[Image: A very ugly banner that says “Shenanigans! February 2020”]
What we accomplished this month:
You asked for it, I’m delivering: A big honking button that reminds folks of all the good stuff I’m making free and accessible. And a gentle nudge to click on it so you can become a member and be like ‘thanks!’ and ‘keep it up, buddy!‘
What a fascinating button. What’s on the other side?! Click it! You know you want to.
New & Updated website posts:
January & February, I experimented with publishing rough-ish draft articles and text-only book lists. Copy editing, formatting, and inserting images and SEO stuff takes up roughly 95% of the time it takes to make a post. Without all those shallow frills, I was able to make more than one book collection this month without all the soul-sucking tedium, leaving me time off for two days off this month and a lot of website bug fixes and improvements! Also oodles more research and behind-the-scenes book research.
But – there is a cost. None of these hooked in readers, no one shared these posts, and most visitors bounced after just a few seconds. So there is value in the tedious busywork of polishing things up. Beginners truly do need to be gently coddled and tempted into accomplice work with shiny images and polished calls-to-action.
So at some point, I need a spare 20 hours to go back and polish all of our collections from January and February. Uuugghhnn.
Back to the tedium of grunt work and html tags for next month!
- Radical Interdependence: Balancing Giving, Taking, and Asking (new collection)
- Anti-Elder Ageism #3: Youth Saviorism in kidlit (new collection)
- Black & nonbinary women makers (updated)
- Raising Leaders (updated)
- Collective Action (updated)
- Black Futures (new) – This is a test list while I experiment with Bookshop.org. See below for more on that.
Behind the scenes website stuff:
- Shenanigans: Our Monthly Recap Shenanigans posts now live on the website (instead of patreon) so they will be easier to browse and search through. There is even a link on our navigation bar now! And right this minute I am realizing these were the best posts enticing new patrons to sign up and now making them accessible from the website, I’ve shot myself in the foot.
- Oh for goodness sake, Ashia.
- This is why I can’t make capitalism work for me. Whatever. ONWARD!
- Good Finds bonus book lists: I’ve cleaned up and re-organized our Good Finds posts so now they, too, are easy to find. They will get a post in the navigation bar once I create a members page.
- Homepage & navigation fixes: On advice from our awesome patreon designery members – for usability on mobile phones, I’ve reduced the size of the RL logo and made the navigation bar responsive for tablets and phones. We now also have direct links to spotlights and all the public book collections. Also the whole website should be generally less buggy and load faster. Enjoy.
- Coming…eventually, I started compiling a test syllabus using resources for our topic on anti-elder ageism, but I only managed to get like half the resources on there before I lost steam and now I’ve got other stuff on my plate. Please don’t judge me!
- Very Ugly Feature Images: Part of the tedium of making new posts is choosing, editing, formatting, uploading, and describing feature images. So I generated some truly hideous feature images for our good finds & shenanigans posts. The key is to make them intentionally ugly so I don’t feel the compulsion to tweak them. This should save me lots of mental labor later on! Which I can spend on researching books for you!
- Still slowly working on creating a Student Ignition Society launchpad area so educators and families can find all our tool kits and resources from a central location. It’s kind of a tiny website of its own, so it’s taking me a while. It looks terrible and unsightly, so you’re not allowed to see it yet!
- Good Finds: Feb 2020 (good finds is back! Yaaaay!)
- Alphabet books (unpolished list, new)
- #Ownvoices Black Women & Nonbinary Authors & Illustrators: expanded list (unpolished list, updated)
- Blindness & Vision Disabilities (unpolished list, updated)
- Validating Frustrations over feeling small & powerless (unpolished, updated)
New Patreon Posts
- 02/03/20 Late Winter Shenanigans & Feb poll results
- 02/10/20 Poll fulfillment: Interdependence Collection
- 02/24/20 Good Finds: Feb 2020
Luminary Brain Trust
Luminary-level members, come join us! I send the link when you first join, but if you missed it, it’s in the tier reward description. Or if you can’t find it, comment below and I’ll send it over.
Continuing our series on doing less busy work so we can focus our energy on more awesome things. This week, we’re working on learning how to accept help. (We make it less daunting than it sounds!)
Student Ignition Society
- Upcoming shenanigans: Open call for collaborators
- April is posting so many good things I can’t keep track…
- But you can join the SIS Facebook group to follow along!
I’m getting better at posting more on this centralized website, and less original content on social media. But sometimes I just want to boost something quick, y’know? It’s also a good place for new members to catch up.
