writing

Jaded's picture

Re-Righting Nether Roots

Breathing as the Dusty Third Worldling on a regularly alarming basis, is a difficult space to occupy, surely; even more so if you identify as feminine, which by this time almost always needs a special mention, like a parentheses of obligation. Given the Empire’s dedication to mapping and charting such invisible spaces, boundaries and borders often make me anxious and claustrophobic. Growing up with the ‘Kargil War’ being a part of the bigger, back-ground, constant state of war with chalk lines between two supposedly different countries of the Subcontinent, hearing rumours in the school playground that America was going to invade us — soon after 9/11 — that Pakistan is going to launch an attack, that people from Over There may come in any time and take us over like they did in ‘those’ countries like Iraq and Iran, that it was indeed true when we’d hear someone’s aunt’s sister’s cousin’s maid’s mistress’s sister had fled Over There because these days patriotic-and-patriarchally-inclined people decided it’s quite okay to invade borders and bodies personally because they belong to the ‘opposing country, that ‘those’ horrid buggers — any nation we’re displeased at the moment comes in this category — are going to be the End Of Us, destroy the sanctity of a country as diverse, at parts even ‘broken’ like ours and then you’d hear sighs when people said, Leave It All To God. I’d think of all this when I’d pore over maps and atlases with my sister, tracing ‘borders’ with our fingers, see if we can stretch edges and make it a Nation Of The World, like our geography books said with, what seemed to me, utmost confidence. At the end, I’d read a paragraph that countries like India and ‘Others’ of the Subcontinent, continents like Africa are a part of the Third World or the Nether World — as my Childcraft books called it — and that such countries haven’t joined the First World, but if they ‘work harder’ and ‘do more’, one day we’d join the league of ‘developed nations’ too.

So, being a Lady born out of such Nether Roots, when I sit to write in my NotMotherTongue, I break and close while trying to form words and shapes of sounds; especially when I use this ‘harsh’ tongue English sometimes becomes to me to talk about ‘my’ roots or my experience that sees the world through dark-tinted glasses with splotches where ‘religion’, ‘culture’, ‘regional tongues’ intertwine to make what I can half-claim as ‘my world’. I was going over my earliest short stories this week and (quite predictably), they smacked of something Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie would write, with characters that had names I’d only see in such books, always in search of the ‘perfect Indian sun’. It’s only in the last six years or so that I found the knotted and restrained writing of most Dusty Ladies, echoing the truth I was feeling but could somehow never word out. A few months ago, a relative asked to read my ‘writing’ or the short stories I was working on, and when I showed it to her, as much as she wanted to support and encourage me, she said that, “Are you sure this is our reality?”, words I can’t seem to forget now; for in less than ten seconds, she’d outlined the biggest problem I face when writing out ‘my’ world: The Cultural Polemic that somehow speaks in a collective echo instead of ‘one voice’. Even while growing-up, seeing the occasional Indian contestant in whatever American game-show or later, ‘reality-show’ meant knowing ‘their’ victory was somehow compulsively caught with ours, and that any flaws that person would show on TV would be marked somewhere on our skin too. One writing advice I’ve got repeatedly — advice I specifically didn’t ask for — is that, “Forget everyone else, just write your own story” as if this ‘personal’ and the ‘public’ were indeed two neatly ordained narratives, and as if I could easily slip ‘in’ and ‘out’ of each at will, as it were. Relegating the ‘personal’ to the ‘political’ or trying the inverse isn’t an option, for Dusty Ladies — supposedly — Never Air Dirty Laundry, be it in private or public, because as it seems we don’t have any ‘dirt’ to show anyone anyway. Maybe this is connected to the idea when ladies write ‘angry’ writing, it comes from a deep and a dark space — maybe even the uterus? — and that this ‘anger’ that women have is just for attention or to join the race to become the country’s Next Best Prostitute¹. But I digress.

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: Perverts Of Color

(h/t Sex in the Public Square)

pervert:

vb - to lead into deviant beliefs or behaviour; to corrupt.

n - a person who practises sexual perversion. 

person of color:

n - is a term used, primarily in the United States, to describe all people who are not white. The term is meant to be inclusive among non-white groups, emphasizing common experiences of racism. 'People of color' was introduced as a preferrable replacement to both non-white and minority, which are also inclusive, because it frames the subject positively; non-white defines people in terms of what they are not (white), and minority frequently carries a subordinate connotation.

