I’m Coming Out…

(Though probably not in the way you think.)

It’s come to my attention (especially lately, with the dust-up at the Hugo Awards) that if a person doesn’t fall in line with a certain set of beliefs and -isms, and isn’t aligned with a certain political and social worldview, that such a person will never be accepted into the mainstream of SFF writers. That’s okay. I write what I write because I love writing it, and there are enough other like-minded people around to find the sort of thing I like to read, as well. I don’t write to meet certain set amounts of POC in a book, or to advance a social/political belief, or to fight for gender equality. I don’t like being preached at through books I read, and I don’t intend to preach at my readers.

woman-closet

This particular idea was strengthened in the last few days. Over the weekend a thread cropped up on one of the blogs I like to visit. The question was (paraphrased): What makes you stop reading a book? How long do you give a book before you give up on it?

It was a question that interested me, and so of course I commented. In my comment I listed several things that would make me stop reading a book: sex scenes, rape scenes, bestiality, graphic torture, and homosexual themes. I went on to add that I would also stop reading if I didn’t connect with the characters, and mentioned that I would also stop reading a book if there was continual profanity. I wasn’t making a statement of what I believed, or of what I thought was right and wrong. I was simply stating what I didn’t read.

Do you want to take a guess as to whether someone replied to me? And as to what they said?

If you guessed that they did, and that the gist of their comment was that they had decided I was equating torture and rape with homosexuality, and that they were offended by their own inference, you would be right.

In vain did I point out that I had never equated them with each other, that sex scenes and characters I didn’t identify with were also on the list (was I also equating them with rape and torture? Spoilers: no) and that these were my own personal preferences as to what I did or did not read. A few of the commenters were simply determined to be offended. In which case I reckon they must be offended at the dictionary, too, since it also lists homosexuality along with some other nasty words and ideas. There seems to be an idea that if you don’t agree with what a person does or doesn’t support, that you can ‘call them out’ to tell them how offended you are, how unkind or bigoted they are, and how they need to be more careful in what they say.

So I’m coming out. 

I don’t agree with homosexuality. I won’t write about it, or (in almost every case) read about it. I won’t promote it. I think it’s wrong.

I don’t agree with abortion. I won’t write about it in a positive light, and I won’t promote it. I won’t read books that promote it. I think it’s wrong.

I don’t agree with misogynism. I won’t write about it in a positive light, and I won’t promote it. I won’t read books that promote it. I think it’s wrong. Also, I find it highly annoying.

If you’re not going to read the books I write because of that; well, that’s your right. Just like it’s my right to read and write what want to read and write. I won’t be silenced in my convictions, and by God’s grace I’m not going to be bullied into being too scared to speak what I think is right. If that means that some people (or even a lot of people) won’t read my books and feel that they have to call me various names; well, that’s their right. It’s a free world after all.

And I’m free to act upon my own convictions, too. If you’re lesbian/bi-sexual/gay/trans; if you’ve had an abortion; if you’re a misogynist– I don’t hate you. I do have a different moral system, and it’s not going to agree with yours.

It helps if people remember that. And it helps if we all decide not to be instantly offended by everyone who doesn’t agree with us (especially if you’re reading values into simple statements of preference). Fortunately I have quite a few family members and friends who identify as lesbian/bi-sexual/et al, and are always willing to have open discussions with me. They don’t love me any less for my beliefs, and I don’t love them any less for theirs. We certainly don’t agree with what is right and wrong, but none of us are closed minded enough to say that the other isn’t allowed to have their point of view.

The internet is not the same. Fair enough. But I don’t try to tell others what to read or write, so don’t expect me to change my beliefs to suit you, either. Whether I make a living at writing or only ever manage to keep it as a side-job, I want to honour God; and I can’t do that if I’m too afraid to stand up for what I think is right.

If you want a reason to label me, to refuse to read my books, to call me names, I’ve listed some for your convenience. Choose any or all of the above. And for my writer friends, whom I have loved ‘meeting’ as I began to publish, and who may or may not agree with me: some of you write stuff I don’t like to read, but I’d have to be daft to say that you’re bad writers because of it. Most of you are brilliant writers, some of whom simply write things I don’t always read.

Also, no hard feelings if you feel that you no longer want to interact/follow/’like’/talk to me. These can be divisive issues, and many publishers don’t like their authors to associate with ‘my kind’ of person just in case mud, doing what mud does best, sticks.

7 thoughts on “I’m Coming Out…

  1. Damn–now you’ll never read any of my books; not with the bestiality I added on every page! My friends told me it was too much bestiality, but I said to them “Hey,” I said, “What’s too much bestiality, amirite?”

    … seriously, who does have bestiality in their books though? Or maybe I don’t want to ask that question… Also seriously, you probably really will not like any of my books due to all the gays, but never mind. Someone who favourites as many of my tweets as you do can’t be all bad, and in the end, isn’t that the most important thing? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, the important thing is that I enjoy reading your reviews and I also appreciate that you think things through, and don’t just jump on the popular bandwagons. I like someone who thinks for themself, and even if I don’t always agree with your point of view, I like that you don’t try to bash people with it.

      Also you have purple vampire sheep….so….

