I hope your days are going well, and if they’re not then I hope they get better.
Do you ever wish you were a more interesting person? I don’t mean personality-wise. I know quite a few interesting people. People who’ve travelled, people who have done extraordinary things, people who have remarkable talents that I could never do myself. But most of them, by writers’ definition, aren’t interesting.
If you don’t know me, I’m a Hispanic female. Female writers in general get little representation. It’s been proven that women who write under male pennames get more bites than if they used their real names. There’s been a call for more ethnically diverse writers, but only if they write about the plight of minority living. This goes for any minority. Female, LGBTQ, ethnic, low socioeconomic status, any of those.
I’ve been trying for a long time to gain some kind of traction but haven’t gained anything. Recently, my much younger cousin got to guest-write on some online magazine. She, unlike me, has a lot of “interesting” things about her. Female, Hispanic, bisexual, PCOS, it’s a smorgasbord of minority-ness.
A few years ago I attended a writer’s workshop where I approached an agent about my book. A lover (for a lack of a better word) of WWII European history, I of course wrote about that. The agent, however, asked me why as a female Hispanic have I not written about someone like me. About the struggle of the minority woman in America.
I have a problem with that, though.
Growing up I never had any problems. My neighborhood consisted of about 90% Hispanics. I did not grow up poor. Heck, we’re on the upper-middle class rank. I lived in a clean house in a clean neighborhood, I went to private school where the majority of my classmates were also Hispanic. I went to high school, where still everyone was Hispanic. I didn’t know what it meant to be poor until I was in high school and that was because I learned about it through friends. I was never “Hispanic” in typical sense. I don’t even speak Spanish. How can I talk about the suffering of the minority in a white person’s world when there’re only three white people living in my city?
Someday I’ll write about that but the inspiration hasn’t struck yet. Anyone who writes knows that. But for now why can’t I write about white people? Why can’t I write about guys? No one told J.K. Rowling to write about the struggles of a single mom. No one told Leo Tolstoy he doesn’t know s*** about women so don’t write Anna Karenina. No one told Rainbow Rowell to keep her hands off minority main characters. Would it be that horrible if I wrote whatever?
Sometimes I wonder if people would pay attention to me more if I was more interesting.