t January 2008 | sh C. K. Kelly Martin o

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day is flatly rejecting calls for a ban on handguns, saying the Conservative government's support for more police on the streets, and tougher laws as yet unpassed, are already putting a dent in gun crime.

Has Stockwell Day read Julian Falconer's report on violence in Toronto schools? Has he already forgotten Jordan Manners? Because, you know, it seems like we could use a few more dents. Yesterday Toronto police said that the gun used to shoot and blind a TTC driver two years ago was also used in four other crimes including the murder of youth worker Kempton Howard in 2003. This was a gun that was once legally owned in Canada.

Guess what, Stockwell? Guns are perfectly capable of committing crimes whether they're legal or not and the ease with which a legal weapon becomes an illegal one is something that as the Minister of Public Safety you should be well aware of. Is the right to own a handgun worth a TTC driver's sight or a fifteen year old's life? You seem to think so. Is there an unacceptable amount of casualties that would change your mind? Will you let us know once we've reached the magic number?
I Know It's Over ARCs arrived yesterday and aside from a line at the bottom of the cover declaring their status as advance reader's copies, and a page inside that explains that further, they look eerily like real books. I peeked inside and finding my own words written there made me feel both giddy and self-conscious. But at the same time, although the words are familiar, they don't feel entirely like mine.

This is pretty much how I feel every time I sit down at the computer to read my writing. It's like, how did this stuff get here?

Maybe at some point I'll work up to reading a whole paragraph but for now I'm just happy to look at the ARCs on the shelf or turn them over in my hands. Maybe January, even in Canada, isn't such a bad month after all.
I Know It's Over ARCs
[This updated version of an original blog post from January, 2008 was first posted on the Reviewer X blog on December 16, 2008.]
This updated version of an original blog post from January, 2008 was first posted on the Reviewer X blog on December 16, 2008. - See more at: file:///C:/Users/Acer/Documents/ckkellymartinweb/archive2112.htm#sthash.Nq3Fvoxb.dpuf

My young adult novel, I Know It’s Over, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Nick, who learns on Christmas Eve that his ex-girlfriend Sasha is pregnant. He’s panicked and has certain feelings about how they should react to the situation. Those feelings evolve during the course of the novel but when it comes down to it, the choice isn’t his to make – it’s Sasha’s.

This is a choice that women in many countries don’t legally hold but a choice they insist on exercising regardless. Legally or illegally. Safely or unsafely. Their bodies. Their choice. A report by the Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organization published in 2007 studied worldwide abortion trends from 1995 to 2003. It found that abortion rates are almost identical in developed and developing regions of the world, but that “abortion is generally safe where it is broadly legal and mostly unsafe where restricted.” Globally almost half of abortions are unsafe, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women each year. A further five million suffer permanent or temporary injury.

With a lack of options at hand, women will do their best to create them, despite the risks. Don’t they deserve choice without risking personal harm?

According to Guttmacher Institute data the majority of American women (61%) who have abortions already have children (1). Almost half of pregnancies among U.S. women are unintended and four out of ten choose not to continue the pregnancy (2). One in three American women will have had an abortion by the age of forty-five (3).

Unwanted pregnancy isn’t rare. It’s something that touches all of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. It happens to our friends, our mothers, ourselves, and I have faith in women and girls to know what's best for them, whether that's terminating an unplanned pregnancy, raising a child or giving a baby up for adoption. Anyone who thinks the choice is easy hasn't sat with an anguished friend (or daughter, sister, wife or girlfriend) as they struggled to make that decision.

Who are you or I to tell any woman what's in her best interest? What freedom does she have without the core right of bodily integrity? Yet many governments feel this most personal decision isn't one a woman should have. Several countries that consider themselves democracies have tried to curtail choice or cut if off completely. In the United States many individual states have severely restricted access to abortion procedures. In Canada, a country which currently has no criminal law restricting abortion, the province of Prince Edward Island refuses to provide any abortion services, meaning women must travel to neighboring provinces for procedures. Abortion is legal in New Zealand, but only if two certifying consultants agree that a pregnancy will either physically or psychologically endanger a woman's health.

