Opening song downloaded in 2006 as podsafe music: DISCLAIMER This bonus episode of CraftLit likely belongs at the end of , but since the inciting incidents didn’t occur for several years, I’m putting it here, but with a warning - language and subject matter are NOT what you will find in the other 475± episodes of CraftLit. This is NOT an episode to have a first-listen with your kids in the car. To that end, I am well aware that there will be parts of this episode that will anger you. If you’ve listened to CraftLit for awhile you’ll know that I often hold information or comments for the end—it’s the theater side of me, wanting to book-end these essays so that they are dramatically and structurally consistent. But I’d be an idiot if I didn’t know you would have responses while you listen. I encourage you to use the recording app on your phone and switch back and forth between listening and responding so you have your thoughts in order. Then, when you’re done, you have the choice to send me the complete file at Heather@CraftLit.com OR you can call our listener line at 1-206-350-1642 and speak your mind. And, finally, You might be expecting me to deal with this topic through the lens of classic literature. With one exception, that will not happen in this episode. This is personal. This is nothing more than my thoughts—a culmination of 31 years of my experiences and thoughts—on this topic. We have faced many characters in complicated relationships where we in the modern world have very different responses regarding issues of consent. are not unknown to us. However, you may wish to hunt down the post by David Wong at (of all places) Cracked.com
called . It’s both funny and upset-stomach-inducing—and written by a guy for whom I’d like to buy a drink if he’s ever in Eastern PA. 3:10 Before I begin, there is a transcription of this over at CraftLit.com/476
. Included there are links out to everything I mention that is link-to-able. 3:51 Hello, The number of times I’ve been compelled to do something like this could be counted on a hand inside a very nicely knitted mitten, but , and comment threads I’ve been reading have pushed me to try—at least for we sane people—to end it. To begin at the beginning, my husband pointed out a month-or-so ago that every woman he knew had put a #MeToo hashtag on their feed. Sadly, none surprised him. However, he asked why I hadn’t. I was the only one he knew of who could have but didn’t. And I didn’t. 4:30 I mentioned–very briefly–my past a few years back on CraftLit and I left it there. For a long time it had defined part of me, but then I got married, then I had a son, then I was teaching HS the day we were evacuated from the tip of an island off the coast of North America when a plane tried to drop a building on us, then I had another son, then I became a podcaster, an author, a speaker—I outgrew simple definitions. There is nothing simple about the conversation that is swirling around us right now—and I say that as both a #MeToo and as a mother of young men. The mother of some rather justifiably nervous young men. 5:15 When I was teaching HS in NYC I learned something very important that I need to share with you: I knew nothing about being white. I mean, yes, if you’ve heard “Stupid Shit White People Say” you’ve probably laughed–just like me. Ha Ha. I get it. What I mean is I knew nothing about what being white looks like to anyone who isn’t. You might remember the spectacularly biting SNL clip of complete with what happens in the white world when anyone of color leaves the room. It’s hilarious. And it’s not. One of the most revealing conversations I ever had was with a class of recidivist freshmen. These 20 kids were massively in the minority at our very-college-focused NYC Public School. This was not their first time in Freshman English. It might have been their third or fourth, to be honest. Trying to figure out how to get them to want to strengthen their skills was more difficult than any teaching job I’ve had before or since and I probably failed to help at least half of them. But they sure taught me. I was particularly lucky because my students had learned that they could trust me—at least it seemed to believe they could. I sure hoped they could. This was well into my time in NYC and it was also at the height of the people-getting-jumped-for-their-Air-Jordan’s scare and we’d been working our way through annotating a NYTimes article on the topic in preparation for them to practice writing formal letters, like they might have to write to a landlord someday, only we were using a letter to the editor of the paper as a practice run. As we annotated copies and separated fact from opinion (and noted where we’d need more facts to support our claims) one boy made a comment about how there was nothing wrong with jumping someone for their shoes—as long as that someone was white. As the only white person in the room at the time, I asked for clarification. Near as I can recall the conversation went something like this: Me: Wait, what? Student: Well, you know, Miss. I mean, it’s mad wrong for me to jump someone like… Tyrik here (laughter) because I know it’s not like he can just, you know, go out and buy new Jordans. (“awwwwww”s) Me: Okaaaayyy… Student: But…you know, Miss. If you need a new pair, you’ll get a new pair. Me: Wait. Are you telling me that I should