Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Does This Sound Like A Writers Conference to You?

I saw this statement on Twitter and I got mad. It was about RWA, more specifically the Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech that Suzanne Brockmann gave. And I saw red. 
Before I go all in my short answer is yes it does. I have no idea if the person who said this is an RWA member. 
If RWA writ large was telling me who to vote for in my local government elections, I'd be mad. But I am so over this idea that politics doesn't directly affect each and every one of us. Even if Brockmann hadn't explained eloquently how concerns about offending readers with the mere presence of gay characters had shaped her career, even if she hadn't talked about how it was within our lifetimes that she wrote the second book featuring African American main characters for a particular character before talking about how RWA was working to fight white supremacy and homophobia just as our country was, I want to be done with the idea that people who are artists, writers, actors, or athletes don't have a stake in politics. The number of policies from suppression of LBGTQ+ rights to gun control (or lack thereof) to healthcare to taxes all affect writers. They affect you and me. Sure, there's a time and a place. I probably should not hunt you down in the drug store aisle to ask what you've done to fight fascism today. But let's face it, writers tell stories. Brockmann told stories of her writing and connected that to a larger problem. Does that sound like a writers conference to me? Yes. Even if that had been the whole of the conference, which obviously it wasn't, my answer would be yes. 
And look, if it made you mad - that's fine. I don't agree with every writer, not even every Lifetime Achievement Award winning writer. You don't have to. But don't pretend you're worried we didn't talk enough about writing. If you paid attention to the whole speech, that's exactly what we were doing.