Blog Tour!

Often when I am supposed to be working I totally fuck around on the Internet instead. I am pretty sure this is why blogging was invented; people were supposed to be doing some shit – like laundry or taking care of their kids – but looking at stuff on the Internet was more interesting – so they decided to do their shit on the Internet. Now people blog (some people can actually make money doing it) – about how they’re not doing their laundry or they write ordered lists of all the things that make people bad parents.

Of course I’m making light of something that has evolved into a spectacular form of communication. The Internet has a way of equalizing voices that is completely impossible in mainstream media like TV and radio. It’s more accessible than ever, and pretty much anyone with access to a computer and an Internet connection can write down and publish their own version of the world (I’m doing it right now). But as with any other source of information, there are definitely voices that are broadcast louder than others (the same news and entertainment agencies that dominate television have a significant presence online as well – because money). That’s why I’m pretty excited about being nominated for this blog tour. I spend a large part of my free time absorbing the world through blogs, news stories, tumblr, twitter, facebook and op-eds (and yes, buzzfeed), and on and on and on. But I know that there are some amazing gems out there that I’ll never see, that hardly anyone will see. How does anyone ever find that stuff (or, should I say, our stuff)? (Yes I just called myself a gem. Yes I did.)

One way we can find new, wonderful, and diverse writers is through networking – I am not so great with meeting new people in real life, and therefore consider group email introductions ‘networking’. This can be problematic when attempting to establish professional or creative relationships, but I was fortunate to be ‘introduced’ to several talented writers/artists that I may never have encountered when my lovely friend (who is also a remarkable writer) Kayla Williams nominated me for this blog tour.

Kayla is the author of two spectacular memoirs, Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army and Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War. Both books are no-holds-barred accounts of her experiences in the US Army and the journey of healing and recovery she shared with her partner after he was wounded in Iraq. They are spectacular and jarring, and I highly, highly recommend them both. Kayla also blogs about women veterans and veterans issues and she contributes to several publications, such as The Atlantic, Slate, Huffington Post and more.

So. Blog tour! Time to answer the questions:

What am I working on?
My life’s work, of course! Sort of. Okay, not really anything big right now. I have little scraps and pieces of writing stashed away all over the place – on my home computer and probably on several cloud drives as well; I have the feeling that they’re all sort of connected but I’m not doing anything deliberate – I think it’ll come together in a few years and I’ll know what to call it then. So for now, I am working on this blog, various projects for school, and little stories or poems that fill the whole I start to feel when I haven’t written for a while.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I could probably get more ‘readership’ if I played into the politics of blogging more. Foucault refers to it as polemics – the contentious diatribes on ‘either side’ of an argument where both parties attempt to discredit the other by claiming theirs is the only correct stance. I try to avoid that kind of writing (and thinking) as much as possible. I do fall into the binary trap every now and then, but it’s not my norm – and I think that’s what makes my writing a little different, if less sensationalist.

Why do I write what I do?
Frequently, the things that are causing the most damage get the least attention. There are some massively fucked up things happening in our communities – right under our noses – and many detrimental practices/beliefs have become so common as to become invisible. Sometimes, we even think (or are raised to believe) that some of those things are good (examples: drug laws, harsh prison sentences, ‘family values’, American exceptionalism). I think there is tremendous value in picking those things apart, in taking a second look at things we take for granted as ‘normal’ or desirable. In doing so, we more readily locate the root causes of oppression and can work from outside the existing system to implement change.

How does my writing process work?
Errr… Probably not as well as it should. I am a reactive writer, by which I mean I typically come across an issue/event that sparks my interest or makes me think about things in ways I hadn’t thought about them before, and so I start writing down those ideas. What starts as a loosely formed concept will usually sit around for a day or two on an open document on my computer. If I go back to it, and the idea still holds water, I’ll expand on it and hopefully end up with something that other people can understand.

The end!

Now it’s my turn to nominate people. As I mentioned above, I was fortunate to be connected with two women who graciously accepted an invitation to participate: Dottie L. Guy and Brynn Tannehill.

“Dottie Guy is currently the Outreach Coordinator for Iraq and Afghanistan era Veterans for the Oakland Vet Center. She was in the Army National Guard and served in Iraq in 2003. She is passionate about veterans issues; she wants to ensure that they get the benefits and care that they have earned.

In addition to her work with the Vet Center, Dottie is also a Peer Mentor with the Wounded Warrior Project and sits on the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission.

Dottie is also a photographer. She has shown her work in throughout the United States and is a Getty Images contributor.”

When she isn’t out taking photos or helping veterans, Dottie can be found enjoying fried chicken, Barefoot in the Park, and Tom Jones.”

Check out Dottie’s tumblr, twitter (@ohdottie), instagram, and LinkedIn profiles!

“Brynn Tannehill is originally from Phoenix, Ariz. She graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. She served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas to 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain from 2005 to 2006.

In 2008 Brynn earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008 Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry.

She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for OutServe magazine, The Bilerico Project, Salon, The New Civil Rights Movement, the Huffington Post, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist.

Brynn and her partner Janis currently live in Xenia, Ohio, with their three children.”

Check out Brynn’s excellent articles on Huffington Post and follow her on twitter (@BrynnTannehill)

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