Black ASL – Did you know? | ASL Ponderings

I will NOT be teaching Black ASL itself. This is only to introduce the concept of Black ASL to those who know nothing about this, give resources to do more learning, and spotlight Black Deaf creators on various platforms.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Yes, there is such a thing as Black ASL. Today, I’ll be giving a brief introduction to the history, going through the list of links I have below for further learning, then I’ll recommend a few Black Deaf creators that I follow and enjoy across various platforms.

Black ASL has ties with the ASL that we are all familiar with, but it also has many clear differences. Individual signs, signing style, cadence, all of that. This came around because of segregation. Black deaf schools were separate from white deaf schools until desegregation, so ASL developed differently and some of it still holds today. The first link I have is a short video from Netflix that features Nakia Smith, also known as Charmay. Her TikTok with her grandfather went viral, and in it, she’s talking with him about BASL and what it was like back then. 

The next link is an article that gives a brief history of Black Deaf people in America, written by Catalleya Storm. This gives more detail to the very basic info I just told you. There’s a project that worked to describe the linguistic features of BASL, sponsored by Gallaudet. And Talking Black in America did the first documentary about Black ASL, called Signing Black in America. The last link I’m giving you today is intended to be watched as a companion playlist to the book, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL written by Dr. Carolyn McCaskill. She’s one of the biggest contributors to the research of Black ASL. I haven’t watched the full series myself, but I think it can still give some interesting info without the book. There are clips of Black Deaf people signing included as well.

That’s all of the links specifically related to BASL. Now I’m going to recommend a few creators. I’ll be listing people on TikTok and Instagram. Of course, there are plenty of people that I won’t get to in the video, either because I’m saving them to mention in another video this month or because I’m not aware of them. I’ll be adding them at the end of this post, so please feel free to comment with Black Deaf creators that you enjoy!

First, of course I have to mention two people that I’ve already mentioned. Nakia, itscharmay on TikTok and Instagram. She does various educational videos, often on dos and don’ts with the deaf community, but she also does videos on Black ASL. Catalleya Storm, they mainly post on Instagram at catalleya.storm but also have a YouTube channel. They’re a writer and an activist. Then we have Scarlet May on TikTok, she posts educational videos about the deaf community, and occasionally does stories, music translations, among other things. Kourtney is another TikToker, kooziza, that does mainly ASL translations of songs. There’s also Raven, bluejay19xx, doing more ASL translations and Coldest Water Table Talks, which are educational videos. Going back to Instagram, we have David Player, d7play, who posts a lot of educational things about being Black and Deaf, individually and the intersection between the two. And there’s Dr. Rezenet, rezearcher, who talks about personal life as a queer Black Deaf person, their studies, ASL linguistics, and more. Asteria Summers, empressillusions, is an Afro-Indigenous trans woman. She posts mainly about her personal experiences being in those intersections, mostly about being a Black trans woman. Lauren Ridloff who is an actor that’s been in multiple well-known plays. There are many, many more, but I’m going to stop there for today. I’ll also include a link at the end of this list that’ll take you to a guide on Instagram, listing more Black Deaf creators on Instagram for you to follow.

That’s all for today. Please leave a comment with a Black Deaf creator that you enjoy!

Black Deaf Creators

January Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Before we even get into today’s post, for every post I make this month, I’ll be shouting out Black creators, authors, etc., that I personally follow and enjoy. For this post, here’s a few books by Black queer authors.

  • You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson
  • How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • The Deep by Rivers Solomon
  • Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender.

Of course, there are many more that I have read and will be reading, this is just a starting place.

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome to my wrap up of January books. I tried to join in on Read Your Shelves, but I ended up not reading *that* much this month, certainly not as much as December! I had two library holds come in, so I read those. I am working on the books on my shelf, I promise! Let’s get into it.

Lobizona by Romina Garber. This is the first in a new series, and I am SO excited to see where this goes! Manuela Azul has grown up being confined to a small apartment in Miami, Florida due to her undocumented status and her unusual eyes. She’s felt crammed and stuck, until her life is turned upside down. Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, her mother gets arrested by ICE, and she uncovers secrets that have been long hidden. One thing leads to another while investigating what she can about her past. She discovers a secret world hidden within ours, one where brujas and lobizóns exist. In this world, her unusual eyes aren’t so unusual after all. As Manu learns more about this hidden world and her true heritage all the way back to Argentina, she learns that her entire existence is illegal and she shouldn’t even exist as a lobizona. I really, really enjoyed this! This world is nothing like I’ve read before, as it should be! I don’t know that much about Argentinian folklore, but large portions of this are based on those. Especially the one where the seventh son becomes a werewolf or lobizón, and the seventh daughter is a witch or bruja. For those who might not be catching it, I want to emphasize that this is one of those cases where there’s strong gender divides – the men are lobizóns and the women are brujas. Manu is a lobizona, which is unknown and hasn’t happened before (or so people think). Manu experiences a range of emotions – joy at finally understanding why she’s different and finding a place where she could possibly belong, grief at her mother being detained by ICE and being unable to help her. She has to move carefully while in this hidden world, because everyone else has grown up in this world and she knows nothing. Knowing nothing could get her killed, and trying to figure out who and where her father is is also dangerous. This is part of a series like I said earlier, and while it isn’t a *huge* cliffhanger, it does leave off on a big question mark of what will happen next. And I, for one, look forward to it.

