THEME DESIGN BY JAMESLREDFIELD
✒speculative fiction e-publishing
✒weekly short stories
✒quarterly children's fantasy ezine
Parent to child at the library: Shhh...remember what we said about being loud in the library?
Child: We'll wake up the books.
Parent: That's right.
'then write one' is such a fucking shitty response to the desire for more representation in media
guess what? i write shit that i want to see in media all of the goddamn time
and eight thousand fucking notes on my post is proof i am not alone in this desire
people create these things all of the time
but they are kept quiet, their voices are taken and modified for the status quo
don’t ask us ‘to write one’
ask about what happened after we did and why you’ve never heard of it
So, I want to start a production company.
This is a really important point. Creating the media you want to see is just half of it. Self-publishing and the internet has opened up some possibilities for distribution but marketing and promotion and getting the book or movie or tv series or what-have-you in front of those people who want it is incredibly important and hard and expensive.
Here’s some of my current college work.
The theme we had to work with was ‘tree’, and I decided to draw an interpretation of the Norse tree Yggdrasil.
I have two basic versions - pictogram and flat colours
Pictogram version depicts Helheim (land of dead) at the bottom, Midgard (land of mortals) and Jötunheim (land of ice giants) at the middle, Asgard (lad of gods) at the top, and Eikþyrnir, the stag that stands on top of Valhalla.
The flat coloured version is more obvious, also picturing Nidhogg the dragon at the bottom of the tree, and the eagle at the top.
The crown of the tree is covered in clouds, to make it look holier or whatever. Instead of a whole deer I just used his antlers, to keep the image as simple as possible.
I also used the water from Eikþyrnir’s horns as the water that freezes into the lands Jötunheim I found it a neat idea even if it is probably not accurate.
I’ve written about Why Being a POC Author Sucks Sometimes. I’ve written about the importance of Diversity and Diverse Reading Lists. And I’ve even written about Diversity in Writing. The discussion about why diversity in children’s literature is continuing because POC are still greatly underrepresented at less than 10%. (see this fantastic post by Malinda Lo at Diversity in YA.) There’s even an article in CNN about “Where’s the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss?" There’s a lot of good talk but there’s still no action. And furthermore, there’s a lot of lashing out that somehow when we ask for diversity, we are somehow anti-white. If we talk about our need for representation, our articles are just "race-baiting" and discriminatory toward whites. How can asking for more authors of color and characters of color in children’s literature mean we are anti-white? I will never understand this thinking and I have no use for it. Kelly Jensen, a librarian and true supporter of diversity, said in her excellent post “When you support one group of people, it is in not denigrating another group of people. Instead, it’s doing your part to raise everyone up.” And this is what we are fighting for. Raising us all up because diversity is good for everyone.
How bad is the problem?
Of the 3,600 books the Cooperative Children’s Book Center reviewed in 2012:
3% were about Africans/African Americans; 1.8% were written by Africans/African Americans
1.5% were about Latinos; 1.6% were written by Latinos
Less than 1% were about American Indians; less than 1% were written by American Indians
2% were about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans; 2.3% were written by Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans
Click here for a fantastic illustration by Tina Kugler that really highlights the problem based on statistics released by the CCBC.
There are a lot of good people out there fighting for more diversity in publishing. But it’s not enough. There’s even more people who nod their head and agree whole-heartedly that we need more representation. But it’s definitely not enough.
Today I’m pointing fingers. At publishers, librarians, teachers, booksellers, publicists, conference and festival organizers, reviewers, journalists, in fact our entire media. You are all not doing enough. There are some wonderful children’s books authors of colors out there publishing amazing books that are just not getting the attention they deserve. They are ignored. Where is their media coverage? Where are their book tours? Why isn’t their more diversity at book festivals and conferences? Why is it that any promotional materials talking about ALA award winning books don’t also highlight the Coretta Scott King or the Pura Belpré, etc? (See Meg Medina’s post on this.)
