HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you, dear readers!
I’m sure we all remain thankful for Andi Marquette and Jove Belle who provide this choral hall for so many of our voices.
Recent events in the publishing world bring to mind the topic of a presentation I delivered last July during the Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual conference. I explored the connections that exist between political oppression/economic inequality and literary activity. I researched the artistic output during the Harlem Renaissance (1918-1935,) and the Black Arts Movement (1960-1975,) and I suggested that once again, we find ourselves enmeshed in a challenging political-economic environment, one that threatens to eclipse the post WW I bread lines and the racial strife of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I predicted we were on the precipice of another period of prolific literary and artistic production from the pens and paint brushes of Americans, straight as well as LGBTQ.
Today’s LGBTQ-authored books represent all genres. Some of these books contain socio-political themes, either outright or subtle.
Last summer, when I mentioned the potential flood of new writing, I failed to foresee the number of bookcase-filling memoirs, diary-like accounts, exposés, essay, and “I-wish-this-were-fiction-and-not-reality” tomes that have been penned by non-LGBTQ writers (and their assistants?) since the 2016 presidential election. That is, during these past three years.
How many of these non-fiction books have been published?
Goodreads lists two hundred fifty-nine titles published since trump’s inauguration. In comparison and covering a much longer time span, Goodreads claims one hundred ninety-six books have been written about Adolph Hitler. And yes, I believe it’s important to be aware of that comparison.
Dear Readers, it’s likely you’ve purchased one or more of these trump-centric books. Certainly, I have. The combination of curiosity and disbelief lured me into the arms of amazon.com the first day a couple of these books were available for purchase. Although my curiosity has been sated and I no longer disbelieve that which was formerly unbelievable, it’s likely I’ll read one or two more of these books.
Malcolm Nance’s latest, “The Plot to Betray America: How Team Trump Embraced Our Enemies, Compromised Our Security and How We Can Fix It,” grabs my attention. I hope this book is neither too wordy nor circuitous. Its title certainly defies every editor’s advice to compose short, snappy ones.
How can these newbie authors crank out their books so quickly?
I envision the nouveau auteur chatting up trump one morning, being fired via a tweet that afternoon, engaging a literary agent by dinnertime, and inking a publishing contract before midnight. The book hits the New York Times’ new book list, replete with several reviews, in three to four months.
So, who has mastered the art of the deal, many times bankrupt trump or his dumped and dumped upon sycophants?
Meanwhile, I’m sticking to the premise that times of struggle inspire more new literature than do periods of prosperity and goodwill. We LGBTQ writers will confront economic and political repression with our stories, poems, essays, and plays. Rejecting the hateful language and inhumane gestures and acts we witness each day will push us to give life to books whose characters will embody our resistance to racist ideologies, hetero-supremacy, income and educational inequalities, and xenophobic attitudes and attacks.
I know first hand that creating a book in an environment of chaos, media cacophony, and “what’s -he-going-to-do-or-say-next?” isn’t easy. But when things go wrong… we write.
This is my last blog for 2019. Women and Words’ holiday elves take the wheel for much of December, as they celebrate gift giving via their annual Holiday Hootenanny.
Fiction writer, blogger, and anthology co-story collector, Renée Bess, is celebrating Thanksgiving with members of her extended family. She hopes you’ve enjoyed your turkey or plant based holiday meal, and she invites you to visit her website. http://www.reneebess.com