If you don’t know who Roxane Gay is, please take a moment to check out this badass TED Talk. Also, read this article explaining why she chose to pull her book from Simon & Schuster. She is proving to be an active advocate for women and cultural diversity. As I continue reading her work, I am impressed with how real she is. She believes it, she is trying to live it, and she is honest about ways it doesn’t always happen. She admits, she is a Bad Feminist.
The love of money often makes people afraid to use their platforms to stick up for what they believe in. I’m sure she knew it would be a risk to pull her book. She did it anyways. In fact, she has urged writers to stand up against publishing houses that lack diversity by withdrawing or not submitting to them at all. If this is not admirable, I don’t know what is. Sigh, fangirling.
I went to Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago and met my spirit book animal. We have a similar reading interests and a thirty year age difference. I told her I was submitting to a literary magazine and thirty stories would be presented to Roxane Gay to judge. I said I was interested in buying one of her books to keep me distracted. At this point, I was convinced I would lose my coconuts if I waited two months to hear back. The woman stopped leading me towards Bad Feminist and shared a story about one of her paintings that was initially rejected but later won an award. She spoke about the amount of submissions received each year and how at times, you can land in a pass pile before you are thoroughly considered. This was beyond comforting. I was eventually rejected but this time it was ok. I survived. I am still writing. I am still fangirling. I haven’t dared to look at the piece since. I have moved on to another writing project, learning as I go.
I did not read Bad Feminist. I picked up “An Untamed State” that day. The woman at the store suggested I read this book first. It was published prior to Bad Feminist and she said it was too good to be ignored. I learned a lot while reading this book.
Break the rules if it feels right. Have you ever been sucked into writing things the right way? The “I shouldn’t do this or that” way of thinking. This book liberated me from that thought process. She uses the same words frequently, jumps into the plot within the first few pages, and brilliantly keeps the intensity going throughout.Write the damn book and include what you see fit. Edit later and stay true to yourself.
It has been a great ride so far. I look forward to Bad Feminist, Hunger, and hopefully attending one of her book signings.
I also look forward to the day where I’ll have my very own book signing and courage to speak up using my platform if something doesn’t feel right.