Thursday, May 21, 2015

Apologies are gifts, not demands!

Watching Survivor last night something struck me about apologies that I hadn't thought of before.

One of the players had said things that were incredibly cruel, intentionally hurtful, and just generally beyond what is acceptable discourse even in the context of a million dollar game. He went too far, period.

Months later, on the reunion show he was prompted to apologize on national TV and he sort of did. I say sort of because it wasn't a great apology. So after the apology the cameras of course cut to her and she was asked, "Do you accept his apology?"
She took a LOT of words to say that she did not accept it. Then the apologizer went on to tell her that if she didn't accept it she would never be the person God intended her to be, or some such. He was demanding she accept the apology.

That's not how apologies work.

An apology, a real apology, a sincere apology, is a gift. It is freely given and the other person's acceptance or not is NOT up to the one apologizing. An apology is a gift, not a demand for forgiveness. And the thing is... a person doesn't HAVE to accept an apology. If you do something horrible to me and then simply apologize but show no real remorse, no intention to not do the thing again. Not only do I not accept your apology, but you've made it worse by attempting to black-mail me into forgiving me.

A lot of people use an apology to place the bad-guy onus onto the initial victim of their being a jerk. Look. I stabbed her  kids 93 times but I apologized and the bitch didn't accept it. She's the one with problems! Um. No. You are.

When I apologize to someone, and I've had to do it more than once because God knows I'm not perfect, my hope is that they will accept it but I can't demand or expect it. I've violated their trust. I've hurt them. It's okay for them to need, want time to heal, and get over it, and learn to trust me again by my showing, every day for the rest of my life, that I meant the apology by NOT DOING IT AGAIN.

Is it healthy for them not to accept my apology? Not my problem. All I can do is sincerely apologize and endeavor to make sure I earn their trust back at some point if they're willing to give it. You can no more demand someone trust you than you can demand someone accept an apology or respect you. Those are internal things, those are choices we make as people. We can't make another person do a lot of things, as much as we'd like to sometimes. So, if you apologize and they don't accept drop it. You've done the first part. You've given the gift. Whether they choose to accept it or not is on them. It may sit unopened on the table for 19 years. Fine. It's their call whether they open it or not. You just make sure not to screw things up again in the future or it'll go in the bin, opened or not.

I'll say it again because it's the important part: An apology should be a gift, not a demand, and a person is not required to accept an apology or forgive the transgressor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Don't Laugh...

Sometimes people I like will surprise me and say something or do something that makes me think, "Oh man... do they think I'll like that?"

Somebody sends me an Obama joke, I'll laugh at Obama jokes. He's president. I don't like stuff presidents do... I open it and it's not a president joke. It's racist. I don't mean mildly racist. I mean the punch line is that he's black or mixed or... that's it. That's the punch line. Um. That's not funny. The part where they THINK it's funny, or derogatory makes me sad for them. Here's the thing. And it's not news to anybody. Our. President. Is. Black. So, as a punchline it kind of sucks. I know. He knows. Everybody knows. The thing about a punchline is it's unexpected. It's a surprise. "Two guys walk into a bar; the third guy ducks." THAT'S funny. It's unexpected. It's a play on the word bar. "Obama is half black and half white..." Um, not funny. Stop thinking I'll think it's funny.

Grown ups falling is funny. Kids fall and it's like "EEP!" *thud* and it's over. They fall so fast. They're only like >< that far from the ground anyway. No time to react. Adults though? We pinwheel our arms, we stagger around, we have lots of time to make amazing faces and noises. It's great. Unless they get hurt. Then it's not funny. Then they're hurt. That's not funny. Somebody getting hurt isn't all that funny to me, especially if it's somebody I know. Even if I don't like 'em I don't wish them ill. I don't want people to be hurt. Well, most people. You know who you are. :P

I'll leave you with this found over on reddit's long page of offensive jokes, many of which I found funny.

A girl in a bar said to me, "I wouldn't fuck you if you were the last person alive." Leaning over and whispering, I replied, "But who would be around to stop me?" Wiped the smug look right off her face.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review: Inquisitor by R J Blain

I have no idea why I didn't read Inquisitor by R J Blain sooner. I've had it on my kindle forever and just never started it.

Once I did start it I had problems putting it down and that's a good problem to have. I really liked the characters and the story. I didn't know what was going to happen next. I didn't feel like it was reusing all the standard urban fantasy tropes and I genuinely enjoyed myself reading it.

I suspect I was paranoid about a female protagonist written by a female author. I was really burned by Twilight when those three came together, urban fantasy, female protag, female author and I was really really really hesitant to do it again but HOLY CRAP what a mistake!

If you're being stupid like I was and being afraid to read it because of that stop now. This doesn't have a pining wimpy female protagonist wandering aimlessly from hunky male secondary character to hunky male secondary character all while pining for her primary love interest who is in fact just a friend or some crap. No love triangle. No pining. All that junk from the "other" one I mentioned, completely absent here.

