Monday, April 19, 2010

Status Update: 4/10 Pt. 2

Like I mentioned before in the last status update, I had an essay pending at Diverse Voices Quarterly. I was informed today that my essay has been accepted and will published in their next issue on May 1st.

You have no idea how hard I worked to get this essay published. I'll speak on that in a minute. FYI in my next post I'll post an excerpt along with a series of videos relating to the topic, but for now let me tell you what this essay is about and why I wrote it.

This is a serious topic, so if you're not donning your thinking cap (or planning to) don't bother continuing through the rest of my post.

It has taken a WHOLE YEAR for me to get this essay published. I wrote this essay for an assignment given to me in English Composition during summer school. We were supposed to write a narrative essay dealing with social issues and I chose to write about my experiences with racism. Specifically, interracial dating.

To be fair, I DID NOT want to publish this essay. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I was 19yrs old. I had other things on my mind, much less writing! But my professor pulled me aside after class and told me it was one of the best essays she had ever read from an undergraduate student at UTA. SHE insisted that I try to get it published and once the thought of "publication" wormed inside my brain, I began my career as a serious writer.

This essay represents the beginning of my publishing career. And I owe it all to my professor, Toni Holland, for really pushing me to believe in myself and in my abilities as a writer. I am forever grateful to her. She taught me I had a VOICE and that I shouldn't be afraid to use it--and at 19, that was a very important lesson for me to learn. I had A LOT on my plate back then... I had just "run away" from an abusive home with just $300 to my name. I spent that money on a one-way flight to Texas and "shacked up" with an older man I only knew previously from chat rooms and social networking sites. True story, hahaha. But enough about that.

Out of 6 or 7 publishers, no wanted to touch this essay. I was asked to "lie" about the outcome of the essay, or change the format into something more "tame," like, a poem. No one wanted my essay as is and I believe it was because it embarrassed the white editors I submitted it to. They all said it was a well-written and poignant essay, even offered me books on the subject they had read so to appear like they weren't rejecting me based on "content" alone...but in the end they all told me "No."

Until now.

I'll post an excerpt next time, along with some interesting videos of "racism" from the "white" point-of-view.


Robin Eduardo said...

Ah, more things we have in common. As a woman who has dealt with childhood trauma, and is also involved in an interacial/cultural relationship I know that I can relate. I was aware that you were involved with a white man, and I know how even in this modern age, racism can still raise its ugly head. On top of this, the racism that you've had to endure while growing up was, I'm sure, not too subtle either. I know that as a mixed white/Akwesasne I had to hold my tongue when people would make comments about "crazy indians", drinking "fire water", and worse, being called "squaw", which is the mohawk word for prostitute or slut. (MANY people are not aware of this!) And I got some weird looks when I bought my house by the shore, when neighbors saw my husband who is a black Dominican and I moving in. I bet there were a few comments like, "There goes the neighborhood!", LOL! Although I have to say now our neighbors love us.

I do look forward to reading this essay. I bet you make a lot of valid and important points, especially ones that others might not even have considered.

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