Ireland has even less regard for its female citizens' ability to make decisions about their own bodies. Abortion is illegal even in cases of threatened suicide and only permitted when a woman's life is threatened by grievous medical risk. This has resulted in a steady stream of Irish women (approximately 7,000 a year, the majority of whom are married and already have children) traveling to Great Britain for abortions.

I believe Irish women shouldn't have to travel to exercise choice. I don't believe women anywhere should be subjected to unsafe, possibly fatal abortions because you or I may not agree with their choice to terminate. On this side of the Atlantic, I hope we never see Roe v. Wade overturned or watch Canada abolish legal abortion but we can't afford to be complacent and assume this will never happen. We saw how reproductive health options in the United States narrowed under George Bush’s government as he loaded the supreme court with anti-choice judges; championed abstinence only education which keeps young people in the dark concerning accurate information about preventing pregnancy and avoiding sexually transmitted infections; and reinstated the Global Gag Rule which blocks access to birth control to thousands of women around the world. At home 87% of all U.S. counties have no identifiable abortion provider.

But choice isn’t just about access to safe, legal abortions. It’s about health, information and real options, and it’s of the utmost importance that we vote in governments that support all of these and that we continue to call attention to these issues and don’t allow them to fall through the cracks. We need to vote for and hold to account governments that will support the wide availability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, comprehensive sex education (we already know the abstinence only variety doesn't work!), committed anti-violence (a 2007 study found that that a quarter of teenage girls with histories of abusive relationships said that their abusive partners had “tried to get them pregnant by manipulating condom use, sabotaging birth control, and making explicit statements about wanting them to become pregnant.”) and anti-poverty strategies and access to affordable contraception and medical treatment for all women. We need to lobby for changes that will ensure the minimum amount of women possible suffer unwanted pregnancies and that every woman who wishes to keep her baby will be assured of good health care and not be condemned to poverty by her choice.