Here are some highlights and trending posts:
- A Place inside of me
- Punxatawey Phillis & ageism
- Say Her Name
- family constellations
- Boosting black futures
- not my idea
- whitewashing in black women’s history
- Disability Visibility Project
- Parenting Forward Conference #2: Early birds!
- racism 101: colorblind fallacy
- normalizing girls of color
- racism 102: power
- Discussion comments: White bro fragility
Composting: Currently Researching & Searching for:
- Healthy masculinity
- Black Futures
- Women’s history
- Non-evil alternatives to Facebook (I have an idea in the works!)
- Julie* of Mother’s Quest connected me with Graeme Seabrook – we are brainstorming cahoots for later this year. Both of these lovely ladies are on patreon, y’know. Support Graeme! Support Julie!
- BookShop.Org: Non-evil alternatives to Amazon! Currently beta-testing with them. Check out my affiliate link and test it out. Send feedback directly to Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Preferably with something along the lines of “Implement all the stuff Ashia from Raising Luminaries wants. Such as embedded image hotlinks” I am joking but not really, because I really want to get away from Amazon.
- I’m working with Zetta Elliott* for an upcoming Maker Spotlight (yes, THE ZETTA ELLIOTT!!!!), and she introduced me to the work of Alondra Nelson and Alia Jones.
- #WeNeedDiverseBooks: Connected with Alaina about maybe doing thing on autism and intersectionality in April. We’ll see if I have time? So many things!
Disclosure: Julie & Zetta are RL patreon supporters, because they are great.
New addition to the recap, with important info: It occurred to me that pointing out the orgs I support might be a good idea to disclose more than once at the end of each year. But also then I get nervous that readers will think I’m raking in cash and you might choose to discontinue / not support RL! (Ahh!) Or maybe I’m overthinking it? What really matters I guess is that more people see that donating to #OwnVoices orgs (even ones that make more than I do) is important and chip in to help, too.
But this is the work, and I’m just gonna trust our shared vision for the future of being here for each other. You can read more about why I started funneling a portion of my income into #OwnVoices orgs before covering the out-of-pocket expenses of running RL in my Accountability Statement.
- Creative Action Institute (transparency disclosure: Louisa, the director of Programs & Partnerships is my friend. She’s so great!)
- Liberation Library
- Black Futures Lab
- Karam Foundation
- Planned Parenthood
- Autism Women & Nonbinary Network
- On Patreon: The Broke-Ass Transwoman (nepotism disclosure: this is my step-sister, but I’d support her even if she wasn’t), Black Girl in Maine, Bellamy Shoffner, Alice Wong, Ramp Your Voice! with Vilissa, Lydia X. Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya)
Check them out, tell your friends, and tell ’em I sent ya!
What to expect coming up:
Next up…Well, actually – I’m not really sure.
- I want to experiment with a 7-day cycle of creation (reading > sharing > thinking > writing > formatting > orientation > composting)
- But I also want to experiment with single-book post reviews on the website (to move away from social media).
- And I also want to experiment with taking 2-3 days off each month regularly. Or at least leave some space for sick days.
- And also a 4-part series on how to use kidlit to dismantle the objectification of women.
- And also create some sort of submission form where people can submit challenges and book topic requests and I answer them with book suggestions, advice-column style.
- And I want to add a ‘browse by topic’ section to the main navigation bar
- And also crash the sun into the moon and declare world domination and eat all the nachos.
So maybe one of those? All of those? As many of those as I can, unless compiling a book list on some form of implicit bias derails me?
I tell you what. I’ll work really hard doing as much awesome stuff as I can, and then we can meet back here at the end of March and I’ll tell you about it so you can enjoy it. Deal?
I like you so very much!
Every day I get to wake up and be like: “Cat, get your butt out of my face!”
But after that, I think: “OH GOSH YES! I am going to work on this neat research / writing / collaboration / experimentation / do-goodery today! This is my work! MY LIFE IS AMAZING.”
And thanks to your generous and awesome response to our last poll, I took two glorious days off this month. I wallpapered the bathroom, unhurriedly took a trip through both a grocery store and Target without children *and* caught up on two doctor appointments I’ve been putting off for years. Also I planned our family’s meals for the year, cleaned out the basement, and caught up on a 3-year-overdue project. Huzzah for days off and 48 heavily caffeinated work-free hours!!
And that’s thanks to you! Thank you, friend.
Oh look here is that tantalizing button again:
Bonus: Members get monthly email notifications when I create our monthly Shenanigans recaps!