My partner surprised me with a gift subscription to Writers Digest as a present and has given the budgetary okay for me to subscribe to Poets and Writers.
I like Writers Digest and in the last issue the issue of being an author of color came up in one of those small pokey ways that bothers me.
There was a list of ten hot voices in specific genres, the only one asked about any kind of double consciousness was the brown lady.
Also this author was one of maybe two authors of color in the whole thing.
The whole issue of double consciousness is frankly exhausting sometimes. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about being a Black Author. I just want to write my shit and to have people read it.
At the same time it’s not something I can just put down. If something I write is about my Black experience, or a story involving or revolving around people of color I do have to think extra hard about submitting those. Does X publication ever talk about people of color? Do they feature authors of color? Is this piece too far outside of the default (in America White) for anyone to get it?
Yes I could change the stories but when I did that as a matter of routine, yes I did that. I changed characters and plots so they weren’t so Black and you know what? Those stories sucked and no one published them.
So now I don’t change them but I’ve seen and gotten very subtle hints about these things. The story I had in the Flash Fiction Offensive, that one was rejected a number of times because editors weren’t comfortable with the racism or violence. One editor suggested I make it a fantasy. I was livid and when I talked about it with a friend they disagreed, I kept the story intact and FFO took it and loved it.
I don’t know what my point here is exactly.
I guess what I really want is for people to know that yes, the Black authors and the Asian authors and all the other non-White authors often think about these things and it’s exhausting. Sometimes these things take away from the work. Sometimes these things ruin the work. Sometimes these things make some of us not even want to fuck with trying to get published.
I’m editing an essay about golden showers and my inability to give one. I have another weird little love story.