So, I think the hardest thing for me in this whole journey into writing professionally is the management of my public persona.
You see, I’m a mouthy, opinionated broad. I know! Shocking! I know it doesn’t seem that way at all! That’s me, meek, sweet and mild. HA!
But the thing is, this me is still only at about 7 out of 10 me. I’m constantly having to check what I say. I want to pop off with how I feel about the whole RWA debacle and I have, but I have to stay concise and leave out all of the hot button words that I just say on IM with my friends. Friends who know the 10 out of 10 Lauren and love me anyway, well to my face, I know they roll their eyes at me because I’m just that way.
I see something unjust and I want to say so. I’ve had people tell me, “you can’t say that!” and I know they have my best interests at heart, but damnit, I can’t see stupid bullshit happen and not comment, I’m just not wired that way. Although, I suppose I might avoid saying stuff like “stupid bullshit.”
See, I think like a lawyer. It’s impossible not to, law school breaks you down and rebuilds you into a certain kind of thinker, which is useful but hard when you’d rather not think about stuff or just accept backpedaling at face value despite the volumes of information that points to the contrary. (I know, my sins are racking up, erotic romance writer, mouthy, opinionated AND a lawyer, I can’t help it, I’m just born to be bad)
What I’m saying is this (well, actually there are several things I’m gonna say): This RWA leadership (not all of the BOD but certainly the president and several of her supporters) has been hostile to the subgenre of writing that I inhabit. The things that have flowed out from her desk have been blunt and quite direct in communicating just what she thinks of erotic romance. Now, there are a lot of members of the RWA who feel this way apparently and goody for them, they are most assuredly welcome to believe that erotic romance is a plague upon romance and all of the terrible pornographers with keyboards are bringing the genre down (cause romance is held in such high esteem as a genre dontcha know).
But if you are going to make us use a separate entrance and make us sit in the back of the bus, stop fucking taking our dues. You hear me? You’re only too eager to collect the dues of the authors of erotic romance, to use our sales stats in your own. But you want to treat us like we’re dirt, as if we are lesser writers and human beings than you are because I say pussy and you wouldn’t even think of that “no no place” much less write about it AND take our money! That’s outrageous. I’m gonna say it again, that’s outrageous!
I won’t take pains to remind you of the hundreds of thousands of sales in the sub genre and that by attacking us, you’re attacking our readers – cause that’s obvious, even to a girl who says cock instead of throbbing member.
I’m honestly trying to stay at 7 out of 10 here but this infurates me and I can feel myself slip up to 8 1/2 – The latest RWA debacle with the RITAs is just yet another example of how estranged the president is with the membership.
Seriously, WHO thinks of putting together images of death and destruction with a kicky soundtrack and an ostentatious display? Further, what the heck does that have to do with romance novels? The RITAs are not awards for documentary film making or historical texts. It’s not like there’s a death of creativity in the RWA, either. There are 9200 members, creative people abound. To have such a clueless set of themes isn’t just dumb, it’s offensive because it lacks creativity, it’s lazy.
I’ve read the books of many of the women who are on the BOD – some of them are my favorite authors so I know they have the brainpower to have made the RITA ceremony into something entertaining, fun AND on topic. At this point, I’m just confused really, as to the point of the entire thing and to the hubris of an administration that would offend one of the brightest lights in our genre, Nora Roberts. Nora Roberts, you remember her? Makes 80 million dollars a year, has brought readers from outside romance in, making us all appeal to a wider audience – that Nora Roberts. And it’s not like she has a reputation for complaining about every little thing either so it seems to me when she gets worked up enough to write the statement that she did, things are going to hell in a handbasket with the RWA leadership.
I know I know, I’ve said too much. I’ve been political and opinionated but I can’t help it. Why on earth should I stand by when I’m called names and what I do, along with my readers, gets trashed? Like a woman who thinks it’s cute to have Don’t Worry Be Happy should be played over video of Tiananmen Square is one to judge.
And I’m not one to judge but I will anyway. I’m human, I make mistakes, I’m mouthy and opinionated (as we established above) and I’m sick of this. If the RWA is going to be relevant to its members, ALL of its members need to be included at the table. An awards ceremony with any political perspective is not inclusive, nor is it relevant to romance writing. Sadly, the RITA Ceremony is just the icing on a really crappy cake and our entire genre gets painted with a broad brush over stuff like this and that’s really just sad.