Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Birth of the Diversity Blogs


This past weekend I spent at a writers symposium called, “Life, the Universe, and Everything.”  (Or LTUE for short.)  It is a wonderful program with many of the large names in Fantasy and Science Fiction who attend.  And each year that I attend I get so much out of it.  I learned about all sorts of subjects from “Plots, Subplots, and Foreshadowing,” to “Writing Humor.”  And I felt blessed for the opportunity to be there.  Only as I looked around I noticed something was missing.  I saw Tracy Hickman, L. E. Modesitt, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dave Farland, and various other standards in the industry.  I met them and enjoyed their company and for some reason I felt like I didn’t belong.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say I shouldn’t be writing, but I felt the same way I do when I go to church.  Like a speck of pepper in a sea of cream.  All of the big name authors there were white.  Most all of the folks I saw come to the symposium were white.  No hispanics, no asians, and no blacks were in attendance from what I saw.  Recognizing such a poor mixture of diversity in the group of people I aspire to join made me realize something.  This is part of the reason we see such a lack of diversity in the science fiction and fantasy markets.  It isn’t because the people are racist, or they are focused only on the tropes of elves, dwarves, and orcs, but because there isn’t enough diversity in the community.

Between this and a conversation with a man I met at the convention by the name of David Powers King (read his blog, its pretty solid), I realized that I need to start blogging not only how I feel about various things going on in our culture, but about diversity in the various cultures that we have in our world.  Talking about Gay Marriage, Being Black Enough, and what Freedom is are important aspects of the culture we live in and themes to approach in literature, but it isn’t enough.  I want to write about how the Native Americans known as the Inuit live from the perspective of one of their own, or about hispanic culture from those trying to get a college education who are living in it, and introduce people to the rich heritage of black spirituality.  We have so many opportunities to recognize the diversity around us, not only in terms of race, but sexuality, gender, morality, and religion.  And I want to be a voice for helping writers to begin to recognize that.

I heard back in high school that drama was the mirror of man.  Well writing fiction is a form of drama, and I want to see the diversity of the world that I live in reflected better.  Now I’ve been trying to build an audience of late, and I realize that my journey here to develop better fantasy and science fiction will not happen without a community effort of some sort.  I can write about these things all I want, but without you sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, this won’t ever really get started.  And offering you my opinion probably isn’t enough.  So I’ve started an excellent book called the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin.  She is a black fantasy author who plays against the traditional methods by telling the story in first person and having a black female protagonist.  At the end of this month I plan on putting each person who comments on my blog into a hat and sending three of them a copy of this book.  Think of it as my way of saying thank you for having a conversation with me.

So my question to you is?  What do you want to hear about?  I have plans of talking about the hypocrisy in religion, sharing my own conversion story to becoming LDS, and about what it really is like to be an eskimo.  But I know there are a lot of other ideas out there for cultural diversity and thematic writing and rather than search all of them out by myself, I want to hear from you.  Lets become a team and discover the miracle of the diversity of the world we live in together.
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