There’s a lot of hate out there on the internet, so much so that some days I find it hard to find my enthusiasm to write if I muck around in too much of it. It seems like everyone has an opinion on why other people shouldn’t do things. Good things. Bad things. Neutral things, someone doesn’t want you to fucking do it. Every now and then I read something online about m/m publications and writing and what people should and shouldn’t be allowed to write based on their (insert whatever here: sexual orientation, gender, race, political persuasion, religion, pretty much anything). Sometimes there are good points, but frequently it is all outrage porn that irritates me down to my bones.
I’m a writer. I write. I imagine people and their situations. I try to put myself into other people’s shoes with varying degrees of success. I’m not perfect and that is why critique, criticism, and going to others to check over your work is sometimes necessary. I’m not about to let who I am in my (somewhat boring) day to day life dictate the lives, occupations, sexual identities, and gender of IMAGINARY PEOPLE I can create. Imagine a world in which writers only wrote people just like they are. It would be a sad, sad thing, let me tell you. I certainly want to write as inclusively as possible as well, so if I only wrote people like me that would be off the table. NO ONE would be able to write inclusively. (Once again, I’m certain when I do this comes off with varying degrees of success.)
I’m not saying that the voices of minorities should be “stolen”, surely not, but I do think that an author who puts their heart and soul into researching a character, often getting to know people in real life they might have never gotten to know otherwise in the process, is just doing what the age old profession of storytelling is all about. They make shit up. They sift through the dreck of society and decide whether or not what they find there is worth using in the story they’re making up. They look at stereotypes and they look at the unusual, and they decide what might make a good story, what’s bullshit, what’s hurtful, what people are struggling against, be it the mundane or the spiritual.
I tell stories.
Sometimes I tell stories that are very close to reality. Sometime I tell fantasies, but I try to approach things that don’t come directly from my personal experience respectfully.
I, in the true spirit of my hopeless romanticism, like to believe most other writers are trying to do the same thing. I like to think that everyone who writes is trying to get to some fundamental truth about reality and the spirit of humankind, even if it’s just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop or how to make their hero orgasm.
I am tired of being told I can’t write this, that, or the other thing. I can write it. I do write it. I do the best I can, and I try to support other authors who do the best they can, and I try to give my readers the spit shined gold rather than the trash that gets slung on the cutting room floor.
I’m not suggesting we, the writing and reading community, don’t have discussion and discourse about things we notice that are wrong in the world, but entertainers and artists are always walking that line—pointing those social problems out through satire and fictitious scenarios that are frequently meant to educate the public or shock them into action. Do we sometimes write the status quo? Yes, that happens to, and do stereotypes sometimes work their way into novels? Certainly.
Artists are human too.
But, more frequently than most, I think, writers and entertainers are amongst those people putting a lot of thought into why people do what they do, and whether or not that is acceptable and what common reactions a particular action might engender and what maybe might be better. Sometimes writers are just going for realism, and sometimes reality is fucking shitty.
It just depends on the story a writer is trying to tell.
I can write. I will write. And I’m going to let that hate slide down my back and go right down the drain with all the other hate I ignore and fight against by living the best life I can. I will write the best stories I can, and be true to myself.
That’s all I can do.
If I listened to every naysayer out there I would never get another word out onto a page.
So, write. Read. Do all the things. Make love, not war.
Check out my book The Shape of Honey!
Yulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.
Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude—and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.