Some thoughts on Genre Fiction, the reader who also writes edition.

Okay for my purposes and thought processes, when I say genre fiction I’m including Horror, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, SF, Spec fit etc.

I started reading the last in the Borderland series of anthologies this week. The whole reason I wanted to read it was because I heard Nalo Hopkinson’s piece in it via Podcastle and wanted more of that world.

I also did some research and whatnot and I’m having a problem with this book already.

I learned a bit more about the background of this world and everything and was really looking forward to it.

Going from the impression I got in Nalo Hopkinson’s story, I thought there would be more POC. Four stories in, there aren’t really.

I realize this is supposed to be YA but I had to stop at one point while a White character was giving a character from India the ever charming “but where are you really from” type speech.

I’ve also been sighing with the number of white coded halfies/elves with dreads.

And just like every other fantasy related thing save for the story I already know, everything is White coded for the most part.

I’m sad.

I’m not saying any of the stories are bad. They aren’t really. I also (four stories deep) see that within this framework of interconnected stories and locations, I have yet to see any of the other stories characters interact in a meaningful way with the characters from Nalo Hopkinson’s characters and that feels low key gross to me.

Again my ability to enjoy a fantastical world is pretty broken up because I do feel like there isn’t anything ground breaking about White Elves, with Blonde Hair who are super slim and beautiful and wait REMEMBER THEY ARE WHITE.

Now I have been expanding my reading a bit and doing some study on “Urban” Fantasy.

I’ve been comparing some of the feedback about my own urban fantasy with what I know about the genre.

Several people have said that one of my stories ‘relies too much on horror’ (though it deals wit mythos, Gods, and yes some violence) yet, when I read about the history of the genre and read about the conventions used in the literature, I see a lot of vampires and distinctly horror conventions being included.

Further, I don’t do romance. So there is that.

I thought that writing Urban Fantasy means for me that I can explore the way culterally divergent mythos can blend, how I can use mythos and conventions in a way that is not so firmly rooted in the European/Norse/etc canon.

When I hear the same type of feedback from various sources, I tend to work on whatever it is by researching, reading, rewriting etc.

What I’m finding as I’m doing that with my genre fiction is a pretty strong message that a lot of genre fiction can stand stepping outside of the conventions including those Euro/White roots only so far.

Even when I have conversations about what I’m writing about with a few folks, I have felt the discomfort surrounding my ideas and execution of those ideas.

Also a bit of pushback because this is genre for grown folks. Strippers, street life, in cities, unitalicized Spanish (watch the linked video it is great), etc etc.

I have been spending some time asking for recommendations to read here and there.

Out of four spots with different readers/authors I’ve asked for SF/F/Horror/Spec fic recs for books, magazines and writers.

Every list of recommendations I’ve gotten is the same.

The list of recommended authors is the same give or take one or two. They are all authors, magazines, books I like and some I love.

But is that really all?

My parameters are as follows:

  • POC friendly
  • Not necessarily romance focused
  • Queer focused/friendly.

That is pretty much it.

Given that what I’ve been writing does not really fit into what I’ve been reading in the genre world, as time goes on I am pretty sure I will put some stuff out myself because granted there are a few literary oriented magazines I know of who like the slipstream and genre flavored but most of the literary world shits itself if something is too genre.

I don’t know.

The other side of this problem is that as a reader, I’m just so disappointed so often. If  I’m rolling my eyes because all the Whitey White White WHITE creatures have dreads or give a nod to brown people, or every time there is the Most Magical of Negroes, or whatever it is that just reinforces the idea of the box that genre likes to sit in like an angry cat, I’m just not really reading as much as I want to.

Shit is hard.

I’m disappointed and tired.

That said I am going to keep working on my genre shit. Playing with Gods who step outside their Pantheons (somehow totally okay when Gaiman does it right?), Elven mythos that is not tall white and skinny.

Black fairies.

Shapeshifters trying to live in the modern world.

Yanno.

That shit I like.

Okay that’s all. I’m tired and want to write more.