Mission Statement

The Perverts of Color anthology is a collection of voices from people of color (POCs) who participate in alternative sexual and relationship practices which include but are not limited to: S&M, D/s, leather, kink, fetishism, polyamory, and swinging. “Pervert” is a term that society projects onto our bodies and our desires. We use “pervert” both to acknowledge the rejection and stereotyping we face, and to redefine the word on our own terms.

Our Intent

a) celebrate the experiences of US racial/ethnic minorities navigating alternative sexualities;

b) recover hidden histories and recognize the contributions of POCs to alternative sexuality rights and culture;

c) share stories about ways POCs have resisted dominant narratives about their sexuality; and

d) create possibilities for coalition and resistance for kinky POCs.

Call for Submissions

The voices of US racial minorities in alternative sexual communities are important but often unheard. If you are a POC who has been or is involved in the kink/poly community, the Perverts of Color anthology needs to hear your story.

Click here for writing prompts and ideas.

We are accepting non-fiction essays (1,500-5,000 words) related to the theme of the intersection of race and alternative sexual practices. New authors are welcome. Fiction, erotica, and poetry are not accepted. The Perverts of Color anthology is intended as a multi-ethnic, multi-racial collection, so we encourage all POCs to submit their stories. We invite POCs of all genders, ages, religions/spiritualities, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. Authors may use a pen name in order to maintain anonymity. All authors will keep the copyright to their submission, have a printed biography, and receive one copy of the completed book.

Now accepting submissions until December 15th 2010!

Contact Us

If you are interested, email us at pervertsofcolor@gmail.com with a one-paragraph summary of your essay (250 words maximum) and a short bio (250 words maximum). All submission summaries are due by December 15th at 12 midnight (Eastern Standard Time). We will contact authors individually to express interest in a complete submission.

What made you decide to create this anthology?

We are longtime kinksters, community members, and political types whose frustration with the racism experienced in the organized kink community - and with the kink-aversion in our other racial communities - got us thinking and talking to each other (and anyone who would listen) about the connections between our racial and sexual identities. This anthology is a way for us to start larger discussions on the topic with voices of all kinds.

Who are they?

Jaki is a genderqueer Black American Leather feminist with a passion for alternative sexuality and getting off. Jaki has begun a one-person campaign to promote "yo" as a gender neutral option because it is fun and original. Yo has always been interested in writing for the underdogs. This passion has lead to minority studies in many flavors which ultimately lead to the BDSM/Leather Community. Jaki sought a book about the intesection of race and radical sexuality and when it didn't exist, yo decided to create it.

Katie is a queer, biracial Korean American kinkster with experience in grassroots activism around racism and violence against women of color. She has been involved in the DC kink community since 2003 and has identified as polyamorous ever since she discovered a word for it in college.

Jaded's picture

A Woman Like That

Last year, I met an extremely interesting woman; she was fierce, passionate and charming. She had one ‘problem’, she was a part of the bigger sect we post-caste Indians have conveniently labelled ‘Dalit’. And to advance her (un)popularity, she was a former sex-worker. She worked as a maid in one of my aunt’s houses and I spoke very briefly with her before my aunt reprimanded me for talking to a woman like that. As if, whatever ‘problem’ or ‘disease’ she had, it would somehow seep through my skin too, or worse I’d become a woman like that too! Or maybe she just really hates two utreuses talking — and you know utreuses,  they ruin everything! — and that’s why she made me go to another room. Or maybe having a woman like that under your roof makes the air contaminated and you need to make sure that her ‘stench’ leaves with her. I for one am confused as to why would you let her work in your house if you feel it’s necessary to douse the house with ‘holy’ water after she leaves (think of the water waste daily!), obviously considering you can’t stand to be in the same room as her. I’d rather not employ someone I have a problem with than to employ them and treat them as less than human. But, that may just be me. I’m just a sillyarse LadyBrain after all.

