Sunday, May 27, 2007


A dear old friend had an art show this past Friday where she was exhibiting her new work. She hasn’t had an exhibit in one year and so I donned this too cute little black dress, got my hair did and nails done and I went to show her some support. Now, I’m attending this very high brow art exhibition, schmoozing with the big wigs, glass of champagne in hand, when my friend comments to the crowd gathered that I’m an author with a new book about to be released. And as expected one of the folks there asks me what it is I write.

“Contemporary fiction,” I answer. “I’m published in the romance genre.”

Well, this heifer, and I use the term only because I won’t be so rude to call the cow what I want to call her, rolls her eyes, grunts loudly and says. “Oh, Lord, my daughter reads that ‘trash’. Every time I see her with a book in her hand I’ve got to ask her what kind of ‘ghetto love mess’ is she reading now!”

Trash? Mess? Ghetto? What damn projects was she raised in to be passing judgement on someone else’s neighborhood?

Now, had I reacted in the manner I wanted to react I would have messed up my little black dress, my hair and my nails on her face but I was exceptionally calm and collected. I just smiled politely and said, “Mmm, I guess you don’t read much do you?”

“Not that crap,” she responded.

Crap? Oh no this cheap trick didn't!

To which I replied. “That’s too bad. You’d be amazed at what you’re missing because there is absolutely nothing ghetto, trashy, or messy about my love or the love I write about.”

This of course turned the conversation to the merits of contemporary fiction versus intellectual literature. After making the point that quality writing, no matter the genre, is still quality writing and that I’ve read some very intellectual literature that was the worse writing imaginable, I downed me two more glasses of champagne and excused myself from the conversation.

I don’t have an issue with what you want to read. Hell, I’m as picky about what I’ll read and won’t read as the next guy but I don’t immediately assume that what someone is writing is trash if I’ve never read them. I was offended by that bovine’s assumption that what I wrote had to be “ghetto trash” just because I happened to be a black woman writing romantic fiction. This person was not black which made her comments even more offensive. I had a mind to ask her if trailer park dribble was more to her liking but I didn’t. I really did act as if I had some home training. And I was eloquent and succinct in the delivery of my additional comments least she assume I ain’t had me no edumacation.

I can’t speak for other romance writers but I spend an inordinate amount of time defending the romance genre. The assumption that the quality of the writing is inferior and substandard irks the piss out of me, most especially when the individual hasn't bothered to even read the damn book before they go criticizing it.

I’m a writer. I happen to be damn good at what I do when I do it. You don’t have to like it or me. That’s your choice. It’s also my choice whether I call you on your ignorance or not. So beware the next time you want to challenge what I do. I might not have a glass of champagne in my hands or be inclined to be so nice about how I respond.

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