April, as it often does here in Eastern NC, went by in a blur of mornings so clear and green and beautiful that it was almost possible to forget…everything, even the shitshow that we currently call the news. Well, ok. Maybe not that.
But April went by in a blur of thunderstorms and packed lunch boxes. A blur of graded papers and bills and laundry. A blur of workshops and readings.
All of this is to say that I have not had such an epic fail in keeping up with NaPoWriMo in years, and Fierce Friday had to go on hiatus. But I want to get back to it, as much as I can, because I miss it. I miss reading the responses to the questions by amazing women. When I wrote the questions, I don’t think I fully understood how important reading their answers would be.
Question one asks: “Out of all of your accomplishments, what are you most proud of and why?” One of the women I featured told me that I had asked a question that made her very uncomfortable right off the bat. Why? Because she has been conditioned to think of being proud of herself and her accomplishments as negative, as something women shouldn’t do.
I started to think about the times I have been shamed for for being proud, for talking about and, god forbid, posting about the things I have done. Among writers on social media, there is an ongoing discussion about whether or not one should “brag” about publications, readings, awards, etc. Whether or not one should “advertise.” In my experience (see how I tried to minimize negative reactions by qualifying my statement there?), this question comes up mainly in reference to women writers.
After announcing my graduation from my MFA on Facebook, a male colleague of mine commented “Congratulations on all your many accomplishments.” As positive as I generally try to be, I know this was not meant as an actual compliment. It was a “shut the fuck up about it already.”
But isn’t it possible that he meant it as a compliment?
But surely you’re misreading it?
But of course you’re overreacting.
You know what? I just had two poems accepted in two different journals on the same day. I worked hard on those poems. I worked hard submitting those poems to journals. And you're damn right I'm going to post about them when they are published. But I consciously did not post about them being accepted because, somehow, that might be "too much."
Fuck. That. Noise.
Fierce Friday will be back next Friday.