Toot That Horn

I recently volunteered as social media and promotions chair at Cascade Writers’ Workshop, a regional genre fiction workshop that I attended this past July.  I love being part of something like Cascade, and I wholeheartedly enjoy promoting the writers within it.

In fact, I am crazy willing to promote other people and organizations. I’ve put on uniforms, given off-the-cuff speeches to crowds of hundreds, dressed in 19th century Métis garb and danced around campfires in interpretive events, belly danced in restaurants for tips, gotten on stage in front of drunken hordes and threatened them (see photo below), written press releases, knocked on doors and cold-called for charities and politicians, cold-called for businesses, too

But, when given opportunities to promote myself, I choke.

I’ve taken classes in establishing promotion and web presence from the Fabulous Cat Rambo. I strive to apply everything I’ve learned from her, even the mantra BLOG REGULARLY OR NOT AT ALL. But every damn time I come to this page, I freeze.

Why is that?

When I was in graduate school, a less-experienced male colleague got a paid position doing something that I had been doing as a volunteer, because he said he could, even though he later admitted he had no experience at all.  At All.

And the litany of such events in my life goes on, and on, and on.

Like most women, I have internalized the message that self-promotion is unsavory. I work as a volunteer or accept lower paid positions. I don’t toot my own damn horn because it would, I dunno, call attention to ME. I disagree a lot with  points in her book “Lean In,” but this one I do not.

I never want to see my daughter experience this. I want her to walk up to the world and say, “I Rock. Look At Me!”

If that is every going to happen, I’m going to have to learn to do it, too, as scary as that is for me.

You ready?

Here’s me. This here’s my horn, and I’m gonna toot it.


This Is Me Whipping…Er…Tooting Someone Else’s Horn

I’m just this writer,  archaeologist, and a damn amazing mother to two little children who are the most amazing creatures in the world. Because of them, I do awesome things every damn day.

Like get the first science fiction story I ever wrote, The Dorsal Wake, published in a pro magazine.

I’ve traveled and excavated at sites all over the world, including a Bronze Age/Iron Age fort in West Siberia.

I’ve survived neurosurgery and a congenital brain malformation that should have left me paralyzed. It might someday kill me, but I’m not going to let that stop me from loving and living life.

I used to work full-time at one of the most amazing archaeological and historical sites in the world, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. I still work on their amazing collections, write non-fiction and fiction to help people understand the complex narrative of colonialism and the industrialization of the west.

I do these things–and so much more–because I want to leave the world a better place for being here.

How about you? What do you do that fucking rocks? I want to hear it!


Filed under Archaeology, General, Uncategorized, Women, Writing

2 responses to “Toot That Horn

  1. HavE been thinking about this for a couple of days, and I’ve been having trouble coming up with an answer. I’ve done things that are hard, but fewer things that are awesome, if you see the difference?

    (part of thinking this way, yeah, might be the gendered socialization. I accept that it’s present, but knowing so doesn’t mean it’s something I’ve gotten past)

    Survived depression. Graduated university. …and as I’ve been sitting here thinking of a couple of others, it’s occurred to me that I need to unpack them a little more before talking about them, so best to say something and have done than to bog down and not finish.

    You do seem to be quite amazing, by the way. 🙂

  2. …addendum to previous comment, although it might be the fact that I’ve been coding for six hours straight and haven’t had lunch yet: damn but I can do accessible XHTML and CSS styling. Go me.

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