Queer, trans, drag, intersex & all kinds of other friendly…
…Not to mention frankly pro-Hawaiian Kingdom restoration; opposed to the continued militarization of the Pacific; opposed to GMO crops on the island and the diversion of water from family farms to gated commuities: pro-pagan and witchy; all with a certain amount of side-eye for various aspects of “transplant” culture…
Here in this United States, literary life looks a little weird for those of us writing of a braver and gayer new world than Huxley would have ever imagined.
Just check out this depressing article about the rising muck of ignorance and hate in America, engineered with deliberate cruelty by the far right fringe:
Limbong, Andrew. New report finds a coordinated rise in attempted book bans. NPR. 9/19/22.
Here’s the report mentioned in the above article: Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, PEN America, 9/19/2022. The graphic below is from the report, as posted on the PEN website.
Checking off 6 out of 7 banned book boxes
Looking at the above image and summary, my lovely, whimsical fantasy series of a band of aging, arty misfits living in a rural intentional community on the island of Hawai’i, who encounter Elves and supernatural foes and learn magic while falling in various kinds of love, checks 6 out of the 7 categories. If I’d set out to write specifically to the criteria for books banned from schools in 2022, I couldn’t have done a better job. Really! Someone give me a medal or something!
However, these books are written for adults, not youngsters. The human protagonists are in my age group (“older”) and while the Elves may have the gloss and glamour of perpetual youth, they are far older than the human “Hermits” who are their magical apprentices. And there is very little explicit sex, though there are teasing references and frank admissions to a very wide array of gender and sexual (and asexual) interests. Even so, I suspect there will be some people who hate The Guild of Ornamental Hermits series and all that it stands for, just as much as there will be some (many more, I hope) who love the series with all their hearts.
Really, my characters are made to be loved, in all their quirks and queerness. There is joy, yearning, heartbreak, awe as well as greed, deception, and otherworldly badness–such as the Wethrini warriors setting upon the hapless goat seller, Toledo Jackson. And I can’t wait for readers to start “shipping” my characters in ways I’ve never considered!
We all know what’s up with the poor sodden dopes who comprise the far right fringes of the USA: “they hate us for our freedoms!” I, for one, will write for joy and juice until my last breath. And honestly, the book banners really are doomed to failure. Nothing they want to repress will ever go back in the box–or the closet–again. Our magic and love are stronger than their hate.
The Dire Deeds and The Witching Work will be followed by The Queerest Quest (Book 3, completed and with the publisher) and The Perilous Past (Book 4, in progress).