?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Demented Ink.
What Have You Done For Love, Lately? 
17th-Jul-2012 02:05 pm
cig mouth tie
If I had a dime for every time I heard, "But why do you write THAT?" ... If I had a quarter for every shocked look, side-step shuffle, arched eyebrow, or curled upper lip I get for telling people I write male/male fiction, I'd say forget royalty checks and live on the incredulity of the masses.

The short answer to why I write what I do is, "Because I want to."

The long version is, well... longer. Some of it has to do with characters and the way I make them. Some people, when they discover what I do and feel compelled to change my ways or to learn more about this alien, misguided creature they've just unmasked, ask me, "But wouldn't you make more money if one of [the characters] was a woman?"

And when I tell the person, "Maybe, but I can't do that," and I get, "But you're the author!" I want to tell them, "Okay. I'm going to write a story about your life, but I'm going to make you gay."

"But I'm not gay!"

"Well, my characters aren't straight."

"But they're not real."

At this point I would sigh and drudge up a common example. "Was Bella Swan a girl or a boy?"

"A girl."

"What if she'd been a boy?"

"But... she couldn't have been a boy."

"Why not?"

"Because Edward wouldn't have loved her if she were a boy."

"Why?"

"Because... he's straight."

"Why is he straight?"

"Because he's a 100-year-old vampire."

"And that's just who he is?"

"Well, yeah!"

"...I rest my case."

My personal dislike for the Twiawful series aside, everyone will agree that a good character is one who seems so real you wish you could find someone just like them.

And about the money thing... What I do isn't about money. It's about love. Okay, it's also a little about obsession and insanity and the voices that wake me up to tell me about that time in the whorehouse during the war that broke out on another planet fifteen centuries ago, but I couldn't listen if I didn't love what I do. If I wanted money, I'd be jumping on the 50 Shades of Crap train or still be in my old career in marketing.

Instead, I choose to be part of a secret society working to change the world.

See, you may not want to think about it, but there's hordes of people out there who are beaten, brutalized, chastised, shunned, disowned, hated, and sometimes killed for having the audacity to love someone.

Hell, we can't even stop despising people who have non-white skin, much less learn to smile and take comfort in two men or two women who have both the affection for one another and the bravery of us-versus-them to allow them to kiss on a public street in the Bible Belt, USA. I love America, and I'm glad to be here, but it still makes me want to scream and pull out my hair when I see evidence that our government, founded for the people by the people, has forgotten that the "...certain unalienable rights... among these, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" were endowed by the Creator -- not courts, social norms, religious groups, or state constitutions.

God gave us the right to be happy. Man keeps trying to take it away.

Maybe it's because I've always felt different. Maybe it's because I was ostracized growing up in a small rural town because I was female, because I had glasses, because I was smart, because I wore weird clothes, because my family didn't go to church every Wednesday and Sunday, because I was outspoken, angry, and even though I was 5'3" and weighed ninety pounds soaking wet, I would stand up for the kid getting shoved into a locker because he was more different than me and was in the wrong place with the wrong people. I've never been sexually abused, I don't secretly want a penis (the sex toy industry has provided me with ways to have more than one, and I thank them kindly), and while I do hate being female for reasons that are well-founded and largely medical, I don't think being male would fix my troubles.

I'm just me, and I feel a kinship with people who are trying like hell to be true to themselves and to find love and companionship despite the odds. I can't say I was always brave enough to try to do something to support this group. I didn't start writing male/male fiction with activism in mind. I just write stories, and I always have. When I was a child, my mother used to ask me why I wrote from a boy's point of view instead of a girl's. I told her, "Because that's the way the story goes, Mom."

And when I started writing two male protagonists fighting, living, struggling, overcoming, and loving... I never saw anything wrong with it. Through some grace of the Universe, I found a way to get those stories to a wider audience, and I followed that path. I don't know where it'll go. I don't know how long I'll be on it. I have many stories in my head, and I hope I live long enough to write even a quarter of them.

But now I confess to having this vain, idealistic, silly hope that somehow, these tales will make a difference somewhere, somehow. It makes me want to throw plates at peoples' heads when they imply that what I'm doing isn't "the real writing." I think my family and many of my friends are waiting for me to grow out of this phase. You know, much like a lot of families are hoping their teenage daughter gets over wanting to kiss her female best friend.

