Tag Archives: UK

A Victory Lap

BgLHoe9IEAAVXSsWhile there are obviously some things that aren’t going my way right now (hello, back injury!) there are some things that have happened this week that are nothing short of great. Here is a quick rundown:

Costumes are being designed for “Ace in the Hole”…

And we announced that you can go to see scenes from the play at First in Three scratch night (Newcastle, UK): 

 

The niche Tumblr I run with @aboleyn got mentioned by a major online site:

…which resulted in our getting over 1200 new followers in a matter of days.

So yeah. The back thing is still a bit of a struggle, but at least there are happy things going on at the same time!

When the brain says “I Don’t Wanna!”

Coming out of NaNoWriMo and launching straight into writing a play for a company in the UK has meant that I haven’t had quite as much time to put my thoughts in order as I’d have liked to regarding NaNoWriMo and the process I engaged in around it.

Here was the process:

  1. Meetings with my co-writer to plan out the basic beats of each of our stories
  2. Outlined them separately
  3. Wrote drafts separately with occasional touching of bases to make sure some kind of vague continuity was being established
  4. Wrote possibly the worst climax and finale of any story I’ve ever written ever but soldiered through it because First Draft and also reasons.
  5. Eventual edit-fest

Of course, I don’t normally write a 50K novel draft in a month, and this meant a lot of other things fell by the wayside or didn’t get the attention I’d liked to have given them. I was fairly isolated over the course of the month, and towards the end of November and beginning of December that isolation started taking a real toll. Some of the decisions that had to be made as I worked towards the end of the draft were hard, with repercussions that echo down the road, and it was hard to make those kinds of calls when both me and my cowriter were so busy trying to juggle our word commitments and our life commitments every day. And I slipped on a lot of the stuff I try to keep balanced: my mental health in particular has been rough for the last few weeks, and that’s been something I’ve become more and more aware of. Happily, I now have a strategy in place to try and improve things over the next couple of weeks.

All that said, overall, I think NaNoWriMo was a positive experience for me. The novel I have now, the one that didn’t exist thirty days ago, aside from it’s holy-god-that-needs-a-rewrite conclusion, is one that I’m more or less happy with. There were challenges in character development and I was really hard on myself to make this a plot-driven, rather than primarily character-driven story – typically I get very wrapped up in characters and less wrapped up in making sure things happen, because characters are fun and interesting and offer plenty of ground to explore, while things happening is kind of, you know, how one makes a plot.

So, Hook, Line & Sinker – which may actually wind up being its real title, because as I got closer to the end and figured out the answer to the question, “What did they all fall for?” – because that’s the other half of that saying, ykno? – and wrapped it all up with a bow.

And then it was time to move into writing what I’m currently referring to as Ingenius, because that’s the name of the theater company I’m writing it for, and because I don’t have a clue what the title ought to be.  Ideally, this is going to be a one-hour play about women in space and it will also be funny. I’m really, really excited because it seems to be rolling along pretty well, the lessons of NaNoWriMo carrying me through the process of writing again. I made an informal promise to the director to have a draft ready by the end of the month, and a friend of mine who is basically literally a rocket scientist and has worked on lots of space missions agreed that she’d read what I have in January.

January. Oh man, I can’t wait till January.  When all my drafts are finished and I have three weeks before the edit-fest on Hook, Line & Sinker begins.

At that point, one of the things I want to do is sit down and work out what the hell is going on with my AI Anthology. You may remember reading about this on this blog for a while. I have most of the stories started and in various stages of complete-draft-ness, and need to buckle down, because while I’m sure it won’t be ready for robot week this year, I do want it to be ready for next year’s Christmas.

Oh, that’s another thing. Other than the post I put on John Scalzi’s blog, I’ve lost the will to market this Holiday season.  I work in advertising and marketing by day, and this is our busy season because retail, and so I just. Don’t. Have it. In me.