City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda. A Rick Riordan Presents book, this story tells us Mesopotamian legends, taking us far, far back to the stories of Gilgamesh, Babylon, the deities – Ishtar of love and war, and Nergal of plague and war. This takes place in present-day Manhattan, following thirteen-year-old Sikander Aziz, or Sik, who works at his parents’ deli in the evenings and goes to school. It’s a pretty simple and good life, until one night the deli gets completely destroyed by Nergal, who has come for Sik because he’s sure that Sik holds something important. Sik has to figure out what that is, and with the help of Belet, the adopted daughter of Ishtar, stop Nergal from completely destroying Manhattan and subsequently, the world. I LOVE that Riordan has this imprint, because I really enjoy learning about all the various mythologies and beliefs around the world. This was incredible! It touched on family, loss, grief, how people deal with that in their own way, Islamophobia and bullies, but it also has snarky jokes, badass fights, god-tier nonsense. Mesopotamian lore is woven throughout, and it was really fun learning about that! If you enjoy the style of the Riordan books or any that were published under this imprint, you’ll like this. Of course, you might not want to read it at the moment since it has a plague in it, so that’s completely understandable. I enjoyed the legend-making regardless.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century edited by Alice Wong. This is a collection of various essays written by disabled people. It has a fairly good variety of people across age, race, class, and disabilities in it – wheelchair users of various disabilities, blind people, cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive disabilities, deaf people, and more. I want to touch on the deaf people quickly. There’s an essay written by Haben Girma, and I look forward to eventually reading her full book. There’s one that’s a translated interview with a deaf prisoner. Both of them are important essays, yes. However – Girma’s essay focused far more on the blind part of her identity, and guide dogs. The prison interview was, well, all about the experience of being deaf in prison. There was no essay from a culturally deaf person that would have a far different experience from these two people. I know that this book has no way of covering every possible identity and story, but it would have been nice to see one more deaf story that has more about deaf culture and that way of navigating the world. Overall, I did enjoy this collection of essays, and if needed, the essays have content warnings at the beginning so that’s there too. There’s also a list of resources, other books to read, and such in the back.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. Cal is a successful seventeen-year-old social media journalist who enjoys sharing his life in Brooklyn, and all the local news. In this, NASA is working on a very publicized mission to Mars, with the aim of having astronauts live on Mars. Cal’s pilot father gets selected, so their family is relocated to Houston, thrust into the spotlight and a media frenzy. Cal is angry about this move, since he and his mother didn’t know that his father had applied until he was accepted. Cal has to leave behind his best friend, a promising internship, and move to a place where he knows nobody, his online presence being controlled (or attempted to) by StarWatch—a reality show that’s handling all of the media around the astronauts and their families—and NASA. Then he meets Leon, another Astrokid, mysterious and cute. As Cal spends more time in Texas, he starts to discover things about the program and the reality show and has to figure out how to expose it without hurting all the people he cares for. Those who know me know that I love anything science related, and NASA firmly fits into that. Also, I might be a little biased since my birthday is the same day (not year!) as the moon landing in 1969. Anyway, I really enjoyed this. I liked that we got to see all of the nerdy stuff past what the astronauts do. We were introduced to a soil scientist, the woman who creates the simulations and tries to “kill” the astronauts, and some others. I also appreciated the commentary on social media, what it takes to have a presence and how it can affect the person doing it, along with everyone around them, and being a public figure, all the stress that comes with it. There is discussion of mental health, how people deal with it, the fact that it can’t be fixed but managed. This might be a spoiler, but I think it’s important to mention that Leon has depression, and Cal’s mother has anxiety, goes to therapy to help manage it. Cal learns that his instinct to fix things can cause more problems and that he has to accept some things can’t be fixed, he needs to have patience, understanding, and do his best to support the people he loves. It wasn’t a full five star for me because while this is a romance, and marketed as such, I almost feel like it was a little distracting from the story of NASA, fame, all of that pressure. The romance was great and cute but a little too insta-love for me as well. Cal and Leon barely knew each other, and the relationship that developed felt like it had some jumps that don’t normally happen. Cal also was selfish and kind of an ass to his friends, so that was a little difficult to move past. He also does some things in regard to the social media and reality show that were kind of not okay. He does grow and learn from it, but oof. Slightly problematic main character, wonderful supporting characters, story about space and fame, I recommend it.

