Hey ya’ll, it’s “Women in Horror Month” again. But I don’t want to talk about glass ceilings, equal rights, or gender discrepancy in the workplace. Mostly because *gasp* I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Here’s the thing: you can spend a lot of time and effort pondering, bemoaning, and shrieking about something, or you can do your thing. I’m not saying it’s not an issue in the horror (and writing in general) community. I’m just saying I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the issue. I just do me.
What I do want to talk about is being a female writer/editor/former publisher. Because gender inequality isn’t restricted to the work place, it’s all over the kitchen/living room/bathroom. I see you working moms out there nodding your heads. And let’s get this straight… I’m not “man bashing” because I know some stay at home Dads, some who are writers trying to work from home, some who are just doing the stay at home thing, and they say the same thing about their partners (be they female or male) that I hear my female friends say about their husbands. So maybe the term I really want is “partner inequality,” but since I’m a female and it’s Women in Horror month, it’s coming from my point of view.
And first, let me accept my responsibility in this issue. I created the monster. For many years I was a sahm who did everything. I cleaned the house, cooked the meals, raised the kids, managed the budget, and coordinated the calendar. I was your quintessential 50’s housewife. All I lacked was the pretty dresses and heels. (And possibly cigarettes, valium, and booze) I did everything related to our family’s daily living. My husband had taken on a new job that kept him busy pretty much around the clock and out of the house for most of it. But you can bet when he was there the house was clean, his laundry was done, and there was a plate of food waiting on him. I even homeschooled our kids. ( I know, you’re wondering wth was wrong with me. I like to call it “Marth Stewart-it is”)
I make no apologies to the feminists reading this for that period of time. It worked for us. And it was how it had to be. And I honestly enjoyed spending time with my children. But then things changed. The kids grew up. I had some free time. I found I wanted to do something that didn’t involve Mr. Clean or the grocery store. I wanted a career. My family took this hard. What? You don’t want to continue devoting every waking hour to our needs? WHAT? I think their attitude is best illustrated by this partial post from a blog I wrote at the time. My daughter is 19 at the time of the post and my son is 17, both have graduated from high school, my daughter worked full time, my son was “deciding what to do with his life.”
I know my children are nearly adults. They know they are nearly adults. Somehow they just forget to act like it sometimes. And they still don't seem to realize that "working from home" includes the key phrase "working". Because I'm home most days, it still seems to fall to me to cook, clean & run our lives. You know—schedule doctor’s appts, grocery shop, deal with insurance, balance checkbooks, make travel arrangements, keep the calendar updated so people know when they're coming and going and who else is where. Oh, and keep bored people entertained. And this is why my Facebook statuses so often proclaim that I'm incredibly happy to be home alone. Those are the days when I get things done. Those are the days when I spend from the time I get up until the time I go to bed working. And even after I go to bed if I'm reading an upcoming review book on my Kindle. Here are a few conversations we've had about my work lately:
Molly: (after coming home from work around 10 pm) Did you even call the insurance lady today?
Me: Of course I called her. Why would you think that I wouldn't?
Molly: Because you were working when I mentioned it before I left and when you work you're in your own little world so I wasn't sure you even heard me.
Me: It's called time management. I come up for air around 11:30 and take a shower, eat lunch, and do any pressing household business before going back to work. But your utter lack of confidence in my abilities is heartwarming. Thanks.
After Sean got home from Scouts:
Sean: So all the guys were complaining about their mornings today and I told them how hard mine was. How I had to roll out of bed at 8:30 and then I had to eat Pop-tarts even though I hate them because you wouldn't make me breakfast.
Me: I was working. And you're a big boy.
Sean: Then they all wanted to know why you were still home at that time so I had to explain that you work at home and how you're a writer and all. They were hugely impressed.
Me: Aw. Thanks.
Sean: Well they were impressed until I told them about how you never used to burn supper and now you do it all the time because you're so caught up in work.
Me: Thanks. Thanks for that.
And now they’re out of my house, living on their own, and my husband’s job isn’t quite as demanding as it used to be. I still do everything. Oh, he’ll pitch in if I ask, but he never spontaneously does the dishes or vacuums the floors. And he rarely cooks dinner. My adult children who live in other states still call when they need advice or have some particularly pesky task they are pretty sure they can con me into doing for them. Or just to talk. Or to ask me to come visit. And you know what? I do it. Because, family, you know? So, this being my experience, I’m in total awe of the many talented female horror writers who manage to write and raise children and keep house and the million other things they do behind the scenes that equal family life. So many of them are doing it with small children. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Some are doing it while holding down full time jobs. Some are doing it while coping with debilitating diseases.
So instead of ranting about the issues confronting women in the horror genre, I’d just like to give a standing ovation to each and every one of them—dreaming the dream, pursuing her passion, getting it done. ALL of it. You go, girl!!
Don’t miss Grimm Mistresses coming from Ragnarok Publications’ horror imprint Angelic Knight Press February 23rd. Featuring modern retellings of some of Grimm’s darkest Faery Tales. With stories by C.W. LaSart, Mercedes M. Yardley, Allison M. Dickson, S.R. Cambridge, and Stacey Turner.
Stacey Turner lives in West Central Illinois. Three wonderful, adult children call her “Mom,” and two beautiful little boys call her “Mimi” (Grandma). She is owned by cats. She is the managing editor for the Angelic Knight Press imprint of Ragnarok Publications. She spends her days writing and editing, but still finds time to review books & interview authors, as well as blog about her absolutely ridiculous family and other adventures. You can find her Author blog at www.staceyturner-authorspot.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter: @Spot_Speaks or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStaceyTurner
Her Amazon author page is found at http://www.amazon.com/Stacey-Turner/e/B006FKXH6I/
She enjoys editing because she’s bossy. And also because she revels in helping an author polish their work. She has edited several anthologies, including the upcoming No Place like Home: Tales from a Fractured Future and the more recent Fairly Wicked Tales, as well as many novels & novellas for a variety of authors.
She has been published in several anthologies and online magazines. When not working, she enjoys photographing cemeteries, playing “what if,” and discussing the imminent zombie apocalypse. She does not enjoy scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns, or garden gnomes.