It makes me angry, and it makes me ache, because I know how hard it's been sometimes just to write about being gay. Forget living it (though, Hi, I'm bi, by the way). Forget trying to come out, survive high school, find support, or live in a country that doesn't think your love is real enough to warrant recognition, basic inheritance rights, or marriage.

I know in the great, grand scheme of things, this issue is small. Half the damned globe is still caught up in barbarianism. We still kill each other for resources, land, sex, religion... Dear God, how do we come up with so many ways to hate and hurt each other?

I'm no hero, prophet, great mind, or role model. I can't even tell my own father what I write because I'm terrified he'll hate me for it. Usually I just tell people who ask that I write romance and let them take over the conversation from there with the, "Oh, how nice, let me tell you what I would write about if I had all that free time and concentration and didn't need a real job..."

But maybe next time I'll say the truth without prodding. Maybe I'll tell them:

"I write about men and women living in an alternate world where being yourself is widely accepted. Gay marriage is allowed, and sometimes wealthy, beautiful men will help find you wedding planners. Abusers of all sorts get swift justice. Friends support each other. Lovers do their best to learn about and adore all parts of their spouses. People find hope despite incredible odds stacked against them.

"And I write those stories because I like to think that if we read about it enough, we'll want to make it real. If we can get cell phones and automatic doors from Star Trek because we thought it was cool, why not a world where love trumps hate, where there's always someone to hold your hand through rough times, and where fear comes in last place? Sure, it sounds crazy, but in 1966, so did landing on the moon, much less laptops, iPads, or YouTube MySpace, Google.

"It's not the only work I do or will do, but it might just be some of the most important stuff I'll ever write in my life. Because I love it. I'm moved by it. It makes me happy, and my mother always used to say, 'Happiness is up to you.'

"So go on," I'll say, "Tell me I'm strange, it's weird, and it doesn't matter as much as what you think I should be writing."

I'll just smile and shrug and keep doing what I'm called to do.

--Dee, AKA, Kelly Wyre, author of the New Amsterdam Series
Comments 
17th-Jul-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
I have to admit I've been lucky concerning my desire to pursue writing. I say lucky in the sense that I found my husband who is supportive and I live in an area where homosexuality is widely accepted. It was a lot harder with my parents and ex-husband, none of whom took me seriously or really encouraged me to continue writing. Being a part of the military made it difficult to discuss my interests as well (especially with Don't Ask Don't Tell). When I first became published, I couldn't advertise any of my books in person because the military base wouldn't have accepted them. I live in Washington state now and no one even bats an eyelash when they see my novel and short stories are M/M or F/F.

Those negative influences can be draining. I'm not very social so I don't talk to too many people about what I do. When I get negative comments or hate mail, I try to use it as fuel to inspire me to write more. Kind of a 'fuck you, I do what I want' sort of deal.

Not all of my family knows what I write (at least, I haven't told them. My mother tends to blab so she's probably told all my aunts) and I'm sure if they did they'd be appalled. M/M? Pseudo-incest (I had no idea what that was until after my book was published)? They'll probably just shake their head and pray for my thrice damned soul. It would be difficult to explain to them that my characters do what they want. They love who they want, they live how they want. I merely write it all down and share with the masses.
18th-Jul-2012 03:28 am (UTC)
I too live in Washington State. I am a proud supported of all LGBT rights and hope that in my life time I will see all people teated equally. I do love that in this state and the Seattle area being yourself is encouraged! I say please, everyone writing male/male and female/female stories, keep it up!! People like my friends and even my son need every voice they can get! Thank-you.
24th-Jul-2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
I am a proud supported of all LGBT rights and hope that in my life time I will see all people teated equally.

Amen.

26th-Jul-2012 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks! (Sorry for the long wait in reply, I don't check this account often). I don't live in Seattle, although my husband is from there and wants to go back someday.

I don't think I could ever stop writing. It's in my blood, my bones, etched into my very soul. I'd go mad if I stopped. I can't say I've ever been obsessed with anything besides writing, but it's probably the best obsession I could have ever been blessed with.

It's good you've found happiness where you live. Hoorah for Washington!
24th-Jul-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
When I get negative comments or hate mail, I try to use it as fuel to inspire me to write more. Kind of a 'fuck you, I do what I want' sort of deal.