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of A Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam. Homer is telling the story that his parents told him in bits over the years, starting in the 1930s when they had just married. Homer Sr. and Elsie live in West Virginia, and have done so for all their lives. Before Elsie married Homer, she had escaped to Florida for a brief time but the Great Depression sent her back home. She fell into a marriage with Homer, and one day Elsie received an alligator as a gift from someone she knew in Florida. She kept it and raised it until one day her husband had quite enough, and gave her an ultimatum. Homer or Albert. Elsie decided that there was only one option – bringing Albert home to Florida. They embark on a road trip all the way from West Virginia down to Florida, and on the way, they have some wild experiences. Movie stars, revolutionaries, famous authors, foul weather, and more. On this journey, they learn a lot about themselves and each other, going through heartbreak, joy, recovery, love. I got this from the clearance section of Half Price Books just because of the cover and the description. This was a medium book for me, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. This is a book of tall tales, only partially based in reality. It’s very quirky and outlandish, but has some good lessons at its heart. I felt some parts dragged on and some flipped past quickly. The writing is very interesting, it’s written a bit more like how it would have been written in the era. It’s hard to give a review for something that’s partially based on people’s lives, so I’m just going to not go any further. If you’re willing to suspend a lot of disbelief, this can be a good read.

That’s it for January! Let me know what you’ve read or would like to. If not that, what are you currently reading?

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Title Talks | BookTube

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome! I just wanted to do a quick intro video to a potential new series, which I’m currently calling Title Talks. This series would be where I go more in-depth on specific books that might be too much to put in a wrap up, or I would prefer to have it separated from a larger video. It might be because I just really want to gush about it, it might be because I really didn’t like how it was done in terms of representation or something like that.

I’m also thinking that this could be a place where I talk in more detail about various series that I read. I am wanting to re-read a couple of them, and this would be a good place to be able to talk more about the individual books in the series, instead of just glossing over the later books. Related to that, would y’all prefer the series be all in one video, or a shorter individual video for each book in a series? What do you think would work better?

I probably won’t actually have the first video until March, but the first book I will be reviewing is This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender. I’ve been wanting to do it for this book because I really did not like how the deaf subplot was handled. We’ll see what other standalone books I review when we get there! The series I would like to re-read and discuss more in-depth here are the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, the first book being So You Want to Be a Wizard, and the Matt Cruse series by Kenneth Oppel, the first book being Airborn. I want to see if they’re as good as I remember, because it’s been a long time since I read either of them.

That’s all! Let me know if there’s any books that I’ve previously read—or that you see in the future!—that you’d like to see an in-depth review of, and what I should do with the videos for book series.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Interpreters and ethics | Thursday Thoughts | Patreon Unscripted

Hello, I’m Rogan, and today is a little different for most of you. My Patreon has a tier that’s $8 and up, where I do weekly vlogs every Thursday. That’s today. This is different because I’m opening it to the public. I decided that for some of them, I will go ahead and make them public, because this topic I’m talking about is one I want to put out there for everyone. So, the $8 tier and up. This is unscripted, meaning I just throw it out, no typing up things, planning, making a transcript, nothing. Just my thoughts put out there, no processing. The reason why I do that is because I want to give people something behind the scenes that not everyone gets. But also, this sometimes can be my processing place. I use… Maybe I’ll give my thoughts on some topic, then later, I make a full video that’s polished and clear before I make it public. This one, I’m not, because it’s a recent event, and I just want to get it out there. And give the people on the outside some idea of what can happen during my weekly vlogs. Often, my weekly vlogs are just… Sometimes I just talk about what I’m up to, recent projects, how I’m feeling right now. Sometimes, it’s more serious, a discussion, like this.

What I want to talk about is the recent White House, new White House, had their first press briefing with information. Literally, the first thing they said, “Before we continue with all of this, we will have ASL interpreters for all briefings.” Amazing. Now… Yes, that is fantastic, and definitely what they should be doing. People have already sued the Trump administration for not providing ASL interpreters. So…with the people who are in the Biden administration, I’m not surprised they did ASL interpreters. But the fact that they said that, the very first thing, before even saying anything else, the first thing being hey, we will have ASL interpreters. Fantastic! Now… While that’s great, yes, keep it up. That is the bare minimum. That is, I mean, as… As a national group, you have to do that. If it’s a small organization, and they said that, wow, good! But the White House, at the national, federal level, that’s the minimum they should be doing. So just saying, it is great but that’s the minimum. So keep it up. Do more. I just wanted to say that for some of you who may not be aware, now you know there are ASL interpreters for the daily White House briefings. If you want to watch in ASL, that’s there.

