Cultural Appropriation: When the Chicken Doesn’t Hatch from the Egg

I recently wrote a short story for a creative writing class that had a heavy emphasis on feminism, equality, and the removal of appropriative stereotypes (not the story; the class). Throughout this class, I’ve felt more and more dour about my place in it: every day we meet, I am told how I have flouted my power to oppress and dehumanize everyone not me. I am aware of this. I work hard to remove the bias in my life. I work hard to use my privilege for good, if possible. I watch preference given to others who have had to work twice as hard as me to get where they are, and I respect the preference. I don’t know how to write about what I want to write anymore because of all the boundaries and expectations. This gives me a whole new twist on “write what you know.”

But this short story has me confused and bewildered. A long while back, I wrote a story about the most fierce and independent women I had ever met: my ex wife. She was a warrior, a fighter, broken and not, flawed and abusive and everything complex about a person you could possibly want. And exotic. And powerful. Given this class is about the empowering of women, and minorities, and those traditionally without voice, and she’s as untraditional a person I had ever met, I revived it, revised it, reviewed it, revised it again, and handed it in.

If I had problems with the insane amount of, “you can’t write effectively about this because you’re white,” and, “you can’t write about this because you’re male,” restrictions–and then being told I must write it in a social justice vein, where I’m expected to write about an issue I have no business writing about–surely I found a way around it by telling a fairy tale story based strongly on a real life, honest-to-god person.

Not so much. Continue reading

I Tiptoe Around (Some) Empowered Women in Literature and TV

This semester, I’ve been studying American Indian Survivance Discourse. I’ve been studying code-switching and the importance of diversity in voice through minority writing. I’ve been studying transgender literature. Fairy tale literature. LGBQ literature. It’s beautiful.

Most recently, I’ve been studying the poet Adrienne Rich. While all the subjects I put in my head this semester has had an impact on me, to varying degrees, Rich never ceases to explode my thought. Boom. And the kicker is, I studied her seven years ago with similar effect. Her insights are mind-curling, deep and twisting and nearly self-aware. And she made sense, on Thursday, in a way that fit something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

She said that for her to be a truly independent woman writer, she had to stop using men’s sensibilities and styles while writing.

Continue reading

Sex (and my) Fantasy (novel)

Intimate relationships catalyze stories in ways other actions do not. I believe that if I could write all the emotions that go into a really satisfying poop, I’d approach a similar feeling. But then, unless the character involved was a part of a really intimate relationship, this character would be alone after the poop as well.

Person-to-person connection is a fundamental part of life. The past few novels I have worked on has seen little of the sexual side. A novel I essentially finished in 2009 has the few sexy scenes of a budding relationship. It’s great. I got hot writing it. I get hot reading it.

I want more of it. Continue reading

My Nine Year Novel, and Why It Isn’t Published

IMG_4067

Warmest winter day ever.

Spring break is almost over! Yaaay (boo)! I still don’t have all my homework done. Exactly what I expected to happen this break, despite spending over 15 hours on courses already.

Between paper research that may or may not include multiple watchings of Idiocracy and This Film is Not Yet Rated, I’ve also been tackling professional representation/improvement on my writing work. My journey with this, the greatest failure and success of a novel, is a long and sordid one: one I wish to talk about for others in a similar field.

Continue reading

Prompt: Request

Good afternoon, WordPress friends!

For anyone interested in assisting me: if the world ended, and you had a way of cataloguing important people who died, and where, who would you include? I’m gathering a list to add to my novel Corpus Paradisum.

This is an homage to Ezra Pound’s Cantos, and how he catalogued all the artistic potential lost in World War I. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Chris

Structure in the Age of So Much Literature

20cc50e903a2ffd1a0ec25951f5d5bc4

(I imagine Yes is the only living thing ~ EE Cummings)

I recently read a Twitter post from a pro-tip wielding writer (by the name of Delilah S. Dawson), and did a little bit of research on what she referred to (that bit o’ info is a blog I’m subscribed to, filled with extremely helpful information. I recommend you subscribe to him as well. WARNING: offensive language used on that site) concerning “Story Structure.” That link is far more succinct than anything I could say  about it, so I won’t say a whole lot more about it beyond anecdotal evidence.

Continue reading

Writing Your Novel Like Sampling Wine

pexels-photo-113053

Brick red wine, on the maturing side. If my novel could last in the top 10 as long as this wine did in the bottle, I’d be a happy man. Or, it may be oxidized, which means “ruined” in somme-talk.

This might be a short post.

I like wine. I’m terrible at finding the expensive or the cheap, but I’ve practiced enough that I can figure out what I like, what I don’t, and why. I had a rudimentary lesson in wine tasting a while back, and I found some parallels to writing a book.

Average Joe wine drinker takes a sip of something and says he either likes it or doesn’t, with an emphasis on perhaps drinkability or smoothness. Developed Joe wine drinker takes his time when selecting a wine, first by observing, smelling, then drinking, collecting data as he goes. Any number of things go into this process, depending on your interest or focus.

The Ideal Book Selector does the same.

This is the same for reading a novel. As a writer, I must decide whether I want to focus on a smooth, drinkable book or a many-faceted, developed book. I can have both. There are many ways for me to do this, but, I prefer to write like I’m making wine (kind of). Come join me in the discussion! Continue reading