be able to buy a new pair of Jordan’s because I’m white? (Laughter) Student: (clearly baffled by my response and the laughter) Um…yeah… Me: George, how much money do you think I make??? Student: (still baffled) I don’t know…like…white people money? Me: (laughing) That’s an income classification? Student: (backpedaling) You know, Miss? Right? Like, you make enough. You can, you know, buy…stuff you want. Me: George, I’m a teacher. We don’t get rich being teachers. We get promised decent health care, and retirement, in exchange for not getting rich—almost enough to pay rent and eat. I’m not rich. Seriously. These shoes I got at Payless. I went on to break down how much I brought home every two weeks and what my monthly expenses were. My disposable money at the end of the month was about $30. The rustling in the room got louder as we worked our way towards that fact—a fact that the students brought up again and again in class when people made assumptions or worked off of stereotypes. 9:20 As different as my life was from George’s view of All White Folks—his understanding of the differences of how white folks live from the people he grew up with in his neighborhood wasn’t that far off. Things I saw our students do that I—at first—thought were SO self-defeating, so working against their best interests — were, often as not, learned survival skills. We had a whole cross section of girls who got to school late every day. Same amount of late Every Day. Why? Their moms and dads both worked, often more than one job and frequently in overlapping shifts which meant one adult was still on the way home from a late shift on public transit early in the morning when the other was leaving for an early shift. But there’s a baby. Baby has to go to daycare. Affordable daycare starts at the same time as school. Solution? The oldest daughter is responsible and she’ll be able to make up the work she misses at her school. Have her take the baby to daycare then go to school. Someone else will pick the baby up so the oldest daughter can stay late and get help, library access, or just a quiet place to study. Win-win. But it took several years for me to learn that. All the kids knew how it worked. One girl was shocked I’d needed to ask her, because duh, of course that’s what was going on. Opening the door and coming into class late wasn’t anything she needed to apologize or make excuses for, because it was just so obvious. Except it wasn’t. To me. Just like I thought wasn’t obvious. 11:18 Just like what published in the NYT about the charges of sexual misconduct about him. H is thoughts weren’t obvious either. It’s not about race. It’s not about beauty. It’s not about sex. It’s not necessarily about gender. It is all about power. 11:49 And even people with power never feel like they are the one in power. There’s always someone richer, better, stronger, meaner, more ruthless, more threatening, better looking than they are. So if you try to have the conversation with them as though they’ve got more power than you they’ll just “what about THAT person” and blow off everything you say. John Oliver did a lovely piece on - which is also known as the . Back to Louis CK. 12:40 I don’t know if, in the maelstrom of sexual predator reveals you read or heard his whole statement, but you should know what he said. All of it. Because I think it should be the gold standard by which we judge responses to this issue. Allow me to give you a smidgen of context for why I believe that. 13:00 In a nutshell, Louis CK struggled on his way up as a standup comedian. A lot. He and Mark Maron have spoken about their enemyship and their friendship and how the difficulties they encountered paralleled each other but how they ultimately found success—albeit in relatively different areas. I guarantee you, if a female comedian heard me say that she would have snorted. Quadruple that snort if she’s a female comedian of color. Because…seriously. It’s just so obvious. Sidestepping that rabbit hole for a moment and going back to Louis CK—it’s important to know that Louis CK - like George Clooney and Samuel L Jackson have famously said – Louis CK didn’t have success handed to him on a silver platter when they were young. He ate his share of cup-o-noodles and did a fair bit of couch surfing is what I’m saying. So If an up-and-coming female comedian had said to him, “Geez, it’s been rough going…” he’d be likely to say—justifiably—“Oh My God, I KNOW. There was this one time when I…” not necessarily as a way of him purposefully dismiss her struggles, but very likely thinking that he’s speaking to an equal or—at least—to someone on her way to being a professional equal. How that convo might have been perceived by the woman he was speaking to would very likely have sounded very different. He learned—the hard way—about power disparities. 