I’ve been seeing here and there, and I recommend you going straight to their YouTube page, not through CNN, MSNBC, news, not through those. Because through the news, they sometimes will have a banner on the bottom blocking the interpreter, or making it hard to see. YouTube is nothing, just the person talking and the interpreter. The interpreter is a picture in picture, not standing side by side. Picture in picture, so you will see the interpreter the whole time. So I suggest YouTube. I believe on the White House… I’ll leave a link below, if there is one. But the point is, YouTube is best for viewing.

I want to talk a little bit more about a specific situation that came up with that first interpreter on Monday. There’s a discussion going on, and it’s a sticky one. I… It’s hard. So, the situation. That interpreter for the first press briefing. She interpreted, and it was fine. Later, people became aware that she is a Trump supporter. She’s posted, on personal time, videos signing misinformation, inaccurate things, supporting the far right. I’m not here to say that she’s bad, she should not–I’m–that’s your views, that’s your decisions, fine. And people are fighting about this, that she should not be interpreting for Biden if you–I’m looking at this as… She’s an interpreter. Interpreters have ethics. We have a code of ethics. We (ASL interpreters) call it Code of Professional Conduct, but the point is it’s basically ethics, what we follow as interpreters. Meaning, whoever we do a job for, if our views are in conflict, that doesn’t matter. My views are set aside while I’m interpreting for that person. I’ve experienced working with a client that was very homophobic, and said homophobic things while talking with me. I had to keep it in, I’m not saying anything because I’m working right now. So that’s jarring for me, yes, but that’s the job. I can’t fight with this person, because that’s against my ethics as an interpreter. The point is, the person who interpreted for the Biden press briefing… She is required by her job, and by her agreement when she took this job, to follow it, pass on the information, interpret it. But not do anything to take away, or hurt that information, twist that information. Whatever the interpreter does on her personal time, that’s her personal beliefs and views.

I want to clarify and add, they’ve had different interpreters since, they’ve had CDIs (certified Deaf interpreters). They’ve had different interpreters, yes. So it’s not just that same interpreter since, it’s been changing. But the point is, any interpreter who has a conflicting view, and taking that job… I think that’s really interesting. If you know you have conflicting views, why take that job? That’s just, huh. You were willing to interpret for them when you clearly, you’ve made it clear that you don’t agree with that. I’m just thrown, it’s odd that she accepted that job. It happened. So… That’s the thing. Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice. In this situation, I’m sure there was a choice to have another interpreter who was willing to take that job. But also, I…

Here’s a different perspective. Why didn’t the Biden administration screen? I’m puzzled by that. Maybe they just decided to trust the agency to pick an interpreter. Okay. But I would think that Biden, because Biden–really, the administration, would screen anybody who works for them, to make sure that they fit their overall…philosophy, whatever. They would at least support their views without a problem. So if I had been working in the Biden administration, and I got that information, I would check the interpreter for sure. Because I would want to make sure that they have the right background, the right qualifications, have all of the things that fit what the Biden administration is trying to do. That interpreter’s views on Trump, and such, people found it. So it wasn’t like completely hidden, privated, people knew. So the fact that she still got the job, it means the Biden administration still has work to do. They have to work on their process of hiring interpreters, making sure that it fits what they want.

I want to go back to her taking the job and me being puzzled by that. But still, even with that, accepting that job… This is national level, on public, live TV. And if she intentionally interpreted something wrong, or withheld important information, or in any way went against what the press briefing person said, on live TV… Automatically, interpreters will know, and deaf people can sometimes tell if something doesn’t seem right. So if that actually happened, going against or conflicting information with what’s actually being said, on live TV, she would lose her job, no question. No question. Because that violates her professional ethics, violating her job, not doing her job right.

So I can see both sides – why would you go ahead and interpret for a person who is so in conflict with your own views? At the same time, if you do interpret wrong, you will lose your job. I just want that to be clear for people who aren’t familiar with this. I still think it’s really odd that she accepted that job, when she knew her views conflict with them. Just, kind of odd to me, but it happened so.

So for those who might not be familiar, interpreters will often have to do jobs that conflict with personal beliefs, personal opinions, views. But… Either we didn’t know, or know, but don’t really have a choice because there’s no other availability, or it was last minute, or…whatever. There are many reasons why an interpreter would take a job that might not be a hundred percent fit with their skills, their knowledge, their opinions and all that. But yeah. When we’re working, we have to try to put aside personal beliefs, opinions, etc. a little bit. Yes, that will still influence how we interpret things. Yes, it may be hard for us to do a good job, because of whatever reason. Like me working with someone who’s homophobic.

