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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Back on the Grid

The last time I blogged was in March. That's also when I deleted my Twitter app.

March was when the RITA finalists were announced and none of them were black. Romancelandia in Twitterverse exploded in rage and accusations. As it seems to happen more and more each day, reasonable concerns lead to vitriol and extremist views. There was no gray area and I found that people I had respected in the writing community were truly toxic. I tried to continue to be active online and NOT engage. The problem was that both sides of the discussion triggered an anger response and I didn't need that in my life. I deleted Twitter. I stopped posting on Facebook. I backed away from the Romance Writers of America and did not go to chapter meetings. I just couldn't.

Since then I've been a serious reader. Yes, of course I always have been a reader but since I started taking publishing seriously I stopped reading for myself and read for research. That took the joy out of it and made it a chore. So I started reading non-romance so I could just read. I went through almost everything Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson*, and Marie Brennan. I have an hour and half commute every day so many of these were on Audible and Neil Gaiman narrates many of his books so I got to feel like I knew him**.

I didn't read a romance until just recently when my preordered copy of Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James arrived. I'd forgotten I'd ordered it. I hadn't seen the newsletters or promotions. It was like a surprise gift in the mail and I read it in a day. I read for joy. It reminded me about why I loved romance. Everything about it spoke of healing and optimism. It made me laugh and cry. Yes, I knew there would be an emotionally satisfying happily-ever-after but I never rolled my eyes or yelled at the book on the journey there.

I write this blog post out of genuine optimism that romance is a place I can find escape and solace again. I am certain that Eloisa James does not need my support or any additional blips on her Google alerts. She's made it as a romance author and this book will be successful with or without my review. That is not the purpose of this post.  This is a celebration of the genre and the hope that is woven into the stories, the hope that was stolen by anger and bias in the industry. This book revived me and I am so grateful.

So I'm back on the grid again.



*Not including the Wheel of Time books. I read those as a young adult before I really understood the misogyny implicit in all of Robert Jordan's depictions of women. Maybe Sanderson elevated it, but I read those so long ago that I don't care to reacquaint myself. Though I do chuckle every time Sanderson has one of his characters blush furiously. I've used that one in my own books as a joke with myself that I wouldn't expect anyone but my brother to pick up on.
Addendum: Maybe I should give them a chance because, after all, Sanderson is awesome and his heroines are awesome.
**I think if you read enough of an author, you do get a peek inside their brain. Don't worry, I have no illusions that Mr. Gaiman and I are buddies. I was excited to learn, however, that he and Tori Amos are friends. It answered the question about who the Neil she referred to in her songs was. When I realized that I felt like I had learned some GREAT TRUTH but no one else was excited about it :(.

4 comments:

Susan Kane said...

Quite a few discoveries.

Taking a step or two away and filling yourself up with reading good stuff is the way to go.

Gaiman is great, a little peculiar, but great.

Lynda R Young said...

Reading a lot is good for writing too. Just saying ;)
And welcome back to the grid.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog, I appreciate your feedback on my social media article.

I whole-heartedly agree on people taking on extremist views and being so toxic. I'm wavering about my decision on remaining with FB for that very reason. I try to avoid reading comments on news articles, youtube, and other places because the average person is so toxic! In this world full of individuals, they sure like to spew poison when it comes to anonymity. Do they *really* think this way? It makes living in this world feel unsafe with so many masks running around, right? **shiver**

Elizabeth Mueller said...

PS.
I just sent a request for that book to add to the local library's collection. I sure hope they honor it!

Also, I love romances!!! le sigh

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