“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” Now At Amazon!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? coverThe print edition of my new book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, is now available at Amazon!

I know that many of you have been waiting for this. A lot of people like to do their book shopping at Amazon: they have affiliate programs with them, they like the discounts and shipping deals, etc. If so, now’s the time to buy! And if you have friends and family you want to recommend the book to, and if they’re also dedicated Amazon shoppers (or are just most familiar with book shopping there), now you can send them the Amazon link!

The book is also available in several ebook formats: the Kindle edition is available on Amazon, the Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing. All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

The audiobook version is available at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. And yes, I did the recording for it!

And you can also get the print edition through Last Gasp — wholesale and retail mail-order — or through the Richard Dawkins Foundation bookstore, the American Atheists bookstore, and directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. The print edition is $14.95. Less at Amazon.

Here is the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs. [Read more...]

Election 2012, and the Victory of Secular Values

A few observations from Tuesday’s election:

1: Same-sex marriage won in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. In Minnesota, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was overturned; in Maine and Maryland and Washington, same-sex marriage has been flat-out approved. This is the first time in United States history that same-sex marriage has been approved by popular vote: in the past, same-sex marriage has always won either through the legislature or the courts.

2: The first openly gay United States Senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, has been elected.

3: Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington. And medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts.

4: Open misogyny, rape apology, and hatred of female sexuality got trounced, as Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, Richard “Rape Is Something That God Intended To Happen” Mourdock, Allen “We Are Not Going To Have Our Men Become Subservient” West, and Joe “Abortion Is Never Necessary to Save the Mother’s Life” Walsh… all got beat.

5: Taxpayer support for churches lost in Florida. And it lost by a big-ass margin.

6: The Republican strategy of trying to win elections by demonizing birth control, i.e. people who have sex for pleasure, went down in flames.

What does this tell me?

There are lots of conclusions to be drawn from this election: from the value of getting young people energized about politics, to the increasing racial diversity of this country and the increasing stupidity of race-baiting as a political strategy, to the fact that women, you know, vote, to the simple importance of getting the vote out. But there’s one conclusion that jumped out at me like a kangaroo last night:

In this election, secular values won big-time.

In this election — as in so many elections in the recent past — the Republican Party tried to win, in large part, through religious fear-mongering about gays and drugs and sex and abortion and women who don’t know their place. And in this election, the religious fear-mongering suffered a catastrophic fail. It wasn’t a complete victory for secular values everywhere — it’s not like the religious right lost every single election across the country — but the trend across the country showed an overwhelming rejection of the religious right.

I’m not going to credit this to the atheist movement. I don’t think atheists are an effective voting bloc — not yet. But we sure as heck could be. I think in a few years, we will be. And more to the point: The political values that are most common among atheists — support for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage, support for birth control and abortion, support for evidence-based drug policy, opposition to religion being intertwined with government, opposition to laws about sex being based on religion, opposition to laws in general being based on religion — are, increasingly, American values. This election was, to a great extent, a referendum on secular values versus the values of the theocratic religious right — and secular values won.

Atheists are not in opposition to American values. Atheists are on the cutting edge of them.

Godless Perverts Story Hour, In SF 11/17 — M. Christian and Loren Rhoads Now Added!

Godless Perverts Banner

I’m co-hosting an event this November at the Center for Sex and Culture, with David Fitzgerald and Chris Hall — the Godless Perverts Story Hour! And we’ve added two more names to the lineup: M. Christian and Loren Rhoads! (Victor Harris, unfortunately, has had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict.) Advance tickets are now available, on a sliding scale from $10-$20! No-one will be turned away for lack of funds. And yes, I’ll be there: my health is recovering slowly but surely, and unless I have a very unexpected setback, I expect to be well enough to attend.

The Godless Perverts Story Hour is an evening about how to have good sex without having any gods, goddesses, spirits, or their earthly representatives hanging over your shoulder and telling you that you’re doing it wrong. With fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and performances from Maggie Mayhem, Greta Christina, David Fitzgerald, Chris Hall, Dana Fredsti, Anthony O’Con, M. Christian, Loren Rhoads, and Simon Sheppard, we’ll be bringing you depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities, as well as critical, mocking, and blasphemous views of sex and religion. The evening’s entertainment will have a range of voices — sexy and serious, passionate and funny, and all of the above — talking about how our sexualities can not only exist, but even thrive, without the supernatural.