As far as I know… That person doesn’t know I’m queer. They didn’t know. In this specific situation, they’re not aware that I’m queer. So they probably thought it was “safe” to say things. So–for those who are wondering, are you okay? Yeah, I’m okay. That happened a while back, over a year ago. I did, after that happened–they directly said really homophobic things to my face. I said nothing, and once I finished the job, I reached out to the coordinator for this and other coordinators that have worked with this person before. I let them know that I don’t want to work with this person from now on. I don’t want to have to deal with those comments again. That is something interpreters can do, if we feel really uncomfortable working with a specific client, we can request to not work with this client for whatever reason. Sometimes, interpreters will say that and it’s not really a good reason, but in this specific situation, yeah. I don’t want to be working with that person when they find out I am queer. Because that may not end well. The point here is that I didn’t know that they would say things like that, until they said them. So that took me aback. I had to keep going and finish. I could say more, but–if you want to discuss things, comment.

So what do you think about this situation? If you are familiar with this. If you didn’t know about this, how…what are you thinking now?

I think, that’s all really. I’m looking at the time right now, fourteen minutes, oh. This weekly vlog is a range. Sometimes it’s two, three minutes, sometimes it’s up to fifteen minutes. So yeah, this is what the weekly vlogs can look like. Sometimes it’s just a hi, what’s up with me, what’s up with you. If you want to become a Patron, for any level from $1 to $10. I have different benefits for each tier. Go ahead, I appreciate all of my current Patrons. Thank you for your support, continuing it through this pandemic. I really appreciate that. And if you decide yeah, you want to sign up, thank you! And…yeah, I will stop now. I hope you have a good weekend.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

December Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello and welcome to my very big wrap up of things I read in December. I read a total of seventeen individual things this month, but I won’t be talking about all of them today. The reason for that is the first five things I read were for the Queer Lit Readathon, and I talked about them in a video. I’ll be linking that above and in the description. I’ll just get straight into it!

I read the third volume of The Backstagers. This is kind of a continuation of the first two, except this is kind of themed. It has a couple of short stories focused around Valentine’s and Halloween. Not much I can say, but I just love this series. This is a world where the backstage of theaters is a magical place and wild things happen to the crew all the time.

Next, I picked up Ben’s Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle by Penelope Peters. This was an adorable read with two Jewish and queer main characters. Adam is the coach of a pee-wee hockey team from Montreal, and Ben is the owner of a little bakery in the middle of Boston. Adam was in the NHL draft, but a situation happened with his father that led to him leaving it and becoming a coach so he could care for his father. His team gets invited to Boston for a prestigious competition, and he doesn’t realize that it’s during Hanukkah until it’s too late. Ben almost could have made it to the Olympics, but he ended up opening a bakery that’s now struggling, but he’s decided during Hanukkah, he wants to make only Hanukkah treats. Adam’s team of hungry preteens is exactly what Ben needs to save his business during this week, but of course, he gets more out of it than expected with Adam. It was a very quick read for me, and I did enjoy it. The biggest thorn in my side for this was Adam’s behavior about Ben being “not Jewish enough,” especially with how Adam’s father lives his life. Adam’s father is a rabbi, and he regularly hangs out with leaders from other faiths with no problem. I honestly don’t see Adam having grown up around that and being a jerk about how other Jews practice their faith being something that would happen. Apart from that, it was very cute and fluffy, along with a couple of heavy topics, like serious injury in sports and trauma stemming from that. The friends of Ben and Adam are so supportive and they’re great. Adam’s assistant coach is a Muslim woman that wears a hijab. This definitely has a holiday feel, and it’s fantastic.

How to be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Winters is a fantastic author, and I love all of his work that I’ve read. This is no different. Remy is assigned an essay that requires him to describe who he is. This sets Remy on a journey of figuring out what he is to other people and who he considers himself to be. We see him navigating a new crush, being a gay, Black kid who was adopted by a white family, writing—or attempting to write—this essay. There is so much goodness in this book, the family dynamics with embarrassing parents and an adorable little sister, his friend group, and all the secondary characters that make an appearance. I’m honestly amazed at how much this book managed to cover, and it was definitely an enjoyable read.

Princess Princess Ever After by Kay O’Neill is an extremely short and cute graphic novel where a heroic princess saves a kind-hearted princess, and they go on an adventure together to defeat evil wherever it may be. I can’t really say much more than that without just telling you the whole story, but it is adorable and queer. Of course, I’d love to have more in-depth story, seeing this is so short but I think this is a great story for children to read.