And in the inevitable event that women suffer unwanted pregnancies despite the implementation of the above safeguards (because the reproductive years are long, mistakes happen and sometimes sexual assault denies women a choice) we need to allow women access to safe abortions, not punish them by forcing them to have unwanted children or in effect push them into back alley procedures. Criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it but it does place women’s well-being – and sometimes their very lives – at risk. We don’t have to feel that we’d make the same choice about a pregnancy as someone else to support a woman’s right to choose. With what’s at stake how can we possibly afford not to support choice?
My young adult novel, I Know It’s Over, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Nick, who learns on Christmas Eve that his ex-girlfriend Sasha is pregnant. He’s panicked and has certain feelings about how they should react to the situation. Those feelings evolve during the course of the novel but when it comes down to it, the choice isn’t his to make – it’s Sasha’s.
This is a choice that women in many countries don’t legally hold but a choice they insist on exercising regardless. Legally or illegally. Safely or unsafely. Their bodies. Their choice. A report by the Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organization published in 2007 studied worldwide abortion trends from 1995 to 2003. It found that abortion rates are almost identical in developed and developing regions of the world, but that “abortion is generally safe where it is broadly legal and mostly unsafe where restricted.” Globally almost half of abortions are unsafe, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women each year. A further five million suffer permanent or temporary injury.
With a lack of options at hand, women will do their best to create them, despite the risks. Don’t they deserve choice without risking personal harm?
According to Guttmacher Institute data the majority of American women (61%) who have abortions already have children (1). Almost half of pregnancies among U.S. women are unintended and four out of ten choose not to continue the pregnancy (2). One in three American women will have had an abortion by the age of forty-five (3).
Unwanted pregnancy isn’t rare. It’s something that touches all of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. It happens to our friends, our mothers, ourselves, and I have faith in women and girls to know what's best for them, whether that's terminating an unplanned pregnancy, raising a child or giving a baby up for adoption. Anyone who thinks the choice is easy hasn't sat with an anguished friend (or daughter, sister, wife or girlfriend) as they struggled to make that decision.
Who are you or I to tell any woman what's in her best interest? What freedom does she have without the core right of bodily integrity? Yet many governments feel this most personal decision isn't one a woman should have. Several countries that consider themselves democracies have tried to curtail choice or cut if off completely. In the United States many individual states have severely restricted access to abortion procedures. In Canada, a country which currently has no criminal law restricting abortion, the province of Prince Edward Island refuses to provide any abortion services, meaning women must travel to neighboring provinces for procedures. Abortion is legal in New Zealand, but only if two certifying consultants agree that a pregnancy will either physically or psychologically endanger a woman's health.
Ireland has even less regard for its female citizens' ability to make decisions about their own bodies. Abortion is illegal even in cases of threatened suicide and only permitted when a woman's life is threatened by grievous medical risk. This has resulted in a steady stream of Irish women (approximately 7,000 a year, the majority of whom are married and already have children) traveling to Great Britain for abortions.
I believe Irish women shouldn't have to travel to exercise choice. I don't believe women anywhere should be subjected to unsafe, possibly fatal abortions because you or I may not agree with their choice to terminate. On this side of the Atlantic, I hope we never see Roe v. Wade overturned or watch Canada abolish legal abortion but we can't afford to be complacent and assume this will never happen. We saw how reproductive health options in the United States narrowed under George Bush’s government as he loaded the supreme court with anti-choice judges; championed abstinence only education which keeps young people in the dark concerning accurate information about preventing pregnancy and avoiding sexually transmitted infections; and reinstated the Global Gag Rule which blocks access to birth control to thousands of women around the world. At home 87% of all U.S. counties have no identifiable abortion provider.
But choice isn’t just about access to safe, legal abortions. It’s about health, information and real options, and it’s of the utmost importance that we vote in governments that support all of these and that we continue to call attention to these issues and don’t allow them to fall through the cracks. We need to vote for and hold to account governments that will support the wide availability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, comprehensive sex education (we already know the abstinence only variety doesn't work!), committed anti-violence (a 2007 study found that that a quarter of teenage girls with histories of abusive relationships said that their abusive partners had “tried to get them pregnant by manipulating condom use, sabotaging birth control, and making explicit statements about wanting them to become pregnant.”) and anti-poverty strategies and access to affordable contraception and medical treatment for all women. We need to lobby for changes that will ensure the minimum amount of women possible suffer unwanted pregnancies and that every woman who wishes to keep her baby will be assured of good health care and not be condemned to poverty by her choice.
And in the inevitable event that women suffer unwanted pregnancies despite the implementation of the above safeguards (because the reproductive years are long, mistakes happen and sometimes sexual assault denies women a choice) we need to allow women access to safe abortions, not punish them by forcing them to have unwanted children or in effect push them into back alley procedures.
Criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it but it does place women’s well-being – and sometimes their very lives – at risk. We don’t have to feel that we’d make the same choice about a pregnancy as someone else to support a woman’s right to choose. With what’s at stake how can we possibly afford not to support choice?
- See more at: file:///C:/Users/Acer/Documents/ckkellymartinweb/archive2112.htm#sthash.Nq3Fvoxb.dpuf
My young adult novel, I Know It’s Over, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Nick, who learns on Christmas Eve that his ex-girlfriend Sasha is pregnant. He’s panicked and has certain feelings about how they should react to the situation. Those feelings evolve during the course of the novel but when it comes down to it, the choice isn’t his to make – it’s Sasha’s.
This is a choice that women in many countries don’t legally hold but a choice they insist on exercising regardless. Legally or illegally. Safely or unsafely. Their bodies. Their choice. A report by the Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organization published in 2007 studied worldwide abortion trends from 1995 to 2003. It found that abortion rates are almost identical in developed and developing regions of the world, but that “abortion is generally safe where it is broadly legal and mostly unsafe where restricted.” Globally almost half of abortions are unsafe, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 women each year. A further five million suffer permanent or temporary injury.
With a lack of options at hand, women will do their best to create them, despite the risks. Don’t they deserve choice without risking personal harm?
According to Guttmacher Institute data the majority of American women (61%) who have abortions already have children (1). Almost half of pregnancies among U.S. women are unintended and four out of ten choose not to continue the pregnancy (2). One in three American women will have had an abortion by the age of forty-five (3).
Unwanted pregnancy isn’t rare. It’s something that touches all of our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. It happens to our friends, our mothers, ourselves, and I have faith in women and girls to know what's best for them, whether that's terminating an unplanned pregnancy, raising a child or giving a baby up for adoption. Anyone who thinks the choice is easy hasn't sat with an anguished friend (or daughter, sister, wife or girlfriend) as they struggled to make that decision.
Who are you or I to tell any woman what's in her best interest? What freedom does she have without the core right of bodily integrity? Yet many governments feel this most personal decision isn't one a woman should have. Several countries that consider themselves democracies have tried to curtail choice or cut if off completely. In the United States many individual states have severely restricted access to abortion procedures. In Canada, a country which currently has no criminal law restricting abortion, the province of Prince Edward Island refuses to provide any abortion services, meaning women must travel to neighboring provinces for procedures. Abortion is legal in New Zealand, but only if two certifying consultants agree that a pregnancy will either physically or psychologically endanger a woman's health.
Ireland has even less regard for its female citizens' ability to make decisions about their own bodies. Abortion is illegal even in cases of threatened suicide and only permitted when a woman's life is threatened by grievous medical risk. This has resulted in a steady stream of Irish women (approximately 7,000 a year, the majority of whom are married and already have children) traveling to Great Britain for abortions.
I believe Irish women shouldn't have to travel to exercise choice. I don't believe women anywhere should be subjected to unsafe, possibly fatal abortions because you or I may not agree with their choice to terminate. On this side of the Atlantic, I hope we never see Roe v. Wade overturned or watch Canada abolish legal abortion but we can't afford to be complacent and assume this will never happen. We saw how reproductive health options in the United States narrowed under George Bush’s government as he loaded the supreme court with anti-choice judges; championed abstinence only education which keeps young people in the dark concerning accurate information about preventing pregnancy and avoiding sexually transmitted infections; and reinstated the Global Gag Rule which blocks access to birth control to thousands of women around the world. At home 87% of all U.S. counties have no identifiable abortion provider.
But choice isn’t just about access to safe, legal abortions. It’s about health, information and real options, and it’s of the utmost importance that we vote in governments that support all of these and that we continue to call attention to these issues and don’t allow them to fall through the cracks. We need to vote for and hold to account governments that will support the wide availability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, comprehensive sex education (we already know the abstinence only variety doesn't work!), committed anti-violence (a 2007 study found that that a quarter of teenage girls with histories of abusive relationships said that their abusive partners had “tried to get them pregnant by manipulating condom use, sabotaging birth control, and making explicit statements about wanting them to become pregnant.”) and anti-poverty strategies and access to affordable contraception and medical treatment for all women. We need to lobby for changes that will ensure the minimum amount of women possible suffer unwanted pregnancies and that every woman who wishes to keep her baby will be assured of good health care and not be condemned to poverty by her choice.
And in the inevitable event that women suffer unwanted pregnancies despite the implementation of the above safeguards (because the reproductive years are long, mistakes happen and sometimes sexual assault denies women a choice) we need to allow women access to safe abortions, not punish them by forcing them to have unwanted children or in effect push them into back alley procedures.
Criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it but it does place women’s well-being – and sometimes their very lives – at risk. We don’t have to feel that we’d make the same choice about a pregnancy as someone else to support a woman’s right to choose. With what’s at stake how can we possibly afford not to support choice?

