Tag: Chicago

“Problematic,” and The Ignorance Of It

Funeral car

A train coach based on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral car is restored in Springfield, Ill. for the sesquicentennial of his death. | May 2015, Kenneth Lowe

 

So, I had originally meant to post about why Westerns are generally a funny thing for a guy like me to like. I’d also like to tie it in a bit to some of the distressing stuff I hear from the modern fandom these days, and by that I mean the white guys who I grew up identifying with.

You’ve read about Gamergate and you possibly also heard about how some misogynists hijacked the Hugo Awards because they didn’t like that some women justifiably won a bunch of them last year. The controversy has become way too politicized for bizarre reasons. If you go read Breitbart’s site, you’ll find conservative guys claiming that feminists hate games and if you go to Gawker, you’ll be convinced all Gamergaters are not-so-secret rapists. Even one of the online comics I read at The Escapist Magazine treats the subject lightly, while the site itself, if you look, advertises the works of Vox Day, the fellow who is in a sense behind the great Hugo heist, and who blogs about how gay marriage is bad and insists that a bakery taking backlash for refusing a gay couple a cake is an attack on religious liberty.

How is all this tied in to Outlaws and Westerns? Bear with me. Read more…

NaNoWriMo Day 25 – In which I can’t believe it is Day 25

One of the few lines I can remember verbatim from my own damn book. | Kenneth Lowe, via Notegraphy

I keep composing these on my phone instead of when I have my manuscript in front me, so the result is I haven’t posted excerpts lately. Last night was the perfect exemplar of how stunningly tired I am of the whole enterprise – I wrote maybe 1,000 words, just enough to be over the Day 24 goal, and then called it a night.

It did not help that the heat in my apartment is out and that I could barely think straight it was so cold. I am resolutely sick of Chicago, sick of a winter that hasn’t even properly begun yet, and sick of hearing of the awful violence in the wake of the Ferguson grand jury as I simultaneously get grief from family members about the possibility of going back to Colombia after this is all over. Which country is more dangerous, I have to wonder?

As I compose this, I am on my way to an official function where the president will be speaking. I am excited, but also exhausted, and an ice-cold apartment and this relentless novel await me when I do finally get home from this thing that is only going to start at 4:30. (Update: Turned away at the door… it was so packed they were declining VIPs.)

Fatigue, I have been assured, is a real thing when it comes to writing. More and more lately, I have come to appreciate that writing is work and not solely diversion. I am fiercely determined to finish though, so tonight I am going to push back ahead.

And then tomorrow I’m going to my fucking mom’s house, where the godshitting heat works, possibly until this tedious fucking return to my blighted homeland is blessedly over with.

In-between places (and a novel excerpt)

Orange Line elevated train stop at 35th & Archer, Chicago, 10 Sept. 2014 | Kenneth Lowe

Orange Line elevated train stop at 35th & Archer, Chicago, 10 Sept. 2014 | Kenneth Lowe

That’s my view on the way to the Orange Line each morning. I’m not 100% on being here in Chicago, but I do know that it is affording me some great opportunities that I did not have. Writers trade on experiences. One of the reasons I got into journalism originally was that I wanted to draw a paycheck for writing (heh), but another was that I knew it would give me broad license to go places and meet people that others do not.

As a reporter I met governors and senators and the ragged and unwashed people so many of their policies fail to help. You might recall people sneering about Barack Obama having been a “community organizer” ; I actually met community organizers, still have some on speed-dial, and I see the kind of work they do. I’m less intensive a reporter now, since my freelance is limited to document-driven pieces in the interest of avoiding any conflict of interest in my current public sector job, but I do still find myself feeling the outsider-looking-in feeling that I’m pretty sure every writer feels.

In that regard, one thing about my time living in the various places I have – suburbia, ag-industrial-rural nowhere, urban South America, City of Big Shoulders, &c. – has been my fascination with in-between places. In places like that, we all feel like outsiders.
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