Hex Vet #1 and 2 by Sam Davies. Again, these were quick graphic novel reads but I enjoyed them, and look forward to seeing more! The focus is on these two veterinary witch interns in a world where magic is everywhere and part of everyday life. The first one is an introduction to this world and a mystery that the students figure out while the bosses are gone. The second takes to the sky, where they provide care specifically for flying magical creatures, which was interesting!

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte. We’re taken to Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, in the 19th century. In this era, the island had a thriving community of deaf people and many of the islanders signed because a large percentage were deaf. We follow Mary Lambert, a deaf girl living on the island. The way of life here is such that everyone is equal, deaf people are part of everything, from the town council to going fishing with a mixed crew. Mary has always been proud of who she is and her lineage. Her family is currently struggling with the loss of her brother, there are tensions on the island between the indigenous people and the white settlers. One day, an off-islander comes with the aim of discovering the cause of deafness on the island, eventually curing it or eradicating it. Mary is curious but keeps her distance, but something happens and she’s forcibly turned into part of the experiment. Obviously, I read this because of the deaf storyline, and this is own voices, being written by a deaf person. It was interesting, and I did enjoy it. Martha’s Vineyard actually had their own sign language that was different from ASL, and it’s been mostly lost to history. So because of that, the author was limited in what she could do in showing/describing signs. She did what she could! The visual nature of ASL, or sign languages in general, makes it extremely difficult to show well in written language (not considering sign writing). I have yet to read a book where I’m satisfied with how it’s portrayed. The most common, and unfortunately, probably the best way to do it, is straight up writing in standard English, and instead of writing “said, saying,” using “signed, signing,” or explaining that their hands are moving as they speak. It’s definitely not ideal, but it is what it is. Overall, I thought this was pretty well written for what it is.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. This is a memoir which is an exploration of George’s personal life through their childhood to college in New Jersey and Virginia. They talk about growing up being bullied at a very young age, having a close relationship with their grandmother, their various sexual relationships and discovering their identities. George speaks very frankly about their experiences figuring out their sexuality, gender, understanding family, toxic masculinity, and Black joy. I absolutely blasted through it and really enjoyed reading George’s words. They’re very insightful, and talk about these topics in a way that’s very accessible and understandable by people who might not have a very extensive background in these. This is truly an incredible book, and I absolutely recommend this.

Reset written by multiple authors. This is a local printing, and I didn’t realize that it was published by a church. Nothing against that, but there’s nothing in the description that says it was. It just says that these are stories of people who have been through some pretty serious things and are looking for a fresh start, hence the name Reset. There are seven different stories, covering a drug addict, being cheated on, finding out about a child, and others. All of these people eventually find their way to the same church that published this book. It’s interesting, the writing is alright, but not at all what I was expecting.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe, which is a webcomic. This is a re-telling of Greek myths, focusing on the Olympians. It does it in a way where the mortal world is still in the Ancient Greece era, and Mount Olympus, anywhere the gods and mythical beings live, are modern like our world today. The main retelling in this is the Persephone and Hades story, Persephone is a brand new goddess in this, only nineteen years old, where most of the other gods are already hundreds or thousands of years old. The art in this is just gorgeous, the style is really interesting, and I’m enjoying it so far. It does take a bit to pick up and start to make sense of the story, but if you like Greek myths in any form, this is a great read.

There There by Tommy Orange. This was a read for Signed Out Loud, a signing book club, and this is a multi-perspective story all centered on the Big Oakland Powwow and various characters from Native communities. It tells stories of Native people and all the various traumas they experience from being Native. There’s a newly sober woman who’s trying to find her way back to her family, someone figuring out his life after his uncle’s death and honoring it with working at the powwow, a group of kids who are disconnected from their Native heritage but plan on going to the powwow for the first time. It gets intense at points, and there’s talk of death, descriptions of violence, and the such. This is incredible, but it also tries to do quite a bit. Not a bad thing, just something to be aware of going into this.

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. Set in an occupied country during political unrest, soldiers kill a deaf boy during a protest. The citizens become united and start communicating in only sign language, as a way of dissent. We’re shown snippets of private lives of some of the townspeople. This is all written in poetry, so it’s a fairly quick read but it’s very good. The author is deaf, so this is own voices. Again, as I have said before, poetry is not my strong suit so I’m certainly not the right person to be reviewing this. My best friend who is a writer absolutely loves this and wants everybody to read this.

