The English language needs a word for that feeling you get when you badly need help, but there is no one who you can call because you’re not popular enough to have friends, not rich enough to have employees, and not powerful enough to have lackeys. It’s a very distinct cocktail of impotence, loneliness and a sudden stark assessment of your non-worth to society.
”—David Wong- This Book is Full of Spiders (via jhonenv)
“Any notion that we have that women don’t read comics, we’re setting that aside. That’s over now. We need you to be ready. There is room up here. Get your shitty comics out of the way now. You will need each other. You will make stories that make you feel connected to others and the world and we will need that from you. Don’t be afraid. Start now.”—Kelly Sue DeConnick (via samhumphries)
"What do you love about this city? I mean, it’s an awful place to live. It’s terrible. It’s unaffordable. Dangerous and full of rain. It’s a monster. So why? Why do you love it?
"The truth is, only you know why you stay here. Why you put up with this place. Or maybe you don’t know. I didn’t know why I came back until just a little while ago. But standing here today, right now, I can tell you why I love it. I love it because it’s a city people come to because they want to become something more than what they are. I used to come here after school and imagine this great person I might one day become. And what I’m saying is, maybe that’s the thing. Maybe that’s why.
"We come here, to Gotham, because it’s transformative, this place. We come here with our dreams and the city, it looks at us with its unblinking stone eye—an eye that sees all our faults, everything we’re afraid is true about ourselves—and it says, ‘Try. I dare you.’
And then Gotham stares you down, doesn’t it? More than any other city in the world, it fights you, challenges you to give up, to leave, to fall down and die. But you don’t. No. Because deep down you know—you know—that if you stand up to the challenge, if you walk through the fire, you will emerge changed. Burned down to that self you knew was there all along. The one you came here to be.”
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via clambistro)
I would just like to reblog this and say that I believe most of it to be utter bullshit. Junot Diaz, I respect you, but don’t fucking tell me that writing from a male POV makes me a shit writer, because it’s all I’ve ever done, mostly because I’m afraid of falling back to the very cliches you describe here.
The notion of art directly reflecting reality does not work in the land of fantasy fiction, or anything beyond lifestyle and memoir. Fictional counterparts never run in a strictly reflective line. Claiming that certain writers of particular backgrounds are unfit to write from other perspectives is to claim that art is not meant to go beyond existing as yourself, as if that’s the most sacred thing while art is only a feeble attempt. The entire purpose of art, and writing in particular, is to step into the shoes of others, to expand your worldview.
When Wally Lamb (middle-aged and male) first published SHE’S COME UNDONE, many reviews acclaimed it for being an “accurate” first-person portrayal of a woman. (Some even went so far as to say that rape is a purely female experience.) Who the hell has the authority to say that a certain point of view is “accurate” or that boy writers “suck at writing women” and their insights are obviously “sexist”?
I just can’t stand writer/artist bullshit that claims to be the be-all, end-all of what works and what doesn’t work. Your have your own experiences. Fine. But to say that young writers attempting to write about race, gender, and sexuality apart from their own always “suck at it” is not going to encourage them to expand their viewpoints— it is going to scare them off, resigning people to writing only about their own lives instead of anything that comes into their mind.
In my college writing workshop all the other students wrote about college life. It made me want to shoot myself in the head. If that’s the kind of writing workshop that creates “good writing”, then count me the fuck out.
“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”—Junot Diaz - on cultural representation in our world (via eshusplayground)
And yes, I know there are a lot of you. I’ve searched the Tumblr tags and Twitter trends. I’ve seen you swoon over Captain America and geek out over the Hulk. Iâm here to say that thereâs a whole w…
WAIT SO WAT IS ANGEL SANCTUARY Only my favorite comic to ever exist.
It focuses on Setsuna Mudo, a teenager who learns that he is the reincarnation of an angel who rebelled against Heaven. After the death of his sister, he travels through Hell and Heaven to reunite with…
Indeed. And while you’re at it, read everything else Kaori Yuki ever wrote, because if you’re into weird shit and blasphemy she will be your new favorite.
CAIN SAGA/GODCHILD: Slasher murder mysteries are set to nursery rhymes, a noble collects poisons, dead people are reanimated, a crazy doctor wants to cut his brother’s eyeballs out, and an evil organization blows up a lot of buildings. It’s mad Victorian mayhem for the most part, but also full of gentle subtlety, particularly in the relationship between Riff and Cain. Rife with Kaori’s usual obsessions - incest, whips, butterflies, black magic, and a rather morbid interpretation of the Tarot.
