Living for the Revel (catvalente) wrote,
Living for the Revel
catvalente

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A Book of One's Own

You know, just about every time I post anything about writing, but especially if I post about increasing the visibility of women, queer culture, and people of color in literature, I get several of this kind of comment--and yes, I just got ANOTHER one on my Racefail post.

"If you want more representations of women/gays/PoC, why don't you write your OWN damn books?"


Often accompanied by the cute addendum: "Just tell YOUR story, and don't worry about politics."

Look, I don't expect every random commenter to be conversant in my complete works. I don't expect them to know me at all, given how many come via outside links. I'm not being all DON'T YOU KNOW WHO PRINCE IS?

But seriously. One might consider, when there are over 100 comments, let alone 300, that the author of the post might possibly have written something other than the post at hand, and possibly a quick google search is preferable to looking hilarious in comments. I know that assuming Everyone Else Is An Idiot is part of what makes the Internet such a jolly place, but it's LJ, there's a lot of writers here, and people who post about SFF and fandom usually have some vested interest in it, and it's not like there aren't links to my books all down the side of the page.

Not to mention, it's not actually the first best destiny of Everyone on Planet Earth to be a writer of fiction. Cultural commentary is important and valuable in and of itself, and some people need to, you know, read books and react to them. I know! Crazy! My reaction to culture would still be viable even if I couldn't string a denouement together with a duct tape, a wristwatch, and my Aunt Martha's wedding band. So would, and is, yours.

The second one, which I also tend to get when talking about any thorny issue in a work in progress, is much harder to respond to. But pretty much the only thing to say is:

My story is political.

I can write from the heart--and seriously, where else would I be writing from? I'm such a commercial sellout with my popcorn novels and my stacks of cash that I have to dig down to my Grinchy literary heart with both hands and even then I might not find anything but hot sparkly vampires? I'm all heart, baby. But I can write from my ventricles and still be political, because I am a woman and a feminist and queer and there is no telling my story, no matter how cloaked in fiction, without bringing all my uncomfortable politics in. That is telling my story. It means I worry about colonial issues, it means I worry about portrayals of gay sex, it means I consider the race and gender balance of a cast of characters, it means I think long and hard before committing narrative. Because my politics are the politics of thinking long and hard about things.

But hey, maybe one of these days I'll get around to writing my own books and not just complaining annoyingly on the Internet about how the world could occasionally suck just a little less. It could happen. You never know.

Probably not, though. I'm mostly hot air. Hot, politically correct, ugly, loud feminist air.
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