Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You Tell Me: No Really, You Tell Me

First things first, we're celebrating Moonrat's two year blogoversary over at the Moonielove site, so stop by and pay tribute to all things Moonrattable.

Today: wow. I got nothin'. I think we can all safely agree that whatever your politics it's a big, incredible new day in America's history. And yet I'm reminded this morning that for every two steps of progress there's always a step backwards. I'll say no more because this isn't a political blog. Ok, I will: really LA County? Really?

Ahem.

So while I will return tomorrow to post something about publishing, today's You Tell Me is whatever is on your mind.






103 comments:

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

I feel so proud to be American for the first time today.

Other Lisa said...

As a resident of LA county, I am stunned and appalled. Truly. Not how we voted in Venice, I'm quite certain.

Er, I hope that wasn't too political.

Well, high speed rail seems to be a "go," and our local measure to build rail and lots of it is passing as well.

Monica said...

Besides feeling overwhelming joy and pride at our having elected Obama...I'm also wondering (1) what support artists should receive from their government, (2) what I would ask Obama for, as an artist, and (3) that I need to study economics to understand how to best take advantage of the changes in the publishing industry.

I'm a new reader, and love your blog. Have a wonderful day!

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

yeah... that sucks what happened in California :-/

JK said...

Are you referring to Prop 8? I used to live there and went back to Chicago so I wasn't aware of what happened. If they voted yes on that I'd be shocked.

Other Lisa said...

@ jk - yes. Prop. 8 passed.

Jeanie W said...

I don't know about LA, but here in DC it feels like Christmas, as if we've all been given a puppy.

Kiersten said...

I'm just thrilled that, for my children, a black president is going to be utterly normal.

How cool is that?

Madame Lefty said...

Wow Michael Crichton dies and Prop 8 is passed.

What a sad day. I'm really surprised though, I honestly thought it wouldn't pass in California.

dan radke said...

Damn speech had me in tears last night. Watched the thing twice.

I could hear the roar from Grant Park from my apartment.

Crichton died. Sup with that?

Anne Dayton said...

Monica brings up some interesting points. We had an artist over for dinner on Saturday, and he had just come from his last meeting as a member of the council for the National Endowment for the Arts. He didn't step down because of politics, but he did talk about how politics affects arts funding, and I'd never really thought about it before. I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on the government's role in/obligation to/privilege of supporting the arts.

Erik said...

A culture has beliefs and values. A belief in justice is essential for peace. Valuing trust is the only way that everyone can have an opportunity to be all they can be.

Culture begins with a basic agreement on many things. A nation without cultural unity is a nation that is in trouble. We can elect as many political leaders as we want, but without a sense of commonality we can never be a more perfect union.

Literature is critical to a culture because it provides the icons and understanding necessary for people to make sense of their complicated world intuitively. Shared values through shared culture come largely from language and the ancient art of telling a story.

If you want all the wonderful fruits of this thing called "civilization", you have to write like everything you believe depends on it.

Other Lisa said...

Public support of arts is a good thing, for culture and for the economy. I saw Peter Sellars (the director, not the actor) speak about this once - he pointed out how investment in the arts in Florence has been paying off for that city since the Medicis. I don't have the figures handy but IIRC, public support of the arts not only pays for itself but creates profit.

Okay, that's a record number of comments for me here. Off to RL.

Crimogenic said...

Shame that Prop. 8 passed. I still can't understand why one would want to stop another for being happy. I just don't get it....

The election was historical in any case. Both candidates gave good speeches...

In personal news, I'm a little down after getting another rejection for my query from a top agent that I respect greatly. Back to the drawing...

R.J. Keller said...

This morning, I was trying to write a comforting email to a friend of mine who lives in L.A. who happens to be gay. It was full of words like 'the day is coming' and 'this is just one battle--the war will be won.' Cliche after stupid, mindless cliche.

It was all b.s. of course. And it's easy for me to whisper 'patience' because it wasn't my rights that were just crapped all over. Rights already granted to the GLBT community earlier this year were just taken away from them.

This isn't an abstract, political issue. These are people's lives we're talking about. Their most basic need for having a sense of security, for having a family, just suffered a public execution.

clindsay said...

It would be interesting to see what a mass exodus of the gay community would do to industry in California. Especially the film industry.

Come on, folks! Bring your money and your businesses and move to Connecticut or Massachusetts or Canada!

Let's see how long California's ban on gay marriage lasts then. :-)

Seriously, though, thrilled as I am about last night's election results for the presidential race, I am just as appalled by the hate-based propositions that passed in so many of the other states.

Nathan's right: two steps forward, one step back.

Elyssa Papa said...

I'm so happy about the presidential election---I, too, cried when the results were announced. It's a huge step forward.

I'm utterly dismayed and saddened by Prop 8 passing and other legislation in others doing the same. It does felt like one step forward, two steps backward. Hopefully, these can be overturned.

Shannon said...

What's on my mind:
Is it totally crazy to shelf a work and begin a new one 5 days into Nanowrimo and still expect to finish?

Jeanie W said...

That's a crying shame about Prop 8. I wasn't any good at marriage myself, but I that doesn't mean I would want to deny the right to the institution to any couples, straight or gay, who can make it work. I've noticed that when a marriage partnership really clicks, the two partners' mutual support generates a strength that benefits not only themselves but also others with whom they regularly come into contact. Why the hell would we want to deny our society more of that kind of goodness?