 

 

Dear Former Fan.

I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally get long missives about my work and awfulness.

Over the weekend I got one that is very long and from a lot of the “critique” this person is at least superficially aware of my work and they are now as they put it, a former fan.

Put your goggles on I’m going in. I’m not quoting the whole thing because it was hurtful and I rage deleted it but some key phrases have stuck with me.

Consider this an open letter to Former Fan and anyone else who believes that if I’d just be a good Negress I’d succeed.

Dear Former Fan,

First of all, I appreciate you having some knowledge of the body of my work. If as you said you’ve been a supporter since my first ventures in getting published online, most of those being erotica thanks. I do appreciate the ride or die type.

However.

Your objection to the changing of my voice and the tone of my work is fucking bullshit.

Given that you went to some lengths to conceal your identity and used a fake no longer functional email address. I’m going to assume you are sitting back reading my blogs through an anonymizer and that’s fine. So listen because I’m talking to you.

How dare you put your racist feelings on me. How. Dare. You.

You took the time to quote me some passages of my own work as examples of how “brain washed, ” I’ve become in terms of how I talk about race, racism etc. You quoted this piece as the penultimate example of just how far I’ve fallen into what I can only assume is a type of Blackness and Black expression that makes you uncomfortable.

One of the things that I have learned about the nonfiction I write is that when people are the most uncomfortable or buck the hardest are probably the people I’m talking about. You are the people I am talking about.

If the only way you can find value in my work is if I am expressing a type of racialized pain, or erotica that is just queer or non white related enough to seem exotic to you-you are a fucking racist.

Let me explain you a thing.

As I have mentioned in this very blog previously if you cannot look beyond your own Whiteness (and don’t front like you didn’t lead with “I”m White and I think”) to understand that Whiteness is just not ever going to fit me or my expression and that is okay it is natural and real; I am not for you.

If you “agree with other commenters on XOJane” that my writing is terrible and harmful, it is not for you.

If I am not the kind of fat bitch you fucks with, don’t fuck with me.

Don’t contact me again.

If you are really serious about making sure that folks know that my work is “against White People” as you put it, go ahead and leave me the fuck out of it.

If your goal is to somehow shame or hurt me into silence. Nice try. You tried but that is just not going to work.

Let me confess something here. I have a terrible need to accept people at face value for what they have said. Including when people don’t like my writing. In the case of some of the commentary on my XOJane series I have taken the time to talk out some of the points that folks have had because I couldn’t see it and find a lot of the constant cherry picking and nit picking disheartening and hurtful.

I had a few very important realizations after talking to others about it. In spite of how invested in being of service especially in terms of that particular subject matter, I can feel about the useless commentary the way I feel about it in my real life.

I don’t have to explain things that are pretty clear to a lot of other people.

I don’t have to sit and be hurt because I feel like regardless of what I do or don’t say, the same three points are going to be made over and over again.

Also as this article says about trolling:

“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun and the Internet is their playground!”

This applies to you Former Fan.

You seem to be deeply concerned for my well being but only if I behave and write in ways that make you feel good about how racist and shitty your behavior is.

Wrong. Negro.

As I have gotten older, I am exploring being more vulnerable in my writing. It’s fucking hard. It hurts. And knowing that there are “fans” who wait for me to be vulnerable and then use that vulnerability to attack is fucking awful.

You are fucking awful.

So 800 some odd words later it boils down to this.

I will say again.

Don’t buy my shit.

Don’t read my shit.

Don’t fucking contact me again.

Don’t contact my friends/peers.

Don’t come here proffering your hurt fucking feelings couched in, I was just trying to help.

Understand that I do not ever want to be in a position where my “success” is defined by my proximity to and acceptance of Whiteness as rightness.

Not. Fucking. Ever.

If you want to hold that against me, tell potential publishers on me or follow me around so you can have proof of my malfeasance come the fuck on.

I’m fucking tired of you and your ilk.

Find a new hobby or just don’t talk to me about your shit cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

And no, lastly I will not cease code switching in both my speech and writing.

