Duty of Every Writer
I read the column concerning RPS here and became thoughtful. I thought about what being a writer means to me. I thought about all the stories I have read and enjoyed. I thought probably too long and too hard.
I am a peace loving person. I am also a loving person. It tears at my soul to see writers fight among themselves over the written word. There will always be subjects that I don't care to read, but I will defend the right for a writer to write about them. You see, I may be a peaceful and loving person, but I do fight for what I consider a basic right. A right to the truth, even if it lies under fiction.
So, having said that, I would like to share my thoughts. My thoughts on what is the duty of a writer. A duty that should lie in every writer's heart.
We are all writers. We all share a rich history the moment we started stringing words together into a story. In all our differences, whether we write slash, het, fiction, non-fiction or whatever, we share a common bond. The bond is simply the love of the written word.
Writers throughout history have been tossed from the deepest part of hell to the highest part of heaven, all depending on our words. Banned books, torture, ridicule, praise, stardom, and other such words make up our history. Every writer shares in this history, this legacy, from the ones that came before us. Every story we write spreads the legacy to the ones who will come after us. They will profit from our writing, as we have profited from the ones before us.
Writers are not regular people. We have been given a gift that makes us see the world in a different way. A gift that is at once a blessing and a curse. Writers are bound to their muse to show the world to others.
Yes, we show the world and even in the midst of fiction, we tell the truth. We tell about social issues of our day. We tell about those in power. We even tell the truth about subjects that others will not dare handle. Scary frightening subjects for regular people out there. We break barriers with our words on these subjects. We knock down these walls one word at a time until they become acceptable. As I said, writing is at once a blessing and a curse.
The sad truth is that we are being divided. Divided by fellow writers who refuse to accept a certain truth. A truth that is at once painful and glorious to behold. The truth concerns real person slash (RPS).
It is acceptable to write het fiction with a real person. In fact, it is called fan fiction. No one believes it is true, nor do they ridicule it.
Real people in these het fictions have lives much like those that reside in a soap opera. The course of true love for them is never simple. Real life significant others are tossed to the side like yesterday's trash to make way for the writer's character, whether it be a Mary Sue or some fictional character. Of course, all the good ones must have angst in them. A fight for true love. Tortured beyond the realms of endurance. All the signs of the classic Romeo and Juliet.
Intriguing, is it not? No cries of libel or slander. No threats concerning invasion of privacy or defamation of character. It is "Fan Fiction".
Fiction by definition is made up words. In other words, not the truth. If something is not the truth, then it is a lie, is it not? Lies about a real person written by a fan. All the makings of a libel suit, but no. It is socially acceptable. Men and women can fall in love. They can marry. They can live happily ever after. It is considered sweet, because it came from a fan. Bring out the champagne and roses, life is wonderful.
Now, we will move on to the more "naughtier" side of fan fiction. The slash stories. The stories written by authors who dearly love to see their favorite TV or movie characters slashed with other TV or movie characters.
Slash, of course, being were two males or two females are involved in a romantic or sexual relationship. They mean no harm to the writers of these TV shows or movies. They are simply fans. Fans wanting to break down the barriers that reside in movies and on TV.
Shows like "Ellen" and "Queer as Folk" have pushed the barriers a bit, but not nearly enough. These two shows were pushed to be gay shows. Slash writers have a better purpose in mind. Push popular TV shows or movies that are not gay shows and make them gay ones. X-Files, Gladiator, Batman, Star Trek, and hundreds of other TV shows and movies which don't have a gay character in them are slashed. Make characters that are loved by all slashy and the world becomes more accepting of gay people on their TV screens and in their movies.
