I got an email earlier this week from someone who advised me that as an author who wants to “make it big” in the world of books, particularly as a woman, I needed to take the politics out of my books and focus on writing better.
This gentleman told me he had read the Shades and Shadows series and thought it would have been improved by not making the politics so pointedly directed at the darker “underbelly” of the USA. He told me it was “unseemly” for a woman to display her anger so prominently in her work, and that I should “dial it back” and “focus on the actual plot” which he apparently thought had nothing to do with the politics.
He told me he didn’t mind the prominence of a homosexual relationship, though he thought that too should be “dialed back” and not so “in the face” of the Reader. He said I should remove all references to Muslims because it was too controversial to say that discrimination against them was wrong.
He closed the letter with what I suppose was meant to be encouragement for me, telling me that I was a “fairly good writer” who could do well as an author, provided I stopped showcasing the “politics of an angry female” and embraced the softer, more accepted kinds of stories written by women, you know, the kind with no politics and no bad words and filled with plots driven by men and the women who need men.
I haven’t responded to this email. In fact, I nearly deleted it out of hand. In this political climate here in the United States, how are women not angry? For centuries, we have been silent bystanders, watching the politics of old men regulate our rights, our bodies, our place in society and allowing ourselves to be marginalized out of jobs, out of careers. But the world has changed and we have found our voice, we’ve come out of hiding. We’ve shaken off the dust and stepped out onto the stage.
And yes, we’re angry. And yes, we’re political. It isn’t going to change anytime soon. So, if you’re reading this, Sir of the Email, sorry you aren’t happy with my politics. I probably wouldn’t be happy with yours either. Sorry, not sorry.
Happy Wednesday, Readers! I’m off to poke some more job sites in hope of finding a new job sooner, rather than later.
Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash