Writing as a POC

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on August 12, 2015

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Someone in between the Bible and Spider-Man

Let me cut to the chase: I have no idea what to write. I’ll explain. I am writing. I am querying agents. I have a few things simmering in some slush piles. However, I feel like I have a writing personality disorder. What do I mean? I feel as though I can write whatever I want. However, a major part of me knows better. I feel like I am unable to have a unified identity.

It’s a feeling that is akin to how I felt as the sole Black person in many of my graduate English courses. It wasn’t all the time. It was whenever we read something about slaves or a text by a Black author. My favorite question: “What do you think the author is trying to tell us about the Black experience?” **Crickets** And of course I’d feel obligated to respond, especially during the pregnant pause. After all, wouldn’t I be a bad Black person if I didn’t speak up and let all the White folk discuss the Black experience?

Wouldn’t I? No. Yes? Hmmmm…

I mentioned before that I’m writing picture book manuscripts. The problem? You submit one manuscript to an agent. Not all of my stories are “ethnic” so to speak. I’ve seen several agents encourage people of color to submit manuscripts to them. My question: What does that really mean? Does it mean that they want texts that scream POC issues? Does it mean that really want a POC on their client roster regardless of their writing style? I would love a hint.

I don’t have a single story that I could say is representative of my writing style. I’m an eclectic writer. Some of my writing is clearly focused on POC in assorted situations. Other times, my characters aren’t reflective of a particular race. As a writer, who is a POC, is it assumed that my writing will have a more “ethnic” tone?

White friends, do you all experience anything similar? I’d really love to know.


3 Responses to 'Writing as a POC'

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  1. transego said,

    Reblogged this on Quarterlife+.

  2. Well, after reading your post, I felt obligated to comment since you specifically asked for white folks’ thoughts. 🙂 I obviously cannot relate specifically, but I do think there are times when anyone can feel the odd person out. I had a similar experience in my college Women’s/Diversity Studies class. The instructor knew I was gay and looked to me whenever there was an LGBT related question or discussion to be had. It was a long semester for an introvert. Thanks for posting!

    • transego said,

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!You make a good point. I guess anyone can take a turn at being the odd person out in certain situations. It happened to me so much in school that I eventually just owned it and was like “Okay, I’ll take this one.”

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