Types of Real Life People I Kill Off in Stories

Howdy, howdy!  I’d like to take a second to thank Joseph Carro once more for his super helpful guest post last week.  I hope everyone enjoyed it.  And now, for today’s post, I want to talk about some of the different types of people who make their way into my stories.  I’ve actually been a little aggravated lately (I try not to be easily annoyed, but it happens).  So, the different types of people I’m planning to talk about are usually the ones who die in my books and stories.  Painfully.  But don’t worry.  It’s just a cathartic type thing.  I’m not a sociopath.  I promise.

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See?  It’s on a mug.  I’m not the only writer who does it.

Type the first: people who flake on me.  These include, but are not limited to, the people who make plans then “forget” even though you talked to them that morning, the salespeople who make appointments with you then call two hours before they’re supposed to meet you to reschedule because of “conflicts,” and the people who offer to do you a favor then ghost you for six months in the hopes you’ll forget instead of just saying “hey, I can’t follow through, sorry.”  I know, in the grand scheme of things, none of this is really important, but it’s still super annoying.  And I will smile and pretend it doesn’t bother me, but rest assured… I’ve killed far too many people (some multiple times) for doing this stuff.

Type the second: people who insist on treating me like I’m mentally challenged (or whatever the proper terminology is today).  I admit, after it’s pointed out that I’m perfectly capable of thinking and speaking for myself, most people treat me like a human being.  But there’s always that one waiter/waitress who tries to walk away without taking my dinner order despite the fact that I ordered my drink perfectly well five minutes before that.  I even had a professor in my community college who would always act super surprised when I answered his questions correctly even though he didn’t act that way with everyone else.  To be fair, he was a nice guy and I loved his class, but it was a little annoying.  It always is when people underestimate your intelligence.  I don’t kill off this type of person very often, but sometimes it just builds up and I have to release my aggravation somehow.

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This face applies to everything here.

Type the third: people who assume I have no life.  These are the ones who call up or text and want to make plans for that afternoon/night.  It’s not so much my friends who annoy me with this crap as it is companies.  And it’s always medical supply companies.  In the past couple of weeks, we’ve gotten two calls from people wanting to come out that afternoon or the next morning.  I don’t wake up until the afternoon.  And it’s a little insulting when they act like I should be home waiting for them.  I have a life.  Okay, I’m usually at home, but that doesn’t mean I’m not busy.  Don’t just assume I’ll be here unless you make an appointment a few days in advance.  And then, don’t flake on me.  If you do multiple annoying things, torture will precede your death.

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The Interwebz gets me.

I think that’s enough ranting about the types of people who die in my writing.  Of course, there are many other categories, but these are the ones that spring readily to mind when I think about this stuff.  What about you?  Do you use death in your work as a way to deal with people who annoy you?  What types of people make it into your work most often?  Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

It Just Irks Me

Hello, hello!  The past few weeks, I’ve been really diligent about submitting to at least two magazines or anthologies each Monday.  This means that I’ve been going through Duotrope, Ralan’s site, and random calls for submissions.  In my searches, I came across a really neat anthology that I will likely submit to if I can come up with a story that falls in the realm of Sci-Fi, but something about their call rubs me the wrong way.  They’re looking for people who “identify as disabled.”  I had to read their call three times before I realized it was that exact phrase that made me twitch every time.  Something about it just irks me.

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If I could tilt my head, this would’ve been my reaction.

The anthology is being put together by people with disabilities and will be comprised of stories/essays/poems/etc. by people with disabilities, so I want to be clear that I think it’s a wonderful thing and I look forward to reading it.  The thing that makes me pause and overthink everything is the concept of choosing whether or not to identify as disabled.  It’s something I never really thought about before, because my crippleness is so apparent that not having it as part of my identity was never an option.  In my experience, people are either disabled or they aren’t.  They don’t really get a choice.

