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mephistia

attempting obscurity

I mess around with writing, but deep down I'm pretty sure I'll never actually get published because I treat it like a hobby and not a passion -- I write when I have time, instead of making time to write.

 

When I read, I prefer YA sci-fi/ fantasy as my go-to fiction reads. I tend toward this genre because I read fiction as an escape from the daily drudge of life. YA sci/fi-fantasy usually has more upbeat/ hopeful endings, while adult fiction of any genre (except romance) tends to have more depressingly realistic endings. Sometimes I read romance novels, but I really prefer the type with plot/ character development between sex scenes, and I don't like having to hunt for them.

 

In non-fiction, I prefer history, biographies, psychology, gender studies, social/applied sciences, and law/ public policy.

Currently reading

Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- And What We Can Do About It
Lise Eliot
White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race
Ian F. Haney López

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures - Dossie Easton, Janet W. Hardy Before I write my review, I want to say something. I don't normally read psycho-babble self-help relationship-help type books. Maybe it's because I've been in therapy for bipolar since I was 13, maybe it's because I regularly read psychology and medical texts, maybe it's because I have an immediately visceral and negative reaction to the idea of trying to change another person. This is probably due to the fact that people have been trying to "change" me for so long, convince me that bipolar is a figment of my imagination, a fallacy that I can overcome by strength of will.And too often, self-help books and relationship manuals rely on what I perceive as the negative perpetuation of the idea that one can improve serious issues like depression, bipolar, dissociative personality disorders, PTSD, and other serious mental issues through "happy thoughts" and "positive thinking" and "spiritual energies" and other hoo-ha.Most relationship "help" books also tend to tilt too far in one direction or the other: Here's how to change him/her (you can't change another person, it's an exercise in futility and only hurts everyone involved), or, alternatively and supposedly more realistically: You can't change them, so accept them faults and all and love them as they are. Live with it.Both of those tactics are depressing and horrific and probably help attribute to the high divorce rate, as neither of those tactics are in any way conductive to honest communication.Which is why The Ethical Slut is so freaking awesome. The authors are proponents of polyamory, or open relationships, that's true. But the basic tenants of communication and how to strengthen a core relationship, the little exercises for opening up the lines of discussion between a couple -- everything in this book is invaluable. I loved the concept of "agreements" rather than "rules" -- it's so easy for someone to say, "This is a rule," and we think of something strict and unbreakable and feel boxed in and itchy and, even if we often don't admit it, angry and wanting to break it. Rules beg to be broken. But agreements sound so flexible, so easy and negotiable. As my husband pointed out when I discussed this with him, they have safety rules at his place of work and they get broken all the time (which irritates the crap out of him, as a forklift driver). But they also have employee agreements, which are re-negotiated every two years, with employee input. And I can see how that parallels so easily. It makes sense.Another thing the authors discussed was arguing -- obviously, all couples argue. Everybody argues. We have to argue, it's how we hash out the difficult issues, paying bills and visiting inlaws and everything big and little that we disagree on. The authors introduced two new concepts to me: Scheduling fights (?!?!) and the win-win idea.I'd heard of scheduling sex. I'm pretty sure that anyone married more than 3 years and definitely anyone with a kid has been introduced to the concept of scheduling sex. At first it sounds weird, but then you get used to the idea, and then it makes perfect sense. There's still spontaneous sex, yeah, but there's also scheduled sex.Well, the authors discussed how scheduling fights and learning how to fight constructively -- letting each person have uninterrupted time to air their feelings, practicing fighting over small issues using a timer, learning to walk away and calm down for 10 to 15 minutes when things got too heated -- can strengthen a relationship. The concept of a win-win is brilliant, too. It's basically compromise, but I love how they phrased it, because we all go into an argument wanting to win. It's how we're wired -- we want to make our point and we want to win, and once we do, it'll be done because we've won, right?Except it's not done just because we've won, because somebody's lost and a loser is never happy. They're still angry and mulling over their loss and what happened and one day that same damn argument will swell up and bite you in the ass, even though the winner thought it was over and done and behind them -- they won, so it was done, right?That's where win-win, compromise, agreements come in. If everyone feels like they've won, then there are no losers and the argument is truly over. It won't come back to bite anybody in the ass. But only if you've hashed out a compromise that's truly a win-win for everybody, something that everyone is happy with and can live with.And all these things seem so self-evident, so, "Well, duh, I knew that." They're the type of things that when you read them, you're nodding and laughing and going, "Yeah, I totally get that!" and making little notes in the margins and underlining phrases and entire paragraphs. Because even though in some part of your brain you knew that and you totally understood how that worked, you couldn't quite figure out how to phrase it in just the right way.I swear, this book is a must have for everybody in a relationship or anybody who wants to be in a relationship. It's awesome. It doesn't matter if you're in a monogamous relationship, an open relationship, or curious about an open relationship. It's great for anyone, seriously. Read it.