Polenth said...

I got a new footrest today. And a new fluorescent tube. The footrest is for me and the tube is for the fishes (because they don't need a footrest). They've probably forgotten what light is, after waiting for the tube to arrive.

Ulysses said...

Regarding proposition 8:

It may be of no consolation, but I offer this anyway:

Certain things carry with them an air of inevitability. Forty years ago, it was unthinkable that a man or woman would publicly admit their love for another of their gender. Twenty years ago, such relationships were an open secret only among close acquaintences. Today, such love dares speak its name in words heard internationally.

I think Proposition 8 is a relic supported by people who believe the future has come too fast. Lesbian and gay relationships exist. They cannot be denied, they cannot be suppressed or legislated out of existence. They can only be accomodated.

I have no doubt that the drive to support legal same-sex ties will outlast the drive to outlaw them. I do not counsel patience, I merely wish to encourage. As Shakespeare said with greater eloquence: "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all."

...er... way too political, I suppose. As a Canadian, I feel I must apologize. No reason for it. It's just what we Canadians do. That and play hockey.

Corked Wine and Cigarettes said...

I would imagine Prop 8 will be subject to some due process scrutiny in the form of legal action. I confess that I have not read it, nor do I know about the law that granted the right in the first place, but my spider-lawyer sense tingles when I see rights given and then taken away by a state. Suppose it depends on the language of the original law.

Keep fighting anyway, Cali. Those that hate such things are seeing their numbers diminish by the day.

lotusloq said...

I thought I'd step away from the political arena and ask a few things that have been on my mind lately.

Nathan, could you give some specific YA titles that you particularly like? (other than the ones you rep and Anne and May's that are great).

I'm also curious if you think it would be best to keep YA novels between 60K-80K? (for first timers that is) I know you say that word count isn't crucial and all--that it's the writing that counts and the story of course, but for a first time novelist how much harder is it to get a 115K novel published as opposed to a 70K novel? Let's say that the novels are equally well written and compelling?

Last but not least, how do your tastes compare to Ginger Clark's or Ginger Knowlton's or others at Curtis Brown? I want to query you first 'cause I love your blog and think you would be great to work with, but if my writing would be better with them I'd hate to delay it getting to the right person by a couple of months when you wouldn't be the least bit interested.

Thanks for all you do to help us beginners sort of know what we're doing!

Nathan Bransford said...

lotusloq-

My taste in YA runs all over the map, although I gravitate a bit toward the more literary and the mystical like THE BOOK THIEF, Sherman Alexie, and on the classic side of things, ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS and MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN. IN THE BREAK by Jack Lopez combines a lot of YA elements that I really love.

The Gingers represent wonderful children's books for all age levels. I would be hard-pressed to characterize their taste across the board, especially as compared to mine!

Jeanie W said...

Nathan-

Do the Gingers handle illustrators or author/illustrators?

spinregina said...

Hey, congratulations from Canada. We've been watching this election with bated breath, no, seriously, we have (our own was so...mundane in comparison) and offer up congratulations and slaps on the back. www.spinregina.blogspot.com for more...(not much more, but more).

lotusloq said...

Thanks! Nothing about the length thing?

Christine N. said...

Been following your blog daily all summer long, but first time posting! Thank you Nathan, for all that you do and for all your valuable advice.

To answer your "You Tell Me," I am a mix of emotions today - joy, respect, confusion, sadness. Obama is a refreshing breath of air after you've been underwater for a couple seconds too long. Finally! An African-American family in the White House! But... I'm baffled. How is it that California can elect Obama and vote yes on 8 at the same time? Also, Michael Crichton passed away and that's really sad news for the book world.

Nathan Bransford said...

Oh, sorry. I'm not a stickler for word count.

Nathan Bransford said...

re: illustrators, Ginger Knowlton does, Ginger Clark does not.

Ello said...

I'm so proud to be an American. I keep tearing up. Can't stop. I'm right outside of Washington DC so as you can imagine, we are out of our minds with happiness!

Ryan Field said...

"It would be interesting to see what a mass exodus of the gay community would do to industry in California. Especially the film industry."

Not to mention Santa Monica Blvd :)

However, it's just a setback, and it's not over by any means because we're not going away.

lotusloq said...

Hey, are you a fan of paranormal or supernatural stuff in YA? or not so much?

Nathan Bransford said...

lotusloq-

Try me. I read everything and always say that I don't know what I'm going to like until I see it.

Heidi Quist said...

Just a post to throw this thread into less unbalance. HOORAY that Prop 8 passed! There is still a majority of wise people in California who can study an issue through and through and not see things so black and white. HOORAY HOORAY HOORAY!

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired from staying up late and watching the returns and Obama's speech, but I'm on cloud 9 because of the election.

Nathan, I'm writing a historical fiction/thriller. I'm curious as to what the market is like for that type of work right now.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

The market for pretty much everything is difficult right now, but books are still getting published, so it all depends on the particular project.

Marilyn Peake said...

I love that we’re allowed to post about any topic here today.