Sure, some disabilities are less severe than others.  Some are even invisible.  But a disability is a disability regardless of whether outsiders can tell it’s there or not.  If you’re disabled in a way that isn’t apparent to others and you choose to keep it to yourself, that’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re disabled.  If you don’t have a physical or mental deficit/difference, even if you want one (which apparently is a thing, though I have no idea why anyone would want to be disabled), then you aren’t disabled.  You could become disabled in the future, but you aren’t right now.  Disabilities don’t care how you identify.  They either happen to you or they don’t.

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From Ctrl+Alt+Del.  I still laugh when I come across this one.

I suppose my biggest issue with the idea of choosing whether or not to identify as disabled is that it implies disability is some kind of social construct that people can opt into or out of whenever they want.  It’s not.  Disabilities are diseases and abnormalities that people have to deal with every single day.  It’s not a choice.  It’s not politics.  It’s the hand life decided to deal us.

But I also know there are a lot of people who struggle with the idea of whether or not they’re “disabled enough” to claim the title.  That’s why the anthology uses the concept of identity in its call.  They want to include as many people as possible and they want people with disabilities to know that they aren’t judging what counts as a disability.  They want people to feel welcome to submit no matter the type of disability or severity.  In my head, I know and understand this.  I even think it’s a diplomatic way to handle a tough situation.  It’s just something that made me stop and think.

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I do this far too often.

I’m going to stop rambling now.  Feel free to leave your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

How Not To Treat Your Patients And Acceptable Alternatives

Hello, hello!  Today’s post will be devoted to the cripple side of life, rather than writing or food (and it’s kind of a rant).  As many of you know, at best, I dislike doctors and, at worst, I despise them.  I don’t like people who touch/grab/pull at me without asking FIRST and listening when I explain my limitations (doctors are great at the grabbing, but not so much with the listening).  My anxiety levels are usually already maxed out before I even enter the building due to other fears mingling with the whole “it’s a doctor’s appointment” thing.  Still, if a doctor says they want to see me, I make an appointment.  I’ve never missed an appointment without a legitimate reason and, if something happens that I have to cancel, I do so as early as possible.  Even though I don’t particularly like doctors, I’m not difficult to get along with as long as space boundaries are respected and they make their wishes known.  Communication is key here.

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This applies even if I can’t physically throat punch you.  Rest assured, I am visualizing it.

 So, here are some things that I do NOT respond to well as a patient (for my pulmonologist, but any doctor really):

1. Threatening to take away one of my machines.  He didn’t threaten this directly, but he refuses to sign the paperwork okaying my second ventilator unless I come see him.  We (my dad and I) have received no phone calls or emails or anything in the last year and more than a half (since my last appointment) saying this doctor wanted me to come in for a check up or else we would have complied.  Instead, we got a call from the company supplying my vents that said they are going to take one away if the doctor won’t sign the paperwork.  Does he really think I’ve gotten better since my last appointment?  No.  That’s not how this disease works.

2. Being forced to make a rushed appointment when it’s not technically necessary.  Which is exactly what the above situation called for.  I’ve only seen this doctor twice before, but both times he was booked months out, so a quick appointment isn’t exactly easy.  Luckily, he had an opening for tomorrow (today? Wednesday, July 13th).

3. Being informed two days before my appointment that the hospital doesn’t accept my insurance.  So, my options become a) cancel the appointment and risk losing one of my vents or b) paying $570 out of pocket.  This is the ultimatum amidst a clusterfuck (pardon my language) of people trying to figure out if they can get my insurance to work with two days notice.  I’m just glad I have Dad to field the phone calls (sorry I’m a PITA, or at least the reason you have to deal with this crap).  It’s unnecessary stress that will most likely end up with us out $570.  We’ll find out tomorrow (today?).  If the appointment isn’t pushed back.  We won’t know what’s going on until some time in the morning (just hours before the appointment).  Yeah.  Great.

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Some acceptable alternatives to these things:

1. Call/email/text/send a carrier pigeon to schedule an appointment BEFORE you decide I don’t need a machine.  I, like many people, don’t even think about doctors unless I’m sick/in immense pain/dying.  And 90% of the time, I don’t even go then.  If you want to see me, tell me.  It’s that easy.

