Saturday, October 14, 2006

Conference and Politicians

Okay, so I was just going to write about the New Jersey Romance Writer’s Conference that took place last weekend. It was, as always a wonderful event! There were, of course, terrific speakers, wonderful and welcoming NJRW members, and excellent editors and agents who attended.

I love writer’s conferences. I love speaking at them and sharing what I know that can make writing easier, more fun, and more effective. I love being inspired by and learning from other authors. I love the energy, the enthusiasm, the wisdom and the sheer joy that abounds at these things. I came away with renewed confidence and impatience to get back to my own work.

Now about politics....

There is a politician in Texas who thinks it’s okay to trash romance novels. Fred Head seems to think that writing about love and honor and commitment and making love within the bounds of a loving, monogamous relationship is somehow wrong. He calls it pornography. I am deeply disappointed that he feels he has a right to treat romance writers and readers with such disrespect. I am deeply disappointed that he would rather take cheap shots at his opponent Susan Combs than deal with real issues. I feel angry that he thinks we don’t matter.

I suppose I’m angriest because I believe so deeply in what I and other romance writers write. I believe in hope and love and commitment and optimism about life. I believe we need a genre that is dedicated to the issues, hopes, and dreams of women. I believe we need a genre that shows both men and women triumphing over the challenges in their lives. I believe we need a genre that explores the ways men and women can come together that empowers both of them so that each is stronger and safer and more capable than if each was alone.

I am a feminist. It’s one of the reasons I began writing romance novels. In my lifetime I have seen a profound change in the roles for men and women and I believe one of the great challenges we have is to explore these new possibilities.

I also write romance novels because I believe there is too much darkness, too much pessimism in the world. I believe that we romance writers show a way to live that focuses on taking action and triumphing over challenges rather than being victims.

I write romance because in a world where love is often treated so carelessly, I believe we need models of men and women who do treat love with the respect it deserves. We need to read about people who are committed to fidelity and monogamy and do the work it takes to have a relationship that lasts.

Fred Head has chosen to attack something I dearly love. In doing so, he has lost my respect and any chance I would ever vote for him for any public office ever. He owes Susan Combs and every romance author and every romance reader a profound apology.



Michelle Pillow said...

Great blog, April!


Julius_Weekly said...

Very inspiring. =)

Delle Jacobs said...

Wonderful post, April. Like you, I am both a writer of romance and a feminist, and I also find romance to be supportive of the ideals of feminism. Romance supports the strength in women as well as their hopes for finding and developing a strong, committed relationship. I am always baffled by people like Fred Head who don't seem to know , Frethere's more to a relationship besides sex.
I'm shocked repeatedly by this assertion that relates romance to pornography when I know so many other genres of fiction portray sex far more graphically and more frequently, yet nobody calls them pornographic. So I don't think that's the real issue. I think the issue is that romance portrays sex the way women can enjoy it, as a part of a strong, exciting, loving and highly sensual ROMANTIC relationship. Without this truly loving and committed relationship, it's just sex. And it's boring. But with it, the steam turns on.
And so I reach my own conclusion that it's really the relationship that scares the bejebbers out of guys like Fred Head, who think only guys should know and read about sex.
Women like sex, but they like it with love. I guess that is pretty revolutionary to a guy like Fred.

April said...

Thanks Michelle and Julius.

Delle, Well, you know, I have to wonder about anyone who can read a romance novel and see nothing but the parts that deal with physical intimacy....