On Monday night, I attended a huge presidential rally. Gates opened five hours before the event started, six hours before the presidential candidate appeared, and people lined up hours before the gates even opened. On the national news today, we heard that there were 90,000 people in the audience! We were right up front, shook hands and took photographs. We met people from lots of different places, even an intern from Canada who's studying U.S. politics. The experience in the crowd was incredible. It was truly wall-to-wall people, with no room to move, for hours and hours, listening to music over the loudspeakers. Someone even had a baby carriage next to us, and little kids asleep on the ground. But there was no pushing or shoving or yelling, just an amazing sense of peacefulness, awe, and waiting. It is something I will never forget. I wish that I could have made it to the big Chicago rally last night as well, but that would have been very difficult especially considering how tired we were after standing for so many hours on Monday night. Today, we looked at the amazing photographs we took at the Monday night rally, and feel very lucky to have been present at such an historical moment.

Right before we left for the rally, I noticed that you had opened up your blog to the first three query letters for critique. I was so disappointed that I didn’t have time to submit. Will you be doing that again, Nathan? Do you ever open up your blog to submissions of novel excerpts for critique?

Nathan Bransford said...

Marilyn-

Yes, I'll do query critiques in the future. I'm not sure about manuscript critiques though because it's really tough to judge manuscripts after just a page or two.

Anonymous said...

Nobody's mentioned that President Elect Obama opposes same-sex marriage. Does this make him one of the haters?

JES said...

Like most (all?) of you, I am bowled over with happiness today for the general results of the last 24 hours.

But here in FL, we've got our own version of Prop 8 -- Amendment 2 -- and I pray that Corked Wine's spider-lawyer sense is right on. What an embarrassment.

I did notice that as the state-by-state results crawled across the screen throughout the evening, in a lot of states there were huge Dem majorities for gubernatorial and senatorial candidates... and very narrow majorities for Obama, or even outright rejections. Kept thinking Eh? What's up with that? And then I'd have a little jolt of cynicism about why that might be...

But the cynicism didn't "take." I'll never forget Election Day '08.

Anonymous said...

Thank for taking questions Nathan! I'm writing a novel that I envision as the first in a series. When I do a query letter do I say that? Or will the agent think "oh, somebody is being over ambitious?" (I secretly want to be the next Elizabeth Peters.)

Anonymous said...

^ That should have been "Thank you" Doh!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Check out the FAQs (post on the right side of the blog). I have a post on how to handle series.

moonrat said...

thank you!!!!

Not The Rockefellers said...

What's on my mind right now 4:14 PM?
How do I cut up enough little squares of colored tissue paper for tomorrow's lesson on "The Legend of The Indian's Paintbrush" by Tomie de Paola, without getting carpal tunnel syndrome. I know that has nothing to do with anything political or literary here but, seeing as you asked..

Peace - Rene

Jeanie W said...

Nathan,

Thanks for all you do to encourage and develop writers. You are every bit as wonderful as Moonrat. I notice it's too late to wish you a happy second blogiversary, but I notice you're approaching two and a half years at this. So happy 2.5!

Marilyn Peake said...

Thanks so much for answering my question, Nathan. I look forward to future query critiques on your blog.

lotusloq said...

Thanks for being open to whatev! I'll be sending along a query whenever I get this novel thing worked out. I've got some serious editing to do. It's going to be a regular blood bath. Hopefully it will bleed light.

Juliette Dominguez said...

I went to bed last night feeling proud to be an American -- not something I've felt in the longest time. WooHoo President Obama!

ehadams23 said...

I am sick in the heart at the death of Crichton and the passing of Prop 8. What a terrible day- and after such a good one yesterday too...

Sempiternal said...

Still can't believe prop 8 was passed. Obviously our country still has quite a bit of improvement to do concerning many issues.

There is one thing I have to say since it's been annoying me all day.
There are so many people attacking Obama right now who have no idea what they are talking about. I can respect other people's views (and always at least try to see where they're coming from), but if people haven't done an ounce of research or haven't even glanced at the facts then I believe that they really don't have a right to say anything, at least not until they actually look at the facts.
Sorry, it just annoys me when people ignorantly spout off things.

Michael Crichton is gone... That's sad news indeed.

Oh...one question. Does anyone know why the New York Times website is making people register to view articles? It's still free...

Starrie said...

I don't think anyone on my street got any sleep last night. The jazz club two doors down had been advertising an Obama Victory Party for about 2 weeks, so they had a pretty serious turnout. When CNN announced the winner, they all ran out into the middle of the street screaming and dancing. Cars were bumper-to-bumper and honking in support, and the partygoers were high-fiving the drivers. This old man was prancing up and down the street screaming, "In my lifetime, YES WE DID." It was enough that a lady came running out of Subway to ask if Obama had won. When she heard he had, she screamed and started hugging people.

My roommate and I went downstairs to join in, and a guy passing us was on his cell phone going, "This is incredible; I've never seen anything like this in my life!" It really was something else.

I like that Obama's not making himself out to be a superhero. What he is, is HOPE, and hope is what inspires people to act. He's not pretending to be a miracle worker; he's saying he believes in us and our future and believes that we can do anything if we're willing to fight for it. Wanting things to get better doesn't fix them. You have to believe they can get better first, and once you believe--- well, yes, we can.

JohnO said...

On a writing note, I'm one scene from the end of my novel ... and feeling exhausted. All that revision to make it non-sucky!!

