My discussion topic for today is which genres of fiction are generally portrayed as less worthy literature. First though a little anecdote. This is a true story no matter how cheesy it sounds:
When I was a little girl and sitting on my grandfather's knee on Christmas eve and he asked me what I wanted most for Christmas my instant answer was to ask for a typewriter. My dad laughed at this and asked me what on earth I wanted something like that for and I answered that real writers had typewriters. My dad (who passed away some time ago) was not the most supportive admirer of the creative crafts and shrugged me off with the following words: Don't ever do anything to do with creativity for a living as you will die young and poor. Of course I did what any other sensible child would and started crying, inwardly believing his words to be the true wisdom of an adult. Admittingly I never really had a good relationship with him after that but moved ever closer to my new foster family and my granddad who just for some reason always seemed to get me better than any other person on this planet. When I turned 16 and moved away from home my grandfather was there by my side packing boxes and helping me assemble my new furniture and as I sat in a half empty apartment that first night on my own feeling a bit sorry for myself and wanting to go back to my grans house and just stay there if anything just to avoid the smell of burnt food, I heard a knock on the door and outside was a delivery man who apologized for knocking on my door so late, but the person who had ordered the delivery had insisted that it was sent out that day and so he had stayed an extra hour to make sure that it got there. I signed for the box feeling very adult and a bit flabbergasted as he was good-looking and well, I was a 16-year old geeky looking girl who hoped he had not seen any marvel posters in the back-ground when I opened the door.
In the box was a brand new computer with a note that simply read: I know it is not a typewriter, but it will have to do. Just write anything you want. I recognized my grandfather's handwriting and realized that after all those years he had managed to remember the look of utter disappointment on my face while I sat crying on his knee.
I still have the computer although it is an antique by modern standards now. As if it is blessed with some special kind of love it still works, even now after 10 years. As a trusty companion it has outlived both my beloved grandfather and my father, it has suffered moving apartments a multitude of times and being thrown at exes in rage. It might run the oldest version of windows you will ever find on a laptop and weigh a ton, but it will never be thrown out!
So what was the purpose of this story? I often get people asking me to try and define what genre of books I tend to write and every time that little note of write anything you want, pops back in to my head. I have worked on romance novels, none-fiction books on Shakespeare and many other things, I have written fantasy, sci-fi, I tried my luck at a western but never quite got my head around it, but the fact of the matter is that I have never even thought that one of these genres was worth less than any other. It seems that many other people disagree with me on this topic. Through different writing and reading groups I have found that there is a general tendency for admiring everyday fiction and look down on romance novels and the like, judging them as light literature. Maybe people are forgetting that even a romance novel writer has to have a certain amount of skill to be popular enough to sell books and that even writer like that spends many hours drafting, writing, pitching etc. So next time you shrug at someone or point fingers (you know who you are) because they are only a romance novel writer or can never write anything "serious" remember that inside of them they have a small boy or girl who wants to know that their work is still worth something even if it doesn't bring in the big bucks or wins a fancy reward!