An excellent way to handle it all... thank you for the lovely reply.
(Deleted comment)
24th-Jul-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
*laughs*

Thank you. ♥
18th-Jul-2012 03:24 am (UTC)
I truly love what you do, and appreiate the ability you give me to experience your talent. I try to comment often to your stories and that is very rare for me. I tend to lurk, for many reasons, but with you I feel accepted and that I can give an opinion that is accepted in the spirit it is given. I say "To hell with everyone else!!" Please keep up what you do and know that your words are important to at least someone(We both know there is alot more). Thank-you!
24th-Jul-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
I'm always happy to see your replies, and I'm thrilled to know you enjoy the words. As a former lurker, I understand and sympathize and thank you for coming out for me. *smiles*

Thank you for the lovely reply. ♥
18th-Jul-2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
At the risk of sounding all emo, nobody really understands a writer but another writer. That irresistible need to tell the story that's happening in your head. Oh you can try and not do it but that never ends well. You can also try and get a story to go a certain way, but again, that usually doesn't end well. You need to tell the story that demands to be told.

To be asked why I made so-and-so a certain way is a question that always leaves me sounding like a loon-ball. I may choose some things like hair or eyes (although I've had some characters emphatically refuse what I thought was nice *grumbles*) but the personality of the character and how they interact is something I find I have little control over. You tell people that and they always look at you funny and say you're the writer, of course you have control. You made them up. Little do they know the reality of it.

The characters in my head (and here's where I sound rubber-room ready *sigh*) are as real to me as anyone I know. I hear them talking to me, having conversations with other characters, see them doing things in my head. I watch their story unfold like a big budget Hollywood production (with better story writing and characterization *snicker*) in my mind. Which is awesomely entertaining, but annoying too when you're trying to concentrate on something and they're demanding your attention like a hyped up 6 year old yelling "Look at me! Look what I can do!"

The vast majority of people know exactly what I write. Of the few who don't, I choose not to say specifically the genre because it would hurt and confuse them due to their strong religious beliefs. By the same token, I've never mentioned my faith to these individuals either as that would also hurt and confuse them. But everybody else? They know I write graphic man-on-man sex and I really don't care if they like it or not. It's what I enjoy doing and I'm damn good at it.

Money isn't a factor (but who wouldn't like a boatload of money for doing what they love?). I tell the stories I do for the love of the telling.
24th-Jul-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
I tell the stories I do for the love of the telling.

Precisely. Thank you for the lovely reply. ♥
18th-Jul-2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
What you write is absolutely beautiful. I do not have the gift of words, and sometimes that makes me appreciate the authors of what I love to read even more. What draws me to your stories the most is the structure/dynamic and interactions of all your couples - I haven't found a M/F story yet that is in any way similar to what I read here. It isn't even the BDSM stuff - it's more that these boys can act in ways that most girls don't (in my experience anyway). I love your Sakura, although we don't see her much. But your relationships are always so compelling to read about. Who cares that they're both men?

Thank you for writing. I'll say that again and again.

PS My belated condolences on your loss stated in your previous entry. Haven't been around lately, but I hope you are well.
24th-Jul-2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
This is very, very high praise. It's so good to know what you like and what you see, and thank you for telling me, so very much.

And my thanks, also, for the well-wishes and kind words. Also much appreciated.



4th-Aug-2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
Dearest Dee,
I normally don't comment- not because l lack interest but often cos i'm running after my mad hyperactive kids.
But i just have to say that what you wrote struck a very deep cord within me.
You are such a talented writer and i love how you make me love and care for the characters that you have created. And always always the love that you write about is so heartwarming and romantic ( i am such a die hard mushy romantic according to my hubby) . If we had more love and tolerance in our world there would be a lot less problems( ok that may be an over simplification)
And although people are always so dismissive of certain genres of stories i do believe that there are always things to be learnt if you listen closely- personally i think that this genre has made me more tolerant and has improved my relationship with my hubby *grin*

The bottom line is you keep writing the stories that you have to tell!

P.s i have to thank you for keeping me entertained during the long nights of breast feeding and i love your published works.* scampers off to drug children and read next chapter of lessons in living*
10th-Aug-2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Howdy!

I think managing to do *anything* while running around chasing children should earn you an award in the Patience and Multi-Tasking Goddess categories!

Thank you so much for telling me that the words have moved you... not to mention helped, ah, interpersonal relations with the significant other? *GRINNING BACK*

That's fantastic, and all I could ask for, really: that someone be touched by the stories.

Thank you so very, very much for the kind words and generous support.

♥Dee
Thank you for visiting. Copyright applies to original world & works. Reproduction of any portion of the material on this site without author's permission is prohibited. No money is made from stories containing characters that do not belong to the author.