Though the concept is great – it still sucks for my kind.
It conjures up images of glitter and happiness with the glitz and glamour of a chocolate advertisement but tough luck if it makes up your very identity.
Though I don’t mean to sound cruel (even if it is) here’s a reality check for you – crickets will be getting more attention.
Diversity – such a great buzzword with the oomph of a derelict forgotten martyr even the history books couldn’t be bothered teaching us about. Everyone’s talking about it.
Diversity this, diversity that but that’s about all that’s happening.
Everyone’s saying it because it’s the cool thing to say, what the in crowd’s talking about but no one’s actually doing anything about it or even understands what the hell it’s all about.
Diversity sucks but only if it’s part of your core and more importantly, only if you revel in it, brandish in it with all the glory you can possibly muster.
I’m a writer – perhaps a self-declared one, but a writer nevertheless. Perhaps a mediocre one, but a writer regardless and I’m what many would term as a lucky struggling writer because it’s a great time for someone like me to be born apparently – a great time for a diverse writer.
But what does a diverse writer even mean?
That’s a great question because though most know what diverse writing means (as opposed to diverse authors) – very few actually bother about my type.
I’m not going to lie, it’s quite annoying existing in an age where there is so much hoo-hah about diverse characters (many of which are fictional dare I say) when no one really gives a crap about their very factual diverse creators.
This is mainly due to two reasons – one, authors are rarely as interesting as the characters they create (I can attest to this personally) and two, most diverse characters being created aren’t really being written about diverse authors in the first place.
Because let’s face it, who would know better about a brown girl coming to a foreign land and dealing with all the trials and tribulations of modern day western world attitudes and stereotypes against the backdrop of very real cultural boundaries than a white writer?
As a “diverse” author who has written a novel (or a poorly cloaked semi autobiography) about just that (hello people, welcome to my life), do I find it torturously disconcerting that many of the countless literary agents I have reached out to say that my story isn’t quite real enough?
Of course I do.
In fact, I find it so agonisingly painful I actually pondered on writing a thank you reply to the one literary agent who responded by saying that though the premise was good, it just wasn’t the right time for my “type” of tale when adult colouring books were all the rage in the literary world. I thought it would be presumptuous to send him the dictionary book definition of literature when I actually like colouring in.
Others said my book just didn’t strike a chord with them because my main character was too well, normal.
Of course a “normal” brown girl is just out of the question because who would want to read about a normal diverse character? Um – maybe diverse readers like me.
It’s unfortunate that during my teenage years I had to choose between a normal white girl to relate with or a crazy, brown one with a horrific juxtaposition of identity crisis’s that outnumbered the amount of times I change my underwear (which is regularly by the way).
Clearly there are no normal brown people on the planet because we all wear hijabs, struggle daily with radicalism and have a secret life our parents would commit suicide upon discovering exactly twenty two point five years later. And let’s not mention finally participating (while not in undercover) in romantic relationships after securing our parent’s reluctant consent upon finding out about our blatant “western influenced” unlocking of our chastity belts in our late teens. Please note, this is actually supposed to be sarcastic.
Being diverse and actually understanding what that truly meant for many of us diverse teenagers growing up in a world where no one really got us is what continues to make diversity so sucks.
“Normal” for us diverse, immigrant children meant tepidly tip-toeing the tightrope of immigrant versus adopted land issues every single day. It meant explaining why your parents had to meet your “friend” before they let you date him before he even asked you out. It meant you’d get tired of hearing your own voice every time you droned on about how “discovering” yourself after high school on that once in a lifetime gap year before you joined university was never going to happen if you wanted to live past eighteen.
You won’t find novels on how you spent the better part of every weekday morning airing your school uniform out of that undeniable, wicked curry smell that lingers like a bad memory days after you devoured it. Or why you can use your forehead to corkscrew even the mightiest Foster’s beer bottle thanks to the countless afternoons you spent rubbing the elusive bindi off after your weekly prayers. All this just so you could rush off to see the latest movie at the cinemas without having to explain the red dot on your forehead for the millionth time. You won’t even find stories on the absurdity of forgetting French kissing when your people came up with the manual on having sex.
Why would we forget the lips in the Kama Sutra people – really, why?
Why don’t you find common day stories on the very real, normal lives of brown people?
