Citizen

May. 26th, 2017 12:15 pm
hollymath: (Default)
I didn't really get a chance to catch my breath about the citizenship, because of the job interview appearing so quickly on its heels. Now that I've got the inevitable rejection out of the way, I'm starting to think a little more about it again.

I've been forgetting about it, or I've been at best excited that I have my passports back. I really underestimated how much I would hate being without them (plural because the expired one has my proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain in it, which is my proof I can work here and hopefully what keeps the border guards at Manchester Airport from being completely awful to me whenever I come back, so the expired passport is still an integral part of the deal).

Working on my book (I owe Kickstarter an update too). I am so stressed about it at this point, but Andrew's looking at what I have today and assures me it's not as bad as I feared and it's not as far from being done as I feared either.

And [personal profile] po8crg and [personal profile] haggis are taking me out for dinner tonight to celebrate my UK citizenship, so that should help make it seem a bit more real!

Book work

Apr. 10th, 2017 09:04 am
hollymath: (Default)
I did some work for my book on the train to London the other day, which consisted of reading through the interview answers more carefully than I had yet been able to and starting to look at the themes and patterns I want to structure the book around (I keep changing my mind about this so I hope I've finally got it sorted out).

And I'm just blown away again by how fortunate I am that people have been so willing to share their stories and their feelings and their thoughts with me. If I can make this good, it'll be because they have made it good.

The whole project has been too intimidating to work on for a while now, but I'm determined to get it done, soon! Writing a book is a lonely undertaking and I like how these people's help makes me feel less alone while I'm doing it.

Oh, and I'm gonna call the book Hostile Environment, which is what Theresa May said she wanted to create for illegal immigrants back when she was Home Secretary. It worked more than well enough to affect legal immigrants too: if you Google the phrase now you can read about passports wrongly revoked, people having a terrible time trying to access the NHS, the rise in hate crime...

I'm imagining a very Dad-book style cover for it now, with a name like that! But I can't do visual design and I can't pay anyone else to, so I imagine it won't look like much at all. Oh well, it's not as if it's going to be bought by anybody who doesn't already know what it is anyway.
hollymath: (Default)
...without having a nervous breakdown?

Today I've been ignoring the question by trying to crowbar my life into something that fits the job spec for something I'd love to do and would be good at.

And accidentally staring a strike.
hollymath: (Default)
Someone told me on twitter that a parody site is a parody site, even though my problem with it wasn't that I didn't know that but that I hate the trope it was mocking.

And someone else, a new follower, just DMed me that it might be too late to change the name of my Kickstarter but "it should be dual not duel."*

SIGH. Am I especially stupid today? Have I just done something wrong so that I appear so, or something?

* Duel for Citizenship is the name of the Kickstarter project, the working title of the book, but I'm still open to better options if I can think of any! I might need another name if people aren't going to understand it!

Interview

Jul. 20th, 2016 08:43 pm
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A nice chap from a local news website has just re-interviewed me about my book. I talked to him a few months ago while the Kickstarter was going on and it was actually a lot of fun, he was good to talk to and asked interesting questions.

But then the Dictaphone on which he'd recorded our conversation (and, it turns out, a bunch of other interviews!) broke, and so recently he's been in touch again to ask if I'd return to and update him on the subject -- he'd noticed that my Kickstarter was successful and was sweetly pleased for me.

He told me he wasn't going to allow it to go wrong in the same way as before so he's going to write it up right away and it'll be on the website tomorrow or Friday. I'm terribly curious about how it'll end up looking!

He asked if I'd had any other interest and I had to say I hadn't thought of seeking any out (he got in touch with me originally, probably watching for Kickstarters that say they're based here), he encouraged me to and gave me a couple tips on how to go about it, which was nice. It'd be good practice at clarifying the theme and intent of the thing, anyway! And by "clarifying" I might mean "coming up with one in the first place"...
hollymath: (Default)
I woke up this morning still exhausted and sick at the world I find myself in. But I'm starting to, as I knew I'd want to, get back to my coping mechanism of Having Something to Do, so I'm aiming to get back to the Kickstarter book by finishing off my long-neglected citizenship application and starting some of the e-mail interviews with the (many!) people who volunteered to tell their stories.

But first, I posted this update to my Kickstarter backers:
I haven't done an update since the happy news that I'd more than reached my goal, sorry about that. But I have been busy since.

Since the amount of money I got is pretty much (after Kickstarter fees and etc) exactly what I need to pay for UK citizenship application fees, I've been working on that application with the intent that the last stage of this "duel" is then something I can include in the book. I've got it nearly done (anyone know what I did with my passport-sized photos?!) so hopefully that'll be posted off soon. They say it can take up to six months for a decision to be made, though -- let's hope it's not that long!

I've also been working on the book, of course. Current word count: 23,656! I don't know if they'll all be staying in, of course, but it feels good to know they're there.

