I haven’t written here for a while, 2 and a half weeks ish – it’s hard to find time lately and it seems that when I do write I always seem to be tired, bitchy, or drunk (or as of right now, all three.) Oh, whatever, it’s not an exam, it’s just my blog. On with the blethering!
I am loving PANK right now. Love Roxane Gay, love some of the work she’s choosing, love her blog. She recently began a debate on “Awkward Stuff, Race, Women, Writers, Editors”
which was fascinating. I rather wanted to join in but was ensconced in an Oxford hotel that deemed blogs, facebook and twitter as unacceptable!
I have been to a few literary events and found them to be uncomfortably chock full of white, middle class British people and then realised that actually I easily pass as just that. I can fit in there. I won a short story competition whose prize was complimentary tickets to a very expensive event held in grandiose halls and surrounded by lush countryside. There was only one black woman there; she came from my area (East London) and we struck up conversation. One very tweedy woman asked her where she came from, and when she replied “Leytonstone” the woman said “No, originally.” The response “Erm, West London” had me spluttering with mirth, embarrassment, anger, incredulity.
Not sure what this tells you.
I think writing should be about anyone, anywhere, communicating with words. And an editor can’t see if you are young, pretty, black, gay, dyspraxic, whatever – so if the words are what count then why aren’t there a more diverse group of people being published. Is it down to economics? Education? Expectations?
I helped out at my twins school for a while, trying to teach/encourage reading. I think reading is the foundation of everything else and yet many of the kids I sat with came from backgrounds where books weren’t part of day to day life. Seeing little children learn to sound out words and garner meaning from the bizarre mish mash of shapes on a page is a triumph. But it’s with practice that confidence comes.
Personally I get pissed at the whole cool boys club I see sometimes. I deliberately seek out fabulous women writers that I can aspire to, but also I just soak up good words which is how I am able to admire the work of some men who are sometimes utter twunts. I’m not sure if I am going to manage to make a point here (the whole bottle of wine thing) but I shall try. I like words, all words. I will use the word “cunt” as I enjoy its power to shock. It’s just a word, and I subscribe to the Germaine Greer idea that it is kinda quaint that one of the few remaining words with the power to shock is actually merely a vulgar word for a vagina. Who has the power now boys? Dick/cock etc just doesn’t pack the same punch! What I hate though is the mysoginistic “I’d like to stick a carrot in your vag” attempt at edgy literature that I have been seeing rather too frequently. Not edgy, clever, subversive at all guys, rather it’s tiresome, insulting, juvenile and lazy.
So, erm, the point I was making is…sigh, not sure, gonna go and sleep this off…