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Intro Music by Fretts!

Our intro and our outro music is Your Government Loves You and Wants You to be Happy, by Fretts! If you love it as much as we do, you can find more beautiful music at fretts.bandcamp.com!

Positionality, Intersectionality, And Fiction.

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What We’re Drinking:

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Otra Vez! It’s a sour beer (a gose-style ale) from Sierra Nevada! It’s one of the first “mainstream” sour beers I’ve encountered. It’s funny; you know you’re in a beer town when you can buy sour beers at the Seven Eleven. One of the things I really liked about Otra Vez was that it has  the usual crisp sourness, but it retained a little bit of funk from the lactic fermentation process.

What We’re Saying:

Tiger Gray came to chat with us today!

Here’s a link to our Facebook Group if you would like to come have fun time conversations with us.

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Tiger Gray is an author and small publisher at Hard Limits Press. Go check them out!

Also buy their novel, No Deadly Thing, here!

Today we’re talking about positionality and how it impacts writing and fiction. Positionality is where you sit among various social identities and intersections of impression.

Cognitive dissonance is the state of holding two competing or conflicting ideas at one time. The mind then attempts to resolve dissonance, often by promoting one idea and discarding the other, often lashing out at the source of the discomfort in the process. But this dissonance can be resolved thoughtfully if you’re willing to put the work in.

Writing fiction involving marginalized groups can be tricky when writing from a place of privilege. There are times when it’s necessary to include things like racism and sexism and ableism in order to make a statement about how these forces function in the everyday world, but at the same time, if you’re able to imagine a world with spaceships and dragons, maybe you could also imagine a world in which those things don’t happen. I think writers in positions of privilege often fall into the trap of fetishizing their character’s oppression or using it as a way to arouse readers, and that’s exploitative.

This falls in to some of the problems that Sci-fi and Fantasy (and other genres too) have with rape as well.

Having the freedom to write whatever you want does not make you immune to criticism, and criticism is not the same as censorship.

Basically, if you’re using a character’s oppression in a piece of fiction, make sure you’re making that choice carefully and wisely, and make it matter.

Do research, but also talk to people who have had to be in the situations that you’re writing about. Our history and by extension our anthropology and sociology and even medical sciences are by and large written from a white and a male perspective. So even sources for research that are considered to be high quality may not have the information that you need to approach a certain subject with respect.

Try to feel some empathy for the groups that your writing might touch. Treat people’s time with respect.

Invest in people around you, invest in your community, and you’ll end up with more resources at your disposal.

And if you have a project that you feel you’re not up to yet, you can always step away from it. That’s okay too.

Your words have power. Be kind to people.

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