Activism Getting Shit Done

If you ever doubt a single person can make a difference…

Bookmarked ‘Only 11 People’ Responsible for Majority of ‘Book Ban’ Requests?…,‘Only 11 People’ Responsible for Majority of ‘Book Ban’ Requests? by Kim LaCapria (

A May 2023 PEN America analysis of “book ban” requests found that most were filed by just eleven people.

… just think of the dozen people who have single-handedly gotten hundreds of books banned across the US! 🙃

One person can do a lot of harm as the squeaky wheel. How can you be a squeaky wheel for good?

See also:

Unite Against Book Bans

The Rights of children

Oppression against public opinion

The tactic of destroying the meaning of words


Nudging people towards overlooked books with inspired recommendations

Liked How to Decide which Books to Recomend? by Sara Jakša (Blog of Sara Jakša)

But that also means, that if they are not willing to provide the context, I can decide to recommend whatever I want.

One good thing would be, if I could recommend the books, that are not normally read by other people.

It’s so hard to recommend books to people who haven’t read much and don’t know what they like! I love Sara’s perspective to see it as an opportunity to recommend less-read books outside of the usual titles you’d find on a booklist, or that “everyone” has read. And really, isn’t that what people are looking for — a book they can love, a story that really resonated with someone else? Book lists are a shortcut to taste, but have traditionally not been good at including titles written by women, queer folk, and people of color — so that’s another opportunity to point people to more diverse authors than the standard bestseller list too 🙂

(Like Sara, I would usually also recommend Uprooted 😉 My less popular readalike might be Swordheart by T. Kingfisher.)

Art and Design Fantasy

Read The Tea Dragon Tapestry

Read The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon, #3) by Kay O’Neill

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Another charming entry in the series. I didn’t follow the plot about Minette’s past — was she previously a fish? — but it didn’t really matter because the emotions were the important part. I liked how the adults were all supportive when the kids wanted help but also let them make their own decisions. I appreciate that everyone in this had something meaningful to contribute even though they had few lines.


Weeknotes: May 20-26, 2023

large furrowed tree trunk of a deciduous tree beside bright green backlit leaves on the lake edge, the water barely visible between gaps in the foliage
A beautiful afternoon at Saint Edward State Park! I was annoyed by a lone jet-skier, why do they have to be so loud? There must be a way they can have fun without disturbing everyone in a mile radius 🤔

Stuff I did:

  • 3.25 hours writing
  • 2 hours consulting
  • 17 hours business development! 😲🥱 I decided to apply for another roster with a deadline next week 👀 so I’m packing a bunch of work I’d planned to complete over the next month into a week 😱 My holiday weekend may not be much of a weekend 🤷‍♀️
  • Organized sample works in my portfolio and updated my resume
  • Baked blueberry pancake cobbler from Smitten Kitchen Keepers
  • Rode my bike for the first time in a while and walked once with a friend
  • Headed up to Saint Edward State Park for a warm afternoon walk with my husband 🥰
  • Finally gave in and ordered new sneakers online

Watched How I Edit a First Draft

Watched How To Edit A Rough Draft || My Editing Process from YouTube

You finished a rough draft: Now what?? I know so many of us struggle with how to take our first draft from where it is now to where we want it to be.

  1. Braindump of ideas as soon as she finishes draft — what’s still in your head?
  2. What’s the overarching story question that’ll be answered?
  3. Zeroes in on POV character arc now that she knows the characters better
    • where is the character at the beginning?
    • mirror moment: midpoint recognition that they’re resisting change
    • who does this character need to be at the end?
  4. Looks at turning points / bones of the story:
    • ACT ONE
      • Opening scene/ hook
      • Key event — locks your character into the story
      • Meet the antagonist/ learn the mystery
      • Meet cute
    • ACT TWO part 1
      • Into the new world
      • Pinch point
      • Midpoint
    • ACT TWO part 2
      • Reaction to midpoint
      • Second pinch point
      • Second doorway — catapults into third act
      • All is lost
      • Climax / profession of love
      • Resolution
  5. Checks scene by scene:
    • does the progression from scene to scene work?
    • Are there plot holes that need filling?
    • Is the scene needed?
    • Does this scene support character arc, theme, plot?
  6. Makes scene index cards: character goal, outcome
  7. Fills in the holes, rewrite and write new scenes — she likes to fill in holes first rather than going through the whole book from the start
  8. THEN attacks sentence by sentence edits, amplifies what’s already good — here she goes from start to finish — some people do multiple passes of whole book with different targets, she does multiple passes chapter by chapter
  9. Listens through text to speech or naturalreaders
  10. Beta readers — she has them all comment on the same draft
  11. Copy editor / line editor — find inconsistencies and pacing issues
  12. One Final Read! She doesn’t like to let it sit for too long, maybe a week, trying to experience as a reader (tries to read in one sitting)
  13. Proofreader