15:05 We can learn from him that power disparities are invisible to those in power UNLESS they are given a reason to stop, back up, think, ask questions, sit with it awhile, and then find the cojones to say “mea culpa” and own their error. And we—the rest of the public, the couch-sitting judge and jury to these people’s social falls—we have to learn to allow them to do that. We say that we want people to own it. We say we want people to say they’re sorry, but when they do we’re as likely to attack them for that as we are for them denying everything. And that’s too bad because we know everyone makes mistakes. But it’s very rare that we see people who are actually evil—Goebbels and Himmler and Pol Pot and King Leopold evil—stalk other people to try to ruin their lives. Even the guy who assaulted me wasn’t evil like that. He was a privileged jerk who thought he deserved everything—and that included females—because, my God woman, why WOULDN’T you want him, Right? He had money, he was smart (smart enough to get away with it more than once…until he broke his girlfriend’s collarbone) he (thought he was) good looking…I mean, duh. Anyone who accused him of something that unsavory must just be bitter…or a bitch…or frigid…or a feminist. Because, I mean, who are they going to believe? Right? 16:40 At this point, you need to go listen to Ehren Zigler’s ShakespeareSunday.libsyn.com
episode from Nov 12, 2017 entitled: Who Will Believe You? When you’re done, come back and pick up here. 17:10 Welcome back! So what have we learned? Sadly, that not much has changed since 1604, or, more accurately, nothing much has changed since… forever. But that isn’t helpful. Because I’ve raised two wonderful boys, one of whom isn’t unnerved about going to college on his own or of a possible terrorist attack nearly as much as he is of putting a girl in a position where he thinks she wants him to kiss her only to find that he’d misread the situation and is now labeled a predator. And the way things are flying around now, I don’t know that he’s wrong to feel this way. 18:02 If we can’t tell the difference between and adult predator of girls and young women—a predator so well-known that a mall barred his entrance—and a man finally “getting it” and owning what he did wrong, if we can’t respect a man taking ownership of what he did wrong and vowing to try to do better (knowing full well that history has it’s eyes on him) then my son is right. He should be scared—or at least very very nervous. But that’s the wrong lesson we’re supposed to be learning. If theater, TV, and film have taught us anything, it’s that bad things happen when people don’t say what they should say. If real life has taught us anything, it’s that people can get punished for saying the right thing to the wrong person and vice versa. If literature has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t learn, grow, and become better happier people if we don’t listen to Atticus Finch: we need to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. 16:48 I’ve been talking a lot about Louis CK’s statement, and before I read it to you, I do want to make it clear: I know that for years Louis CK denied all of these allegations. I’m also aware that in Hollywood he has a manager and an agent and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if, (a) they were male, and (b), if they advised all of their clients who found themselves in situations like this to deny everything. Why? Because it’s been a very, very, effective tactic. Let me read it to you now because you have to hear it—all of it—for this last bit to make sense. I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not. These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position. I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with. I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian, including because I admired their work. The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them… I’ve brought pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother. I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading. 19:25 When I was a kid, Atticus’ lessons seemed simple: I could usually figure out what I needed to, I could find the empathy in me that I needed to, just by imagining myself in someone elses’ position. That still works. Sometimes. But teaching in NYC taught me that imagination wasn’t enough. I had to actually get to know people who at a first—very superficial—glance were so different from me, only to find that our middle class upbringings, our relationships with our loving and supportive parents, our thoughts about love and life and career were all so similar as to be indistinguishable from one another. Until you factored in chances for success. One of my bosses in Hollywood told me a story once. He had an African American best friend in college, he’s Jewish. He laughingly told me how they used to have “woe is me” competitions, racking up all the ways people’s prejudices and unfair treatment had frustrated them. I was young and naïve and I asked who won. He stopped laughing and said, “we ended the competition when my friend pointed out that if the two of us were walking down the street, people might guess I was Jewish…but they knew he was Black.” In competitions like that, no one wins. Not even the people in power. 