I decided to draw 20 of my favorite queer girls to celebrate 1 year of marriage equality in the US!
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a marvelous book series featuring a lot of diverse issues in the Victorian era but most importantly it has QUEER LADIES. Pippa and Felicity broke my heart and I will never move on.
“Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story?”
i. i shut my eyes and all the world drops dead, i think i made you up inside my head ii. i know it’s true that visions are seldom what they seem iii. i must be one of the devil’s daughters iv. when persephone appears on the river bank, tell her
“i am another lost daughter” v. we are the daughters, we are the damned and doomed, gives us your violence, we won’t be silent vi. in my head there’s a warrior, and it’s a war to feel whole, and it’s a fear to feel at all, and it’s the wonder at love vii. how many years i know i’ll bear, i found something in the woods somewhere viii. we are shining and we will never be afraid again ix. i am the voice of your history, be not afraid, come follow me, answer my call, and I’ll set you free x. i would like to find a place where the taste of blood in my mouth
could evaporate, where my soul could just rest from all this weight listen
“Not to talk about any other group, but they’re just different. BTS has so much to offer … People were like ‘Look up BAP, look up EXO, or G-Dragon,’ and all these groups. I checked them all out, and it wasn’t the same for me, you know.”
“Rap Mon can rap really good … but the fact that he wears makeup shouldn’t take away from it or the fact that he dances shouldn’t take away from it because that’s his culture.”
my favorite track is ‘Hip Hop Lover.’ It’s amazing- the rapping, the hook. I was really amazed.”
“My boy Suga pulled his phone out and said, “Hey I produced this track. Do you wanna listen?” So I heard [‘Let Me Know’] before but when I could hear it in speakers, that was a beast. Suga is amazing. He made that record. He produced the track, the hook, and everything.”
“It will happen eventually, whether I get Jimin to sing a hook or Rap Monster to rap or something. Something will happen in the future.”
“They’re so dedicated, always dancing, always practicing. It’s not all forced- they don’t have to do that. They just want to be good at what they do because they’re going to get so much flak for wearing makeup and for dancing.”
“When he’s rapping on ‘Hip Hop Lover,’ you hear greatness in Rap Mon.”
“The most talented one of them all, even though they’re all super talented, is Jungkook who is the youngest. He can do all three. He can really rap, he can really sing, he can really dance as you saw in ‘Bulletproof.’”
I wonder whether the authors of this article have looked at the rise in the writing and reading of fan-fiction, and the impact this has on traditionally published fiction.
Recently I went into a Waterstones and looked at all the new fiction spread out on a table. And I didn’t want to read any of it. I looked - I spent an hour there. I riffled and skimmed dozens of books. I bought nothing.
Firstly, most of it was about m/f relationships. There was nothing I could identify with as an ambi-gendered bisexual. LGBTQ characters, if there were any, were bit part players. I’m English-Irish white, and able-bodied, but had I been a POC, or differently able, then that issue of representation would have been there too. And, similarly, all such characters were bit part players.
Secondly, all of the books seemed to have a deadly sameness. There was nothing I found that had language you could wrestle with, that made you shiver. There seemed to be a tendency to dumb down. The books seemed formulaic, as if each author had been given a list of things to include. They were mostly the same length, allowing little character development.
Thirdly, there were no real happy endings. I understand they are unpopular, because they’re not realistic. And it’s true, they’re not. None of us ever achieves an unambiguously happy ending: it is human nature always to be just a little unsatisfied, because that’s who we are. But we all strive for them. We all covet them. We all hope. And flicking through a book, trying to engage with the characters, learning to love them, wanting them to succeed - that’s a real emotional investment, and sometimes one we make in hope when we are, ourselves, coming from a precarious place, where hope is flickering low. The hope of our characters’ happy endings sustains our hope of our own. ‘Look,’ it tells us, ‘at what remains in Pandora’s Box.’
And time after time, I found that each book, approached in hope, disappointed. I’m not asking for unrealistic perfection. I don’t need all ends darned in to the cosy sweater, or unrealistically neat endings. Real characters aren’t like that. But I did want hope. I wanted a strong sense of uplift, of renewed purpose. I wanted affirmation, development of character, development of love, a commitment to love. A sense of - I keep coming back to it - hope, that people could change, good things could come out of evil, love would triumph at the end.
And instead, I got dreary. Commonplace. Mundane. Dulled characters, beaten, defeated, settling. An unwillingness to post a happy ending, perhaps because publishers and authors feel that it’s too fairy tale, too unrealistic. In the end, I didn’t want to read any of it. I didn’t want to invest, and have my hopes dashed, and my tender feelings wounded by some cruel authorial twist, to have my emotions yanked this way and that, torn, twisted, bruised, and finally find out that that was all I would get.
I have suffered enough of that in my own life. For real. Why would I want to read books that give me more of it?
There is a reason that Greek tragedy existed. It was there to purge the emotions. Oedipus, unknowing, kills his father, and marries his mother. He fathers his own siblings. But over Sophocles’ great trilogy of plays, despite plumbing the depths of human misery, we move steadily to a calmness, an acceptance, a resolution that offers the possibility of redemption, and an ending that leaves us cleansed (catharsis is a cleansing, after all) but not lacerated, torn, and beyond healing. It offers, in the end, hope.
I read fan fiction because it offers me representation, because it is often beautifully written, but mostly because the authors who write it have not forgotten how to hope. They have not forgotten how to offer hope. They have not forgotten that we all need hope, that we all long for a little happiness, at least, in our endings, both personal and fictional.
And I wonder, when I read articles like the one I’ve linked, whether fiction sales are down because traditional publishers have forgotten all of these things.
Diversity. Depth. Hope. Find them in fan fiction. Fan fiction writers do this. Fan fiction readers love this. Publishers: take note.
“Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story? Are you ready? Shall I begin? Once upon a time there were four girls. One was pretty. One was clever. One charming, and one… one was mysterious. But they were all damaged, you see. Something not right about the lot of them. Bad blood. Big dreams. Oh, I left that part out. Sorry, that should have come before. They were all dreamers, these girls. One by one, night after night, the girls came together. And they sinned. Do you know what that sin was? No one? Pippa? Ann? Their sin was that they believed. Believed they could be different. Special. They believed they could change what they were–damaged, unloved. Cast-off things. They would be alive, adored, needed. Necessary. But it wasn’t true. This is a ghost story remember? A tragedy. They were misled. Betrayed by their own stupid hopes. Things couldn’t be different for them, because they weren’t special after all. So life took them, led them, and they went along, you see? They faded before their own eyes, till they were nothing more than living ghosts, haunting each other with what could be. With what can’t be. There, now. Isn’t that the scariest story you’ve ever heard?”
once upon a time there were four girls. one was pretty. one was clever. one charming, and one…one was mysterious. but they were all damaged, you see. something not right about the lot of them. bad blood. big dreams.