Does anyone else feel that way in the midst of a long project, or is it just early-onset darkness and drizzle?

Adaora A. said...

It's quite bittersweet isn't it Nathan. We got the best candidate to represent US (Obama obviously, and I voted for him all the way from my neck of the woods in Toronto), and equally, that Prop 8 buisness....

It's really unfortunate that people can't understand the gravity of the decision they made. I wish I could have voted in that bid but being a Connecticut baby that wasn't an option.

Wanda_B_Ontheshelves2 said...

I'm another Yeswecaner

I was on the phone all night last night with my friend, switching back and forth between channels, whooping and hollering, and then I said, "shouldn't you call your sister?" I started crying the minute we got off the phone, I think 8 years' worth of crying.

But today's tears go back to high school, when my grandparents (from down south) moved to a smaller house, and gave me stuff: painted wood sandals with purple velvet straps, sequined and embroidered, from Puerto Rico; a sea green silk bathrobe; and some of my grandfather's super-stylish elastic belts. And listening to Billy Paul's "Thanks for Saving My Life" -

Thanks for savin' my life
For pickin' me up
Dusting me off
Making me feel like I'm living again (Like I'm living again)

In my aqua bedroom. In my grandfather's silk bathrobe. My grandfather, who when he came back from the Korean War (army corps of engineers) and saw my mom (who had gone through puberty while he was away) said: "Girl, your legs are as big as ham hocks." My grandfather, who according to my uncle, sat on the porch and threw M-80 flares at the little black girls walking by. Which I only found out after my grandmother's funeral, as an aside after dinner, while we were putting our coats on, because I had mailed my uncle (in all my collegiate idealism) an essay I had written about Detroit.

John Berryman in his Dream Songs wrote:

The marker slants, flowerless, day’s almost done, / I stand above my father’s grave with rage, / often, often before / I’ve made this awful pilgrimage to one / who cannot visit me, who tore his page / out: I come back for more, I spit upon this dreadful banker’s grave / who shot his heart out in a Florida dawn

In contrast to another golden oldie, Gladys Knight and the Pips:

I've really got to use my imagination
To think of good reasons
To keep on keepin' on

Got to make the best of a bad situation
Ever since that day
I woke up and found
That you were gone

I wrote a poem about a new American flag. I painted a new American flag. I just haven't been able to read this poem aloud in front of anyone - show the flag, yes; read the poem, no. But last night I got inspired to read my poem next week at my poetry group. Real, real inspired! Yes, I can!

I am joyfully grief-stricken, or grieviously joyful. I have to work on stuff for an upcoming craft show (party hats for cats, snowpuffs, etc), glue gun, glitter, paint - like those Puerto Rican souvenir sandals I loved back in high school, that I got from my grandparents. I revel in this moment - longwinded-ly, crying-ly, grieviously, joyfully.

abc said...

My heart feels full of hope for the first time in--oh, I don't know--8 years? it was wonderful to watch Obama's speech last night. It was wonderful to share in all the tears of joy on all those faces (thousands of excited faces!). Yay to America!

And boo to California. Craziness. Your Prop is just great--for me to POOP ON! (I love to quote Triumph, I'm sorry0

Flex said...

De-lurking from distant shores to say hi (Hi!)

Seeing the US elect Obama is incredibly encouraging. I still wait to see how that affects the foreign and financial policies of the US; policies that tend to affect the rest of the world dramatically.

The LA prop 8 decision is interesting to me. Personally, I define 'marriage' as a M&F relationship, so if I'd been voting I'd have voted one way and I'd expect others to have voted another way. I find it interesting that merely having an opinion in one direction gets people like me labelled a "hater" by so many - I work with people of different sexual persuasions, religions and ethnicities and get along well with them. I wonder is the real concern a lack of faith in democracy?

Regarding Michael Crichton, what a terrible shame for his fans, but more so for his family. A compelling writer, I remember being thrilled reading Airframe while on a flight between Singapore and Australia. Now that was an exciting flight.

Thanks for the blog Nathan, it's a great read. And all the best USA for the new year and the new government.

Scott said...

I hate anything to do with willful dehumanization. One force felt abolished last night, but another still needs to be fought. As a heterosexual white male, I hope I can trust my objectivity when I say that if one falls, so will the other. Someone will step up and highlight the truth, we just have to be patient while fighting, and hopeful while diligent. So let Obama's being elected serve as some hope for all.

Such an element of peace in the bookstore today, more so than just that comfortable element of thoughtful exploration. An edge was definitely missing that I didn't realize had been there until it was gone.

Great stuff and truly inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Nathan - if you have the time, could you please answer this quick question?

When querying, should a writer include their real name, their pen name, or both?

Thank you!

Bethanne said...

Is it possible to write something you can't stand reading anymore? What happened to Harlequin of the 80's and 90's? I keep picking up one here, another there, hoping against all hope that I'll finally like something I read. Nada. Nothing. THis one actually used the term nipply mounds. WTH?

I've liked them before, will they let me in the door if I write something individual? something that sounds like me? Lots of my favorite authors started in catagory, Brockmann, Roberts... to name two. Ugh. Perhaps, I'll have to look elsewhere. I should respect the people I'm writing for, eh?

Orange Slushie said...