You have fucking google.

Okay that’s all.

There is your response Former Fan. I hope it hurt your fucking feelings.

 

On Feels, decisions and shit I find questionable.

I have a little stash of micro/flash fiction sitting around and as I am thinking about submitting it I keep running into things.

For one, when I write flash fiction apparently something I like to do is to play with conflict that is outside of the Western literary idea of what plot is.  I didn’t even really realize it until I read this.

The problem is that 90% of the rejections I have gotten for these stories (especially the ones that are completely outside of Whiteness in an explicit way) is that they are not understood, that the readers don’t “feel” anything, that some of my references to Black culture both past and present are not understood. Etc.

The other problem is that as far as magazines for POC go, I feel out of place because a lot of my writing is dark as fuck and a lot of those magazines strive for uplift. I understand that philosophically but, personally I feel like the odd kid out.

As I get older I keep finding myself in this position with the shit I like to write. Too much that is too sexually explicit or says fuck too much for the literary minded, but that is not quite erotica.

Drugs, whores, badly behaved queers, POC narratives that are not pain porn but are also not racially uplifting, hood life that is not the scare all the white people or eventual escape from the hood stories.

I dunno.

I have a cache of things that are just not really what I see in the market. And even though sometimes editors really like them, they just don’t fit anywhere.

That being what it is I’m still really hesitant about writing a novella, or putting together a proper chapbook, or really digging into the horror stories I have been working on.

Granted I could self publish everything but honestly I just don’t have the energy to really devote to that level of I don’t give a fuck.

On one hand I feel like when I was told to write the stories I want to read I took that and am running with it. I am marathoning the fuck out of that.

On the other hand, while I’m running with it I’m seeing fewer and fewer promising leads on being published. I like being published. I like people other than the people I know seeing my work.

I don’t know how to feel or what to do with myself and my shit.

What really trips me out is that my non fiction, not essays but article type things are finding homes and shit. People like them and I like that. I like helping people and it feels really good but that isn’t all I want to do.

Is this some kind of writer leveling up shit?

I don’t know or understand how to navigate my own feelings about it. I keep alternating between sad and rage.

Okay here is what I know:

  • I am not going to purposefully censor myself or what I’m writing.
  • I am working on not tying my sense of identity as a writer to the publishing industry at large.
  • I am not one story. I am multitudes. (See here for reference).
  • I may not know what the fuck I am doing but I am doing it.

Okay I feel a little better and I have a fuckload of writing to do.

/end bleating.

Random Writing Angst.

I’m full of angst today.

Writing angst.

I have been jotting down little bits of fiction. I am worried that the time I took to finish V2.0 did something averse to my fiction. This particular angst fueled by the fact that nobody likes my flash fiction but me.

Add in a lot of good rejections, the ones that say good writing/powerful writing but not for us.

I’m having not good enough feels.

These angsts are also fucking with my sleepy ambition to finish my novella. I have many notes and about 2000 words of it written. And then I stop. I think about what if I lose what little momentum/being known I have, will I have to start the fuck over?

I’ve been reading some really great chapbooks and novellas.

Who the fuck would buy mine?

As new writing opportunities come in,I get scared that the editors who believe in me will be disappointed.

I’m feeling stuck in a little fear bubble.

What if the last two years were as good as I get?

But really the thing that freezes my fingers is the idea that I won’t be able to live up to my own expectations of my work.

I work so hard I don’t want to disappoint myself.

My ambitions have moved from being publication based to craft based. I want to make my ideas live and sometimes I am very disappointed that I can’t do it the way I want it.

I hope my feels are hormonal and I will stop being so angsty.

I keep hearing Lil Jon yelling in my head,

YOU SCARED

YOU SCARED

YOU SCARED MOTHA FUCKA YOU SCARED

From one of my favorite Ice Cube Songs Go To Church.

Maybe I’m feeling a bit too tender to get gangster with myself as I usually do.

Maybe I should calm my shit down for a minute. Write some writer business emails and then hide in a bubble of background noise and just fucking write.