Publishing and promoting books that include diversity by white authors is a good start for diversity. But that is not enough. Publishing and promoting authors of color so that we break the arbitrary 10% cap is what is really needed. We need more published authors of color. But if current authors of color are not promoted, then it hurts the chances for all other potential POC writers. It becomes a vicious circle. A self-fulfilling prophecy that continues the belief that books by and about POC don’t sell. We are not doing enough to break this prophecy.
Recently there was a big controversy over the fact that BookCon was featuring an all white male power panel at BEA. Lerner Publishing Group editorial director Andrew Karre said in the PW article, “If they really want to put their money where their mouth is, they should have a panel on this topic, the issue of diversity in children’s books.” I want to put a rallying call out for this to happen. Meg Medina, the fabulous author of the award winning Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, and I were recently talking about how we wanted every conference and every festival in the country to have a diversity panel until the day comes when we don’t need to do it anymore. So yes, ReedPOP, please include a diversity panel to make up for your world class blunder. And please don’t fill it up with white people. We authors of color are here yelling into the crowd. We are writing our books and fighting to promote them in an ocean filled with white capped waves that wash over us. But we are here because there is a need for us. And we won’t stop fighting or raising our voices.
Several months ago, I was at a school event where a very young black girl was standing shyly off to the side as I was chatting with some 6th grade students after my presentation. She gave me her notebook and asked me to sign it, which I was glad to do. It was a book of her own poetry and short stories. I smiled and said “I’m so glad to meet a young writer!” She beamed at me and said “I love writing and I want to be a writer but I didn’t think I could because I’m not white.” I was surprised and asked her if she’d read any books by Walter Dean Myers, Angela Johnson, or Linda Sue Park. She nodded and shrugged her shoulder and said, “But I’ve never seen them in person.” To this young teen, an author of color was a mythical creature, not to be believed, until she’d seen one in person. She couldn’t believe in her dream to become a writer until she saw for herself that a real life POC had done it. This is why we must continue to fight for diversity in children’s literature. For all of our children, so that they can see that we exist and that they can believe that their dreams of becoming whatever they want, can come true.
She beamed at me and said “I love writing and I want to be a writer but I didn’t think I could because I’m not white.” That just breaks my heart.
We Are Still Not Doing Enough for Diversity in Kid lit
Retelling Representation: Inclusive Fairy Tales
The use of fairy tales demonstrates their inherent flexibility and our individual power to (literally) rewrite the problematic literature of our culture, as it twists stories so ingrained in Western culture, stories that we wrongly assume can only include certain types of people.
Link to a blog post about representation in fairy tales. The author approached me (Raechel) last month about the Spellbound & Spindles anthologies and I thought she just wanted a quote. I was really surprised as to how much time she spent on Eggplant and the project.
The whole article is worth reading. It’s not overly long.
The deadline for submissions is April 30 (my mom’s birthday!*). Guidelines are here: http://eggplantproductions.com/general-guidelines/guidelines-for-spellbound-spindles/
*That fact isn’t relevant to the project, just thought I’d give my mom a shoutout.
So, Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man explores a set of ‘undead’ characters which include, but are not limited to:
Windle Poons: A zombie who is very annoyed at Death for not showing up and has gone out searching for him.
Reg Shoe: A zombie fighting for ‘grey rights,’ which advocates that the dead receive equal rights to the living.
Lupine: A reverse werewolf, who is a wolf three weeks out of the month and a wolf-thing for the other week
Ludmilla Cake: A werewolf who is a perfectly well behaved young lady for three weeks out of the month and a perfectly well behaved wolf-thing the other week
Schleppel: An agoraphobic bogeyman who has yet to ‘come out of the closet’
Arthur Winkings: A vampire by inheritance, but really just an undead fruit merchant who is a middle-class man dealing with an upper-class problem
Doreen Winkings: A vampire by marriage, which means that she isn’t really a vampire at all, but certainly tries to play the part
Mr. Ixolite: The world’s last banshee, who is self-conscious of an unfortunate speech impediment, and communicates by notecards
One-Man-Bucket: A Howdandaland spirit guide who was actually a city drunk run over by a cart
Mrs. Cake: A medium, bordering on small. Has the inborn ability to talk to spirits and can foresee the future by 10 seconds. All religions fear her.
