A Confession and a Plea
I’ve been thinking for weeks about what to write for this post.
Do I talk about my debut novel’s main characters? I have been saying for months that both my protagonists are disabled, that the primary romance is between two girls, that there are barely any white characters in the entire book. I’ve been saying that because I want people looking for characters like mine to be able to find them. At the same time, the book won’t be out until June 17th, and I doubt that anything else I have to say about these characters will terribly interesting to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
What else? Do I talk about my own experiences as an autistic, bisexual woman? The need for diversity in literature? The terrible representation that’s out there for people like me?
I considered a dozen options and roundly dismissed them all. I have nothing new to say. There are tons of articles out there about these exact topics, and the odds are, if you’re on this blog, you’ve read a good portion of those articles.
We need those articles, don’t get me wrong. New people are coming to the discussion daily. That’s how I first started my “education” about the realities of marginalized groups. I saw discussions online and avidly read along. I started following activists and blogs.
These months surrounding my book launch, I’ll probably talk about diversity a lot. I’ll find topics to blog about and try to put my own spin on them. I’ll hope they’ll be someone’s introduction to these difficult topics. I’ll hope they’ll be someone else’s moment of clarity. I’ll hope they’ll be a spark of recognition for someone who needs it.
But the truth is: sometimes, writing these posts, reading them—I’m just tired.
I’m tired of explaining the same thing a hundred times over.
I’m tired of linking to statistics people could find on Google in under ten seconds.
I’m tired of posts by newcomers to the discussion being applauded, while those who have been fighting for years are looking at that same post and grimacing at just how problematic it is.
I’m tired of people not caring. I’m tired of people caring, but doing nothing. I’m tired of people caring, doing something, and tired of that something being forgotten a week later.
We are here. We are many. We breathe the same air and walk the same streets and hold the same jobs, but somehow, everyone else gets stories and we do not; everyone else is normal, and we are different. We have to explain, be nice, teach, and fight, and justify, and calmly and reasonably outline the reasons we deserve what they have—what they have in excess.
I’m tired of fighting for something we should already have.
Then I take a deep breath, vent to a friend, and continue doing what I’m doing.
I’m comparatively new to the discussion, but many others have been fighting the good fight for years. They’re running diversity blogs, sharing their wisdom on Twitter, campaigning for better representation at conventions and in publisher catalogs.
I bet it’s hard on them. I bet it’s exhausting. I bet it’s frustrating.
And I bet they’re tired, too.
There’s no call to action here, no uplifting note to end things on. Just a question:
Have you thanked an activist today?
A lifelong Amsterdammer, Corinne Duyvis spends her days writing speculative young adult and middle grade novels. She enjoys brutal martial arts and gets her geek on whenever possible. Otherbound, her young adult fantasy debut, will release from Amulet Books/ABRAMS on June 17, 2014. It's a Junior Library Guild selection and has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.