Books,  my view,  publishing,  writers,  writing life

You Picking On Me?

So I’m sitting in my car and waiting for the DD to get out of dance and I’m wondering what to blog about for today. Should I go with pictures of my Christmas tree? Yeah, that would be nice. Besides, I have been doing a decent job with posting nice sweet posts lately. I’m proud of myself especially with so much to be annoyed about with Tiger and all his tigresses on the prowl and all.

Image from here.

And then there was suddenly talk on the radio about Ashley Dupre getting her own advice column in the New York Post. You know Ashley? The hooker from the Governor Spitzer scandal. Now, I’m not normally one to knock anyone’s hustle, but please. There are folks laid off all over the place and I need a paying job bad (preferably one where I write, but reading would be good too) and she gets an advice column? Dang. Makes it hard to write about that Christmas tree.

Now so sorry for the bad transition but then I go decided to check twitter. Darn you tweets! There’s all this talk about this controversial PW cover. Hmm… At first I thought I hadn’t read the article. But guess what, I did. I just didn’t know it since they didn’t correlate. The article talked about the economy and the upcoming downward trends in publishing. Ok, sad, but tame.

The cover is a 1999 art piece by Lauren Kelly from the book Posing Beauty on the representation of African American beauty from 1890’s to the present. Which on its own looks like a pretty good book. But this for a PW cover on African American literature I think is a huge fail. You can read the senior news editor’s response over here at Galley Cat.

As I said in a blog comment, this just further widens the already segregated shelves. It’s a shame. As a Black writer writing multi-cultural romance and finding it so hard to break in and find a spot on the shelves this is upsetting. And I know some will say just lighten up, but no. Sorry.

An earlier agent that I had and later broke up with didn’t get my writing. He wanted me to make it more of what he considered urban. Spice up the language to I don’t know what, but I do know it was something I wasn’t and couldn’t do. Now I’m not saying this is the only reason I’m not published yet but it may be part of it. This not fitting into a preconceived box. Why do we have to fit these boxes?

All I wanted and all I can do is write what I feel and write what I live, which is a multi-cultural life. I’m a Black woman from New York now living as a sort of suburban failed housewife in a not at all black town just outside of New York.

I write books where the Black Women have White and Black friends or Asian or Hispanic friends because that’s just who she is. That is also me. And I’m starting to feel like I may never find a publishing home.

One of the best compliments that I ever got was from a good friend of mine and chic knitting buddy. Me: Black woman from Harlem. Her: Jewish woman from the Bronx. I had her read sample pages from a detective story idea that I have working on. I pitched it Lethal Weapon meets Thelma and Louise. There are two main characters one is Black and the other is White. Well, I was so thrilled when my friend told me that, one it was funny and sexy, but what she liked the best was that I just write real women and it didn’t matter what color they were because I showed real situations that all women could relate to.

That’s the problem I have with this cover. It somehow makes African-American writers different. Very different. Foreign even and therefore not the norm. It reinforces a stereotype that we need to drop. As art it’s beautiful, but as a message to the industry I think it says give these books their own section in the bookstore, if you buy them at all and pray a select few will wander over. I say it sets up failure.

If you look at my post below from yesterday you’ll see that I put two pretty hot guys up for my romance obsession, Denzel and Richard Armitage. Hot is hot. It really doesn’t have a color to most Black or White women for that matter and not so hot is, well, not. That’s just how it is.

It’s time to work on bridging this divide. Mixing up the shelves and just focusing on good books.

Oh and Christmas tree pics to come soon:-)