Friday, July 02, 2010
Writing what you don't know?
Today someone left a comment on Alana Noel Voth's interview.
'Women should not be writing gay and bisexual men's erotic fiction.'
It was, unfortunately, anonymous, so I'm responding into the ether. That's a shame, as I think it would be nice to be able to discuss this - well, if not face-to-face, then at least with some feeling of reciprocation. Anyway. I'd be really happy if you would come back and elaborate on your point, anon - or if anyone else would like to chime in on this.
Personally, I don't write much if any 'gay and bisexual men's erotic fiction.' Per se. I've written stories that include gay and bisexual men, perhaps some in an erotic context - I can't honestly remember right now because I've written a lot of characters.
You may think that means I'm not involved in this question, or that my opinion is irrelevant.
But for one, this is mah blog. And also I'd say that the very most wonderful thing about fiction is that everyone is involved, or at least can be.
Can fiction actually ever belong to anyone? Is it really possible to restrict not only the authorship but also the readership of certain writing?
'Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.'
- Ian McEwan, in an interview
I thought a lot about this and then I remembered that - before they committed a bizarre act of publishing hara kiri, Black Lace (my publishers) were of course an imprint 'by women and for women' - so, they restricted - attempted to restrict - authorship as well as readership. Although everybody knew that men read BL books but nobody said.
I also remember our long and tumultuous arguments on Lustbites about this very issue. The necessity for a restricted authorship policy.
The thing is, there is a slight difference between having some calls/imprints/publishers with restricted authorship* requirements, and deciding that no woman/man/centaur should ever even dare to try and write womens'/mens'/centaurs' fiction. I can fully appreciate that some groups wish to keep an enclave of their own - a private space, in some sense. Although that's a bit spurious because publishing is by nature kind of flinging open the doors to your psyche and inviting the world in.
Anon, I want to know - what is it you wish for? You can't restrict what someone else finds arousing, surely that must be most humdingerly and gloriously evident?
Oh hell can't we all just get along in a lovely filthy muddle without our cocks [or lack thereof] getting in the way?
*is authorship a word? Forgive me, I've not had much sleep.