Log in

12 December 2016 @ 11:46 pm

I’ve written an open letter to the electors via DearElector. There’s a copy of the letter posted here, where you can add your name as a signator, if you feel I’ve said anything worthwhile, but the body of the text is also replicated in this post.

Dear Elector:

These are the things I can probably safely say I know about you:

You have deeply held convictions.
You are politically active.
You are a Republican.

That’s it: that’s all I know about you. I know those things because you’re a Republican elector for the Electoral College, a position you wouldn’t be in without being politically active and holding deep enough convictions to feel it was an important use of your time and energy.

I admire that profoundly. I grew up in a very political family (my uncle Hugh Malone was one of the instigators of the Permanent Fund), and as an adult it still shocks me when people aren’t politically involved. The fact that you are relieves me, even though I’m on the other side of a political divide from you.

There are things I imagine I know about you, too. Right now, mostly I imagine that you might feel caught between a rock and a hard spot in casting your electoral vote. I could easily be wrong; you might feel that your task is simple in this election cycle. But it’s hard to imagine you expected a president-elect who would fill his cabinet with people like a self-admitted bigot whose hero inspired him to say, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment” (Steve Bannon, The Daily Beast, 2013), or Goldman-Sachs alumni, or former representatives of Exxon, who were responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in Alaska itself.

It’s hard to imagine you thought the CIA would conclude that a foreign interest, Russia, had interfered in the election in an attempt to install a man whom they had personal investment in the Presidency. It’s hard to imagine you thought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was aware of suspicion of such interference and felt that information, on a topic which should be of concern to every last one of us who is interested in maintaining integrity in our electorial process, should be squashed rather than highlighted, or that after McConnell moving to keep that information quiet, McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao would be nominated for a Cabinet position.

It’s easier to imagine you know we’re on history’s radar, right now.

It’s easier to imagine you know that there are very few moments in history when we can look back and learn from a parallel situation, and look forward and recognize which side history is going to place us on, through our actions.

Being on the right side of history is—historically, if you’ll forgive me—generally terrifying, in the moment that it’s happening. Choosing to go against tradition or social expectation, to find a line and say, “They shall not pass,” is a tremendous action of courage and foresight.

You are in a unique, rare, powerful position right now. You have the ability, right now, to be on the right side of history. It will require an action that many people, many of your peers, will not approve of, and equally, an action that many of them will approve of.

It will require a tremendous degree of confidence in your understanding of history and your vision of the future—because again, it’s difficult to imagine that no matter how much our visions of America might differ, that your vision of the future allows for someone like Steve Bannon to encourage the president-elect to destroy the very foundations of our nation—and a tremendous degree of confidence in yourself as someone who is trustworthy to shape the future of our nation.

I imagine you would not be in the position you are right now if you did not have that degree of confidence in yourself. You wouldn’t be in the position you are right now if our Founding Fathers had not also had that degree of confidence in you: the Electoral College was established in part so that people of conviction and wisdom could prevent someone hopelessly unqualified and influenced by toxic regimes from being placed in the Presidential seat.

I imagine that you know no one in American history has ever been censured or fined for being a ‘faithless elector’, nor are Constitutional lawyers convinced that it is lawful to require electors to vote in a winner-takes-all bloc.

I genuinely believe that it’s the duty of our Electoral College, people whom I believe to be patriotic, passionate, and of strong conviction, to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote, whose qualifications outshine the current winner of the electoral votes. I genuinely believe that such a vote is what our forefathers would expect of us and what our grandchildren will thank us for. I genuinely believe this is a turning point in history, and that the Electoral College is our last, best hope for peace and prosperity for all of our futures.

I ask you to cast your vote for Hillary Clinton on December 19th, 2016, and to go down in history as someone who stood up for, and helped to shape, the continuing American Experiment for all of us.

