Lines in the Sand

Last night I was eating a frozen strawberry Popsicle and a thought skittered through my mind. How in the known world did we get so biased?

It’s amazing how much bias there is in the world today, how much snob, how many questions there are concerning what is good and what is bad, what should be knocked down or revered. Even in the writing world there is tension between genres, between Literature and literature, between the simple hobbyist and world-renown author. It’s an interesting world we must sift through, but may I suggest we do not sift through it at all, rather plunge through unhindered by judgment, by biased opinions, by these distinctions of “high” and “low” writing.

Who says the writer who pens fanfiction is somehow less important than the author with published works attached to his name? Who determined that the writers who pen erotica and romance novels are somehow less Literary then the ones who write fiction?

They are, after all, merely distinctions. Someone, somewhere, decided to gouge a line in the sand concerning Literature and ‘everything else’ and somehow, someway, we let him. It’s silly once you think about it. A fanfiction author does not write works any less than a Literature author, and the works of romance are not somehow smaller than the works of non-fiction.

It is all one thing. Every person who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, whether it is poetry, erotica, sci-fi, Literature, memoirs, journals or articles, does the same thing: writes. These people take time out of their busy schedules, ignoring the pulls of society, family and friends, and sit down (or stand, if you have one of those handy treadmill desks) and write.

And yet somehow, in our society, we deem Romance novelist as ‘less’ than Literature. We suggest that fanfic is not as extraordinary as ‘the real thing.’ We are biased. Might I suggest that we are also – almost – too biased? Writers write, and we should support everyone who does, regardless of age, gender, genre, or style. It’s all the same process, all the same hours, all the same dedication, and, in my humble opinion, all writing deserves some sort of clap on the back.

This is not to suggest that every work that was ever written is actually good – far from it actually (Fifty Shades, anyone?) but every writer should get something for their efforts. A smile, if anything, a note from a fan perhaps, even a simple ‘you did it’ will do. I might not think Fifty Shades is good, but I applaud E.L. James for having the dedication to pen the series.

So before you dismiss the erotica writers as lower than average, before you scoff at the sci-fi authors as writing ‘genre’, before you laugh at any form of writing and say ‘I can do that,’ remember this: you did not spend hours working on this one piece, you did not agonize over the characters, re-format the prose, and decide to center the poetry, someone else did. And that deserves at least a little credit.

Am I on the right track here – what do you think about the biased notions surrounding certain writers?

Warm regards,
Kellie

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3 thoughts on “Lines in the Sand

  1. Oh, this is awesome! Very well said. Very well said. This is something that tugs at my brain constantly: bias and the hierarchy of writing. It’s out there, and what do we do about it? Nothing. I was discussing this with my friend at a booksale the other day concerning sci-fi. He listed some authors he regarded as science fiction writers (Bradbury, HG Wells, Philip K Dick) and I quickly corrected him, saying they were literary sci-fi writers. Their pieces were no less important than the 19th century writers, or the romanticists, or the western canon, or the transnationalists. They all said profound things through their writing. It all just happened to take place in a far off world.

    • Thank-you for the comment and well thought-out words. Oh, I completely agree, just because it’s a sci-fi doesn’t make it any less of a Literary piece. We can say profound things, make interesting comments about the world, even on a world that is not Earth. Just because it’s romance doesn’t make the character’s emotions (aka, the emotions of the readers, the emotions of the world) any less important. People need to remember that in life and in writing.

      • Oh! Oh! I totally saw something awesome at Barnes and Noble. In the “Classics” section they had leatherbound copies of Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, HG Wells, Stephen King, and Michael Criton all next to other classic books. We have arrived!

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