Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

You'd never know it from my inactivity here, but I've been extremely busy with multiple creative projects this summer. Commence shameless self-promotion!

I wrote a fun feature for TV blog What Else is On ABC's Nashville went on summer hiatus and I didn't have any weekly writing assignments, until my editor came up with this clever idea. For Binge or Purge, I binge-watched and reviewed several TV shows from the 1980s and 90s, all for the purpose of telling you whether they're worth viewing now. My picks included 21 Jump Street, The Young Ones, A.L.F., Sports NightBeverly Hills 90210 season 1, Miami Vice and The X-Files (broken down into three installments). If you ever loved these programs or care to watch one now, please give my reviews a read. All shows are streaming on Netflix or Hulu Plus, and most hold up quite well.

My friends and I started a podcast Hayley Thompson and Saladin Ahmed (old friends who are parents of four year old twins) kindly invited me to be part of this podcast in which we review  children's media. In episode 1 of Can We Watch it Again, we discuss Disney's 1973 animated version of Robin Hood. It's a fun project for several reasons, not the least of which is that I get to do something with all these opinions about my kid's entertainment (stuff I would never watch if I weren't a mom). Exchanging opinions with two of my favorite pop culture nerds makes it even better. I hope the conversation is as enjoyable to you. Episode 2 coming soon!

p.s. I also appeared on Hayley's other podcast, Stylemother. In that episode, we chatted about summer TV shows. This one's special to me because we spent a weird amount of time discussing El Debarge and Kenny Loggins.

Another friend and I started a joint blog At 400 Words, my pal Andrew Stout and I take turns writing short essays on random subjects. Our first two installments include Meat and Parliament. This project appeals to my love of a fine order/chaos blend - I dig the parameters and deadlines but also love how the prompts send me in unexpected creative directions. Best of all, the finished product is 400 words or less. If my wordier stuff scares you (I understand), you may find these bite size portions more digestible. Other bonus - Andrew is a great writer but with a very different voice. It'll be fun to see how each of us respond to a given topic. We publish every Wednesday afternoon.

I started yet another blog and "came out" This one's called Remember the Abortion Episode? It's another pop culture review, with a twist. Isn't it strange that with the preponderance of surprise pregnancies on American TV shows, hardly any of those women characters even talk about having an abortion? In reality, 3 out of 10 American women have an abortion at some point in their life. Clearly we have a taboo. On this blog, I review and rate those rare TV episodes that deal explicitly with abortion, for better or worse. My interest in this subject, as well as my assessment, is largely based on my personal experience of having had an abortion when I was 22 years old. Just to be perfectly clear: I have never once regretted that decision.

I was anxious about publishing this blog at first. Opening myself to other people's judgement frightens me. But that discomfort is nothing compared to my concern for American women's reproductive rights. For fifteen years, I've held tight to my experience for fear of being shamed or misunderstood, all the while knowing it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. And as I sat silent, I've watched our access to abortion dwindle. While I would never pressure any individual woman to discuss her personal medical history, I can't help feeling that those of us who stand by our abortions need to start talking about that choice like the normal, reasonable, often-complex yet everyday decision it is.

I'm doing just that, in a couple ways. I've wrote a memoir piece about my experience, which I intend to publish later*. In the meantime, I decided to do that "be the change you wanna see" thing and commence Abortion Real Talk via this new blog. Most people who know me didn't know about my abortion until I started publishing RtAE in July. You might say, "That's a weird way to tell everyone," and I'd say, "Yeah, I guess that's true." But I'm a pretty weird lady and I contend that nothing I've done - either by having an abortion or writing about it - is wrong. Plus, I think this blog is insightful and funny.

My deepest gratitude to all who've been supportive of RtAE in any way - it means a lot. Compelled as I am to openly discuss my experience with abortion, it's an intimidating project. I haven't received any vitriol from haters, mainly because I'm not widely read. It will certainly happen if I ever am. The silence from others - especially those of my usual readers who I'd assumed to be pro-choice - is its own weirdness, but I try to not read too much into that. Many folks who are fine with discussing abortion in the abstract turn awkward when it gets personal. I just have this gut feeling that making it personal is the key to our liberation. If we all knew how many of our women friends and family members have had abortions, maybe we wouldn't be so awkward about it.

I publish this blog every other week, hopefully more often in the near future.** I'll keep you posted.

...and that's why I haven't posted anything here at Rare Oats since May. Maybe we're nearing the point when I wrap up this blog for good. But I still have a few other things to say that don't fit anywhere else, so I'll be back. It's funny to think that just over a year ago, this was the only creative project on the docket. Being busy as hell feels great.

*Still in the reading-and-editing phase, but I am determined

**I'd love to bring other writers in. If you've had an abortion, love talking TV, have a way with words and can keep it under 500, message me.