Dita Parker

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Can you hear it? No? It makes my ears ring just thinking about the belly laughs and gasps of horror I got when I came out with writing romance, some of it the steamy stuff.

Some people just looked at me funny and then made sure I hadn't quit my job or given up on writing in other genres or languages. No, on both accounts. Others asked outright if my marriage was doing okay. No, seriously. My husband's evident indignation assured them I wasn't deprived in the love and sweet loving department. I knew who my friends were when I heard "You go, girl!" I had no idea there were so few of them...

What bothers me is that romance is the only genre I have to justify and explain. It's derogatory to those who love reading it and it's offensive to those who write it; the stigma, that is, if you can call it that. I would call it that after being told by well-meaning commentators that I had just shot myself in the leg.

A beauty queen is an ex-beauty queen for life. Write romance and be branded and labeled forever after and never dream of publishing in another genre. Right? Really...

Why would I do that, they asked me? I was tempted not to answer that particular cartload of condescending horse maneur, but it gave me pause. I wanted to know too. So I took my walking stick and limped to my den to think about it and came up with this:

It's a language thing. For me, English is an extremely expressive language and it's a highly emotive language. I write in another language as well, but writing romance in it is out of the question. It's a language of a totally different color and temperature and I use it for other genres. But those two languages are of equal importance to me, as are all of the genres. Period.

It's emotionally fulfilling. I love loving and I love writing about love and loving. Don't give me the reinforcing and playing into the hands of patriarchy theory. If women stopped reading romance right this very minute, there would still be inequality between the sexes come next year. Damn right romance can be used as an escape route, who doesn't need a breather every now and then? It's pleasurable like any other type of reading or hobby is.

Ask me to toe the line and I will step dance on it. Tell me I cannot and just see if I don't. Reading and writing romance is not submissive, it's subversive. That's what it feels like when you're asked to explain yourself.

It's an opportunity to feel brave.

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