Friday, August 3, 2018

Segregation or Exclusion

Disabled/neurodivergent people are used to fighting.  We fight for our rights to marry without penalty, have children, pursue gainful employment-- things most people don't even have to think about, much less battle over.  Each concession we win has scratches on it from society's clutches.  But, regardless of what we try, sometimes changes come slowly or not at all.

Our writers are frequently (and easily) kept out of circles in the Literary Community.  The biggest conference in America is almost unapologetic in its inaccessibility until it comes time to take our money.  Our stories aren't wanted or considered with any sincerity until an abled person writes them.  Disabled/neurodivergent writers are often left with an unpleasant choice:  Do we face exclusion from literary circles or create pockets of opportunity for ourselves?

In creating opportunities, access is a given.  We don't have to worry about if we're understood.  We can enter and participate fully.  But, in beginning our own programs, we might segregate ourselves.  A lot of people in our community might not have the resources or contacts to start something quite as prestigious or beneficial as some of the organisations, workshops, readings, and so on already in existence.

Exclusion in its entirety is an option, though most of us find it unappealing.  The stereotype of the solitary writer is a persistent one, but it isn't romantic.  We need other people along the pathways of our careers to guide and cheer us on.*

So, between battles, we wait.  Some of us are writing haiku in groups.  Others are typing up their novels alone in their kitchens.  All are choosing where to be until the gates are pried apart.

Where are you?

*I've received no guidance from other writers beyond information in blog posts and craft books.  I've been a part of so many failed writing groups I now stay on the fringe of wherever I fall.  Isolation is difficult.  I don't want that for you, lovelies, not for a single heartbeat.  That's one reason this blog/organisation exists.  You aren't alone.  I love you.

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