I'm in Australia and we're all breathing a (congratulatory) sigh of relief. We suspected you might be sane over there but we were awaiting evidence. We just ditched our own war-mongering, ultra-conservative long-time leader late last year in a landslide election. He was far too chummy with Dubya for comfort, so we feel (as does most of the world) that US politics affect us directly. I do note the comment made by someone regarding Prop 8 that Obama opposes same-sex marriage. Our new PM is far more liberal than the last but he is still a relatively conservative Christian (we're not very religious here; being Christian is by no means essential to getting elected. Church and state here are very separate and you mess with that at your peril) who opposes same-sex marriage. That's not to say he isn't a vast improvement on the previous PM, and he is doing good work, much as I expect Obama will do. But let's not forget that we've swung from the far right only to somewhere slightly less conservative. And the interests of gay couples aren't necessarily going to feature in that kind of political climate.

Anonymous said...

May not be a political blog--but this is an unusual day in history; besides, since when have writers ever NOT had strong opinions. So here I go: While it's encouraging to see this nation overcoming its bias toward racism--it's also discouraging to see there's still one minority toward which discrimation is still acceptable. I'll leave it at that. Don't mean to be a downer on such a big day--but it's difficult to ignore the irony.

Diana said...

Pertaining to the election: I was baffled by the variety of strange anti-personal liberty items on ballots around the U.S., but amused by others. I'm sad about California, but glad to know that I've got the go ahead to play some video lottery on the East Coast. And I'm so pleased that over all, Americans realized that it was important to participate in the election process and that their votes mattered. In our county, two of the elections were decided by less than 200 votes!

Pertaining to writing: I'm struggling with the fine line between historical fiction and narrative non-fiction. I'm working on a manuscript that is based entirely on what I am finding in the papers and through interviews, but I am writing it like a novel so I'm creating dialogue based on what I found in the papers. Historical fiction? Narrative nonfiction? It's more accurate than some of the memoirs out there...

Anonymous said...

I've seen it commented on only once or twice here, and it's jarring: In general, folks are very happy over Obama's decisive victory yet very UNhappy about Prop 8 (and the similar measure in Florida). I just want to be sure people understand that Obama is *against* same-sex marriage (which i myself am for, though I don't live in CA or FL).

So when y'all say, in so many words, that those who voted for Prop 8 are haters, bigots, inbreds and so forth, you *do* realize that the man you're lionizing is one of them. Don't you?

Drewdawg said...

May not be a political blog--but this is an unusual day in history; besides, since when have writers ever NOT had strong opinions. So here I go: While it's encouraging to see this nation overcoming its bias toward racism--it's also discouraging to see there's still one minority toward which discrimation is still acceptable. I'll leave it at that. Sorry;don't mean to be a downer on such a big day--but it's difficult to ignore the irony.

Dorinda Ohnstad said...

I too was stunned by LA County. I expected as much from my area of California (Central Valley), but counted on the rest of the state to pull things off. Goes to show that scare tactics and misleading the voting public works. Now it will have to be up to the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually address the issue of whether this new constitutional provision violates the U.S. Constituion, which is the supreme law of the land. I'm just not sure that they are ready to go that far. Not yet anyway.

Sheila said...

You know what's ironic about the Prop 8 thing? Every school aged kid went home asking their parents what it meant (at least, mine did, more than once).

The proposition proponents were so afraid of gay marriage being taught in school, and then they put it there themselves.

Maybe the next generation will get it right.

superwench83 said...

Okay. I hate confrontation and usually avoid it, but this discussion has been completely one-sided with the exception of heidi quist's comment. So I will respectfully break my silence for this one comment, but I'm not here to argue; I won't argue. I just want to offer a different point of view.

Regarding Prop. 8: Contrary to what seems to be the belief around here, people who oppose gay marriage don't oppose it because they're "haters" or bigots or because they want to take others' rights away. There are very sound reasons for opposing gay marriage. You might not agree with this perspective, but it's simply not fair to assume that I and others like me hold this viewpoint based on close-minded ignorance. We have our reasons, just as you have yours. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me, just to understand that there is logic behind the viewpoint, whether you think that logic is sound or not. I won't go into what that logic is; the argument would be long and cyclical, and I already said that I wasn't going to argue. Anyway....

Regarding Obama's election, it truly is a historic day. As someone who has always been fascinated by history, I cannot help but feel a sense of wonder at what we have just seen. I did not vote for Barack Obama, but I wish him well. I wish him a great presidency, and I hope that all Americans can get behind him and wish him success as well. Because being bitter won't get this country anywhere. And the fact that a man who once would have been seen as inferior because of the color of his skin can be elected to this country's highest office truly is something to celebrate.

Rocco Pendola said...

It was basically a 50-50 split in LA County on Prop 8. I love San Francisco, lived there for a long time. No doubt, it blows LA away for a multitude of reasons, but Nathan you are, potentially without any knowledge of it, misrepresenting reality by calling LA County.

LA County is HUGE. You could take portions of LA County like the 90027 zip code I live in... so basically Echo Park, SilverLake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, and a few other places... and what do you have population-wise and attitude-wise? A place BIGGER than San Francisco. And guess what, those areas - and I am sure we can find this out for sure - voted NO on 8 in a landslide. Just like San Francisco, the place I miss terribly. Even as I defend LA, I am homesick re: The City!

