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READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Charles de Lint

As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Charles de Lint who is the author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children’s books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library’s Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint’s books among the top 100. Charles’ latest book, THE WIND IN HIS HEART, will be released on September 19th, 2017.

Charles will be taking part in the 4th annual Fall Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a one-of-a-kind perk to help raise funds for The Pixel Project – a perpetual place on his private mailing list through which he sends out a haiku a day to about 25 friends. This is available for one (1) generous donor only! More details will be available once the Read For Pixels campaign (including the fundraising page with this goodie on it) kicks off on 1st September 2017, so check out The Pixel Project’s Facebook page and Charles’ Facebook page  in September 2017 for the link to the fundraising page to donate to the campaign. If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Charles…

Picture courtesy of Charles de Lint.

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cdl-300 dpi1. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project?

I don’t just believe in gender/religious/racial equality. I genuinely can’t understand why anyone would think it’s okay to bully or harm another human being. To do our part in eradicating violence, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to do everything in our power to stop this ugly behaviour by nurturing mutual respect and kindness using whatever platforms we have.

Mine is simply by portraying all the characters in my fiction as equals, with the strengths and weaknesses that any of us might possess. I don’t get preachy about it, but I’ve written plenty of fiction dealing (in part) with violence against women, kids, and marginalized people, and I’ve heard from many readers that they gained strength or felt empowered because they felt less alone and found role models to look up to.

I’ve also had the honour of hearing from counsellors and ministers who’ve used my fiction in their work, and everyday people—even prisoners—who’ve affirmed that my writing helped them look at issues in a different light. I can’t imagine a more gratifying response to one’s creative output, and it sustains me even when my writing hits all the inevitable potholes and such.

 

2. You have very generously offered a perpetual spot on your private Haiku mailing list to one generous donor in the upcoming Read For Pixels fundraiser. Aside from helping raise funds  to keep anti-violence against women work going, what do you think authors can do to help stop violence against women?

The interesting thing about stories is that they aren’t a passive art form. Well-written stories allow the reader to invest their imagination in the reading process and part of that investment is to immerse oneself in the lives of the characters you meet in the pages. Aside from great entertainment value, which is important to me, a major side benefit is that the reader can come away with a tangible understanding of how the “other” is not so different from oneself. Every “other,” from refugee to the opposite gender, can be understood and, more importantly, empathized with, if you can experience the world through their eyes.

Authors don’t need to lecture. They only need to depict truthful stories that, as they unwind, show readers that treating others as we’d like to be treated ourselves shouldn’t be considered freakish behaviour, but rather the norm.

 

 3. As a prominent male author, what do you think men can do to help stop violence against women?

It’s pretty basic. Just as we shouldn’t let racist comments from our friends and acquaintances slide, neither should misogynist comments or jokes go by without questioning them. You don’t have to get heavy about it. Even just saying, “I don’t understand,” as often as necessary to someone trying to justify it to you, sends a clear message that this attitude no longer flies.  Speak up when you become aware of something that’s not right, be it trolls on the Internet or some jerk on the street. And always be a rock for those who might need our support. Treat your partners and women friends with the genuine respect and honesty they deserve.

One more thing: read women writers and recommend their books to your male friends. What better way to get inside the workings of the female mind than to look at the world through their lens and voice? I believe it’s entirely possible to create a new normal and I can only do my best to set a positive example in my daily life and my creative work.

THE SURVIVOR STORIES PROJECT 2015: Elizabeth Halpin, 26, Canada

The Pixel Project is proud to present our second annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2015. The project runs throughout the month of May 2015 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. A total of 31 VAW survivor stories will be featured. This project was created to provide:

  • VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
  • Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.

This project is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our eleventh 2015 Survivor Stories interview, in partnership with When You Are Ready,  is with Elizabeth Halpin from Canada.

Trigger Warning: The first Q&A may be a distressing for some rape and sexual assault survivors. 

