stuff she was teaching us ;-)

All classes and activities are optional.  We have activity days for adults (26 and over) and for those ages 14-25, on different days of the week.   I've been going for over two years now and it has been very helpful and fun.  

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Overcoming My Discouragement

Prozac Nation
The last few days I was discouraged about the idea of writing about my depression and Prozac experiences, whether fictional or as a memoir.  After reading Prozac Nation  I felt I was living in my own "Prozac Nation" and was inspired to write about my experience.  Then I felt this idea was wrong-- that the definitive book on the subject already existed, and there could never be another. I felt as though I were trying to rewrite the Bible. But many people I know tried to convince me otherwise, saying in one way or another that no two stories are alike. And that it doesn't matter if someone has already written on the subject, your own story is unique as are your voice and perspective.  For a while, I had trouble convincing myself of all this. But now I know it's all true--we all have our own stories to tell.

There were some things about the author that I felt I identified with, but even so, I still have a different story to tell.  I found the book to be thought-provoking as the author came to terms with her depression, something I had trouble doing until now.  I don't feel ashamed to tell anyone about being Prozac, as you can see from recent posts here on my site and have mentioned it on Facebook as well.  Several people on Facebook liked my review of Prozac Nation (my Goodreads account is connected to my Facebook one), more than I would have expected.

I now feel if I want to do it, I can and I should.  I began writing notes for a possible introduction to the story in my notebook.  I see it being written in first person, but still not sure how to fictionalize it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Maybe It's Not a Good Idea After All?

I've felt less prone to crying since being on Prozac as of last summer, but yesterday I actually felt tears coming after hearing something I found discouraging.  I'd posted this question to Yahoo Answers the other day:

How to write fiction based on my experience with depression and Prozac?
And got this response (the only one so far):

Start small, no need to devote over a year to a novel when you can focus on short stories.

I then said you can't publish it like that.  Or can you?   If you publish it online, will anyone see it? I'm thinking not, no one reads that stuff.  No one I know, at least,  will see it that way, I'm afraid.   On this blog, the author mentions Wattpad, which I never heard of until seeing it on her blog.  I don't feel compelled to sign up because I can bet very few people know about this.   Even the blog author admitted she didn't know about it until recently;

A few months ago I learned of this magical place where people can share their stories, books, and writing. It's been called the "Youtube for writing." This place is called Wattpad. 

Another thing I felt that is that the subject of depression has been written about so many times that there is no need for another.  After all as I said in this post, I felt compelled to write about this after reading Prozac Nation. But I felt that story has already been told, so maybe it's not a good idea after all? Although some people might try to tell me that everyone's story is different.  

Believe me though, I am trying to get over this discouragement.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

How Do You Write Your Life as Fiction?

I'm still writing notes in my notebook but I seem uncertain about what the plot should be. So far the notes I've written have been based on exercises I've seen in this book I bought over 20 years ago. (NOTE: Upon Googling this info I came across another edition of this book from 1999; the one I have is from 1995, and the cover above is from that edition). Even so, the various writing prompts still work today. And If I Google "writing prompts" I may find others that I can try. I've tried to make my based on these prompts notes fit the theme of depression or possible craziness, something I'd often thought I might be having. 


Another thing--is it really a good idea to write about your mental issues as a fiction story? According to a comment on my last blog post, doing it fictionally gives you more creative dramatic liberties. This is from Stephanie Faris, a children's writer whose blog I regularly read. I think it's good to have gotten advice like from someone who has written books. But what does anyone else think? What sort of plot could come from all this?

And it may be too soon to be asking this, but how in the end do you come up with a title for the book, something different and interesting?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Started a Writing Notebook...

... in hopes of getting ideas for my Prozac experience book.  Still trying to decide if I want to write  a fictional novel loosely based on what I've been through.  I keep seeing it as a novel.  As I said in my previous post on my idea for a book, I tend to read more fiction than non-fiction and as such, I see myself attempting a novel.

What would you do if you had this idea?