I didn't realize it until today but fiction_theory
(which is the LJ mirror to megwrites
) was created in 2003. 2003
. It's now 2013.
It's been a weird and wild ten years in that time. I'm dizzy looking back on it, because there's a part of me that can mentally teleport right back to 2003 like I never left. Maybe that's because I'm about to turn the big 3-0, or just because time is a funny old dog. I don't know. I just know it throws my brain for a loop.
I'm also going through a kind of thoughtful, retrospective phase right now. I've been going through my trunk (ie - collection of stories/ideas that never saw daylight) and comparing how my writing has grown, how I've grown, how the world has grown or at least changed. This includes looking back at old posts and book reviews as well.
Which lead me to the following thoughts:
1) God, but the privilege bubble pops slowly. Even when I, as an oblivious privileged person, did catch on to social justice, coming out of my privileged attitudes took a long time and I'm still not divested of privilege or the psychological training that comes with it. Worse yet, back then I felt some arrogant assurance that I'd officially "gotten it". But looking back, it's clear I was still at the 101 level at best. Now? I find it arrogant to say I'm beyond even the 100 level of anti-kyriarchy. Even now, I'm still way behind those who have had to survive by navigating the kyriarchy, and even that's a privilege in and of itself. So for me, it's now about looking at whether my words and actions will be helpful or hurtful to the oppressed. I no longer call myself ally. The oppressed alone reserve the right to extend or retract that title. For now, I just want to learn and listen as much as I can and do the best I can and always try to keep the most oppressed in the most central and important positions in my mind when I act and talk. I may not always succeed, but that's the goal.
2) I was way too worried about coddling friends and other people back then who didn't deserve to be treated so carefully. Especially since they never returned that treatment to me or to other people who clearly testified about lived experiences in oppression. I wish I'd been able to say "you are full of bullshit and privileged whining, get the fuck out". I wish I'd valued the oppressed over the privileged feelings of these pseudo-friends.
2b) True friends don't barge into posts concerning things you feel very strongly about and play "devil's advocate". They either do you the courtesy of out and out disagreeing or they shut the fuck up. But they don't pose obviously rigged questions to try to talk you down from your firm assertion that human beings who have been oppressed deserve to be listen to, respected, cared for, and centered.
2c) Anyone who plays "devil's advocate" is not worth having as a friend. They're using that term wrongly anyway.
2d) Getting such people out of my life has been one of the biggest favors I ever did myself. Because I haven't missed them one little bit.
3) Publication as a goal held me back from a lot of things. There were many stories I wanted to tell - queer stories, fat people stories, stories about women of all types, stories that said "hey, let's imagine a world where gender isn't a binary but something as varied and numerous as the stars". Now that I don't have to worry about being "marketable" to privileged people, I can let myself go where I want.
4) The best decision I ever made as a reader/writer/person? Was to consciously and deliberately seek out writers who had marginalized identities while setting aside and not continuing to immerse myself in books written by the privileged. It may sound like I was trying to gain some kind of SJ cookies or something, but honestly? Once I got my hands on the books that fit that criteria it was just plain fun and good reading. Right now, I'm thinking of Midnight Robber
by Nalo Hopkinson. That's the ONLY book I've ever read in one sitting and people know how slow a reader I am. It's been documented. And if I hadn't made the decision to put privileged writers to the side and seek out others? I'd have missed a world of wonder and books that are just good damn literature in any genre.
5) I was damn hard on some female characters for reasons that were not at all fair. And while I had a valid point when talking about the way the bodies and sexualities of paranormal romance heroines were portrayed, I had no business throwing whorephobic comments like "she dresses like a hooker" at anyone. Because shaming sex workers or using them as an insult is just NOT ON. Ever. I take those comments back if I could.
6) It's weird to see "hey, look at the new layout" posts from five layouts back.
7) I believed there could be a perfect vampire book because I believed that a "perfect" anything existed. Now? I just want a really entertaining and not steeped in misogyny, whiteness, cisness and straightness and rape culture book, please. Is that too much to ask?
8) Those updates on writing with the various write-ins? Not as interesting to other people as they are to the writer.
9) I wish I'd been braver and smarter when the Tower!Guy novel made the rounds of agents and publishers. I wish I'd known better than to trust certain people. Alas, live and learn.
10) A lot of the people I admired and modeled myself after have let me down, shown themselves to be the anti-models. But to my great hope and surprise, many of the people I pegged as being Most Supremely Awesome have continued to earn that title. They're not perfect by any means, but they continue to be awesome. I think I should send them little messages or something to let them know that they rock.
So, yes. A decade has passed. A lot of things have happened. I am not in the same place, the same state, the same weight, the same age, the same point in history as I was. I have time traveled, as we all do, and then realized how fast it all goes by when I turned my head around and saw the previous mile marker far, far back in the distance.
Tell me, f-list. What's your decade been like? From 2003 to now, what's gone on with you? What's changed, what's stayed the same? What's surprised you? And what would you tell yourself if you could take a trip back ten years and send a message?
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