Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Writing About Humans


I'm feeling feel really blessed to have written some of my stories, and in this case, "Changeling."
And i feel really blessed about the story "Cry for hire" in Warren Lapine's anthology, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.

I think a lot of people who are white who expect black folks to write about certain things will look at Changeling and see, "wow, there is art here!" 

I'm a lit major so i read great works and I aim to write great works
but there are folks black and white who have beliefs about what writers should write about
social issues or race or feminism, or politics, or religion or whatever. In stories like those, stories written with a purpose to preach about an idea or change the mind of the reader or support some particular tenet, one ends up with cliches and tropes and really nothing is new in those stories because we have seen these issues (and often those stories) before.

I'm not saying writing religious stories are bad or that writing about race is bad or writing about the oppression of women is bad. I'm saying writing cliched characters is bad. And writing about politics creates old stories that make readers eyes glaze over because those writings (in the hands of most writers) tend to be stereotypical and to create characters who lack humanity and uniqueness.

My characters in A Cry for hire and Changeling are all very human
But Cry for Hire is about poverty, race, isolation. Changeling is a folktale full of human characters in a tragic regal history but it is also very political.

And yet, when I wrote them, I had no political agenda or racial agenda. I simply wrote for the love of story and the love of depicting the human condition. Somehow the political, my own neuroses, and my concerns seeped through. I think that's the issue with many stories. Most people are too controlled when they write and writers with  political/racial.social/racial agendas are even more controlled than others. They have to learn to trust the discomfort of having human characters who may not fall in line with the required stereotype. 
 

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