aztlan nation

i just started reading octavia’s brood last night and i don’t really understand the way the editors framed the book as being written specifically or mostly by activists who aren’t working as writers. like the first story in the book was great, though i wish there had been more development of the characters and less of that unconvincing solidarity stuff (there’s a line like, “we can’t go to the new nation of aztlan [which itself is a fucked up notion…] because they’re busy defending themselves from the white southerners klan” or something, and it just feels thin, not like something that would ever be said, esp in the context of the protagonists preparing for a fight. anyway, that story wasn’t substantially different from a lot of the work in the trans fiction anthology i’m editing or even from my own writing (i was surprised to see a lot of parallels between that story last night and one that’s in my portland diary book; both feature a couple that’s involved in the destruction of a prison and trying to free oppressed people). there’s an implicit critique here of the work that writers - meaning people whose fiction is being published i guess - are doing right now and their inability to imagine a different way of living (beyond capitalism, beyond prisons, etc). but i think if you look at the work of people who are fighting to create their own literature and tell stories to each other, if you look at these marginalized communities, you’ll see their writers already coming up with this kind of visionary work. like i think most of the stories that trans women of color are writing right now would fall under this category of visionary fiction, and i think a lot of us twoc are getting there without the narrative shortcomings of that first story in octavia’s brood (which i suspect will be a recurring theme as i continue reading). trying to make writers out of activists is an interesting concept - even though octavia’s brood undermines that concept by including established writers in their book - but there are already people trying to do that visionary work who are being shut out of publishing.