Why I will never be an indie darling.

If you read indie or alt lit you know there’s a brouhaha about a piece published by a young woman at Muumuu House.

I’ve read a bunch of the articles, the criticisms, the interview.

I also read her piece three times.

Every time there is an alt lit/indie lit world dust up of this sort I see more and more reasons that I will probably never be the indie darling I dream about.


  1.  I don’t write Helpless White Girl (see also Manic Pixie Dreamgirl) fiction.
  2. I don’t write Fucked up White Dude Fiction.
  3. I am neither a Helpless White Girl or a Fucked up White Dude.

Now when I use these terms I’m not disparaging either type of writing. If you are/write/like them I don’t care.

What the problem for me is that when I see these things everywhere, when these things are the things that are praised and held up as being all the precious things I feel unwelcome.

I am not famous, I don’t have an agent. I have to do all the by myself.

I have to think about when I am reading a publication and the only narrative I see given what I understand about the process of submission and seeing editors tastes, why would I ever submit?

Yes the worst thing that can happen is rejection but I don’t make a habit of submitting my work to any publication that does not seem like it would be appropriate.

In this kind of climate, I’m often left feeling pretty bereft.

I keep writing as they say to do.

I do want to be read.

Being that I am not famous, I am not an Indie/Alt Darling what am I supposed to do?

I don’t know.

This isn’t really about personal tastes or aesthetics even. It’s more about the level of deep -okay fuck I might as well be straight with all ten of you who read this- it’s hurt.

It hurts that I know, regardless of any lofty statements about diversity and inclusivity, that it’s another part of writing life I will likely never understand from an inside point of view.  Not that I want to be an Indie/Alt Darling. I don’t need to be the One Brave Negro who busts the Helpless White Girl trope.

I think on some level I just need a break.

I need a respite from so much of my life being overwhelmed by the Whiteness of everything.

Sometimes I want to feel freer to write more characters of color who are not the archetypes of Black folks.

I want to be able to write characters of color who have pain and live without it having to be Toni Morrison level pain porn.

I don’t want to ever have another editor ask me if I’m influenced by Maya Angelou. It’s not because I don’t love her because I do. I am just not her.

I don’t ever want to have something I write that is smart or riddled with my own dead pan style sarcasm to be lumped into the Sassy Black Woman ghetto.

I don’t ever -ever- again want someone to reject me because they don’t publish “Urban Fiction” because I write a story that is about Black people.

I wish I was being hyperbolic here.

I don’t work at a famous beloved magazine. If you asked a friend who is into short fiction they don’t know who I am, although they might if they read the Duotrope news letter on a good week for me and my name is in it. I am not in any famous writing programs.  I am still plugging away in the ether and that’s all good.

It’s all good but it’s also really fucking hard sometimes.

I’m trying to do something about these problems I have. I have been widening my reading list of lit mags. When I find that I am whitewashing a character or “toning” something race related down in a story I stop.

I remind myself that not everyone will love every word I write. Not every word that comes out of my head is going to be golden and it’s okay.

Sometimes I even submit when I fully believe that I do not belong in a magazine.

So there you have it.

Now I have some announcements to make but not today. I really need to finish a couple of newer pieces and decide whether or not to submit a poem I wrote the other night and am kind of in love with.





9 thoughts on “Why I will never be an indie darling.

  1. jervey tervalon

    I liked your post and hang in there. Don’t allow yourself to worry overmuch about the unfairness of the literary world. Just keep working, enjoy the work, embrace the work. Folks of color will extend a hand, good hearted
    folks of all stripes too. It’s always peaks and valleys…..
    All the best,
    Jervey Tervalon

  2. “I keep writing as they say to do.”

    Don’t. Write as you want to do. Also. Know that there are many many unhelpless white girls writing frustrated too. That they hate this shit. That they are fucking perplexed. And with you.

  3. Percy Kavanagh

    Sorry, but I disagree with this post. I do like your particular web-site though and will likely keep on moving right back for posts.

    1. Just in case this isn’t spam I hate to disappoint you, I’m afraid me having feelings is not really something to agree or disagree with. I have them. I’m not a cyborg or other emotionless being.

  4. Pingback: Firsts, terror and whatnot. « About that Writing thing.

  5. love this post – seems to me it’s written by a strong independent free-thinking woman who’s not afraid to say what she’s thinking/feeling and who’s just tired of all the shit that’s out there – brava!

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