I’ve heard about women like that since I figured out ‘that’ was a part of the Secret Indian Code parents or grown-ups use when referring to sex-workers. Or a woman who commits adultery – are you shocked that some women out here have affairs? Perhaps you should really give up thinking that all we do is squat in the mud all day. It might make comprehension of humans as a species a tad easier — or perhaps she’s a woman who had pre-marital sex. A woman like that always had to correspond with any vulva going out of line. Somehow circumstance, context and coercion wouldn’t be a part of such a discussion, just emphasis on how wrong the sexual transgression was and it ends with the same bleat of These Modern Women Racing To Be The Next Best Prostitute. Imagine my shock when someone I know called Arundhati Roy a woman like that. It shook the ground beneath my feet — take that Rushdie! — when I realised I didn’t know the Secret Indian Code at all. Turns out, a woman like that doesn’t require special prowess or inclination to indulge in more than socially sanctioned amounts of coitus but rather any woman whom the DudeCouncil considers ‘going out of her place’.

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: The Soffa Anthology*

The editors of a new anthology call for submissions on the experiences of significant others, family members, friends and allies (SOFFAs) of transgender and/or gender variant individuals. The feelings, emotional processes and experiences of those in relationships with transgender and/or gender variant individuals are seldom acknowledged. That’s why this anthology is so important as a resource and an educational book. This particular call seeks quality “think-alouds” that are reflections on the experience of being in a relationship with a transgender and/or gender variant loved one.

Our vision for the anthology is not solely focused on partners, but the transitional experiences of those in relationships with transgender persons.

We are interested in personal narratives, stories and reflections from significant others, family members, friends, allies, co-workers, teachers, medical professionals and clergy who are in relationships with transgender and/or gender variant individuals. Give us your inner dialogues, theories, practices, joys, coming-out stories, challenging moments and transformative events. We are seeking a multiplicity of voices tackling the intersections of relationships and transgender and/or gender variant identities with sexuality, race, religion, spiritual affiliation, socio-economic status, ability, etc.

We are looking for thoughtful and authentic responses of 1,500-6,000 words. Only respectful submissions will be considered; however, we expect pieces to document a range of experiences and emotions including confusion, joy, frustration, pain, happiness, identity struggles, fear, anger, anxiety and love.

Submissions must be sent as Word files with text in 12 point Times New Roman font and should be previously unpublished, 1,500-6,000 words in length and typed double-spaced. You may submit multiple pieces. All submissions must include a 55-65 word biography to appear in the contributors’ notes section if your work is accepted. No previously published or simultaneously submitted material without prior approval.

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: The Red Umbrella Diaries [Blog Carnival]

(from Audacia Ray)

For the last year, I've been running a co-hosted reading series called Sex Worker Literati in my hometown of NYC, but now I'm striking out on my own to create a monthly event, The Red Umbrella Diaries, with a solid online dimension. I love my city, but I know that by putting down my roots and hosting events here I'm discriminating against those who can't be here!

Lots of people ask how they can be involved with the Red Umbrella Diaries if they can't get to New York to see or perform in the show. The Blog Carnival is a way for sex workers and their allies to participate in the Red Umbrella Diaries from afar. Every month, I'll do a carnival of pieces of writing on the upcoming event's theme. I would love it if you could help me spread the word about the Carnival and the series itself.

For the next event, the theme is Coworkers and Co-conspirators. Here's a little something to get you started thinking:

In every industry, quirky coworkers keep jobs entertaining, livable, or sometimes downright miserable. But what’s too much information and even sexual harassment at other jobs is just a day in the life in the sex industry.

Writers can send me a piece that is up to 700 words long, and I'll pick my favorite to read at the event - and of course then I'll put the recording in the new Red Umbrella Diaries audio podcast, which will launch in July. Your piece can be previously published on your own blog or elsewhere, or you can conceal your identity and email me a piece that you can't put your name on. The themes can be interpreted all kinds of different ways, I love to see creativity.

Send links or text to stories@redumbrellaproject.com by June 15th.

--
Audacia Ray
Website: audaciaray.com
Blogs: wakingvixen.com * blog.iwhc.org
Advocacy: iwhc.org * sexworkawareness.org
The Red Umbrella Diaries: redumbrellaproject.com
Videos: intlwomenshealth.blip.tv * youtube.com/audaciaray * sexworkerliterati.blip.tv

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: Refuse The Silence

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Morgane Richardson and I'm collecting the stories of women of color currently attending elite liberal-arts colleges in the United States.

Refuse the Silence is a project that encourages women of color currently enrolled in elite liberal arts colleges in the United States to share their stories.  Being a woman of color myself and having attended Middlebury College from 2004 to 2008, my hope is to present these stories, in the form of a book, to college administrators with a suggested plan of action to improve the college climate for women of color.

I am looking for vivid and honest personal stories and essays about the experiences of women of color in elite liberal arts colleges throughout the United States.