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The Survivor Bio:

Elizabeth Halpin is a survivor of sexual violence following an attack by an acquaintance in 2012. She has been a blogger at the When You’re Ready Project since February 2015 and has big plans for its’ future. She enjoys snowboarding, travelling, and spending time with friends and family. Her next trip is to Peru in May 2015, she is looking forward to some hiking and relaxing. Monday to Friday you can catch her managing children’s programs at several community centers, and then off to kickboxing class in the evenings! 

Elizabeth Haplin_Survivor Stories

1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence?

I was attacked by an acquaintance. We met at a bar, and my friends pushed me to go home with him. I was not so sure so I suggested we all go for pizza before going home. Before I knew it my friends had left with my jacket and keys. I was kind of out of options so I went back to his place, hopefully just to charge my phone and then find my friends again. He had other plans. He threw me against a mirror, hit, choked, and slapped me. I kept trying to scramble away and he kept pulling me back over and over again for eight hours.

2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?

I had to play along and stop fighting back – it got worse the harder I fought. When he finally stopped and calmed down, I honestly prayed that he would just fall asleep so I could leave. I just waited until he fell asleep, grabbed my clothes, and snuck out. I did not sleep again for four nights, and then when I did it was because of heavy-duty sedatives.

3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?

I had so much therapy. One-to-one sessions, three times weekly for a while, then down to weekly, then bi-weekly. I did two rounds of group therapy at the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, and then got to stay on for some one-to-one with one of the facilitators. This process lasted for almost two years. I still go to therapy on a maintenance basis – every two months or so.

I did a lot of yoga, it was about all of the exercise I could handle without panicking. Even then, sometimes I still panicked. Keeping busy and distracting myself was good, but I needed to take a lot of downtime. It was hard to find energy because I was in this hyper alert state for months and months. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is exhausting. Once the panic attacks died down, I was able to start getting back to the gym – weights, boot camps, and kickboxing. I have a couple guy friends who were really there for me in a way that I cannot quite explain. They were so kind and gentle, and I actually felt safe around them. They cared about me in a way that was not threatening.

4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?

It does not matter what you have to do to survive, just do it. No one has the right to judge you for the decisions you make before, during, or after this situation, and you just have to manage however you can.

I know it is extremely terrifying and sometimes you might wish you had died. But eventually you will climb out of the darkness. People can help you in the most unexpected ways. Share what you are ready for, when you are ready. Some people advocate talking it all out. That works for some people. Others have to keep moving, keep distracted. That is okay too. Just know that you are not alone.

5. How do you think we can end violence against women?

We need to get men on board. We need men to stop attacking women and treating them like property. We need other women to be allies and stop victim-blaming. We need education from a very young age to respect people’s boundaries, to treat others with dignity and compassion. We need a better legal system for the prosecution of violent crime.

6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?

I just want to make a difference in any way I can. I spent two years going through hell and do not want that time to go to waste. I desperately want to protect my two little sisters. I like the idea that everyone has a part to play in ending violence against women, and I want to leave the earth a little safer for the children I hope to have one day.

CAMPAIGN INTERVIEW: Guy Gavriel Kay

The Pixel Project and Guy Gavriel Kay, award-winning bestselling author of The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy and Sarantium diptych, are proud to jointly present the Double Drabble Pixel Fundraiser in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Double Drabble Pixel Fundraiser runs from 1 May – 14 May 2014. Donors who donate US$50 will have a choice of one of the Drabbles and donors who donate US$75 will receive both Drabbles. Supporters are happily urged to acquire both Drabbles at the discounted donation level and they can make their donations online via the Pixel Reveal campaign donation page or the Razoo donation page for the campaign.

Mr Kay took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about why he supports The Pixel Project and the importance of stopping violence against women.

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1. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project?

I have long believed that one of the true measures of any society or culture is how it recognises and benefits from the status of women. Violence is utterly antithetical to that. This campaign is a natural fit for my lifelong views on the subject.