Catherine (CE) Murphy

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

09 December 2016 @ 04:53 pm

I *do* have a throw-away comment about the 2016 election in one of my #WalkerPapers short stories. I thought I did.

The protagonist is Ashley, the little girl from #ThunderbirdFalls, 20 years later:

“I had a grenade launcher.
I wasn’t supposed to, of course. Nobody was, especially since the country-wide crackdown after the election riots when I was seventeen.”

The story was written in 2012 and was a deliberate (given the Walker Papers timeline) reference to the 2016 elections, and I kept the line even though it made my editor say it seemed like the future of Jo’s world had gotten very dark.

Yeah, well. Jo’s world got the magic back, and we got the Minority Vote President, so I’m not sure hers is as dark as ours.

Anyway, here, have a read: Twenty Years After: A Walker Papers short story. ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

08 December 2016 @ 03:38 pm

So I’m on a Beauty and the Beast kick right now and I mentioned to Ted yesterday morning that if your favourite fairy tale is BatB (as mine has always been), that it is very likely that at some point quite early on you realize that having the Beast transform back into the Prince is a terrible disappointment. The thing is you (we, Beauty) have fallen in love with the *Beast*. We want the *Beast*. We don’t want a stupid prince.

Ted’s response to this was pretty much O.O

So he mentioned the topic to his (all women) gaming group last night.

(An aside: he said this morning, with a sort of weak grimness, “Talking about blood magic w/a bunch of women is…a whole different thing. Thank god I’ve been married almost 20 years. Teenage me would have run away screaming. I almost did anyway.”)

ANYWAY, not the point!

The point: he mentions the falling in love with the Beast, not the prince, thing.

The entire gaming group, at once, with explosive hand gestures, cried, “YES!!!”

Ted is like, “That story is apparently just a completely different experience for boys than girls…”

And, I mean, look: that was part of the appeal of the 1980s TV show, right? Vincent was never going to turn into the prince. He already *was* the prince, but he was *always* going to be the Beast. HOW CAN THAT BE ANYTHING BUT PERFECT?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

07 December 2016 @ 04:37 pm

Picoreview: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them: really not very good.

It started out slowly and took far too long to end. There were tedious bits in between occasionally interrupted by charm, but the charm was rarely presented by Eddie Redmayne’s Newt, who, as the lead, literally had a line about how people didn’t really like him very much. But that was okay, because Katherine Waterson, as the other lead, was also almost entirely unlikeable. (Wait…)

To make it worse, though, the second leads, *particularly* Alison Sudol (playing Waterson’s sister), outshone them on every level in terms of charm and charisma (which is pretty awful because I didn’t even like Dan Folger’s Jacob Kowalski all that *much*, as he was too clearly The Way In to this story).

Many of the fantastic beasts were wonderful and at least two of them were in fact fantastic. Unfortunately, there was very little in the story that actually required them, and even less about where to find them. At least one of them was dreadfully overused and added considerably to the tedium.

Lest you think I utterly loathed the whole thing, let me pause to say I thought the bad guys were terrific. I thought Samantha Morton was deadly and that Ezra Miller gave a powerful performance. I really enjoyed Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. I got a kick out of recognizing Ron Perlman’s goblin _from his walk_, on a subliminal level, before he’d even spoken or I’d gotten a look at his face. That was good SFX. Despite all the film’s problems I was essentially ready for more.

Except then the Big Reveal completely obliterated any interest I had in seeing any more movies in the series. Just, honestly, like, “Nope, I see how you were trying to add intrigue and dimensions here and what you have done is removed all of them, so I’m out.” And then on top of that they Should Not Have Done That Thing to That Character…

…and the fact that I can think of at least three characters in the film to whom that sentence applies does not help matters any. There’s one in *particular* I mean when I say it, but there are at least three to whom it applies.

I really, *really* wish that had been a better movie. There were parts I liked. The bones were there. In fact, I’d say the bones of two *different* good movies were there. Neither of them, however, made it to the screen.

