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Welcome to Read Rosemary Central, homebase for author Rosemary Clement-Moore (plus screennames, @readrosemary, @rclementmoore, and rosemaryclement.com). I write novels (Sprit and Dust, Texas Gothic) and blog here at least once a month. Accept no immitations.

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and you can email me at rosemary at rosemaryclement dot com.

I’m finally ready to talk about the new president.

Here are a few of the things in my blog draft file:

  • WTF ELECTION???
  • Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.
  • How this happened.
  • No, this is how this happened.
  • Okay, maybe THIS contributed to it, too.
  • What should happen now (in an ideal world where we could forgive each other as a nation and put out this Trumpster fire).
  • Rants about our Reality TV world (x2)
  • Essay on the definition of narcissism.
  • The space between “illegal” and “immoral.”
  • It’s not the end of the world.
  • Twitter is triggering my panic attacks.
  • Please don’t judge all Christians by political Christians.  Or, you know… “Christians.”
  • All the terrible things that happen when leaders are told they are Chosen By God. (Subtitle: WTF, Franklin Graham?)
  • Acceptance is not the same thing as surrender. (Saying “Not my president” is like saying “Not my cancer” and expecting your doctor to change your diagnosis.)
  • Until we stop holding Trump supporters in contempt (and vice versa), we will never make any progress toward compromise or unity.

I have wasted hours and hours of time I could have spent WAY more productively trying to put my feelings and opinions (because I do have them) into words. So why not post them?

Every time my finger hovered over the “publish” button, I couldn’t help feeling I wasn’t really helping, I was just adding to the cloud of panic, despair, anger, and even hate. Those are the same things I revile Trump for stirring up at his rallies, so do I want to put more of that into the universe? No.

You know what I do want to put into the universe? Kindness. Compassion. Equality. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from persecution.

So, I’ll just leave this here.  Be safe, be kind…be excellent to one another.

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I’m finally ready to talk about 2016

Okay, I’m finally ready to talk about 2016.

 

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2016

From the beginning of this year, I’ve had to bite my tongue about 2016. It started when David Bowie died on January 10th. (By the way, this post is not about dead celebrities.) Then Alan Rickman, God love him, died on January 14th. And the Internet resounded with “Always” memes, and “By Grabthar’s Hammer” quotes, and, most troublingly, “2016 is off to a terrible start.”

Because, holy crap, guys! DON’T JINX IT!

In fact, I so much didn’t want to jinx 2016 that I didn’t want to say “DON’T JINX IT” on the Interwebs.

 

I joke about being superstitious, but I don’t actually indulge in a lot of magical thinking. 2016 has been a weird year not because it’s 2016, but because some reality-show-level-crazy shit happened in this election cycle, and the campaign process spans almost a year. Cultural icons died at the beginning and the end of the year, giving 2016 a bookended, day the music died, kind of feeling. That feeling is a real thing, even if there’s not actual causality.

 

But all that said, we—our culture, society, the Internet, the Social Media echo chamber…whatever—decided back in January that this year already sucks. And though I don’t believe in jinxes (mostly), I strongly believe in the power that expectation has on perception. Our expectation of suckage made everything bad that happened this year feel even suckier than it was.

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Not that I would compare my mourning for Carrie Fisher to my anxiety over the threat to civil liberties looming with the new administration, or the race-related police shootings, or a lot of other things (because 2016, man), but still, Princess Leia made me who I am today. Grief is grief, even if it’s on different scales. I know the difference between something sad and something tragic and troubling.

But none of that is why I’ve blistered my tongue refraining from commenting on the whole “This year sucks” thing.

See, at the end of 2015, I declared 2016 to be The Year I Get My Shit Together.

And, overall, I have.

December always plummets in productivity for me for personal reasons, so that on top of all the other stuff has left me down and feeling like…well, geez. 2016, man. What a wash.

Only, it wasn’t. Maybe I didn’t get my life perfectly in order (which is impossible because…life, man). Maybe I didn’t reach all my goals. But I made some major ones.

I still don’t have money in the bank, but I reduced my debt by more than half.

I started taking freelance editing clients. (Which is, obviously, related to the above.)

And I sort of have a book coming out next year.

WHAT’S THIS YOU SAY????

Yes. Because I’m a superstitious, anxiety-prone, never-talk-about-the-good-stuff maniac, I’ve been keeping that under my hat. I’m hard at work on the next Rosemary Clement-Moore book, but in the meantime, keep an eye on my friend Kara Connolly, whose debut novel drops on July 18th, 2017. Seriously. This book is so good, it’s like I wrote it myself.

Was that too subtle? I have an alter-ego, guys. I have to get my shit together because I’m going to be writing under two names.

 

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Me in 2017

Why a pen name? It’s a long story.

See, I had my own personal 2016, which was 2013. You can go back and read the posts from that year if you really want, but you have to kind of read between the lines because I don’t like to talk about bad stuff. Because I’m a superstitious, anxiety-prone headcase.

Not really.

But kind of, after 2013.

And that, dear readers, is the reason why I declared 2016 the Year I Get My Shit Together.

And nobody, not even the PEOTUS and his reality TV administration is going to ruin 2017 for me, God bless it.

Because I have a book I’m about to finish. (I swear it, by Grabthar’s hammer.)

And Kara Connolly has a book coming out.

And because I know that no year is all bad or all good. Even if 2017 brings new challenges—to me, my family, this country and those marginalized in it for any reason—it’s possible for things to completely fall apart, and by sheer stubbornness sometimes, slowly get our shit together again.