We’ve only got one life — what better way to spend it than an evening of sexy godless fun?

DATE: November 17, 2012
TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St, San Francisco, CA (near Civic Center BART)
COST: $10-$20 sliding scale. No-one turned away for lack of funds. Event to benefit the Center for Sex and Culture. Advance tickets are now available!
RSVP on Facebook or Fetlife

PERFORMER BIOS:

M. ChristianM. CHRISTIAN has been published in Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many more anthologies, magazines, and sites. His short fiction has been collected into books like the Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words and other queer collections like Filthy Boys, BodyWork, and his best-of-his-best gay erotica book, Stroke the Fire. He is also the author of the non-fiction collections Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica. As a novelist, M.Christian wrote the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys, and much more. Find out more about the man and his work at www.mchristian.com.

Greta ChristinaGRETA CHRISTINA has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is on the speakers bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and the Center for Inquiry. She is editor of the Best Erotic Comics anthology series, and of Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients. Her writing has appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers, including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, Skeptical Inquirer, and numerous anthologies, including Everything You Know About God is Wrong and three volumes of Best American Erotica. Her most recent book is Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid. You can email her at greta (at) gretachristina (dot) com, and follow her on Twitter at @GretaChristina.

David FitzgeraldDAVID FITZGERALD is a writer and historical researcher who has been actively investigating the Historical Jesus question for over ten years. He has a degree in History and was an associate member of CSER, the former Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion. David serves on the boards of San Francisco Atheists and Center For Inquiry-SF, and is founder and director of both the world’s first Atheist Film Festival and Evolutionpalooza, San Francisco’s oldest Darwin Day celebration. He lectures around the country at universities and national secular events and is best known for his popular multimedia presentations “The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus” and “The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion.” His newest book is “NAILED: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All.”

Dana Fredsti with RicoDANA FREDSTI is an ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical swordfighting. Through her volunteer work at the Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center, Dana’s had a full-grown leopard sit on her feet, and been kissed by tigers and licked by jaguars. She’s written numerous published articles, essays, short stories, screenplays, and two non-fiction books with Cynthia Gentry. Plague Town, the first in a three-book zombie/paranormal romance series with Titan Books, was released April 2012,with its sequel due out in April 2013, and she has a sequel in the works to her mystery, Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon (Rock Publishing, 2007). She writes erotica under the nom de plume Inara LaVey, and has five stories and three novels published by Ravenous Romance.

Chris HallCHRIS HALL is a writer and editor living in the hills of Berkeley. He writes regularly on sex, culture, politics and other things at the SFWeekly and has a sparsely-maintained blog called Literate Perversions. You can stalk him by following him on Twitter as @literatepervert.

Maggie MayhemMISS MAGGIE MAYHEM is a queer porn performer and producer whose roots are in HIV Prevention. Between 2003-2010 she worked as an HIV test counselor, clinic coordinator, grant recipient for field care in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, and HIV Senior Specialist at Larkin Street Youth Services. She has debated porn with Gail Dines at Yale University and choreographs sexy velicoraptor dances for the stage. Her blog is just as likely to depict hardcore XXX content as it is philosophy, theology, futurism, solar design, silent films, and sheer speculation. Her claim to fame was being banned by VISA for sacrilegious use of a rosary. You can find her on the web at MissMaggieMayhem.Com.

Anthony O'conANTHONY O’CON is a Veteran, Poet, Paralegal and Activist with Causa Justa (Just Cause). When not at work on his first Haiku collection inspired by the Haiku of Richard Wright, he is designing his future NGO. He is a proud early supporter of Atheism+ and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a strong advocate of decentralized power and housing, best exemplified by the Earthship. He is originally from Oakland and lives in South San Francisco.

