Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.
Today, she’s taking a trip into outer space! Bailey Boots is very excited.
She even brought her friends, Cowshark…
…and Moo, of course!
Bailey says, “we’re going to have a wonderful space adventure!”
“How did we get here?” Moo asks.
“Moo?” Cowshark agrees.
Bailey Boots is confused. She doesn’t remember.
“But it’s okay. We’ll have a grand adventure anyway!”
“I mean, it IS kind of weird, isn’t it?” Moo asks.
“Moo,” Cowshark agrees.
Bailey Boots is stumped. It is weird, isn’t it?
“What is going OOOOOOOOOOOOOOON?”
… H… happy Bailey Boots?
Why do books matter for the next generation? #kidlit #amwriting #revolution
Originally posted on Jessica Rising:
I can’t tell you exactly when I first started writing, nor why I continue to this day. Authors tend to repeat the oft-used phrase, “we write because we must” to cover such questions. I tend to agree with this. It isn’t a satisfying answer, but there it is — I write because it is who I am.
As far back as I can remember I’ve seen the world… differently. My dollhouse was never enough; I always created an entire world around it with everything in my bedroom. Where most people saw a leaf on a tree, I saw an air-boat for a tiny elf. Where most people saw an office building, I saw a sideways world where people could fall off the walls into space.
I still see these things on a daily basis.
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that there are two ways to go about life…
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We’re a people of labels. In order to understand each-other, we have to put each-other into categories, such as:
“Straight” – “I can talk to this person like a “normal” person, because they represent what I was raised to know.”
“Gay/Lesbian” – “I will talk to this person like the opposite gender who I’m used to talking to. Wait… how can I talk to a man like I talk to a woman? Women are nuts, but men aren’t. How can I talk to a woman like I talk to men? Men are misogynists, but women aren’t. But this person… is? What? A man? A woman? How do I relate to this person? AGGGHH!
“Transgender” – “Okay, I understand now that gay people are just people. But wait… is this a man or a woman? How can I know if this is a gay person or a straight person if I can’t even tell if they’re male or female? Yeah, the’re people, but how can I tell if they’re going to hit on me and make me uncomfortable? I want to hook up with a man/woman. Trans people are liars who I can’t trust.
“Asexual” – “Um… what? There are people who don’t even WANT sex? How does that even work? Sex is AMAZING! How can you not want it? No way these people exist. You must be lying.”
“Pansexual” – “OMG! You want ANYONE? You’re my GREATEST FANTASY! Wait… you don’t want to be with me? You’re an ASSHOLE! Elitist! You can’t be Pan and tell me what you WANT. You want EVERYTHING. If you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite. Therefore you HAVE to want me!”
“Bisexual” – “Okay, so you want to be with the opposite gender and the same gender. I have a 50/50 chance then. Sweet! Wait… you don’t want me? Why not? You want dick AND coochie! I have one of those! What.. you want an EMOTIONAL connection too? What are you, a normal person who wants LOVE? HA! Only NORMAL people get love! WEIRD FREAKS like you only want sex! Right? RIGHT! If you wanted love, you’d be with the OPPOSITE gender. Love can only exist that way, after all.
I’m what society calls “straight”. I’m a woman who loves being with a man — namely, my husband. It’s acceptable in society to be who I am, but I often wonder what it would be like if my sexuality was marginalized. If loving a man, as a woman, was considered odd. Would I force myself to love a woman? No. I couldn’t do that. I could force myself to PRETEND I loved a woman, but it would never be who I really am. Does ANYONE have the right to decide who someone else is? What gives anyone the right to decide the truth of another person? If you need a label to know how to treat someone, you don’t understand the basis of humanity. May I suggest reading ‘Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo, “What is Man?” by Mark Twain, or “Ulysses” by James Joyce, to better understand your place in the universe? Read. Learn. Grow. Otherwise, you may never understand the place you hold in the history of man… and that’s not an enlightened place to be.
THIS is why literature is important. THIS is why books matter.
Bailey Boots is a curious girl. She tries new things every day.
Today, Bailey Boots is at school. Her teacher is talking about the science fair. Bailey Boots is curious AND excited!
But what should her science fair project be?
“Moo!” says Bailey Boots’ parrot friend.
“Moo?” says Bailey Boots with a giggle. “That’s your name, silly parrot, not a science project!
“Moo,” insists Moo.
Bailey Boots knows that Moo can say more than that. She starts to wonder what he means.
“Moo project!” Moo says excitedly. “Moo science!”
Bailey Boots wonders if a cowshark or a cowtree are real science. She’s not convinced.
“Nah,” says Bailey Boots. “I think I’ll just stick with a volcano this year.”
Happy Bailey Boots!