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Mr. Relevant to my Interests

I got my flu shot on Friday, so I gave myself Saturday off and had a nice knit and Netflix binge. But I watched North and South, which I figure since I write romantic type stories, should sort of count as work.

I mean, I really do love a good, scowly hero in a romance. And Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton gives all Mr. Darcys a run for their money.

Allow me to prove my point.

First it’s like…

 

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Who is this woman and why is she up in my business?

 

Then there’s a whole lot of this.

 

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I deeply resent you for making me like you.

 

Lightened now and then by a little of this.

 

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But only when she’s not looking at me.

 

Some of this.

 

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Dammit. Got caught not scowling at her.

 

Then this happens…

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Wrapping up with some of this.

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And then I was very much motivated to get back to work on my book.

Spirit and Cats

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It’s kind of funny that because I pinned a picture of Saint Gertrude (patron saint of cats) to my Spirit and Dust board, Pinterest keeps suggesting more cat pictures.

(I tried to embed a Pinterest widget to display here but gave up trying. So here’s a link to the board, instead.)

P.S. If you want to get a copy of Spirit and Dust, Barnes and Noble has at 15% off code for Cyber Monday (BNCYBER16). Here’s a link right to my book. I’ll leave you in suspense as to what St. Gertrude of Nivelles (or cats) have to do with the plot.

OMG Deadlines

Today is the last day to register to vote in twelve states: Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Pensylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Click below:

Vote.gov

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And here is a guide to early voting on NPR’s website. 

For personalized lists of the candidates running for office in your district (other than the obvious and unavoidable), the League of Women Voters website (vote411.org) is non-partisan and very helpful.

I’m going to be obnoxious about this, but remember, your vote for state and local candidates is meaningful and important.

Here in Texas, I pay attention to things like where a candidate stands on education (specifically standardized testing), on women’s issues, and the environment. Changing laws nationally is like turning the Titanic. State legislation often has more immediate and personal impact on day to day life. And remember—you don’t have to vote a straight ticket.

Participate in your government. We are so lucky to have that right, and we need to vote for leadership that wants to keep that right accessible to all citizens.

 

“Mrs. Clinton, who are you wearing tonight?”

Ever since last Monday’s presidential debate, I’ve been struggling with how to say this. It’s a controversial statement, and no one in my circle wants to touch it. But I can’t keep it in anymore.

Hillary Clinton looked great in that red suit.

I know. I just complimented a woman running for the highest office in the U.S. on her choice of outfit. The only way I could have made that worse is if I started by saying, “I’m not a sexist, but…”

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Older screenshot. TBD has been updated, but “pantsuit afficianado” remains.

For the record, I’m not a pantsuit enthusiast, but Clinton has carved out her sartorial niche. Since 2007, Mrs. Clinton has been wearing pantsuits by Susanna Beverly Hills (I fact checked it, because I’m a professional, y’all), but maybe now that she has made history as the first woman to participate in a bipartisan presidential debate, the runways at Fashion Week will be full of avante garde ensembles that could double as mother-of-the-bride outfits.

One of Clinton’s many uphill battles as a woman competing in a male dominated field is that men have a dress code—their biggest decision is their tie: power red or reassuring blue. Women have a dress code, too, but it’s a subliminal one, unspoken and byzantine in its sociological complexity.

Some historical perspective: the first televised presidential debate was between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. (Read more here.) Kennedy appeared well-groomed and confident, and Nixon looked rather unkempt and haggard. (Nixon was recovering from a knee injury.) Radio listeners considered Nixon’s answers more substantive, and television viewers thought Kennedy had the edge.

Now we describe candidates looking “presidential,” meaning “composed and confident,” but also not-so-secretly meaning, “well-groomed, well-tailored, and looking strong and healthy.” That is to say “attractive” in a Darwinian “I want that person taking care of my pack” sort of way.

It’s not a nice fact, but it’s a fact. FDR knew this and took great pains to never be photographed in his wheelchair.

Going back to fashion, and skipping the minefield that is hair, makeup, and whether a woman should smile more

rainbow pantsuit.pngThe traditional man’s business suit is a symbol of authority and success, whereas a woman’s pantsuit is often ridiculed. Skirts and dresses are dodgy, because the hemline has to fall in the magical spot between slutty and frumpy. And lets face it, the more gravitas the jacket, the more it gives you flashbacks to your high school principal (usually not a good thing).

So, taking all that into account, I feel like I need to trade in my Feminist card when I point out that Clinton looked great in that outfit during the debate. It played well on camera, the color was super flattering, which made her look healthy, and of course, red is a power color. It was a great tactical choice.

Incidentally,  a day or two before the debate, Clinton made fun of Trump’s signature red power tie. Not, I think, coincidentally, he wore a blue tie…leaving the power-red up for grabs. Think about that for a minute.

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I have never talked politics on this blog, but the fact is this political season is the most infuriating, perplexing, embarrassing (as an American), troubling… and ANTHROPOLOGICALLY FACINATING one I can remember. I’m not here to campaign for anyone—though I’m  not going to hide my bias against Trump.

If you’ve made up your mind for one of the two main party candidates, nothing I say is likely to change your mind.

But if you’re on the fence over whether it’s worth it to vote, IT IS. If you want to not vote for either Trump or Clinton, you can still contribute to the process in seriously meaningful way by casting your vote for the open congressional seats, and in your state and local governments.

vote_buttonThere are 7 days left to register to vote. Have you done it yet?