I am super proud to announce that Yes! Magazine is using an article I wrote for them to act as the prompt for their annual Student Writing Competition
Seeing this article take on a new life has brought up some old anxiety that is reminding me of all the reasons I have since distanced myself from the project:
1. I got my very own angry stalker. A very nasty man (?) posted repeatedly on my blog using all caps, and words I will never repeat. The same individual sent frequent tweets about how I was a Monsanto plant and that I have a funny-looking nose. Why do I care what that a-hole thinks? I don’t, but the words he chose to express himself were upsetting nonetheless.
2. Numerous publications asked me to write for them – for free. While I don’t mind a little pro-bono work when I believe in a cause, I am also a professional writer, and I simply cannot spend all my time writing for no money. Mostly I just ended up telling them to republish the Yes! article (and a couple others I wrote), and then felt guilty for not doing more to educate people about their food.
3. People started calling me The Monsanto Girl. While a more appropriate title would have been The Nonsanto Girl, it wasn’t the monicker that bothered me so much as the creeping sensation that I would never be known as anything else. If you read my blog, you know that fiction is my true passion.
4. I was misquoted. A lot. Just for the record – the movie Food, Inc. did not inspire the project, the project was not a boycott in the traditional sense (I had no illusions that my not consuming Monsanto products would in any way make the company change its ways), and I am not an activist (at least not by any traditional definition).
5. People got really crazy about equating Monsanto with GMO and held me up as their poster girl. I actually think GMO’s may have a place in our food system, but I also believe that our government doesn’t do nearly enough (anything) to test GMO’s before they are fed to the masses and that scares me.
When I realized I was continually explaining myself and clarifying misconceptions, I decided it was time to take a step back, for the sake of my own sanity. I was in the middle of a very difficult pregnancy at the time, and I needed a little more calm in my life.
The funny thing is, the project has taken on a life of its own. I joined forces with a friend of mine who is very much into food politics, and we started the Digging Deep campaign which now has over 4,000 followers on Facebook. (My “Storyteller” Facebook page
At this point I more or less feel like a traveler who strolled over a hill and happened upon a war. I fought a battle or two, then looked around, decided this was not where I wanted to die and got the ef out of there. I have immense respect and gratitude for everyone who continues to fight the good fight, and if an article I wrote two and half years ago can help spark discussion, well, I am truly honored.
I‘m very excited to announce that an article I wrote about my uncles went live today on the BETA Magazine website
For the word nerds – serodiscordant is a fairly new term describing a relationship wherein one person has HIV/AIDS and the other does not. My uncles have been in their serodiscordant relationship since before the term existed. It was a real treat to sit down with them and hear the details of their story.
When Terry was first diagnosed, I was young and nobody spoke much about it. It was still so taboo. By the time I was old enough to know about HIV/AIDS, Terry’s infection was old news, and there just never seemed to be a good time to ask the question: “so… do you guys still have sex, or what?”
Thankfully, in my line of work, I get paid to be nosey.
Check it out (here
Finally, thank you to all the family and friends who have sent well wishes for Daniel’s recovery. We got to see an x-ray of his spine today. Check this baby out:
Those white things are the screws in my guy’s spine. Burly.
He was having a hard time getting comfortable in bed, so this morning we invested in a recliner. So he’s still laid up, but he’s doing it in style, the doc told him to keep the narcotics coming, and the Euro Cup, or something, is playing soccer non-stop (or so it seems) – so he’s doing just fine.
It may seem like I haven’t been blogging much the past two weeks, but really I’ve just been cheating on you.
My other blog, The Digging Deep Campaign
As for my own writing, I’m finishing up the polish on my Northern California book before sending it to the publisher. I’ve integrated the notes I got from my writing group, and am working on the fun intro material (basic history of Northern California, writing a personal preface, that sort of thing). The best part so far was dedicating it. I’ve never dedicated a book before. I’m giving this one to Daniel.
I thought about making the dedication read: “For Daniel, can we go home now?” We’ve been talking about moving back to Northern California since we got to LA, but somehow that didn’t seem right.
I opted instead for: “For Daniel, who loves Northern California almost as much as I do.”
It makes me wonder who I will dedicate my novel to. When I finish it, in like 30 years.
I just put a bottle of champagne in the fridge for tonight.
With any luck I will finish the last four pages of my Northern California book today!
I’m so excited to actually, finally, finish something!
Can’t blog. Gotta go write like the wind.
My apologies to anyone who is getting tired of hearing about the Northern California book, but I’m so close to finishing I can almost taste it. Tastes like cookies.
I have twelve pages to go. If it were any other kind of writing I could bust out 12 (first draft) pages in an afternoon (if properly motivated). But this is such research intensive stuff that it’s really slow going. What’s more, as I get near the end, the topics are harder and harder. I’m being forced to tackle the pages I knew would be difficult to write.
Twelve pages. I think I’ll shoot for four a day starting now. Don’t care how late I have to stay up. I can finish this baby by Wednesday night. (I’m ignoring rewrites for the time being. I deal with those later.)
So excuse me, I need to get back to work now.
Some days there just isn’t enough coffee.
I’m stumped for blog topics this morning, so I thought I’d just share a few of the more amusing facts I’ve uncovered while researching my Northern California book
The Lost City of the East Bay Hills. In the hills just east of Oakland is the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. It was once home to the Miwok metropolis called Volvon. For 10,000 years this native tribe lived here, grinding acorns and hunting rabbits. Strolling through the preserve you can still see the bedrock mortars – the collections of holes in large flat stones where the women would gather to pound acorn meal.
The personal hot tub began in Northern California, when enterprising young hippies attached wood burning water heaters to old redwood vats that had been discarded by the vineyards. They leaked something awful, and left a person with splinters in their behind, but there’s still something nice about a wood tub. As the fad spread through the country most manufacturers switched to fiberglass.
The Mission Burrito is an actual thing. Steaming a big tortilla before stuffing it to the gills and serving it with corn chips is actually a very Bay Area tradition. El Faro claims to have been the first to serve it up in the 1960′s, and they’ve been a staple food ever since.
Steam Beer (now known as Anchor Steam Beer) was invented by miners in the 1850s who had a hankering for lager, but no refrigeration to cool the fermentation process so they had to do a warmer (ale style) fermentation and viola! a new kind of beer was born.
There’s much more, but you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out.
Now for more coffee…