We spent part of the weekend in Galena, IL. They had a spectacular parade on Saturday night, and they passed out a good amount of candy, which my children are still enjoying.
While waiting for the parade, I visited a bookshop, and I don't know where I have been, but I didn't realize Stephen King had two sons who are authors. I am rather looking forward to reading Sleeping Beauties, which he co-wrote with his younger son, Owen King. (Joe Hill, I love.) You can see a YouTube interview of it, which Weebly isn't letting me link. See way below. Stephen King is really funny.
Enough of the Kings. I also wrote a number of murder scenarios while in Galena, in my head. Murder mysteries are not my thing, really, but it was fun. There are so many spas, someone is bound to be murdered by a jealous lover.
I did manage to work on my novel a little more. You can read the next section here: The Harvest. I am developing the android relationships more. However, it's time to return to the Ashley chapter. I have been avoiding it because I am going to get rid of a side character I really like.
Write, even if Stephen King is not yo' Daddy. #Resist
Anybody who writes consistently knows how dangerous falling in love with your work can be. It's like being in an intense relationship, and you have to be careful the one you love isn't an asshole. Or else, you could lose objectivity.
Still, I am loving the direction the draft is taking, and I finally think I will be done by December 2017. I am at 188 pages right now and hope for 300, minimum.
My short story collection Down South Where the Water is Warm is finally getting revised, thanks to the excellent editorial comments from Adam Gottlieb, who is a fantastic song writer and singer. You can check out his song here: itunes.apple.com/us/album/revolution-blues-single/id1268982131 The harmonica is intense, too.
Anyway, stay tuned! Keep writing or loving your art.
Love your work, but get some distance to improve it. #Resist!
I am going to do some Voodoo on the WiFi. It always slows down when I want to post the novel draft.
This morning, I am reflecting on the need to get back on my writing schedule. I have been too caught up writing other work, and now, my brain is on hyper drive, and I can't sleep.
I did manage to write one more page this morning, which is my minimum goal. However, I also have pending revisions on my collection; I will most likely reserve that work for the weekend. I wish I had the energy of some of my writer friends who can pull all nighters, but they don't teach full time or have small kids.
Here is the next installment of The Harvest.
Stick to Your Guns. #Resist
Dear Followers, I am sorry I haven't posted in so long. I have been busy with Union work and midterm grades. The Union work has kept me occupied with very late meetings and phone conferences, but I am glad because after some intense interviews, we are hiring an attorney to negotiate our contract. I have also been busy working on reports, the chapter union newsletter, and an article which I am posting below.
It deals with the Janus vs. AFSCME case, which will be dangerous for public sector unions. I am publishing it to the People's Tribune, if they will take it. I am also posting in on the union blog: hwclocal1600.wordpress.com/ tomorrow, after I get some good feedback.
I finally manged to write more of The Harvest, and I am every happy with how the work is blossoming. (However, as ever, the WiFi is testing my patience and not uploading the MS Word document. Stupid tech.) I really like the character 147-Paul, who is someone I hadn't quite fleshed out, but is coming to life. No pun intended because he is an android. I hope you enjoy the next installment.
Love your characters. Love your Unions! #Resist
Billionaires Taking the Right of Unions in Illinois: What Is Really at Stake in the Mark Janus vs. AFSCME Case?
By: Dr. Jesú Estrada
“What is Disgusting? Union Busting!” That is the slogan I heard so many years ago during the strike of 2004 in the City Colleges of Chicago. At the time, we were up against a corrupt mayor and a growing anti-Union sentiment. With little public support, our three-week strike led to few labor victories for City College employees; however, the right to collective bargaining is crucial if we, teachers, firefighters, police officers, are to survive. Unfortunately, that anti-Unionism is a sentiment that has since devastated states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana, but now a greater threat comes from Illinois.
If the Supreme Courts rules in its favor, the Mark Janus vs AFSCME case promises to give public sector unions nation-wide a decisive blow. Framed as a right to free-speech and claiming that unions don’t represent or speak for him, Mark Janus wants the right for all workers to not pay fair share dues. In Illinois and across the country, that would devastate public sector unions.
Bankrolled by corporations and billionaires like Governor Rauner, the bill is being sponsored by the National Right to Work Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center. These entities fight for corporate interests, not the working class, not for your interests. Ironically, Janus argues that AFSCME has backed politicians that have ruined the state’s budget, when the root cause is Gov. Rauner who refuses to release funds.
Currently, members do have a right to not join the Union, but the Union still bargains on their behalf, and dues are used to fund negotiations, as will be the case for our Contract Campaign. In fact, because of those healthy dues, we are hiring an attorney to negotiate our Contract, Margaret Angalucci. The Security Guards, likewise, will have Robert Bloch representing them. Without dues, these hires would not be possible.
These members who refuse to join the Union and are currently Fair Share are also represented by the Union. They benefit from all the rights that workers have are guaranteed benefits and protection under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but unions do far more than negotiate contracts. They advocate for fair working conditions and in our case, academic freedom. Unions fight for healthcare benefits that are so necessary in an increasingly difficult economy. Our Union has historically awarded scholarships to students, both documented and undocumented. Again, we can do so in great part because of our union dues.
The Janus case is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court, and labor analysts think it will be decided by the summer 2018. Make no mistake, in the current political regime, we will not win this case. However, we can get organized. We can recommit to the Union with the new member forms the American Federations legal team has provided for us. Your Union officers and labor organizers, in the weeks ahead, will be working very hard to re-card all of our members. We are also listening to your criticism and concerns, so that we can improve the work the Union does for you.