SImon SheppardSIMON SHEPPARD is the damned-to-Hell author and editor of nine books about sex, including Kinkorama, Sodomy!, Homosex, The Dirty Boys’ Club, and the forthcoming Man on Man: The Best of Simon Sheppard. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Erotic Authors Association Award, he’s also published work in over 300 anthologies and periodicals, and he’s the curator and co-host of the notorious Perverts Put Out! performance series.

More performer bios as they come down the pike. Hope to see you there!

Decisions Are Made By Those Who Show Up: Why Voting and Calling Congress Isn’t a Waste of Time

your vote counts buttonWhen I first wrote this piece a few years ago, I wrote it specifically to encourage people to call or email their Congresspeople or other elected representatives. But it applies just as well to voting. So I’m recycling it here today. I’m concerned that progressives in the U.S. may not turn out very heavily in tomorrow’s election, since a lot of progressives are very disillusioned with politics and government right now. I don’t care. Vote anyway. This piece talks about why. Just replace “calling Congress” with “voting.”

Okay. The title is a bit off. A more accurate title would be, “Why Calling Or Emailing Congress, The President, And Your Other Elected Officials Not Only Isn’t A Waste Of Time, But Is One Of The Most Important Things We Can Do To Take Back Our Supposedly Democratically Elected Government.” But the Writer’s Union would have my head if I went with a title like that…

cel phoneI’m writing today to ask you to write and/or email your Senator, your Congressperson, your President. Your governor. Your mayor. Your city council. Your school board. If you don’t live in the U.S.: Your Prime Minister, your Premiere, your MP, your Assemblymember, your Deputy, whatever.

Not on any particular issue. Just in general. On whatever issue you care about.

And I want to argue that this is not a waste of time. I want to argue that this is one of the single most effective political actions we can take: not just to change this policy or that policy, but to change the entire way our government works, and the amount of power we have in it.

When I wrote my recent piece exhorting readers to call/ email Congress and the President about the public option for health care, many of you followed through, with a heartening degree of enthusiasm. But a surprising number of politically aware, politically astute people were strongly resistant: not to the public option for health care, but to the very idea of contacting their elected officials at all. They thought their voices wouldn’t be heard or cared about. They thought it was a waste of time.

I want to persuade you that it is not a waste of time.

And I want to persuade myself as well. I don’t call or email my representatives nearly as much as I think I should, and I’m writing this partly to remind myself to do it more.

Here is my thesis.

empty voting boothsThe fact that Americans feel so alienated from our government? The fact that so many people don’t vote? The fact that most people don’t call or email the President or their Congresspeople to tell them how they feel about important issues? The fact that so many people think politicians don’t care about them anyway, so there’s no reason they should bother getting involved?

This plays directly into the hands of the very people we don’t want running the show.

This is one of the main reasons government is so much more responsive to hard-line extremists and big-money corporate interests than it is to the majority of people it’s representing.

This is one of the main reasons government is so screwed up.

When very few people get involved in politics — when very few people even bother to vote, and even fewer bother to call or email their elected representatives — then the few people who do bother are the ones who get listened to. The hard-line crazies get to set the terms of the debate. Them, and the people with money.

baptizing of americaWhy do you think the extreme religious right was so successful, for so long, in setting this country’s political agenda? They were successful, in large part, because they had an extraordinarily well-oiled machine of millions of inspired people who would make phone calls and write letters at the drop of a hat. When the folks on the mailing lists of the religious right got a call for action telling them to call or write their Congressperson, they didn’t lapse into cynicism about how no politician really cares about them — and they didn’t lapse into soul-searching about whether they were sufficiently educated on this issue to express their opinion. They bloody well picked up the phone and called.

Decisions are made by those who show up.

And if we want to be making the decisions, we have to show up.

There’s a larger, more systemic way that this plays out, too. The fact that people feel jaded and alienated by politics and government? It’s a textbook example of a vicious circle. The less that people get involved in their government, the less politicians have to worry about the voters — and the more they can suck up to big money contributors. And the more that politicians suck up to big money contributors, the more alienated and jaded people get about government… and the less likely they are to get involved.

figures moving computer mouseThis circle isn’t going to get broken by elected officials. And it sure as hell isn’t going to get broken by corporate interests. The only way it’s going to get broken is by citizens picking up their phones or getting on their computers and telling their elected officials, “If you want my vote ever again, you freaking well better vote for X.” And then Y. And then Z. Over, and over, and over again. The only people who can break this circle are you and me.