      As for bestiality….urgh, you’d be surprised! I’ve come across some preeeety skeevy books in my local library as a kid. (Scarred for life, can you tell?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha. I loved this post, W. I really do. As a fellow Christian, it is always so nice to hear someone say exactly what it is they want to say regardless of what everyone else thinks–and yet still come across as an empathetic and kind individual. And you do.

    In my case, I will stop reading a story if abortion is handled in a positive way. It devastates me. I knew a few teens growing up who had abortions and it is just so tragic. The dragon riders of Pern series had the main character performing abortions on women and it was handled as the “this is necessary because we are over-populated” and it just… devastated me. I’m not afraid to say it. I first checked to see if she ever had a change of heart (I was really enjoying the series up to this point!), but it was not so– so I set the book down and never picked it up again. 😦

    On that matter, I generally don’t enjoy anything that puts non-Christian principles in good light (swearing is the one I’m more lenient on as long as they aren’t taking our God’s name in vain). However, I think I approach it a little differently (which I completely respect your approach!): I have no restrictions on the content I read/write as long as someone is not ultimately preaching or promoting things I do not agree with. Content itself doesn’t bother me–I feel like I’m reading/studying/observing human nature in all its glory and all of its flaws. For example, one of the main good characters in Kings or Pawns is everything I admire in a man– honorable, bold, chaste, well-spoken, etc… and another main good characters has many flaws that I feel reflect his lack of faith– swearing, promiscuity, cynicism, etc… And I’m all about watching characters grow in a positive way without the author preaching about it. (I’m with you: please don’t preach to me. Just write a good book! lol)

    Another thing I approach is homosexuality in the series– there are–I will warn you since I saw you prefer to put a book containing it down– two homosexual characters within the Kings series. My preference to having them was because I wanted to have two characters who had a belief our culture likes to call all of us who do not agree/promote “intolerant/haters” and have other characters whom the reader admires interact with them/tolerate/respect/empathize with them but at the end of the day, not agree or promote the relationship. I feel we don’t have enough good, admired characters in literature to admire/uphold our beliefs and demonstrate the loving approach to these situations (in a completely non-preaching manner).

    So all of this is handled in a completely non-preaching manner and comes across merely as cultural differences/character personalities–especially because of the diversity and pros/cons to both good and evil characters, but I am giving you fair warning as to what is contained and why. Everyone you don’t like to read IS contained within my series, but it is used to round out and humanize the characters/world and is not promoted/upheld as the “right way”–but at the same time, I do not preach either direction in any way, shape, or form. Still, I completely understand your reason for not wishing to read that sort of content and am not offended in any way if you choose not to read Kings or Pawns as well.

    Either way, this post of yours makes me even more excited to read your work (yay–supporting an outspoken woman!) and I actually shared your work with another reader just the other day who wants to read your stuff as well ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • JJ, I’ve never actually thought too much about doing characters the way you’ve described- I actually think it’s a good idea. There’s a bit of leeway in what I will and won’t read, and it sometimes changes from book to book (the only absolutely untenable things being rape scenes; I CANNOT read them because I feel sick and depressed for days or weeks after. Bestiality is the same, though as Rachelloon above points out, you don’t actually get too much of that in books). I think I’ll be interested in reading your book: my HUGE problem with the things on my list is when they’re either a)Presented in a favourable light (aka, a character who was against abortion is Shown The Error Of Her/His Ways) or b)trying to shove their worldview down my throat (a la, to my great sadness, the Llandor Trilogy, which does a great deal of preaching through the mouths of pretty much any character and sounds the same for each).

      Your take on writing homosexual, mysogynistic, or whoever/whatever characters does therefore interest me. I’m interested in seeing how you handle it, now!

      Like

      • Well, I certainly hope that you can find the way I handle it enjoyable! It was always my goal to create characters that are humanized, strong, and admirable. Some of the content won’t be really present until book 2 anyways 🙂

        As for rape: there is one scene in book 2- probably about a page written from the point of view from a character who has no concept or right or wrong and literally no idea what is happening (so it is thus relatively vague), but observes the scene and grasps that it is evil- and intervenes. Beta readers found the scene to be uplifting and “victorious” because even a character with no teachings of right and wrong understood the gravity of evil involved. I can always point you away from that particular page if you are concerned that it will upset you. I will say it is handled very differently than typical scenes and far more than painful and sad, it feels like a “victory” for good. You can, however, avoid the page and still mostly grasp the growth of the character who witnessed/intervened. I can understand if you wanted to avoid it because even when an abortion video is showing a dead baby to provoke emotions and ultimately give hope and good, I feel sick for weeks.

        Avoiding the page will not ruin the story at all- it’s one scene on one page out of hundreds- and I would be happy to point you away from it because I can completely understand where you are coming from. Like I said, no amount of ultimate good can erase the devastation I feel for weeks after seeing sn abortion.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really, I thought the amount of derivable enjoyment was directly proportional to the amount of politically correct content? Look, W.R, we can’t write about dwarves now, as that could be seen as singling out a particular group as if they need to be elevated (pun intended) because perhaps we feel they won’t be noticed otherwise. Shame on us.

    Oh look, there is four humans in the room, yet twelve opinions. Thanks to our diversity, every opinion as an equal and opposite one… Or five.

    Doin good, W.R.! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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