Ruth said...

OK, I'm not an American so: can someone please enlighten me as to what LA County did?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm amazed at the number of people who are proud of America today, and clearly felt something else yesterday. Hey folks, who do you think voted last night? Do you think the people standing in line for coffee and walking down the street are different people than you saw yesterday? Do you honestly believe you're living in a different America today?

Go look in a mirror and figure out what really changed overnight. If you hated America yesterday and love it today, you don't deserve America.

Lady Glamis said...

anon-

I agree. Why is everyone changing their mind about stuff after the election????

terryd said...

Re: the presidential election - I'm happy to see so many people happy. I'm glad there's no recount. The last 16 years were filled with incredible pettiness from both sides of the ideological divide.

Notably absent is the great gnashing of teeth from the opposition that followed the last four elections. Hopefully we can be a bit more civil this time around, and make a few necessary improvements.

Anonymous said...
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Ruth said...
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Ruth said...
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Nathan Bransford said...

If people want to say their piece in a respectful fashion that's totally fine. Free country and all that. But 1) this is a family blog, and there's no reason to get anatomical about it, and 2) I think people should think about why they feel the need to comment anonymously. I don't want to have to shut this down because this is a big country with lots of different opinions, and we're all one big community. But lets keep things on the level.

Maris Bosquet said...

Sigh. I'm too upset about Michael Crichton to say anything...Thanks for the opportunity, though.

Nathan Bransford said...

"Big world" by the way. Sorry international readers.

Laura D said...

Thanks for keeping it clean, Nathan and thanks more for challenging the anon people. If one can't stand up and show themselves, then I suspect they have something to hide. As a Cannuck, sorry about prop 8 and good for you to elect based on the person. We were very happy when we had a female prime minister.

kdjameson said...

I'm generally a lurker, although I've looked forward to the next edition of Nathan's blog in my mailbox for almost a year.

Regarding the election: personally I am thrilled at the outcome and I do feel proud of being an American for the first time in 8 years. I never thought this would happen in my lifetime. I can't really know what this means for African Americans. I can imagine, coming from the South, raised during the sixties, but I can never know what it feels like, with their history, to see someone like themselves at the pinnacle of power in our country.

One of the things I am taking away from this historic night is something that may sound corny.
I am utterly sick of the "Us and Them" divisions I have felt, from both sides, for the last almost-decade. Obama makes me want to be a better person, to try harder, to not meet fire with fire. I don't want to "other" people.

I dealt with two very different people today, one very angry and disappointed at the outcome, the other thrilled and wanting to lord it over the other side. I tried to address both of these situations with Obama's message in mind, with a desire for unity while respecting and not dismissing differences.

I'm exhausted from the labeling and the vitriol. I want to be different and the ONLY way to do that to my mind is to not wait for the "other" side to do it, but to try to live it now.

And lastly, to the person who asked if you can start a new Nano novel five days in, I hope so because although I haven't done that I am waaaaay behind. About 3 days behind. About 5,001 words behind. No plot? No problem. But it's a cinch this isn't the novel I'll be querying Nathan about in the future either;-)

freddie said...

I was one of those people lucky enough to be in Grant Park on election night. I didn't get to see Obama or even the screen (I'm short), but I heard most of his speech clearly. It's hard to describe the sheer awe of the event. I'll never forget it.

I've said this before, but what really struck me about the event was how polite and respectful everyone was—and that's saying a lot for a gathering of roughly a quarter of a million people. It truly did feel like a new era.

Professor Tarr said...

I am Exec Director of an organization that builds preschools in Tanzania, Africa. The last time I was in country - June - EVERYone asked me whether Obama truly had a chance. It is interesting, in a land where I typically see no TVs (electricity is a rarity in the places I go) they knew Obama. And it was an informed knowledge!

How a simple villager living in a tiny one room, cow dung and stick hut a forty-five minute walk from the next similarly appointed home could know of Obama was beyond my understanding. But they did. And it was amazing.

I know that right now there will be prayer meetings and praise songs lifted up at the news of Obama's election in the churches and schools and throughout my beloved villages. I am happy for them. I am happy for all of us.

I really wish I was there. It would be such a heartfelt outporing of true sentiment and it would be entirely selflessly so - Tanzania is not a 'sexy' African nation (no genocides, no famines, no celebrities running around the plains, just a bunch of poor people doing the best they can to survive) so there is probably no effect whatsoever that a change of our political regimes will have on them personally. So they are simple happy for the world - for us.

We have a lot to learn from them.

freddie said...

From what I understand, the fight regarding prop 8 is not over. Here's the link: http://www.sacbee.com/1089/story/1371978.html

V L Smith said...

Nathan,

I've heard failure to introduce the main character within the first few pages of a novel is the kiss of death. Is this true?

Nathan Bransford said...

VL-

If it works it works.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Nathan, I usually don't talk about politics either because things can get so heated, but as a Californian, I felt downright shame when I heard that prop 8 passed.

What's next, defining what constitutes a person?

And I tend to be pretty conservative on many things. This is downright scary and a blatant infringement on human, civil rights.

As I also observed, one huge step forward but many steps backwards the other day.

Okay, sorry! Back to writing and publishing :-)

Maris Bosquet said...

