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My post about the OTW got some weird (to me) reactions. (In fact, I got a bunch of emails from staffers I had worked closely with, all apologizing if they had "made" me quit. NO NO NO, my darlings, no.)

So I realized I need to clarify a couple of things.

I didn't step down because of any staff or volunteers. The staff and volunteers of the OTW are pretty much all amazing. Even the ones with whom I never saw eye to eye about anything. I didn't step down because of the amount of "executive staff" type of work I was doing. I didn't step down because of the amount of work -- as I mentioned in my other post, I would have joyfully gone on giving the OTW 40 - 50 hours every week of my time if needed or wanted.

I didn't step down for any reason other than I found trying to work with the rest of the Board like pushing a boulder uphill and having it roll down on top of me and flatten me over and over. Even with two really incredible staffers who I deeply respect joining Board for the 2015 term, I couldn't countenance another two years of it. I just couldn't.

I do feel horrible and guilty and like I've abandoned the staff and volunteers, but those who had close contact with the other current Board members know what it was like and hopefully empathize and understand my decision.

I have a huge amount of respect for the staff and volunteers who keep on keeping on.

So. Right after that, bright and early Monday morning before the sun was even up, I left for #bbcon (lol) -- the Blackbaud convention for nonprofits that centers around their products nonprofits use, like Raisers Edge and The Financial Edge and... whatnot. My day job uses Raisers Edge for stuff, so I got sent off to Nashville to experience this convention. Its equivalent in SF/F is apparently SDCC because there were thousands of people there, and the convention center was about a mile long and at one point I just collapsed onto a bench and laid down on it because I simply could not keep walking. (Yes, that is what I imagine SDCC to be like, but... with comics.)

On my way there, at a client's request, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I actually have owned it since it came out, since I loved Sharp Objects and Dark Places. I just never got around to reading it, so reading it as homework for a client was a perfect opportunity. And, unsurprisingly, I really loved it. I actually have a lot to say about it, but I'm not settled on what I want to say in my head because I'm still distracted by how much I loved it. I predicted almost the whole plot -- up to a point, and I'm not sure how I feel about that point.

(I'm told there is a movie? This is what I get for getting all my news of the world through Tumblr. ha ha.)

Once at the convention, I read Alan Cumming's Not My Father's Son, which was divine and great and full of wit and charm, exactly what you'd expect from him. Recommended. However, it's not really an autobiography so much as it is a memoir about a specific piece of his life around his father dying. I really wanted more autobiographical details. Because I'm nosy. How did he meet his partner and how did he figure out he was bisexual and tell me more about filming Spy Kids and how handsome is Antonio Banderas in person for real and so on. But the book itself is really compelling and wonderful. Two thumbs up, five stars, etc.

On my way home, I read Gillian Anderson's A Vision of Fire, co-written by Jeff Rovin. I hadn't realized there was a co-writer or I would have been giving him credit this whole time. My apologies.

It was very charming. There was what I am calling "accidental racism" (having an Indian girl be possessed by the spirit of dead Vikings, basically? More complicated than that, but basically); and there is some sloppiness in the "action" sequences since they are done in first-person POV. But ultimately it was greatly enjoyable. It was actually way better than I thought it would be. I had girded myself to read it the whole way through even if it were terrible, but it wasn't! I liked it! I kind of want a sequel! I really liked the way it ended! I liked the mythos! I was sad it was so short! A++++ effort.
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For the last three years, I've been volunteering with the Organization for Transformative Works, and for the past year I've had a seat on the Board of Directors. I know I don't talk a lot about that here, but I want to for a moment just so that there's a public record somewhere. Because I've just resigned, and I want to make sure there's a place people can go to see why.

I have resigned because even though the Strategic Planning Committee is amazing, and they are working hard to bring the organization in a direction I'm more comfortable with, ultimately the OTW is not organized in a way that I find personally comfortable.

Mainly, though, many of the other board directors and I just don't have the same values around work, professionalism, and the way organizations should be run. That makes trying to get things done very frustrating for me, and interactions become fraught with tension even about the most innocent of subjects. The professionalism issue isn't just about getting work done or meeting deadlines or putting in the necessary time to make sure issues are handled properly -- it's also about having to deal with outright rudeness and disrespect.

With jobs, some of these issues are things to "suck up" and handle because there's an exchange of goods/services; with a volunteer organization, the volunteering itself is the exchange, and I'm not coming out with enough things in my "pro" column to justify to myself this use of my time.

I want to make it clear that I'm not burned out on the work -- I'd happily put in 40 - 50 hours per week of volunteer time for the OTW's mission (and some weeks indeed I did!). This is about not being able to work with the other Board members and not being able to work within the unhealthy and unsustainable structure that currently exists for OTW volunteers.

It sucks, but that's the way it is right now. Hopefully the org can right itself. I wanted to help with that, but after three years, I'm done. It's work for other people now, and I wish those people the best.
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I've been trying to figure out how to write this entry for a couple of days now. The only way out appears to be through.

Since its inception, I've been involved with the Organization for Transformative Works in one way or another. I post about the OTW and the work I do to Twitter sometimes. Right now, I'm a volunteer tag wrangler at the Archive of Our Own (where I am also a user!), and the chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. I love working with other fans, especially because the OTW is currently a place where people are appreciated for the skills they have. And I appreciate all the amazing people I get to meet, learn from, and work with on a daily basis through my work with the OTW.

As I tried to write this post, I came across OTW Board member [personal profile] ahorbinski's post on the same subject. She summed up so well the things I love about the OTW, the things I think are important, the reasons why I donate, so I asked for and received permission to reproduce it here.

Fandom is love. It's also, in the form of the OTW, a tremendous amount of work, and a rather impressive set of costs associated with doing that work. The OTW is run by fans, for fans, and we need the support of our fellow fans to keep doing what we've done.

And we've done a lot: Transformative Works and Cultures, Fanlore, Open Doors, and of course the Archive of Our Own, to say nothing of the OTW's legal advocacy, which has secured fair use exemptions for vidding under the DMCA before the U.S. Copyright Office for two cycles running, are all supported exclusively by donations from our supporters. A donation of US$10 or more will allow you to become an OTW member for the next calendar year, giving you voting (and bragging) rights and giving us the financial support we need to keep doing what we've been doing, and to become better at it.

Since joining the Board I've had even more cause to be impressed by the dedication and commitment of OTW staff and volunteers, my fellow Board members not least among them. But we wouldn't be anywhere without our supporters who donate, so thank you.

Well, I'm not a member of the OTW's board, but I'm on staff and I'm a volunteer and I'm committed to the work I do for and with the OTW, and I think the work the OTW does is important for fans, fandoms, and fanworks. If you agree, please think about donating to help support us.


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anna genoese

November 2015

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