I think I mentioned that I’ve been writing some horror lately.
It amazes me that I find writing horror so much more difficult than writing other things. I have specific things I want to get done in my horror stories that I don’t in other kinds of stories.
For instance I’m working on a werewolf story set here in Seatown and I spent a few days researching wolf pack social dynamics, I love trying to weave together human and animal behaviors to create believable characters.
As I work on these stories I realize yet again that my roots are in a more syncretic style of writing. Especially horror writing. I want pieces of mythos and other languages. I use cooking terms, musical terms. I think the more fantastic subject matter frees me to be more experimental with how I use language and it makes me very happy even though it’s so fucking hard sometimes.
There is also the issue that I like to use bits of myth from my own ethnic background. This is one of those situations where being an author of color gets hard.
I’ve had situations where in a story I’ve used names and myths that are unfamiliar to most White people. My Oshun story (which I did not rewrite or add explanations to) every rejection has mentioned that the readers didn’t know who/what Oshun was so they just didn’t really get the point of the story. As much as I know that rejection is gonna happen, it’s disheartening.
I don’t want to be relegated to the far flung author of color community. Not because I’m not proud to be an author of color but because I don’t want my stories that involve people of color to become “Black people things”.
It’s so frustrating sometimes.
I remember a few years ago a well meaning White lady wanted me to be a reviewer for her site. However she didn’t really want me to review the things I read regularly she wanted someone to review “urban” lit. I was pissed off because I was so hurt and it hurt more that she just couldn’t understand why it might be such a big deal to me or why it might hurt me.
Sometimes dealing with the unacknowledged privilege in various literary communities is honestly what keeps me away. I just get too tired and hurt to deal with it.
My writing is such a precious thing to me. I work so hard at it and I don’t want it tarnished with the same bullshit I deal with in the rest of my life. Rationally I realize this probably won’t ever happen but I can hope.
Okay enough. I have work to do. I want to finish working on the Jinn story I started yesterday and I have some research to do about werewolves today.
Under the read more, a tidbit from the werewolf story.
Seattle was hard for him culturally. Aside from him only barely knowing the local wolf packs, there was the issue of his skin. In Winter most people assumed he was White and treated him as such. He was at best in the winter a creamy shade of dark almond with a smattering of brown freckles across the bridge of his nose. His dreads were long and dark fuzzy golden blond.
During the summer he tanned to an even dark caramel and three out of four people who spoke to him mentioned the word exotic at least once within two minutes of meeting him. The combination of the color of his hair, his clear bright brown eyes and the color of his skin led most white people to conclude that there must be a few drops of something in him.
People often insisted he give them a run down of his lineage. When he would shrug and say Black people disbelieved him. People approached him, scolding him for appropriating cultures, pointing at his hair. He only sighed and turned away. As he got older he had less and less patience for it.