So, like I said last month, I'm looking to start a newsletter. If that's something that sounds interesting to you, send me an email with NEWSLETTER in the subject line saying you'd like to sign up to firstname.lastname@example.org and, when I have enough names to make a good go of it, I'll start sending one out every month.
Last year, I was devastated by the 2016 campaign and election. So much of it preyed on the worst parts of my country's psyche and history, targeting women, people of color, and the queer community. In so many ways, it'd changed the way I, as a brown, queer daughter of immigrants in an interracial relationship in an incredibly white state, looked at my home and the way my home looked back at me.
On almost a daily basis, I get to hear people--from coworkers to strangers to politicians and pundits--talk about immigrants and women and people of color like they--like my parents, like my friends, like me--are political talking points and not people. Recently, I discovered that I have a white supremacist living in my neighborhood, who routinely rides the same morning bus as me into work, who won't stand less than three feet away from me, who will stand in below-zero temperatures in the frozen snow to keep that distance, who glares at me, mumbling about the bronwning of America, most mornings for the whole twenty-five-minute ride. That's my world now.
Which is why, on inauguration day, I was so glad and honored to be a part of Coming Together's Moving On anthology, all about elevating the voices and stories of those affected by the current shifting politics. Even before Charlottesville, before the toxic attacks against the NFL, before the dehumanizing "shithole/shithouse" comments, I knew stories like these would be needed. In my stories, "When There Are No Words" and "The Help," I wanted to speak about what this current climate feels like from POC viewpoint. Since the anniversary of this anthology, as well as the reason for it, is just around the corner, I wanted to take another look at this anthology and the circumstances surrounding it.
In this video, I talk about how the relationship between people and the news has changed in the last few years and specifically how that's affected writers.
In the next one, I read an excerpt of my story "When There Are No Words." This was one of the quickest, but hardest to write stories I've ever written. The submission call came at the end of the year and was set for release on Inauguration Day. I wrote this story in a day, pretty much a retelling of my own election night experience. If I'm honest, it's not my best work. When I re-read it now, there are points in the prose that I would change. Awkward phrasing or ill-timed pacing. I didn't have the time to edit it the way I like to with most of my other stories.
It is raw. Unfiltered. It's my feelings--my fear and helplessness-- spilled onto the page. It is also a real-time picture of the sliver of hope and love that, on dark, despondent days, help stitch the broken bits of me barely together.
It's the parts of myself that, under normal circumstances, I would never want anyone else to see. Yet, when I saw that call, I knew I had to. Not only do the proceeds go to Move On, but it was a story I wanted other people to know.
The world felt changed for me that night. Irrevocably shifted. And I needed other people to feel that too. To know they weren't alone. To know that, even in the face of all that helplessness, there is still hope.
It is raw. And I think that's what that story needs to be. I like to think that was why it was featured in Rolling Stones's article "Trump Erotica: How Smut is Getting Political Again". I can't even describe how floored and humbled I am to be included in this article, to be named next to powerhouses of this genre. I honestly, while profoundly grateful, don't feel worthy. If I'm being completely honest, I was drunk at a work bonding event when I saw it on Twitter. I was convinced I was seeing things. It was so hard not to scream it out at the top of my lungs, in front of my coworkers, my boss, the heads of my company, and an arena full of people, I was so proud and honored. Looking back on it, it's still hard.
This next video introduces an idea I've been having for a while now. That we need to change how we talk about sex in this country. Everyone is trying to solve the problem of sexual misconduct. But I think too many of us are looking at this wrong. We need a new perspective.
So here's basically what a newsletter from me would look like: some behind-the-scenes information, a featured excerpt, and an update on what's going on. And, remember, if you'd like to be a part of a monthly newsletter like this, email me at email@example.com with NEWSLETTER in the subject header.
As we witness the end of the current president's first year in office, check out Coming Together's Moving On charity anthology that lets your feel good do some real good.
And remember to check out my story "When There Are No Words" and "The Help," now available:
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