Because there’s no way that a white author has been cursed with our version of normality. Normal, non-brown people think this is comedic which is probably why Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project has done so well.
Poor Mindy had to fabricate a normal Indian girl’s life as a comedy when most of us brown chicks know that there’s nothing funny about Mindy’s life – it’s just our version of normal.
Maybe that’s what it is.
Perhaps my premise in Un-Belonging is too real for the mainstream. Maybe all I need to get a literary agent’s attention is to tag a “normal typical brown girl problem” joke at the end of each sentence so that the general public can make a parody of my protagonist instead.
Maybe that’ll get over her not wearing a hijab bit.
… for being so absent lately.
Though it isn’t an excuse, I’ll fall back on that dismal aspect of human nature and attempt to absolve myself of any wrongdoings by providing you with an adequate 3 point resource on how it’s really not my fault.
Point 1 – I’ve been so busy that if I were a Troll protecting the make believe bridge to Narnia I just made up right now, well, Narnia would no longer be Narnia – it would be the next best holiday destination. I have been writing though, about an article a week but woe is me, much of my time is taken up in maintaining active social media accounts for work.
You need a Twitter, Facebook or Google + guru right now, don’t look at me. I’m fresh out of ideas.
Point 2 – I have seriously pissed karma off and I don’t even know what I did. The amount of minor mishaps I have had with my skeleton over the past month would be enough to fill up a small encyclopaedia. Seriously. From toe injuries to wrist massacring’s, it’s a wonder I still resemble a human body. Fine, maybe not an encyclopaedia but a good weekend read in a grubby motel off Highway 5. At least.
Point 3 – I blame Trump because well, why wouldn’t you?
I don’t think history has ever provided us with such an apt “he is the cause of everything that’s wrong in this world, my life and this entire solar system really” excuse, people. Ever.
I am not kidding. It’s every man, woman and child for themselves and I can’t even copyright this one. Take it. Run with it.
I’ve been busy because Trump exists.
With that being said, I make no promises except an absolute true declaration – I have missed all of you. Truly.
I’ll try and make it up for it and write some more, or at least be more present if my fingers remain from that biyatch injury infliction.
I hope you’re listening karma. I’m a Hindu and I ain’t going anywhere so let’s try and be friends, okay? Or at least civil.
See you soon my peeps xoxo
It’s a question all of us writers have been (or will be) inevitably faced with, let’s be honest.
Do you write for yourself or do you write to become popular?
But here’s the deal:
When you write for the masses you get recognition. When you write for yourself, it’s this amazing cathartic experience that may keep you off the suicide watch program. Though slit my wrists Suzie may have been pushed to the backburner for a little while, chances are no one else really cares.
Write for everyone and at least you get a comment or two amongst that deafening crickets’ sound I at least, have become so very well versed with.
I’ll be damned if I know.
C’mon, it’s not like you come to this blog for answers is it? Because if it is, please don’t.
I already have enough lawsuits led by Psychiatrists around the world against me and I’m kinda broke, so the joke’s on them.
But still, I don’t want your insanity on my conscious. You have been adequately warned. Just be entertained or at least pretend to be, my ego bruises easily.
Because I am half way there folks. Half way there! Woo hoo!!!
Finished 40,000 words of my manuscript for my new novel on Friday, worked the weekend in my job and am now hoping to spend the remainder of the week editing.
Fun times, huh? I’ll let you know how I go soon … you know if I’m still sane and all.
Oh, shush guys. You know what I mean, as sane as I can be. Geez, spread the love already! 😀 ❤
So I think I’ve compiled about 1/4 of my next novel’s first draft.
I’m feeling slightly elated and a little bit more supportive of my main protagonist now.
I haven’t really been able to stand her up till about 5000 words ago, but her evolution is finally starting to make sense to my critical brain’s emotive sensors.
This is the first book I really haven’t got a solid plot set out for which is slightly nerve wracking to be honest but I’m so busy with work at the moment, I’m just letting the whole journey play out.
Hopefully it will work, if not, it’s back to the drawing board for me.
So, how are all of your personal endeavours going?
My keyboard melted yesterday, hence the improved writing 😉
At first I thought it was (naturally) due to my hot fingers (now you can take that to mean literally “hot” or metaphorically “smokin'”) but it turns out the thermometer broke too so my fingers may not be as tantalising as my ego led me to believe. Damn ego -_-