All right, here's what I should have said when I came in from work late last night.

Is "edge" old hat? Becoming a cliche? What's wrong with the quiet story told well? Why must everything scream EDGE. IMPORTANT. NOW. The trouble with NOW is that it's not now a year or two from now. It's dated, and dated is embarrassing.

Just my opinion. Thanks for the chance to vent. :)

Lee Wind said...

"President Barack Obama." It's a sea-change for young African American boys, to know that they're part of the American Dream. That they're not just seen as future gangsters, or rappers, or sports stars, but that they could grow up to be PRESIDENT! That's heady. This will change how young Black men see themselves, and how the rest of our culture sees young Black men's potential, forever!

On the other hand, California has just told young Gay and Lesbian Teenagers that they and their loves and lives are not equal.

That disconnect will not stand. The fight is on, and we should not rest until every child knows they are supported to grow into the unique and individual person they are meant to be - that whether they are Black, or Gay, or both, or any other permutation of our wonderfully diverse world, that they have a chance to BE themselves, and make their lives, and our world, fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I've never posted before, but today I come to gloat.

I have been reading this blog for awhile now, too intimidated to post a single word. I must say, during the time that I've lurked in the shadows of this blog I have often felt like one of those american idol wanna-bes standing in line, waiting to audition for stardom. Rejection felt like a sure reality.

But today, I'm a freakin writer. I just received my editorial letter from Words into Print and I am riding a high so strong I feel like I just might be able to fly among the clouds.

Forget the god awful agent search! I've got three agents lining up to read my manuscript and I never had to crack open my guide to literary agents.

Holy crap!

Suddenly, everyone believes I'm going to land a lead title for a major publishing house on my very first novel.

Okay, now I've gloated and will post no more. Execuse me while I jam my ipod and do my victory dance.

I think you'll be hearing my name very soon!!!!

kdjameson said...

Hey anonymous! Congratulations, you deserve to gloat. It sounds like you are on your way. However, in order for anyone to hear your name (and recognize it) you'll have to tell us what it is. You wouldn't want to get confused with all the other "Anonymous"s out there, would you;-)

Secretman! said...

Nathan,

After looking at the number of replies to your various posts, I must say you are quite popular.

P.S. My wife says you look like Dr. Chase off of House.

Sophie said...

Gloat away Anonymous and enjoy it. Congratulations. What a good idea gloating anonymously. Its great to share your triumph.

I'm now feeling inspired to gloat too!

I have to go and feed my newborn girl. I am just wondering when I'm going to get round to the tough edit my novel needs.

I was touched by the concession speech. So gracious in defeat.

Jeanne said...

I'm really late to this post. Yesterday was hectic and I had a difficult time writing my own post about the election. So, I didn't visit this or any other blogs.

About Prop 8- The good thing about living in a Republic of States is that each State has the right, within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, to pass laws that suit it's populus. Prop 8 would never work in Oklahoma or Texas, though we have a very strong Gay community in Tulsa. But, the good thing about the USA is that if you are a pro Gay Marriage person you have the freedom to move to a State in the Republic that suits. Giving that right, and taking it away, is a mind freak and I would be very angry if I was a Californian.

I'm guessing that Obama, as leader of the Entire Republic, is against a National Law in favor of Gay Marriage which would impose something on some States that would be unwanted. But that he would not interfere with individual States passing Gay Marriage laws.

And WHAT about the Chief of Staff selection? How much more historical can this get? Rahm Israel Emanuel- whose father is a Pediatrician from Jerusalem who was a militant for a time- will be the Chief of Staff. The President will be a man with a father from Kenya who was Muslim. The Chief of Staff a man whose father is from Israel. It's like the lions laying down with the lambs. Kinda.

Anonymous said...

Jeanne-
I live here in Cali and its been a tug-of-war for about 5 years. I personally think that prop 8 came about as a backlash from the a push that came too hard and too fast. Bearing in mind, of course, that domestic partnerships have been legal here for some time.

Certain local politicians took it upon themselves to defy state laws and allow these marriages. The backlash came in the form of a law against gay marriage. That law, passed by a genuine majority, was then overturned as unconstitutional by a court. The marriages began again. The backlash, obviously, was Prop 8.

I think certain 'forward-thinking' politicians were using this as a wedge to advance their own careers. There aren't many places in the USA that are as gay-friendly as California. Honestly, how many other states even have that reputation? That fact that California votes consistently (and irreversibly, it would seem) democrat and yet passed this amendment tells you that it was about more than the amendment itself.

I don't really take either side in this issue because I believe 'marriage' is a religious ceremony and 'partnership' is a legal arrangement. I think our culture is moving towards this separation. If we are truly to have a separation of church and state, then matters of community property (for instance) should be decided based upon legal arrangements (partnerships). Use of the term 'marriage' in my opinion, cannot be dictated by law. Or it least it shouldn't be.

And yes, I'm posting anonymous. Sorry. Most of us can't afford to have a political opinion and a career at the same time. Even Nathan, the world's most popular literary agent, has to parse his words here.

Jeanne said...

anon- First, I goofed on my comment. I meant that Oklahoma and Texas- my homes- would never allow legal Gay Marriage.

I just think it's too bad that something was allowed for whatever reason, and has been yanked back.

