Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good enough by Kim

So, I have submitted my, er, name -- and rep -- as a candidate for presidency.

Just kidding. Actually, I have submitted my candidacy for Litquake, SF's highfalutin' yet edgy literary festival. But it might as well be the presidential race, because it feels like there's a lot at stake here.

The issue, as I see it, is Am I Good Enough? Or, more accurately, Do They Think I'm Good Enough?

Such are the trials, tribs and baggage of the Chick Lit writer. Now, I think I'm good, and my mother thinks I'm on the verge of cracking the literary canon -- but does the rest of the literary world concur? There's still a double standard when it comes to commercial fiction, especially women's fiction, and especially women's fiction penned by women that is packaged in jackets that might include some shade of pink.

And it still yanks my chain.

As anyone who's read Jody Gehrman, Jennifer Belle, Jennifer Weiner, Candace Bushnell or a long list of other writers who -- I'm guessing -- are writing largely for women (and are read largely by women) can tell you that they're dealing quite evocatively with universal human themes. So why the derogatory labels? I'm not going to get into a deep discussion of the Chick Lit moniker here; let's just say applying to a literary festival gives one pause. It gives one Deep Thoughts. It also gives one an upset stomach, but what's a girl writer to do?

According to the Litquake Web site, their criteria for consideration are: Is the author local? Check. Does the author have a book coming out this year? Check. Can the author provide an entertaining reading experience? Checkalicious, baby (not sure how they know this, because I did not have to submit a video of myself doing stand-up or nude burlesque).

Hooray! I'm overqualified for the first time ever! But seriously...this is one of those situations where I want it so bad I can taste it. Why? Well, I want validation from the stinking edgy SF literary establishment, that's why. Also, I want dozens of sycophants to slobber all over me as I mince around in my (edgy) platforms drinking copious amounts of Stella and blathering on about universal themes. Why pretend otherwise? I would go so far as to say that a certain segment of the author population thinks as much about peer admiration as they do about, er, universal themes. Is that so wrong?

Thankfully, I'm a Capricorn and a 3 in the Enneagram personality profile so I don't blame myself too much.

1 comment: said...

Hey, I completely know what you mean. I could seriously rant on this, but I'll just say, "I'm with you, sistah!" Sherman Alexie said in an interview recently (forgive me, I paraphrase) "I used to think people condescended to me because I was an Indian. That wasn't nearly as bad as the condescension when I started writing Young Adult fiction." I thought, man, YA snobbery is way easier to deal with than the chick lit moniker!