TW: Bigotry and Prejudice
This gave me some thought. When attempting to address prejudice and bigotry...is creating a clearly non-human race to stand in for a human minority/creating a group of people with clearly dangerous natural powers really such a smart move for authors of sci-fi and fantasy? I don’t think so, simply because by making the alien/fantastical race stand in for a real-world minority, or giving them natural powers (like the mutants from X-Men), the message of “look, we’re all human! So stop with the bigotry!” is kind of...flawed?
I mean, the basic definition of bigotry/prejudice is when you hate members of your own species (in our case, fellow human beings) just because they’re different from you in one way or anothe (i.e., race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) To combat this, a story where humans oppress elves on a regular basis wouldn’t work because well... **the elves are clearly not humans**, which defeats the entire purpose of the message of “We’re all humans/elves/whatever species we call ourselves, so stop with the bigotry!” Sure, be nice to the elves, but I don’t think Legolas considers himself a human. If you asked him if he were a human or an elf, he’d say he was an elf.
Now, if, say, Rivendell had a schism where one group of elves persecuted another over religious differences, that could work. Because, again, it’d be elves persecuting other fellow elves, treating them like they were subpar, inferior. The message of tolerance and compassion for your fellow kin would work.
TL;DR: A story where a fictional race is a stand-in for a real-world minority group is cringy and doesn’t work for two reasons:
• Said fictional race is living alongside *actual humans*
• The message isn’t “Don’t be a shitlord to your fellow man” like the writer intended. Rather it’s “Don’t be a shitlord to this fictional race.” This does nothing to combat any belief of real-world bigots because the problem is that they see OTHER FELLOW HUMANS as inferior.
That was my two cents after reading this article. What are yours?
So after two days of being anxiety-free, my dear old "friend" anxiety paid a visit today as I was writing. "What are you doing?" it asked, "writing that same old story you've been doing for a decade now? And the other stories? Ha! You suck. Give up writing. Period. Never write again. Trust me. Delete everything you've done."
In short, it was the same old voice that tormented me for the past twelve years about my writing. Saying I was a failure for not completing a book/getting it published or...whatever.
But after a year of being on anxiety meds and having that voice gagged and tied up in a cellar away from my thoughts, it occurred to me that writers have an awful stigma attached to the profession. It seems like we've generally got this idea that unless we're writing to get published or write at all, then we're automatically failures of human beings or whatever. Holly Lisle, a renown fantasy writer, once wrote in her blog that if we never wrote, then we'd be 'grounded', that we'd look back years later and remember with regret a time when we "once had wings..."
Can I just say how full of goddamn bullshit that is? Let me tell you all a story.
A family friend of ours, an elderly woman, likes to sculpt. She's done it for years now. She isn't famous, she's never published them out to the world. So by Holly Lisle's logic, this woman is somehow a failure because she isn't fucking Michaelangelo if he were American and had boobs? She's sitting in her chair looking back and regretting never having 'tried' to publish?
I can assure you, she doesn't give a single llama's shit about it. She does it because it gives her pleasure, she does it because it gives her a reason to get out of bed every morning.
So I tell you all... We have permission to write for a hobby if we so choose to do so. First and foremost, writing has to give us pleasure at all. It has to give us a purpose, a reason. I certainly wouldn't want to read a book that sounds like the author had to torture him/herself into writing.
Write when you're ready. Publish when you're ready. If the latter never comes, if you're content with just writing as a hobby, then for God's holy asscrack, do it! As a friend of mine on Facebook said, books never expire. As long as there are humans on this planet Earth who want to read, there is no deadline. There is no pressure to publish.
If you want to write for a hobby, if the idea of entertaining the masses with your work sickens you to the core, then don't publish. Writing should give us some amount of personal pleasure at least.
So if anyone tries to take you down, make you feel bad about yourself because you haven't finished a book within a single year, or publish... don't bother with them.
We're all in this together. We're all writing. Last thing we need to be doing is guilt-tripping our fellow writers. So sit your ass down and get to writing.
Link the Writer out!
So after having some time to calm down from the shock of Donald J. Trump being the next President of the United States, something just occurred to me. Something that I hadn't even considered before.
In some way, both he and Obama proved that America is indeed the land of opportunity. Policies aside, think about it: Before Obama came, all the presidents were old white guys. Before Trump came, they all had years of political experience. Again, policies aside... isn't that a good thing? I grew up believing that in America, you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it. Well, in some way...Obama and Trump both showed that.
You don't have to be an old white guy to be President of the United States; you don't have to have decades of political experience to become President of the United States, or come from the elite class. You just need to have a shitload of money and the belief that you can be the President. If the Trump vs. Kanye 2020 thing is to believed, we'll again see it play out.
Look, my own personal political beliefs is that you do need some political experience before you run for the highest office in America; but I still can't help but wonder if both Obama and Trump were taking that statement and making it a literal reality without even knowing it.
Anyway, that's what's on my mind right now.
Start at 9:08
Steve Donoghue is a book nut who discusses books and writing on his YouTube channel, and in this video, he encourages writers to start their NaNoWriMo with something I found encouraging -- and I hope it'll encourage other writers whether they're doing NaNoWriMo or not.
"Get it done." Set a word goal and just get it done. If it's 2,000 words a day, then write 2,000 words. Don't fret over how good they are, or if the grammar is correct...or anything about it, really. Just get it done. That's the goal: get it done, not right.
Another encouraging quote I found that comes not from him, but from a long-dead Roman Emperor:
“Do what nature demands. Get a move on--if you have it in you--and don't worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don't go expecting Plato's Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.” - Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161-180 AD in his personal journals.
Just get it done, and don't expect yourself to be the next Plato. You don't have to be the next Plato.
DISCLAIMER: I'm extremely protective of my identity online -- so much so that I once tricked another forum into thinking I was from France. Well, I tricked at least one forum-goer, not sure about the rest.
So believe me that when I'm suddenly revealing to you all what city in the US I'm from, you know shit's hit the fan in a nuclear way:
Remember way back in June how I told you a black teen was shot by a police officer in my hometown?
Well, um... yeah the grand jury said the officer responsible hadn't done anything wrong and won't face charges. Of course, the teen's family strongly disagrees and will look elsewhere -- even file a civil right's claim. My worry is, well...
The last couple of times this happened, there were wide-scale riots. I'm worried history will, yet again, repeat itself here, in my hometown. In Mobile. I'm not sure whether this betrays my apparent lack of faith in humanity, but I don't see how history could not repeat itself. It's like there's a step-by-step procedure:
Step #1: Something bad happens.
Step #2: "BURN ALL THE THINGS!!!111"
Step #3: "We must ensure this never happens again."
Step #4: Return to Step #1.
It's like we're more interested in looking for a reason to burn shit down than to actually fix problems.
So that's what I'm afraid of. :/ I'll be keeping an eye on things and posting updates.
Separate names with a comma.