2. You have very generously written two exclusive Drabbles (100-word stories) for the Double Drabble Pixel Reveal Fundraiser in support of The Pixel Project’s Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign. What do you think authors can do to help stop violence against women?

Authors – male or female – are people first. We have no ‘special’ status, only a shared responsibility to our world, and to the next generation. Those of us with some level, however modest, of name recognition and people who respect our work and thought, can use that good fortune to share our views and invite readers to support the causes that matter to us.

3. As a father and a prominent author, what do you think men can do to help stop violence against women?

Education, enlightenment, awareness, respect. Part of parenting is the attempt to instill important values in our children. The notion that violence against women, worldwide, and in our own communities, is unacceptable is one of the things we need to convey. Person by person, generation by generation, we can change the way people think and act.

Credits: Author’s portrait by Samantha Kidd Photography.

THE SURVIVOR STORIES PROJECT: Laura Barnett, 46, Canada

The Pixel Project is proud to present the Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2014. The project runs throughout the month of May 2014 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. A total of 31 VAW  survivor stories will be featured. This project was created to provide:

  • VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
  • Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.

This project is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2014 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our third Survivor Stories interview is with Laura Barnett from Canada.

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The Survivor Bio:

I am a 46-year-old mom of a teenage son. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and growing up I was the typical girl-next-door. My father worked and my mother stayed home with myself and my brothers. I was a Girl Guide, took piano lessons, spent summers at the cottage and wrote in my diary. I was the neighbourhood babysitter who pursued the teenage dream and worked at the mall.  Currently I am a production assistant for a small graphic design and signage company. I worked for several years in the transportation industry as a safety and compliance and hiring coordinator, and worked in customer service for many years before that. My love for learning has seen me return to college a few times, studying human resources, occupational health and safety and most recently, medical administration. 

Laura Barnett1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence?

I fell in love, finished high school, attended college and got married in my early 20’s. That chapter ended amicably a few years later and life continued on. I eventually met another man and within two months, I was expecting our only child together. And during what was supposed to be one of the happiest times in my life, it so quickly became the opposite. I lived with domestic violence for 12 years. During that time I experienced verbal and psychological abuse, as well as marital rape. I was never physically assaulted. The destruction of my personal property (family heirlooms, photographs, life’s little mementos) added to the mental abuse as I quite literally watched ‘life before him’ be erased. I was completely isolated from all of my friends and most of my family. I blamed all of it on myself because I simply could not wrap my head around the fact that someone who claimed to love me would treat me this way. Clearly, I was imagining everything. The shame and embarrassment that I was feeling kept me silent.

2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?

It took years and multiple times of leaving and returning before I finally left for good. I had planned my departure for months, ensuring that my son and I had a safe place to live that kept us in his school district and close to his friends. I contacted my local women’s shelter for counselling support and informed my new landlord and neighbour of the situation I was leaving. Finally the day came and I faced my fear, swallowed the lump in my throat and tore off the bandage. That was 5 years ago. I never looked back. Not even for a glimpse.

 3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?

I came out of my closet. I hid this from so many people for so many years until I finally realised that the very thing that was keeping me in that closet was the same thing that was going to let me out of it. So I started talking about it and continue to do so. This is the second project I have participated in with The Pixel Project, the first being sending a statement picture to be included in one of their music video PSAs for the “30 Artistes, 30 Songs, 30 Days” campaign. That was a pivotal moment in my healing….extremely empowering and liberating!  I got in touch with old friends and embraced the love of my family, a support system that I had been separated from for far too long. But most of all, I forgave myself and in doing so, got over the pain and moved on.

 4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?

Silence hides violence. Talk to someone. Sometimes we are able to put things in perspective and start to move forward simply by saying things out loud. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone close to you, just someone who you feel safe and comfortable with and who will respect your privacy and honour confidentiality (crisis hotline, family physician, clergy member). Don’t play the shame and blame game with yourself, because you didn’t cause this to happen. Accountability lies with the perpetrator.

