Storify: Boring Stories

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

On seeing yourself for the first time in the fiction you grew up with.

So, we need to talk about a trans + story thing. Sorry. Gotta get this off my chest. I saw a review this week of a story with a trans protagonist. And the review said, basically, "if the protagonist wasn't trans there would be nothing revolutionary here" like that was a bad thing.

Which right now is like saying "if you take the engine off this dirigible, it's not steampunk anymore" like yes your tautology is correct. Because, YEAH, it is revolutionary to be able to have "regular" stories with trans people in them.

I want a trans Harry Potter. I want a trans Lord of the Rings. I want a trans Hunger Games. I want trans REGULAR BORING THINGS. It is really unfair to act like trans stories only really get to exist if they're also ~innovative~ in ways that cis people approve of. "If you want stories with yourself in, you have to do 'em yourself, but also do them FIRST and BETTER or it shouldn't exist at all."

And I don't like how the review acted like writing a trans character was some kind of "cheat code" for praise and innovation. Like the (cis) reviewer was upset that the author had done something underhanded by glossing up an older tale with a trans character. (I actually do NOT think the tale was non-innovative but that's neither here or there for this rant.)

I'm currently working on a collection of stories that is EXPLICITLY "non-innovative" but with trans characters. Because, for fuck's sake, I really do WANT "regular" tales with me in them. I've been around long enough to earn that, gosh darn it.

Every reader is unique but for me there is a difference between Finely Crafted Gourmet reading and Comfort Food reading. What's my favorite book? That's... a hard one. I can't really answer it! Margaret Atwood's writing brought me to life when I was dead inside, but she's not who I reach for when I want a cozy snuggle read. Patricia C. Wrede often fills that role for me. Her books aren't High Literature and won't be taught in classes, but she warms my soul.

I don't want to write High Literature. I'm glad there are people who do! But it's not my thing. There are people who make AMAZING gourmet meals that take hours and thousands of ingredients and gold leaf and expensive spices. I make comfort meals for my family and me. Six ingredients and a casserole dish, but it fills you up and reminds you of good things.

Those are the sorts of stories I want to write. Comforting and familiar and warm and welcoming to the reader. And I hate to see that trashed and pooh-poohed for the same reason I'd hate seeing someone trashed for making cozy cooking. It's not wrong to only want to eat things wrapped in gold leaf, you do you!, but it's also NOT WRONG to like mac-and-cheese-with-hot-dogs.


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