- Authenticity in Romance; or, The Land of 10,000 Dukes – This discussion about dukes and other tropes that have come to dominate certain sub-genres gives me feelings, but I can’t quite articulate what exactly. Emma Barry has some interesting observations about authenticity and romance to add to the mix.
Yesterday, Kaetrin wrote an essay on Dear Author about the problem of accumulation. She explores how the overrepresentation of certain kinds of people in romance shapes the genre by pushing writers toward certain tropes. There are by a factor of a thousand to one more dukes in romance than there were/are in real life, but if you’re writing, discoverability is a real issue–so do you choose to write the millionth duke romance or do you write a romance set in a Shaker community in antebellum America? Probably the duke.
It’s not an apolitical question. In the land of 10,000 dukes, lots of people are unrepresented or unrepresentable–and that matters in terms of who is being written out of history and for whose story seems to have subjectivity in the present. As Kate Sherwood pointed out in the comments, there’s a magnifying effect because readers and writers learn through their reading. They learn the tropes, thus making certain ideas de rigueur, but I think they also probably learn the worlds too.
- NSFW: Queer and Sexy Resources for Authors of Romance and Erotica – A helpful guide for writers looking for resource material and anyone else looking for masturbatory material outside the cishet mold.
The trick for me is that most sex ed, and most artist representations of sex acts focus on cishet people. Sometimes, especially when it comes to sexual education books or articles, there will be a little nod to the information being applicable to same sex couples but in general the information is delivered with cisgender bodies and heterosexual couples in mind.
In a lot of ways this is a problem for me because the number of cishet people I’ve written about is exactly zero. Sometimes though I can just tweak the information a little bit and let my imagination do the rest. Still it’s nice to have some research to use that at least acknowledges the existence of people like me and the characters I write about.
Here is a, in no way comprehensive, list of some of the resources I use that don’t assume that the people having sex with nessisarily be cishet.
- Books on wheels: On the road with the librarians who deliver – This Australian program sounds absolutely wonderful for the quality of life for elderly and disabled residents. I wonder if there are any US programs like this.
Almost all of the public libraries in NSW have a Home Library Service, and many of them have been around for as long as Stanton’s (30 years and counting). Its 110 current members pay no fees, and the library doesn’t issue fines for overdue material, as it is understood that members might be hospitalised unexpectedly and unable to return books on time. The Stanton librarians do three delivery runs a week, spending up to half an hour with each member. They also manage the volunteers who visit members to have longer chats about books and help with bits of life admin, such as feeding a dog or figuring out how to send an email.
Cathy tells me she is often the only person a member sees in a day, or – worse – in a week.
- 39 Pieces Of Advice For Journalists And Writers Of Color – Does what it says on the tin.
For people of color, the writing industry can seem an especially challenging space, particularly for those just starting out. We spoke with 20 established writers of color – cultural writers, investigative reporters, broadcast journalists, and freelancers – and asked them three questions about the advice that they’d give beginning writers:
• What piece of advice would you, as a writer of color, give to burgeoning writers/journalists of color?
• What do you know now about being a writer of color that you wish you’d known when you first started?
• Is there anything you did as a writer starting out that you now regret?
- Burn it All Down: Wiscon’s Failure of Feminism – Kameron Hurley has some WORDS for the decision makers behind the feminist SFF con Wiscon and their awful mishandling of harassment complaints.
That’s why the jaw-dropping “decision” of the concom (or, at least, those with “decider” power within the concom) to continue to allow a serial harasser who’s been a problem in the field for over 20 years – who, last year, resigned due to public outcry over said behavior – to attend the convention, with only a short ban of a few years, is so bizarre and horrifying. No, he’s not permanently banned. In fact, right up until Wiscon rolled out this year, he was still on the preliminary programming. One wonders what someone would have had to do, then, to get permanently banned from Wiscon – harass people for thirty years? Why this oversight? Was no one paying attention? And then once people were paying attention, how the fuck could you ban someone for just a couple years who’s been a serial harasser making women feel unsafe and reducing them to hunks of meat for twenty years, pending “good behavior”?
Good fucking behavior? What the fuck is a concom, a fucking parole board? And how the fuck does he demonstrate “good behavior” – by coming into con spaces and *not* leering at women who are already moving to different rooms to avoid him?
How in the fucking world did a feminist convention come to value the hurt feelings of a serial harasser over the safety of its membership?
- What is it like to be blind in Gaza and Israel? – I’m really enjoying this BBC blog (as you may have noticed.) Thinking about what challenges disabled Palestinians in Gaza face on top of the enormous challenges non-disabled Gazans face is utterly frightening.
“The sounds that come are different”, says Dalal Al-Taji, a blind Palestinian woman from the Gaza strip. She lived through three previous wars, one in Lebanon and two in Gaza, prior to the current troubles and has become used to the noises of war. “I know when the bombings are coming from the sea,” she says, “And I know when bombings are coming from planes because it’s closer, high above your head.
“Another thing we have are drones. We call them zannana in Arabic because they go zin, zin, zin. I can hear them all the time.”
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.