Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dear readers (if any of you are still out there),

I've been thinking about some things lately that I just wanted to get out there on (virtual) paper, and while they're very much not having to do with writing/editing/publishing, here I go anyway. . . . 

Yesterday I was on the wedding website of some friends of mine, and in looking at their engagement pictures I was struck--definitely not for the first time, but more so yesterday for some reason--by how women in professional/"important" photos like these are always very made-up, much in contrast to their fiances next to them. Both of these friends are quite young-looking (even though they are very accomplished professionals in their 30s), and yet the bride-to-be's makeup was so "perfect" (you know, with the impossibly natural eyebrows that seem to be the standard these days, and a near-smoky eye despite the fact that it was broad daylight) that she almost looked like in a different world than the groom's--like they were members of different species or something. And it's not that she looked old by any means, but because he was just there chilling in his normal-skinned, bordering-on-unibrowed glory, the contrast of her perfectly airbrushed face (whether by thick matte foundation, photographer's airbrushing, or both), made it almost seem like she could be the polished mom to this average, happy-go-lucky teenager. I mean, if anything, I felt he could have used some foundation, too...

I was talking to my husband about this, and he put forth a theory that part of these different grooming/appearance standards that society puts upon us may have to do with the fact that men (largely heterosexual) are expected to seem "confident" no matter what, which includes in the way they look (even though many of them might not be, but they're better taught/expected to fake it till they make it). And women are only allowed to be confident (or understood for being confident) if they look "perfect." 

And of course this has turned into women being harsh on each other (while men are too, though most claim to like the "natural" look (which is really the "It-actually-took-2-hours-to-look-like-I-wake-up-like-this look")), but mostly themselves, to the point that most women wouldn't dare to take engagement portraits with a unibrow. (And to then insist to the photographer that, No, really, they do not want those PhotoShopped out!)

Add to this of course all the (valid) moaning about selfies, Insta filters, etc., and we have a big fat problem here, that I feel like only gets worse as the years go on, personally. (Not that I think the "gold old days" were anything but "old days," but we live in such a visual, "personal-brand" moment right now.

Despite makeup companies trying to convince us that phrases such as, "I am what I make up" and "You're not here to get beautiful; you're here because you already are" (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??) are "empowering" (I really hate how that word has been co-opted.) to us so that we buy their increasingly ridiculous products that tell us what to feel bad about. (Eyedrops because your eyes are not white enough?? What?! But men's eyes are fine all red and yellow?)

And it makes me maddest of all that I still am not able to resist most of this stuff, despite all my overanalyzing and awareness of it. And all the B.S. self-love/self-care (I've also started to hate those words.) about "Everyone woman is beautiful" is still telling us that beauty is what is important. Our looks are important. Not what our bodies can do, think, and feel.

I think yesterday got me thinking about it a lot more because I went to see the new J. Lo. movie "Second Act," which was super ridiculous in many ways but of course fun because of that, but the fantasy/wish fulfillment such movies sell us I think do really start to make us feel bad about ourselves. If Lopez's character at the first part of the movie is supposed to be working class, then why is her hair and makeup always the sort of flawless that only at least 2 hours in the chair with a professional can give you? And why does she wear a Missoni dress to her job interview?? (I looked it up--it was indeed a Missoni. That brand retails for at least $600-$1600/dress.) And let's just ignore for now the ample cleavage she shows both in that dress and in every other outfit she wears at work. Not slut-shaming, just showing the unrealistic-ness of both her body type and job and the way she would be treated if she did wear such outfits to work.

I definitely don't have a solution, I just felt like ranting in my usual style of run-on sentences, too many parentheticals, and lots of modified adjectives, but hey, I am what I make up, right??? And I made up these words out of my true thoughts, so they are real now and so am I.

If anyone is reading this, I'd love to hear your thoughts. In any case, happy 2019!

- L'Editrice

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Everything's better with a fake mustache

My students and I had the great fortune of attending a presentation by author Shelly Brown at our school a couple of weeks ago. Shelly is the author of Mustaches for Maddie, which is based on the true story of her own daughter, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age twelve. As School Library Journal explains in its review of the book, "Maddie is a wonderfully thoughtful, creative, and funny protagonist, with whom readers will identify as she grapples with her social and physical challenges. The title comes from her love of fake mustaches, which she carries around to lighten the mood wherever she goes, and which become a viral sensation when she is hospitalized."

Not only did Shelly do her presentation for free (which is much appreciated at a public school with limited funds), she also did it without a PowerPoint or even a microphone! (Which was my fault, as I wasn't able to get the AV system together in time.) She was so engaging from the get-go, and the kids really connected with it. Right away I had students putting up their fingers under their nose in the style of a mustache to indicate that they were showing compassion (the theme of the book) for me and their peers by being quiet in class while others were speaking. I also had several order the book, along with another of Shelly's books, Ghostsitter, and attend her book signing that evening at a local bookstore. They also asked me for the book as soon as we came back to the library that day!

Although Shelly is not one of my authors (yet, ; P), I am very happy to recommend her book to everyone!

- L'Editrice

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I'm back!, plus Great News from an Author

Hello, everyone,

Apologies for the almost yearlong absence! I've started working as a librarian at an elementary school, so I took some time off from blogging (and editing) to settle into that busy role. But I'm happy to announce that I'm ready to take on clients again for this summer, and I hope to hear from you soon.

In author news, a long-overdue congratulations to Christa Conklin, who has the following (not-so-new) news:
1) She is now represented by Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary.
2) She's had a short story, "Moontail," published in an anthology.
3) Tranquility has found its publishing home at Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., and will be published fall 2018.

So proud of and happy for you, Christa!

- L'Editrice

Friday, June 16, 2017

The trouble with trends

Flamingos, pineapples, succulents, cacti, tassels, pom-poms, palm prints. These are all over fashion right now (how do the brands make them all so quickly?!) and I get caught up in them like everyone else--even though I convince myself that I always liked them before and that everyone else is just catching up to me.

The problem is that--like even non-trendy aspects of my style--I glob onto a pattern and then find an affinity for everything in it, and have to consciously limit myself to one, or at maximum two, belongings with each feature so that I don't become Inspector Gadget with my wardrobe. (Who else remembers all those identical trench coats in his closet?) Especially in this era of fast fashion, trends come and go quickly, and familiarity for me can breed contempt--or at least over-saturation. Or, God forbid, I continue to wear what I liked even before it became mainstream (trendsetter that I am ; P) but now I just look like a follower who is late to the game or--gasp!--out of style. . . .

Anyone else have this problem? Or is it just obsessive (and, let's be honest, susceptible) me?

- L'Editrice

Monday, March 27, 2017

Books and Bars (and not the fun kind)

I just came home to the loveliest surprise on my doorstep: a signed copy of Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention. It's a memoir by author Mindy Hardwick that I had the pleasure of copyediting.

I've worked with Mindy on a couple of her middle-grade novels (Stained Glass Summer and Seymour's Secret), and while I love them both, this is perhaps my favorite of her works so far. As her Amazon blurb says, "In the middle of a career change from teacher to writer, Mindy Hardwick volunteered to facilitate a weekly poetry workshop at a juvenile detention center. By helping the teens write poetry about their lives, Mindy discovered strength and courage to grieve the loss of her father, find forgiveness and release the past. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be used as a grant for writers to work with teens at Denney Juvenile Justice Center." 

So amazing. Congratulations, Mindy!

- L'Editrice