21:00 One more illustration In 2016 there was an article I read that profiled various voters. One was a tentative Trump supporter in the upper midwest. I’ll call him Frank, for lack of a better memory. He wasn’t comfortable with much about Trump personally, but it was better than what he’d personally experienced from the left. He’d served in a war, he’d come back, he’d gotten a job, he’d raised a family, he paid his taxes, he started his own business. It wasn’t easy, but he worked his tuchus off and got his kids into college—like you do—and then one of his daughters came home from college with a boyfriend. At his own Thanksgiving table, this embodiment of the American dream, Frank, was served a plateful of stereotypes from a 20 year old kid—you must be a bigot, classist, uneducated, small-minded, evangelical, gay-bashing, woman-hating, immigrant-fearing, gun-loving, war-mongering idiot. Frank was, as would many of us be, speechless. And enraged. Here he’d done what he was supposed to do. He started a business. He supported his family. He paid his taxes. He loved his daughters and wanted them to be happy, with bright futures—that’s why did did all the things he did. Not because it was fun. Not because he was following his bliss. Because It Is What You Do when you love your family. JUST like my student’s parents worked many jobs and paid plenty in taxes to provide a home and futures for their families. But Frank didn’t have anyone to yell at—he couldn’t yell at his daughter’s boyfriend—no matter how much the twerp deserved it. because a gentleman doesn’t do something like that. He didn’t have a place to go where he could protest this unfair treatment. He didn’t have anyone to protest against. And yes, there’s no question, Frank didn’t see all of the benefits that being white and male afforded him. Again, to those with less power, his power is very obvious. To him, all he saw was how much work he put into making a good life for his family and his kids. So Frank was unhappy. But he didn’t much like colleges. And he really didn’t much like the Left. And it’s kind of hard to blame him. 26:45 But I can’t help but wish that in moments like that, the Franks of the world could find a way to step back and calmly ask, “Wait, but why? Why do you assume that about me?” And then listen. Because if Frank listened to the Why, there’s a good chance that the more he heard and the more specific his questions got, the more he would expose the flaws in the stereotypes—and the more likely the Twerp would learn something he hasn’t learned at home—respecting your elders has nothing to do with deferring to them. It’s all about listening to them. Everyone does the best they can do with what they’ve got. No one sets out to be a failure or hateful—. And we are—as Madeline L’Engle and and a zillion other authors have noted—are always afraid of the unknown. And that’s where our current situation gets dangerous. Because if we can’t hear the difference between Louis CK’s —excuse the term—manning up to explain his actions and own his mistakes —NOT Yeah, I’m remorseful BECAUSE I GOT CAUGHT - — But if we can’t hear a cogent and serious reflection on how these things can happen and why men simply don’t see it, then we also won’t see the danger inherent in someone who blames the victim (or shockingly blames religious bias) and denies any responsibility for their actions. And that’s the way we perpetuate all of this. 28:35 To be crystal clear: I am not talking about the more clear-cut violent crimes. I am however, pointing out that as long as we talk about sexual harassment and rape and serial pedophilia as though they’re all sex crimes, the longer we’ll be missing the point and not solving the problem - and we’ll have perpetuated a false equivalency. The assault I suffered was a very different kind of crime from the assault survived by one of the young women in a support group I eventually attended. She was attacked getting out of her car, with her laundry basket, in sweats, no makeup, hair piled on her head. She was threatened at knife-point. She was terrorized. Her case seems like a simple and clear-cut criminal assault. She still had people—often official-type people and not just men—ask her if she actually saw the knife. Or imply that she was asking for it—because she was blonde, tan, and pretty. I, of course, have never found sweats and no makeup that appealing, but hey, what do I know? I’m not a rapist. 29:52 The betrayal that she and I felt, at being assaulted, at having our body touched by someone to whom we did not give permission, was the same. The betrayal we experienced at having people who should have believed us who should have been on our side, who should have helped, or should have at the very least, have tried to help us make sure that the perpetrator never hurt anyone like that again—the betrayal we experienced at having people who should have believed us walk away or turn their backs—was the same. The crime itself was different. Which is kind of the point. The chances of the guy who assaulted her being surprised by being accused of rape is pretty slim. You go out of your way to stalk someone, beat them, hold a knife to their throat, tear their clothes, and force them to have sex with you—I think you probably know that’s called rape. I’m talking about the squishier territory. The “I didn’t know” vs the “yeah, well you should’ve known” moments. The places I’ve been talking about where purpose and perception are blurred and power, career, livelihood, and reputation are the elephants in the corners of the room, standing there all but invisible to the person with the power. We have to learn to hear the choked and sometimes heartbroken “I didn’t know” for what it is: the sudden exposure of a power disparity that was always there but largely invisible and a cultural disparity that I’ve never seen explained as well as was done this last week by . 