I’m referencing the seminal works by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward here. If you can get your hands on any of their works regarding The Other, do it.
Today specifically I’m thinking about the Other not in the context of writing the Other from inside that Otherness.
The Concept of writing the Other is all about writing about the people you are not and doing so with respect and avoiding caricatures.
In other words if there are say Black men in your story and you are not a Black Man please don’t call him G Daddy Buck Nasty because you don’t think a Black dude could be named Jeff.
Right now I’m doing some final edits on two stories. One story is very heavily deeply rooted in being a Femme of Color which I am. It is no doubt a Queer Fucking Story.
I’ve been hemming and hawwing about where to send it. Do I want to further my relationship with Pank and get rejected again? Fwriction? Do I try somewhere new?
The other thing that bugs me is that very few magazines specifically say they welcome Queer fiction. It’s a thorny feeling because I have a big laundry list of zines I read and most of them rarely if ever have distinctly Queer Stories.
When I say Queer Stories I’m not talking about stories where there is a character who might be gay but the story isn’t involved in the gayness. I’m talking about fiction that is soaked and saturated in Queerness.
Those stories are few and far between. Let’s not even try to talk about Queer stories focused on people of color.
Outside of the few magazines I can think of that are specifically for queer POC, um..yeah.
It’s all fun and games to talk about being the trail blazer but it is really fucking hard. It’s hard because at least for me when there is no representation I get nervous. This is what happens for me with stories like this:
- Read bunch of archives at website.
- Chew inside of cheek
- OH LOOK Brown author.
- Okay…okay straight straight straight stories…
- Check submission guidelines.
- Reread stories.
- No should probably not send this one.
- Reformat different story.
- Recheck guidelines.
- Check formatting.
- Read more archives.
- Submit other less Gay/POC centric story.
- Get rejected.
Another issue I have is that I’m trying really hard to expand my horizons and stop being so obsessed with the same six or so zines. I’m also still not super sure about my timing when it comes to really positive rejections.
I feel like I’m at a weird place.
I’m writing what feels good and real.
As I told my best friend who is my ass kicking writing drill sargeant, I still feel weird that anyone has read my shit much less really liked it. It feels weird that authors I love and whom I didn’t know personally before hand know of my work.
This particular flavor of writer angst is a new one and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.
Take that to mean that I am this minute working it out with myself and about to the point where I say fuck it and send the shit.
I may be navel gazing and circle jerking with myself about these things but the bottom line is I know my mission. I know what I’m trying to do and I just have to get this shit out of my head so I can get it done.
So that’s all.
Now go forth and read Mensah’s piece at Thought Catalog. I actually don’t read TC anymore, it’s one of those places on the internets that just failed too many times for me to enjoy it. However- read Mensah’s piece there then read the comments. It’s all pretty fucking beautiful. The butthurt colorblind commenters make his point in an exquisite fashion.
And now I get back to work. I’m going to submit this very specific very queer very women of color centered story.
Then I’m going to finish up editing the other story I started last week.
I’m going to write like a mother fucker.
Speaking of that, I don’t know if I shared but I’m also saving up proceeds from book sales and whatnot to get myself a chest piece fairly gangster write like a mother fucker tattoo. Now that’s really all I have work to do.