My Writerly Agenda

Right now, approximately 500,000 people are at the Women’s March on Washington, standing in solidarity, with pink hats and exceptional art. Yesterday afternoon, 10,000 people turned out to the inauguration.

Today I was supposed to be at the march in Asheville, NC, making my voice heard as well. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am not there. So my voice is going into this post, in solidarity with wonderful, loud women across the country.

I undeniably have an writing Agenda, capital A. It’s always there, percolating in the background: to write diversely, to write realistically, to present to the world kickass characters who are diverse. The characters and who they are grow organically from the swamp of literature and discourse I have absorbed over the years.

In the Book of the Dead, I attempt to realistically present diversity–but not just diverse labels slapped on characters. Diverse themes. Diverse narratives.

I juggle a multitude of beliefs in this story. Ancient Egyptian and Greek, Mesopotamian, Hindu, Christian, Akan, Islamic. Too many to list in a brief blog post. And before I began writing, I sat myself down and looked myself in the eye and said: “They must all be equal.” It’s not a book about religion, it’s a book about belief, and friendship, and sacrifice. And each world I wrote about was just as complex, required just as much research and nuanced characterization.

My protags—two young women—explore their identities throughout the story. Both of them, one four thousand years old and one eighteen, are searching for who they are. One wants acceptance, one wants to find her roots. In an underworld of endless possibility, they forge towards their goals together.

My Writerly Agenda is diabolical. Girls discovering themselves in an infinitely complex world where all belief is equal, where they may struggle against monsters and maniacs but never against invalidity.

That’s what I hope to see reflected in the world. And today, thousands and thousands of people are fighting for this cause, among many others.

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