As an Episcopalian I've been forced to contemplate Gay Rights within the Church, and Gay Marriage, a great deal. This issue has nearly caused The Episcopal Church USA to be excommunicated from the Anglican Communion. And every time it's brought back up we lose more members and more arguements ensue.

My personal idea is that all legal marriage should be civil. That the Wedding Service that takes place in the Church should be ceremonial.

If two hammered people in Vegas can meet and drive through a quickie wedding place and be married all in the same night- then I don't personally see why two commited gay people can't be legally married. I'd be fine with that even here in the Red State of Oklahoma. :)

Anonymous said...

Professor, loved your post about Tanzania.
Jeanne, you are quite right that Obama, rightly, chose not to address the issue of gay marriage on the federal level in this campaign.

We are all still floating on air in Calif over Obama, but very confused about what happened with 8. Several big marches of protest today. It will not hold up on the legal front, but it puts a lot of weddings that were planned on hold. And this economy could have used the revenue.

AR said...

Marriage has never been a homosexual institution. It's a heterosexual one. It means something that can't be meant by a same-sex couple. They have their own meaning.

People should study the history of homosexuality. It has taken different forms in different cultures. Nero is the only historical person I know of to have married someone of his sex - and he forced the boy to impersonate his favorite dead wife. However, in cultures where homosexuality was more normal, it often took the form of training boys for marriage (because they played the girl - see ancient Japan or the Greek legend of Ganymedes) or resulted from male chauvanism (see the writings of Plato, or the German court in the 1800's.)

I can't force my beliefs - that a homosexual act is destructive to the human person - on anyone, nor do I want to. I combine this belief with an understanding that any act of human love is edifying to the human person. What I do know, because I study cultures and languages, is that the coupling of the words "homosexual" and "marriage" is simply one more symptom of the loss of meaning and our epistomological crises in the postmodern world.

And as far as I know, I don't hate anyone. Nor do I want to prevent people from choosing who gets their power of attorney, inherits their stuff when they die, and so on. Please, how is it not hateful and ignorant to paint everyone who votes against "gay marriage" as hateful and ignorant?

Jeanne said...

I'm sure Nathan is glad this is a literary blog, not a political one.

My last word on the woes of Prop 8 is that I don't care about every detailed in and out regarding the history of sexuality and marriage. What's relevant to me is what love, marriage, etc.. are today.

Been married for 20 years and marriage is a beautiful, excruciating, exhuasting, rewarding thing. Giving yourself, heart, soul, financially- in every way to another person for every day, for the rest of your life- is so hard that 50% of marriages split up. And every marriage that lasts a lifetime goes through highs and lows. Those vows about better and WORSE and richer and POORER and SICKNESS and health, aren't for nothing. Cause you go through all of it when you are married.

Call it what you want. A rose by any other name.... but bonding your life with another persons in this way is daunting and wonderful. Anyone willing to take this ride, and make these sacrifices deserves the chance. Because it's not easy.

EV Satie said...

I live in LA and as others have mentioned, I am absolutely shocked that Prop 8 passed. Having said that, almost half of CA voted against it, so please don't think that we all feel that way!

Anonymous said...

"those who voted for Prop 8 are haters, bigots, inbreds and so forth"

Why would the anti-Prop 8 people think this about the majority who wished to retain a simple definition of marriage? We don't hate the homosexuals. They, apparently, cannot be other than who they are.

We just wish they'd find another word for their relationships than usurp the one for heterosexual ones.

Surely there is one gay or lesbian creative enough to come up with something different but applicable?

Anonymous said...

With the risk of being totally bashed and sending my book sales into the stool-- I pray you folks are right about our pres. elect. Listening to his speeches, I wanted to believe him. Having read his book, I could not believe his speeches. Nor, given the facts of his own words do I believe him to be a legal US citizen--to this date his camp has not proven to me other wise. I see him as the wizard and the world oz...(and that movie scared the crap out of me as a kid.) I question how so many intellectual folks refused to look beyond the rhetoric to examine the facts (as he himself laid them out in his book)--were we one in a herd; to have a black president was more hip than having a trusting safe ethical non prejudice pres? For the world's sake, I pray the 52% are right.
Prop 8-- an over zealous politician went against policy (and the majority law) and opened gay marriage in SF years back. The people spoke and voted against him. The state court over-turned the peoples vote stating its obvious constitutional violation. Again the people spoke, this time ca changed the prop to define marriage--not to violate anyone's rights. Gays have the same rights as married couples (more rights then do non-gays, actually) when they create their union or commitment to each other in our state... it is just not marriage. Lets face it, if i were to put hamburg on a bun it is a hamburger; if i put turkey on a bun it is a turkey-burger. The turkey doesn't think i hate it or am a bigot because i refuse to call it a hamburger. It is proud to be a turkey-berger. k, little weird analogy, but hey, when the turkey can walk like a cow and moo like a cow (procreate) I'll gladly call it a cow.
I have many black and gay friends. My relationship with them doesn't change the color of our skin nor our sexual preference. We love each other for who and what we are in each other's life and the world. I cannot change the facts any more than they can; nor would i wish to.
I wouldn't call a person convicted of murder a drunk driver. Gays just need to get their own word for their union so we can teach our children the difference and keep the facts straight.

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