And that's just from me -- a conversation with a new friend, another immigrant to the UK, has inspired me to ask people if they'd like to be interviewed for the book. I know many other people will be as keen to tell their stories as I am, and I'm keen to illustrate that my experience isn't the only one -- and, since I'm a white English-speaker from a country that Britain more or less approves of, my experience is the furthest thing from the worst of them. I've been heartened and overwhelmed by the response I've gotten, from my friends and acquaintances but also their friends and acquaintances, people I don't know. I'm currently working on collecting their stories. If you are or if you know any immigrants to the UK -- wherever they're from, however long they've been here, no matter if they think they've had an easy time or a hard one -- who'd like to get involved, feel free to e-mail me.

And in the midst of this...a British MP was killed by a right-wing terrorist, a white man radicalized by the UK media. And then the UK voted to leave the EU, and the rise in racist, xenophobic hate crimes since has been dramatic. Suddenly it seems like talk of immigration and immigrants is everywhere, and again I'm very aware I'm less vulnerable personally than many others, but it's still a really tough time for me, as I know it is for a lot of people here, British or not.

I didn't set out to write a book about "Brexit" (a word almost as ugly as the concept it represents!) and I don't want it all to be doom and gloom because that wouldn't be a good representation of being an immigrant. But I feel this book's going to end up being a lot different than I thought it would be when I started.

I'll do my best to keep you posted!
And that goes for you, too, DW/LJ friends.
hollymath: (Default)
...am I supposed to write a book now about being an immigrant. About what immigration in the UK is like.

(I will -- don't fret, Kickstarter backers! But I'm so sick and sore of the subject now, I feel like I have either nothing to say or else I have to put my bleeding heart on the page and I don't want to do that. I need to find words for things there are no words for. And I just don't know yet how I can do that. But I'll try as hard as I can, I promise.)
hollymath: (Default)
One thing I'd love for my Kickstarter book is other UK immigrants to talk to.

I think it'd be a lot richer if I can compare and contrast other people's experiences with mine (especially people of color, of faith, from less-anglophone countries, etc because I'm aware all these characteristics will have given people an even tougher time of it than I've had).

I've written up some interview questions that I could e-mail people, if anybody fancies helping me out and getting their stories told in their own words.

I'm back!

Jun. 8th, 2016 02:13 pm
hollymath: (Default)
On Sunday morning the mouse on my laptop stopped working completely. As did other mouse-like devices I tried plugging in.

Fixing a problem with the mouse is impossible for me, because you can't use the mouse.

Andrew's ended up having to nuke the OS from orbit; now I'm re-installing things and remembering just how very many things there are that need tweaking for me (and for some reason the accessibility stuff (for me, high contrast and large fonts, mostly) are not working at all yet.

But still, one of the first pages I opened in the browser I just had to install is the one in which I'm writing to you now, to tell you how glad I am to be back! I was annoyed by how severely my mental health suffered at even a few days computerless. I could keep up, just about, with e-mail and social media on my phone, but I had a few empty days I'd planned to spend on my book, I couldn't watch baseball or do grocery shopping or even play music on Spotify as I sulkily did chores when I eventually got bored enough of all my usual activities being unavailable to me.

And while lack of computer isn't the crisis it was in the pre-smartphone days, my elderly phone is developing enough quirks (and the apps for it are getting increasingly terrible as people increasingly can't be arsed with the BlackBerry OS, which is fair enough but such a pain in the ass...on the plus side, all my friends complaining that Facebook chat/messenger isn't working for them any more at least make me glad that the mobile website is unaffected on my phone because there's no Messenger app to try to force us on to, Facebook having intentionally nuked its BlackBerry app a few months ago. So between shitty user experiences and a phone that's deciding, eg I can't click on anything in the bottom left corner or I can't keep it from thinking I've clicked on whatever's in the top right corner, it's been suboptimal to say the least.

Anyway, the fonts are still wrong but I'll take that. In the meantime, I went to Martin Mere yesterday, a Wildfowl & Wetland Trust site that had a deal for WI members so about 20 people from my WI (and some of them's daughters and grandkids) went to look at birds. And otters! I have some pictures, but technical failure means you'll just have to take my word for it now. I had a nice day, anyway.

One of the nicest things about it, though, was on the way back. The lady who organized it gave a few of us a lift, one of them being someone I know slightly as the secretary of our branch. We got chatting and I found out a lot more about her life, as a Sri Lankan immigrant who moved here when she married a Brit she has a lot of vehement opinions on the awfulness of the immigration system which as you can imagine are just like mine but worse because she's a person of color and says Islam is the religion she was born into (she doesn't consider herself one, but you can imagine how much that counts to the Home Office). I told her about my book and said I'd like to get her story in it; she seemed really happy to do that and even said she can introduce me to some other people. I wanted to address how the problems I have, numerous and severe as they may be, are maybe one percent as bad as they could be, because I'm white and from the U.S. And she just seems a lovely person and it turns out she lives so close that I have unknowingly walked Gary the Wonder Dog past her house every single day.

