June 20th, 2008

Willow

On the Aurealis Awards and opposing viewpoints in this community

I've felt pretty down the last couple of days about those Aurealis posts I made. Down because I felt I copped a lot of heat for what I had tried to write in a nonconfrontational way to merely offer up an alternative perspective. It wasn't until last night that I realised that the reason I felt bad was not because what I had written was so out of line, nor the way I had written it, but rather the reaction that it produced. I realised that I had been bullied. And that the reason I felt I could say nothing further was because I didn't want to be bullied further.

And if it's one thing I hate, and will not stand by and allow, it's bullying.

So .. I had a look back over what I posted. Talk about innocuous. It seems the offensive things I wrote in the post were that I was not going to send in 20 copies of my book, which I am still not going to do. And don't think I, nor any big publishing house, would ever be able to justify that cost. And also to comment on the no electronic submissions ruling. In the comments, I make a tiny throw away line about empire building of FQ and also I mentioned that I was not allowed, at the discretion of the convenor, last year to submit my eligible works electronically. Although, we did in the end do so - when Ben asked for permission. I also make mention of the authoritarian way that the Aurealis Awards are handled.

I've had a bit of a scout around at the other commentary on the Aurealis Awards changes. I note that benpeek has covered much of what I was intending to say already in his new post today. I also note that Jonathan Strahan did not get a smackdown from Kate Eltham on his blog, as I did on mine, and that Ellen Datlow has been allowed (from what her comment on his blog says) to already submit non-hard copies. On all the dealings with me however, it seems blatantly clear that I, a much smaller press than both of those, will still need to do some huge justifying to be allowed to be considered to submit differently to the current rules. (And my arguments will be the same as last year, which did not qualify me last year.)

Whether or not there are different rules for different people doesn't really bother me. What does bother me is the idea that noone is allowed to have a *different opinion* from those who run the Awards. And those who do get emails telling them that they have "upset many people" (who these people I have upset are, remains unknown to me) or get accused of vilifying people (still can't find anything overly objectional in what I said). I note that Kate never did answer my question on how the awards benefit writers. It seems to me, that in the short story form of specfic in Australia, having outlets for writers to be published in, outweighs anything else.

But the most upsetting thing in all of this, is the way I feel right now. It reminds me of why we set up ASif in the first place. We set it up to provide an alternative viewpoint, a different outlet for discussion and criticism of the scene. We set it up to show that we need more than constant pats on the back of false praise if we are ever to raise the quality of professionalism and output. We set it up to show that it is healthier to have debate and discussion than to shut down dissent and that negative feedback is needed if we really want to grow and improve.

I'm not going to be shut up just because the hard word comes down on me. I'm always going to voice an alternative view if it needs to be out there. I'm disappointed that we haven't really moved that far along from back in 2005 if it's still not safe to point out elements of a process that need tweaking for fear of being accused of vilification, of hurting people's feelings or of not being supportive etc etc.

Because of course, there's a bunch of things that could be done that don't really need much effort at all. I've heard tons of ideas in the last couple of days - why not have the convenor of each short story panel sit on the Best Collection/Anthology panel? Eliminates 5 judges and 5 copies of every book. Why not only have judges in the short story categories who are prepared to read electronically? Why not have a fund that goes towards supporting small press submissions instead of prize money for the winner? Why not contact small press in advance and heed off posts like mine and a few others at the pass by explaining how the process will work?

As for me? I'm sad that we can't have healthy discussion in this community without being belittled if we disagree. It means we still have so much further to go.
Willow

shudder

ew

So I think I just got sexually harassed (verbally)

bleurgh

And when it happens, you're so stunned that the person is actually saying what they are saying and implying what they are implying that you actually get gobsmacked.

And now I spose he thinks that's okay to say stuff like that to me.

Ew
Willow

in other news ...

I searched high and low yesterday for my ipod. I am now beginning to fear for its safety. The only places really I have left to look are in boxes I have not yet unpacked from the move. And since I thought I had seen the thing after I moved, it seems unlikely to be in any of those boxes. And that's mostly just me trying to find any excuse not to have to face all my crap in those boxed up boxes.

Sigh. An ipod shuffle is looking more and more like a good prospect at this stage.

Now I just have to pack and get stuff I need for my trip and tidy my house and do a hundred other things. And tomorrow I have sea rescue and the weather looks decent too.

In other news, today is the last day of the imposed boy ban. *grin*
Willow

Unsettling

Just what I want to read days before I am gonna be there:

ISRAEL carried out a large military exercise this month that appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, The New York Times has reported.

Citing unidentified American officials, the newspaper said more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June.

It said the exercise appeared to be an effort to focus on long-range strikes and illustrates the seriousness with which Israel views Iran's nuclear program.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23894633-401,00.html

Personally, I think an attack on Iran is imminent. I just don't actually want to be there when it happens.