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

Advertisements

Halloween Stories in October

Every year (except for last year) I try to write a Halloween-themed short story. I write it for two reasons. One: I get really excited that/this time of year, and two: I’m really bad at short stories. I have six or seven written, all terrible. Conflict/resolution sucks. They’re always too long because of what I try to include as backstory.

But I love the season, and I love to spend a month writing something terrible, even if nobody else ever sees it.

I started wondering if anyone else did something similar for Halloween, or if someone wanted to do it this year. It’d be fun to read and share.

I also have no idea what I’ll be writing this year, but I have a feeling it’ll involve four characters dressed as other characters getting candy door-to-door. And they’re way too old to be out.