And that’s okay.  Next year, I’ll set aside some time to get my marketing up to snuff, but I feel like having the AI Anthology out and also getting Hook, Line & Sinker and its companion book to print is going to be a big part of having something  worth marketing hard next year.

linux-christmas1But for now, I’m going to forgive myself for not having the will to write press releases, blog advertisements, guest blogs and more, and get on with the business of finishing my play and enjoying the holidays. If you want to invite me to do any of those things, or talk about my work on your podcast, or otherwise help you get the word out about my stuff, that’s ace, just let me know – but this choo-choo train won’t be self-powered on that front again till the new year. And that’s okay.

Rachel Gets Interviewed: ANY OBJECTIONS and “Millennial Ex” in Glasgow

I wrote a play called Millennial Ex last year, shortly after marriage equality was legalized in New York State. Over the course of the last year and a half or so, I’ve been working with Matthew McVarish to take Millennial Ex and build out a larger program of work for premiere at the largest LGBT theatre festival in the UK: Glasgay 2012.

The show, which includes work by writers from the US, UK, Canada, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and more, is intended as a snapshot of LGBT marriage equality issues around the world. If you’re in Scotland this weekend, I highly recommend you check it out.

Otherwise, you can learn more about the show in this interview I gave on the Glasgay blog.

 

Edit: Within minutes of posting this blog, I was made aware of this recent news development in the story of a gay couple who was refused a room at a British B&B several years ago. Thanks to @MishMashInk for pointing out how ANY OBJECTIONS is relevant to the questions being raised in the real world.

In Which I Wax Verbose on Assange, Wikileaks & More

I’ve been giving a lot of brainspace to the Assange case over the last year or two, particularly in light of PIPA/SOPA/ACTA legislation and the signing of NDAA last December, here in the US. Anyway, Julian Assange’s situation has been a long-term story which undergoes long periods of silence punctuated by short flurries of action: his escape to the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge a couple of months ago, and now the announcement by that country that they will grant his request for asylum.

There’s a huge amount of discussion taking place around these issues on the internet right now. One of the major questions relates to the charges Assange may face in Sweden, and the idea that they might be a smokescreen that leads to his being extradited to the United States, where he could face charges of espionage for his role in the leaking of diplomatic cables.

On Thursday, Ecuador announced their intention to grant Assange asylum. Saturday, the Organisation of American States made statements in support of Ecuador’s decision, while meanwhile the UK spoke about their legal obligations to Sweden and the possibility they might go into the Ecuadorian embassy without invitation and arrest Assange. Today (Sunday, EST), Assange made a statement from a balcony of the Embassy (to what I’m sure was chagrin on the part of Mitch Benn, none of the crowd members burst into “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,”).

Friday morning, when Ecuador’s announcement on Assange’s asylum was made, a friend asked me, what side was I on, anyway? Was Assange a hero or a sexual predator? We talked about it a bit and I said that at that point, it seemed like there were actually multiple issues that had become tangled up. I’ve been thinking about how to untangle them for a day or two now, and must be getting somewhere, because I finally got around to writing this blog.

 

Issues:

1. Julian Assange has been accused of rape in Sweden.

2. Julian Assange received classified information from a US military officer in the form of diplomatic cables, which he then published through his organization, Wikileaks.

3. Ecuador has agreed to give asylum to Assange, who has been sheltered in their embassy for two months. In response, the UK has suggested that it might enter the embassy without Ecuador’s invitation, which would breach both formal conventions to which the UK is a party, thus disrespecting Ecuador’s right, as a sovereign nation, to grant asylum as it sees fit.

