Writing Wrongs

May 02, 2006

Manuscripts don't burn...
~ M. Bulgakov. The Master and Margarita

Bulgakov never supported the regime, and mocked it in many of his works. Therefore, most of them were consigned to his desk drawer for several decades. In 1930 he wrote a letter to Stalin requesting permission to emigrate and received a personal phone call from Stalin himself, denying him that. In his autobiography and in many biographies, it is stated that Bulgakov wrote the letter out of desperation and mental anguish, never actually intending to post it. Stalin, consequently, did not so much "favor" Bulgakov, as stated above, as enjoy tormenting him, along with many artists of the Soviet era.

From the Wikipedia page on Bulgakov

And in the world, a heart of darkness, a fire-zone
Where poets speak their heart then bleed for it
Jara sang, his song a weapon in the hands of love.
You know his blood still cries from the ground.

One Tree Hill ~ U2

Finally, the military brought Victor Jara and other political prisoners to the Stadium of Chile, the place where the concert for Allende has previously been held. There the military men tortured and killed many people. They broke Victor Jara's hands (Note: many stories indicate that Victor Jara's hands were cut off, but Joan Jara's book about Victor indicates that when she saw him after his death, his hands were broken, so that is the version being used in this essay) so that he couldn't play his guitar, and then taunted him to try and sing and play his songs. Even under these horrible tortures, Victor Jara magnificently sang a portion of the song of the Popular Unity party. After this, he received many brutal blows, and finally was brutally killed with a machine gun and carried to a mass grave.

From The Life of Victor Jara

What? Do I have a point with all this? I do. Seems the genre wars have raised their ugly heads again. You know the drill. Chick lit vs. literary. What’s trash, what isn’t, so on, and so on.

What I find so ironic about all this is seldom does anyone mention how wonderful it is we get to have these arguments. Are you writing during the Stalinist regime? Nazi Germany? Are government officials storming your house, confiscating your computer, and throwing you in jail?

I didn’t think so. (Knock on wood.)

And as much as the encroachments on civil liberties make me nervous, this is still America. So if I want to sit down and write The Cowboy’s Virgin Bride’s Secret Baby, I can. If I want to sit down and write The Mental Anguish of My Bellybutton Lint, I can.

And I can try to have either of those, or both, published. I can even publish them myself if I want to. Because I can. No one is stopping me.

So you’re being dissed because your books have pink covers and no one respects you as a “real” writer? So all that chick lit trash is crowding the shelf space, leaving little room for your staggering work of genius?

Cry. Me. A. River.

Some publish to commercial success, and some to critical success. Every once in a while, a lucky author achieves both. There are still so many differences among genres that it inspires “mine’s better than yours” type of arguments.

Wow. Praise the deity of your choice for that one.

If someone doesn’t like your genre, so what? Give them the one-finger salute and move on.

Because you can.

Note: Either Haloscan or this template hates it when I write long entries (everyone’s a critic). If you’d like to leave a comment, have at it in the previous entry.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 9:33 a.m.