Archive for the '14 valentines' Category

14 Valentines — by the numbers

Number of stories: 14 (for 14 days)
Number of stories posted on time: 14 (yeah, I surprised myself)
Number of fandoms written in: 4 (Stargate: Atlantis, CSI Las Vegas, West Wing, and Macdonald Hall)
Number of pages written: 304 pages (single spaced)
Number of words written: I shit you not — 130,968 words
Number of times I considered committing lj pseuicide: More than I can express to you using human language.
Number of times I burst into hysterical tears: Twice. You know who you are.
Number of times I logged onto del.icio.us and found incontrovertible proof that more people tag than comment: Whole bunch. You also know who you are.
Number of times I was really astonished by what people could do if they put their minds to it, I mean, in a really good way: A whole, whole, whole bunch.
And just for shits and giggles, Number of people who asked to join the community after February 14:
One, so far. ETA 3/5/2007: Bump that up to two, folks. TWO.

Last year, when I did 14 Valentines for the first time, it was out of a combination of frustration and helplessness, this sense that I couldn’t do anything and that oddly, although I was in a community of women for largely women, we didn’t particularly seem to care or talk about women. It was, like I told a friend who came to visit, a way to deal with grief — more productive than sitting around drinking heavily and it made me feel better, despite feeling terrible, at the very end, to see two weeks of stories with two weeks of messages about women’s groups and nonprofit organizations that work so hard to advance the cause.

I get a lot of questions along the lines of “Why the hell would you do this to yourself if you’re just going to bitch and moan from December 31 to February 15?” and the baseline answer to this is the above paragraph: it’s part activism, part therapy.

This year, I made a community that…well, to be completely honest, I wasn’t prepared for. There were more participants, more watchers, and more questions than I’d thought I’d have to work with and answer. By day two I felt like I was completely in over my head and wished only to secure corroborating stories from my friends and have somebody post dramatically that I’d been killed in a tragic bus accident involving some kind of cuddly forest creature. I’m not going to lie: there was a lot of hair-pulling and threatening to slash my wrists with a nail file behind the scenes.

But more and more important than my own frustration was the enormous body of work and energy and effort that poured into the community — all of the women (and men) who participated and how they spoke about their own causes with such passion, and brought to light organizations I’d never heard of.

(I’m saying this all in a hypothetical context, obviously, since I’m only now getting the opportunity to sit down and actually read the stories/gape over the art/coo over the icons/clap my hands like a somewhat deficient seal over the knitted goods/peruse the essays that were posted during the 2-week period. Don’t cry for me, LJ-tina, I will soldier on.)

There’re too many of you to thank by name, but the information page of the 14 Valentines community lists everyone who posted and then some — and all their work is accessible through the community. You guys blew my mind, folks — you blew me right out of the water. I thought it was going to be small; you made it huge, and that tinny sound you hear is me giving each of you a round of applause. Thanks for being awesome.

It’s a 14-step recovery process.

Every year I’ve done some sort of big holiday-related project I’ve always sworn that I would never do it again, and not just because by the end of it I usually had sore wrists and very little sanity. This year like all the others I utterly failed to keep that resolution, but unlike past years I didn’t exactly come out of it unscathed. My hysterical but totally warranted laughter when my creative writing professor was talking about learning to be self-disciplined with our writing was only the first sign of imminent breakdown.


abstract

East Coast Gazette has a terrible editorial focus and tends to use a lot of ALL CAPS but TOTALLY NOT BECAUSE OF HARRY POTTER. Stories in progress as well as snapshots will be listed in the "box full of snapshots" below, website archive for stories and assorted tomfoolery is glitterati.

recs (on del.icio.us)