I am so excited.
The little story that could, Calling Oshun is up at Expanded horizons now. Read it here.
I am extraordinarily pleased and excited about this particular publication for several reasons.
I wrote Calling Oshun a few years ago and workshopped it in a fairly casual manner.
The only real criticisms of the story weren’t really of the story or the structure, it was the use of an “esoteric” (read not White) deity.
Several writers and editors have at one point or another recommended I change it to a more known (Green or Roman) goddess to make the story “accessible”.
That was one of the first instances where I was told that in order to get a story published I would have to basically Whitewash it.
I was so frustrated and upset and hurt.
So I put the story away for a while.
I did do a version with a Greek Goddess and the story was ruined. I went back to the original and submitted it about 8 times before it got accepted. Some editors who sent personal rejections thought it was beautiful but not something their readers would “get”.
That is what I’m talking about when I talk about some of the frustrations of being a writer of color who writes about people of color.
This story was one of the first times I was angry enough to work to get it published without the Whitewashing and I must say I am very proud of myself. The editors over there got my point exactly and I was honestly almost in tears when I talked about it with one of the editors.
It is the first time I have felt that kind of deep gratification of my first instincts. Being welcomed by other people of color and having that feeling of acceptance and understanding that is so rare in the literary world.
Once upon a time someone I really admire gave me the best writing advice I have ever gotten. He told me that my strength and success would be in writing the stories only I can tell in ways that only I can tell them.
So here is a tidbit.
“He is beautiful as fine polished ebony, his eyes closed his wide mouth stretched and magnificent, his voice transcends all. In his voice is the rumble of thunder from my long ago homeland:”
Head here to read the whole thing.
In other news I updated my website a bit. I still have to pull some out of print links off of it. I’ll probably reprint those stories here for free. I’ll be back next week to talk about some of the really good shit I’ve been reading lately, my erotic chapbook project and some other stuff.