Here is the first chapter of my new YA novel, Blight. I thought I’d already posted it here, but I looked and can’t find it. Very odd. Please let me know what you think! Thank you. ~JR
by Jessica Rising
The ancient word hangs in my mind as I kneel in the dirt. My fingers, chalky with dust, working slowly. Carefully. I can’t afford another mistake. Already the rocky ground is littered with broken bits of metal, cracked cogs and de-twined springs. Here and there, peppering the mess, shiny bits of white glass reflect the low light from outside.
That, I broke on purpose.
Even in the beginning there were only two of the fragile globes. The most important pieces. But I had to know how they worked, and the glass cover hid the details inside. I’d had to sacrifice one to understand the other.
A pointless sacrifice.
I lift up the uncovered innards to study them again in the faint light. The tiny bits are as mysterious to me now as they were when I’d first killed the Knight, three days before.
The bottom is curved around and around like the hand drills we use in the quarry, only much shorter and fatter. Above, surrounded by a jagged lip of the broken glass that had covered them, two tiny metal wires stand up side-by-side, connected at the bottom by a small cube of clear glass. Another wire runs along the top, connected back to the glass cube by even thinner, springy wires.
I’ve studied it for days, at every angle, but it still makes no sense. Both globes worked perfectly when I saw them focused on me within the hollow eyesockets of the Knight, blinding me with their bright glow. But they’d gone dead with it. I haven’t been able to make them glow since.
Frustrated, I pull my book out of its secret pocket in my robes. Something hits my knee. I look down to see its sister has followed it. I’ve had both books for as long as I can remember and known they were dangerous for just about as long. Books are heresy against Bask, outlawed in the Under. Nobody here can read.
Nobody except me.
I don’t know why I can read. Neither of my parents can. Nobody I know can. I don’t remember learning how, I just always have. Just like I’ve always had the books.
I pick up the second book. It’s smaller than its sister, thinner, with a brown cover that almost matches my robes. I’ve always wanted to read it but I can’t. The lock on its side keeps its secrets well hidden.
I put it back in my pocket and focus on the other book, the one I can read. A little bigger than my open palm, its title is 8th Grade Physical Science. I’ve read it so many times I can almost recite it word for word, but I still understand so few of those words. I open it to a wrinkled page with a picture of a bulb. My lips move as I whisper the caption under my breath.
“Electricity is a force created by a difference in charges due to gained or lost electrons. Electricity flowing between two points is called an electrical current. In order for these electrons to flow, there must be a difference in charges between the two points. Electricity always flows from a location with a negative charge to a location with a positive charge.”
Words. So many words, so little sense in them.
I stare at both bulbs — broken and whole, and bite back a scream of frustration. It’s right here. RIGHT here. Light for the Under. Freedom for my people. So close, but so impossibly far away.
The small cavern where I kneel vibrates to the long, low toll of a bell.
The waking-bell. And today is Atonement. I won’t have another chance at lighting up our darkness for another whole day.
I was raised by a mother who I still worship to this day. I grew up with two sisters who I have always looked up to. I am Pagan, and relate to the Goddess so much more than any male-centric god. I had a father who cared more about alcohol than me, and a shitty stepfather who abused me and my sisters to the point that we’re still dealing with the psychological rift he built between us even now. My first marriage was full of control and psychological and religious manipulation. I never had any reason to even respect a man until I was in my early 30’s.
Yet I am a heterosexual woman.
Why does this matter? Why should anyone care that I’m in the realm of “normal” for society?
Because if sexual orientation was a choice, I’d be the perfect candidate for a lesbian.
Funny, though. I have no interest in women. I have experimented, like many, but every time it felt wrong. I am attracted to men, despite my prison-like patriotical upbringing. Despite the rape I experienced as a nine-year-old at the hands of my stepfather’s fourteen-year-old son. Despite my religiously controlled first marriage. Despite everything I have endured that tells me men are everything I want to avoid, I’m still attracted to them. Despite my love of my mother, despite the adoration I have for my sisters, despite the closeness of my very best girlfriends, I’m attracted to men.
To men I should hate. To men I should fear. To men I was raised to avoid and be terrified of.
Yet after 37 years of experimentation and adventure, I know now that I am 100%, absolutely, positively, and completely heterosexual.
Because I. Love. Men.
I am attracted to males. I am sexually excited by males. I adore my husband and am so attracted to him that it sometimes drives me wild. It never felt natural to be with a woman. Never.
And this, above everything else I can cite, is why I am entirely supportive of the LGBT community. Because if I, as a woman who never had a reason to even like men for the first three DECADES of my life, am still attracted to men, then how in the HELL could it be a choice?
Respect everyone. Love everyone. We all follow the path we love, and if we don’t then we’re on a path to Hell. Nobody deserves that. Never be the ferryman to that kind of place. Not for anyone. Not ever.
I refuse to ever point anyone in the direction of a lie.