Sunday, November 10, 2013

Post Conference Wakefulness

Well... It's 3:30 AM and I'm awake.  

There are multiple reasons, but one of the main ones is that I'm digesting the Women in Science Fiction conference and pondering things like my writer's voice and the stories we tell and writers' communities.

One take-away from the conference for me is a need to reevaluate essentialist and assimilationist stances with systems of knowing.  If there are "women's (or men's or queer's) ways of knowing" does that play into structures of oppression (sexism, racism, classism) because it requires essential differences?  On the other hand, queer (or women's or racial) pride requires a rejection of assimilation of the mainstream (.e.g. The straight-acting closet).  

Or is the paradigm too binary?  Do we need to think in shades of grey?  How can we think in different, inclusive ways that preserve and celebrate our differences?  Do we need to revisit Harry Hay's suggestion that gay men call themselves a third gender named "ana-andros"? And is there an elegant way to add that to the "Lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer-allies Pride March"?

And how does this relate to story?  That was the other take-away.  Ursula Le Guin and the other writers said more than once, "I'm a writer, I tell stories.  Stories are how I do thought experiments.  If my stories are political, it's because all stories are political."

I'm not sure I want to be a Gay Writer.  That seems like limiting me to telling coming out stories, dealing with AIDS stories, hymns to 1974 New York City, or male-male romance stories.  Oh, I forgot gay vampires.  And I'm sure that I've got an out-of-date notion of what the gay male narrative is (assuming there is one or just one).  Sure, I want to write gay male protagonists, because I want stories where I can see myself in them.... Gah. 

I guess in times like this I need to repeat my mantra, "mystery BEGUILEMENT portents WONDER awe CONNECTION majesty SURPRISE."





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