After 5(!) years of blogging, mostly “for fun”, I’ve reached a point where the focus of almost all of my thoughts/energies/actions has crystalized into a two-pronged goal: to engage critically with fiction, understanding that art reflects and informs society and then, with that in mind, to give space in my mind to marginalized narratives. Call that my mission statement, my manifesto, what have you.
I don’t have a large voice or a massive following. I know that, realistically, the number of people I can reach is very limited. I may be one small internet person yelling in a crowd of other internet people yelling, but that doesn’t matter. I have built a platform for myself, and I intend to stand on it and use my words and abilities to promote literature that respectfully represents the diverse world I live in. There are many ways to fight hate, ignorance, and intolerance; I believe than championing inclusive art is one of them.
This belief of mine is not newly formed. My writing on Respiring Thoughts has a history of critical reading and advocacy for diverse stories. I have explained why diverse fiction is important to me, personally. Through my 2015 Authors of Color Reading Project, I gave space on this site and in my mind to racially/ethnically diverse stories. I have written about the importance of diversity within the academic Literary Canon. I have shared lists that feature titles about/by marginalized voices. So, I am not taking Respiring Thoughts in a new direction. Rather, I am formally declaring and owning a previously unstated objective.
With this in mind, expect much of my efforts to center around promoting diversity and inclusivity as they pertain to literature and culture. I do not want to speak alone from atop a pedestal, and I welcome discussion and pushback as it comes. I recognize now that I stayed silent and apolitical too long, and I can no longer dissociate myself from certain issues on this blog. I am highly privileged, and I have resources at my disposal that I will use to help bring about the change I desire to see in my community.
Book blogging, it seems, has made an activist of me.