31:48 There is an important lesson, I believe, in watching someone accused of something like this, especially a public figure—with or without proof provided—say, “Oh my God, I don’t remember this, but for God’s sake, begin an ethics investigation, because we can’t just sweep these things under the rug.” There have to be standards. There are norms of behavior we need to respect. Because that kind of behavior—owning your mistake, allowing justice to run its course (with the belief that justice will, in fact, be just)—that is what we teach our children. That is what we tell them the world is like. So we have to act like it, too. Because the kids are watching us. There’s also an important warning in watching someone accused of something like this deny it ever happened, deny video footage, deny responsibility, or, most heinously, blame the victim—because as Louis CK and James Comey both demonstrated this year—the person in power does not think they have an unfair advantage. The person with less power, however, knows it. 33:10 It’s true in economics, it’s true in geopolitical conflict, it’s true throughout history, and it’s true when it comes to interpersonal relationships—those on the lower side of the power scale know a lot more about the higher end than the higher end knows about them. That’s why America strides around the planet like a big teenage bully, not caring—not needing to care—about how it’s perceived. Since WWII America’s had the power. I hope, that when the world shifts away from that, we can lose that bravado and learn how to deal with not being on top gracefully. I might be delusional. But I have to be hopeful because of my sons. 33:54 I don’t know that I can see a way through to a happy ending to the current spate of accusations. I’m not an apologist for the men being accused. I do think there’s a scale of egregiousness, and legality. However. I had a boss who once joked about me wearing a French Maid’s uniform at work. I laughed. I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. He laughed too, and we had a really spectacular working relationship for nearly three years. Did he ever touch me? Not once. Would he be in serious trouble nowadays for making the French Maid joke. I’m afraid he would be. Even in 1989 he might have been if I’d taken him seriously. But I listened. And I watched him. And I heard that it wasn’t a threat. Or a requirement. It wasn’t even a legitimate or realistic request. It was a joke. No bathrobes were involved. No hotel room meetings—not that there couldn’t have been. This was Hollywood. But I’ve been lucky to work for and with honorable men my whole life. Karmic payback for having crossed paths with a sociopath in college, perhaps. I like to think that I took what happened to me and learned some valuable lessons from it. Like trusting myself to know when it’s time to go without worrying about being told I was spoiling everyone’s fun, trusting my gut to know that what I was walking into was not a safe situation—without worrying that I’d be told I was being hysterical, and by not worrying about being called a bitch if I weeded out backstabbers and betrayers from my life. 35:35 One of the saddest things I’ve heard this year was James Comey’s testimony when he talked about begging the Attorney General to stay in the room—to not leave him alone with the president—because he knew power disparity there was real and he didn’t want to be alone without witnesses in case the President said something that would be either Illegal or putting pressure on him in a way that could lead to things that were illegal. The kind of betrayal James Comey experienced—watching the Attorney General walk out of that room—is exactly the kind of betrayal women have felt when left alone with someone they know is unsafe. It is the closing of the door that is the most terrifying. At that point there is almost nothing you can do to win. Society will label you with one negative no matter which way you come out of that room. You can either be a frigid bitch or you can be a whore. What you can’t be is deaf. 36:45 You can’t be deaf to the same kinds of stories coming from other people in similar situations—both women and men. Atticus would be disappointed. And slut shaming is done by women at least as often as men. Ask my dorm roommates. They got to watch it up close. But we—especially we—women have to be the first one on the scene pointing out that nothing we’ve heard yet—Not One Incident—has been about one person being attracted to someone who Just Wasn’t That Into Him. None of this has been about sexual attraction or chemistry or a date gone bad. It’s been about powerful people knowingly or unknowingly using sex as a threat. The threat is “I get to do what I want to do because I’m the one who controls—or at the very least, can affect—your future.” Some threats like that are completely unknowingly wielded. Because those in power know less about how that power is perceived than the people without the power. There are the unknowing wielders, and then there are the others. But how would a guy know which camp he’s in—really? He’s not a rapist in an alley with a knife. We know those guys are predators. We know they’re the bad guys. These guys are wearing suits! When in a position of power there are few people brave enough to be . Instead, powerful people tend to gravitate to those who agree—or seem