I am disappoint.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

06 December 2016 @ 02:33 pm

My mom was a dancer, and we’ve decided to offer a dance scholarship in her name, as a memorial. We’ve set up a GoFundMe page, the Rosie Murphy Dance Scholarship Fund, and if you’re inclined or inspired in any way to donate a little to the fund, my family and I would be profoundly grateful.

Our immediate goal is to secure $2500: enough funds to create a five year scholarship. Our longer term goal is to create a scholarship in perpetuity, which is possible if we can get $15,000 into our investment fund. It’s a big goal, but it’s not unachievable, and the idea of being able to be able to do something like that for Mom, and in her name, is part of what’s holding us together right now.

Love to you all,

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

29 November 2016 @ 10:30 pm

Yesterday over on Facebook I posted a link to an utterly fabulous 1940s bomber-style womens’ jacket. Things almost immediately got out of control as my dear friend Leah Moore loved it as much as I did:

Leah: That is just gorgeous. I would marry that jacket.

Catie: I would show up at the altar and object because I saw it first and loved it more.

Leah: Oh damn!

Leah: With high waist trousers and a killer haircut….oh man…

Catie: actually i would show up at the altar and you would look so fabulous in your coat and your high waist trousers and your killer undercut that i’d run away with you instead

Leah: I’d fly off with you in my plane…and we’d land on hawaii or somesuch.

Catie: we would live the roguish life of passionate adventurers, travelling the world and laughing carelessly at passers-by

Leah: YES!!! I’m up for all of that. Anytime. ❤💗❤💗Wow. What a jacket…

Catie: look at the trouble it’s already causing! :)

Leah: Two broken homes and financial abandon, not to mention the fact i don’t know how to fly a plane! 😄😄

Catie: I understand *flying* a plane isn’t that hard. *Landing* a plane… :)

Leah: Is it wrong that i want to draw fanart of us?



I have never in my life wanted so much to do a web comic. It’d be like Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant, except two bonkers ladies fighting crime & injustice in a modern world that was a massive mash-up of all the stylistically visually amazing bits of the past 140 years. It’d be brilliant modern social commentary. With great clothes. *flails*!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

21 November 2016 @ 05:18 pm

I’ve spent most of the past several years a lot more checked out of the news cycle than I think I should be, because so much of it is toxic or religious wars in politics and I simply have not had the emotional bandwidth to deal with it.

I *hate* that. I grew up in a very political family and I feel like it’s my duty to be informed and aware and able to formulate an intelligent opinion.

I also grew up in an era when the news cycle wasn’t a hyper-excited 24 hour freak-fest desperate to get viewers at any costs. There were biases in the local and national papers, yes, but all of it was literally slower paced and therefore less reactionary, and less rabidly trying to seize an audience with short attention spans.

So a lot of my response, because I can’t deal with the huge influx of what is frequently only questionably news, has been to step back and trying not to deal with it as much. I don’t watch the evening news because it’s almost always a cycle of horror: all the bad news, unrelentingly bad news, emotionally devastating bad news. I hate not knowing the political situations going on around me, but the vehicle for that information is so miserable that it’s better for my mental health to not allow myself to be dragged into it.

I’ve been deeply, profoundly invested in the US election, obviously, and I stayed offline almost entirely for a week in its aftermath, because my ability to cope with the results, and the results of the results, was so limited. I’ve been online more in the past few days, and you know what? It’s not good for me. I’m stressed and scared and angry and helpless.

And the news cycle feeds on that: it’s a negative cycle that we as humans get into very easily, and the more scared we are, the more reassurance or wreckage we search for online, the more hits the news sites get, and the more reason they have to continue with the anxiety-inducing splashes.