Not getting involved doesn’t make government better. It makes government worse. It plays right into the hands of the corporate interests, who find it easier to get laws written their way when there aren’t all those pesky citizens to worry about.

And it plays right into the right-wing “keep government small and taxes low” rhetoric — otherwise translated as, “Keep taxes on rich people and big corporations low; keep regulations on business to a bare minimum if that; and keep government services for poor and middle- class people stripped to the bone.” People’s cynicism about government, their belief that it never helps them and doesn’t have anything to do with them unless it’s screwing them over, and it’s always better to have it small and weak since it sucks so badly? That’s one of the strongest cards in the right wing’s hand.

firefightersI’ve written about this before, and I’ll write it again: Government is — in theory, and at least some of the time in practice — the way a society pools some of its resources, to provide itself with structures and services that make that society function smoothly and that promote the common good. And it’s the way a society decides how those pooled resources should be used. It’s one of the main ways that a society shares, cooperates, works together, takes care of each other — all those great ideals we learned in kindergarten. Government is roads, parks, fire departments, street sweepers, public health educators, emergency services, sewers, schools. Government is not Them. Government — democratic government, anyway — is Us.

But for government to do all this and be all this, not just in theory but in practice, we need to start seeing government as Us.

control keyAnd calling/ emailing your President, your Senators, your Congressperson, your governor and your mayor and your dogcatcher, is one of the most powerful things we can do to turn government from Them into Us. It reminds our elected officials that they work for Us, that they’re there to represent Us. And maybe just as importantly, it reminds us of that, too.

If you want to look at it idealistically: Many elected officials get into politics because they want to make a difference, and want to represent the will of their voters. And those officials are desperately wishing for citizens to kick up a stink on important issues: it makes it easier for them to fight special interests, and it lets them know that we’ve got their back. (It’s a whole lot easier to tell your big campaign contributors, “No,” when you can say, “I’m really sorry, but my phone is ringing off the hook about this one, and if I don’t support/ oppose it my voters will have my head.”)

But you can also see this in a completely venal, Machiavellian view… and still come to the same conclusion. Squeaky wheels. Grease. Many elected officials don’t much care about making a difference… but they bloody well care about getting re-elected. Politicians assume that if people care enough about an issue to call or write about it, they’ll care enough to vote the bums out on election day. If enough people call or write, it can override the voice of big- money special interests — even for the most self-serving politician in the world.

pigs at the trough book coverI get that it’s easy to be cynical about politics. Boy, howdy, do I get it. You don’t have to tell me about the massive role that big money and corporate lobbying plays in government and policy; or about the short attention span of citizens and how easily distracted they can be by the Drama of the Day; or about the great advantage incumbents have over challengers and how it contributes to inertia and indifference in politicians; or about how easy it is for voters to be manipulated by fear. I am 47 years old, and I’ve been participating in my government for almost three decades and observing it for longer than that, and I am under no illusions about how deeply sucky government can be. I get it.

But I also think that cynicism is the easy way out. Cynicism is just a way of not having to care, so you don’t risk being disappointed. Not calling or emailing an elected official, because you think they don’t care and won’t listen, is like never asking out the girl or guy you think is really cute, because you’re afraid they’ll say no. It’s giving up before you’ve even started.

I keep thinking about that quote from Voltaire: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Politics is never, ever, ever perfect. Politics is the art of compromise… and the art of compromise is often an ugly, messy, dumb art.

But giving up is not the answer. Giving up is not going to make government better. Giving up is actively making it worse. Giving up on government because we can’t make it perfect is the enemy of making it good. Or at least, making it better.

And better is… well, better. As my friend Nosmo King points out: The lesser of two evils is less evil. How is that a hard decision?