Finally, that’s all of the books I read in December. January will definitely be less books! Leave whatever you want in the comments.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Signs in literature | BookTube

Note: The below is mainly a list of the terms I show in this video, because I’m mostly just showing the signs.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! A while back, I had a comment from Tacara ask me about various signs for words in literature. I already had a short list of the basic terms, but this person had a list with more specific terms. I’ll be going through those lists today. I want to preface this with the fact that there will be a lot of very specific literature-related words that I don’t cover or have a sign for. That is in part because sadly in my opinion, reading is not massively popular in the deaf community. In fact, there are many who actively don’t read for various reasons. From personal experience, I know there are many who didn’t grow up being encouraged to read for enjoyment, and mainly read only for school. I get that, because I hated being forced to read specific books that I had zero interest in. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in a family of readers and signers. We’re getting a little off topic now, but I just wanted to mention that for those who may not be all that familiar with the deaf community. I’ll start with the basics then go into more detail. I’ll give some explanations for signs if they’re needed, but many are signing the *meaning* of the word, rather than a distinct sign for that specific English word.

  • Book, books
  • Library
  • To be read and did not finish
  • Readathon
  • Genres
    • Nonfiction
    • Fiction
    • Horror
    • Thriller
    • Fantasy
    • Sci-fi
    • Romance
    • Drama
    • Contemporary
    • Classic

Basic list done, onto the more literature-specific terms.

  • Setting/Universe 
  • Theme
  • Prequel/Sequel
  • Character/main character/side character
  • Growth/development
  • Plot/Plot twist
  • Action/climax
  • Timeline
  • Shocking/Attention grabbing/interesting
  • Chapter/Section/Arc (like a chunk of story)
  • Trope/cliché/stereotype
  • Emotionally invested/Relatable
  • Resolution
  • Protagonist (good guy)
  • Antagonist (bad guy)
  • Love interest
  • Book Review
  • Page Count
  • Scene/Section
  • Point of view
  • Rating books (5 stars)
  • Spoiler
  • Writing style
  • Series/Trilogy
  • Foreshadowing
  • Suspense

Naming characters or giving them sign names/what characters have sign names? It’s not very common to give book or even movie characters sign names unless they have very unique characteristics that lend themselves to an easy sign name. However, the exception is obviously anything that’s mainstream and often gets referenced in pop culture, such as characters from Marvel, DC, and the like. Even that isn’t consistent though. There’s no “rule” around this, really. If people really love a particular character, they may create a sign, but it’s not likely to become common.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you learned some new signs! Let me know if there’s any that you’re curious about, and I’ll be happy to explain more in the comments!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

2020 on YouTube and 2021 goals

Hello I’m Rogan and welcome to the last post of 2020! Before I do anything else, I want to give a big thank you to all of my Patrons – those who have been a Patron for a while, and those who signed up recently – for supporting me, despite this year being what it was. I really appreciate you all, and I always want to improve what I give to you, so if you ever have any ideas, please let me know! Alright, let’s get into it!

Today is going to be a review of my year on YouTube, not in general because, [zoom in] you know, 2020 that. In 2020, I made 56 videos, including this one. So that’s slightly more than one video a week. Remember this for later in the post. Anything I mention from now on will obviously be linked down below, and some will be in the cards. First, I want to go over some videos I’m pretty proud of and some videos I would like to do differently.

A couple of my favorites are my ASL translations of two songs, Poor Unfortunate Souls and Commander in Chief. For the first one, I planned for a while, practiced my translation, and obviously did make up and costuming for that. For Commander, I literally translated it the night it came out, my video was up a few hours later. I did discuss a couple of lines and got feedback from people I trust. I’m still pretty pleased with the end result! If I had the equipment, I would have done it in front of a black background, rather than my room but *shrug* I still like it. Another video I’m pretty proud of is the interview I did with Jules about the improv class that her business, Hypernovas, taught and I took. That was a fun interview, and definitely something I’d recommend you watch, even if you’re not interested in improv.

Looking over my videos, I realized that I’m actually pretty happy with how most of them turned out. The only things that I wanted to do differently were in terms of set-up, like I mentioned for Commander in Chief. I want to have a better set-up for whenever I do something like that again. A great example is my ASL Storytimes. I used Zoom for their virtual background, which worked for the most part. I was just really bothered by the inconsistent background whenever I moved a certain way. It was definitely not designed with signing in mind! I won’t be re-doing them, but that’s one thing I want to do better for future ASL Storytimes. And that’s it for this portion of the post, really. I’m satisfied with my videos overall.

Now, I don’t do resolutions, but goals are a different thing. Let’s talk about my goals for 2021. I’m keeping it fairly broad, no specific numbers or anything. I would recommend you watch CGP Grey’s video about themes, this is where I’m taking most of my inspiration from. He basically says don’t make specific goals like reading x number of books or running x number of miles every day. Choose a theme for the year, like Year of Reading, Year of Health, etc. That way, what the theme means can change as you go throughout the year and things change. Just go watch it. My theme for 2021 is consistency. I have two lists of goals, one is more general, and the other is book stuff and that one doesn’t really fall under the theme, but we’re just going with it okay?

