2017: The Year of Writerly Resistance

After our 2016 Holiday Hiatus, we are back with a bang! For new followers and old, welcome to our blog. We’re so glad you’re here.

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Overtoom, Amsterdam, 12am January 1, 2017

I had a fantastic New Year’s eve: As I was in London for research this winter, it was an easy hop/skip/jump to Amsterdam. There I got to ring it in with old friends, and together we ate fragrant persimmons, drank sparkling wine, and watched the glorious Dutch tradition of extravagant firecrackers and rockets explode over the Overtoom for hours. I had many important and beautiful conversations with the writers who I have carried, and who have frequently carried me. Together, we fortified ourselves for the coming year.

By all rights, 2017 is going to be a hairy year for smart women everywhere. There will be a lot of changes in Washington that affect the world as the US becomes the latest nation to succumb to the global wave of aggressive nationalism and all the terrible things that accompany it.

Anyone who writes for a living is already aware that financially things will get tighter as the new political process unfolds. At minimum, we should expect that all federally-funded projects could become bargaining chips, and have the potential to be de-funded. For those of us whose main work is writing for and in those areas, either as contractors, full-time, part-time, or freelancers, it’s a really scary proposition. We may also see that the big federally-funded scholarships many writers and researchers depend on, like those of the National Endowment for the Arts & the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Science Foundation, etc. get whittled down. Heck, we’ll likely see more pettiness reaching astronomical levels, like it did last week when house Republicans tried to revive an obscure rule from the 19th century in order to slash the salaries of federal workers, who work to support climate innovations and gender equality, to $1 per annum. Clearly we’ve entered the realm of anything and everything being possible.

So with that, I think it’s vital that we as smart women who write, make a commitment to preserving our own livelihoods, and the livelihoods of our colleagues and friends. The levels of threat we individually may face are varied, but collectively unacceptable.  It’s no longer enough to sign an online petition in protest, for those who would take away someone’s livelihood out of spite don’t respond to pieces of paper and signatures.

Now’s a good time to decide, before it happens, what you will do for your fellow writers. For those of you who are experienced activists, we need you. Please fight for us, and allow us to follow. For those who are not, there are an innumerable amazing and wonderful guides out there to helping beginners get involved in taking back our democracy. Now, while you are still jazzed about the New Year, new you, or at least now, while you are stuck inside with all the snow, is the best time to familiarize yourself with some tactics and decide which you are able/willing, and are not able/willing to do.

Smart women have to fight just like we have to write. Let’s do this together. May we all stay strong and healthy in the coming year, and live to fight another.

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Scheveningen Beach, Den Haag, Netherlands, 2017

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