Basically, I have absolutely NO CLUE why we dally around more ‘normal’ werewolf vampire cliche stories when we’ve got this gem running about.
Just remember. There is no such thing as a fake geek girl.
There are only fake geek boys.
Science fiction was invented by a woman.
Specifically a teenage girl. You know, someone who would be a part of the demographic that some of these boys are violently rejecting.
yo mary shelley wrote frankenstein in 1818 and isaac asimov was born in 1920 so you kinda get my point
#in love wit hthis post#except i think there’s a woman who came before shelley who inspired her???#i remember seeing a post like this but with that addendum and haven’t been able to find it again#i hope i can tho since she seems fascinating
YEAH SO STRAP IN MOTHERFUCKERS I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU ABOUT MARGARET “MAD MADGE” CAVENDISH
- she wrote the first science-fiction novel, a century and a half before Frankenstein. It has bear-men and spider-men and ZOMBIE ARMIES and FISH-MEN WITH BOMBS.
- she was the first woman to publish her autobiography
- she was all into science and hung out with the Royal Society and was bros with Hobbes and Descartes
- she was super-shy but at the same time wanted to be super-famous (“though I cannot be Henry the Fifth, or Charles the Second; yet, I will endeavour to be, Margaret the First: and, though I have neither Power, Time nor Occasion, to be a great Conqueror, like Alexander, or Cesar; yet, rather than not be Mistress of a World, since Fortune and the Fates would give me none, I have made One of my own”) and she wore CRAZY OUTFITS and Samuel Pepys was all like “I SAW THE DUCHESS OF NEWCASTLE TODAY YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE CRAZY SHIT SHE WAS WEARING SHE’S REALLY HOT THO”
- she wrote a TON of stuff, poetry and drama and natural philosophy and a lot of it wasn’t that good because she wasn’t educated and some people thought she was a nutcase for being a WOMAN who WROTE THINGS but she just COULD NOT STOP WRITING
- this passage: “but of the second rank are for the most part those we call Insects, whose production proceds from such causes as have no conformity or likeness with their produced Effects; as for example, Maggots bred out of Cheese, and several others generated out of Earth, Water, and the like. But said the Empress, there is some likeness between Maggots and Cheese; for Cheese has no blood, nor Maggots neither; besides, they have almost the same taste which Cheese has. This proves nothing, answered they; for Maggots have a visible, local, progressive motion, which Cheese hath not. The Empress replied, That when all the Cheese was turned into Maggots, it might be said to have local, progressive motion. They answered, That when the Cheese by its own figurative motions was changed into Maggots, it was no more Cheese”
- I know I’m forgetting more awesome stuff about her but tl;dr SHE WAS AWESOME
This post got better.
*e* Also jesus christ dear dude who said Issac Asimov: Asimov wasn’t even the first MALE science fiction writer, you ever fucking heard of HG Wells and Jules Verne? Edgar Allan Poe? And these two ladies predated them all and inspired them all. Chriiiist. If you’re going to attempt to mansplain at least fucking know your genre. Fucking fake geek boys, get off my motherfucking lawn.
(chuckle) Madge was a trip. I can just see her off in a corner of Heaven somewhere with Hypatia and all the FRS science bros, blowing things up.
FOREVER REBLOG MARGARET CAVENDISH
this is legit btw
I mean, there were folkloric heroes like Robin Hood before the Scarlet Pimpernel, but they didn’t really do the secret identity — people might not have known Robin Hood’s real identity but he wasn’t out living a double life and his costume was just what he and his buds wore in the forest, whereas the Pimpernel was actually doing the exact same thing as Bruce Wayne (pampered aristocrat by day, avenging hero by night)
also I wanna point out that the Scarlet Pimpernel was actually the leader of a league of twenty people also living double lives — Baroness Orczy also invented the first superhero team
Also The Scarlet Pimpernel is goddamned amazing and if you’ve never read it you’re missing out.
Also watch the movie version with Jane Seymour. OMG that movie.
WHO IS THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL?
(Source: geekmehard, via knitmeapony)