An Actual Resolution: No More White Men

New Year’s Resolutions always seem a bit hokey to me. If you want to do something, just do it, right? No need to wait until January for it. And definitely no need to commit to an entire year of something- knowing full well that you’ll last about a fortnight- when you haven’t even tried it yet.

Combine that with the fact that December/January tend to come with a hefty dose of jerkbrain for me (who loves SAD? Not fuckin’ me, that’s who. Anyone got a place they’re looking to sublet somewhere way, way further south for next winter?) and we’re not generally experiencing massive amounts of enthusiasm around these parts. Maybe if New Year happened a month or two from now, things would be different.

However! This year I actually have a thing. A real resolution. One which doesn’t involve going anywhere near a gym or missing a single delicious, refreshing, icy beer. Which, btw, is good because I might actually keep to this one.

And that is this: no white men.

It’s not what you think. Some Of My Best Friends are, in fact, white menz and I am very fond of them and shall continue to invite them around for tea and beers and netflixes. I’m not about to go live on a No White Menz Allowed island somewhere. For one thing, I live in Ireland and all my stuff is here and this place is full of ALL KINDS of white people and men and it would be majorly inconvenient to relocate just for the sake of a New Year’s resolution. (Might be fun, though..)

Nah, this resolution is specifically about fiction. Books, to be precise. Cause there’s a hell of a lot of amazing books being written, right? Far, far more than anyone could ever hope to read. This year I want to make a deliberate effort to read things that aren’t all written from the perspectives that dominate our culture. Hence: no white men.

With one exception. Paul Anthony Shortt writes damn good books that are super feminist that I want to read, damnit. Also being an RL friend of mine who let me use his washing machine just last month when mine was broken and I was almost out of socks doesn’t hurt.

So the edited version: No white men who didn’t let me wash my socks in their house. And my definition of “not white men” is one which is terribly generous and pretty much allows for the vast majority of arguments that let me get my greedy paws on good books.

I am very, very aware that the second I post this, all of my favourite white-men authors are going to announce something I really want to read. And I will. Just, next year.

So! To the actual purpose of this post: feed me recs, you lot! Who’re your favourite women/POC/non-western authors? What should I be putting on my 2015 No White Menz Allowed reading list? Let me know!

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An Actual Resolution: No More White Men

Happy 2014!

They say you should start as you mean to go on. If that’s the case, I mean to spend 2014 in my pyjamas, bundled up in bed with my laptop and a mug of really nice coffee, with a cat headbutting me for attention. I think I could deal with that, although to be honest it’d really eat into my derby training schedule.

You know what it’s like when you read over last year’s resolutions and wish like hell that you’d lived up to them? Last year I made some damn good resolutions. They were so good, in fact, that I’ve even kept one or two of them up through the entire year- and that without having actually remembered what they were, or even that I’d made them in the first place.

Y’know what’s interesting? In the areas where I kept up those New Year’s Resolutions, things have been getting better and better. And the areas where I didn’t? Those are the places in my life that are more likely to be running through my mind when I’m staring at the ceiling at 3am.

That’s not surprising, though. As I said in my New Year’s video last year, the resolutions weren’t about the things that grown-ups are supposed to do, or what we’re supposed to care about. They were about “the things that changed my life, in 2012, from being unbearable to being wonderful, reminding myself what those are, and doing more of that”.

Here is, by the way, what I resolved this time last year:
1. Write like a motherfucker
2. Blog: draw, film, interview, pictures! Because I like making stuff. And I (still) want to learn to draw.
3. Make all the lists.
4. Roller skate. To quote me last year: “Roller skating is like.. flying. Except I’m scared of heights, so it’s better than that”
5. Use my words, stay in the moment, be open to love and opportunity, be willing to say no, and always search for joy.

Where I’ve let those things go, so has that sense of joy. But where I’ve done them? Oh, those are the places where things have gotten better than I could ever have imagined.

This year has been a mixed one. I haven’t written as much as I’d like, but I am proud of some of the things I have written and I’m grateful for all of the people I’ve met and opportunities I’ve found through this little blog. Thank you for the recognition at last year’s GALAs. Thank you, my wonderful readers, for sending me off to a conference this summer- that was brilliant, even if I did, er, skip out on the last hour to go to training. Thank you for commenting and sharing. Thank you to every one of you who’s come up to me in person or reached out to get in touch. Seriously, you guys, you know I get such a kick out of that, right?

I still haven’t learned to draw- although in the past month I’ve recruited an artist friend to help me learn, and we have delightful drawing lessons over tea and Malteasers where I, at the very least, get better at the theory of the thing.

As for the fourth item.. I thought I loved wheelyboots, but I had no idea how much better that could get. Also, how much better I could get. How head-over-heels (sometimes literally) I would be a year on for skating derby. How derby would fill me, not with the sense that I was the best at anything, but with the quiet confidence that I am better than I was, that I will be better than I am, and that working every day is worth it. Also, that no matter how loud you think you’re shouting (or how low you think you are), you could probably do with giving it a bit more welly. And, of course, derby introduced me to a couple of hundred (at least!) people who I just can’t get enough of. Yer all bloody brilliant, and I’m still pinching myself that I get to hang out with you lot.

This year? I don’t have much to add to the list, aside from writing it down this time instead of leaving it on YouTube. Cheesy or not, I find lists work best when I stick ‘em to my wall. My bedroom wall. Right where I can see them all the time.

Here’s my (slightly edited) list this time ‘round:

  1. Write like a motherfucker.
    • is your friend. Use it daily.
    • Twice a month at least, put up something different: draw, film, photos, interviews, recipes.
  2. Roller skate.
    • Attend training, even when you feel godawful, unless you’re physically incapable. You have never regretted this.
    • Offskates training
    • One day off per week. Take it.
  3. Make lists.
    • On paper. Where I can see them.
    • With realistic dates and times.
  4. Go for what I want to do
    • It is not up to me to decide whether I’m good enough. What is up to me to decide is whether it’s something I want or not, and whether to give it my best shot.
  5. Answer my goddamn emails.
  6. Use my words, stay in the moment, be open to love and opportunity, be willing to say no, and always, always search for joy.

Mostly that last bit.

Whatever you love, whatever your life looks like right now and what you hope for next year, I wish you an abundance of joy in 2014.

Happy 2014!