NEJI (SCREW): Carbon freezing haunts a crygogenic governmental assassin whose girlfriend is separated into frozen organs, and later on he hooks up with a drug dealer who has a bomb in his eye socket and runs into a psychotic tycoon who builds robots named Norma Jean.
BOYS NEXT DOOR: A serial killer and a fourteen year old male prostitute fall in love. There’s lots of childhood angst involving clowns and gratuitous iguana symbolism. Don’t expect a happy ending.
KAINE: A rockstar’s twin brother is manipulated by a record company into “playing” rockstar after the brother’s death in a car crash. Featuring murder, multiple personalities, unrequited rockstar-love, and records that kill people.
FAIRY CUBE: A somewhat shorter, less disturbing, slightly lighter play on the themes from Angel Sanctuary - namely the soul/body switching and winged otherworldly beings exploding things, with requisite crossdressing, taboo sexual tension, and mysterious men in eyepatches.
GRAND GUIGNOL ORCHESTRA: In a post-apolcalyptic monarchical universe, a rogue orchestra rides around in a carriage and slays zombies by playing symphonies at them. No, really.
LUDWIG REVOLUTION: Warped fairy tales. The princely protagonist is into big boobs, necrophilia, and leopard print. Snow White seduces her father. Sleeping Beauty is an antisocial child of rape. And don’t even get me started on Little Red Riding Hood…
“I’ve always believed the best way to know the city is to stay close to the ground. To feel the cracks in the sidewalk under your shoes. The strange bright silence of the park under snow. The hissing rain of sparks that come down when the elevated train passes overhead on Third Avenue. The late night ticking of traffic lights. It’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve come to understand how wrong I’ve been. Because I know now that you can spend your entire life learning Gotham from deep inside…and still know nothing about it at all.”—Bruce Wayne- Batman:The City of Owls (via streetlightreader)
Your writing is amazing. I check back every now and then to see what you have done lately, sometimes I go back and read older stuff. So to keep from rambling, don't ever stop writing, and I won't ever stop reading what you write.
Whoa whoa whoa, when did this happen? Mind blown. Mom, is that you?
About that new Manics blog that you're starting. What about adding "Comments" section on that blog--I don't really know how to do that though, except by registering your blog to third-party service like Disqus--so that people can put in their thoughts without having to reblog your entry?
Well, there’s an ‘allow comments’ box that I checked under Settings, and I added a question box to the front page called ‘Share Your Thoughts’, which I can then post to the blog… is there a text limit on questions? I’ll have to figure that out.
When I’m on a downswing I tend to listen to the Manics a lot, and because I like to distract myself at such times, I’m always analyzing their lyrics. Manics lyrics, to me, see, are more layered and nuanced than just about anything in the English language, and seeing as I have conducted a lifelong love affair with said language, picking them apart is my idea of a fantastic hobby.
And I have to wonder. Does anyone else do this? Why does no one ever talk about Richey and Nicky’s lyrics? Not just the political bent, but how fucking obvious some of them are? How bitter and clever and ridiculous? Is it because everyone knows everything already and finds it redundant to bring them up? Does anyone else find it weird/sad that Nicky has been writing about the same damn thing for nearly two decades?
I have a veritable backlog of lyrical essays and explanations and theories. I want to share them. (I posted them on a blog website years ago, but the readership was fairly niche, and they didn’t meet many eyes.) Since I keep meaning to make better use of tumblr, if I made a tumblr dedicated to Manics lyrics and my interpretations of them, would anyone care to read such a thing?
I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I’m only now getting the chance to actually read the Death of the Family arc. I’m only up to issues #14 but I’m already crushing on Snyder’s writing. I’m falling for him the same way I fell for Morrison: all that pretty figurative language.
All those teasers around the number one that Marvel has been posting began making sense today following an announcement at SXSW. Right now and through 11PM EST March 12 the company is making 700 first issues of its comics downloadable for free on Comixology and the Marvel Application.
ATTENTION ALL AVENGERS FANGIRLS/BOYS WHO HAVE NEVER READ A COMIC BOOK:
“What you said — that you [wouldn’t kill me] because I’d win — that’s what you tell yourself, what you tell them, because you don’t want to admit the truth, the bad news of your own soul. That and the old slippery-slope excuse, am I right? You kill me and suddenly who knows?! What’s stopping you from killing all of us baddies from going on a downright spree?! But i call guano there, old friend… because the ugly truth of it is, Batssss, is that you love me more than them. You know it, I know it, and now they know it, too. They know how you want me to kill them. How you leave the doors unlocked at night, hoping i get them.”—The Joker, Batman #17 (via aeglyss)