to agree—with them until the world they live in shows them in no uncertain terms every hour of every day that everyone wants to do what they want them to do. So if everyone wants what you want them to do, how could kissing or touching this woman who knows you—how could that be any sort of violation? Because obviously, she wanted it. How could she not? 30:31 CraftLit listeners are some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my entire life…. People who care about words meaning what they mean. When we look at the language and rhetoric being used in all of these arguments, debates, and statements, help the people around you to take a step back and look at the language being used. We can tell so much—and in situations like this, that language is the only in-road we have to following Atticus’ advice. Because we probably can’t imagine what it’s like to be Harvey Weinstein. We might not want to even if we could. But is it easy to understand how an overweight, schlubby guy who grew up overweight and schlubby, might see getting anything he wants is payback for years of humiliation and being ignored by women? Looking at the way he defends himself, yeah. I can imagine that that is exactly what’s going through his head. Does it make what he did any less reprehensible? Heck no. The crime is the crime is the crime. A rose by any other name… It just means that solving the problem—helping him come to terms with what the problem is in the first place, is a different conversation. Violence, whether psychological or physical, that involves sex or sexuality, is never about sex or sexuality. It’s about power. And the sooner we can be honest with each other about these kinds of crimes and how we react to them—because our reactions are just as complicated, I would wager, as the reactions of the guys who’ve been outed—the sooner we can heal and move forward. And maybe—if we’re lucky—not see this happen any more. A girl can dream. But mostly, I hope that my friends and colleagues who are raising daughters are raising girls to be able to tell the difference between an honorable young man who does not have their best interests at heart. For the sake of my wonderful, beautiful sons, I hope that, as much as we’ve worked to make them kind, honorable, happy, good people, the same is being done by the fathers and mothers who are raising their daughters. 41:48 Because honorable people, embodied for my entire conscious life by my mother, my father, and Atticus Finch, are people who may be unaware that they’ve done something wrong, but when it’s brought to their attention respond by working to understand what went wrong and correct that wrong in whatever way they can. Dishonorable people are ones who may be unaware they’ve done something wrong, and when it’s brought to their attention—simply don’t care. I think we’ve seen several examples of both types of responses in the past year. And just like me with my students in New York, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about being white—until I had a chance to listen. Until I had someone brave enough to talk to me, honestly, and without anger. I got to be Frank, in a safe place where I was able to ask questions and—because I was safe, and not being attacked—able to hear the answers I was able to hear and understand the “what I should have knowns…because it’s just so obvious.” When it still wasn’t obvious. To me. Back then. Things I couldn’t have seen without help because you just don’t see the same view as everyone else when you’re the one on top. Literature is there to show us how to grow, how to act, and often as not how NOT to act and grow. That is one of the reasons why education, specifically in the humanities, is so vital. These are the reasons I’ve been hosting CraftLit for coming up on 12 years. I promise, on Thursday, December 14th, I’ll be back to sharing inside jokes with you and Dickens and the holiday spirit. But today I thank you for listening. And I hope you know that I’ve given you our call-in number for a reason. I’ve never shied away from reading emails or playing audio from you when you’ve disagreed with me and I won’t do it now. I also know from our long sojourn together that unlike the rest of the internet, CraftLit listeners respond to each other with kindness and compassion—you are my Finch-Family Community. You are the ones who prove to me, over and over again, that the world can be a good and safe and happy place. I know that once again, I’ll point to our online forums as The Only Place on the Internet Where People Still Have Manners When Discussing Difficult Things. Because you always listen. And think. And research. And share. And speak—always with compassion and thought and care. I’ve tried to do the same for you today. I hope I have. I like to believe that classic fiction and the people who love it can help us avoid a world run by or The Commanders in or the assassins in the fourth part of *. I believe—and I will continue to believe—that Humanity can do better than that. I have to believe that. Because like you, I love my children. And I want them, and yours, to have safe and happy lives. (This is the printing I read in school. No idea if it’s better or worse than others. It’s just the one I know) The FUN side of CraftLit returns on December 14, 2017 with the First Day of CraftLit?stories to light the holidays.