Consistency is something I’ve always struggled with, and want to improve. Remember earlier I mentioned 56 videos, slightly more than one a week? That’s great, but if you look at it month to month, it’s all over the place. Of course, some of that is normal because of Vlogmas and I typically do a bunch of videos in June for Pride month, which is fine! I just would like to have the amount of videos I make a little more even throughout the year. So one of my goals is to make at least one video a week. I’m not doing a specific day, just a video per week. And if I do more, great! Another goal I have is doing more videos regularly for series like ASL Ponderings and Regional Signs. I do have lists of ideas and signs, I just need to actually work on doing those. I also want to continue my new series, Rogue with Rogan, so be sure to drop some ideas for what I can do! Like I mentioned, some of my favorite videos of 2020 were ASL translations of songs and storytimes. I definitely want to do more of those next year.

Regarding Patreon, I currently do weekly vlogs for the $8 and up tier, but I admittedly haven’t been the best at doing those. Part of it is I don’t know what to talk about every week since there’s not much going on, so I’m still figuring that out. Consistency comes in again, I want to actually do these every week. I also want to post more stuff for the other tiers, like behind the scenes which is $5, but I’m not sure what that would be. Again, I need to figure it out. Overall, I want to give my Patrons more, because they are giving me their dollars which I appreciate a lot.

Moving onto book goals! My biggest one is to reduce how many unread books I have on my shelves. [scratches neck] It’s a lot. I counted them, and I have 64, 65 books on the shelf. I’ve had some of these books for a while, and I do want to read them, I just prioritize other books over them. I’d like to cut down on how many books are sitting there. No number or anything, just less. One of the ways I’m going to do that is participating in the Read Yo’ Shelves readathon, which happens in January. It’s a readathon dedicated to getting you to read books on your shelves, which is great. I’m not going to make a formal TBR for it, but I will be using the challenges to guide my picks a bit. A BookTube goal I have is to do more individual book reviews for specific books. In all this time that I’ve been making book videos, I’ve done ONE individual review. Soooo yeah, I would like to do more. Mainly for books that hit my specific identities, like deaf and queer. One book I’ve been wanting to do this with is This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, and I will finally do it in 2021 at some point. Another thing that I’d like to do is a re-read of a series, but I’m still not sure what format I want to do for that. The series I want to do is Young Wizards by Diane Duane, and it’s currently eleven books long. So I don’t know if I want to do one video of reading the whole thing, or video per book, or what? Let me know what you think.

Side note, I’m really not looking forward to figuring out my December book wrap up, because I read a total of 16 things. Luckily, five of those were from the Queer Lit Readathon, so I won’t have to do those again but still, eleven things! [big sigh]

Alright, I think that covers everything I wanted to talk about before closing out 2020! Let me know what you think of all this. Am I being too ambitious? [chuckle] I want to be clear, I’m definitely not looking at any of this as hard and fast goals. If I don’t achieve these, that’s okay. Like I said, consistency is just a ~theme~ and if I do even a little to push myself in the direction I want to go, I’ll be happy with that. Are you doing resolutions, goals, or a theme? Comment below! Stay safe and healthy, I’ll see you in 2021.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

‘Twas the night before Christmas | ASL Storytime

This is a translation of the original poem, which has been included below.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

The Prince and the Dressmaker | Defacing | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas. Today is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I follow a BookTuber, iLivieforbooks, and she will from time to time do defacings of her books. Drawing on them, decorating them, beautiful art on her books. I thought it seems like something fun to do with my books, and I’ll start with this book. Now, this book already has a scribble from a kid, because I bought this used, so… The book is The Prince and the Dressmaker. It’s one of my favorites. And here’s the kid’s scribble, I will use my defacing to cover that up.

So, for my process, because I’m one of those people who hates to start with physical because I don’t want to commit to anything. Like, what if I don’t like it? So I went ahead and took a picture of my copy’s cover, played around with it in Fresco, a drawing program. Played around with different ideas, until I found one that I liked, just today. I was drawing it, and yep I really like this. I want to do it. I’ll show you what that looks like. (Note: in the video, I hold up my iPad to show the digital version I drew.) I’m not showing you too much detail, because I want to transfer that to the physical thing. We’ll see how this goes. Enjoy!

[Montage: drawing in pencil, pulling out brush markers and selecting colors, starting with yellow-orange border around the characters then adding short curved lines in a repeating pattern, moving onto green leaves and purple flowers, and finishing with repeating straight green lines to fill in any remaining space.]

I’m done! I don’t have a lot of time because my battery’s dying and at the end of its life. So I’ll just show you a pan, and let me know what you think in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.