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.