• Sigrid Ellis

  • Bio

    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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    July 2017
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Hedgehog!

Have a hedgehog picture!

This is Norman, our pet African Pygmy Hedgehog:

He’s the one in the middle.

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Joe Gould’s Teeth, by Jill Lepore

… This is a biography of a horribly unpleasant man. It is an unsolved mystery that does not get solved by the end of the book. It is a meta text about the nature of biography and erasure from history that does not shed light on the missing.

But it is an incredibly gripping read, and I tore through it with utter rapt fascination.

Wow.

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July 4 2017

Wildly imperfect.

Deeply flawed.

Highly improbable.

Experimentally unlikely.

A balancing act.

A constant compromise.

A fragile union.

A dream.

A nightmare.

A fight.

A vision.

A map of the past and the future.

***

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

The to-do lists of high summer

I’ve been watching the tv series, Edwardian Farm, for inspiration. And by “inspiration” I mean “be grateful for how easy your life is, oh my god, can you even imagine doing all the work of eras past, holy buckets.”

During the height of summer we do a lot of catch-up work. Cleaning — and I mean, ACTUALLY CLEANING — the kids’ rooms. Cleaning the garage, again. Cleaning the basement, again. I like to clean and re-organize my closet, and my crafting things.

We fight back the yard. We have a nearly-entirely-native yard and landscape. In the fall we take in bags of fallen leaves from all our neighbors, and mulch everything about a foot deep in leaves. This means that spring looks very … very *brown*, in our yard. but than all the native shrubs and bushes and creepers suddenly BAM appear, and the yard is this dense, lush wall of green with a rustling, alive underlayer.

A shrew ran across my foot, the other day.

The light pours in all the windows, yet our house is under a massive oak tree, so the temperature is always five degrees cooler than just out in the street. It’s all yellow and green and dappled everywhere we look.

I should go water the garden, I suppose.

It’s beautiful.

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June 30 2017

Halfway through the year.

Yesterday I:

Did three loads of dishes
Washed and blocked a knit hat
Cleaned the worst sins out of the fridge
Had a really nice dinner with J and M
Knit some more on a pair of slippers
Wrote and called various members of congress, state, and local government about healthcare and the forthcoming “electoral integrity” voter suppression policies
Schlepped M home from his LARP
Supervised K doing her chores and school and cleaning
Did some room cleaning with M
Made a doctor’s appointment
Watched an episode of Pottery Throwdown

A lot of what I do when I am home is be the external executive function for people who would rather use their own executive function for something more rewarding, like watching The 100 or playing Warframe. (To use examples not-at-all at random.) So I have to, like a lot of parents, I expect, remember what *I* was supposed to be doing with my day *and also* what two other people are doing with their day.

I mean, sure, I could leave them to succeed or fail on their own, and sometimes that is exactly what happens. But K not doing her chores affects the welfare of the household, and I *want* both of my children to do decently at school work even thought right now they are not motivated by that goal. So I make lists, and I check that work is done, and I remind, and somewhere in all of that I just absolutely forget everything I meant to do in a day.

This is why I make lists.

Ah, well. More of the same tomorrow.

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I am a patriot.

I love my country.

This is, well, not exactly news to me, I mean, I’ve always been sort of vaguely in favor of defending the United States of America. And, I mean, I’ve sworn some oaths to uphold the laws of the land and protect the interests of the American people, etc. So I might even have been more patriotic than a lot of folks.

But this year, 2017, has made something painfully clear to me. Painful, like endless sandpaper abrasions, painful like a bad sunburn, painful like a pulled back muscle that aches when I breathe.

I’m a patriot. I actually… I love my country. I’m invested in it, in its continued existence, success, and welfare. I want the U.S. to grow and learn and become better for its citizens and for the world.

I didn’t know that until I was scared I wasn’t going to have it.

I’ve often been cynical about my government. The Gulf War, the Clinton impeachment, the refusal of the federal government to acknowledge the existence of AIDS, the Iran-Contra hearings, the second Gulf War. The war on drugs, the CIA in Central America, the three-strikes laws, don’t ask don’t tell. There’s a lot to inspire cynicism. But I never thought very deeply about what I wanted for and from the United States. I never tried to imagine what I wanted instead of what we had.

The current national leadership has made me realize everything I want for the U.S., by threatening to take it away. Now, some of these things have never been an actual reality. Racial equity? Nope, never been real. Restorative justice? Naw. Equal rights for women? Still not a thing. But I thought, I thought, for the last couple of years I thought, we would get there. Slowly, tediously, with setbacks, we would get there.

And now I’m afraid that we won’t.

So now, now I am a patriot. A fighter for my country.

The country I fight for is one that has never really existed. I do not want to “make America great again” because I know all too well that greatness for some has always been purchased with the lives of others. I do not want to go back to any part of American history. I want to go forward. I fight, I argue, I call, I give, I protest, I march for an America I have never seen but which I believe in with all my heart.

The America I stand for is one which believes in basic rights for all people. One that believes that the wealth of a nation best serves its most vulnerable citizens, and puts this believe into practice.

I believe in an America that holds people to their word, that turns its back on liars and thieves, that protects people from the dishonest and fraudulent. In an America that values all people within its borders for the accomplishments they may yet contribute to our world, not for citizenship or physical appearance or place of birth. In an America that values families of all compositions and expresses this value by supporting the health and welfare of those families.

The America in my heart values truth, science, and education. It makes decisions about the future based on the painstaking work of learning about the past and present. In this America we turn our immense power and wealth towards improving the planet for the future of all species, because it is in our obvious best interests to do so.

In my America, we colonize other worlds while at the same time we feed the hungry, heal the sick, and educate all.

I have never in my life lived in my America.

But that’s no kind of fucking reason to stop fighting for it.

I do not believe the story the liars of this nation tell. They say greed is good. They say that vile outsiders are coming to rape and rob and kill us. They say uteruses and breasts are valuable, but women are worthless. They say the lives of the wealthy are worth more than the poor, that some people are being punished by god and deserve to die. They say black men are monsters and Muslims are terrorists and Latinos are thieves, and I do not believe their endless lies. They say science is a lie and that only they speak the truth, and I do not believe.

They say there is never enough. They say that we must fight and kill each other over scraps because there will never be enough, they say we must hate and mistrust each other and be grateful for the little we are given.

These are lies, and they are not true of the country I fight for. They are not true of the America in which I believe.

There is enough. There can be enough. We can have universal basic income, we can have universal health care. We can stop insisting that food and medicine are realms of profiteering. We can insist on science. We can insist on truth. We can reduce and reform the laws of the land to remove the ability to profit from slavery. We can believe women and people of color and those who are victimized.

We can be better.

I believe we will be better.

And so I find myself a patriot, here in the year of 2017, with this government under criminal investigation and a world on the edge of ecological collapse. I like my America better than the one being offered to me right now. It’s a world worth fighting for.

I’m a patriot.

I hope you are, too.

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Happy Solstice

It’s the longest, lightest, day of the year here in Minnesota.

I always think, during this part of summer, about times past. About how very little could be accomplished in the dark. About these long, hot, summer days of work and accomplishment, warehoused against the turning dark.

I think it’s supposed to be cloudy and rainy today, to be honest.

But that doesn’t stop the light.

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