- See more at: file:///C:/Users/Acer/Documents/ckkellymartinweb/archive2112.htm#sthash.Nq3Fvoxb.dpuf

Martin Luther King:


“Our lives begin to end the day we become
silent about things that matter.”
—MLK
I started working on One Lonely Degree again recently and it occured to me that Finn, huge Raine Maida fan that she is, would get a kick out of this clip of Raine, um, playing for charity at The Hour's office.


And here's a tune from his solo album The Hunter's Lullaby that I'm certain she'd love with a vengeance.


I have a feeling that listening to this album (probably over and over) is going to really help me out with the edits on One Lonely Degree.

You can listen to Raine Maida discuss The Hunter's Lullaby, Our Lady Peace, his activism and riding the fence between earnestness and preachy in this footage from The Hour.

Since watching Zodiac I can't seem to stop listening to Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan. With all the sixties music I listened to during the eighties I'm surprised I'm not familiar with it but it definitely has the feel of a tune I've known my whole life so maybe it's only my conscious brain that doesn't recognize it. I'd include it here but the YouTube embedding for many of the videos is disabled so:

A 21-year-old Donovan singing Hurdy Gurdy Man

Coincidentally, Donovan's daughter Ione Skye has a small role in Zodiac and the entire movie's been sticking with me too. Often films set in the past seem to overdo whatever era they're representing but Zodiac looks and feels exactly like a movie from the 60's (and then the 70's and 80's too).

Another interesting movie I've seen recently is The Orphanage (El Orfanato) which is a study in creepiness. In some ways it reminded of The Others, another intelligent ghost story that dripped with atmosphere. Watching both of them for the first time I wasn't sure where they were leading me but the endings, when you get there, feel like a completely natural destination.
A new study of university students shows that even with just one partner women have a high risk of HPV infection. Hence the importance of getting the HPV vaccine before becoming sexually active and considering condoms as compulsory, even if you happen to be on hormonal birth control. According to the study, “Nearly one-third of women who reported having ever had only one male sexual partner were infected with an HPV within a year of starting that sexual relationship. Three years into those partnerships, nearly 50% of the women had been infected at least once, despite the fact they'd still only had a single sexual partner.”

One of the strong findings to come out of this research was “that the more partners the woman's male partner had had, the greater the chance that she got infected with the HPV virus.”

Bottom line: don't depend on luck, because the odds don't look good!
(revised October 23,2008)
 
Last December, like a slew of other people, I lined up to see Juno, the quirky, warm and incredibly smart PG-13 rated movie about a sixteen-year-old pregnant teenager who opts to put her baby up for adoption. Juno went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and earn $228,057,576 making it the highest grossing movie in Fox Searchlight's history. At the particular showing of Juno I attended the vast majority of the audience appeared to be over eighteen but if Juno were a novel, odds are it would be labelled YA and shelved in the teen section of the bookstore like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Twilight (two other young adult books soon to be hit movies). So why is it that films focusing on young people, like Bend it Like Beckham, Juno, Mean Girls, Almost Famous and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, don't get filed away on a teen shelf at Blockbuster Video? 

Nearly a year ago I read a Washington Post article about Nick Hornby's Slam, a YA novel which centres around a sixteen-year-old Tony Hawk fan and father to be. The article quoted Hornby's English editor as saying "I would like to have done this as an adult book. I think it would have done really well." Geoff Kloske of Riverhead (the publisher of Hornby's adult books in the States) also commented that, "There's no reason Slam couldn't have been published as an adult book."

Hmm, it's been a couple of years since I read High Fidelity but I remember main character Rob Fleming as in his thirties but still undoubtedly suffering from growing pains and the first person narration is both very immediate and accessible, qualities shared by copious amounts of teen fiction. However, if the chief factor defining a book as YA is indeed the main character's age why were Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling books released as adult novels? The first two books in the series, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, definitely read like YA, both in tone and by virtue of featuring a teen protagonist. Elizabeth Berg's trilogy, following the life of twelve to thirteen year-old Katie Nash, is likewise shelved in the adult fiction section of the bookstore while Stephanie Kuehnert's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone details the life of its main character Emily Black through childhood and up to her early twenties but resides on YA shelves. Meanwhile Melissa Marr's highly successful teen novel Wicked Lovely was re-released as an adult mass market novel in Germany, debuting on the bestseller list at 32.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon) and The Girls (Lori Lansen) are both crossover titles, with versions of the books being released for both the youth and adult markets. Defining YA is trickier than it at first appears - obviously it's not just about narration style or the age of the main character so if there's one special thing that marks a book as YA, I have to confess that as a young adult writer I'm not quite sure what that is. I also have to wonder, given the common wisdom that teens fourteen and older mainly read adult books, and that adults themselves are clearly drawn to material revolving around young people if it's marketed in a way that doesn't dissuade them from reading/viewing it, if we need to rethink how books aimed at the older end of the YA spectrum are marketed and shelved. To my mind novels like Tyrell, Before I Die, Inexcusable and Thirteen Reasons Why (all books described as being for readers fourteen and up) read like natural born crossovers. None of them give you the sense that they're pulling their punches because of their young characters. Novels so edgy you could put an eye out with them, funny books, chick lit, fantasy sagas - all of that and more can be found on young adult shelves. I have a hard time believing mature fiction readers wouldn't give any of these teen books a chance - if they were only aware of what was out there.

