Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome to Rabbits and Hawks

Welcome to Rabbits and Hawks, my blog. I’ve been very reluctant to set up a blog of my own, even bragging to friends about not having one, but as Eddie Vedder sings “if you hate something, don’t you do it too?”.

There are over seven billion people on this planet, and at least one billion of them have regular access to the World Wide Web. That means at least one billion are theoretically capable of expressing any opinion or thought that crosses their mind with a billion others. When I scroll through Facebook, I see banalities passed around like diseases, I see an absolute celebration of shallow thought, and I see the same kitten pictures dozens of times. I don’t mind the kittens, but still, I have no desire to contribute to the flood.

The only way someone can expect sharing opinions and experiences online to be satisfying is if they believe other people actually care what they think. In general, I don’t expect anyone to care what I think- I’d like to think I’m not egotistical. But I can’t deny that I’ve had some rather interesting, uncommon and enlightening experiences in my 34.5 years on this earth, and more and more I realize that some of what I’ve learned, seen and done is worth sharing. I’ve learned that people have benefited from what I’ve learned, and what I’ve shared with them.

I write, I’m an advocate for children, and I pay the bills generated by both those hobbies by working as a lab tech. With a few exceptions, neither advocating for children nor writing actually pays bills. My fiction is often influenced by my advocacy work, and part of my advocacy work is often writing. I blog with some frequency for Prevent Child Abuse NY, and have written intermittently for Lavender Sisters, an on-line magazine for survivors of child abuse, rape and domestic violence. I’ve had blogs appear on, promoting legislation that I advocate for, and I’ve had many editorials appear in many newspapers over the years. As an advocate, I’m most interested in the primary prevention of child abuse, which is preventing it before it happens (yes, it is possible, we’ve known how to do it for longer than I’ve been alive, and the fact that we don’t do it is fodder for many a blog), most facets of child sex abuse and its prevention, and human trafficking. As far as fiction writing goes, I have one book out, Efforts to Save the Meat Rabbits, and I’m working on a collection of short fiction/experimental novel/memoir through prose pieces called Days Chasing Hawks. I’m going to re-launch novel #1 in the foreseeable future on, after a little editing. I was making fantastic progress on book #2. Notice my use of the past-tense in that sentence.

The clever reader will have now figured out why I gave this blog its name. There have been times when I considered setting up a blog and was discouraged simply because I couldn’t come up with a good title with a matching web domain. Melanie Blow is my legal, married name. I am not the only Melanie Blow in the country, however, and the other women sharing my moniker have taken the good domain names and twitter handles (by the way, my twitter handle is @hawkfeathergal). Interestingly enough, most of the other women out there who go by Melanie Blow are in the adult film industry. This fact, or the fact that my name sounds like an uninspired alias, is not lost on the many front-desk staff at the cheap-ish hotels I often stay at. From a marketing standpoint, “Rabbits and Hawks” is probably a terrible idea, as it doesn’t promote my name and because many people will read the domain name as “rabbit sandhawks”. I have no idea what a rabbit sandhawk is, but if any reader can enlighten me, I’ll be eternally grateful.

I made the final decision to keep this title a few weeks ago, at the funeral of my 102-year-old grandmother. My grandmother was very open-minded, accepted me for who I am, and was one of the few people in my family who was proud of me for the advocacy work I do. Her funeral was on a rainy, leaden, gray day, at a little chapel in the cemetery she is now buried at. The attendees met at a parking lot near the cemetery’s entrance, and when everyone had arrived, we were lead across the cemetery to the chapel. As I was driving, I saw a red tailed hawk flying off the grass, clutching a dead rabbit in its talons. The sky was so dark and gray the bombastic green of the grass was subdued, but the brown-suffused-with-gold hawk stood out. Its tail was only a burgundy undertone away from being scarlet. The rabbit’s coat was every shade of brown imaginable, peppered with black and gray, with a blinding white tail and belly. It was a moment touched with sadness, but also something beautiful, complete and eternal. I slammed on my brakes, funeral traffic be damned. And as the hawk and rabbit disappeared, it occurred to me that this entire scene was my life in a nutshell.

Welcome to Rabbits and Hawks!