This isn’t idealism. It’s harm reduction.

cynicism from diogenes to dilbert book coverStay cynical if you want to. Keep being a jaded, cynical hard-ass who thinks all government officials are selfish, power-hungry jerks. But be a jaded, cynical hard-ass who thinks all government officials are selfish, power-hungry jerks… and who calls or emails them to tell them what jerks they’re being, and what exactly you expect them to do to be marginally less jerky.

Be a jaded, cynical hard-ass. But don’t be a nihilist. Don’t give up. People fought and died for the idea of participatory democracy: not just in the United States, but all over the world. In many parts of the world, they’re still fighting and dying for it. You’re lucky. You don’t have to fight and die to keep this idea alive. You just have to call or email your elected officials. And you just have to vote.

So that’s the general principle. Participatory democracy. You know, the principle that this country fought a revolution for.

And yet a lot of people who agree with the principle still don’t follow through in practice. A lot of people who passionately support the idea of participatory democracy still don’t pick up the phone or get on the computer to, you know, participate in it. (Including me a lot of the time.)

Why is that?

I posted this question on Facebook the other day. I asked, “If someone asks you to email your Congressperson, and you don’t, even if you care about the issue — what stops you?”

I wasn’t asking to judge or criticize. Hell, I do this, too. I decide that I’m too tired, too busy, that if I responded to every “Call your Congressperson” email I got I’d never get anything else done. But it does bug me. It’s such a simple thing to do, and it can make such a huge difference, and I’m trying to figure out what, specifically, keeps us from doing it.

So now — again, for my own benefit as much as anybody else’s — I want to respond to some of the answers I got to this question. I want to remind myself, and anyone else reading this, that the reasons for not calling or emailing your elected officials, as understandable as they may be, simply aren’t anywhere near as compelling as the reasons for calling and emailing.

(Here’s Part 2 of the original.) Again, it talks more about calling elected officials than it does about voting… but I think it’s still relevant.

Want To Help Me? Help Skepticon!

Skepticon 5 logo

Do you want to help me out? Help Skepticon. They’ve hit a major last-minute roadblock, and they need our help — now.

Skepticon is one of the most incredible and inspiring events in the atheist/ skeptical calendar. Organized at a grass-roots level by a student organization, it has become one of the largest and most exciting conferences we have… and it is, and has always been, entirely free of charge. It’s important to the organizers that the conference be accessible, to students and working-class folks and others who don’t have the funds to attend expensive conferences. If folks can work out the travel and the lodging — and the Skepticon organizers work hard to help people work out the travel and lodging — they can attend this conference. Skepticon is, and has always been, entirely funded by donations and fundraising.

And they need our help — now — to keep it going forward this year.

Here’s a letter about all this from Skepticon organizer Lauren Lane.

Dear Internet,

Let me start by first saying that I love ALL of your faces. I do.

So, as you may have heard, Skepticon is happening soon and I am so excited! WOOO!

But, here’s the thing. There’s a catch. I know, I know–there is always a catch, but this one is pretty important. Skepticon is in a bit of a tough spot. This year, we had to secure a bigger venue, and that means that it’s more expensive to put on.

If I had all the money in the world, I would put on Skepticon for free every year, but sadly (both for me and the world) that is not the case. We need donations to keep Skepticon running, especially now as we are faced with a larger obstacle than we had originally thought.

Every time I express my worry about Skepticon’s financial situation, I am faced with comments about we ‘should just start charging.’ I won’t lie to you all, doing that would make things much easier financially. If everyone who came to Skepticon gave us $5, we would easily be able to fund ourselves.

But we won’t start doing that. Ever. As far as I am concerned, as long as all of you continue to believe in and support us, then we are willing to put in the work to make this event free to attend. We want any and everyone who can make it out to Springfield freaking’ Missouri to be able to be here with us.

We want you here. We want this event to happen. We need your help.

Hearts and kisses,

Lauren

Now, as many of my readers know, I recently did a fundraiser here on this blog, to help cover my expenses while I recover from cancer surgery. As readers also may know, I stopped that fundraiser about a day after it started, even though word about the fundraiser was still being spread and donations were still coming in, since I’d already raised all the money I needed and then some.

