I like genre fiction in all its variety. I even like the genres I don't write, but enjoy reading. Lately, there has been quite a stir on several local blogs regarding genre, snubbery, snobbery, and lit elitists on all sides.
Someone once asked me what I wrote. The shortest and easiest answer back then was "romance." As if that one word bottles up everything that goes into one of my books and then slaps itself, a little stickered label, onto the bottle.
As I've branched out and become more prolific, I wonder about labels. I've been to conferences where I've been paraded around as the romance author and everyone is thrilled to have me there representing that genre. I've been to others where any of us who wrote romance stuttered, and stammered, and tried to deny what we wrote.
Why? Why would any writer in any genre feel less than worthy? Why would I cringe to tell people I wrote romance? Is there really something so wrong with love that I feel I must hide the fact that I write it and pay penance when anyone catches me writing it? Even now, when my genre has shifted to the classification of YA and middle grade (which is also either applauded or snubbed depending on the audience) I am still--in effect--writing romance.
I believe love works. It's everywhere and affects everyone. It's there between parents and children, between friends, between sisters, brothers, and grandparents, and yes--even between a man and a woman. Love exists. So we write about it. Just as childhood exists. Fear, mystery, days of fanciful thinking and day dreaming, science, days where we need a little pick me up, or days where we need information on how to build a playhouse . . . those things all exist and as writers, we write about them. We record those moments to let others in the world know they are not singular in their thoughts and needs. Writing connects humanity in a way that offers validity to the existance of humanity.
What we choose to write will appeal to someone, somewhere. We should make no apologies for that.
I met a guy on the train when I was comin' out. It was one of those things that kind of makes you mad. I was out on the platform — I was in pants and coat that didn't match but I was riding first class. I was making conversation with a guy who asked me, "Goin' to California?"
"Yeah, I'm goin' out there."
"What business are you in?"
I said "The motion-picture business."
"What do you do?"
I said "I make animated cartoons."
"It was like saying I sweep latrines." "Some people make you mad, and you want to prove something to them even though they mean nothing to you. I thought of that guy... when we had the premiere of Snow White. --Walt Disney
If you write what you love and write it the very best way you know how, you will never have to apologize for it.