Watched How to Work with Beta Readers

Watched How To Work With Beta Readers For Your Novel | How To Edit Your Novel: Part 3 from YouTube

How do you work with beta readers for your novel? In today’s video, I’m going to answer all your questions about beta readers!

Looking for someone who understands the book is incomplete, that you’re looking for feedback, needs to provide constructive criticism and be honest

She recommends line editor before beta read — beta read is one of the final steps

Most beta readers are not paid in $$$ — get to read book early and participate in process, behind the scenes working with the author — but be super thankful

How do you find beta readers? Hard when you’re a new author without fans 🤷‍♀️ Consider friends and family? Start building a relationship with people — Goodreads groups?

Writers can be tricky beta readers, but an option — beta read swap

Don’t have to have a beta reader — if you can at least have one other person read it (even a copyeditor)

She gets feedback on Google Docs — makes a beta reader version and gets comments on same copy

Also sends a form with questions or a list of questions to guide them through the process

Gives them a copy of the final book

Beta readers will take as long as you give them 😉 Try to give them plenty of time — two weeks to a month?

(She has list of suggested questions for beta readers)

Future Building Places Technology

Generative AI planning ordinances are for uninspired change

Liked Let the Robots Write the Ordinance by Ray Dubicki (The Urbanist)

Though touting its “remarkable precision and efficiency, providing urban planners and decision-makers with valuable insights and recommendations” the actual output of ChatGPT’s attempt to write a zoning ordinance will assure every planner that their job is safe.

I wasn’t expecting the urban advocacy blog I follow to get in on the AI debate 😂

The exercise, however, is quite useful. It uses the weaknesses of natural language processors like ChatGPT to highlight the weaknesses of planners.

So the bot is not drawing words from ordinances that successfully built cities. It’s drawing words from ordinances that successfully ran today’s political gauntlet and got adopted. There is no tie between the success of these words and the successful development of good neighborhoods. This is a best practices document in politics, not in urbanism. 

Emphasis mine.


Transparency for boring but important public meetings

Bookmarked Last Night at School Committee distills hours-long public meetings into half-hour podcast episodes by Kathryn Buchanan (Nieman Lab)

“We have created this podcast as an easy way for any parent, citizen, or interested party to get the highlights, and our take, on what happened last night at School Committee.”

Also the organization Documenters provides training for community journalists (they use the word citizen a lot on their website which makes sense from the “civic” standpoint of participation in representative government, but the word also has connotations about immigration status so I try to avoid using it outside of that definition)

This is a cool idea — but also having worked in government I know how long those meetings are 💤💤💤 More power to these reporters! I have appreciated a local reporter who live tweets local council meetings related to transportation (and am recalling they’re someone who I’m hoping has moved to another platform where I follow people?)

Personal Growth Reflection

Describing an expansive existence

Liked Towards Better Postcards by JeremyJeremy (

Like the Inuit with all their words for snow and the Scots with all their words for rain, I wonder if, as we confront the tumult inside of us, we need an expanded vocabulary to describe the subtle differences among the environments of our selves. I think the LGBTQIA+ community, using a string of letters that marches on toward a plus implying always more, has made an important contribution here: recognition that once we begin to focus our honest attention inward, we find a world as diverse and worthy of vocabulary as the one outside…

Activism Future Building Society

Overcoming defensive reactions to entertain different ways of living

Replied to On Natural Wine by Alicia Kennedy (From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy)

Neither natural winemakers or drinkers nor vegans are the powerful ones here. If you’ve been thinking they are, perhaps it’s time to interrogate why you feel that way—to ask how we can move forward for a better world, instead of mocking anyone trying to do things a bit differently.

The actual similarities between natural wine and veganism are, at the end of the day, about giving a shit.

If there is a commonality between natural wine and “the vegan movement”…, it is that people who do not participate in them overstate the influence and strength of both of these concepts. They are threatening because of the perceived “aggression” of the believers, forcing bottles imported by Jenny & Francois and Impossible Burgers down everyone’s throats! (This is not happening.)