I was just looking at used books and had a little chuckle. I remembered randomly a time when I went to some community something or other, I had wanted to talk to some folks in the Black community about the outreach/sex education work I was doing at the time.
I got someone one on one and started giving my spiel.
I was interrupted and told that they weren’t interested. And as a snide aside, the person walked away and stopped to inform me I’d pronounced diaspora wrong.
This is often what I think of when I try to talk about gate keeping in literature. So often especially right now I see people essentially doing this you’re not as educated as me so wahwah.
Once upon a time I had a real and very serious complex about not being traditionally educated. I studied so I could keep up with academic jargon, I worked very hard on not code switching in front of educated folks.
And then I stopped doing that.
Now the whole reason I’m thinking about this is because of my current relationship with my poetry. I’ve mentioned before that I often use writing poetry the way I use flash fiction. I like to use it to stretch my muscles so to speak, explore certain feelings or themes.
I set myself the task of posting something at Ink Node daily this week. You can see it all here. As I’ve been looking through old work and the rejections of most of it (I don’t get poetry published often) I am feeling vaguely soothed by the poems I like the most.
For the past few years all my poetry is about women. Poisonous women, dangerous women, thoughts, sluts, archetypical Kali type mothers who destroy as they love etc. I know some editors have read them as autobiographical, which bothers me on one hand, but on the other I sort of get it.
There is sex and violence with the women not posited as victims but as the victors.
I’ve had bits and notes for a novella thing around for ages and a lot of the poetry I’ve been writing seems to be notes as poems for that.
I feel like I am working out something about women that I need for further fiction work. What is the thing? I haven’t got a shiny clue.
This feels apt:
This is what is so rarely said about unlikable women in fiction — that they aren’t pretending, that they won’t or can’t pretend to be someone they are not. They have neither the energy for it, nor the desire. They don’t have the willingness of a May Welland to play the part demanded of her. In Gone Girl, Amy talks about the temptation of being the woman a man wants but ultimately she doesn’t give in to that temptation to be “the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain.” Unlikable women refuse to give in to that temptation. They are, instead, themselves. They accept the consequences of their choices and those consequences become stories worth reading.– Roxane Gay
Read the whole linked piece it’s great.
I’m reaching for this woman I am writing and writing for.
I love her.
I want to fuck her, but know it’d ruin my life.
I’d do it anyway.
I hate her.
She’s a bitch.
She’s in there, I’m just looking for her I guess. Listening for her voice.
It’s coming. I can hear her whispering.
Milcah, and I are getting ready to start blogging for Self care Like a boss. I’ll give y’all details when it is time.
I think that’s all for right now. I want to get another dirty story in the shop before Friday.