Don’t get me wrong: I know for good goddamn sure there’s reason to be scared. Brexit and the US elections have offered carte blanche to people acting on racist, homophobic, misogynistic, fascist beliefs. I’m not blind to that. I’m pretty protected–privileged– living in Ireland, straight, white, my atheism doesn’t show on the outside, etc. I have a lot of friends who aren’t protected by those things, and who are outright terrified. I’ll do anything I can, whatever I can, wherever I can, to create spaces of safety and tolerance and love for people to rely on.

But for me to be able to do that, I need to remember that I can’t deeply engage in the discussions and the reports designed to achieve a hyper-reactionary result. I’m no good to anybody if I’m a wreck.

I think I may ask for some renewed, and new, magazine subscriptions for Christmas. Because I want to be informed, but I can’t do it the way the online news cycle is set up, not and retain my own health of mind.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

16 November 2016 @ 08:31 pm

I was invited last week to see the Abbey Theatre‘s new play, Donegal, which is billed as a light-hearted play with music.

I think the Irish have a different idea of what constitutes ‘light-hearted’ than I do.

I mean, nobody dies in it, and there are moments that are funny, so I think that’s why it qualifies as ‘light-hearted’. But the play is about an Irish country-western star whose peak has passed, her son who left Ireland to very successfully pursue his own country-western career in America away from his mother’s shadow, and the rest of their absolutely horrible family, who are all in the business of supporting Mama’s Career, which has tanked, and now they’re all broke and desperate and vicious (although clearly the vicious isn’t new, it’s part of how the family interacts, and I don’t think that’s funny at all) and have asked The Successful Son to come home and save them all despite them being utterly nasty pieces of work.

The play is well-acted and well-sung, with the glaring exception of The American Girlfriend, who had a lovely voice but was not, I’m quite certain, Actually American. My impression was that her struggle to maintain the American accent left her unable to accomplish anything else. I have mixing spoons that are less wooden. I felt badly for her because I suspect she’s a quite capable performer under different circumstances. Her lines were also badly written: they sounded like an Irish person trying to write an American and not quite succeeding. I was mentally revising them for her as she spoke. (I’m also not actually convinced she knew all of her lines cold. There were some that were so awkward that they sounded ad-libbed.)

Killian Donnelly, the Successful Son, has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, and would have been even more splendid if the sound balance had been better. Unfortunately, during a Key Song, in which Much Is Revealed, I could barely hear him, much less understand him. The pieces where there was less or no accompaniment, though, wow. Not just him, but the whole cast: wow. But him especially.

About three quarters of the way through the play, Successful Son sings an absolutely heart-rending Irish folk song called “My Donegal,” and I thought, “Ah. This is why this play exists. Somebody has recently written a truly beautiful song and wanted a vehicle to present it through.”

I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly seemed like it. “My Donegal” and the two or three other trad songs were far and away the best *music* in the show. The rest of it seemed to me to fail to understand what Irish country-western music is/was (it is, in my experience, very like older American country-western music) as well as being unable to capture what current American country music is. It didn’t feel like it was *deliberately* bad, which would have been a valid stylistic choice in terms of the play, but rather that the songwriter didn’t know the genres well enough to do them justice. (It’s possible they *were* deliberately bad, and that the performers were good enough to elevate them beyond the deliberate badness, but not into actual goodness.)

So: a superb performance of a not-very-good show. I don’t think I’d go so far as to recommend it, although I would really *love* to get a single of “My Donegal,” which really is a magnificent song.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

01 November 2016 @ 11:11 am

Up until a few days ago I was still entertaining the notion that somehow, sure, I was going to pull Nanowrimo out of the hat and participate. I’m not sure I thought that was a realistic goal, but I was hanging on to it anyway.

I’ve come to my senses. Most of the reason I’ve come to my senses, probably, is that my editor got the revision letter for REDEEMER back to me, and given that the book is now pushing 2 years late (*cringe*) that kinda has to take priority. And I’m GOOD with that, that’s OKAY, I’m HAPPY, because I want to get the book out to my backers, and also because the reality was that I was never going to succeed with NNWM this year and no longer feeling like I should try means I won’t have something else to beat myself up over when I fail.