So if you heard about the “help Greta get through her cancer surgery” fundraiser after I’d already asked people to stop making donations… and you still feel motivated to help out? Please help me, by helping Skepticon.

I was supposed to speak at Skepticon 5. My cancer surgery threw a monkey wrench into that plan, although we’re hoping that I’m well enough by November 9 to get me Skyped in. But even though I can’t be there in person, my heart and my non-existent soul will be there all weekend. This event means the world to me — and it means the world to hundreds of people who are attending, or who have attended in the past, or who hope to attend in the future.

Ingrid and I just donated $100.00 to keep Skepticon going. Please chip in what you can. Thanks.

Good News: Greta’s Cancer Now In Past Tense

Just wanted to let y’all know the good news: I met with my oncologist yesterday, I got the results of the pathology, and it’s all good news. The cancer did turn out to be Stage 1. It wasn’t in my ovaries or my lymph nodes: just straight-up endometrial cancer, limited in scope to my uterus. And the tumor hadn’t penetrated more than halfway into my uterine wall (it had gone about a third of the way in).

This is more or less what everyone had been expecting. Based on the ultrasound and the biopsy, my oncologist was pretty sure that the cancer was Stage 1, and would be entirely treatable with hysterectomy. So this is not surprising news. But it is a big relief to have it confirmed. This cancer was caught plenty early, and it is now gone. I don’t mean that it’s in remission: I mean that it’s gone. I had cancer, but I don’t anymore. I will not need radiation or chemotherapy. And the incisions and everything are all healing well.

There is, FYI, a strong possibility that I have Lynch syndrome: a genetic marker that makes you more likely to get both endometrial and colon cancer. This probability estimate is based on my own endometrial cancer, the fact that my mother had colon cancer at age 45, and some other things from my own health history. I’ll know about this for sure in a couple of weeks, when they’ve had a chance to do further pathology on the tissue that was removed. But if I do have Lynch syndrome, it would not actually be that big a deal. I’ve been assuming for a while now that I have an elevated likelihood of colon cancer (see above re: family and health history), and my doctors have already recommended that I get a colonoscopy every two years. A diagnosis of Lynch syndrome wouldn’t mean anything more than what I already know: I’m more vulnerable to colon cancer than the average bear, and will have to get screened for it more often than most people. Since colon cancer grows slowly and can be snipped out easily if it’s caught early, this isn’t really scary: more just annoying.

I still feel pretty crappy. Sore from the surgery, groggy and slow from the pain meds, exhausted from the physical and emotional trauma, sleeping a lot, limited in both my physical and mental functioning. I will need to spend the next few weeks resting and healing and gradually getting back to normal (or what passes for normal for me). But I am hugely relieved. Once the next few weeks of rest and healing are done, this cancer thing really will be behind me.

Thanks again hugely to my readers for all your support. The fundraiser took an enormous weight off my shoulders, obviously: as I said a few days ago, I hadn’t realized how much of my stress and anxiety about this situation was focused on my financial worries, until I didn’t have those worries anymore. Maybe even more importantly than the money itself, the fundraiser made me feel tremendously loved and valued by this community. So big heartfelt thanks once again to everyone who donated money and/or spread the word about it. Thanks, also, to folks who provided financial support by buying my book, and/or encouraging other folks to buy it. The suggestions for books and DVDS and other entertainments during my recovery have been sweet and thoughtful and big fun as well, and will continue to be big fun in the coming weeks as I continue to recover. And the outpouring of encouragement, kind words, emotional support, stories about your aunt who had endometrial cancer 12 years ago and came through her hysterectomy with flying colors and just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last year… all of this has helped enormously. I’m more grateful than I can say.

I’m going to take the advice many of you gave me, and give myself some time to really rest and heal. Thanks to the fundraiser, I’m not feeling panicked about getting back to work right away, and I really do want to recover properly. But I am feeling excited about getting into writing again once my health has returned. I may ease into it gradually, with a post or two here and there until I’m up to speed; I may just wait a while until I’m feeling all better and then come back into it full speed ahead. I’ll see what makes sense with my recovery. But I will definitely be back. Once again, thanks so much to everyone for your patience and your support.