Recently at an event, Karen Lewis President of the Chicago Teachers Union, spoke about the threat this case posed for public sector unions. She agreed that attacks on Fair Share dues would devastate unions. However, she also said something quite profound that may offer a light at the end of the tunnel. She said when labor organized historically, it made a big mistake in not lifting everyone else with it. Perhaps, it’s time that we considered how we fight not just for our rights and benefits, but for the rights and benefits of others in the community. Perhaps, after the Janus case, unions will have to fight harder for members and turn to more militant actions with full member support to meet our demands. I hope we can get there without having our unions decimated.
I have worked in right to work states like Arizona, and the conditions were dismal. Health benefits were a privilege, and there was little to no recourse if there was a dispute with management. I was at the mercy of unfair bosses. Do you want to be at the mercy of your supervisor or management? Do you want a Union that is only functioning at 80% capacity? What kind of Union do you want to work for you?
We all have an important role to play in the days ahead, and whether you believe in unions or are annoyed by dues, one thing is for sure, we are all better off with a union that is stably funded.
I know I was bagging on Junot Diaz's talk really because he didn't read any work. Sad. Anyway, he did make some great points, one of them being that often students of color keep one foot in the neighborhood and one foot at the university. It's like a psychological border mentality where you won't belong in either realm.
I thought about that long and hard because I think I was like that for a long time, even after I graduated. I missed home and tried to be as Chicana as possible.
Now, I am just myself. I enjoy being where I am and being who I am, which no, I haven't totally figured out, but I am not some identity construct or trying to be uber-barrio. Look, I'm a nerd, and I accept my quirkiness. That is something.
Anyway, here is more of my novel draft: The Harvest.
Be you. #Resist
I know it sounds cliché, but I think about this line in the 1980's Miami Vice T.V. show where a "criminal" tells this under cover cop he's had a fictional affair with, "You ain't got no soul." I think about the non-physical aspects of people because if we really saw that and people really nurtured that internal existence, the world would be a better place.
A lot of things would make the world a better place, but imagine not judging people by their physical selves, but about what makes them truly human and wonderful. Not an easy thing to do in this culture.
Anyway, I posted a little more of The Harvest.
Enjoy as the androids show more soul.
Take care of what really matters today. #Resist
I posted more of The Harvest. I'm slowing down the pacing a little bit and filling in more narrative between the dialogue. I kind of want to make the android and men invisible, except when there is some important revelation. They are not the main characters after all, but I want Alan's point of view to see them, really see them and humanize them without being overt.
Last night, I went to see Blade Runner 2049. The year, of course, is funny because if we make it past the corporate-fascists, the world won't be nearly that advanced as the movie portrays. Anyway, there were some things I really liked about the film like the soundtrack and imagery. It had a similar feel to the first movie, but it wasn't as action-packed. The main character killed one android in the beginning and that was it. There was no chase and the mystery wasn't as compelling in this film.
Also, there were plot gaps, which I won't spoil, but I think I need to watch it again.
Harrison Ford, obviously, was amazing in his role. That man is so damned hot. I really enjoyed watching him act; it's the chin scar, I swear, and that intense look he gives. Mmmm mmm.
Well, I woke up too early with the urge to write and now, need to have my own android dreams, if I am to make my 8:30a.m. yoga class.
Dream digitally. #Resist
I want to start off by saying that I love Junot Diaz's work; he is one of my literary heroes. Plus, he curses like a whore-bag, and you can't go wrong with that. However, last night's event was somewhat disappointing.
(1) He didn't read any of his current work. Maybe the man doesn't read drafts, but if the book is going to be published in 2018, surely he has some bits he can share.
(2) He didn't read any of his old work. Seriously? WTF?
He has an incredibly sexy nerdy voice, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the talk. I give him props for having great energy and taking some interesting philosophical views on dreams and unity. He is an author, after all, but some of the questions the students were asking really required him to have a degree in psychology or something else.
It was odd. I guess I will keep enjoying his YouTube videos about his writing and theories on race and racism. He is amazingly intelligent, but I think the event needed a different focus. Even the students questioned some of his premises because they are students of color from historically exploited communities, and they are fed up.
In the end, my friend and I left early and went out for Chinese food. We drank some wine, and pussed out before midnight.
Anyway, enough waaaah. This morning I worked on my novel mid-migraine and a cup of coffee; here is the next section of The Harvest. I will work on it intermittently throughout the day, as I will be grading essays. It's a stay at home and clean day.
Cuddle someone soft today, or cuddle your writing. #Resist
I woke up late today, which is not surprising, because like many of you I am running on fumes. I have also been getting up in the wee hours to work on my writing, which has been an amazing and joyful process.
Today, I also have a shitload of meetings through 6p.m., and sadly, I don't drink, before, during, or after meetings. Right now I'm prepping for the one I am chairing, and need to draft the agenda and group activity for it.
If you missed my additions to my growing draft The Harvest, check them out.
Tonight, I am going to see Junot Diaz at UIC. Tickets could still be on sale: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uic-latinx-heritage-month-connections-gala-with-junot-diaz-tickets-38063610283. If you don't know Diaz's work, you can read "Monstro" which was published in the New Yorker: "Monstro". He is the reason I footnoted my translations in my short story collect, but my awesome sauce editor is asking me to consider a glossary, which makes more sense. Duh.
Also, this Sunday, I was supposed to meet Chicago poets from the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, but I, como idiota magnanima, set a play date for my son. Hmmm, maybe my friends could come after their meeting. That is not a bad plan.
Here's to our ever busy lives and the stories that are birthed from them. #Resist
Dr. Jesú Estrada,