Write like a mother fucker.

Write the stories.

Stop feeling some type of way self. Make a pot of tea, eat your sushi and fucking write.

Take a deep breath.

Okay.

Also before I forget my new piece is up at Luna Luna. The second part of my series addressing White Ladies.

 

A Meditation on Why my Work is “Exclusionary”

So last night some dude went through a lot of this wee blog and then a lot of my work.

Brought in by searching a porny term.

So Dudebro was upset by my work and after a long time (also a note, I use stat counters and I know how to examine my logs) he sent me a lengthy hand spank of a note to explain to me that my work is Exclusionary.

Ahem.

And because said Dudebro was not Dude enough to use a valid email address here is my response.

After reading a bunch of my posts here and referencing things I have said about Whiteness and Dude Whiteness he said:

 

You will never be successful if you continue to exclude people like me based on race. You are note practicing what you preach and should examine your motives.

Short answer is fuck you, fuck your mother, fuck your dog and fuck your cow.

Long answer.

Given that Dudebro demonstrated a superficial understanding of social justice flavored terminology let me break it down for you real simple like.

Everything in the fucking world is geared for you hetero White Dudebro.

Literary canon, SF/F, TV, Advertising everything.

In case you missed it either on my Author page or any number of things you read, I am not a White person.

That being what it is, I have made a serious conscious decision not to write to cater to you.

You can kiss the entirety of my fat Black ass with your condescension and racist sexist shit. Take your “discomfort” and jam it far enough up your ass to tickle your prostate. If my “success” (I can only read that as meaning having Dudebros like yourself buying my work) depends on you, I’ll take epic spectacular flaming failure.

You do not own everything. I realize that the state of affairs in the world might lead you to think otherwise. I understand that everything up until you found my little corner of the internet whilst looking for some porn with tiny asses, reinforces the notion that you are entitled to have everything cater to you.

My bit of work is not for you.

If you can’t enjoy something that is not made specifically for someone like you or outside of your own experience I am not for you.

There are forty seven billion other people you could read.

There are millions of other people you could spend hours running down and bothering.

Get the fuck out of my yard with that bullshit.

So everybody else.

This is why it can be hard to get a hold of me on the internet. I am fairly certain that because I am not internet or otherwise famous, and am clearly just one indie author toiling away in relative obscurity I make a good target.

I am in as far as publishing goes a bit of a vulnerable position.

I appear to be in the place where if I wanted to really be accepted by Whiteness and Dudebros like this, I would really need to watch what I say and take in this type of “criticism”.

I’m not.

I don’t give a hot fuck.

I am 37 goddamn years old.

I have dealt with a lot of shit.

I have no real fear from random assholes who are so brave to battle the evil SJW who has the audacity to tell Whiteness and men no. I did not freak out when the dude a few weeks ago threatened to dox me and “ruin my writing career”. I did not freak out and backtrack because this Dudebro felt hurt that my work does not reflect his idea of what the world is.

So can we make it official.

I don’t give a fuck if anybody really believes that the way I survive in the literary world means I am not trying to impress every Dudebro that searches for fap material on the internet.

I don’t give a fuck if every Dudebro ever is hurt because my worlds, my work, does not reflect their world.

I do not give a fuck if after said fapping, the Dudebro feels weird because the story was kinda gay.

I do not give a fuck if this means that the publishing world decides it doesn’t want me.

Seriously.

I keep saying it.

So officially.

Dox me, show up at my fucking house and I will call you an ambulance.

Call my employer and tell them what a big ole nasty freak I am and I’m sure our lawyers will have a talk with your local PD about harassment.

Do not come for me because I don’t write for you. If you don’t like it, shut this shit down and move the fuck on.

Do not come for me because it gives you a woody to tell off the SJW.

Do not come for me because you have a weird kinda gay boner.

Do not come for me asking for free fap material. This epussy is too expensive for you.

Leave me alone.

It’s not that hard.

Further communication from this Dudebro or any others who don’t like all my Blackness, Queerness or not here for your shitness will be ignored and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.