2. Give me plenty of notice.  Hell, I will gladly make (and keep) an appointment for a year out if you want to make it as I leave the appointment we just had.  If you don’t want to do that, see the first item of this list.  Preferably, give me a month or two notice in case we run across any issues like you not accepting my insurance, so we have time to work it out.

3. Take my insurance information earlier, so we can work out any wrinkles without the pressure of an impending appointment.  Follow the first two steps, and this one will be no problem.  It’ll also give us time to explore our other options (whether that be insurance or doctors or whatever).

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Because awkward Sheldon makes me smile.

 In other words, use common sense and common courtesy.  I don’t know why these things are called ‘common’ when they’re anything but.  Hopefully, my appointment tomorrow (today?) won’t be as much of a disaster as I’m imagining.  Many people involved in this debacle have been very nice and understanding.  Some have not.  Either way, Dad and I have been stressing about all of this, so someone (knowing Dad, probably a lot of someones) is going to get an earful.  If we go.  Like I said, still waiting on the green light.

Sorry for the rant!  I know my problems don’t compare to what’s happening in the rest of the world, but they bug me nonetheless.  Thanks for listening/reading.  Back to the regularly scheduled randomness next week.  Peace out.

The Writer’s Struggle: Cultural Appropriation

Hi all!  Today, I want to talk about something that is a really touchy subject for a lot of people: cultural appropriation.  It’s something I’ve seen tossed around a lot lately, and most of the time, I wonder if the people throwing that phrase around actually understand what it implies or if they’re just looking for something to rant about.  Honestly, it usually seems like the latter.

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It’s something that’s seeping into every aspect of life.  It’s gotten to the point where people are afraid to study other cultures because some lunatic might come up screaming “cultural appropriation” at them when really, they’re trying to learn how not to appropriate things.  People are afraid to cosplay characters outside of their race and gender because of the same reason.  It’s ridiculous.  As long as the cosplayer isn’t doing anything derogatory, what’s wrong with an African American Elsa or an Hispanic Tiana or a white Mulan?  There’s nothing wrong with showing your love for a character by cosplaying as them.  And that’s what cosplay is about, love and appreciation of a character, not taking something that doesn’t belong to you.

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For a writer, cultural appropriation is a terrifying thing.  We’re constantly told to write diverse characters, especially when it comes to popular fiction.  That’s like rule number one in writing.  However, I’ve seen a huge increase in authors (mainly white authors) getting called out and put down for writing outside of their own cultures, no matter how well they did their research and how respectful they were.  Basically, it seems like we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Personally, I tend to blend cultures in my longer stories (I’m from the U.S., aka the melting pot, so why wouldn’t I write that way?).  I’m constantly worried someone’s going to accuse me of cultural appropriation, but you know what?  I’m not going to whitewash my stories simply because some overzealous crusaders think a white chick from Texas shouldn’t incorporate Japanese culture, Greek mythology, and all of the other elements included in my stories in her work.  I like a colorful world that expands beyond my own horizons.  Sorry, not sorry.

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I do, however, follow a few rules when writing that I hope will deter the cultural appropriation shriekers if/when I get published.

1. I do my research!  Granted, I use a lot of mythology and, when there’s not a lot to go on, I tweak certain stories to fit my books, but I’m never disrespectful about it.  I know I’ll catch flak from some people for it, but I’m prepared for that.

2. I don’t rely on stereotypes when creating my characters and worlds.  Most stereotypes are quite insulting, a personification of the worst aspects of a person.  If something fits the character, I’ll use it, but it will be tempered by other aspects of human nature to create a fully fleshed out person.  At least that’s my goal.

3. The one don’t on my list is “don’t be a dick.”  I never use anything with the intention of making fun of or insulting a culture.  Research and not relying on stereotypes really helps with that.  Don’t get me wrong, my characters can be incredibly rude to each other, but there’s always a purpose for it in the stories.  It’s never an attack on any culture.

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So, to sum up…  Go learn about that culture you’re interested in (and all of the others)!  Go cosplay as that character you adore!  Go write all the things!  Just don’t be a jerk about it.