…but sometimes people are AWESOME! Despite the torrential downpour here in Brooklyn, I feel kind of “up” today. The film I ordered (Looking for a Face Like Mine) arrived yesterday, and in 30 short minutes I learned about the ways resisting racism can actually lead to heightened creativity. Which is important for me, because I feel like I spend a lot of time blogging about racism in publishing and I do worry sometimes that I will become embittered and/or lose my creative impulse. But artists (and activists) are ultimately optimistic people—we wouldn’t create/agitate if we didn’t have hope for the future and a slender belief that our work can change people’s perceptions. I was watching TV last night and that lottery commercial with the bunnies came on—have you seen it? I smile *every* time it airs, and I thought to myself: how many people know I love bunnies? and hummingbirds…and fairies? My college roommate and close friend hanged herself a couple of years after graduation; she was an artist, and I’ve never really allowed myself to delve into her despair. I focus instead on her legacy and the gifts she gave me—the print of a medieval unicorn tapestry, and the pocket book of flower fairies that still sits on my shelf. Which leads me to Awesome Person #1, Shveta, who has written this wonderful article about her own passion for fairies:
I love faeries. I grew up reading all about them, believing in them, dreaming about them. I collected all the drawings, books, and winged figurines I could, I gobbled up lore like forbidden faerie food, I made wings out of poster board and glitter. I could rattle off bits of trivia like how the use of iron kept away unwanted visitors, that the fey inability to lie didn’t preclude trickery, and that a brownie accepted gifts of food in return for cleaning a house. When things got bad, I told myself I was fey. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that it even occurred to me there might be faeries outside Western Europe – specifically, outside the Victorian take on the Celtic and British traditions.
Shveta eventually began searching for fairies within South Asian storytelling traditions—in other words, she did THE WORK. And THE WORK is what matters, that search for something more, a way of reshaping our world.
Awesome Person #2 is Tricia Sullivan who is a writer and blogger and committed ally. Tricia has reached out to me more than once with words of support, and she even offered to help me find an agent! She walks the walk, and through her I’ve come to know Kate Elliott—Awesome Person #3! Kate has a great post up on her Livejournal blog about THE WORK she does to try to shape her children’s understanding of social justice:
Prejudice is a form of hardening the heart. Prejudice, as we unfortunately know, comes in many forms. Just as human beings show a propensity to be tolerant and inclusive so also, often at the same time, and sometimes in the same person, they show a propensity to be intolerant and exclusive. Human beings are such forces for good, and yet such forces for bad, and sometimes in the same person. The contradiction makes one dizzy. I am not immune.
Last but certainly not least we have The Rejectionist who also does THE WORK and fights the fight on multiple fronts. I didn’t mean to suggest that banning books was somehow less important than fighting racism in publishing—and Le R. gets that. We’re asking folks to care as much about one cause as the other.
Is it a coincidence that all these amazing women are part of the speculative fiction community? I think not…people who appreciate alternate universes believe in our potential to reshape reality. And I am VERY grateful to have such awesome allies in this world!