October…October was not a month of getting a lot of things done. At least, not a lot of writing. Or any writing. I did read a few books, which I hadn’t done in what felt like a long time. I made jam. I watched Sense8 and Doctor Strange. We Halloweened. Many of these things will (hopefully) get separate posts of their own soon. :)

Anyway, there’s a lot of writing to do this month, but none of it is even vaguely shaped like NNWM. I have at least two (and ideally four or five but let’s be (slightly) realistic here) short stories to write, two books to revise, and a third to get into production.

I should probably stop blogging and get to it.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

26 October 2016 @ 10:31 am

And when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, and when I say ‘talk’ I mean ‘write this down, maybe it’ll make more of an impression’.

Years ago after having a spectacularly bad hangover (that’s all I get, is spectacularly bad hangovers, which is why I basically don’t drink. I’m not reserved enough as a human being to require the inhibition-loosening aspects of alcohol and I stay hung over for *days*) I wrote down all of my symptoms to clarify to myself why I shouldn’t do that. I haven’t drunk to excess since, because the act of writing it down made it seem more real and memorable, apparently.

So I need to do the same with sugar. Or fat, one or the other, probably both, but it’s sweetness that I’m thinking of/craving when I go for junk food, so: sugar.

Aside from the fact that sugar makes me swell up (like, i get fatter, not, like, an allergic reaction, except i like saying it like it’s an allergic reaction :)), my persistent inability to only eat a little leaves me feeling *terrible*, and it’s like I can’t remember that from one gobble to the next. Or rather, I can, I just don’t care enough, and live in this vague belief that a hit of sweet stuff will Make Me Feel Better This Time. I know better. I *know* better. But my desire for the stuff overrides the intellectual knowledge almost every time.

Even more offensive than the heavy pit of grossness in my belly is that–especially if I eat too much sugar in the evening–it’s started to have the same sort of *effect* that drinking too much has on me. Not a hangover* per se, but the accelarated heartrate I get from drinking too much. It’s not nearly as extreme, but it’s noticeable and unpleasant, to the point of keeping me awake if I’ve gone to bed too soon after eating all that crap.

There’s a bunch of other things too. The fact that sugar doesn’t trigger satiation properly so I eat a bunch of junk and then I’m vaguely hungry again half an hour later but Real Food doesn’t sound appealing (because sugar (and salt, for that matter) creates a craving for More Of It, rather than something actually satisfying. I didn’t even used to *know* that, and now that I do I can sort of recognize it sometimes and grimly break the cycle by eating Something Else, but it’s an active act to do that, requiring thought and effort.

Or the pretty horrifying thing where I realized that VERY OFTEN when I want ice crea it’s because I’m thirsty, and what I want is something cold. How fucked up is it to go for ice cream when you need water? That’s FUCKED UP. I’ve pretty well got that one under control, I’ve learned to recognize & rewire it, but holy shit, dude, that’s messed up.

And I know from experience that really the only way to cope with this is to go off sweets (candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, hot chocolate, etc) entirely, and cold turkey, because if I let myself have ‘just a bite’ that’s the whole shooting match, for me. After about three weeks it’s not that hard, but getting through the initial window is very, very difficult. I’ll go 3 days and think “that wasn’t so bad, I can have a little something, it’ll be fine!” and it never is. Never.

And knowing it doesn’t make it stick any better, but maybe writing it down will…

*I’ve had one sugar hangover in my life and it was awful but also very funny and fun because I was out with a bunch of girlfriends and we’d eaten hardly anything for most of a day and been up all night before binging on Krispy Kremes and got sugar-drunk and five hours later we were all like SWEET GOD WHY ARE WE HUNG OVER. To this day I don’t know that any of us can eat Krisy Kreme doughnuts. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)