Wait a minute. More "Fan Fiction"? More lies written by fans? This concerning copyrighted and carefully imaged shows? Yes. Break down those barriers. Push the envelope a bit further. It is all good because it is written by fans. Fans who faithfully watch the shows and movies. Fans who buy the merchandise from the shows and movies. Fans that support the TV and movie industry with every dollar they spend on products that are advertised or every movie they go see. Every DVD they buy. Sweet adoring fans who mean no harm at all, just having a little fun. A little fun while they break down the barriers one word at a time. No threats of slander or libel. No invasion of privacy or defamation of character. The people they write about are not real. These writers too bring out the champagne and roses.
They skip merrily down the yellow brick road. Life is grand.
Now, we come to our last set of writers. The ones who write real person slash (RPS). The shame. The horror. The outcries of ridicule. The mentions of banning. The torture in the form of hiding what is written from other writers.
Yes, these writers write about real people. Most of the time they put two real people into situations that lies only in the realm of fiction. With the combination of the best from het fan fiction with the best of slash TV/movie fan fiction, they write their own brand of fiction.
Their truth lies in not just making gay people acceptable just in TV shows and on their movie screens. No, they want far more. They are greedy and will push the barriers until they can find a way for them to break. They want everyone who is gay to be socially acceptable, whether they be famous or not.
RPS writers write about the world of today, marking history and questioning the morals and values of everyone. No place else can you find more gay issues written in a way to draw the reader in. The reader is drawn in because they are familiar with the real person or persons. They know the public images. They have feelings for the real person or persons. How can the reader not feel something? How can they not rethink their morals and values concerning "gay" issues?
Topics such as gay people having to have commitment ceremonies instead of marriages are written.
Topics such as hiding the gay relationship from the public eyes are written. Topics such as facing abandonment from friends and family because of the gay relationship are written. Topics on safe gay sex are written. Topics on the price of fame dealing with drugs and suicide are written. Well crafted stories dealing with extremely controversial gay subjects, such as rape, sexual harassment, the increase of suicide among gay males, cruelty and torture to gays even by children, and many other heart wrenching subjects are written.
There is no happy road for these writers. No champagne and roses. Instead they are pushed aside and told they are not fans. They are told they will face libel, slander, invasion of privacy and defamation of character suits from the ones they write about. Their stories are banned from lists, pushed away by groups, and forced to go into hiding.
Never mind the disclaimers they post on each and every story. Never mind the money they spend on the music and the movies of their characters. Never mind the truth that lies under their fiction, like slash TV show/movie writers. Never mind that the real person or persons they write about is more likely to be a carefully crafted fairytale to meet with public standards. Never mind they know it is fiction, like het writers. Last, but not least, never mind they are writers.
Yes, I have wrote het fan fiction. Yes, I have wrote movie/TV slash fan fiction. Yes, I have wrote RPS fan fiction. I am proud of all the things I have wrote. Every story I write is a piece of my soul. Every story I write is like my child. I will go to my dying grave defending anything and everything I write, even when it offends another. My words are a part of me. I will go to my dying grave defending another's work, even if I don't like it. It is my duty as a writer. To keep the words flowing from every writer's pen. To have history recorded. To break down barriers. To change society into the world I wish it could be. To show what it means to look out of my eyes. To share my blessing and curse that I received the moment I strung the words together to make a story. I will not budge from my duty. I do it for myself and all my fellow writers. I will tell you this much. Never in my life have I been more proud of the words that I carefully crafted into a story than the RPS ones. Those stories will chip away at barriers. If I have to use the name of a real person or persons to do so, then so be it. I do it out of love. Love for them and love for my writing and love for the world. Especially love for the world.
Now, I will let another fact be known. If I should happen to be sued or accused of any wrong doing, I will tell the judge exactly what I wrote here. I will tell the real person or persons that I used the same thing. I will not apologize for my words. I will make enough noise, if that day comes, to benefit all the writers who will come after me. They will know to never be ashamed of your work, if it is done out of love.
It is my duty and my privilege. I do it for those writers who came before me. I do it for all those writers who will come behind me. I do it for all the books and words that have been banned, shoved into the dark, hidden, and ridiculed. I know the history behind the written word. I know the power. I refuse to be ashamed.