I am looking to attract submissions that reflect experiences, friendships and realizations made during the college years. Themes to consider include but are not limited to,

•    identity
•    socioeconomic, cultural, racial issues
•    classroom dynamics
•    turning points
•    depression
•    challenging moments
•    friendships
•    dating
•    student/professor dynamics
•    sex, sexuality

Contributions will be accepted in the form of a poem, letter, journal entry, personal reflection and/or essay. Entries should not exceed ten pages. Your submisions will be cautiously edited for grammar and comprehensibility. Unfortunately, I will not be able to include everyone's submissions. Priority will be given to those who submit their work before the September 1st, 2010 deadline.

I hope that you will use your voice and share your story with me. Let us refuse the silence and show the world who we are, who we are becoming, and how we can help others.

I invite you to share this information with your friends, family members, and classmates so that we can have as many voices possible involved in this important discussion in our communities.

Sincerely,

Morgane Veronique Richardson

arvan's picture

(Call for Submissions) And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010)

I received this call for writing, today.  I can't wait to read the finished volume.  So, dear readers, bloggers and community - if you have a story to tell, then you can get paid for it.  In the process, you will have the chance to point the way for the women who follow you.  All the better.

-arvan

-------------

Call for Submissions
 
Working Title:  And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010)

2,000-4,000 words

Payment: Upon publication. Amount will vary, depending on experience and other variables ($50 and up). Please include a list of any previous publication credits with your query or submission. Contributors will also receive two copies of the published book.

Deadline: December 1, 2009. That said, we strongly encourage you to send us a query well beforehand, so that we can review it, give you helpful feedback, and have a good sense of what will be coming our way that month. If you are able to submit the piece earlier, we prefer that you do.

Editors: Candace Walsh and Laura André. Candace Walsh is the editor of the recently released anthology Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On (www.askmeaboutmydivorce.com).

As Dr. Lisa Diamond’s recent groundbreaking book Sexual Fluidity makes clear, women’s sexual desire and identity are capable of shifting. Cynthia Nixon, Carol Leifer, Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi, and countless others have left the fold of heterosexual identity to enter into or pursue same-sex relationships.

arvan's picture

GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION

Call For Submissions
GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION
Kate Bornstein & S Bear Bergman, eds

Deadline: 1 September 2009

In the fifteen years since the release of Gender Outlaw, transgender narratives have made their way into cultural locations from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s trannies and other sex/gender radicals are writing a radically new world into being. GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION (Seal Press) will collect and contextualize the work of this generation’s most forward-thinking trans/genderqueer voices—new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Edited by that ol’ original Gender Outlaw herself, Kate Bornstein and writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION will include essays, commentary, comic art and conversation from a diverse a group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

*What we’re looking for*

GENDER OUTLAWS: THE NEXT GENERATION wants to collect work that represents a quantum leap forward in thinking and talking about gender and the gender binary, in the same way Gender Outlaw did almost twenty years ago. So blow us away. Bring the smart, bring the sexy, blind us with science, break the gender barrier, shine a bright light (or a disco ball) on the whole gender situation. Tell us about your future, what you imagine, how you want things to go and what you (and your friends) intend to do about it. Think big.

We’ll look at whatever you have for us – essays, graphic art, interviews/conversations, haiku, rants – as long as you’re thinking smart and fresh about sex and gender (and being an outlaw, of course).

People of any identity are encouraged to submit work. This means you – yes, you!

We intend to privilege non-normatively gendered/sexed voices in the book but will include all the good stuff we can, regardless of current identifiers of the author.

*The Details*

Deadline: Sept 1 (early submissions are encouraged). Submissions should be unpublished; query if you have a reprint that you think we’ll swoon for. While we hesitate to list a maximum, please query first for pieces over 4,000 words. If you have an idea and need help writing it out, contact us to discuss an interview-style piece or other accommodations.

Submit as a Word document or black/white JPEG (no files over 2MB).

Please include a cover letter with a brief bio and full contact information (mailing address, phone number, pseudonym if appropriate) when you submit.

Submissions without complete contact information will be deleted unread.

Payment will be $50 and 2 copies of the book upon publication in Fall 2010.

Contributors retain the rights to their pieces.

Send your submission as an attachment to genderoutlawsnextgeneration@gmail.com.

~please forward/repost lots and lots, as appropriate~

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