Maybe some of the novels I've mentioned will be lucky enough to be adapted for the screen and find their audience that way or perhaps a publisher will decide to repackage a couple of them and transplant them to the general fiction shelf but at the moment there's a hell of a lot of good material hiding out in the YA section, away from the eyes of the general population.

In May, Newsweek published an article about the publishing business being flat, except for teen books, which are booming. A recent New York magazine article was full of even more doom and gloom, musing on the death of the book business as we know it. Yet according to a Children's Book Council sales survey, young adult fiction sales are up more than 25 percent in the past few years. Wouldn't it be nice to spread some of that vigor around the bookstore? What would happen if bookshops began stocking more titles intended for older teens simultaneously on both the YA and adult shelves? In many bookshops the teen department is still uncomfortably close to the picture books and easy readers. Would more people be inclined to check out the teen section if it resided closer to adult fiction or somewhere else within the store entirely? Maybe instead of marketing older YA strictly to a very narrow segment of the population (grades 9 - 12) a more general, PG-13 sort of tact could be taken. In the meantime, discover a wealth of new reading material by taking a stroll through your local bookstore's teen section and look for Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Twilight at a theatre near you.

January 22nd is Blog For Choice Day. That date will mark the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The topic this year is: tell us, and your readers, why it's important to vote pro-choice. You can also participate by joining the Facebook group "I'm celebrating the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade."

In the meantime you can stop by RoeAt35.org and fill out a form urging the senate to oppose the nomination of anti-choice extremist Richard Honaker for a lifetime job as a federal judge.
Anti-violence activist Richard McAdam has started an important new blog related to his work with the White Ribbon Campaign. The blog aims to discuss violence against women in the Halifax area “with a mind to organizing actions that raise awareness of the extent of this societal problem.”

I Wish Hillary Had Married OJUnfortunately there's no shortage of the violent treatment of women to blog about. In the Greater Toronto area, for example, fourteen-year-old Stefanie Rengel was stabbed to death by her seventeen-year-old ex-boyfriend on January 1st. On Christmas day twenty-two-year old Iliada Zois and her fourteen-year-old brother Jamie were murdered by Iliada’s 27-year-old former common-law spouse. Earlier in December Aqsa Parvez, sixteen, was strangled by her father. One of her brothers has been charged with obstructing the police investigation of her murder.

What do those incidents have to do with an I Wish Hillary Had Married OJ T-shirt currently for sale on Cafe Press, the No means have aNOther drink shirt once available at Blue Notes or the Problem Solved tee that caused a commotion at K-Mart? And how does any of this relate to Toby Keith's Country Music television nominated video A Little Too Late during which he tries to wall his girlfriend (who is tied to a chair, incidentally) up in his basement?

The T-shirts and video are just meant in fun, right? After all nobody was harmed during the production of said materials.

It's certainly not surprising that a culture awash with violence against women (57% of Australian women have at some point in their lives been the victims of violence, the Canadian figure is 51% and in the U.S. it's estimated that assaults on women by partners range from 2 to 4 million per year) would produce likewise hostile merchandise and images but if you're chuckling at this stuff you either aren't in tune with the reality of widespread violence against women or you have a problem with half the residents of this planet.


***Update***

Much of what New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert has to say about misogyny in America in his January 15th column is equally applicable to other Western nations: Read Politics and Misogyny.
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