Sunday, December 28, 2014

2nd Annual Diversity Month Day 29: Blogger/Social Activist Interview w/ The Goldfish +Kindle Fire 6" and Book Giveaway!

When it comes to certain blogs, we admit we have favorites. Before we started blogging, there was much we didn't know about many marginalizations we aren't apart of. We couldn't imagine only writing about what we knew. Because isn't that what they say? Write what you know?

But what if you don't want to just write about what you know?

Creating a character with a disability requires a lot of research, especially when you don't have that said disability, and even when you do, you have the possibility of getting it wrong. Or right, but in your own way.

Researching the ways to get a person with a disability right, lead us to The Goldfish. It's lead by a social activist who should remain anonymous, but her words, are for the world.

We really can't tell how much a blog like this is beneficial for people who need to understand how to improve how they go about representation. While she's not into YA books, as a writer of YA, we found that it was still helpful, and couldn't suggest a better blog for valuable information about representation that includes Race, Gender and Sexual Identity, Disability, and many other amazing subjects that get left out of the conversation.

Twinja Book Reviews Presents...The Goldfish! 
The Goldfish is an amazing blog that more people should be tuning into if they haven't already. 
What could you tell people just tuning in, how it came about,how long it's been running, and what are some of the themes you discuss on The Goldfish? 

Diary of a Goldfish will be ten years old this February. My brother-in-law suggested I should start a blog, so I imagine I was lecturing him on something of great interest to me and not much interest to him at the time. At first, it was more like a diary, but I found it was a very useful to organise my thoughts about all kinds of matters.

I write a fair amount about fiction in general, books, television and film. I write about various political or social issues, especially if there's something in the news that's bugging me. I write a little
about psychology and occasionally update with personal stuff or craft projects I'm doing.

I think what I adore most about The Goldfish is that it tackles Intersectionality. You discuss Gender and Sexuality Equality, Disability, Racism, Disability and too many subjects to list without taking up your entire day XD

Are there any reasons why The Goldfish tackles so many subjects in one place?

I think partly because I started blogging so casually without any theme in mind, I've always just written about what I feel like it. I think there's some advantage to this because, although I don't have a massive audience, I think I have a broad spectrum of readers. I'm often told I've made someone think about something that hadn't occurred to them before.

I'm a bisexual disabled woman so I have often been frustrated with egalitarian politics where my experience is excluded. This makes me conscious of people who get excluded when I'm not - like people of
colour or trans people. I think too often we're encouraged to see oppressed people as an orderly queue, where everyone will get their turn eventually, but for now we should concentrate on the first few
people at the very front of the queue. But life is so short and nobody has a greater claim to progress than anyone else.

I think the post I loved the most on your blog was "10 Things Fiction Writers Need to Remember About Disability". It tackled many things writers, and readers for that matter need to understand when creating characters with disabilities. Do you have particular post that has meant the most to you?

That's a very tricky question. I think at the moment, probably because I've just been through a house move and my living arrangements have dramatically improved, my favourite post would be "The History of My Adult Life In About 100 Objects", which is very personal, but tells a lot of stories.

While I think most of us have exposure to all of these things and should simply do the research, do you have any advice for writers who have no experience or resources to writing characters diversely?

 I think I would give three pieces of advice. The first is that it's tremendously helpful to consider the fiction you're exposed to, to look for patterns when it comes to characters who belong to marginalised groups. We grow up with these things, so if we don't examine them, it can be almost like an instinct to repeat stereotypes and troublesome tropes.

The second is to never use sexuality, gender, race, age, disability or anything else as a substitute for character development. An obvious example is the disabled villain. There's nothing inherently wrong with a disabled person being the bad guy, but there's an ancient tradition of a physical impairment and disfigurement representing evil, where there's no other explanation for why a person might be so bad.

Similarly, mental illness is often used as a substitute for motive in violent crime. It's clumsy, it's completely unrealistic and it supports a very damaging stigma.

The third thing I would say is that almost everyone is normal to themselves. We have phases of coming-to-terms or examining our identities but very few people think too hard about the bodies they inhabit on a regular basis. There was a slightly silly post on Buzzfeed a few months back :
If White Characters Were Described Like People Of Color which nevertheless makes an important point; often white writers refer to black or brown skin - often stretching a long way for an original description - when pale skin is considered default and never mentioned.

Where can readers go to get updates on The Goldfish?

 My blog is at Blobolobolob(XD) and I am on twitter as


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