Breakdowns/thoughts:

1. Assange is not currently (as I understand it) wanted for arrest in Sweden. He is wanted for questioning, as the authorities endeavor to determine whether or not to charge him with rape. It has been suggested that Assange is willing to return to Sweden for questioning on this case if Sweden were to give guarantees that he would not be subsequently extradited to the US for item (2). Sweden has declined to make this promise. To me, this piece of the puzzle suggests Sweden is less interested in accumulating information that could help the two women accusing Assange to find justice, and more interested in getting him back on Swedish soil. Had Sweden actually charged Assange, then I understand why a Skype call or a visit to the Embassy wouldn’t do. [EDIT: A friend pointed me to this article in the Independent, which states that under Swedish law, charges cannot be brought until a suspect is in custody; this adds a new dimension to the question, but still doesn’t explain why if Assange is only wanted for questioning, it can’t take place from the UK.] If the Swedish government hasn’t brought rape charges against Assange yet, why won’t they compromise on the location of the interview in order to get the information they need before they can decide whether charges should be brought?

2.  The cables Manning made available to Wikileaks contained sensitive information which was understandably embarrassing for several countries. Manning has been held without charges in the US for over two years, with international condemnation of the circumstances under which he is being held. Having watched the situation spinning since it started, I do not think it’s unreasonable that Assange might face retaliatory action from the US if placed in a situation where he could be extradited to the US for charges related to item (2). Again, I understand that if the US promised not to seek Assange’s extradition from Sweden on unrelated charges against him (charges related to Wikileaks’ publishing of diplomatic cables, for example, he would willingly go back to Sweden for questioning related to item (1).

3. Oh, UK. I love you, but please don’t go there. Ecuador is it’s own country, and Ecuador now has pretty much all of South America backing them up on their right to grant asylum as they see fit. I hear Russia (Russia!) even sent you a note saying they were concerned about how you might go into the Ecuadorian embassy. You threw a hissy (and rightfully so) when your embassy was disrespected in Iran last year, acknowledging the inviolate sanctity of foreign missions. You’re a member of a convention that expressly forbids barging in on somebody else’s embassy. I understand that you have a responsibility to Sweden, and think that you’re still trying to fulfill it is great, but same question here as I asked Sweden in item (2) – if you’re so concerned about the women involved in item (1) (as you should be), then why can’t you broker a situation where Assange answers the questions the Swedish police have for him within UK borders?

 

So in summary: I’m furious that Sweden and the UK are letting items (2) and (3) get in the way of resolving item (1), because the women who have accused Assange deserve closure. I think item (2) gives Assange a reasonable basis for fear of extradition, particularly based on increasingly restrictive legislation concerning expression in this country (Naomi Wolf has gone on the record stating she declined to meet with members of Occupy Wall Street because  she was, in part, concerned about prosecution under #NDAA).

Finally, item (3) is disturbing because in threatening to enter the Ecuadorian embassy, the UK has made what was a bilateral discussion between themselves and Ecuador into a larger question for the world at large. Already, South America (including Brazil) and Russia have spoken out against the idea of violating a nation’s embassy; that’s half the BRIC nations right there. (And lest we wonder where China would likely come in on this – they didn’t go into the US embassy when Chen Guangcheng was holed up there).

This is where the fiction writer in me yells, “THIS COULD GET ARCHDUKE FERDINAND UGLY!” and goes off to scribble notes for a WWIII novel.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

I expect this won’t be the last post I make on this subject, so if you have any resources or insights, please feel free to link me to them in the comments.

 

Edit: The Guardian has posted the following editorial piece regarding Assange’s statement.

THEATER REVIEW: “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” Aunt Dan, and Searching for Humanity through Theater

During recent visits to the theater, two plays have raised questions about how our society confronts and copes with our basic animal instincts, and the complicity of individuals in destructive acts performed by their societies. They’ve also presented complex existential arguments about the limits of communication and the need to be satisfied by what is, rather than by what one wishes could be. The two plays? Rajiv Joseph’s current Broadway production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Robin Williams’ Broadway debut) and a production of Wallace Shawn’s Aunt Dan & Lemon from Buffalo, New York theater company Torn Space.
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