5. How do you think we can end violence against women?

As the mother of a teenage boy, I am so thankful for men’s initiatives in ending VAW. Positive male role models are so important in helping young men ‘define their masculinity’ without abusing or degrading girls and women. The fight to end VAW must include men, because ultimately this is not just a ‘woman’s issue’ it is a human rights issue. Continued education and building awareness are  paramount.

6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?

The Pixel Project understands the power of social media and uses it in such a positive way. They have partnered with so many like-minded individuals who, through their songs, photos and words provide support and encouragement to victims and survivors. In turn, their talents are being seen and enjoyed by people who may never have discovered them otherwise. Proof that everyone wins when we work together!

LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT: The Guy Gavriel Kay Double Drabble Pixel Fundraiser

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1 MAY 2014 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project and Guy Gavriel Kay, award-winning bestselling author of The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy and Sarantium diptych, are proud to jointly present the Double Drabble Pixel Fundraiser in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Double Drabble Pixel Fundraiser will run from 1 May – 14 May 2014.

Mr Kay has written two exclusive 100-word Drabbles (100-word stories) for The Pixel Project. One takes place after the conclusion of his Sarantine Mosaic, two novels inspired by 6th century Byzantium. Because this has an implicit ‘spoiler’ effect for those who haven’t read the books, he is also offering a Drabble that takes place before the opening of The Summer Tree, the first volume in his high fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. There is a motif that links both Drabbles.

Donors who donate US$50 will have a choice of one of the Drabbles and donors who donate US$75 will receive both Drabbles. Supporters are happily urged to acquire both Drabbles at the discounted donation level and they can make their donations online via the Pixel Reveal campaign donation page (http://reveal.thepixelproject.net/buy-pixels/) or the Razoo donation page for the campaign (http://www.razoo.com/story/Pixel-Reveal). All donors will be sent their Drabble(s) within one week after the end of the fundraiser.

Mr Kay said: “The Pixel Project, a nonprofit resisting violence against women worldwide, deserves endorsement – and it has mine. One of the measures of a culture for me is the treatment of women in that society. I’m pleased to contribute these two ‘themed’ short pieces for this fundraiser, and urge my readers to add their support.”

The Pixel Reveal campaign rallies the global audience to unveil an online million-pixel mystery collage of world-exclusive celebrity male role model portraits by donating US$1 per pixel. For example: the $75 donation would reveal 75 pixels. As more pixels are revealed, the cover picture will fade out to uncover the portraits underneath it. When a celebrity male role model is fully revealed, an exclusive anti-VAW public service announcement from him will be launched to help trigger conversations about VAW and inspire men and boys to take action to stop VAW. The distinguished line-up includes a Nobel Laureate, a two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and superstar Environmentalist.

Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Mr Kay who is a superb author and an excellent male role model himself. It is our hope that Mr Kay’s support of the cause to end violence against women will inspire fans of his acclaimed books, the wider Science Fiction and Fantasy community, and book lovers worldwide to not only donate generously, but also begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

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To donate to the campaign, visit either of these pages:

For further information about the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign: http://reveal.thepixelproject.net

For further information, please contact:

Maria Del Rio – Project Assistant, The Pixel Project:

About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women using  a combination of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.

About Guy Gavriel Kay (www.brightweavings.com and www.guygavrielkay.ca)

Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of twelve novels (most recently River of Stars), and a book of poetry. He has written book reviews and social and political commentary for the National Post and the Globe and Mail in Canada, and The Guardian in England. Translations of his fiction exceed twenty-five languages and his books have appeared on bestseller lists in many countries. Kay has spoken and read on behalf of his publishers and at literary events around the world. He was been nominated for and has won numerous literary awards and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic.

Artist credits:

  • The Sarantium series – Cathy MacLean; Publisher: Penguin Canada
  • The Fionavar Tapestry cover – Ted Nasmith; Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
  • Author portrait – Samantha Kidd Photography