Has it really been four months already? Wow, that went fast.
You may have noticed we’ve been publishing less frequently in the last few weeks. This is due to several factors: we all have assorted day gigs, life tends upend the best-laid plans of all writers, even when it’s good news, and speaking for myself personally, the last few weeks have been a complicated kind of full in my doings away from the site.
Global events are intruding heavily into our lives and thoughts in distressing ways this year, and I’ve been taking advantage of my flexible schedule to show up for activism opportunities in person: time-consuming, but I’m committed to the work to be done and the people I’m doing it with (and for!). My last two weeks were a blur of actions, first at the state level, then at the national one.
But during all this I’ve been fortunate to have the context to reflect: reflect upon where this site fits into all that, upon the urgency of the many things needing righting in the world, and yet also upon the very real emotional fatigue so many of us fighting the fight are feeling.
We started here because we believe in the power of stories and fictional worlds, and that stories and fictional worlds should be there to lift up everyone, and that we wanted this to be the most welcoming place we could make for everyone—especially those of us who often get left out of the conversations other places—to come together and talk about them. We’re here because we believe in feminism, in anti-racism, in LGBTQ+, and in everyone who wants and needs to see themselves better represented in the texts they look to for succor and inspiration.
We still believe in all of this, and just a few months building things here has only deepened my commitment as Editor-In-Chief to those values. As I stood as a Handmaid in the NY State Senate building, as I did volunteer communications support on the Handmaid action in Washington D.C., against the backdrop of iconic US federal buildings, it was jarring to see my own world and fiction come together in such a way, and it all really came home to me.
Ultimately, we need both, the real world, and our refuge worlds. We need to keep doing what we can to make the world we walk in better, as however we are able to, and we also need places we can retreat to renew ourselves when the real gets to be too much.
Kate Leth made a really good point this week, that I want to spend a moment on. So many times, with similar statements, all we take away is “Everything is problematic to some degree,” and we forget, or choose to ignore the part about how we can still enjoy things in awareness of where they may fail us or others. We’re allowed to like stuff. We need stuff we like to get by, in a very difficult world.
I’ll share something very personal with you now. I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life, and there are long stretches where call-out culture makes most internet gathering spaces for genre fans too panic-inducing for me to linger in. If you care about being a good person, and about striving to be a better one, and you have severe anxiety or depression, this focus on targeting things and people for shaming, can destroy what little joy you’re scraping out of your happy places.
There are urgent conversations to be had about social issues, and we can all stand to learn more from the perspectives of others, check our respective privileges, and better ourselves. Sometimes these conversations, when conducted in the public sphere, have to get angry and invective to get heard at all. There are a lot of places already, where these conversations are happening on those terms, and yeah, they should keep happening there. They need to happen.
There’s a place for trust too, though, alongside that, and after lengthy contemplation, I’ve decided I want to make Genretastic that place. A place, where, bluntly, anyone who shares our values, can retreat to without fear of judgement for loving a world, because all of us have agreed to extend this trust to each other. A place where people who get panic attacks when they open their twitter feed or FB timeline and see a fight in progress (raises hand) can come to read and talk about the stories and worlds that they see as their safe places from a very harsh world right now, without fear of snap judgment.
We at Genretastic are here for the love of stories and imaginary worlds.
We are here for you, and your voice, and your love of stories and imaginary worlds.
We are here for accepting that no texts can be flawless, and that we can love what speaks to us in them at the same time as seeing what could be better in them.
We are here to try to be our best selves, and to listen to other perspectives, and become better selves through that listening.
We are here to assume that we are all here without malicious intent, and that we all can learn from our mistakes.
We are here for second chances for creators, and acknowledging that we are none of us perfect, no matter how hard we may strive to be.
We are here in mutual agreement that we do not have to append any or all of the previous disclaimers to every essay or comment, and that we trust we are coming from a mutual assumption of respect for each other, of the effort taken in our conversations, and of love of genre.
We aren’t here to trash texts or creators. Let’s talk about the worlds we love, and put love too into the wishes we make for them to keep getting even better.
Our mods will take care of the rest. We promise.