The WI's been great for this kind of thing: the other day I ran into H who cut Gary's nails for us outside Fred's. K saw me at the market one day, all excited about my purple hair, needed me to go and talk to her friend who was thinking of dying her hair purple. I've seen N and her lovely dog Lucy in the park a few times. I feel so much more connected to where I live than I did before.
hollymath: (Default)
I owe LJ/DW an update on the rest of my life, but the belowmentioned busy-ness and computer woes mean it'll have to wait. Here's the main thing for this week, anyway!

Many apologies for the long-overdue update; I've been busy and I haven't had a working laptop most of this week.

And I've been dying to tell you all how delighted, surprised, impressed, humbled and really robustly supported I feel that thanks to all of you I reached my project goal in less than a week. The amount of people willing to back this project, to the degree you have. Thanks for all the shares too; some of these names are not familiar to me which I know means my friends have done a sterling job of spreading the word! I wouldn't have been at all surprised if this was a book only ever read by people who know me, so really this has already exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

But I've still almost three weeks left to reach the £1,236 the government is now actually asking for the thing that I thought would be £1,008! For this, I now need only a further £154, so it's still worth encouraging people to share and back the project if you feel moved to do so!

I'm not sure what the stretch goal reward will be; I'm more than happy to take suggestions if any of you have them (you can message me here or get in touch with me by the usual means if you have other ones...also comments can be left on my Kickstarter project page that everyone can see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/696183940/duel-for-citizenship/comments). Much as I love the idea of the stretch goal going toward booze for the party I will undoubtedly have when I get to be a citizen or what subversive t-shirt I should wear to my citizenship ceremony, the idea of stretch goals is more properly to improve the project people are funding, so I'm thinking of adding a chapter to the book on a subject you backers would get to vote on, or maybe a kind of Q&A chapter/appendix if you have questions you'd like to see covered in the book. What do you think?
hollymath: (Default)
I'm writing a book about being an immigrant!

People have already offered me money! Which is hugely flattering and exciting. And lots more people are sharing the link, which is no less flattering and exciting (and slightly less intimidating, really!). Please have a look, and consider helping me out -- spreading the word helps as much as giving me money does! I'm not going to get rich from this, I just want immigrants to be listened to instead of just being talked about like we're not in the room.
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So, technically, Duel for Citizenship (still the book's provisional title) has 20,000 words in it now.

They're all copypasta LJ entries and similar, not even in any kind of order yet, just stuff I think I may want to include. Big gaps in the story I want to tell, and tons of editing and revising to be done. But in a silly way, I feel like I'm off to a good start?

Not bad for a day when I slept until half past two in the afternoon and then stayed in bed for another hour...!
hollymath: (Default)
Hey, remember that book I was gonna write/Kickstarter about being an immigrant, to pay for citizenship application fees?

Yeah, I forgot about it for a while too. Life has been...busy.

But! I finally sat down and got the Kickstarter 'project' set up, it just needs to wait a couple of days to be verified or whatever and then it'll be a proper thing people can contribute to and that I absolutely have to finish.

I'm nervous and excited and impatient to show it to you all but also never wanting to in case anyone says anything bad about it ever.
hollymath: (Default)
I realized the other day, as you do on a bus when you aren't thinking of anything much, that it's almost exactly a year from now that my U.S. passport, the one I got soon after I moved here, expires. For years I'd been hoping that, by the time I had to replace that one, I'd have a British one to go along with it.

For various logistical and personal reasons, it'll make my life substantially better if I can get British citizenship by about this time next year.

I was and remain immensely grateful for and touched by all my friends' offers of setting up and contributing to a crowdfunding thing to pay my fees for applying for British citizenship, even though I had to turn them down because Andrew wasn't comfortable taking money from our friends.

But he came up with a solution that sounds like fun. He'd feel much better about my getting the money from people if I sing for my supper, and suggests I write a book about being an immigrant and all that kind of thing. Which I'm happy to do anyway, because I'm still faced with a lot of surprise that I didn't automatically become a citizen when I married a British person and similar huge misconceptions about how the UK treats non-EU immigrants.

I've already written a lot of stuff about this of course, and I'm going to look into what of that I can re-purpose for a book, as well as adding in other stuff I never wrote about and whatever else needs to be part of the story, like some of Andrew's incandescent responses to immigration rhetoric, and other immigrants from outside the EU if they'd like to share a bit of their stories too: this is about a lot more than my story and I'm aware that compared to many I've had a very easy time of it despite feeling mentally, emotionally and financially hollowed out by the whole process. Which of course is not over yet.

Andrew's done a Kickstarter for one of his own books, and has kindly agreed to sort out all that side of it out for me, and I will let interested people know more about this as soon as I can.

In the meantime, he says he's happy to start setting that up today, but he needs "a title and a picture" first. Not necessarily a title for the book, he says, but for the project. "Like, 'Holly's Immigration Adventure,' or 'My Struggle.' " Neither of those seems quite right to me (too jolly, too fascist) but my own best idea so far is 'Baroness of the Moon' which I don't think is very good, either.

So, feel free to help crowdsource the title too!

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