Friday, May 25, 2018

Vague Mentions of an Author's Disability

No one should be forced to discuss their disability or divergence. If that's all we're asked about, it strips us of our individuality. We become caricatures. There more important things to talk about, like our work.

if an author is already "down from the attic", but it's rarely acknowledged, does it matter? A brief mention fans have to luck upon won't help them much. People in the publishing industry are unlikely to see a vague reference (and visibility is important to challenge assumptions).

Do authors owe readers the knowledge of their disability or neurodivergence? No.

If authors are already open, should they be moreso? It depends. Would it impact sales? Would it mean less invitations to events? Fewer interviews? Is the author afraid of becoming "just another crip writer"?

I like knowing other writers are part of my disabled/neurodivergent squad. It makes me feel like I can succeed in what I do. It makes me feel less alone. But, no one owes it to me. It is, however, an incredible gift. I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I still get a frustrated stirring when I read an interview with a writer who I know is disabled and neither the interview or the biography acknowledge it. Even though I realize it's not my business. Even though I understand not wanting to talk about mobility aids and how disability is a metaphor for everything. I still desire to see it, the hint that a rockin' author is "different" and is fine with it. That the interviewer and editor are fine with it. That, for one damn minute, ableism isn't a thing... and one of us is gaining traction with nothing to hide.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mentors May Choose Two Applicants

This is part of an email I wrote. It should clarify the position of a writer mentoring more than one person. Note: Mentors don't have to take on more than one mentee.
I always thought all of my mentors would just pick one mentee. But, if some of you truly want a second mentee, you should be able to.

A few points if you'd like more than one mentee:

1.  Only pick two people at most. One will be your "definite" and one will be your "maybe".

2.  If, after all mentors select their "definite" applicants your "maybe" is without a mentor, you can approach your "maybe" and offer to mentor them.

3.  Make sure you have the stamina to take on two people for the duration! I want everyone comfortable and working at their best.

4.  Please let your "definite" applicant know you want to take on a second applicant before you do so. Your "definite" can't tell you what to do. It's a courtesy.

If you happen to be excited about a potential mentee's application and are certain you want them as your "definite", you don't have to wait until the end of the submission window. I'll just let the other mentor know the applicant has found a partner.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Potential Submitter (a "Hypothetical" Conversation)

Chris:  Hi, I'd like to submit a blog post! I have diabetes and ADHD.

Me:  Okay!

Chris:  I don't consider myself disabled or neurodivergent.

Me:  Then, what do you refer to yourself as?

Chris:  Normal! Able-bodied and neurotypical.

Me:  Okay... then, why submit to a blog for disabled/neurodivergent writers?

Chris:  Because I have ADHD and am diabetic.

Me:  But, you don't identify with the audience of the blog.

Chris:  I qualify, though!

Me:  Technically... you've been diagnosed. (Not knocking self-diagnosis.)

Chris:  So? How about it?

Me:  I'm sorry. I can't give you a label you don't want. Publication on the blog means you're either disabled or neurodivergent. I'd be forcing you into something.

Chris:  But, you see me as disabled and neurodivergent!

Me:  It's not up to me. If you feel like you aren't disabled or neurodivergent, this probably isn't the place for you.

Chris:  You're policing my identity! You're forcing me to say I'm something I'm not in order to get published. You're bigoted and exclusionist!

Me:  There are plenty of other places to publish your work, though. You don't need this place. Would you submit to a space for asexuals and demand entrance if you weren't ace?

Chris:  That's different. I'm not asexual. I have conditions that allow me to submit here!

Me:  ...

If you don't consider yourself disabled or neurodivergent, if you see yourself as "normal", please don't submit here. This is a space for writers who legitimately consider themselves disabled and/or neurodivergent (or some variant words I wouldn't use for myself but boil down to the same thing).

This is our space... our place to be. We hope our allies will read and support us within it. And that our contributors are always proud to call this home.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Application Window for Mentees Opens, Articles, etc.

Mentee applications are accepted from today (May 11th) until 11:59 CST on June 11th. If you need the application in a different format, please let us know. We have six talented mentors spanning a variety of genres waiting for your submissions!

The program also has its own hashtag:  #HUPmentorProgram
Electric Lit asks What Does It Mean to Be a Disabled Writer?

Finding Communion in Disability Poetics (an essay) is up at Ploughshares.

From @DisVisibility AKA the amazing Alice Wong:  Call for entries! 2018 application period now open for disability reporting contest.  
Also, the next #CripLit Twitter chat is on the 19th!

Leigh Bardugo was interviewed by Writer's Digest in February.

And, from @ArtfulSpoons:  "There is a new hashtag out there for disabled artists to share their work! #ArtistsOnDISplay by @hijade2madre. Check it out and use it the next time you post your work to twitter!"

Friday, May 4, 2018

Mentee Application (2021 Edition)

Notes and Eligibility (application questions begin after this section):

All mentees must be neurodivergent or disabled.

Only people 18 and over can pitch general mentors, but there might be a teen mentor for poetry and speculative flash fiction... depending on the term.

Mentees may not have an agent of any kind, published full-length books in their applied-for genre, or a current mentor. *Self-published books might be a different story.*

If a mentee has traditionally-published books in a genre, they can't apply to a mentor of that genre.  Mentees can have up to two books published in an unrelated genre... no more.  Mentees must disclose published books on their applications.

Mentees may hold advanced degrees.  If your major (or minor) was in creative writing, literature, or other related fields, you must have obtained your degree at least twelve years prior your application to the program.  Unrelated degrees have no time restrictions.

A writing sample (of the project or genre you want mentoring in) must be included with the application. *Up to ten pages of double-spaced prose or five poems.*

If able, please attach documents as PDF to:
Questions should be sent to us via email, in blog comments, or on Twitter @HandUnPen

Mentee Application




Website/Social media:

Age (for those under 18):  

Any degrees or publication credits?

What is your disability/neurodivergence?  Can our mentors know?

Describe what you want mentoring in (submitting poems, fantasy novel editing, etc.)

What are you most hoping for in a mentor besides competence and help?  Do you want a cheerleader, someone who imposes strict deadlines, something else?

Which mentor(s) would you like to pitch?

Why choose this program over a different method of help, mentorship, research, etc.?

What are your preferred methods of correspondence?  Email? Skype? Facebook? Phone calls?  Something else?

Is there anything else you'd like your potential mentor to know?