This is a tightly told story in an interestingly invented world that is different enough from ours to be fantastic (as in fantasy) but still recognizably our own. The world building happens throughout the book and I don't remember any huge info dumps where she got so in love with sharing her world with us that she forgets to engage us with good story, that's another thing that sometimes happens. Didn't happen. The story was faster paced and more tightly written than this review.

Don't back burner this book. It's a mistake to do so. Go get it now: Inquisitor by R J Blain.

Over on goodreads I gave this book 4 stars. I haven't given very many books 5 stars so 4 stars is pretty good. I give a LOT of books 3 stars. That means I liked it. 4 stars is significantly better than liked it and five stars... well, that means I don't think it can be done any better at all by anyone. Don't be hating that I don't just throw out five star reviews. I know that's the norm any more but I don't do it. If you've read my book and not yet reviewed it feel free to do so now. :) I'd really appreciate it and I'd take a four star review as a HUGE compliment and would be very happy with a three star even.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Angst & writing book #2

Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night and I wrote a book. You can't tell from this cover but Jump/Drive, my book, won an award even from for best YA from a new author in 2013 which I find pretty cool.

I have been very lucky and found quite a few very kind people who have enjoyed my book and the reviews are pretty nice as well, especially when they're from people I don't know. *grin* Hey, if you've read it and haven't reviewed it yet feel free to go drop me a few stars, the more the merrier, over on amazon why don't you? lol

I've started a second book with the same protagonists, Caleb, John, and Devon back in the town they'd lived in their whole lives. It was, and is, a sort of modern day Hardy Boys, a Scooby Doo & the Gang with a smaller cast and less Scooby & more gang... I've started that second book three different times three different ways, they're around here somewhere on a google drive, or dropbox, but the problem is as I write it all I can think about is this book and how well it did for me. Now, it didn't do Stephen King well for me. It didn't sell enough for me to buy a car, but it has garnered me some royalty payments from more than one country and that's fun right? But all I can think is what if book two isn't as good as the first book? Then I freeze and the words dry up and I can't do anything. Caleb and John sit around in the Prius just looking at each other wondering what to do next. Devon sits at the ice cream shop eating a banana split waiting for a call to come that never does. Adrian... well, he's not really in any of the other books so much. He's alive out there, just not necessary in future stories really.

So, I've decided, after being asked yet again, when the next book is coming out, that I can't handle it lol. That sounds funny because I should just shut up and write the next book. I'm not good at that though. I need to do something else. I need to write some other story, some other different story to sort of free myself up to revisit those characters that people really connected with. I'm a little scared to visit them so soon after the minor success, major for me as a new author, but in the scheme of things not really all that great.

So, I'm going to write another book, I've been going to write another book for a while. Now I know it's not going to be in the same series as the first book. It'll be new, no pressure that way, no expectations. Same target audience. It'll be Young Adult with male protagonists, no love triangle, no vampires, but maybe a little urban fantasy just because fantasy is cool right? I like to read it, and well... it's different from the first one and I need that right now.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ptoday Pterry Died...

Terry Pratchett (Pterry) , author of the Discworld series and other books including, with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, died today, March 12, 2015.

I read the news while I was on break from work and spent the last two hours of work wondering if I was going to cry. I sniffled and my eyes burned but I haven't. I don't know if I will or not but I want to.

I discovered Terry Pratchett at the recommendation of a friend of mine over 20 years ago when he introduced me to Rincewind and the Wizard books. (The Discworld books are often broken up into various subsets, The Wizards, The Witches, and The Watch with some others like the Death books that mix with the various streams that form the river that is Discworld.) I was immediately in love with them. Pterry's writing only got better and more complex and enjoyable as the years went on.

Samuel Vimes is a real person in my head. Captain Carrot is just as real to me and Granny Weatherwax feels like family. All characters, all real, and all, now, passed away with their author, their creator. That's the thing about an author dying. Their world dies with them and that hurts.

I'm a Reader. I have been for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is learning to read from big, over-sized flash cards with the letters in the shape of people. Since then I've read in good times and in bad times. Books are escape and they're relaxation. The characters in the books, the really good books, become as real to me as people I've known but don't see any more. They're all real aren't they? They're people whose actions you remember but that you don't see any more. How is that less real than a person you've met in the flesh? Some are more real sometimes, or they feel that way. You get inside the head of a  protagonist. You hear their thoughts, their dreams, their fears, and their desires. I've bought very few authors' books in hardcover. Pterry is one of those authors... He was. And now he, and his world, his characters... all gone.

I still have his books. I have them all in paper, on my kindle a lot of them, and in audiobook, also a lot of them. But listening to them now, reading them now will be a bittersweet reminder of what was... the quiet delight of waiting for a new story is over. The excitement of seeing what happens next is gone. The light's gone out in the Discworld and this world, this round blob of dirt, suddenly seems a little darker and a little colder with him gone from it and that sucks.

"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…"
–Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man