July

— S.T. Rucker

You could call me a woman possessed. I put in my earbuds, hit play on the touch wheel of my iPod, and I pace while I let the images and voices in my head flow to the sounds of rock, the themes of anime, the strings of violins, the catchiest pop, techno/trance, R&B, hip-hop, rap, and soul. My characters perform physical motions through my body: Summoning lightning, manifesting wings, come hither looks, parrying in sword fights, speaking sassy lines of dialogue OUT LOUD. Embarrassing, when my mom and sister are here and catch me in the middle of my characters’ tyranny. The only thing that saves me from utter mortification is this, my creed:

Writing is survival. I write because I’m the only person who understands what I’m going through. Writing saves me every time I’m on the proverbial ledge. I write because I have a story, not an answer.

TV is tiresome, unnecessarily pumped up on drama, and gauche, so I write to entertain and affirm myself. When I want love, I write about lovers lucky enough to attain love. When I’m worried about my one-year old nephew, a little Black boy, and blogging about racial injustice doesn’t ease me, with words I craft a parallel world in which to celebrate his life and chronicle the struggle and beauty of Blackness. When I’m tired of rich fairytale princesses and stories of privileged middleclass woes, I write about a girl who slays vampires, has a college degree and no job, and one cent in her bank account (which the bank also took to pay the maintenance fee).

I write because I someday hope to read and see more main characters of Color written by writers of Color and an endless range of them. I write because I am a Black woman who was once a Black girl and most of the girls I saw on television and read about from the shelves of bookstores and libraries– a million shades of white, they are. I write because I believe fiction is a divine manifestation of life. I write because I want to blur and break down the lines between genres, so a book is not a fantasy novel, urban lit, or sci fi; a book will someday just be a book with discussion of its elements as just that.

I write because I am Black, fat, queer, working class, a survivor of rape and abuse, a woman, and a feminist. When people call me an angry, black, man-hating militant feminist, I go write a story.

I write because I don’t want all this stuff of stories to only be inside my head. I write because someday, somewhere, someone might hear me. Someday, a bright, gilded piece of me might might inspire someone and be lucky enough to live in their heart.

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